Monday, November 23, 2015

Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

The third project in our Fall Sew-Along is a fitted long sleeve t-shirt, Burda 6820 pattern. There are three lengths and sleeve styles provided on this pattern, which offers you some options. The pattern envelope suggest using a two-way stretch jersey. I used a cotton and spandex blend floral print, which I have had in my stash for some time now. The vibrant print is a fun alternative to a basic t-shirt and I found that this fabric was easy to work with. I also made a matching infinity scarf, which paired with the t-shirt makes a warmer option for cooler temperatures. Like the previous projects, this post is to be used together with the pattern instructions. I therefore recommend that you read the first few post in our sew-along and that you have your pattern ready.

Style Details
The t-shirt is fitted with long sleeves and a round neckline. The neckline is faced and topstitched. There is also topstitching on the sleeves and hemline. I also really like that this pattern does not have a centre back seam.

Getting Started
I started by reading through the pattern instruction sheets and I identified the steps needed to sew the t-shirt. There are only a view illustrations on the instruction sheets so you will want to carefully read through the written instructions. I decided to sew the entire project using my serger and used the sewing machine for some basting. I also did some hand basting in several areas and I suggest having a needle and thread handy. If you do not have a serger, I recommend using a walking foot attachment. Another recommendation would be to use a stretch stitch or small zig zag stitch for your seams (refer to your sewing machine manual). You can also finish the hem on your sleeves and shirt hemline with twin needles.

I was short on time and decided to forgo on pre-washing my fabric. However, I would recommend that if you are working with a natural blend fabric that you take the time to prepare your fabric to avoid shrinkage. I expect some shrinkage the first time I wash my t-shirt. I did however, cut the ends of my fabric evenly and took the time to fold accurately to best identify the grain.

Sewing The T-Shirt
  • First I pinned the front and back pieces with right sides together at the shoulders and serged using the 5/8" seam allowance.

  • I then stitched the short ends of the neckline facing together, folded the facing lengthwise (wrong sides together) and pinned the facing to the neckline as instructed. I then sewed the facing to the neckline and trimmed. I followed the instructions and folded the facing towards the inside of the neckline and ironed. I used hand basting to keep the facing in place and topstitched close to the edge of the facing, then removed the basting stitch.

  • I then sewed the side seams and sleeves, right sides together, with a machine basting stitch (looser tension and larger stitch length).
  • I then pinned and hand basted the sleeves into the shoulder and armhole area of the shirt. I machine basted the sleeves using 1/2" seam allowance. I was careful not to include the seam allowance on the sides and sleeve length.
  • I then opened out the basted sides and sleeve seams and serged the sleeves along the armhole curve with a 5/8" seam allowance. I then folded the hems on the sleeves and used the cover-stitch machine to finish. This method then allowed me to sew the side seams continuously along the sleeves and into the sides of the shirt with the serger. To give myself a little more room in the fit, I used a 1/2" seam allowance. If you do not have a cover-stitch machine for the sleeve hems, you can use twin needles (refer to your sewing machine manual).

  • The final step was finishing the hemline of the shirt. I folded the hem and used my cover-stitch machine to finish. As mentioned before you can also use twin needles for this step (refer to your sewing machine manual).

Changes I Made
I did not make any changes to the basic structure of the shirt, I did however make changes to the steps in sewing it together. The method I used made it easy for me to set the sleeves and finish my hems.

What I Will Change
I have been sewing for many years, but I have never made a t-shirt before. I am very happy with the finished t-shirt and I am looking forward to making more. This project came together very quickly. It is a great basic pattern, which leaves lots of room for making it one's own. Next time I might try making it with a contrasting colour on the sleeves and adding a contrasting band at the bottom.

I think it is very important to have the right tools, especially when working with knitted fabrics. The right tools can make a world of difference to how well your knitted projects come together. The main reason I did not make a t-shirt before is because I often find it frustrating and time consuming working with knitted fabrics.

