Category Archives: sewing

will include serging, quilting and machine embroidery

Sewing Projects after Quilt Canada

I helped my friend Catherine Goetz, owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies, at Quilt Canada 2017.  In case you don’t know, Distinctive Sewing Supplies is not a quilt shop.  Catherine focuses on quality garment fabrics and great sewing patterns. 

We had a great time, the booth was a popular place, especially after Catherine’s Trunk Shows.  It was a 4-day show, and I think we spent the entire time thinking and talking about sewing. 

Customers’ sewing, and our next sewing projects.  I wore my Folkwear “Turkish Dancer” dress a couple of times and received many compliments on it.  Everyone who asked about the pattern was amazed at the transformation.   I wrote about how I did it here.

another front
Turkish Dancer 108 Cover

But I was cold and would have loved a little jacket.    There’s a jacket pattern included in the same envelope, and Distinctive Sewing Supplies has the perfect piece of fabric, a linen/cotton blend in the perfect colour to go with me dress.  It came home with me.

These stretch poplin prints are new, at 58 inches wide and at 97% cotton and  3% spandex, they co-ordinate well and there’s a great pattern. 

I have a few classes for Distinctive Sewing Supplies in the works for the Fall Creativfesival, and am busy planning my samples and notes.

We have 3 lecture style classes proposed, one on neckline finishes, one on pockets, and one on Fashion Fabric Know-how.  A hands-on class;  “One Tee Pattern = 3 New Styles” will have my students learn some basic pattern morphing, creating 3 adaptations, an inverted front pleat, adding an extended sleeve cap, and adding side drapes.  More details will follow.

Sew, that’s what’s on the worktable at the moment, along with Rock.

 What’s on your worktable?

 

 

“Q” Section Quilting or Quilting in Sections

I made this quilt.

And I loved every (almost) block.  I also really, really like the setting.  Thank you Pat Sloan.  Asymmetrical.

I used all left-over Christmas prints from other projects, and white on white or cream background fabrics.

It was MY challenge, too.   My next challenge was to machine quilt it.  Pat’s asymmetrical layout was my inspiration.  I decided to quilt it in 3 sections, then join the sections together.

I free motion quilted section 1 all the way to the edges.  Then machine quilted most of section 2, leaving about 2 inches unquilted along the edge where it meets section 1.

I trimmed the edge of section 1’s batting and backing even with the edge that meets section 2.  Then with the right sides of the quilt pieces facing each other, I pinned all the layers of section 1 to just the top of section 2, and sewed it using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I sewed with section 2 on top so I could keep the extra batting and backing flipped out of the way.

After sewing, flip it over to check the right side, to make sure everything matches the way it should.

On the back, finger press the seam allowance toward the single layer, and trim the batting to the edge of that seam allowance.  I used chalk to mark the cutting line.

Smooth the batting into place, then cut the excess backing fabric 1 inch beyond the edge of the seam allowance.  I found it helpful to mark the cutting line with chalk.

Fold the backing fabric to the inside so the fold extends 1/4 inch beyond the original sewing line and pin into place, pinning across the seam line.

Working from the good side, stitch in the ditch along the original seam line, which will catch the edge of the backing fabric.  Leave the pins in place (you can see them easily) , sew slowly, and walk your machine over each pin.  Remove the pins.

This picture shows the completed seam before it was pressed, it’s in the center.  Yes, it’s visible.  No, there are no quilt police in my house. 

Now you can go back and complete the unfinished machine quilting of section 2.  Section 3 is attached the same way.

I’m going to do more of this kind of machine quilting, and am certainly joining Pat Sloan in more of her projects.  Her next one is called Grandma’s Kitchen, and I hope to see you there.

Adding In-Set Side Pockets to the Sewing Workshop Pattern San Diego Coat

I need pockets in my pants and in my jackets.  If the pattern doesn’t include pockets, I add them.

