Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tutorial: How to Hem Jeans (and Stop Paying For Hemming Alterations)

If you own a decent sewing machine, all you need to do is buy a couple of inexpensive tools and you will be all set to hem your own jeans and casual pants. As a matter of fact, you could quickly start charging your friends to do their hemming alterations!

Video Tutorial: How to Hem Jeans by Sew MAris

Here are the tools/supplies you will need:

  1. Size 100 Jeans needle
  2. Jean-a-majig
  3. Denim or topstitching thread to match the garment
  4. Scissors
  5. Sewing machine

Watch this video to learn just how easy it is to properly hem a pair of jeans. You’ve got this, peeps!!



Happy sewing!


Tutorial: How to Sew a Blind Hem

You love to sew, but maybe you are a little low on time to create the kind of garments you can be proud to wear. Or maybe all you need is a clear explanation and a simple, clear demonstration of the technique you have been itching to try.

Let’s start with the way ready-to-wear garments are hemmed in manufacturing. Duh! By using an invisible or blind hem on a sewing machine, that’s how. There is no time for hand hemming in a manufacturing process.

Video Tutorial: How to Blind Hem by Machine by Sew Maris


Soooo, if you  are not exactly sure how large your hem depth should be, or the proper amount of hem turn back, or how to orient your fabric under the sewing machine, this video will give you the answers you need. Give this technique a try! All you need is a blind hem stitch and a blind hem foot for your sewing machine. Oh. And a garment that needs to be hemmed.


There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Now get out there and hem like a pro! (Psssst! Practice helps tremendously, btw. ;-))

Happy sewing!


Send Your Son to Sew Camp

Sewing is not just for girls, you know. There are loads of extremely accomplished and talented men sewists in the world, and one of them has been in my studio the past couple of weeks. He doesn’t have that big a following yet, but give him a bit of time and he might just blow up on all the social media channels.


That happened last week. Some.Serious.Concentration.


Boys wear pajama pants. Girls wear pajama pants. Both girls and boys enjoy sewing pajama pants!


Looks like happiness is making a drawstring backpack for the first time!


“Dad! Don’t make me laugh!”


Two cute models showing off their finished PJ pants before Mr. S. headed off to another gymnastic event. The guy has some moves, I’ll tell you! After making his first pair of pajama pants with the rest of the class Monday and Tuesday, Mr. S worked mostly solo on his second pair today. I’m willing to bet his mom and dad might get a pair before too long!

It has really been great to have Mr. S. sewing with the other kids the past couple of weeks. He is a very focused and motivated sewing student, and it has been really fun to watch his fast progress at the sewing machine.Thanks for hanging out in the sewing studio, Mr. S, you have been a very welcome addition!!

Happy sewing!


Quick Tip Tuesday: A Clever Use of Sealant

I LOVE reading or hearing about clever sewing tips from others, and passing them off as my ownsharing them with my wonderful readers.

I use a seam sealant on my buttonholes before I cut them open,but I never thought to add a drop of seam sealant to the button. I recently read this little tip in Sew News, and thought it was pretty clever. Especially for machine-stitched buttons. I think the fabric would disintegrate before any button I hand-stitched on would have the nerve to fall off, but I think this is a great tip for purchased RTW shirts.

Have you ever tried adding seam sealant to buttons?

Happy sewing!


Style Arc Anthea Dress

Don’t you think this dress just begs to be made up for flirty spring and summer wear? So very coquette-ish, n’est-ce pas?

Designed for an experienced sewist, the challenging sew Anthea is described by Style Arc as “…the dress of the season, fitted bodice with a soft falling skirt, can be made with or without lining. This is the dress of the moment; wear it with your favourite belt, pop on the Hannah jacket for a complete look.”

Style Arc Anthea by Sew Maris

I made up my version of this pretty, feminine dress from a piece of silky soft cotton shirting I bought last year, maybe at Sew Expo. Billie’s Designer Fabrics? Nancy’s Sewing Basket? I can’t remember for sure where my purchase was made, but I was saving this fabric for just the right garment. I think it was aging properly for the Anthea, don’t you? Ummm, those whimsical dark navy pinwheels on bright purple and off-white striped fabric are definitely fun and flirty, IMHO.


Obviously you can’t see, but I lined the dress in a very lightweight cotton batiste. No slip. No see-through. Win-win! I also had to lengthen the skirt about 3 inches. For some reason the Style Arc pants are super long and I never have to add length, but the skirts are way short for ummm, a woman of a certain age.

Style Arc Anthea by Sew Maris

I made 4 fitting adjustments to this pattern: 1) petite’d (shortened) the bodice thru the armhole by almost 1/2 inch front and back; 2) added 3 inches to the skirt length; 3) added a forward shoulder adjustment, and 4) dropped the side front dart by 1/2 inch. I think the front fits perfectly! No complaints.


Grrrrr! What’s going on with that back armhole?

Style Arc Anthea by Sew MAris

Hey! Where did this extra length come from? Am I shorter in my back bodice than my front bodice?

