Fabric · Quilting · sewing · Tips, Tricks, Techniques

Sewing a Cuddle Baby Blanket

Cuddle stack

Shannon Fabrics makes a really fabulous, quality minky fabric called Cuddle. Have you tried it? I know minky type fabrics have a bit of a tough rep – most people think they’re hard to sew with. But, I now know that with a few tricks and a little help from three amazing sewing tools, Cuddle is a lot of fun and totally sewable.

I’ve done some work with Shannon and they sent me a Cuddle Bambino Blanket Kit to stitch up a few weeks ago. The instructions in the kit were fabulous and I didn’t have any problems sewing the blanket at all. So, I thought I’d encourage you with my adventure. Power to the sewing people!!

Strips all sewn

The kit came with several strips of print fabrics, a strip of faux fur style Cuddle and a larger piece for the backing. The kits make up different sizes of blankets and the one I received resulted in a finished size of 27″ x 38″. The kit instructions tell you exactly the size of strips, backing and batting you need to cut. I used Warm Company’s Warm & White batting gifted to me by a friend. It was a super nice weight for a soft baby blanket and I would definitely choose it again.

505 spray

Once my fabrics were cut, I laid out the backing fabric wrong side up and centered the batting on the backing. And, then . . . I found my new sewing love. 505 Adhesive “basting” spray. Shannon sent me this, too and it’s not just nice to have when you’re sewing Cuddle – it’s essential! I rolled one end of the batting towards the center, sprayed the wrong side of the backing with my new friend 505, then repeated that step for the other half of the batting.

Note: It didn’t take much 505 spray to secure the batting enough to stabilize it while I was working. I sprayed in little puffs rather than a big, sweeping, cover-everything-within-a-yard-of-you, spraying kind of motion and that worked quite well. This enabled me to use the 505 without ingesting it or making a sticky, debilitating mess of my cutting area. So, repeat after me . . . little puffs.

Strip ready for sewing

The blanket is assembled with a “stitch and flip” method, so the next step was to center the middle strip wrong side down on the backing. I repeated my roll toward the center, little puffs of spray procedure to attach the center strip to the batting.

Using seam gauge to measure half inch at corner

The first stitched strip was attached to the edge of the center strip right sides together. It’s stitched through all layers and this is where the next essential friend came on the scene – I attached my walking foot to my machine.

A walking foot is like a Super Power Cape for your sewing machine. It enables it to leap tall layers at a single bound without reducing you to tears. If you don’t own one, go get one – now. If you have to save up first – do it. Mother’s Day is coming. Drop loud hints if you need to. You really, really need a Walking Foot if you’re going to sew Cuddle and a whole lot of other things, too!

Strip on batting

After that first strip was stitched, I went back to the cutting table, flipped the sewn strip onto the batting to make sure it was sewn correctly, then rolled it back, sprayed more puffs of 505 and smoothed out the strip onto the batting.

Back of quilt flipped to front

For the rest of the strips, I repeated these steps working back and forth from the center to the ends, one strip at a time until all strips were sewn. Flipping the back over from time to time gave me the chance to make sure my stitching looked okay on that side. I chose to follow the strip sequence shown on the instructions, but you could easily mix it up with the width or order of your colors and prints.

Trueing up after strips are sewn

Once the strips were all sewn, following the instructions, I basted the layers together all the way around the outside of the quilt. To square it up, I laid out the sandwich I’d made, lined it up on my cutting mat, and trimmed it to an even width and length.

Pile of binding strips

And, then it was time for binding, which struck just a little flame of fear in my heart. Not because it was Cuddle, though – I’d already conquered that. I just don’t do binding very often since most of my sewing is devoted to growing my Handmade Wardrobe.

The first step was to sew the binding strips together with a diagonal seam. This is a more attractive join than a straight seam and keeps the integrity of the stretch in the binding. Did you know that Cuddle is a knit? It is and you want to respect the little bit of stretch that is one of it’s beneficial properties.

