Sewing with knits is rather easy. You will need the right tools though.
I’ll show you how to thread your machine when you’re using a twin needle. It’s easier than you think!
Do you have issues with your knits rolling? Serge the edges! And you can spritz the fabric with a little bit of spray starch.
My number 1 tip with working with knits — HAND BASTE into place! This will help solve most of the shifting issues you may experience.
Fabric Stash Organization Idea
Happy New Year! I’ve been in the process of reorganizing my sewing room. One issue I have, and I’m sure you may too, is how to store my fabric stash.
Granted, I don’t have a lot of fabric in comparison to many people I follow on social media but still it’s a problem I want to solve.
While looking online for cardboard fabric bolts I discovered mini-bolts. The only problem I could foresee was they were too short for my 60” wide fabrics. The ones I saw were only 12" long. That's great for 45" wide fabric but most of my stash is 54" - 60" wide. Folded in fourths is at most 15".
My shelves in my sewing room each measured at 8” deep and 35” long. I really wanted my mini-bolts to be at least 18” long and 6-7” wide.
Many of the mini-bolts I found on Etsy were sold by lots of 50 which cost $64. Although a little over $1 each was not an issue I simply didn’t need that many.
I have a solution!
Sewing Sleeves using the flat method
I made another McCall's Pattern M7975 with this beautiful watercolor floral Dolce & Gabana fabric I purchased at Elfriede's Fine Fabrics in Boulder, Colorado.
I adjusted the pattern instructions to allow for a flat method sleeve construction. When I'm sewing with knits this is my preferred method. It's easier to sew something flat rather than setting in the sleeve with the sewn side seams.
Knit fabrics allow easing in the sleeves a cinch! Watch the video below and you'll may be converted too!
McCall's M7975 Review
Today was a great day for sewing since we got a pretty good snow storm. Four to six inches of snow means is my time to hibernate in my sewing room and work on a fun project.
A couple of months ago I went to Boulder and discovered my new favorite fabric store, Elfriede's Fine Fabrics. It is a beautiful store with loads of gorgeous and high quality fabric for garment sewing. Most places around here cater to quilters so I absolutely loved this store!
A friend of mine reached out to me and asked if I would consider making her girls a memory gnome for Christmas out of her late husband's shirts. I simply couldn't turn her down. I knew these shirts were special to all of them.
I found a Christmas gnome at Joann Fabrics and bought it to use as a pattern. It looks really simple to make. There are 5 basic pattern pieces.
HOW TO USE A PDF PATTERN
Patterns are an important part of the sewing process. I love to browse through the pattern books at the fabric store and now, with technology, we can browse online too!
Lately I have been sewing a lot of indie patterns. When you purchase a pattern from an online store you now have the option to download a printed copy from some companies. This saves you time, sort of. You still need to print and assemble.
I recommend you assemble the pattern on a dining table. At first I tried using the floor and then a coffee table. That didn't work well.
Then I found my grove in assembling the pattern pages. I clear off my sewing table for the task. It's just a rectangular table I found at IKEA, but a dining table would work just fine. My sewing table measures 31" wide and 63" long just to give you an idea. But by all means use what you have!
Assemble the pages according to the pattern instructions. I line up 1 row at a time and tape each page with scotch tape. Then I add another row. Then another row until all of the pages have been taped together.
Using paper scissors cut out each pattern according to the size you decided to make.
There is usually an option to download a large printer format copy to send to your print shop. Personally I haven't printed any that way yet. I use the print and assemble method.
There are many wonderful indie pattern companies. Here are my favorite so far:
For this 2-part video sewing project I chose the Uvita Top by Itch to Stitch. It's a free download you can find here: https://itch-to-stitch.com/product/uvita-top-digital-sewing-pattern-pdf/.
This week we're focusing on the pattern and sewing preparation tips. Next week I will post the sew along video so you can see the whole process from start to finish.
This is a simple dropped shoulder pattern that requires a 2-4 way stretch knit. Do not use this pattern for a woven fabric as it just won't fit well.
