There is nothing like triple digit temperatures to make you grab some fabric and a pattern and run to your sewing machine! If you are looking for a quick, simple sundress to make for your summer wardrobe, look no further than New Look 6340. Let me back up and say that I haven’t posted in a while because I have been packing (sewing) for an upcoming trip. Before that, I was cleaning up my sewing room (a HUGE task and you don’t want to see that). I even donated some fabric! However, due to the scorching heat outside, I have torn myself away from those tasks to make up this quick dress (and necklace).
I don’t care for the hot summers in Tucson, Arizona but I love the winters. So here I am in June and in need of the coolest possible dress to wear…EVER. Meet New Look 6340. This pattern is perfect made out of a light weight cotton. I made a size 14. I purchased my fabric from Joann’s a while ago, so it qualifies as a stash buster. This pattern offers 4 dress styles with notched, slightly scooped and V neck options. Pockets and sleeves are optional. Two hemline variations offered and side seam ties can be added to tie in back and offer some additional shaping. I chose to leave off the ties.
Quick glance at New Look 6340
Center front seems are not my favorite because they break up a print. To get around this, I try to find an all over print that ‘reads’ as a solid and then the center seam doesn’t bother me as much.
Pocket with shaped detail
This pocket shape is not offered in the pattern, however a pleated version is offered. I decide to add a little bit of interest to the top of the pocket by shaping it with an inverted point at the center and facing it with a 1″ strip. I copied the shape on the strip and sewed the two pieces together, right sides together. Next step wass to stitch and trim, clip the curves, turn and press. Because cotton ravels during washing, I serge-finished the pocket edges. Press under the remaining three sides and top stitch. I used the pattern marking for the pocket and used fusible tape to secure the pockets before stitching.
A-Line dress with center back seam
The hem is a simple 5/8″ seam turned under and top stitched.
Now you know I have to make a necklace to wear with my outfits, right? I was fortunate to find some pink and orange ceramic beads and a metal leaf focal pendant at Joann’s. I added some amber colored faceted crystal beads and some size 6 glass pink seed beads. It’s a pretty simple design and easy execution with a gold toggle clasp.
Self made necklace with beads and pendant from Joanns
Ceramic, glass and metal necklace
So there you have it. I came out of hiding to photograph two simple makes and now I’m on my way to be better prepared for the heat! Now I have to get back to finishing another TNT shirt for my husband for Father’s Day. What have you been working on for the summer?
If your sewing skills drift from garments to quilts to crafts, you will enjoy stepping into Sew Creative in Ashland, Oregon. Since I have a love for sewing garments, I have chosen to let others perfect the quilting skills while I continue to master fabric manipulation on the human form. That being said, I find myself drawn to quilt stores in my travels because I love the merchandising, colors, quilts on display, kits for sale and being in a sewing related environment. It helps if the quilt stores carry any drapey rayons or garment-ish fabrics. Sometimes there is a cotton I can’t resist. There is also the tug to support the smaller, locally owned shops in some way if I can.
Kits for Sale, SewCreative
A great example of great merchandising
Don’t you love that modern square quilt? How about the one on the wall? I truly appreciate the time, artistry and perseverance to complete beautiful quilts of all kinds. I think I have mentioned my impatient nature in previous posts which means that I love to whip up a quick tee or dress to scratch that immediate gratification itch.
License plate art in the window display
Also on Main Street in Ashland was a fabric store called Fabric of Vision. It is closed now at the time of this writing and I’m bummed. It was a great store featuring garment fabrics, patterns and notions and beautifully merchandised. The owner closed it in January 2016. I won’t post the pictures I had because it makes me sad and I would be torturing you with a place you can’t visit anymore. Instead, I will move on to another fabrics store, L’Etoffe Fabrics located in Springfield, Oregon near Eugene. The Contact page provides a map.
