Monthly Archives: April 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday: Add a snazzy detail to knit hems

If you routinely hem knit garments using your sewing machine, consider combining several stitches to achieve a custom hem finish. In the example below, there are 2 rows of straight stitching on either side of a triple zig-zag stitch. Pretty, and very unique! Try experimenting with the various stitch options on your sewing machine to see what you can create!

Decorative hem on knit t-shirt by Sew Maris

Happy sewing!

Maris

FREE Pattern Give-away WINNER!

We definitely have a winner, ladies, and she was selected by a random drawing in accordance with the strictest accounting standards.However, like all the entrants, she also left an awesome comment about her plans for Vogue 1174 and Vogue 1161:

“I’m going to Paris in July and plan on wearing all me-made clothes while I’m there. I would wear 1174 to picnic on the banks of Canal St Martin or dancing or dancing on the Left Bank Port St Bernard.”

Sooz, I hope you have a fabulous time in Paris this summer. (Though I ask you, how could you not have a great time in Paris?) Oh, and did I mention that in order to claim your prize you will need to purchase one companion ticket for me? JK! 😉

FREE Vogue pattern giveaway by Sew Maris

Enjoy making these 2 pretty dresses, and wearing them in the City of Light!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Vogue 8873 beats all expectations (by a mile!)

You might be wondering why I made a dress for which I didn’t have very high expectations. I actually did think Vogue 8873 was a really cute dress design, and I am kind of crushing on cowls right now, and I wanted to use a piece of insanely-gorgeous fabric from EmmaOneSocksome great fabric store…..so I was initially sure the finished product was going to be lovely.

Vogue pattern 8873 made by Sew Maris

Somehow, don’t ask me how because I can’t explain it, I didn’t realize until the project was underway that the waistline was dropped below the natural waist. Yes, the technical drawing/pictures give a hint of this. Yes, the front bodice darts indicated this. But somehow I was not paying enough attention. And a dropped waist on a high-hipped lady usually spells trouble. So I fretted and stewed. Worried that I was putting effort into something that was not going to be wearable. Worried I was “wasting” my beautiful fabric. Worried that my all-too-precious sewing time was being wasted.

So I constructed the dress front and the dress back, and basted the side seams together. I tried it on. And I was stunned. Stunned, I tell you.

Voue 8873 as sewn by Sew Maris

It worked on my figure! It fit perfectly! It was not wasted effort in any way! And since I have at least one wedding to attend this summer I now have a pretty new dress to wear that makes me feel all flirty and feminine. Winner-winner chicken-dinner!

Vogue 8873 as sewn by Sew Maris

The fabric is a super comfy ponte in an inky navy blue paintbrush print. I fell in love with this fabric and ordered several yards (how many months ago?), not knowing for certain what it wanted to become. When I saw Vogue 8873 it was a natural pairing.

The instructions call for this dress to be lined, but I didn’t have any stretchy lining in my stash, and couldn’t find any tricot when I made a feeble attempt to find a suitable lining. I took a risk that the lining was not required. That decision did require binding the armhole with ivory bias Ambiance; easy-peasy. I also lined the pockets with the same ivory Ambiance.

I made my usual “petite above the waist” adjustment, and lengthened the skirt by almost 2 inches. (Thanks be to God, since it ended barely at my knees!) Other than that, a straight size 14. This dress is very easy to sew, and I am thinking about making another version with the bias skirt, maybe in a floaty rayon fabric? In the meantime, I plan to wear the heck out of this pretty frock!

Vogue 8873 sewn by Sew Maris

Geez, too many selfies in this post?!? 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris

FREE Pattern Giveaway Friday

It’s time some of you lovelies benefited from my overflowing pattern stash. Look at these 2 beauties! Both of these patterns are uncut and in their original envelopes. Vogue 1174 (OOP) includes sizes 12-14-16-18, and Vogue 1161 (OOP) includes sizes 14-16-18-20. Evidently I unfolded Vogue 1174 at one time (who knows why??), but I checked and all the tissue is uncut—just not in the factory folds. I think you can deal. Plus I’m also throwing in a pair of Somore scissors, and a package of assorted needles and a tape measure. You can always use extras of those, right?