The cool thing about this pattern is you have the option to buy a companion which offers a lot of options. There's an option to add patch pockets, kangaroo pocket, hood, and sleeve variations. And it's only $5! Here's the link for the add-on pattern: https://itch-to-stitch.com/product/uvita-top-add-on-digital-sewing-pattern-pdf/
SOFTWARE REQUIREMENT: You will need to use Adobe Reader to print the pattern. It's a free software program you can download. Some pattern companies allow you to print only the size you need so you don't have so many confusing sizing lines to work around. Read your pattern instructions carefully. Adobe instructions are usually included.
Make sure that you choose “Actual Size” or scale to 100% in the print dialog box. Select “Auto portrait/landscape” or “Auto Rotate and Center” under Orientation.
Here are the steps I take when I use any pattern:
Be sure to watch the video below to get step by step instructions how do use a pdf pattern. Also be sure to like and subscribe to my channel!
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Gift ideas for your sewist
Here's some gift ideas for your favorite sewist! These items were handpicked from my experience in the hobby of sewing. Using the right tools can make any project so much easier!
There are 5 categories: Stocking Stuffers $20 or less, Nicer Gifts $20 - $50, Nicest Gifts over $50, Bookshelf for Sewists, gift cards, and Patterns by Love Notions.
Surprise your sewist with a gift they will use every time they sew!
stocking stuffers $20 or less
Nicer gifts $20-$50
NICEST gifts Over $50
BookShelf for sewists
patterns are also a great gift!
Purchase then download and print. Place it in a pretty binder for a lovely gift. Maybe add a gift card from your sewist favorite fabric store!
**All above links are affiliate links. That just means I receive a small percentage of each sale generated from my links.
tools of the trade
Whether you're a beginner or an expert sewist the right tools can make the project easier. Here is a list of my "must have" sewing tools that I can't do without in addition to your sewing machine and/or serger. Of course you need pins, hand sewing needles and seam ripper for the job but you may find these 7 items will also help you amp up your "s" game!
1. Scissors - I recommend you get 3 pairs.
2. Marking tools - These tools are essential when transferring the markings from a pattern to the fabric. My favorites are:
3. Fabric Glue - Sometimes you just need a helping hand to help hold things together without pins. Why not use a little glue?
4. Magnetic Seam Guide - Where has this been all my life! I just purchased one recently and it sure helped guide my fabric and get the stitching straight!
If you have a fancy computerized machine you may not want to use it. Check with your sewing machine manufacturer and see if this will work fo you. It worked great for my Pfaff Passport 3.0.
5. Pattern Weights - I've discovered pattern weights use use to hold down my pattern while I cut with my rotary cutter. You don't have to buy the expensive ones at the fabric store. Be creative! Even soup cans work! I use these:
6. Rulers - Drawing straight lines are essential in sewing. I use a variety of rulers depending on my project. A curved ruler works will for blending sizes too.
7. Point Turners - Achieving that perfect point in a collar or any corner sets you apart from a "homemade" look to a professional ready to wear look. Some people use a pencil or even the point of scissors. These leave a lot of room for errors. These two are my favorites.
Where to purchase your tools
Share your favorite sewing tool that I haven't mentioned. Do you have any favorites? Comment below and share your favorite brands and experience.
Be sure to like and subscribe to my channel!
Affiliate links are in this post.
Fabric Haul in Boulder
I have a wonderful fabric haul for you! Last Friday my 3-year old grandson and I headed to Boulder to check a couple of fabric shops I just discovered.
The first one is Elfriede's Fine Fabrics. I was simply blown away by the quality of these fabrics. They were talking my language! Fabric language, that is!
They are located near the 29th Street Shops on the corner of Folsom & Canyon Rd in Boulder, Colorado. It's easy to find and there's usually plenty of parking. Be sure to park in the white spaces, whereas, the yellow are marked reserved.