L’Etoffe, Springfield, Oregon
Here, Ina (pronounced Eena) and mom are enjoying the feel of luscious, imported fabrics. Ina was warm and welcoming and willing to share her story with us. Ina has a background in fashion design and wanted a change. She teaches classes and manages the many details of the store. Lining the walls are imported fabrics, displays with independent patterns, classes and sample garments to tempt sewists.
L’Etoffe fabrics for sale
L’Etoffe goodies for sale
More imported fabrics
One more fabric purchase
Mom could not help herself…she had to buy some beautiful herringbone fabric for a jacket. Anther project to add to the list! I picked out an Italian rayon that had my favorite colors in it (post to follow). Ina wrote a great article about how women confess secrets to her about their fabric stashes on her blog here.
Ina and Sandy, L’Etoffe Fabrics
While we were there, Sandy Ericson, the producer of Center for Pattern Designwebsite, dropped by. Sandy provides a wealth of information on her site to further develop pattern designing skills. Videos and free resources are just a click away.
So there you have it. Oregon destinations worth your time. If you didn’t get a chance to read about my time with Diane Ericson (no relation to Sandy Ericson that I know of) click here to read my previous post. These Oregon ladies are talented, welcoming and knowledgeable.
Thanks for reading. Please comment and/or share with other sewists!
Look at these zipped up beauties! Imagine the endless possibilities combining fabrics, zippers, ribbons, tabs, buttons and stitches! She is not just any ordinary zipper bag. She has flair and personality due to her embellishment options. Take a quick look around Pinterest or the Google searches for zippered pouches and you will see a plethora of choices; small big, square, round, triangular, animal shapes, etc. You are going to brush up on some skills with this one…insert a zipper, practice your buttonholes, quilt three layers together, personalize with lettering (optional–see Ethan’s name on the dark blue bag handle?), impress yourself and friends with decorative stitching, so hang on.
The approximate finished measurements are 10″ long x 3″ wide x 2″ high. The reason I like this is because it holds more than it looks and can be used for sewing supplies and tools, toiletries, pens and pencils, or whatever you want AND makes for another guy gift idea like here, and here.
Upon closer examination, you will see that these three bags have slight differences: tabs are different shapes, handles are different, quilting patterns are different, and placement of fabrics are different. Your choice! So let’s get into the How To of it all , including some ‘Creative Options’ along the way for you to do it your way.
-2 Coordinating Fabrics (can be fat quarters) 18″ x 22″ One is used for outside and one is used for lining and tabs
-One zipper, 16-18″
-Tear away stabilizer, or 2 scrap fusible interfacing pieces measuring 36″ x 3″ long
-Two or Four coordinating flat buttons that nest nicely, your choice. See samples for ideas.
-52″ of 1/2″-5/8″ grosgrain ribbon for trim along zipper and outer tab (optional)
-Thread for decorative stitching on outer ribbon
-Batting-low loft, approximately 13 x 16″
-Basting Spray– (Optional- It makes things a little easier by holding all layers together before quilting. However, I pinned layers and it worked.)
Supplies in the rough
Specific sewing machine feet are helpful (from left):
-Buttonhole foot-yours may look different
-Quilt Bar-inserts to back of foot ankle or dual feed foot.
-Open toe satin stitch foot, or a foot that has a groove in the bottom to allow clearance for dense and raised stitches
-Button Sew-on Foot (optional-can always hand-sew on buttons–I did!)
Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back
Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot
Notice the groove space on the bottom of the satin stitch foot and the metal plates on the bottom (left). This allows for the thickness of decorative or satin stitches to pass freely under the foot without getting caught, dragged, or smashed.
1.) Cut and Prep:
Cut the selvage off fat quarter.