This single giveaway package includes both patterns, the scissors, and the tape+needles. My sewing studio storage area thanks you, and so do my children. They are already worrying about what do do with all my sewing paraphernalia when I die. Erin, Ben, Paul and Katie—I do this for you!! 🙂

FREE Vogue pattern giveaway by Sew Maris

Leave me a comment no later than 9:00 a.m. Monday, April 28th – I want to hear where you plan to wear these dresses or what fabric you are dreaming of using. I will either pick randomly, or I might decide to pick my favorite comment – so be creative!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

Tutorial: Easy 1-Hour Skirt

I am not kidding, you can make totally this skirt in an hour. And is it not SUPER-cute? Scale up or down to make the size you need, and have fun making loads of these easy, reversible skirts for all the little ladies in your life. Let’s get started so you can see how easy this project really is.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Supplies:

  1. Two pieces of coordinating fabric (see “math” too figure out how much)
  2. 1 pkg of Dritz 1″ fold-over elastic in a coordinating color
  3. 1 pkg of extra-wide double fold binding in a coordinating color
  4. Matching thread
  5. Sewing machine (duh)
  6. Basic sewing supplies

First off, let’s do a little math to determine how much fabric you need. You will need to know your child’s hip and skirt length measurement to determine the amount of fabric you need, and later you will need their waist measurement to cut the elastic.

For the width of fabric needed, multiply child’s hip measurement by 1.5, plus add 2 seam allowances (I used 1/2 ” seam allowances). For my DGD, I cut my skirt fabric sections (21 inches * 1.5) = 31.5 + (.5 * 2) = 32.5 inches wide. That means I can get my skirt pieces out of a single width of cotton fabric that is 44/45 inches wide. Great! Only 1 joining seam.( If the skirt width you need ends up more than 44/45 you might want to adjust your skirt pieces so that you have 2 equal sections, which would mean doubling the number of seam allowances in the calculation above.)

For the length of fabric needed, just use the skirt length number. No seam allowances, nada. Because this skirt has a binding at the bottom instead of a turned under/joined hem, no need for extra length. Same with waist – no casing here. So again for my skirt for DGD, I just need 9 inches for the length. Easy peasy, right?

Now that you know the dimensions of you skirt pieces, you can cut two pieces of coordinating fabrics for your skirt. My two pieces are 32.5 inches wide x 9 inches long. I bought 1/3 yard of each of these two fabrics, just to allow for crazy-crooked-cutting at the fabric store and shrinkage.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Next, right sides together, stitch each skirt into a tube by stitching the short ends together.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Turn one skirt right side out, and place the two skirts together with the WRONG SIDES touching. Now you have one tube of fabric, aka a skirt, with a “pretty side” visible on the inside and the outside. See? Weird birdy-things on one side and blue flower-y things with yellow leaves on the other side of DGD’s skirt.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Now the skirt hem. I always wash purchased binding to take care of any shrinkage and also to get rid of that nasty, stiff sizing. Cut a piece of binding (be sure it is extra wide double fold!!) several inches longer than the circumference of the skirt, and pin the binding in place with the skirt edges together and “sandwiched” into the center fold of the binding.

At the join, I like to put the partially open binding on top (on the right below) of the completely opened binding (on the left below), which also has the front edge folded back about 1/4 inch. Then wrap the completely open binding over the partially open binding, and sandwich the skirt edge inside the binding.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

See how this technique results in a very neat, clean join without any little hanging bits of the “inside” binding side poking out? Tidy!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Stitch the binding to the skirt. You can keep the inside edge of your presser foot close to the binding, or use an edgestitch foot if you prefer. You could also use a pretty decorative stitch.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

OK, your skirt is hemmed and now you are ready to attach the fold-over-elastic (FOE) at the waist. Run a basting stitch around the waist about 5/8″ or 3/4″ from the raw edge of the skirt waist. You do not want this basting/gathering stitch to be caught under the FOE—you want to be able to easily remove it after the elastic is completely attached – so that is why it should be more than 1/2 inch from the raw skirt edge .

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Next, cut a length of Dritz 1″ FOE 3-4 inches SMALLER than you child’s waist measurement. Stitch the short ends of the elastic together forming a circle.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Pull up the gathering stitch at the skirt waist so that it is the same circumference as the elastic circle, and pin the elastic to the skirt with the elastic “fold over” line even with the skirt waist raw edges. Do not stretch the elastic to fit—you will end up with a skirt that is waa-a-a-y too big in the waist. Trust me.