My studio is equipped with lots of great machines and I really found my Janome Cover-Pro 1000CPX (cover-stitch machine) extremely helpful for this project, while on the other hand my serger was invaluable. I also used my regular sewing machine for sewing the facing and for machine basting. However, not everyone has a serger or a cover-stitch machine, and this is where the walking foot and stretch stitch can be very helpful (refer to your sewing machine manual). You may also want to have the right sewing machine needle for the job and be prepared to do some hand basting.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and I look forward to seeing your t-shirts. Consider mixing the style features to see what you can come up with. If you are in the Barrie, Ontario area and will like to learn how to use a serger, check out one of our serger basics classes. You are also welcome to book studio time with our machines.

Remember to share your projects with us via Facebook and Instagram. Do not forget to use #cssewalong. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants

The second project in our Fall Sew-Along is loose fitting cargo style pants, the New Look 6005 pattern. The pattern envelope has several suggested fabrics listed. The suggested fabrics have a little bit of body or weight to them, such as the lightweight denim and twill. I decided to use a linen fabric for this project, and added an African cotton print as contrast. As mentioned in our previous skirt project, this post is meant to accompany the pattern instructions included in your pattern envelope, so have your pattern ready. I also recommend that you read the previous post in our sew-along to prepare for sewing your project.

Style Details
The pants have pockets and a pull cord in the waist and hemline. There is also topstitching on the pockets, waist and hemline.

Getting Started
I started by reading through the pattern instruction sheets and I identified where I wanted to make a few changes. There are several pants styles available with this pattern and I choose design "B," but made a couple changes. I did not include the side leg pockets and used a contrasting fabric on the top pockets. I also decided to have closed seams, so I did not finish my edges with a zig zag stitch or serger prior to sewing.

Sewing The Pants
  • I attached the pockets to the pants front pieces as instructed and finished with a topstitch. Ironing is very important to achieving a nice finish, and if needed use some hand basting. I ironed at each step and found that the pockets laid flat along the curved opening. If your pockets do not lie flat along the curve you can also place a few small snips along the curve along the seam allowance, which should help it lie flat.

  • Once the pockets were sewn in place, I sewed the front and back pieces of the pants at the inside seams (inseam). I then finished the seam closed with the serger. To finish, I ironed the seam over towards the back leg pieces. You can choose to press open your seam or finish with a zig zag stitch. I did not include the side leg pockets; otherwise, I would have stitched the side seams first and attached the side pockets as instructed in the pattern instruction sheet(s).
  • Next I placed the two sewn pieces right sides together matching notches and sewed at the centre seams. I then serged the seam closed and ironed the seam over to one side.
  • I followed by ironing the fusible interfacing and sewing the button hole (for pull cord) at the bottom of each pant leg close to the hemline. I used a seam ripper to carefully open the button hole. I then serged the edge of the hemline.

  • I then turned the pants with the right sides facing each other and centre seams together. I stitched the side seams and serged them with the seams closed.
  • Next, I ironed a small piece of fusible interfacing onto the waistband and sewed the button holes for the pull cord. I also placed right sides together and sewed the short ends of the waistband together leaving a small opening as instructed. I followed by folding the waistband lengthwise with the wrong sides together and pined it to the waistline of the pants, matching notches and side seams. I then stitched the waistband to the pants and I finished the raw edge with the serger. I ironed the seam towards the inside of the pants as directed and topstitched around the waistband just below the seam.

  • The final step was to fold the hem as instructed and topstitch. I had previously serged the hemline, so I did not fold in the raw edge, but left it visible. Using a safety pin, I then pulled the twill tape through the waist band and hem casing. I used 27 inches of twill tape in each hem casing and 1.5 yards at the waist.

Changes I Made
The biggest change I made was not including the side pockets on the legs of my pants, which is a signature feature on cargo pants. I used a contrasting fabric for the pockets to add a splash of colour. I also did not use any elastic in the waistband and just used the twill tape.

