Firehose

Did you know you can sew flat felled seams both right sides together and wrong sides together? Learn how to sew flat felled seams two ways in our newest YouTube sewing tutorial.

Making your own jeans at home? Check out our Jeans-making Resources for more help, and don’t forget to get your copy of the Claryville Jeans sewing pattern, a 5-pocket classic jean with a close-fitting silhouette for all occasions.

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the fabric for this project.

Wow, y'all are still tuning in to read about about me making Granville variations? I'm back, again, with yet another. This time, a dress version! You may remember back when I made a two-piece fake shirtdress with a Granville shirt and Rae skirt, but now I'm back with a proper full version. It basically just ends up looking like the blogger-favorite McCall's 6696 shirtdress, but by starting with the Granville, I minimized fitting.

The fabric I used is the Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen in blush, a linen/rayon blend I got from Harts Fabric. I'm pleased to say I'm an official part of the Harts Fabric Street Team--which just means they will occasionally provide me with fabric for my projects (so, if you've been reading for a while, you'll probably not even notice a... [read more]

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Suicide, Drug Addiction, HIV positive

Humans are messy. I can’t write this post into a neat, tidy package for you. I am messy. My past is messy. This story is messy.

US Father’s Day just came and went. I find I’m talking to myself more. I don’t notice it increase and decrease around hard days like I used to. Now it just ebbs and flows as my soul needs. Mostly I find myself confessing to my sewing. Quietly ripping out a seam, mumbling. No one the wiser that my mumbling isn’t about the sewing.

My father was a long-time drug addict, HIV positive, and committed suicide a few weeks after I turned 21. My father was more than that, good and bad. He was a hair dresser, he was funny, he was very good looking, he had incredible charisma and magnetism, he was a liar, he was a flake, he was a womanizer. Those opinions are mine to say as I wish... [read more]

I have had my eye on the Tania Culottes for ages. They’ve looked great on most women, and I loved the idea of work-appropriate shorts that can masquerade as a skirt. However, with Megan Nielsen’s previously limited size range, I didn’t want to grade up the pattern nor support a pattern maker with a non-inclusive size range.

When Megan announced the expansion of her size range a few months ago, I ecstatically snapped up a copy of the Tania Curve Culottes almost immediately. Given the perennial popularity of the original Tanias in the online sewing community, the new Tania Curves seemed like a natural choice for a Same Pattern, Different Bodies post on the CSC blog.

The following size chart shows the Curve size range for the Tania culottes:

Kristina

  • Measurements: Bust –44″/112cm, Bra Size – 16DD, Waist – 38-40″/99 cm. Hips –... [read more]
Linen Striped Ashton Dress

“That’s not a top, Gillian!” you say. Well, you are right. I’ll show you my tester version of the cropped Ashton Top but this linen I bought for testing turned out to be so rainbow-riffic that I couldn’t bear to use just part of it on a top!

Pattern testing is work, and the “free” pattern is usually offset by the cost of the fabric you use. I love testing for Helen though, because:

  • She always has a Facebook group for tester, so we get the fun of seeing each other’s projects, and can ask each other for help
  • Helen’s Closet recently expanded their size range, and the tester group was full of lots of diverse bodies
  • She listens to feedback! We said the armscyes were low, and she raised them. We asked for a shorten/lengthen line above and below the bust, and she made it happen. I swear, that makes all the difference!
Linen Striped Ashton Dress

So behold, my Ashton dress! I... [read more]

Thinking about the last 24 hours gives me a warm feeling of personal fulfillment realized. I’m slowly reclaiming unstructured time for myself and rediscovering how my creativity thrives.

Pencil sketches of two faces. One is a black woman looking up to the right. One is an elderly Asian man looking directly at you.
Face studies, 6/22/19

I started this post nearly two years ago when I read an article about how busyness impedes creativity. That alone should tell you something. There is always another task, always a request outstanding, always someone who needs something, and I’m all-too-willing to oblige.

…when every free moment—at work, in line, at a red light—you’re reaching for your phone. Your brain’s attentional system becomes accustomed to constant stimulation; you grow antsy and irritable when you don’t have that input. You’re addicted to busyness. 

Derek Beres, “Being busy is killing our ability to think creatively”

Even as I write this, I can feel a tightness in my chest –... [read more]

Not every sewing project gets done front to back at one time.

My sister's pants did
I bought this tag from Drygoods at SewExpo. I saved them for my sister for this very project (which has been waiting for months).