Using a basting stitch, and with the elastic against your feed dogs, baste the elastic to the skirt. Be sure this basting stitch is approximately in the center of the elastic. You also are going to want to easily rip this out later.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Switch to a medium-long and medium-wide zig-zag stitch on your machine, and then fold the elastic over the skirt completely encasing the waist. Stitch near the bottom edge of the elastic, making sure to catch both edges of the elastic with the zig-zag. See the basting stitch? It is barely under the right side of the presser foot of my machine in the image below.  Purrr-fect!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

After you have completed the zig-zagging around the waist, very carefully rip out the basting stitch in the center of the elastic and also the gathering stitches in the skirt fabric. Be really, really careful with your seam ripper in that FOE. It is very soft, and it is soooo easy to snag an elastic thread when you are trying to remove those basting stitches. Ask me how I know! 😉 This is how the elastic should look at the skirt waist when you are done. Zig-zag stitches close to the edge, catching both sides of the elastic on both sides of this stinkin’ cute reversible skirt.

Reversible Skirt tutorial by Sew Maris

And this is how your finished skirt will look. Now it just needs to be on a cute child!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

I hope you find this tutorial helpful, and have some fun combining fabrics and trims to make a cute skirt or two for your favorite little girl. I’d love to see your pictures, and as always, LOVE to get your Comments!

Happy sewing!

Maris

12 EASY Ways to Improve Your Sewing Skills

  1. Join the American Sewing Guild (ASG). Plenty of educational opportunities + SEWING SISTERS!! From their web site: ” ASG is a membership organization that welcomes sewing enthusiasts of all skill levels and from many different walks of life. Chapters are located in cities all across the country and members meet monthly to learn new sewing skills, network with others who share an interest in sewing and participate in community service sewing projects…” Disclaimer: I belong to ASG and think it is the best thing since sliced bread.
  2. Start a local chapter of ASG if one doesn’t exist in your locale. It is a good bet there are others-you-have-yet-to-meet who are itching to connect with sewing enthusiasts such as yourself.
  3. Read a book. O.M.G. There are so many awesome sewing books that will help you improve your skills. Check out my recommended sewing books short list – but definitely do not stop there. Go to the library first, and then go nuts on Amazon. Or garage sales.
  4. Follow sewing blogs. There are “sew many” awesome blogs out there for children’s clothing, quilting, bags, adult garments—you name it, you are likely to find a blog about it.
  5. Watch videos. There is a YouTube video on how to do EVERYTHING, amiright? Threads offers a selection of free videos, and BurdaStyle.com also offers tutorials with videos. What other sites do you like for online sewing video help?
  6. Sign up for an online class. Just to name two, Craftsy.com and PatternReview.com both offer online classes (most for a fee).
  7. Watch a sewing techniques DVD. There are piles of sewing DVDs available from my local library. Have you checked your library’s collection? Of course there are plenty of purchasing opportunities as well.
  8. Go to a sewing meetup. If you aren’t familiar with meetups, they are a quick and easy way to find people with similar interests. Search for “sewing” meetups in your area, or start one yourself!
  9. Join a sewing site. Some of the biggies are PatternReview.com, BurdaStyle.com, and Artisan’s Square (Stitcher’s Guild). Join discussions in these online forums and you will find piles of folks who generously give of their time and sewing talents.
  10. Practice. Don’t be discouraged if your invisible zipper doesn’t look perfect the first time! The first time you jumped in a swimming pool you weren’t able to swim a pool length with perfect crawl stroke form, either. Get a pile of scrap fabric, and start working on your techniques. If you put an invisible zipper in 10 times I’m pretty sure the 10th will be better than the first.
  11. Buy accessory presser/feet or tools that will help make tricky jobs easier. If you read my blog at all, you know I LOVE my presser feet. I probably buy too many, but I am supporting my local dealer/economy. Start with those sewing jobs you know you do frequently. Always topstitching something? Buy an edgestitch foot. Like to make blue jeans? Buy a jeans foot. Always put invisible zippers in your skirts? Buy an invisible zipper foot (and I DON’T mean the generic package of crappy plastic parts from the fabric store!). Can’t get enough pintucked, heirloom dresses for little girls? Buy a pintuck foot. You get the idea.
  12. Find a mentor/coach/private instructor in your neighborhood. Sewists are among the most generous people I know, and most will gladly spend time helping you with a specific problem or general questions about sewing. Most of us nerds WELCOME the opportunity to talk with other interested sewists, and our families will THANK YOU for diverting some of the sewing talk elsewhere. 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: A scrap of paper helps

Do you sometimes have trouble threading your sewing machine, especially at night? Try placing a small piece of “bright white” paper right behind the needle. You will be amazed at how much more visible the eye of the needle becomes! The next time you are struggling with threading, try this simple trick and see if it helps you, too.