The quilting cottons are in the front of the store as you walk in. There were all colors and patterns. The sky's the limit according to your creativity!
Further back was where I camped out. There I found Liberty of London cotton lawns, bamboo knits, jacquards, cotton knits, wools, suiting fabrics and silks. I'm sure I'm missing something but you get the point.
I would rate the quality 5 stars! You can tell they carefully purchase the fabrics they love. I really didn't have a plan and just let the fabrics speak to me as to what I would make.
I noticed some of the knits were purchased in panels. I bought 2 panels of two very different fabrics. I've already made one top, my Penni top, out of a beautiful abstract floral cotton knit with gorgeous purple, aqua, grey and black.
This top is so comfortable. I wore it with black pants and my black leather boots. I would like to make a sleeveless mid-thigh duster sweater in black. I think that that would add a bit more style to my outfit. Without a jacket does showcase the panels in the top just a bit more.
I purchased 2 panels for this project. One panel was used for the front and back. The other panel panel created the sleeves and cowl neckline.
I used my master pattern I made from Judy Kessinger's Fit Nice System. I added a scoop neck then cut the cowl from a rectangle I had left over. I didn't have much left so I had to be creative.
The cowl neck ended up measuring 12" x 24". I sewed the back center seam, folded it in half and sewed it to the neckline.
I must admit I originally sewed in a standard t-shirt type band for the neckline. I didn't like it. It didn't add any style to the top at all. I ended up cutting it out making the neckline just a little bit larger, which was fine, and created the cowl look. It was the style I was looking for.
Check out my YouTube video below and you'll see everything I purchased at Elfriede's that day. I'll definitely be back!
The second place I visited was called Fabricate. It's located in the Pearl Street Mall area of Boulder and only minutes from Elfriede's.
This is a super cute shop! They carry a lot of cottons you can use for almost any project. They also carry high quality yarns, embroidery threads, Indie patterns, and notions.
In the back of the store is a studio where they hold classes of various types. Check out their web site for more details!
Since this was my second stop for the day I had already spent my budget at Elfriede's. I couldn't leave without grabbing a few items though.
I picked up a beautiful book, Jotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, pictured above. I purchased it to help inspire my creativity for a new project or two.
I did find one particular cotton canvas-type fabric in the back room. I thought I would make a wonderful jacket! This fabric is 100% organic cotton and sewed like a dream. I'm hoping the fabric will soften up with wear. I created my own design, created the pattern using the #fitnicesystem and went for it!
I took my time so I could be sure each step I took would work out perfectly. I ended up adding side pockets, buttoned down the labels so they wouldn't flop around and be in the way and even added functional pockets inside each side of the front facing. One pocket will be used for my cell phone and the other smaller pocket will give me a handy spot for my license and a couple of credit cards.
I finally finished the jacket made a few sizing adjustments in the side seams and love how it turned out!
Be sure to like and subscribe to my channel!
The Penni Top
Do you love to design and have some sewing experience? Then the Fit Nice System is for you!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a two-day workshop and learned the ins and outs of this type of pattern drafting.
In the class we used the Fit Nice Pants Pattern and made a pair of pants that fit like a dream!
Everyone has a unique shape and the ready to wear sometimes just doesn't fit to truly flatter your figure. Judy Kessinger has solved the problem!
Visit her web site to learn more about her innovative way to draft patterns. She has tons of videos to help you along the way.
Once I made my pattern I decided to make a simple long sleeve top with a soft cowl neckline.
Here are the pattern pieces I used:
Basic sewing instructions:
All in all this top was easily created in an evening. I did serge the seams and added easy knit to the top of each shoulder. This adds stability to the shoulder seam along with a little bit of structure.
This top was super comfortable! My daughter told me it looked like something I would buy at Chico's! Wow! What a complement because I love to shop at Chico's.
Take a look at the video and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Hi! My name is Penni. I've been sewing most of my life. I love fashion sewing whether it's for a special occasion or for everyday wear. Join me and I will teach you how simple sewing can be!
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