Tag Archives: sewing

A New Pattern is Coming from Jalie

I’ve had the honour to do a bit of pattern testing for Jalie this past week, and it’s been a fun challenge.  

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, the Jalie name is familiar to you.  I’ve been sewing their patterns for years, starting when I owned a sewing machine retail store where I sold patterns, fabric and notions along with the sewing machines.  Many of the garment classes we held focused on the Jalie pattern line.

Since selling my business I’ve sewn quite a few test garments for Distinctive Sewing Supplies, an online retailer of fine fabrics and patterns working out of Oakville Ontario and most of the patterns were by Jalie. 

Sew now I’ve been sewing for Jalie directly as part of a testing team!

The pattern that we’re testing hasn’t been released yet, but stick around here, and as soon as it is, I’ll let you know!


Here are the fabrics I chose for the next one.

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.

Front Pockets on Jalie 2908, Stretch Jeans

My disclaimer; I received this pattern and a piece of beautiful stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for blogging about my experience.  Please know that the opinions expressed will be my own.

This is the view I’m making, but it will fit even a bit higher at my waist. 

Part 1, Getting Started (My alterations and top-stitching the back pockets) click here

Part 2, The Backside, click here

BTW, do you know you can go to the Jalie website and download the instructions?  They’re available in French and English as a PDF and you can print the pages you need.

 The next sewing step is completing the lined front pockets.  I chose a turquoise coloured batik for the lining. 

There are 3 pattern pieces to these pockets.

Shown are the pieces for the regular rise jeans, the ones for the low rise are similar, but shorter.  The Front Pocket Yoke is cut from your jean fabric, the other two from lining.

The instructions were very clear, and the pockets went together perfectly.

hint:  if you’re using batik for your lining, mark the wrong sides of each piece.

The front pockets are compete with 2 rows of top-stitching.

My next installment will be the fly-zipper!

Are you following this?  Does it make sense so far?  Any questions?


Jalie 2980 Stretch Jeans, Completing the Backside

My disclaimer; I received this pattern and a piece of beautiful stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for blogging about my experience.  Please know that the opinions expressed will be my own.

Sew yesterday was another winter retreat day, with the threat of prolonged freezing rain in the forecast.   It messed up my plans to join my Sewing Social friends at the library, but gave me quality sewing time at home.  I completed the back and the fly front.  I’ll write about the fly in another post.

With the pockets decorated, it was time to attach them.  I serged around the outer edge first, then used the same Sulky 12 weight thread and the same Schmetz 14/90 Topstitch needle to attach them.   Sometimes I use a twin-needle for this, but decided to test my skills and sew parallel seams.   Do you see that little bar-tack at the top of the pockets?  It’s a stitch built into my sewing machine!  I tested it on a scrap first, and found that the tie-off at the end of the bar-tack was more than the fabric required, so I stopped it before it finished the sequence.  I pulled the thread tail to the back and applied a drop of “Fray-Stop”.

Attaching the yokes, top-stitching, then joining the back crotch seam and top-stitching finished the back.  I serged each seam to join it before doing the top-stitching.

Read how I sewed the swirl on the pockets here:  Click here




Test Sewing Stretch Denim

I recently received a package in the mail from Distinctive Sewing Supplies.  Inside was a beautiful piece of an ITY knit, a bottle of Eucalan, AND 2 meters of a lightweight stretch denim in my favourite colour! 

These products were given to me by Catherine, the owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for my using, testing, sewing and providing an honest review on my blog.

I LOVE that each piece of fabric comes labeled and wrapped in a clear plastic bag.

After soaking the denim in warm water with the Eucalan then letting it tumble in a cool drier for about 15 minutes, it came out looking like this. 

I measured it afterward and shrinkage was 4%.

It is so soft and silky that I had to shut the cat out of my sewing room to take a cat-less picture. 

The original plan was that I was going to make a pair of jeans with it, but Catherine and I decided that it was a bit too light in weight.  So I made another pair of Jalie Eleonore Pull On Jeans with it.

click here to read another post about these jeans

or another here

and here

  Notice that the top-stitching co-ordinates with the pocket lining fabric.  Get my instructions on drafting a functional pocket for the adult sizes by clicking on the link.


I did my top-stitching with this twin needle, Schmetz 6.0/100.  I’m going to try a size 4.0/100 on this lighter weight denim next time.

Most of the construction was done using my serger, then top-stitched with the twin needle afterward. 

Watch that you don’t skimp on the seam allowance and that you edge finish this denim , as it does have a tendency to fray. 