Remove selvage before measuring
2.) Cut out pieces
-Cut two 13″ x 11″ bag squares from each fat quarter (one outer and one lining)
-Cut one 13″ x 11″ bag square from batting
-Cut two 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares from both fabrics and batting—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: This is where you can create the tab shape of your choice. Here, I made oval shaped tabs. Triangles or squares are fine, too. Measure it to be approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″. Cut one piece of batting for your two chosen tab shapes. NOTE: I like to make a straight grain line arrow and a bias line on my little pattern piece just in case the tab would look great on the diagonal, like a stripe or plaid (see below)
-The handle does not need batting. Here, I used outer fabric (or contrasting fabric) and cut two pieces 5.5″ x 3″, and sew right sides together. turn and press—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: The handle/loop can be cut from your one yard piece of ribbon. See examples of the ribbon used as a loop in the completed bag pictures. If so, cut one piece 5″ long. Set aside.
Prep the outer layers
3.) Sandwich layers
Sandwich the three bag layers, placing the batting in the middle of the two fabrics. Prepare the squares for quilting by pinning or using basting spray.
Pin for Quilting
CREATIVE OPTION: Starting in the middle of the fabric, decide where the lines of your quilting will be. They can be diagonal or from top to bottom. Your choice. Draw a line with chalk or disappearing ink to start with the first line. Set aside. Attach quilting bar into back of foot. See the blog post on my site for more tips on the quilting process.
4.) Prep the tabs and handle: Shown is the fabric handle. Another way to sew the handle is to use only one piece of fabric and fold raw edges to center, then fold again in half. edge stitch both sides of handle. If using ribbon, disregard the Fabric Handle directions and set aside your 5″ piece of ribbon for later.
tabs and handle
TABS–Remember, stack the tab fabrics right sides together with the batting on the bottom. See picture above. Sew all the way around the edges in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Clip curves.
CREATIVE OPTION: If your sewing machine has an alphabet, this is a good time to personalize the loop. See sample below. I used scrap interfacing under the ribbon, stitched out the name, trimmed the excess, and then sewed more ribbon wrong sides together along the edges to cover up the underside.
-Pin outer edges of tab and stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Use pinking shears or clip corner carefully all the way around the tabs.
Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom, 1/4″ seam allowance
6.) Cut tabs in half, turn right side out, edge stitch
-Fold in half. Draw a line. Cut through all layers. Turn right side out.
Fold in half to find center of tab
Cut tabs in half
Turn right sides out, edge stitch
7.) Buttonhole and Buttons
Gather your button or the two buttons. Determine length of button hole and stitch out buttonhole on tab.
Buttonhole on tab
-Carefully slice open with seam ripper or sharp scissors. Check that button(s) will pass through. By the way, these buttoned tabs have no real purpose except to be decorative and pretty (and to get better at making buttonholes). Set aside.
8.) Sew quilt lines of bag
-Sew the first line of stitching on the main body of the bag on the line you drew, either diagonally or from top to bottom. (Don’t sew over the pins!)
-Insert quilt guide one inch from needle. Sew a second line of stitching 1″ apart from the first line of stitching, smoothing fabric as you sew. Continue until the whole piece is quilted.
Quilt layers for body of bag
It should start to look like this:
Quilting starting to take shape
And look like this when finished. You may want to trim off any loose threads.
Finished quilted piece
9.) Prep Ribbon for Decorative Stitching
-Attach satin foot to machine.
-Place ribbon down the center of your 3″ x 36″ stabilizer or interfacing. Note: I adhered two strips of scrap interfacing together and it worked just fine because I didn’t have stabilizer. You will stitch one continuous length about one yard long. Save remaining ribbon for covering bottom seam and loop (if you didn’t make a handle).
Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing
-Select favorite stitch. Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.
Stitches done, press gently
-The ribbon will be a little lumpy once finished. Gently press with iron to flatten. Turn the ribbon over to the underside. Carefully trim off excess interfacing so that there is not interfacing showing from the right side. Be careful not to cut through stitching or ribbon.
Trim off excess
-As we did with the tabs to find the center, fold body of bag in half and press to make a crease line.
Fold in half to find center
-Cut bag in half, lengthwise. This is where the zipper will be inserted.
Cut bag body in half, lengthwise
10.) Prep for zipper and tab insertion
-On wrong side of one of the rectangles, place zipper right side up with zipper tape and raw edges even. Pin with the tab hanging off one end and the zipper stop hanging off the other end. It’s okay the zipper is too long.