Wonder Clips

With the help of friend number three, I had no trouble with my binding at all! And, that brings me to another “must have, go get some now” tool – Clover’s Wonder Clips. Speaking of super powers, they’re like little bits of magic in your hands!

I clipped the binding all around the blanket edge with Wonder Clips, then headed to my sewing machine. At the corner, you stop 1/2″ away, fold in your miter, then continue along the next edge. After stitching all the way around, I attached the ends of the strip with a diagonal seam again, trimmed the extra ends and finished attaching the joined area.

Binding clipped on cutting table

Okay, this is where the Wonder Clips really shine and will continue to shine anytime you’re attaching binding. The binding was then folded up and over the edge of the blanket and Wonder Clipped in place. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?!

Because Cuddle is a knit, it doesn’t ravel, so the cut edge folded to the back was left unfinished. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture for you, but trust me it works! I chose a serpentine stitch to finish the binding and lined my needle up so that the stitch waved back and forth between the binding and the blanket. This stitching was done from the front.

Finished blanket up a tree

And, then birds sang and the sun came out and suddenly it was a blanket! A beautiful, incredibly soft, yummy little baby blanket. Isn’t it adorable?!

cuddle info from shannon.JPG

Shannon has a great Cuddle Tips sheet and other helpful info on their web site. Click here to take away any lingering minky fear and give it a try. I hope this helps. I’m just an ordinary girl with a sewing machine and I did it, so I know you can, too!

I had so much fun doing this that I stitched up my own version for a baby shower gift last night and the new mommy loved it. And, anything that makes a mom-to-be happy is super okay with me!

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sewing · Tips, Tricks, Techniques

Notebooks, Washi Tape & Keeping Track

Notebook Cover

A couple of years ago I bought a lovely, spiral bound notebook and I’m using it to keep track of my sewing projects. The key words here are “I’m using it”, because I actually own three other lovely little notebooks that I’ve never used! Seriously, this is Sewful Life-changing and I’ll show you why.

The first thing I did was write my measurements on the first page of my new notebook friend. I added the date the measurements were taken and I love it that when the notebook is closed no one else can see my private digits! Knowing where your measurements are saves a lot of time. And, yes, you’re right – I did not take a picture of my measurements!

Pink Tropical top pages A

My sewing tracking is not formal, not particularly organized or neat, but the info is all there and that’s the important part. Here are the things I try to always write down.

  • Pattern company and pattern number
  • Size or sizes used and any modifications I made
  • Fabric I used and maybe where I got it
  • Pattern view used and any hacks to the design
  • Instructions that were tricky or I did differently
  • Fitting: Did it fit? Did I make changes? Did I pattern fit first?
  • Anything I would do differently next time
  • What my overall thoughts are and would I make it again

Tropical Tank pages

Don’t panic, this really doesn’t take as much time as it looks like and the time it will save you in the future is amazing. I am sew in love with my notebook because. . . .

  • If I want to make a pattern again, I can go back and see what I did the first time.
  • If there was a problem, I can correct it the second time
  • If I really loved something I made, I don’t have to guess at the pattern I used
  • And, best of all, I feel incredibly productive flipping through the pages and seeing all my makes!

Snapdragon Lemon Squeeze Cardigan swatch

Along with my notes, I attach a scrap of fabric on the facing page. I suppose I could make it attractive by pinking the edges, but it’s just for recording purposes and a quickly trimmed scrap is good enough. This helps me remember the garment, think about how often I’ve worn it and if I’ve enjoyed wearing it. And, this is where the Washi Tape comes in.

Washi Tape

If you don’t have a roll or six of this in your sewing area, get some – like now. I’ll do another post on all the ways I use Washi Tape when I’m sewing, but just being able to attach a swatch of fabric with something pretty is enough. If you need to move the swatch or take it shopping with you, Washi Tape de-attaches like magic without ripping the page!