I blew through this project so fast, I didn't have time to take photos of cutting them out. But what's to look at? Black pants, two pattern pieces, side seam pockets, made them before, so no fitting. Laying out the fabric to get it ongrain took the most time of any of the steps. The linen/rayon was heavy enough that adding seam binding (the home made kind) to the side seams makes sense (pretty guts, stressed seam reinforcement). The center/crotch seams have been serged and may get bound in time (I can see that serger thread coming... [read more]
Generation T: 108 ways to transform a t-shirt / Megan Nicolay
NY: Workman, c2006.
258 p.
This is a book I've owned for a long time. Although published in 2006, it has a very 90s grunge/punk feel to it, reminding me of the PostPunk Kitchen blog and books of the same period.

It's a fun book for anyone who might not be an accomplished sewist, who just wants to reuse and upcycle old tees. I gave it to my teenage niece when she got interested in developing her own fashion sense and she liked it.

There are a variety of upcycling projects in here -- from shirts to skirts to bags and pillows. I have to say that many, if not most, of the designs will appeal mainly to young women, and not to the middle aged or those who prefer a more finished look to one's clothes. There's a lot of cut and tie going on.

But it's a creative spark for those interested in remaking... [read more]

…and crows and owls and mice and and and….

So many last minute and ‘small’ roles had to be sorted, some I’ve mentioned along the way.

The crows were made using the fab PDF download I bought from Wintercroft Designs

The three masks took me about four hours to assemble, as they are quite detailed.  The ‘leather’ jackets were from stock, previously purchased for a production of ‘Grease’ so I had to unpick the Tbirds patches from the backs.

The kids loved these, and happily took them home after the show.  It was MURDER [get it?] trying to stop them over-handling these during the rehearsals and shows, so they would stay intact!

Mice- I made these masks from felt, copying an image I saw online.  I backed them with very heavy interfacing and craft foam.  Again, I had to do some careful watching to make sure the kids looked after them between... [read more]

I left the scarecrows until almost the last stage, as after all, I only needed old clothes, some patches, and ‘straw’.

I’ve already mentioned how I decided to make the wigs from craft foam ‘caps’ and lengths of raffia sewn onto strips of cloth, then glued to the foam.  The boy one, complete with ‘manga’ style fringe, was very simple, the one for the girl was bulkier, as I wanted long pigtails.  The actress has quite a lot of hair though, and it all kept wanting to ping off, so I added two fairly strong elastic straps at the back, which hooked under her own hair and did the trick.

The girl scarecrow’s clothes were really easy, as I found a brown cropped sweater and pinafore dress in the stock cupboard.  A pair of brown tights, and all she needed were some patches and ‘straw’ sewn on.

For the boy, I found an outsize tweed jacket in stock, which I... [read more]

The wizard…

The drama teacher had only supplied me with a few images to start me off, and she was very keen on the wizard having a gold cloak, like the one Whoopi Goldberg wears in ‘Ghost’.

Image result for whoopi ghost gold costume

While hunting in Barry’s warehouse, I found some fabulously liquid metallic fabrics, for only £2/m, one being this rich old gold colour, so I got 2m.  Extravagance!  [I used the gunmetal silver for the tin woodcutters of course]

Rummaging in the props cupboard turned up a couple of smaller remnants of gold brocade, I ordered some extra sturdy interfacing and some craft foam, and was ready to go.

I free cut a sort of circle from the interfacing, which is practically cardboard in weight, large enough to extend out on the shoulders by several inches [might as well make the Wizard look intimidating, I still don’t know what the scenery/props arrangements might be, so... [read more]

Time for the lion suit!  Although the two kids laying the lion have a height difference of about 6″, I decided to go with a shared costume, which surprisingly worked, as the girl had longer legs, the boy had longer torso, it averaged out fine!

I found some nice lion-coloured fleece on eBay for a reasonable price [that stuff is NOT cheap but £5.99/m seemed OK] and we got 3m.  I located a free adult size onesie pattern on Instructables and printed,  assembled, and cut it out at school during some free time.  I JUST squeaked the required length out of the 3m.

I ditched pockets and cuffs, and decided to make the hood separately [you’ll see why]

I like that this is not too voluminous, although I did hack a little extra width into the upper body, tapering back into the legs, as the larger student is a fairly big lad!

The zip went in easily…but didn’t really. ... [read more]

Wicked Witches, Fairy style!

No pointy hats, no broomstick, I want glamour and sass.

Engineering research?  Definitely!