Prep for zipper
-Attach zipper foot to machine.
-Stitch down center of zipper tape with regular stitch length.
Stitch one side of zipper to bag
-Trim off excess fabric from under zipper so that there is no fabric showing. We will be placing decorative ribbon over the zipper tape soon!
Trim raw edge under zipper
-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.
Right side up of bag. one half, lightly press
With right side of zipper facing up on the wrong side of the other bag half, match up raw edges and centering, pin zipper to other half just as you did with the first half. Stitch right down the center of the zipper tape.
Attach zipper to other half
-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.
-Cut your decorative ribbon piece in half. Place one half over zipper tape, covering the stitching and onto bag. Center and then stitch down the side nearest the zipper.
Ribbon placed over zipper tape
-Get tabs. Mark center of the bag (red pin). Slide one tab under the outer side of the ribbon. Pin.
-Repeat for other side.
-Off-set the tabs from each other on opposite sides, using the center mark as a guide. See below. Pin. Sew close to edge of ribbon, catching tabs in stitching.
Tabs slipped under ribbon
-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.
Mark button placement
Sew on button(s) using special foot or by hand. Here are two buttons stacked together and contrasting thread just for fun.
Old school hand sewing
Your bag should look something like this now.
Completed top of bag
11.) Sew bottom of bag
-With right sides together, sew bottom center seam of bag in a 3/8″ seam.
Center bottom seam
-Press open seam. Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads. Trim to 1/4″.
Trim excess off seam
-Unzip bag and center ribbon over the seam. Stitch down both sides of ribbon covering up the seam. This makes for a nicer finish inside than a zig zag or serged seam.
Ribbon centered over bottom seam
-Your bag should look something like this now.
Looking into bag
12.) Sew up sides, including loop or handle
-Close zipper. With right sides together, fold bag in half with zipper facing center bottom seam.
LOOPS: The loop can be placed in this seam on this side or on the other, your choice. It should be slipped in now, centered, between both layers, facing into the bag. You can’t see it because it is inside. Stitch across ends, going slowly over zipper a few times for durability.
Sides, one with loop or handle
-Stitch across ends in a 3/8″ seam. Zig zag or serge raw edges for a clean finish.
Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge
-Before sewing up other side, OPEN UP THE ZIPPER ENOUGH FOR YOUR FINGERS TO REACH ZIPPER TAB. If not, you will not be able to get into the bag! Line the zipper teeth up closely to each other. Pin. Remember, your loop or handle should be sandwiched inside now, centered near the zipper and facing inside. Stitch up seam. Trim and finish with zig zag or serge.
Open zipper, sew other side
This is how it should look. Open up the zipper a bit to do the next step.
How does it look?
Creating box corners
-RST, fold sides perpendicular to the seam and measure two inches across and mark with a pen. Pin.
HANDLE: Insert handle into both box seams. Just like the loops, the handle stays inside the bag while sewing. It will flip back out when bag is finished. See samples.
Handle is sewn into box seams
Stitch on line. Repeat for other side. You will do this a total of 4 times; two box seams on each end.
Box corners from the inside
Doggy ears trimmed and serged
-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’. Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.
Ready to see it??
ALMOST DONE!!! Reach inside and pull the zipper down enough to turn the bag right side out. Vwah-la!!!! It’s done! Load it up with goodies.
Different tabs, different fabric combinations
Another example up close-skateboards!
I had a difficult time finding a coordinating fabric, so I used the same fabric for both sides and just added contrast for the tabs, ribbon, zipper and buttons.
Same fabric used for inside and outside
Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make
These are addictive. Lengthy tutorial, but all the steps add up to make a great project. I hope you have enjoyed the ride!
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!
In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.
Flour Bakery, Boston
More about Jenny…..
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for. I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible. Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about in her blog.
Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.
We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.
Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!
Now, on to the fabric. When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.
Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.
Day 2: Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns. It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson. Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here. I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck. That was my experience, so take it for what it is.
Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics
I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard. Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.
Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy. Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.
Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery
Bead and Fiber items for sale
There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest??? Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce. They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.
Craft Table in the middle of the store
I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this
Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have. You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below. Don’t they look professionally made?
DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber
Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s
The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber. After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own. I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy. I purchased the black for $10.00. It looked easy to use. Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza. Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.
Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.
Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!
What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:
Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more
They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer. I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric. In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear. I’m a sucker for it every time. Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement. Butterflies!!
Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”
With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston! It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.
Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions
Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014
Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.
My son came down to visit for the weekend and I whipped up these shorts for him. On a recent trip to my local mill end store, SAS Fabrics, I found this skateboard material and couldn’t resist especially since it is 100% cotton and my son lives in Phoenix. Enough of those polyester basketball shorts!! Yuck. Sweaty. Hot. Weekend fashion is not my son’s top priority, so I took it upon my pushy-self and made two pair of these for him. The pattern offers a great cargo pocket detail. I added some hook and loop tape to keep the pocket closed so that the phone/keys/wallet won’t slip out when he sits down.
When my two sons were in junior high and high school, skateboards were used for their transportation. They have been known to even beat up a curb or two…anyway, I bought three yards. Isn’t it great? It resembles a camouflage print from a distance. I am always on the look out for kitchy-yet-masculine fabrics for kick around projects for my boys.
Below is the pattern. Read more here about the pattern. In order to help me pick the right size, I compared the width and length of some other favorite shorts to get the silhouette just right. There are other usable garments on this pattern. However, the shorts needed a little shortening, so here are some of the following adjustments I made.
1.) I measured the desired inseam on the leg to see where the finished length should be.
2.) Compare to length to pattern piece.
3.) Fold up or cut/lengthen.
These were shortened by 2″, so the fold looks like it is 1″. Just remember that the fold is twice the amount of the desired length. For example, if you want to shorten by 1″, the fold will look like 1/2″.
4.) Don’t forget to shorten (or lengthen) the back and front the same so that the inseams and side seams will match up. Take advantage of the notches on the seam allowance and use them to help with this step.
5.) When measuring the side length, allow for the separate attached waistband. I used 1″ elastic, and top stitched the waistband seam allowance down toward the shorts to secure it. I omitted the tie because I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work, and it wasn’t worth a trip to the fabric store to get something. Normally, I find this technique a bit bulky, but in this case, so I top stitched the waistband down onto the shorts and it helped keep the shorts secure at the hips. Overall, they were a success. So much so that he requested a second pair! I will be making a bag out of this fabric for my other son since he is not here in town to measure.
And last but not least is Outlaw, Sean’s dog who allows us to get our dog ‘fix’ without having all the responsibility. He is a Pit Bull/Boxer mix who is happy and tolerant of our constant hugs and harassment.
To read more about ideas for guy gifts, click here on a post I made that you may have missed.
I must confess that a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch the home shopping networks. Instead of resorting to trying clothes on at the local stores, I get a glimpse into what fashion is selling to people who choose to shop from home. It intrigues me to see how women buy pants online or TV. I like to see what styles, colors, and trends are making their way into homes all across the country. As a apparel sewer, I am inspired by some of the designs and feel fortunate to be able to replicate these items while incorporating my own twists.
This particular dress came from a QVC designer, Susan Graver. She sold thousands of this style dress..and for good reasons. If this dress is anything like the two I just made, it very comfortable. I was lucky to find this green cotton French Terry at my local mill end store. It has the sweatshirt-like feel we all know and love, as well as the heft needed to wear this without show-through. Susan’s version is out of her own manufactured cotton French Terry and offers shorter sleeves, rounded side slits, and patch pockets. It looks like this. To find out more about this dress click here: My version comes from Vogue 8951, which offers woven tops, but had a similar neckline and it could be extended into a dress length.
Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses
I chose not to include the hood, although that would have been a cute option if I used hoods more often. The sleeves were lengthened to 3/4 length, and I also chose not to add rounded side slits. Basically, my dress is View A with longer sleeves and more than 34″ added to the length from the side seams. I added more to the length so that I could try the dress on and have plenty of material for the hem. I settled on the hem being just a bit above the knee.
Green French Terry Vogue Dress
The kangaroo pocket is very comfortable, hold a cell phone and/or keys, and disguises my tummy pooch. It also adds to the very casual look of the dress. Second version out of a stable knit and longer in length. I prefer this dress at this time of year because the knit is lighter weight for our hot desert summer weather.
Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length
One thing to note: This pattern calls for wovens, not knits. I added about 1/4″ around the shoulders, bust area, sleeves and armhole just to be sure it would have some ease. I also added quite a bit to the side seams so that it wouldn’t be too tight around my rear. I tapered it at the waist and flared out at the hips. It took trying on and off multiple times, trips to the mirror, trips to and from the sewing machine, but I got the fit just the way I wanted.
After making the first dress, I knew I would be cranking out a few more. I have one more cut out out of another stable knit.
Why make duplicates of the same pattern, you ask?
1.) The second item takes less time to complete.
2.) The kinks, alterations, and design changes are worked out.
3.) Different fabrics provide variety and change the look of the original pattern.
4.) Success is addictive! If one is good, more is better.
Once a pattern has been a success, it becomes a Tried and True (TNT) pattern. Do you have some TNT’s in your wardrobe?
This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)
Mug holding guy stuff
I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:
Mug Cover Simp 2450
Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.
I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.
The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:
Camping Fabric Mug Rug
I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.
The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.
The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.
McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt
Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:
Great Pattern for Mens shirts
You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.
I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.
Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt
Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.
Buttons and collar
Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.
The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)
Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?
It is a day off and I get to sew! Today’s project is to whip up a quick dress for the sweltering heat. Does a dress with pockets ever get old? Never. I chose Project Runway Simplicity 1803. This is a very comfortable dress for the heat we experience in the desert. Fabric is a cotton from Hancock’s. The bodice has some interest and the skirt is full due to the gathers at the waist. The pockets are sewn closer to the center front in vertical seams rather than in the side seams. I prefer this method because it doesn’t add bulk to the hips. I lengthened the bodice by 1″ because I have a long torso and bodices always run a little short on me.
It is more loose fitting than the picture shows because I changed the side seams by cutting straight down from the armhole to the waist instead of tapering it in. It was easy to gather the skirt into the bodice, positioning most of the gathers in the front and back, and fewer on the sides. I did a centered zipper application because I had a standard 22″ zipper in my stash and I can install it pretty quickly.
This area needs to fit properly across the chest because if not, it will buckle open and not lay flat. A good way to check this is to compare the finished bust measurement on the pattern tissue to your full bust measurement. If possible, have someone hold the enter back seam together before installing the zipper. This will give you a good idea about the seam allowance needed to get the best fit.
This pattern has some cute options available. However, I find the calculations for the fabric to be a it generous by the time I add up all of the fabric needed for add-ons I want. There is WAY too much fabric required which leads me to my Tip-Of-The-Day: My Go-To Project Runway Pattern Method:
-Buy the Pattern First!
-Cut out all necessary tissue pieces and layout on your imaginary 45’/60″ widths. Measure yardage needed.
-THEN go to the store and buy fabric, trims, contrast fabric, etc.
Do you find the fabric requirements on Project Runways patterns accurate? How do you calculate accurately?
What do you do when you have to pack a hot curling iron? Well, my mother gave me a thermal cover for either a flat iron or curling iron and I thought it would be great to make some for my Sit and Sew ladies for Christmas. They make great gifts, or make one to keep in your suitcase. I studied it carefully and remade it my way. Here’s how I did it.