Snapdrogon Summer Jazz page

And, now we come to choosing a notebook. First of all, it must be cute! My sewing spa has kind of a Paris theme so I can pretend I’m designing in a Paris atelier. (Beret optional, Eiffel Tower required.) It’s my own world in there and the romance of Paris just seems so right when I’m making clothing. What inspires your Sewful Life? Think about what makes you smile and feel creative, then choose a notebook that fits your passion!

Artisan Pants page

Make sure it’s large enough for you to easily write in and spiral bound. My notebook is about 6″ x 8″ and is the perfect size for me. Spiral bound is super important because your notebook needs space to “grow” as you add swatches. Plus, you can slide a pen into the spiral so you’re ready to write!

Notebook on shelf

My notebook lives on the shelf at the end of my cutting table. I can easily grab it when I start a new project or go back to one if it takes a few days. And, there is another excellent reason to keep track of your projects. Life’s interruptions! Now I can open up my notebook, easily see what I was doing and dive right back in. I’m more likely to return to a project when I don’t feel like I have to start over again. And anything that makes me more likely to sew is incredibly valuable!

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Handmade Wardrobe · sewing

A Little Color Blocked Jacket

For years I’ve seen CNT Patterns A Little Somethin’ Jacket made by my friends, loved it and thought I should make one. I even bought the pattern – twice. That’s how much I loved it. So, when I planned the patterns I used in my Double Gauze Fashions class at the Sewing Expo, I knew I had to include this one!

In Shannon Booth

I’m kind of a rebellious sewist. I think just following a pattern is boring, so I usually mix up views, cut up pattern pieces or use fabric and embellishments in ways the designer didn’t include. It’s not that I don’t like the original design, it’s just that I love to play and I want the end result to match my own vision. So, for my first A Little Somethin’ Jacket, I chose two pieces of Shannon Fabrics Embrace Double Gauze and played with some color blocking.

Solid Cobalt & Herringbone

Do you still call it color blocking when you use a print and a solid? Close enough, I think! After making a sketch in my design notebook, I decided to use Herringbone Royal for the back and upper front and Solid Cobalt for sleeves and the lower front. Oh, my, it turned out great!!!

Cashmerette Sketch Book

My pre-sketching was super important to my jacket’s success. It gave me a chance to see what my color/print blocking would look like in the finished jacket and the opportunity to “move” the pieces around on paper without cutting into my fabric first. I really love the page layout and usability of Cashmerette’s Curvy Sketchbook and keep it close to my cutting table. Sometimes I’m really daring with my makes but, most of the time, I do try to avoid potential disasters!

Little Somethin' Jacket cover & back

So, let’s talk about this jacket pattern. Wow! It’s amazing!!! I chose the size 20 and found that I did not need to make any adjustments since it’s a loose fit. There are just three pattern pieces, so it’s wonderfully quick to put together. My friends had told me that it only took about 3 hours and they were absolutely right. Quick – that’s one of the things that makes this pattern one of my new faves!

Collar to shoulder join

The pattern instructions are really clear and easy to follow. The only semi-tricky part is where the front band/collar joins to the back neck (circled). It’s not hard and if you’ve done this type of join before, you’ll have no trouble at all. If you haven’t done this before though, you still won’t have trouble, because the instructions are great! It’s a good skill to add to your sewing “toolbox”, too.

Jacket close up in booth_edited-1

My sleeves were cut at the 3/4 length that is offered on the pattern and I chose the shorter length for the jacket body. I love it that there are options in the pattern! Both the sleeves and body hems were topstitched with matching navy thread. I used this same color for the bottom hem of the jacket and the topstitching along the front and neck.

Serged seams

My seams were all serged with a 3mm length stitch. The hem edges were finished on the serger, too. This is how my clothes are constructed whenever possible. I love the speed of serging and use a four thread overlock stitch for stability.