What I Will Change
  • I will replace the narrow twill tape in the waist with a wider width tape.
  • I will like to make the pants in a lighter weight fabric for the summer.
  • I will topstitch in a contrasting colour thread to add decorative detail.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and I look forward to seeing your pants. Consider mixing the style features and see what you can come up with. Remember to share your projects with us on Facebook and Instagram. Do not forget to use the #cssewalong. If you are looking for inspiration on how to wear your cargo pants, do not forget to visit our Pinterest fashion board.

Our next project is a long sleeve t-shirt. I used Burda 6820 pattern and the details will be posted soon.

Previous Post | Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
How To Take Body Measurements
Selecting A Pattern
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt

The first project in our Fall Sew-Along is this cute a-line skirt, the Butterick Lisette B6182 pattern. You will require the pattern to best follow along with this post. Visit our previous post on Selecting a Pattern for more details.

I really like this skirt and found that the sewing went very quickly. I used a linen blend fabric which was great to work with and was an excellent choice for this skirt. If you are new to sewing, the most challenging parts may be the pocket facing and the invisible zipper. However, if you have an invisible zipper foot it will help make the sewing much easier. I also suggest that you have a needle and thread handy for some hand basting.

Style Details
This a-line skirt has an inverted centre pleat, side-front pockets with a pocket facing, a wide waistband and an invisible zipper.

Getting Started
I started by reviewing the pattern instruction sheets and confirming what steps were required to sew the skirt.
  • The first step was to iron the fusible interfacing to the waistband fabric. To ensure that there are no wrinkles or bubbles I worked from one end of the waistband to the other.
  • I then stay stitched the required pieces as instructed. I also finishing off the edges (skirt side seam and center back seam) with my serger. If you do not have a serger, you can finish with a zig zag stitch along the edges. On some sewing machines there is also a version of a cover stitch (refer to your sewing machine manual).

Sewing The Skirt
  • I created a centre front pleat and used the iron to set it in place. The instructions suggest that you then baste the top of the pleat at the waist line.
  • Next I sewed the pocket facing, which is a small strip of fabric on the inside edge of the pocket. I found it really helpful to iron and hand baste during this step.

  • When I was finished facing the pockets, I serged the side seam edge of the pockets and continued to prepare the pockets as instructed. I then sewed the pockets onto the skirt using a topstitch. At this point, the front of the skirt was finished.
  •  I then sewed the front and back pieces of the skirt together at the side seams and sewed the waistband to the skirt.
  • The next step was to sew the invisible zipper to the back of the skirt. It is helpful to have an invisible zipper foot when sewing the invisible zipper; however, you can use a regular zipper foot for the job. In both cases, I suggest hand basting the zipper before stitching. If you do not get the perfect finish with your regular zipper foot you can try stitching a second time, closer to the zipper teeth. After sewing the zipper in place I sewed the back center seam.

  • I then folded the waistband lengthwise towards the inside of the skirt and finished the ends as instructed. The pattern instructions suggest using a slip stitch to finish off the waistband on the inside. As an alternative, you can also topstitch the waistband, which can add a decorative touch.

  • The final step was the hemline. I finished my hem by serging around the raw edge of the skirt, folding, pressing, then topstitching. Next, I passed the iron along the hem for a crisp finish. As an alternative, you can hand hem or use a blind hem stitch on your sewing machine (refer to your sewing machine manual).

Changes I Made
When I prepared the pocket, the notches did not line up at the side seams and waistband. I therefore focused on matching the side notches and ensured that the pocket laid flat at the waistband. The fraction of a difference at the waist is not noticeable and the pockets lay flat and look great.

What I Will Change
I really like the skirt and will love to make it again; however, I find the waistband a bit too wide and it gapes slightly. Next time I will make the waistband a bit narrower and adjust for the gaping. I will also try lining the pocket as an alternative to the pocket facing. I also think it will be great to make the facing with a contrasting fabric, which can add a decorative touch. Topstitching with a contrasting colour thread can also enhance the look of the skirt. I am also interested in trying this skirt in a light weight wool blend fabric.