Happy sewing!

Maris

Style Arc Marni Ponti Jacket: A winner

Quick construction process, forgiving fabric to sew with, great design details—what’s not to love about Style Arc’s Marni Ponti Jacket! Have you tried making your own version yet?

Style Arc Marni Jacket pattern

I am a sucker for peplums because I think they cover a multitude of sins, PLUS they are pretty and feminine. They were still all over the runway in this spring’s fashion shows, as well as still appearing in some of the Big Four pattern designs. A little flouncy in the back, two topstitched pleats in the front, and you have a jazzy little peplum most would love wearing. The 3/4 sleeves on this light jacket are my “sleeve length de rigueur”.  (Pretty much as soon as I became a mother I dumped long sleeves for 3/4 length; it really reduced the number of garments coated with spaghetti sauce, amiright?) Details, ladies, it is all in the details, and I love pretty much all of them on this jacket.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

I made my Marni from a fairly lightweight inky navy ponte in my stash. In retrospect I wish it had a touch more body, but I will wear it for a while and see how I like it. Although it is called a jacket, in a lighter weight fabric it is almost a cardigan. Oh, and the only fitting adjustment I made was to petite the upper body by 3/8 of an inch. Easy peasy.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

The back is very simple, tho I do love the cuff turnback. Just right for showing off some of my silver bracelets!

Style Arc Marni Jacket (button closeup) made by Sew Maris

The pattern specified a large hook and eye closure, and as you can see in the pattern cover, it is styled with a belt. Well, I know me, and while a belt probably WOULD look great on this jacket, a single good-looking button simplifies both dressing and wearing. I really hate adjusting and fiddling with clothes on my body; I prefer the “throw on and go” approach. Besides, this button is PURRR-fect. No buttonhole, just a single button for another finishing detail, and a hook and eye closure underneath.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

Now let’s take a peek inside. You can see I stitched the entire jacket on my sewing machine—no serging. It just felt like too much thread for the design + fabric. I am pretty sure my stitch width was set to 1.0 and length to 3.0 (or maybe 3.5). The topstitching on the front princess seam + peplum pleat holds those seam allowances where they belong, and I did a blind catch stitch on the hem and all the way up the front facing to hold those edges in place. Remember, soft knits want to slide around, so I am much happier now with the roll of the shawl collar all the way down the front of the jacket. It just took a little fabric-bossing to get everyone in line. Oh, and a little seam binding up top to stay the shoulders, and that’s about it, folks. This is a case where Style Arc DOES = EASY.

Just a little teaser….there IS more on the way for this ensemble. If I could only get a little more time under the sewing machine!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

Double the skirt delight

For my money, sewing clothes for little ones must be quick-to-make and stinkin’ cute. I am pretty sure this little skirt qualifies, and BONUS! It is reversible!

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

I love the bright color palette of this variegated chevron fabric. Just add a bit of rick rack and print FOE, and you have an almost-instant-skirt.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

Doesn’t that orange and pink elastic just set off the colors in the fabric?

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

I adore rick rack on children’s clothes. It’s a little retro, but modern and fresh at the same time. Can’t.get.enough.rick.rack.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

And if the chevrons weren’t enough, this bold floral is screaming “SPRINGTIME”!

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

Sorry. Just wanted you to see that adorable rick rack again.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

There it is! An easy peasy lemon squeezy reversible toddler skirt. Wait! Where is the toddler? Well, she refused to model her new skirt. For all of you who have experienced toddlerhood this is not at all surprising. It may happen later. But I had to show you this pink and orange cuteness right away. I am pretty sure you are going to ask me for a tutorial, aren’t you?. You might need to beg a little.;-)

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Ziggi Sew-Along: Completion Deadline EXTENDED

Alright my pretties, StacySews and I have heard you. You need a little more time. Life can certainly get in the way of the all-important-sewing sometimes; we understand that.

Ziggi motorcycle jacket made by Sew Maris
So how about April 30th? Take until the end of April to complete your Ziggi. You deserve a break today! In case you need any guidance along the way, below is a listing of the construction process. Hope this helps, and don’t stress. Just SEW and all will be well. 🙂

Don’t forget to post pictures of your completed Ziggi on the Flickr group. Let the world see your Ziggi awesome-ness!

Happy sewing!

Maris