Serged edge hem

A serged finish on the hem edges meant that I didn’t have to turn under the edge, so it prevented bulk. This gave the hems a nice smooth line with no ridge under the topstitching.

Rhonda & I CNT Jacket at Hat Show

And, now for the finale – that’s Rhonda Pierce of Schemtz Needles and I modeling hats for the Sewing & Stitchery Expo Hat Fashion Show. See what a versatile jacket this is?! It even goes well with a phloofy, pink hat. Sort of at least!

So, would I make the Little Somethin’ Jacket again? Yes, Yes, YES!!! Did I say that loud enough? Here’s why . . .

  • It was quick
  • The instructions were great
  • The fabric requirements are reasonable and work well for the lengths I keep in my stash of pretties
  • The jacket looks and feels fabulous, dahling……
  • I got LOADS of compliments as I walked around the Sewing & Stitchery Expo. And, I kind of. . . . . okay TOTALLY, love compliments!

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sewing · Tips, Tricks, Techniques

There’s a Sewing App For That

Sewing in the cyber age is amazing! The amount of information we have at our fingertips, the opportunity to connect with sewists from all over the world and then YouTube – oh, my!!! So, what about apps? I’ve got a list for you! Disclaimer: I’m an Apple Addicted girl, so these are all Iphone apps. Many of them are available for other platforms though, so check your app store.

Sewing Apps McCalls

McCall Pattern Company Stickers

  • Cute ways to chat about sewing? Yes, please! This is a brand new app from McCall Pattern Company, just introduced on March 27th  It won’t help you sew better, but it will definitely make your Sewful Life  a lot more fun. It’s compatible with Imessages (Iphone to Iphone) only right now, but I bet it will show up in an Android version soon.

Sewing Apps Schmetz

Schmetz Needles App 

  • Such a great app with such amazing information about the best needles ever. It’s the phone version of 911 for your needle woes. Learn about needle anatomy (who knew a needle had an anatomy?), which Schmetz needle to use for what fabric and what all those color codes mean. It even tells you how to open the package. Every sewist should have this one!

Sewing Apps Bernina

My Bernina Accessories 

  • You’ll find a full list of Bernina feet and accessories in this Bernina lover app. You can keep track of the feet you own as well as the ones you wish you had. I’m a Bernina girl myself, but other sewing machine manufacturers may have similar apps.

Sewing Apps Laundry_edited-1

Laundry Symbols

  • Oh, my, goodness, I cannot tell you how much grief this app has saved me! What on earth do those crazy little symbols mean and how are we supposed to remember – right? This app is the solution to your laundering questions whether it’s fabric, yarn or clothes hanging in your closet. So, so helpful!

 

Sewiing Apps Pantone

Pantone Color

  • Explore color trends, try out Pantone color combinations, look for colors that match a picture on your phone that you love. Color guides are tailored to the interests you select and there are links to blog articles and lots of fun colory things to play with. This is pretty handy for planning color blocking and figuring out how to use remnants together or what colors you want to stencil – that kind of sewishness.

Sewing Apps Vogue

Vogue Runway

  • As a fashion sewing addict, Vogue Runway is probably the phone app I love the best. Videos and stills of all runway shows for all designers are available at your fashion craving fingertips. I could literally view images and vids on this app all….day…..long. I love the inspiration of ready-to-wear and couturier fashion and there it is, with me at all times!

Fabric U 

  • This is an older app and my phone always warns me that it may make my system operate more slowly. If it does, I haven’t noticed and I love this app – so it stays. You’ll find page after page of definitions and descriptions of different kinds of fabric. Perfect for newbie sewists and pretty interesting for more experienced stitchers, too.

Creativebug, Craftsy, Creative Live, YouTube

  • All the major crafty, creative video sites have great apps you can use to access their free and/or purchased content. I’m not sure about the others, but Craftsy classes can be downloaded to your phone or tablet so they can be viewed offline. So, if you’re out in the middle of the forest, you can still add to your sewing skills!