A Note On Seam Finishes
Generally pattern instruction sheets do not cover how to finish your seam, you are simply given instructions for the amount of seam allowance. In the case of this skirt pattern, the seam allowance is 5/8". If you do not have a serger to finish your seams, you can leave your seam as is (but they may fray), or you can use a number of other seam finishing methods. You can use a zig zag stitch or a pinking shares. Some machines may also have a cover stitch that has a similar effect as a serger (refer to your sewing machine manual). Another option is to use seam binding or bias binding.

I hope you have found this sew-along helpful and I look forward to seeing your skirts. Remember to join us on Facebook and follow on Instagram. You are also invited to share your pics with us on the sew-along group or tag your pictures with #cssewalong. I hope you will join us for the rest of our sew-along. Our next project is cargo style pants, New Look 6005.

I have added some inspiration to our Pinterest fashion board to share how you can wear your new a-line skirt. Enjoy!

*This post was last updated on 11/24/2015

Previous Post | Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
How To Take Body Measurements
Selecting A Pattern
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet

I wanted to share a brief post on reviewing your pattern instructions prior to sewing. This is something that I emphasize in my sewing classes and wanted to share in this post. It may seem like stating the obvious, but it is a very common mistake that can be made. In the excitement of starting a new project you may not read through the full instructions prior to sewing, which means you may have a few surprises when you are sewing.

Your pattern generally comes with a pattern instruction sheet(s), which I referred to in the post on How to Cut Pattern and Fabric Pieces. There may be several sheets folded together, which has fabric layouts, a glossary of the pattern symbols and step-by-step sewing instructions. Unfortunately, instructions are not always clear and concise and can take away from the fun of sewing. A full review prior to sewing, therefore means that you can identify if the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Here are some of the other benefits of a full pattern instruction review:
  • Confirm that you have cut and prepared all your pieces correctly.
  • Take you through the steps and techniques needed to complete your project.
  • Confirm the seam allowance needed for the different parts of the project.
  • Help you plan your workflow, especially on a big project.
  • A great way to identify where you can make modifications to the sewing process.
Once you have reviewed the pattern instruction sheet(s), you can decide if you will like to modify the style of the project. You can decide if you want to add or remove elements from the design or how you will add any decorative detailing. Now you can get started with the sewing and go back through the instructions step-by-step.

Previous Post | Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
How To Take Body Measurements
Selecting A Pattern
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces

In our previous post we discussed how to prepare your fabric for sewing. Once you have prepared your fabric, it is time to cut your pattern and fabric pieces. Preparing your pieces properly will make your sewing much easier. It is important to cut your pattern pieces accurately, so remember not to rush through this process.

What you will need:
  • Pattern
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Dressmaker's pins
  • Pattern weights (optional)
  • Fabric
  • Fabric marker or tailor's chalk
  • Highlighter (optional)
First you will want to identify which pattern pieces you will need. The pattern pieces will most likely be numbered and labeled, so refer to the pattern line drawing to identify the pieces for the project you are sewing. Cut each piece according to the size you are sewing. Carefully cut your pattern piece just outside of the drawn outline. Your seam allowance is generally included so you do not need to cut beyond the outline.

Some patterns will have the different sizes outlined in different colours, while others will have a variation of solid and dashed lines. In cases where the lines are sold with the same colour for all sizes, be extra careful to follow the line you need. It can be helpful to first trace your line with a highlighter before cutting. The skirt pattern we are using for our first project in our fall sew-along has lines that are the same colour, but they are varied between a solid and dashed lines.

Once you have cut out your pattern pieces, you are ready to lay your pattern pieces on your fabric. Fold the fabric with your salvaged edges together and smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric. Lay your pattern pieces as instructed on the pattern instruction sheet.

Pin pattern pieces in place, then cut fabric out by following the outline of the pattern pieces. You can use pattern weights as an alternative to pinning. Repeat with any needed lining or interfacing. When you have cut your pattern pieces, transfer any markings prior to removing your pins.