This version of the San Diego Jacket is made of a soft draping stretch woven jacquard.  This is the first time I’ve sewn a garment from this fabric, and it’s although is a woven fabric, it behaves like a soft knit.   I felt that a patch pocket would add too much weight to the front and drag it down.  I chose to add inseam side pockets.

My disclosure:  The beautiful stretch woven jacquard was provided to me at no charge by Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for writing a review.  This is an interesting fabric in that it has no floats, is totally reversible and the stretch is on the lengthwise grain.  

Here’s how I drafted the pattern;

Cut a piece of pattern paper 8 inches by 12 inches and draw a  line one inch in from the right edge, then mark dots on that line, 2 inches and then 8 inches from the top.

Cut 4 pockets from your main fabric.  If your main fabric is thick or heavy, you can cut 2 of a lighter-weight stable woven fabric for the front layer and 2 of your garment fabric for the back layer. 

You also need 2 strips of medium weight fusible interfacing 2 inches by 8 inches.  Mark dots along the center, one inch from each end.

Decide where on the side-seam you want your pockets.  I positioned mine so the bottom would get caught up in the hem.

Mark the dot positions on the wrong side at the side-seam, then fuse on the interfacing, matching the dots. Pin the pocket lining to the fronts, matching the dots.  Use a short stitch and sew from the edge of the side, pivot at the dot, along the straight edge, pivot, then sew to the edge.

Trim away around the seam, leaving 3/8” seam allowance.  Clip the corners just to the sewing line then turn the lining to the inside and press well.  Gently roll the seam line to the inside as you press.

With the inside of the front facing up, pin the remaining pocket piece only to the lining with the right sides together.  Sew along the top, inside and bottom, leaving the outer edge open.  I used my serger. 

Press to smooth, then baste the entire pocket bag into position onto the front, making sure that everything is even at the side-seams. 

Continue with the jacket construction.  Sewing the side-seam will complete the pocket. 

I finished my jacket with cover-stitch, including the hem, which anchored the pocket bottom.  I also  used cover-stitch around the pocket from the right side which anchored it all the way around. 

You can see it slightly in this picture.

Below is a 1 page PDF to download so you can print these instructions.

As usual, please contact me if you have any questions or comments, I welcome your feedback.

set in side seam pocket

Turkish Dancer, my Dress

I’m not going to use the work “hack” for my changes.  

Here’s why:

Definition of hack (according to Merriam Webster

 

  • 1 a :  to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows

  • b :  to cut or shape by or as if by crude or ruthless strokes hacking out new election districts

  • c :  annoy, vex —often used with off He gets really hacked off when people cheat.

  • 2 :  to clear or make by or as if by cutting away vegetation hacked his way through the brush

  • 3 a :  to manage successfully just couldn’t hack the new job : 

  • b :  tolerate I can’t hack all this noise

None of those definitions describe the thought and care that go into modifying a sewing pattern.  Perhaps “mod” is a good substitute word.  What are your thoughts?

Here’s how I changed, modified, adapted Folkwear Turkish Dancer Dress #108 into a sleeveless dress.

Let me start by saying that I NEVER cut out a “master pattern”.  Anymore.  The last time I cut out a master pattern I cut a size too small.  Nowadays I trace, using the thin but strong medical paper that Distinctive Sewing Supplies sells by the roll. 

To add for a larger front overlap:

I drew a line 1 inch away from the edge of the paper, parallel with the straight edge, as long as the front pattern piece,  then lined up the original center front on the new line before beginning to trace the front.  This added one inch extra on the center front. You can see the original pattern easily through the tracing paper.

I used a dressmaker curve to “true” the lower neck curve, ignoring the pointy self-facing.  You can see the original pattern through the paper.

using dressmakers curve for neckline
drawn curve

I also shortened the dress length by 12 inches which still gave me a 1 inch hem allowance.  To mark an even hem line I measured up from the bottom and marked the pattern at even intervals then just joined the marks.