 

Inspired by these costume patterns, I went for a rummage in stash and found plenty of remnants of black fabrics:  I still have quite a lot of the very cheap peach-skin textured stuff from the rag market that was originally purchased to make capes for the bridesmaids in DD’s October wedding 6 years ago.  Not a single one got worn, so they were a total waste of effort, but at least not much cash was wasted.

I used a scrap of this for facings and contrasts on the penguin shirt I made for the missus a few years back, AND the padded collar for her Arkivestry coat…it has a lovely texture.

I’m a firm believer in texture for stage costumes, flat colours and fabrics light horribly shiny, and I like more depth.

Collar, hair and shoulders are... [read more]

Hello readers, it has been a while! An extremely busy few months of long hours at work has left me with limited time to sew and often little motivation to do so. When I have been sewing I've had two quite big projects to work on (more on these soon!) which has seen my sewing output dwindle considerably. The project I'm sharing with you today is actually quite a quick make which I finished before my sewing slump but it has seen a considerable amount of wear since then!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Evie Bias Skirt in Maroon Polka Dot Polyester Crepe from The Fabric Store

This is the Evie Bias Skirt from Tessuti and I'm not sure what possessed me to make it as it is quite a departure from my every day style of late! I think I kept seeing gorgeous versions on Instagram and as I've only had great experiences with Tessuti patterns previously this tempted me to give it a try. It is such an easy to wear shape and dresses up or down well too. The only slight... [read more]
One of my favourite pieces of Freya's ready to wear clothing was a pair of bum panel leggings. From the front, they looked like a cute pair of leggings with sweet polka dots, but as she rolled over, what do you know? There was a ladybug staring right at you. Naturally, once she has outgrown them, I wanted to make my own for the next size. 
brindille twig ringer tee mother grimm lockley leggings panda flatlock tutorial
One of the details on those ladybug leggings were that the bum panel was flatlocked, so I thought I'd go the whole way and recreate those, too. Since this took a bit of experimentation, and there's not that much out there on this topic, I wanted to do a little tutorial here, too. As a result, this post is going to be a long one, with lots of photos, so please make sure you are sitting comfortably. 

Outfit

First of all, a few words on the project. I bought this lovely Panda French Terry even before Freya was born, as... [read more]
Hello all!  Here I am again already.  Just a quick drive by post again to let you know I'm back on the Minerva Crafts blog today!

Minerva Crafts is definitely one of my favourite fabric shops (maybe you could tell...). I love the huge selection, the prices are always really reasonable and shipping is phenomenal so I have shopped there for several years now.  I really appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of the blogger network, even if I sometimes feel ridiculously out of my league when I see the other sewists that are featured.

Anyway, enough rambling!  Today's post is featuring a gorgeous cotton lawn that is, of course, floral. (was there any doubt it would be?  LOL) When the list of fabric choices came out, I saw it and that was it.  No need to ponder over any other choices.  They had me at this one.  I think we all know by now a pretty... [read more]

I was one of those people that had the Breaking the Pattern book super early because of my Amazon preorder. And yet, I haven’t made anything until now. I had a bit of a list to get through of other makes I fancied and I also took my time deciding what to make. The couple of patterns by Named I’ve made I love and they fit me very well. However, if I’m honest, their styling isn’t always quite me. I know you have to look past that and so I do – by waiting until some other people have made their designs, haha. Inevitably I think, “Ooohh, now that I like” and bob’s your uncle.

20190621_185154

I’ve seen so many lovely Saraste ruffle tops on Instagram now that this became my number one choice. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen a bad one yet. The fabric is a Cotton and Steel rayon (Once Upon a Time Love Flower in cherry) that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it –... [read more]


If want to sew thriftily, one certain way is to try out some of the many, many free patterns offered by Indie pattern makers. It's a good way to get a taste of the style of the pattern company, and also to get used to using pdf patterns if you haven't done so before.

There are SO many free patterns available, it just depends on what your style is and what you'd like to tackle. Some free patterns are fully developed by the pattern maker as a sort of taster of their patterns -- some are simple one size ideas that a designer has put out to share something they've made or to test interest in developing it further -- some have detailed and thorough instructions -- some don't have any instructions at all while others have instructions in a magazine that you should buy to go along with the pattern itself. There is a lot of variety out there!

Today I'd like... [read more]
Click to view slideshow.