Tip! If your pattern pieces are wrinkled or creased, you can use a low setting on a dry iron and smooth the pieces out.

Pattern Tracing Method
You can choose to transfer your pattern instead of cutting the pieces out. This method will preserve your pattern in all of the sizes, allowing you to sew multiple sizes of your project. This is also a great idea if you want a more sturdy material for repeated use or if you are not sure what size you need and will like to do a muslin sample prior to sewing in your desired fabric.

You can transfer your pattern using fabric, tracing paper or kraft paper. You can purchase tracing paper in sheets or in a roll format. The kraft paper is generally in a roll. You can find both tracing and kraft paper at art and craft supply stores, as well as office supply stores.

Tracing paper is fairly transparent so this makes it easy to lay it over your pattern sheets and trace out your pattern using a pencil and then outline with a marker. On both tracing and kraft paper you can use a tracing wheel and follow the traced lines with a pencil or marker. In all cases including the use of fabric, you can use a tracing wheel in combination with dressmaker's carbon paper. Like with the previous method, you will want to transfer all your markings; however, you should also note the pattern number and other details.

Once you are finished with your original pattern pieces, carefully fold them and return them to the pattern envelope. You can check out our post on Organizing Sewing Patterns.

Now you are ready to start sewing!

Previous Post   |  Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Friday, October 9, 2015

How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing

Before you get started laying out your pattern pieces and cutting your fabric, you will want to prepare your fabric. There is nothing more upsetting than investing your time and effort into sewing a project only to have it shrink the first time you wash it. Fabrics may also shrink differently in each direction, which can also make for a strange looking project in the end. To avoid this, pre-washing or pre-shrinking your fabric before you start to sew can be very helpful.

Fabrics that do not generally require any pre-washing:
  • 100% polyesters
  • Fleece
  • Other synthetics
Some fabrics are available preshrunk, which can save you some time. If you will never wash the item you are making you can also skip this process.

I will generally skip pre-washing if I am using a very light weight cotton such as a voile, where the finish on the fabric adds some stiffness which can be helpful when sewing. However, the other benefits to pre-washing your fabric is to remove any left over residues from the manufacturing process, to remove excess dye, as well as other elements that may be sitting on your fabric. Preparing your fabric will include a few steps.

It is important to note that when you pre-wash your fabric it may change the look and feel of the fabric. Refer to the fabric bolt at the time of purchasing for the care instructions. Following the care instructions for the fabric is very important.

You can use a washing machine, hand wash or dry clean. Wash the fabric separately to ensure that the colour does not run into other items or test a small piece of fabric prior to washing to determine its' colourfastness. Dark or very bright colours can be pre-rinsed in cool water until the water runs clear, before washing. If you have a dry clean only fabric, you may want to consider finishing the raw edges and then dry cleaning. An alternative to dry cleaning is to use a steam iron in the direction of the grain.

Tip! If you have a fabric that may unravel, you can finish the raw edges with a serger or zigzag stitch before washing.

Drying Your Fabric
Dying the fabric past the point of dryness can help to increase shrinkage. However, I have found that taking the fabric out of the dryer slightly damp and then ironing can be a great way to get wrinkles out. You can also put your dryer on a hot setting and remove fabric promptly after dying to reduce wrinkles. Ideally use the dyer setting that best suites your fabric. Some fabrics will require you to hang dry or to lay flat to dry.

Tip! You can hand wash silk with a gentle detergent and hang dry or dry clean.

If in doubt use a dry iron. Some fabrics will end up with water spots if you use a steam iron. It you are not sure about seam ironing, test a small piece of fabric. Try not to distort your fabric when ironing. The safest approach is to iron in the direction of the grain and avoid pushing and pulling against the fabric.

Tip! You can pre-shrink your notions, ribbons, interfacing and zipper if necessary.