 After cutting out the dress in both the linen and voile I lined each piece (2 fronts and a back) with the voile and serged around the outer edge to treat each inner lined piece as one. 

Cut strips of 1 inch wide medium weight interfacing and fuse them to the inside (on the voile) edges of the fronts.

The sewing was quick and easy.  I marked the darts and sewed them from the middle out to the points.  Then joined the shoulders. 

I finished the neckline, armholes and the fronts with self-made bias binding.  I had enough voile left from the original amount of 1 1/2 meters to make enough 2 inch wide bias strips for it all.  I pressed 2 inch wide bias in half length-ways with wrong sides together, then sewed the raw edges around the neckline first, using a 3/8″ seam allowance, and leaving about 1 1/2 inches extra at each end. 

right sides together
pinned
right side

Fold the binding and the seam allowance to the inside and stitch close to the fold of the binding.  Don’t trim off the extra ends yet.

Finish the armholes the same way, BEFORE sewing the side seams.

 

I also finished the edges of the fronts with the first step of the binding, then trimming off the extra neck binding.  Leave a bit of extra binding at the top and bottom. Press the folded edge out over the seam allowance, it should just extend over the edge of the fabric a tiny bit.

Sew the side seams and press up the hem by 1 inch. 

To finish the fronts, I folded in one inch, tucked under the tail of bias, and pressed.  (the edge of the fusible interfacing is the fold line)  To hold the front facings in  I stitched where the black line is in the photo below, then followed the folded edge of the binding all the way to the hem, and back stitched.  Did the same for the other side of the front, then stitched up the hem.

Buttonholes and buttons, and ready to wear. 

I love my dress! 

Both the linen print and the cotton voile lining were given to me by Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for making the dress and documenting my pattern changes.

For a printable PDF describing my pattern “mods” please click here.

Turkish Dancer to Dress How-to

Turkish Dancer Dress Folkwear 108

 

My dress is finished!

This beautiful linen caught my eye as soon as it was unpacked when we set up the Distinctive Sewing Supply booth at last month’s Creativfestival. The pattern is  Folkwear design called a Turkish Dancer Dress, #108, but you’d never guess from looking at the cover of the pattern.

The “V” of the neck looks very low, (it isn’t).

My linen dress is fully underlined with a cotton voile, and I’ll wear it as soon as it gets warm enough.

I omitted the sleeves and the side slits, shortened the length by 12 inches, and overlapped the front by 1 inch.

I made another version of the same dress a couple of years ago,  in a linen/cotton blend, but the fabric was heavier so it didn’t need the underlining.  I love the slightly extended shoulder and the slight upward curve of the shoulder at the neck.  The neckline and armholes are finished with self-made bias binding.

My disclosure:  The beautiful linen and the cotton voile for the interlining was provided to me at no charge by Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for writing a review of the fabric and a tutorial for the pattern changes.   And just sew you know, I would have bought the fabrics anyway.  I LOVE them! 

(I already had the pattern)  Pre-order yours from Distinctive Sewing Supplies by clicking here.

They arrive with labels:

Both fabrics, the linen and the cotton voile were soaked in Eucalan for 20 minutes, then rinsed and tumble dried at low heat for about 20 minutes.  Both fabrics came out of the drier looking a bit “rumpled”, but not enough that I felt I had to iron them.  Smoothing them with my hands on the cutting table was enough.

My next post will detail the simple adjustments to the pattern.

Old Mexico Dress/Blouse

I’ve had this pattern, Old Mexico Dress by Folkwear in my collection for a while now, it was given to me by my friend Catherine last year in exchange for modelling for Distinctive Sewing Supplies at the CreativFestival.  My intention was (and it might still happen) to make a summer nightgown for one of my daughters in a lightweight cotton voile.

Catherine made the dress in a dark coloured rayon batik, and it convinced me to make one for myself.  The pattern comes in 3 suggested lengths, blouse, hip and dress.  The hip length appealed to me, to wear over slim jeans, and I had the perfect piece of fabric. 