Pattern & Fabric Tracking

  • Pattern Box, Stash Star, My Sewing Patterns, Evernote, , , . I’ve seen lots of these apps and I know there are many that have thousands of fans. I haven’t found one that quite works for me yet, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t. The concept is thrilling. You upload your patterns and fabrics and your phone becomes your magic fabric shopping friend. If you have a favorite system, let me know in the comments. I’m still looking!

Quilting & Machine Embroidery

  • These arts are outside the realm of my Sewful Life – right now anyway. I know there are some really helpful and wonderful apps available, though, so you should definitely go looking. Quilting apps can include interfaces that help you figure yardage, how much binding you’ll need and other powerful tools. I bet you’ll find a few that become  a must-have part of your mobile toolbox!

National Craft & Fabric Stores 

  • Hobby Lobby, JoAnn and more. Most of the major fabric and craft retailers offer mobile apps. You’ll find the weekly ad, a search function, free projects and( drum roll) – COUPONS! Clipping is annoying and keeping track of clipped coupons is crazy-making, so having coupons available right on your phone means you’ll actually get to use them!

Simplicity Patterns Sewing

  • Look up and track patterns you own, shop and create a wish list for the ones you don’t and view the front and back of any Simplicity or New Look pattern. This is a great timesaver and they’ve included space for storing fabric images and planning your projects. The McCall Pattern Group (McCall’s, Vogue, Butterick, Kwik-Sew) does not have an app like this, but I have seen a few for independent pattern companies.

Mimi G Style 

  • If you’re a Mimi G fan, you probably already have this one, but if not, give it a try. Mimi is a dynamic sewist/designer who loves to inspire and the app is full of that. You’ll see what’s new with Mimi, quickly link over to her blog and enjoy sewing tips and advice straight from Miss G.

Fabric Companies

  • Check these out. I don’t have any personal favorites right now, but fabric companies love their customers and you may find some super valuable mobile helpers! Start with your favorite fabric company and see what you find.

Sewing Magazines

  • Threads, Sew News, Simply Sewing, Mollie Makes, Sewing World, Sew, Love Sewing and more. The magazine apps that I’ve tried are basically “readers” for those who have subscribed to the magazine and you’re not getting any actual free content. But . . . if you’re a subscriber, it’s really cool to be able to access your favorite mag right from your phone or tablet!

All the Rest

  • There are lots of apps out there and I know I haven’t covered them all. If you really crave sewing 24/7, you can download digital sewing games, too! A note of caution, though – don’t pay for an app until you have researched it, read reviews and are sure it will meet your needs. Apps usually aren’t expensive, but, hey, that’s money you could spend on fabric – so why waste any pennies at all!

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Fabric · Tips, Tricks, Techniques

What Kind of Fabric is That?

We all do it. We buy a gorgeous fabric, or we’re given one, or we fall in love with a Thrift Store find, take it home, put it on the shelf and don’t touch it again for a while. And, by a while, I mean sometimes years – at least in my case!

Match Flame

In a perfect Sewful Life, we would label each fabric that comes in the house so we’d know whether it’s cotton, rayon, polyester or whatever. Do you always do that? Yeah, me either! So what’s a sewist to do when they need to know the fiber content of a fabric? The Burn Test!

Burn Test Explanation
A portion of The Burn Test from Pacific Fabrics

Many years ago when I worked for Pacific Fabrics, I compiled info and wrote up a Burn Test sheet that’s still available on their web site. I’ll put the link below and you can click, download and print. It’s a PDF, so you can save it in a file on your computer, too.

Apartment Therapy image
Image from Apartment Therapy

I was thrilled when Apartment Therapy shared the link in their blog several years back as a guide for those who love vintage or thrifted fabrics. Definitely an excellent use for The Burn Test! They included some great info in their post that you should check out on this link.