Straightening Your Fabric
The next step in preparing your fabric is to straighten the raw ends of your fabric. The goal is to make sure that the lengthwise and crosswise threads of your fabric are at right angles. There are a few ways you can straighten your fabric:
  • Fabrics with a pattern - identify a repeated motif along the cross grain and cut a straight line along the pattern.
  • Woven fabric - make a small cut at the selvage (self-finished edge of fabric) and pull a crosswise line of thread, then use this line as your cutting line.
  • Alternative method - fold the fabric along the grain with the selvage edges together and smooth out wrinkles in fabric. Use a rotary cutter or scissors and a straight edge to cut a straight line across the fabric.
You can trim away your selvage if desired. I often leave my selvage on fabrics that are difficult to identify the right side.

Now your fabric is ready for your sewing project!

If you have a tip or suggestion on straightening your fabric, please comment below.

Previous Post   |  Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
How To Prepare Fabric For Sewing
How To Cut Pattern And Fabric Pieces
Reviewing Pattern Instruction Sheet
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Selecting A Pattern

The first project in our fall wardrobe sew-along is a skirt. We will be using a commercial pattern from Butterick; the Lisette B6182. This is a simple skirt with invisible back zipper, front pleat and side-front pockets. There is a range of sizes for this skirt and the suggested fabrics are easy to work with. The sizes are grouped into A5 (6 to 14) and E5 (14 to 22).

Choose your pattern size

Using the waist and hip measurement you collected on your body measurement chart, choose the pattern size grouping (A5 or E5) you need. The finished length of the skirt in all sizes is twenty four (24) inches, so be sure to measure where this will measure fit on you. You can lengthen and shorten the pattern if needed.

On the flap of the pattern envelope (see below), locate the numbers that represent your waist and hip measurements (a). If your measurements are between two numbers, then I suggest measuring the pattern pieces, minus the seam allowance and determine what the finished garment will measure. You can also transfer the pattern using tracing paper and sew a muslin for an initial fit. Alternatively you can start with the larger size and alter if needed. This skirt is not a tight fitting garment, which suggests that there will be some easement.

Gather fabric and notions

I have chosen to use a linen/cotton blend fabric. You can choose to use a twill, linen or poplin as suggested (b). To determine how much fabric and interfacing you will need, refer to the chart on the back of the pattern envelope (c).

You will also require a 7” invisible zipper and thread. I was unable to find a 7” zipper, therefore I am using an 8” zipper. I am using 100% cotton thread. Ideally you will want to match the colour of your zipper and thread with your fabric or match one of the colours in the print. Once you have gathered your fabric and notions you are now ready to prepare your fabric and cut your pattern pieces.

Previous Post   |  Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along
Sew-Along - Butterick 6182 Skirt
Sew-Along - New Look 6005 Pants
Sew-Along - Burda 6820 T-Shirt

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How to Take Body Measurements

Taking correct and accurate body measurements can ensure a great fitting garment and is well worth the time and effort. It is recommended to take your body measurements prior to purchasing your pattern.

Body Measurement Chart
Create a body measurement chart that you can use as a reference. The measurements you get can then be used to purchase the correct size pattern. The measurements can also aid in purchasing the right style pattern to best suite your body type.

I recommend updating the body measurement chart on a regular basis to document any changes over time. Always use your measurements to determine your pattern size versus going by what size you wear from an off-the-rack garment.

Ideally; however, it is not a requirement.
  • Take your own measurements in front of a mirror, or
  • Have someone else take your measurements for accuracy
  • Do not measure over bulky clothing
There are several areas of the body you can measure for a perfectly tailored fit; however, for the garments we will be making in our sew-alongs only the standard measurements will be needed. On the back of a commercial pattern or in the pattern book your will see a list of standard body measurements, which you can use as a guide for which measurements to take. Remember that the under garments you are wearing will affect your measurements. This is particularly important when you are making a fitted garment.

What you will need:
  • Dressmaker or tailor’s measuring tape
  • Writing materials


Full Bust – Measure around the fullest part of your bust with the measuring tape around your body.