I traced off the pattern in size medium, checked the finished length (it was fine) , then pinned and cut out my blouse. 

As a certified Islander Sewing System teacher, I often analyze construction methods and adapt them to make my sewing easier and more professional.

Attaching the pleated front and back into the yoke was made much easier using the “burrito method”.  (And appropriate, too, for a Mexican pattern) Note how tidy the inside is.

I also sewed the sleeves in flat, (using my serger) instead of “inserting” them, then serged the side-seam up to, but not including the pre-pressed sleeve hem.

The sleeve hems and the bottom were finished with a single needle top-stitch, and a light pressing.  Done.  Now I’m ready for some warm weather.

Do you have this pattern?  Have you made it?  Thoughts?

San Diego Jacket in Denim

This jacket is an attention-getter! 

The style is uncomplicated and easy to fit.  I love the way the collar frames my face.   Denim is always popular, and wait until you see the embroidery on the back.

I bought the pattern at Distinctive Sewing Supplies with my own hard-earned money and I’m sew glad I did.  I’m going to make another one, in a printed canvas.  Here’s a link in case you want to buy one for yourself.

The embroidery design was purchased on-line at Anitagoodesign, here’s a link.

The San Diego Jacket pattern didn’t include pockets.  I really, really need pockets, so I designed my own.  I added the same unique button-loop as on the front of the jacket, then ordered buttons to cover.  I embroidered flowers from the embroidery design and have unique buttons on my jacket.

I’ve been stopped by total strangers who wanted to know where I got my “awesome jacket”.  It’s a great way of introducing people to the concept of sewing your own clothes.  This jacket was really easy, and yet looks sew complicated.

 

 

Adding a Front Closure to a Sports-bra

I have a “thing” about exposed bra straps.  Like; they’re underwear and should stay there.  Under.

Recently, I sewed a camisole with a racer back and of course with my standard bra, the straps showed.  I know you can buy little gizmos that hook the straps together at center back, and I bought some.  After almost dislocating my shoulder while trying to install one, they were tossed into the back of a dark drawer.

Plan “B”. 

Buy a “racer-back” bra. 

Sure.  That’s a “Sports-Bra”.  They don’t have hooks.  You pull them over your head!!!!  And wiggle yourself into it.  Right.  So now I’ll dislocate my other shoulder. 

Anyway, I did buy one.  It was inexpensive.  I also wandered into the notion department and bought this.

It’s sold as a bra extension, but I see it as a set of hooks and eyes for a front opening bra.

I cut the bra open at center front.With a piece of tissue paper underneath, I sewed two rows of basting along each cut edge, about 1/8th inch apart.

I carefully tore away the tissue paper and with a pin at each end to wrap the bobbin threads around, I pulled them to gather the front opening down to 3 inches.  (That’s the length of the bra extension I bought)

I had already cut a one inch wide piece of fusible knit interfacing along the grain, three inches long, then sub-cut it to 2 pieces, 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long.  I fused one strip to each side of each of the gathered front edges.

I picked the part of the extension with the hooks off the rest with a stitch ripper.  There was a row of zig zag stitches that came out easily.  Then I was able to slip the edge of the bra front into the “pocket” of the hook area.   If you’re doing this, make sure the hooks are pointing “in”.

Zig zag through all layers to join.

Slip the point of a fine pair of scissors under the second set of eyes and cut as close to the second set as possible.

Line up the raw edge of the piece you just cut with the remaining gathered bra edge with good sides together.  Again, watch that the eyes are facing the right way. 

Use a straight stitch to join, avoiding the ends of the eyes that are hiding under the fabric.  Turn the seam allowance to the inside and zig zag along the raw edge to finish off the seam allowance.

No more dislocated shoulders.

No more wiggling into a bra when I’m hot and sweaty.

No more bra straps showing.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Is this something you’ll do?