It also has just barely enough stretch for this pattern, and I really noticed those extra holiday pounds.  If you’re going to use this fabric for the Jalie Eleonore pattern, you might want to make one size larger than normal.

back pocket
back waist

Well, I’m off for a walk outside, ta ta. 



Sewing Pants and Jeans

Do you sew your own pants and/or jeans?  I do, for many reasons, but the most important reason is…………. FIT……..!

Even when I was young, and fit, before children and enjoying wine and good food, I had fitting issues. 

I’m tall, 5 foot 10, with a 34 inch inseam and a waist that still goes in a bit. 

Every pattern I use has to be altered, so I make good use of a well fitting pattern.

One of the blogs I follow is Curvy Sewing collective, and they are going to dedicate February to Curvy Pants Month!

I’m already planning for this event, and already have another pair of Eleonore Pull-on Jeans cut out in a beautiful stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, and ready to sew. This denim is butter soft, and was a pleasure to cut out.  It will be perfect for Spring.   Now that I have this pattern altered, and added functional front pockets, it will be a breeze to sew up.


AND, I also have this pattern coming!

Along with a stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies that will be perfect.  I love sewing with the fabric I get from Catherine!  She is an accomplished seamstress and really knows her stuff.  I can order with complete confidence in the quality of everything Catherine carries.



Chapter Three in the Jalie #2921 Scarf Collar Top



The two links above take you to the first and second post

Chapter Three in the Jalie #2921 Scarf Collar Top

Looks great doesn’t it?  And as long as I hold in my tummy and stand up straight it looks fantastic!  But OMG when I forget!

Just for the record, that beautiful piece of fabric, Jalie pattern #2921, and a bottle of Eucalan were provided to me at no charge by Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville Ontario in exchange for my sewing this great top and blogging about it.  Click on the link to visit Catherine’s website and see the other patterns and great fabrics she carries.  The quality and prices are excellent. And now you can earn points and reap rewards for shopping there!  And you don’t even have to leave the house!

So, lets get back to my dilemma, it’s a beautiful blouse, but it’s tighter than I like.  I read some reviews on PatternReview.com and there were quite a few comments on the “close to the body” fit. After measuring the finished circumference of a few tops I like, I decided to go up by 2 sizes.   I had enough fabric to cut a new front, back and scarf, but was short by 54 centimeters for the sleeves.  Catherine was quick to oblige and a piece of fabric was here in a matter of days.

I lengthened all the pieces like in part one of this post, and raised the front neckline by 2 inches, then re-drew the new neckline with the aid of my Design Curve.

Then I followed all of the same steps outlines in chapter one, and sewed the top together.  The sewing took less than two hours!

scarf collar top

And I’m delighted with the outcome.  I’ll wear this one! 

Doesn’t this make you want to make one for yourself?


Jalie # 2921 Scarf Collar Top, Sewing it up

It’s time to sew!

This is part two of a three part post about my experience sewing and fitting the Jalie #2921 Scarf collar top. 

Part One is HERE.

ITY can be a bit of a slippery beast to tame, (thanks for that line  Lorna), so I elected to use my sewing machine for construction instead of the serger.  I used a “lightening stitch” (lengthened), 1/4 inch seam allowance and a Stretch 75/11 needle for all the seams.

 I started sewing using my dual feed foot, but soon changed it for my flat bottomed “A” foot.  The constant pressure of the flat foot held the fabric more securely than the dual feed foot.

 The included instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  The diagrams were also very helpful.  The instructions are also available as a stand-alone PDF on the Jalie website, so you can print them and keep them handy.

I followed the instructions provided for the most part, but did make a couple of very minor changes. 

  • Attaching the collar using the burrito method is brilliant!  It’s attached in two stages, first the right side of the scarf is sewn to the wrong side of the garment neckline.  Second, the entire body is rolled up and the other side of the scarf is wrapped around it then sewn from one point, up the length, then along the original seam line and back down the other side.  I found that if I sewed the second step with the first line of stitching up and visible, that I was able to sew directly on top of the original sewing line, so I didn’t have to worry about it showing through to the right side. 

  • I also elected to leave the space for turning along one side instead of the bottom.  For me it made the hand-sewing the opening closed easier.

I did experience some issues with my sewing machine trying to eat my fabric at the beginning and ending of the scarf, but quickly solved it by slipping a scrap of pattern paper underneath the fabric and sewing through it all.  The paper tore away easily afterward.

The rest of the construction went smoothly. 

There is a small opening left unsewn just below the neckline in the center front seam, and that’s where the scarf comes through to the front.  I fused short strips of 1/4 inch wide Steam a Seam to the wrong side of the seam allowances after sewing, peeled off the paper, then fused the seam allowance open to stabilize it.

The hole is hard to see, but it’s between the arrows.