Back Waist – Measure from the base of your neck to your natural waist along the center of your back (you might need help with this).

Waist – Take this measurement around your natural waistline. Generally this is the narrowest part of your waist; usually near your belly button.

Hips – Several inches below your natural waist line and is generally the widest point.

Crotch Depth (seated) – Measure down from your natural waist to the seat at the side seam while you are sitting.

Pant Length – Measure down from your natural waist to the ankle while you are standing. You can also add a second measurement to the floor.

Back Bodice Width – Measure from arm hole to arm hole at about 4 inches down from center shoulder.

Sleeve length – Slightly bend your elbows and measure along the back of your arm from the shoulder to elbow and elbow to wrist.

*Please note that for a completely tailored garment you can take more measurements in addition to the ones mentioned above.

Previous Post   |  Next

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fall Wardrobe Sew-along

Starting from today through to November 30, we’ll be going through the process of creating several pieces for a fall wardrobe. Photographs and instructions will be posted as we walk through the process of making five pieces. You can ask questions in the comments section or join us on Instagram and Facebook. I will do my best to address your questions and you are free to share with each other.

Join the sew-along or simply apply what you learn to other projects. Our first post will be next week, so keep an eye out for pattern details and the next step in our sew-along!

Next Post

Fall Wardrobe Sew-Along

Monday, July 6, 2015

Scrabble Tile Magnets

I recently made some art using scrabble tile pieces and had some tiles left over. I decided to use the tiles to make some fun magnets as a house warming gift. I had purchased an old scrabble set from the thrift store and the rest of the supplies were items I already had in my craft stash. The magnets are super cute and will also look great using small prints of pictures or images to reflect someones hobby. This is a fun and simple project that you can enjoy with kids and the possibilities are endless.

Scrabble Tiles
Decorative Paper ( eg. scrapbook paper)
Magnets (round 15 mm / 0.6 in)
Hot Glue or Super Glue
Glue Gun
Dimensional Magic
Small Brush

1. Cut the decorative paper to fit the face of the tile, and glue the paper onto tile using ModPodge. Let the tile dry before moving onto the next step.

2. Apply the Dimensional Magic to the top of the decorative paper starting in the center of the tile and working outward. Work slowly releasing a small amount of the solution at a time; a little will go a long way. Remove any bubbles with a pin or needle tip.

3. Let dry for several hours on a flat surface. For best results, I recommend drying overnight and covering with a glass to prevent dust particles from settling on the surface while it dries.

4. Apply a small drop of hot glue or super glue to the back of the tile and press the magnet to attach. Let set or follow instructions on the glue you have used.

Now enjoy!

Here are some other projects you may also want to try:

DIY Coasters
Flowers and Butterfly Magnets
Decorative Magnets
Bottle Cap Magnets
DIY Trinket Box

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DIY Painted Cross Stitch Art

I have seen several painted cross stitch art pieces online and in some of my favourite magazines. This week I finally decided to try it out on a small wood panel. Overall it was a little time consuming, but I had so much fun with this project. I think it is so sweet and a wonderful project that both adults and kids can enjoy making.

I started off by creating a cross stitch design on paper that could fit onto a small board and kept it simple by selected only a few colours. I found it very helpful to work out my design on paper initially and it was a great guide. In the end, I did make a few small changes to the design, but stayed pretty close to the original concept.

8 x 10 inch Wood Art Board or Wood Painting Panel
Acrylic Paint (desired colours)
Paint Brush
Paint Tray
Sealant (optional)

1.   White wash the wood panel (optional) and draw pencil lines one inch apart to create a grid.

2.  Select your paint colours and paint your cross stitch design onto the wood panel using "X's" within the 1" squares. I used "Martha Stewart Crafts" acrylic craft paints in the following colours: Peppermint Bark, Camellia Pink, Scottish Highlands, Green Curry, Pollen and Tartan Red. I also used a size 6 round brush. You can use a different brand of acrylic craft paint or use a smaller or ticker brush.

