Monthly Archives: November 2013

District Fabric: My Kind of Place

Sometimes a new kind of place comes along that hits just the right note. Sweet, but not cloying; fresh, but not cheeky; robust, but not overwhelming. District Fabric.

Hanging wall of District Fabrics

Such a place is District Fabric. Owned and run by the adorable Ms Ashley Portilla, District houses a lovely collection of beautifully curated fabrics. You won’t find everything there. You might not even find what you are looking for. But what District DOES have is wonderful fabric. Soft knit in solids and whimsical prints that want to become tops or oh-so-cozy PJs. Flamboyant silks that want to dance the night away. Denims, some by designers like Calvin Klein, that are dying to become your next pair of pants or pencil skirt. (Because after all, there is no such thing as too much denim in your closet.) Would you prefer to stitch up a blouse? Cute, sophisticated, and unique cottons are on the shelf near the front door, so you might find something that suits you there. Organic cottons? Check. Interesting linens that could be home dec accessories or garments are on the rolls near the door. There are more treasures than you might suspect at first glance in this small shop!

Ashley and Amy

Last Friday Amy of Sew Well and I met up at District. Amy is new to Seattle, and I wanted her to know about this little gem of a fabric store. Don’t you love how engrossed Ashley and Amy are in their conversation about sewing? It is a safe bet that we all will be continuing our chatting and friendship and fabric petting in the future; Friday was just the warm-up.

I had to scoot back to Bellevue, so I didn’t get any close-ups of some of my favorite textiles. Next time. And likely it will be before too long. In the meantime, stop by and say hi to Ashley, and then let me know what you think of District.

Happy sewing!


Wallet pattern obsession, V2

A much improved V2 of my wallet-making obsession is finished and already in use!

Back view of finished wallet

Really, I think I am most excited about the back side of the wallet. I love how the D-rings look on that little strip of fabric, and they can be used to hook a wristlet as I have done here, or a longer strap could turn it into a cross-body bag. Options are important, right?

credit card slots in wallet
The inside may not look at much different at first glance, but the feel is very different. Adding the fusible batting to the back of the wallet and quilting it makes the wallet feel much sturdier and like a higher-quality item. No one wants to make something that feels chintzy, right?

Accordion pocket in completed wallet
The accordion pocket is the same, but the zipper pocket construction is different and better! I stitched one side of the zipper to the front wallet piece, attached a pocket to the “out” side of the zipper, and then topstitched the pocket piece onto the front wallet piece. Kinda hard to understand theoretically – maybe a wallet tutorial is on order – but trust me, it eliminates bulk and is very functional. I kept the D-ring in the side seam – now I just need to get an extra house key onto it! BTW, my cell phone fits in this pocket perfectly which means this wallet is perfect for quick trips when a purse-ful is not required. Awesome.

credit card slots in wallet
No change to the credit card pockets. They work fine as is, tho maybe could be tightened up a little. Did I show you the pocket behind that works for bills?

Pocket behind credit cards
I still think there are some tweaks that could improve this design even more. I want to try a heavier stiffener inside, or maybe 2 layers of the weight I did use. I think experimenting with this pattern is going to be fun, and I have plenty of gals who have expressed an interest in receiving one of these. As long as they have been good this year Santa just may leave one in their stocking!

Happy sewing!


Wallet pattern obsession

You know what I’m talking about, because you do it too.

You start sewing something new, a type of garment or fabric or project that you have never tried before. Maybe the pattern instructions are not as clear as they could be. Or maybe the pattern doesn’t fit together perfectly. Or the finished product is OK, but if you only added a {insert feature of your choice} it would be AWESOME!

See, you get obsessed, too. That’s what happened when I tried to sew my first wallet pattern. One of my darling students was working on a wallet/mini-purse, and I thought her project looked so adorable I wanted to join in the fun. Me, the crazy-I-only-sew-garments lady, wanted to make a wallet. Well, I felt a little like the ACA; the V1 rollout kinda stunk.

First wallet front

See what I mean? The flap has a flip, and not at all in a good way.

First wallet inside flat

The inside sections are sort of OK. At least I like the credit card section in the middle. But the accordion pocket and the zippered pocket at the bottom make the lower edge too bulky.

First wallet back

And those D-rings I added to the original pattern for the wristlet strap make the wallet look like it is trying to fly away little bird! Or possibly mimic Ross Perot’s bat-ears. Major badness! And I don’t believe I mentioned the feel of the wallet was rather, ummm, chintzy. Cheap. Definitely not what I was going for.

I actually had used more and heavier interfacing than the original pattern called for. Soooo, either my fabric was too lightweight (quilting cotton) or I needed more oomph under the covers. I had some fusible batting in my stash, so I cut out a new wallet and fused the batting to the outside back. Yes, I even quilted it a little. In a swirly, not-genuine-quilting kind of way that would embarrass my real quilting friends. But still—I stitched thread thru batting and cloth so in my book it counts. Hey, what about the strip of fabric across the entire back holding the D-rings? Kind of Baggallini-esque, eh?

Second wallet back in-process

Progress, right?

More to come. I stayed up till 1:00 a.m. the other night obsessing over V2 of my wallet. I don’t think bags/wallets are going to overtake garments for me, but something is pushing my geeky-problem-solving mind to perfect this item.

Happy sewing!


Time for new jeans: Jalie 2908

I love making my own jeans. Oftentimes sewn garments are more expensive than purchased garments, but jeans are one item where you actually can save a little money. And they are fun to sew!

Black Jeans Supplies
My preferred pattern is Jalie 2908. If you venture over to you will find many reviews of this jean pattern, and it was rated a “Best of PR” pattern in 2009. A good place to start if you are new to jeans-making.

Bernina 830

Bernina 710

Bernina 1300MDC

I like to set up 3 machines when I make jeans. Sounds crazy, I know, but it eliminates constant thread changes. I use my vintage Bernina 830 to seam with regular poly thread; my Bernina 710 for topstitching with denim topstitching thread; and my serger to run a 3-thread overlock on all seams.

Black JEans Yoke Reversed

I was able to get the back legs of the jeans totally assembled. As a matter of fact, I assembled part of this section twice. I cleverly reversed the back yokes—yes, topstitching, serging and all—so I got the chance to bond with my seam ripper tonight. BAH! Wouldn’t that have been comfortable with the center back dipping down in the middle?

Black Jeans Back

That’s more like it! I also decided to try dropping the back pockets down 1 inch from where the suggested pattern placement. Have you noticed how some jeans have the back pockets halfway down the legs? Trying to avoid the mom jean look here – tho I don’t think this pattern is mom-ish as is. But anyway, trying a new pocket placement. 😉

Black JEans Fronts

Not too much accomplished on the front legs. Yes, that would be because I had so much ripping to do. Not that I am bitter or anything. I got both front pockets/linings attached. Darn it, I forgot to add a coin pocket to these pants. It is not included on the pattern but I sometimes put one on just for a fun detail. Oh well, next time.

Black Jeans Red Lining

The red pocket lining will have to provide the fun factor for this pair of jeans. Maybe I can finish them tomorrow. No promises!

Happy sewing!




Sqeeeel! It’s finally here – a totally new look for Sew Maris!


Heather, I am blown away by your awesome graphic design work, THANK YOU! And Erin, I SOOOOOOOO appreciate all the hours you put into building out the new site functionality. You amazing ladies totally rocked it, and definitely over-delivered. THANK YOU!

Dear readers,I hope you like the new visuals, the logo, the online payment option for Kids Sew Camps, and basically everything about the new site. Check things out, send me your feedback, and I really, really hope you love it *almost* as much as I do.