Fly Tutorial with Photos for Jalie Stretch Jeans 2908

Remember these jeans?

These are  my jeans using Jalie Stretch Jeans 2908.  (If you want to read the post, please click here)

In that post I stated that I would write a tutorial on the fly front zipper.  Since then I’ve sewn many more garments, but I hadn’t forgotten.  Just lately I helped my friend Suzanne work through the fly front, step by step, and realized that the tutorial might have helped her.

I cut out a pair of fronts in the smallest size, and the fly shield, which I made longer by about 3/4 inch.  On my jeans they seemed to have gotten smaller as I sewed, so from now on I’ll add a bit. 

I used a cream coloured twill, an orange zipper and dark green thread.  It’s not pretty, but it worked.  I took pictures of each step and put a tutorial together as a 2 page PDF download.Please click here for the tutorial.  Fly Tutorial Jalie 2908

Have you sewn a fly front?  Did you have any problems with it?

And please, if you have any questions about the tutorial, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Comfy, Jalie 3245 Raglan Tee in a Sweater Knit

I love this top!  I do love me a raglan, (no shoulders to fit) I love the length, and the fabric is wonderful!  It’s soft, warm, light, stretchy, has memory, and it’s in my favourite colour family.  Buy it here:  Distinctive Sewing Supplies

 

These two are from the same pattern, Jalie 3245, Tee Shirt Raglan, but ended up looking quite different.

to left
left front

For this new version (on the left) I raised the neckline by 2 inches, and shortened the length by one inch.  I also changed the neckline finish from a narrow folded to the front band to a wider attached neckband. (but that wasn’t in the original plan, more on that in a bit)

I like it.  I subscribe to the weekly newsletter from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, and every Friday Catherine sends out a great newsletter.  One of them showed this incredible fabric, and I knew I needed some.

And as soon as it arrived I had stash it up high so “nosy cat” couldn’t tear the bag open.  (He recognizes soft and cozy)

I really like the label on the bag!

I did raise the neckline by two inches, and that involved the area at the front of the raglan sleeve as well.

front neck alteration
neck alteration on sleeve top

 I fused one inch wide strips of knit fusible interfacing along all the neckline edges, which I always do on knits.

 Construction was quick and easy, I used a 4-thread overlock on my serger for all the seams.

The neckline finish with this pattern involves cutting a one inch wide strip of fabric, attaching it to the inside, then folding it around the seam before top-stitching it to the right side. 

It went ok, I serged the first step,  then tried to fold it around the seam.  Smoothly.  Pinning was a pain.  I decided to use 1/4 inch wide steam-a-seam to fuse it down instead.  Brilliant, right?  It went pretty well.   But, when I tried it on, the neckline was stretched out of shape, and steaming it with my iron didn’t help much. 

No picture.

I picked out the top-stitching.

I pulled the fused fold apart.

I picked out the serging.

I threw the neck-strip in the garbage.

Then I steamed the entire neck area back into the right shape.  Now I can start again.  And I have a plan.

I cut a strip of the sweater knit 2 1/4 inches wide and the length of the neckline across the grain.  (mine was 26 inches.  This was pressed in half longways with wrong sides together.  Then I used a narrow zig-zag stitch to baste the edges of the center area together.  I left about 6 inches at each end not basted.

With my top on the ironing board, and matching the center of the band with the center front, I stuck in a pin to hold it.  Then working up one side of the neck, I stretched the basted area of the band while keeping the folded part smooth and stuck pins in the hold it as I went.  When I got to the center back I marked the band with a pin. 

Then I removed the band, leaving a pin in it at the center front and measured between the pins.  That was half of my neck band, times 2 equals the needed length.   The extra was cut off, leaving 1/4 inch at each end for seam allowance.  I joined it with the serger, and after 1/4 pinning, the rest went really well.

The hems were basted in place using Heat & Bond Feather Lite, then cover stitched. 

I love my new sweater!