Warnings
Excerpt from The Burn Test from Pacific Fabrics

Before I give you the link, though, raise your hand and solemnly swear: “I promise to ONLY do The Burn Test under safe conditions. I promise to keep my kids and/or grands away from these instructions and to ONLY burn test over a non-flammable surface with water for extinguishing nearby. I also promise that if I decide not to do this safely, I will not blame A Sewful Life for my silly decision.” Got it? Okay, since I know you’re all smart sewists then – click here, print and file!

Burn Test from sew4home
Image from Sew 4 Home

And just to finish up, since I’m a big believer in pre-shrinking fabric, I thought this post on Sew4Home was really good, too. There’s a little Burn Test info included, so now you’ll be sew well educated!

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sewing · Tips, Tricks, Techniques

A New Trick for Waistband Elastic

While I love a stylish pair of zip front pants or jeans, my self-sewn pants usually sport an elastic waistband. It’s easy, quick and oh-so-comfy to wear……factors that are often important when I’m sewing!

Waistband Elastic - square of fabric

For many years I’ve successfully sewn and taught waistband elastic and been pleased with the results. I’ll list my traditional steps below along with a “new” trick I learned that I can’t believe I didn’t know before. It all starts with a little square of fabric!

Waistband Elastic - comparison

Using the width (3/4″ – 2″) of elastic your pattern calls for, shop for a cotton elastic at your local fabric shop. HINT: Do Not use the polyester elastic that comes pre-packaged as it will not hold up when sewn over. Cotton elastic is often on a large roll and sold by the yard, although you may find it packaged, too. It has great “memory” after it’s been sewn over, so it will snap back to the size you cut and keep your pants up. Kind of essential!

  • To determine how much elastic to cut for your waistband, measure your waist and subtract 1 – 2″ from that measurement. Alternatively, wrap the elastic around your waist, and adjust the length until it is comfortable. That’s the length you want to cut and the method I usually use.
  • If you haven’t seen your waist for a while and aren’t sure where to measure, bend to the side while standing. The part of your body that creases when you bend sideways is your waist – say hello!
  • In the past, I would have now told you to overlap the ends of the elastic about 1/2″ and zigzag them together. That method still works, but it always leaves a bump where the ends are overlapped and it’s just not anywhere near as cool as the method I just learned. So, onto……..

The NEW Method

  • Cut a small square or rectangle of fabric the width of your elastic by about 3 inches. If you’re using a lightweight fabric interface or double the square you cut.

Waistband Elastic - zigzag first end to fabric

  • Mark the center of the “wrong side” of your fabric square and line up one end of the elastic with your center marking. Using a fairly wide zigzag (4 – 5mm), zigzag the elastic end to the fabric square.

Waistband Elastic - stitching second end

  • Now line up the other end of the elastic so that the ends are kissed together with no space in between. Zigzag this end in the same way as the first. Make sure first that you haven’t added a twist to your “circle” of elastic. It’s not at all comfy that way!

WAistband Elastic - Trimming fabric square ends

  • To finish this miraculous little joining, turn the elastic over so that the “right” side of your fabric square is facing up. Using pinking shears, trim each end of the fabric square close to your zigzagging. If you don’t have pinking shears, trim the ends with regular fabric scissors leaving enough that you can zigzag those edges to prevent ravelling.

Waistband Elastic - Fabric Square ends trimmed

  • As you can see, your stitching and trimming does not have to be precise. It will all be encased in fabric when you’re done, so it won’t show!

Waistband Elastic - both ends zigzagged

I LOVE this method!!! I’ve always been frustrated with the little bump that is left when waistband elastic ends are overlapped. If you make swimwear, this would totally be the way to go, too.

My friend, Fonnell, tells me that this is not a NEW method and that she teaches her young sewing students to do it this way. Guess I should have been in her class! Instead, I learned this new-to-me method from the Indygo Junction Artisan Pants pattern, I will forever be grateful and now, so will you. And, if you’ve been doing this for years, you may now quietly chuckle or even LOL.