<a Step 1. Supplies Needed:
– Tracing paper, medical paper or something to use as your pattern piece
– 1 Outer fabric approximately 10″ x 15″
– 1 Coordinating fabric for inside lining and outer bias binding (You can use purchased single fold bias tape if desired)
– 1 Small 10 x 15″ piece of Thinsulate or ironing board fabric with a heat barrier layer
– Ruler for drawing quilt lines
– Quilt guide that attaches to sewing machine (optional)
– Matching thread
– Chalk or disappearing marker
Sandwich three layers
Step 2. Layer and Draw:
– Layer the fabrics by sandwiching the Thinsulate between the two coordinating fabrics, with wrong sides to the Thinsulate.
– Using your ruler, start drawing lines diagonally with your chalk or marker (whichever shows up best on your fabric) from one corner to the other. Continue drawing 1″ lines on either side of your original line until you have lines on the whole piece.
Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines
Sew Your Lines
Step 3. Sew Your Lines.
-Using a quilt guide attached to your foot, sew the 1″ diagonal lines across the entire piece. Feel free to sew the lines any way you wish as long as the layers are kept together. I chose 1″ diagonal because it was fast and easy.
Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out
Step 4. Pin, Trace and Cut.
-Take a pencil and round the edges of your 10″ x 15″ pattern piece. (It makes it easier to bind later). Trace around your quilted piece and cut out.
Get Ready to Baste
Step 5. Baste the Raw Edges
-Set your machine on baste and sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ around raw edge of quilted piece. This will prepare the edges for binding.
Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips
Step 6. How to Cut Some Sloppy Bias Strips
I know, I know. This is NOT how you make proper bias strips. Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter for pretty bias strips. I am giving you the quick-and-dirty to get this done. Remember, I know our sewing time is limited and we need to get these projects done pronto. Reduce the UFO’s. (Un-Finished Objects)
-Place fabric on grain and fold up one edge to a 45 degree. Insert your scissors on the fold and cut. This is what I call sloppy bias because it is fast and doesn’t use a ruler, cutting mat or rotary cutter. Remember: I shave off time if it works for me and gets me great results; otherwise, do it the right way. As you will see in the following steps, the sloppiness just disappears.
Piecing Bias Strips Together
Cut 1″-1.25″ strips from the chosen fabric for the binding. With right sides together, take two ends as shown. Stitch and press open. When you press these open, they should continue in a straight line, not a 90 degree angle. Cut off corner of one end of bias. Fold under 1/4″. Start pinning this to the bottom edge.
Attaching Bias Binding
Step 8. Bias Strip Attached to Edge
Starting at the lower edge, with right sides together (RST), align raw edges of bias binding and edges of thermal cover. Overlap the raw end of your ending bias strip (you may need to trim off a little) over the beginning folded edge. (The raw edge will be sandwiched between the folded edge and the thermal cover). Pin. Sew in a 1/4″ seam all the way around the outer edge. This is where some of the magic happens IF the sewing is straight and even.
Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance
Step 9. Trim Edges.
Clip corners and trim around the entire thermal cover to reduce the seam allowance and allow for the bias to turn nicely around the corners. Press when flipped to underside.
Binding Pressed to Underside
Step 10. Magic Happening
Gently finger press the bias strip to the underside. It will naturally fold and curl on the corners. Turn raw edges in so that the fold is just covering the stitching line.
Steam a Seam to the Rescue!
Step 11. Making Life Easier
I used the 1/4″ Steam a Seam fusible tape on the trimmed seam allowance to help the folded bias edge stick until I can sew it down. Pin and press. On the right side, you should notice that the bias edge looks pretty good and is ready for some final decorative stitching.
Step 12 Pick a Favorite Stitch
Time for Tacos
Step 13. Fold In Half
You are almost done! Fold in half so it looks like a taco. Pin in the ditch of the stitching, trying to match up your binding stitching lines from both sides. You will then ‘stitch in the ditch’ through all layers in a straight seam from the bottom up to the top leaving an opening 2″-3″ from the top edge. This will leave the opening for your curling iron or flat iron.
Stitch In the Ditch
Ready for a Hot Iron!
You are finished. Now you can pack a hot iron and not worry it will burn something while it cools!