3.  Paint your design with the different colour paints your have selected. Use the paint with a dry brush to reduce the colour bleeding on the edges. Remember to clean your brush between colours.

4.  You can protect your finished art work by applying a protective coat of clear varnish or other clear sealant (optional). Now you are ready to hand and enjoy your new art piece.

This project can be done on several small panels to create one large art piece or you can use a single larger wood panel. I think it will be fun to place four small panels together that are each different, but with a similar motif. I did not invest a lot of money into my panel, I actually found the panel at the dollar store, which was a great buy. If you will like to use a larger or higher quality wood art panel, try your local art supply store.

Let me know what you think of this project and if you will try it yourself.

Happy crafting!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monogrammed Needle Book Tutorial

I really enjoy doing needlework, so I made this cute needle book to add to my sewing kit. It is a perfect place to store my pins and needles for when I am traveling around with a project. Needle books can be a great gift for someone who enjoys sewing. They are fun, simple and easy to make and you can use ends of fabric and embellishments. Here is how you can make your own needle book.

6" x 12" Outer Fabric
6" x 12" Inner Fabric
2 ½" x 2 ½" Fabric (monogrammed patch)
6" x 12" Batting (optional)
9 ½" x 4 ½" Felt
9 x 4" Felt
Fabric Marker or Fabric Chalk
Embroidery Floss
Embroidery Needle
Pinking Shears (optional)

Step 1
Use a ruler and fabric marker or fabric chalk to draw lines 1" apart on the outer fabric of your needle book. Then stitch along the lines with decorative stitches or attach ribbon and other embellishments. Press the fabric on the wrong side with a suitable heat setting.

I drew eleven lines on my fabric and I then used several decorative stitches from my sewing machine in different colour threads. I selected colours that coordinates with the colours on the inner fabric. In the middle, I used cotton eyelet ribbon piped with a pink satin ribbon. I also did some couching with pink cotton yarn and a zig zag stitch and I added a decorative stitch over pink velvet ribbon.

Step 2
Use a top stitch to attach your 2 ½" square piece of fabric onto the outer fabric of your needle book in the desired position. Leave room for a ½" seam allowance.

Using a fabric marker or fabric chalk, in your best handwriting write your initial on the 2 ½" square piece of fabric. Chain stitch the outline and fill in your letter with embroidery floss. I used three strands of embroidery floss and knotted the ends together, which made for a six strand embroidery stitch. For a finer look, try using two strands with a single knot. I stitched my patch on the lower right hand side and then I later embellished with some buttons.

Step 3
With right sides facing each other, sew the outer and inner fabric pieces together at ½" seam allowance leaving a 1 ½" minimum opening along one side. Trim corners and turn right side out. Then press for a crisp edge and top stitch ¼" around the outer edge.

Step 4
Attach ribbon, buttons or other embellishments to your felt pieces. You can also use a pinking shears and trim around the edges of the felt (optional).

Step 5
Place the layers of felt on the inside of your needle book and stitch down the center of the book to create pages. I only used two sheets of felt; however, you can add additional pieces of felt to make a fuller book.

Step 6
Now place your pins and needles in your new needle book.

  • For a quilted cover you can add batting between the layers of your cover. Sew the batting onto your outer or inner fabric at a ¼" from the edge, then follow "Step 3."
  • To add a closure for your needle book, you can use ribbon, snap or a button with elastic cord. Sew ribbon or elastic cord into the seam during "Step 3." Place the ribbon or looped elastic cord between the outer and inner fabric facing the center of the book with the edges along the edge of the fabric.
  • If you are adding a snap closure, you may need to make the felt pages smaller. Follow the package instructions to attach the snap.
Back View
Side View

A needle book can be a fun addition to your sewing kit. The monogrammed patch is a great personal touch especially if you are giving your needle book as a gift. You can have fun playing with different stitches on your sewing machine or add a variety of cute embellishments. This project was done using a sewing machine, but will also be great with hand sewing and hand embroidered details.

Happy stitching!

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