If you’re not familiar with stitching in waistband elastic without a casing, my next pants post will tell you all you need to know!

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Handmade Wardrobe · sewing

The Perfect Tunic

Me in tunic at booth

I taught a class once a day at the Puyallup WA Sewing & Stitchery Expo last weekend. I love teaching and being at the Expo is totally the most fun you can have without sitting down at a sewing machine. In preparation for the class, I made 12 pieces of clothing, so that means lots of blog posts, right?! We’ll start with what I found to be the Perfect Tunic. Stick with me and I’ll tell you why at the end!

The class I taught was about sewing clothing from the Embrace Double Gauze made by Shannon Fabrics – very cool stuff! Although it was originally designed for swaddling babies, I thought it would be a great fabric for garments and indeed it is!

Pattern at PacFab

Using Indygo Junction’s Urban Tunic pattern, I chose a solid, soft grey double gauze and a coordinating toile print. My goal was to create a border print look because I loved the tunic on the cover. Since Shannon’s Double Gauze isn’t available in a border print, I made my own!

Solid & Toile Fabrics

For the toile “border” I cut two strips 8″ high by a little longer than the width of the front and back of the bottom of the tunic pattern pieces. First I serged the edges, turned and pressed them under. Next, I measured 6″ up from the bottom of the front and back, marked it with a chalk pencil, then carefully pinned a strip on top of both the front and the back fabric pieces lining it up with my markings.

Pocket

The “border” strips were topstitched to the front and back pieces before the side seams were sewn, so that I could still put pockets in the tunic. Gotta have pockets! After stitching, I cut off the excess width I had left on the strip. It’s better in this case to have more length and trim it off than to find out you cut it too narrow and not have enough width!

Tunic Border

I did like the extra weight that the toile strip added to the bottom of my tunic. And, as you can see above, I added a bit of surprise by making my pockets from the Toile print. My last step was to finish the bottom with a 1-1/4″ machine stitched hem.

Tips & Ideas:

  • When you make your own tunic, if you’re not adding pockets, you can cut one long “border” strip and sew it onto the tunic after the side seams are sewn. Alternatively, you could sew the “border”strip in as an insert rather than stitching it on top of the front and back pieces. In that case, you would press the seams toward the tunic and topstitch those seams in a color to match the main body fabric.

Ravels

  • Double Gauze is a beautiful, open weave 100% Cotton with a wonderful drape to it. As an open weave fabric, of course, it likes to ravel a bit. I recommend finishing your seams with a zigzag or serged edge as soon as possible once your pieces are cut out.
  • Watch for a post all about sewing with Double Gauze soon!

I hope you’ll try the Urban Tunic! It’s a gorgeous design that hangs beautifully, was super comfortable to wear and I got tons of compliments as i walked around. That makes it the Perfect Tunic!  I added leggings and sneakers since I was walking around a warm, huge. sewing show. You could also wear it with summer sandals in warmer weather. For cooler weather, it makes a fabulous layering piece over a turtleneck or tee. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

P.S. Shannon Fabrics provided me with the fabrics used in this post. The Indygo Junction pattern was purchased on my own. although they sent me the other patterns you’ll hear about in future posts. The opinions and tips are all my own.

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Handmade Wardrobe · sewing

Handmade Hawaiian Wardrobe

When your husband wants to take you to Maui, first you say yes, then you plan what you want to sew!

After browsing my Personal Sewing Spa Fabric Store (AKA My Stash), I decided to sew up all the Tropical Fabrics I had collected. Because, if not now….when?! My goal was to sew enough clothing that my Handmade Hawaiian Wardrobe would include an OOD (outfit of the day) for each blissful moment of our visit. So, although our main objective was rest and abandoning reality, we did try to snap a picture each day!

Here’s the guided tour of my Handmade Hawaiian Wardrobe. It’s long, as any trip to Hawaii should be, and there’s no charge!