I guess I didn’t check the back view carefully enough with my bodice muslin. Sigh. Guess I will get to make friends with my seam ripper again. I am not sure I am up for putting the zipper in again, but I will definitely rip the shoulders apart and pull the back up a bit at the shoulder seam. Maybe that will make the back hang properly enough that I can live with it. Or I can always just throw a cardigan on, right? 😉

Style Arc Anthea Dress by Sew Maris

Just look at it from the front. With a little twirling it looks great! I am totally going to wear this dress with a smile on my face even if I can’t get the back fit perfected, and will just work on tweaking the fit on the next version. This dress is definitely a winner, and there will be more of them coming.

Happy sewing!



Vogue Fall 2014 Pattern Collection Review

Hands down, Vogue has always been my favorite pattern company of the “big 4”. I have made countless garments, primarily from the designer collections, over the course of  my sewing  life. Like many of the rest of you, I feel that the designs offered by Vogue today are not as engaging as they used to be “back in the day”. Especially the designers. Pierre Cardin, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Albert Nipon, Valentino, and many others were truly inspirational.

The Vogue Fall 2014 collection was released last week. Should I be excited about half of the designs to call the collection a winner? Ten percent? One of the problems is Too.Many.Patterns. Do we really need a new fitted blouse pattern in every collection that is stylistically equivalent to 90% of the other fitted blouses in the Vogue catalog? NO. We don’t. Vogue: quality over quantity. Please.

Grumbling aside, let me get on with the patterns that made me say, “Ohh, I want to make that!”


Sandra, I love the seam lines on these fitted pants. Thank you! Fresh and interesting, but not weird. I don’t need any more weirdness on my lower half; got plenty of my own going on below.


Love.Just LOVE! Thank you, DKNY! (this is my fav)


While it is not so visible in this all-dark fabric, there are some really pretty seam lines here too. The pattern calls for a ponte knit fabric, and I could totally see this dress as a comfy, pull-on, “go-to” dress that gets loads of wear.


Love that in a silky soft georgette or charmeuse. Very pretty blouse, and Lladybird—I like the boob flaps!


I actually love the drama and asymmetrical design lines of this top. But I can’t envision where I would wear it. No place where I might eat food, as I would drag the sleeve through my salad dressing for sure.


I want. My DGD NEEDS this coat. Well, not really, but it is stinkin’ cute.


And this is how I like little girls to look. Not like mini-adults, and not smothered in a pile of gaga-gag-me ruffles. This is adorable, and my DGD is getting this dress for pre-school.

Now we start getting into more questionable territory. For me anyway. Of course, style is personal, and I don’t expect Vogue to design only for my taste. It would be nice, but I don’t expect it. 😉


Umm, maybe. But those kimono sleeves are tough to wear unless the fabric choice is spot on. I’m gonna pass.


Could work. But there is a huge amount of structure in this garment, and that could spell B-I-G–Y-E-L-L-O-W–T-E-N-T walking down the street. Check out the stitching on the hemline tho. Purty.


Cuz we don’t have enough princess-seamed blouses in our pattern collection.


Serious spaghetti-sauce-mopping-sleeves. And WAY too much fabric everywhere. No. Just NO.


Is that a trapezoid? Who looks good in that shape?


I think Morticia traded in her usual black garb for an even less attractive garment here. This looks like it was made from someone’s remnant scrap heap. From the 60’s. Blech.


I just read that the runway silhouette for men is narrow and fitted. This is not. And utterly non-appealing.

There are more patterns, but usually the only ones that catch my fancy are the designers. All of the endless options and basic designs are minor variations that have been done many times before.

What do you like in this collection? Do you sew Vogue patterns often? I am definitely going to pick up a few of these new patterns. How about you?

Happy sewing!



CRAFTSY Flash Sale Alert!

Just a quick post to let you know about the Craftsy Flash sale this weekend only (just until midnight 7/20!!). You can save up to 50% on more than 70  different classes Craftsy offers. Darn good deal, right?

Just click on the banner below and see what strikes your fancy. Oh, and yes, this is an affiliate link so I will get a few bucks from Craftsy if you decide to purchase from my site. So thanks for considering!!



Happy sewing!



Do you have what it takes to be a Sew Maris contributor? Loads of #sewingmojo and a burning desire to spread the love of sewing throughout the universe?


September is National Sewing Month, and I am looking for the best of the best to share their sewing story. I want to know why you LOVE to sew. What it has meant in your life. How it has changed your life. Share all, y’all! My readers are looking for dirty secrets about why sewing rocks your world. 😉

Your story will be posted on SewMaris in September. Two stories every week during this important national recognition month. If you want to be considered, shoot me an email (maris at sewmaris dot com) and give me the Reader’s Digest version of why you love sewing. Don’t make me read a book; just whet my appetite for more. You must use National Sewing Month as the subject of your email, otherwise you will be lost in hyperspace forever. No kiddin’.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy sewing!