Photographer Credits: White Specs Photography

Completed: February 2019

Hours Spent: Between 15-20

Debuted: Katsucon 2019

Why This Costume: Me, Koho, and AdventTraitor are big Code Geass fans! This was the first group costume we decided on when we planned for Katsu, aided by our friend Jinxie Cosplay’s plans to make Suzaku! I had never worn Cornelia to a convention, so I took it as an opportunity to update pieces I was unhappy with.

How I Made it: 

Truth be told, the updates on this costume were pretty quick. As I mentioned in my original Cornelia write-up, the main things I was unhappy with were her coat tails, the fit of the pants, and the boot covers.

 

For the coat tails, I took a cue from Koholint’s Mew Lettuce build. To hold the crazy tails in place, Koho split and curved pieces of Rigeline and built them into the... [read more]



Sometimes, I make a garment and immediately know what I'm going to say about it. Obviously, I will tell you about the fabric, about the pattern and my review of it. If there's a wonderful backstory, some struggle with my kids who want to claim, or of my husband's confusion of my choices. I am reluctant to do that with this dress. After making this, I was at a loss for words. As a kindness to you, I will pull myself together and give you all of those details. In truth however, if it was solely up to me, this post would simply be various pictures of me twirling in circles screaming, "I love my new dress!"





When I selected this fabric from Riley Blake's Costume Maker's Ball by J. Wecker Frisch, I chose it because I liked the idea of wearing measuring tape fabric.


There is lots of Fall color in this collection. With my neutral choice, I wanted... [read more]

This is one that has been bugging me for a while.

My mum used to sew when I was little, but stopped at some point and didn’t really come back to it. She never really taught me to sew either – because I wasn’t interested in learning back when she sewed.

I say she never taught me to sew, but she has somehow infused me with a few things along the way. For example, that a herringbone stitch makes the best invisible but strong hem, and that you should use the same composition of thread as the fabric you are sewing.

The idea is: if you make a cotton chambray shirt, you should use cotton thread. That way, if you put a lot of pressure on the seam, the seam will pop rather than the fabric tearing. While neither is desirable, the seam is easily sewn back together in a way that a fabric tear isn’t. This will also make the fabric... [read more]

 

One item that has been long missing in my wardrobe is a good pair of dungarees. Actually, any pair of dungarees!  I looked at the Turia Dungarees from Pauline Alice when they came out, but didn’t buy them, eventually bought the Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven last year (still haven’t even traced those!) and spent another year on the allotment without the most perfectly practical item of clothing.  Dungarees.

 

phoebe 4.jpg

So exactly why am I so keen on dungarees for the allotment?  Well, in the colder weather I wear an ancient pair of Next jeans.  The elasticity isn’t very good in those anymore and they definitely require the use of a belt.  But they still keep slipping down, so require frequent hoiking up – not easily done with muddy gloves. In the summer I use old linen trousers, they’re generally ok, but also need pulling up now and then. I don’t like tucking my... [read more]

Happy (really belated) June!
We're officially half-way through the year and it feels that around this time I start to dwindle down on blogging. To prevent that from happening I've decided to challenge myself to post more often, but if you're reading this post you'll know that we're halfway through the month, whoops!

It has recently come to my attention that I haven't published a recipe in quite a while (whoops!). I wouldn't say I've just been busy, it because I have forgotten to do it, but I now have a recipe that I'd love to share.

A while ago a came upon a very basic loaf/cake recipe I thought that it was way to too sweet and (honestly) not my cup of tea, or cake in this situation. With a change of ingredients and an addition of some, I fell in love with this recipe, my family loved it and therefore decided to share it with the whole world.

The Ellis Skirt pattern from Cashmerette was released a couple of months ago and it is a real wardrobe workhorse. Its designed as a classic jean skirt, but there are so many opportunities to customize it with different fabrics, lengths, pocket combinations, and topstitching choices that we think you could get away with multiple version of this in your closet without anyone wondering why you were wearing the same skirt every day. You can see that all of our versions are quite different!

CashmeretteEllisTechDraw_95fec551-8a22-4ccc-a959-d9a114c6bf6d_550x

Of course, this pattern comes in Cashmerette’s great size range AND it has two fit options just like her Ames Jeans: Apple or Pear pelvis shape. If you are thinking about sewing jeans, this is a great warmup project as you can practice topstitching details and you will learn how to insert a fly, but you won’t have the hassle of pants fitting.

EllisFGMs_96d0a78d-a333-40aa-879f-bb16e8d4f82f

Megan

30991824_unknown

Your... [read more]

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