My almost favorite piece is this tropical tank top. As you can see, I wore it on the plane on the way over and thought I looked very native. Aloha! The pattern is Indygo Junction’s Everyday Tank and it’s super easy  and quick to make. In fact that was a must for everything I made since I sort of, well, okay TOTALLY procrastinated. The fabric was purchased on a previous trip to Maui and the self-made bias trim was a piece of red cotton I picked up at JoAnn just for this tank. It just screams Hawaii, doesn’t it?

You’ll see this wonderful style made from McCall’s 6960 in a different fabric next. It passed the “quick and easy” test and was wonderfully comfortable to wear. The fabric is a Rayon Batik and I chose the high-low hem view. It was the first one I made and I found the sizing ample and the neck a bit low, so I took in the side seams and added a triangle of a different Rayon Batik to the neck. I’m obsessed with buttons and added one from my button bin at the neck. It was perfect!

McCall’s 6960 again, the same pattern as the Rayon Batik above. But this time stitched from another previous Maui purchase. Doesn’t everyone come back with their carry on stuffed with fabric? I love the traditional look and tranquil blue of this cotton print and wanted to be sure it would show off well in the style I chose. I think this was a win and it really made me smile once I added a button – again. This time I knew to re-draft and raise the neckline V, so no insert was required.

Another flowing Rayon Batik is the star of this modified, out-of-print, Marcy Tilton vest design. I was after an artsy look here and found it when I added a strip of vintage kimono fabric down the right front side. Of course a vintage button was required and a bit of hand-dyed rayon ribbon completed the front closure. The front actually stayed closed quite well with just the top tie. I did wear a lightweight knit tank under it, though. In case of wardrobe malfunction, I didn’t want to be part of the sights to see.

This is a case of “everything old is new again”. I stitched up another Everyday Tank in a blue Rayon Batik (can you tell I LOVE that fabric) and wore it with a skirt I’ve had for several years and had never worn and a purchased cardigan that originally had long sleeves. Where there’s a will, there’s a sewist, right?! It was cool and comfy and I’ll definitely wear it when I need a dress this Summer. The skirt is just a long straight “tube” of knit fabric with one seam at the back. The “tube” was cut about 8″ wider than my hips so it had a little sway to it. And, I already owned the perfect jewelry to go with it!

This became my favorite and I got lots of compliments while we were on the island. I have no idea why I have that crazy look on my face because I really do love it! I bought Butterick 6056 for a linen jacket (post coming soon!), but it will now be a star in my favorite patterns line up. For this top, also a previous Maui fabric purchase, I used View A and added solid black accents to the neck and pockets. And….wait for it….buttons! I really enjoyed choosing buttons for these garments from my stash of ethnic and natural material buttons – they fit so well with the fabrics.

No, I didn’t make the capris you see in most of the pictures – they were an upcycle from my purchased wardrobe. I had two pairs of the exact same pant in black, they fit well and were comfortable enough for lots of walking. A little snip and a quick hemming transformed them from pants to capris and I wore them a lot.

And, finally, sometimes you have a piece of fabric that is so special you just can’t decide what to make. My piece was given to me by my daughter when she visited Hawaii in high school. She thoughtfully chose this beautiful red fabric (my fave color) and I LOVED it, but still had it in waiting. I realized this trip was the perfect time to sew up her gift of love and bask in the joy of how wonderful it was that she bought it for me. I chose New Look 6352, a simple a-line style and wore it on the day we went to a special dinner with friends. And, I felt well loved and fabulous all day long!

Inspired? Just to make sure – that’s one of the “can I just stay here forever” beaches we visited and the luscious fruit was purchased at “unattended, leave your money in the can” roadside stands or picked from the jungle-style garden of the cottage where we stayed in Haiku. Maybe if you start sewing your own Handmade Hawaiian Wardrobe, a trip will suddenly appear. It’s worth a try and if nothing else, the sewing and dreaming will be a blast!

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