Quick Tip Tuesday: Thread is Not Forever

As a sewing educator, I see students bring in, ummm, some interesting examples of thread. It is always interesting to me that people will spend XX dollars on beautiful fabric, but don’t consider thread as an important part of the construction equation.

Thread has a life span. It wears out. If your thread label reads 35¢ you can safely throw it away. If it breaks easily when you grab it between yours hands and give a quick snap, into the trash it goes. If it is exposed to dust and light it will degrade faster.

Do yourself a favor and “splurge” on fresh thread. 🙂

Happy sewing!




Pattern Review: Happiness Halter Playsuit by Lisa Lam

I was recently asked to participate in a blog hop for Lisa Lam’s new pattern release for children. Say what? Make up a cute outfit for my DGD, take some photos of her adorable self, and write a review about my favorite 2 year-olda new children’s pattern? Oh yeah,I am all in, baby!

Let’s start off by checking out the extreme cute-ness of the Dance with Me Dress and Happiness Halter Playsuit patterns. So.Stinking.Cute.



My DD was dying for me to make the Happiness Halter Playsuit. The pattern includes variations for a top and a dress, but I only made up the darling little romper. I even had the perfect fabric for it in my stash. A Japanese cotton print of teeny little doll figures that I bought in Hawaii this spring specifically for DGD. All had to do was buy a bit of plum-my Kona cotton to make the ruffles and binding and I was good to go on this project.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Design: A+

Love.These.Designs. Really cute, fresh, and modern-looking. Personally, I love the “ruffle restraint” in Lisa’s design aesthetic. 😉

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

PDF Download: D

I downloaded the PDF version of this pattern to get started. I immediately saw there were no alignment marks on the paper, which made matching up the pattern pieces super annoying. I managed to do it pretty successfully (noticed one error during construction), but that is just plain bad form nowadays. Make it simple for folks. This issue could make this pattern a non-starter for beginners, or at least those new to PDF downloads.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Drafting: A-

This pattern fit together well. With the one exception noted above, each pattern piece fit properly to its intended mate.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Sizing: A-

I think it is spot on, tho I only have a sample of 1. My DGD is tall and slender for her age, so I made the size 3 and cut slightly shorter elastic to tighten up the halter top back and waist area. No fit issues for our little skinny-Minny gal.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern instructions: B-

I am not sure how much of my issue with the instructions was because of different sewing terminology between UK sewists, and US sewists (errr, or maybe just me!), but I found some of the instructions unnecessarily verbose and confusing, and some were just wrong. Also, I detest flipping between sections of instructions as Lisa has you do. I know, I know. It saves time, paper, instructions, but it is annoying. <rant over>.

In step 3 of making the straps and ruffles, it says “Choose which ruffle trim you’d like as the underside layer and zig-zag stitch along the raw top edge to prevent fraying”. Two issues: 1) too word-y. Both ruffles are supposed to be the same, and people automatically pick the “best looking” to be most visible, no need to specify that kind of instruction. Also, 2) the ruffle trim is cut on the bias and bias does not fray. Maybe I am being picky, but who needs the additional bulk of a row of zig-zag stitching when it is totally unnecessary?

In step 6 of making the ruffle, ” Match the raw top edges and stitch with a 5mm (3/16 inch) seam. See Photo 5. Fold the binding back over the neckline (at the same time concealing the ruffle raw edge). The binding centre crease should butt snugly up with the neckline raw edge. Pin/clip the folded binding in place and stitch the binding to the RS halter-top neckline close to the binding bottom edge. Stitch on the right side.” All this to tell you to make a case with the neckline binding for the front neckline elastic.

Now, I think less is definitely more when it comes to written sewing construction information. Small sentences. Short words. Bulleted lists. Numbered lists. It is all about clarity. BUT. Lisa’s pictures are superb and you could mostly put the garment together just by looking at the pictures. That is why I gave the instructions a B—the pictures totally saved the day. And as I mentioned, this could be a stylistic difference between US and UK pattern instructions.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Overall: B+

I love this Happiness Halter Playsuit, and will definitely make up the Dance With Me dress for DGD sometime in the near future. One small change I will be making to the design is adding buttons/buttonholes to criss-cross the straps in the back rather than tying at the nack. Too fiddly for a 2 1/2 year old who needs to get to the potty quickly!

The Lisa Lam Sewing Patterns Collection is available now from the team at Stitch Craft Create as a printed copy of the patterns plus instruction booklets. Both the Happiness Halter Playsuit and the Dance With Me dress are also available as a PDF download from if you prefer that delivery method.

But wait! Leave me a comment about this cute pattern and one lucky reader will receive a printed copy of the pattern for FREE! Unless I decide to keep it for myself. -)

Happy sewing!






Fri 27th – A Spoonful of Sugar


Tue 1st – Pistons and Polish

Mon 7th – Kitchen Table Sewing

Tue 8th – Follow the White Bunny

Wed 9th – Kitchen Table Sewing

Sun 13th – A Stitching Odyssey

Mon 14th – Sew Maris

Fri 18th – Scruffy Badger Time

TBC Angharad Handmade

TBC House of Pinheiro