I used this twin needle for all the hems, the fusible knit interfacing made it smooth and easy.

Photo time!  I love this top!  The fabric is sew comfortable to wear, the colour is perfect for me, and the style is a bit dressy, but not too much.  Thank you sew much Catherine and Distinctive Sewing Supplies!


It fits tighter that I’m used to, and with my already long neck, and no cleavage to show off, I feel a bit exposed. 

front left
front right 3


I’m going to sew it again, larger, and I’m going to raise the neckline by two inches.

That will be the next post.  Stay tuned…….for Chapter Three








My Top 5 Sewing Hits of 2016


Top 5 Hits of 2016

2016 was an emotionally tumultuous sewing year for me.  Total discord between me and the buyer of the business that I started in 1986 almost brought me to my knees.  I had even made the decision to give up sewing, and this blog, but my dear friends helped my get my “sewjo” back. 


Thank you my dear friends!

#1 is Jalie #3461, Eleonore Pull on Jeans.  This was the 6th pair I made, and now I’ve lost track of how many more I’ve sewn.  These are so comfy and I wear them so often that I’ve started to see signs of these wearing out at the knees.


#2 is Jalie # 2921 Scarf Collar Top.  My posts on it aren’t even complete yet, but I already know there will be more of these in my wardrobe in 2017.  The pattern and the fabric came from Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville in exchange for writing a review, blog post and the loan of the garment for fashion shows, and I’m convinced I got the best part of that deal!


#3 is this tee top, modified from a simple, but well fitting “Model Tee” by Linda MacPhee.  The fabric is an ITY similar to prints available from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, Oakville, Ontario.    The pattern is a basic Tee shirt and I added a cut on sleeve, lengthened it and shaped the hem to be high/low.     It flows, doesn’t cling, and it makes me feel thinner than I really am. 

#4 is a sleeveless top I wore many times this past summer.   I’d been spending a lot of time in my garden, enjoying my vegies, planting the last of the seeds, watching the critters at the feeders, and taking lots of pictures.

As a result, I was getting a golden glow on my arms.  But my shoulders and upper arms were white, so, it was time to sew a tank-top or two.  For a mature person.  No gaping, no bra straps showing.   I remembered a dress I had made at least 10 years ago.  It had princess seams that started mid-shoulder AND bust darts.  I LOVE that dress and still wear it.  

I found the pattern, and traced off enough of the top parts to make a hip length tank-top.  I had a striped fabric and played around with it a bit.  And I love it!  There’s enough coverage, no straps show!

#5 is a tee with an inverted pleat.

I used a MacPhee Workshop pattern that I’d made many times before, but added an inverted front pleat.  The fabric is a poly ITY knit in a discontinued print similar to those available at Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville.  The colour goes well with the jeans that have become my uniform of my retirement.


Sew a Bag for Fluffy Microwaved Potatoes


Yes, these are sew fast to make up that you still have time to whip up a few before Christmas,      IF      you have the right scrim-free batting.

This is the one I use, and one package will make 6.  Your local quilt shop might carry it, if not,

I get mine here; at Amazon.ca







To make one bag, you’ll need 2 pieces of quilters cotton, 12 inches by 22 inches, and one piece of scrim-free batting 12″ x 22″

If you open out the batting like this diagram, you can cut 6 from one piece with very little waste.

Place your 2 pieces of quilters cotton with right sides together, then smooth the batting on top with all edges even.  Turn it over so the batting is on the bottom, and using 100% cotton thread and 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the 2 short ends through all layers.  I found it fed better with the batting down, and my Dual Feed foot was my best friend.

Trim the seam allowance to 1/8th ” , then turn right sides out so the batting is in between the fabric.  Press with iron to flatten, then top-stitch along each short end.

I quilted this  flat piece about 5 inches apart using cotton thread.  I suspect these will end up in the laundry, and I don’t want the batting to bunch up.

With right side up, fold one short end in toward the middle by 2 inches.  Bring the other short end over so it’s 1/4″ from the fold and pin or clip to hold.

Sew up the sides, using a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Trim close to the stitching, then turn right side out.  Poke out the corners carefully, then press well with the iron to flatten.  Top-stitch 1/4 inch from each side to hide the raw edges.

To use:  Wash and dry baking potatoes.  No need to poke holes in them.  Wrap in a dry paper towel and insert into the bag.  Microwave for the correct length of time according to your oven.

I use a piece of clean cotton muslin instead of the paper towel to save garbage.

This bag is large enough for corn, too.

Here’s a PDF of the instructions, as well as a page with 4 sets of cooking instructions.   If you don’t want to print them, only print page 1.

baked potato bag