The Sadie Slip Dress: Five Ways!

When Michele of @winmichele announced that she and @faithstjules were hosting the Flashback Sewing Challenge on Instagram, I immediately knew which era of fashion I’d be honoring: The 90s!

Maybe it’s because I was coming-of-age in the 90s and early Aughts, but I love fashion of that era (and the music!). It holds so much nostalgia for me, taking me back to a time when—admittedly, driven primarily by my teenage hormones—everything felt important! And meaningful! And when it came to fashion, I often drooled over the outfits in magazines and T.V. shows and music videos (Friends or MTV Total Request Live, anyone?). The reality was, most of the fashion I longed for was slightly out of my reach as a young teen who’s wardrobe budget came from Mom. So as an adult, I find myself drawn to the style, at a time when I can buy my own clothes, or even better…make them myself! BOO-YAH!

Enter: the Sadie Slip dress.

First of all, I feel the responsibility to make a PSA: Make yourself a bias cut dress!!! The drape and flow of this little number is really flattering, and I don’t think I have ever felt so comfy in a dress. Definitely an easy win of a project—it was simple to make and looks great on. I recommend letting it hang for about 24 hours before wearing to let the drape of it settle into the fabric.

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The Sadie Slip Dress embodies everything I love about 90s style…romantic, versatile, and effortlessly sexy. Yep, I said it. This dress is sexy! It is so timeless and definitely something that will be a staple in my wardrobe from here on out. I took on this project like a little 90s-inspired capsule wardrobe. There are so many ways to style a dress like this, and here’s my take on it!

Scroll to the bottom for sizing, fabric, and cost details.

Sweet + Casual

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For my first look, I paired the dress with a white “baby tee”. I actually made this tee from an XXL thrifted t-shirt (it looked like it was never even worn!) that I cut down to my size using the Nikko Top pattern from True Bias. I preserved the neck binding and sleeve hems, and sewed it up in less than 15 minutes!

The t-shirt underneath makes the dress bra-friendly, and I could totally wear this outfit with a pair of Birkenstocks (not shown) just about anywhere during my normal daily errand-running.

Coffee House Poetry Reading

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That’s, like, SO 90s! Snap, snap, snap…

I found this denim vest at the Community Finery vintage thrift store in Lansing, MI. I used to have a vest almost identical to this one and for some reason I got rid of it a couple of years ago. Bummer!

Again, this look lends a casual vibe to the dress and makes it easy to wear without feeling too exposed. I also love the worn, rough denim against the delicate, ditsy floral print of the fabric.

Sunday Brunch

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One can never have too many cardigans! Remember when tank top and cardigan sets were a THING? Maybe the was the early Aughts…but I love how sweet and sophisticated this dress looks with a simple cardigan. It feels very feminine, and I love that!

This cardigan was another score from Community Finery.

Alanis Morissette Concert

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While photographing these outfits, I put on the All Out 90s playlist on Spotify. Appropriately, You Oughta Know started playing…and you oughta know I belted it out, because I can’t resist a good fem-rock anthem.

The 90s brought us grunge, and I love the playful femininity of the dress paired with the rockstar vibe of black boots and sunglasses (sunglasses also thrifted from Community Finery—I love that place!). I made the little choker necklace with some velvet ribbon and jewelry findings from Joann.

Last but not least: Date Night!

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A dainty necklace, a slip dress, and some strappy sandals were all it took to complete this look. And that’s why I love this dress so much: it can be dressed up, or dressed way down. Either way you go, it just works!

And I made the little necklace with clearance jewelry bits, also found at Joann (I couldn’t believe my luck finding this little smiley charm on clearance for 97 cents! Perfect!).

Sizing, fabric, and cost

For the Sadie Slip Dress, my measurements put me in the Medium range in the bust, Small in the waist, and Large in the hips. I knew that since it was bias cut, it would probably be just fine to sew a straight size Medium or Large, but I really wanted to shape the silhouette and give the skirt a bit of “flounce”. So I ended up with a Medium Bust, Extra Small Waist (which I took in after the dress was finished), and I graded to the XLarge size in the skirt. I also shortened the skirt by about 13 inches after I had a chance to try it on, before hemming with a narrow hem. The result is exactly what I was hoping for, and the skirt has a flounce-y, flirty hemline that I love!

I bought my fabric from JS International Textiles on Etsy. The listing says that it is an organic rayon challis (but I am a little skeptical of the “organic” label, as I’m not absolutely positive that it is possible to have rayon with an Organic certification…just something to consider if that is important to you). The quality is great! I ordered 3 yards and still have a good bit left over for another project.

Total Cost for all looks:

  • Sadie Slip Dress PDF Pattern: $8.54 USD ($12 AUD)

  • Rayon Challis Floral Fabric, 3 yards (including shipping): $25.91

  • Denim Vest, Yellow Cardigan, and Sunglasses (plus tax): $22.26

  • Thrifted T-shirt (cut down and re-sewn into baby tee): $3.00

  • Choker necklace and Smiley Necklace supplies (with lots left over for other jewelry projects): $12.11

    GRAND TOTAL: $71.82

And that’s it! I’m outtie! :)

Fern Top Expansion Pack + Alternative Neckline Finishes

As I was designing the Fern Top, I saw so many possibilities for customizing this blouse with a few really simple hacks. Today I am sharing a few of those hacks AND introducing an expansion pack for additional neckline options!

The Fern Top Neckline Expansion pack includes new pattern pieces for creating a V-Neck or Square Neck style blouse. When I found myself hacking my own pattern into these styles, I knew I needed to add them as an option!

The original Fern pattern and expansion pack includes facings for each neckline, but during testing, some testers mentioned that they prefer to do a bias bound neckline finish. Today I will show you how to do that! I’ll also show you how I finished the neckline of the Square Neck version with a lining instead of a facing, which was perfect for the eyelet fabric I used.

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First up: a V-Neck Fern with bias-bound neckline:

For this version, you’ll assemble the pattern per the instructions, but instead of attaching the facing, you’ll attach bias tape. You can buy pre-made bias tape at your fabric store, or you can make your own. I decided to make my own with a bias tape maker (I purchased this one at Joann…and it’s my new favorite tool!).

1. Cut strips of fabric on the bias.

1. Cut strips of fabric on the bias.

2. Pull end of strip through bias tape tool with about 1” sticking out to get it started.

2. Pull end of strip through bias tape tool with about 1” sticking out to get it started.

3. Iron the end to get it started.

3. Iron the end to get it started.

4. Then flip it over to slowly iron on the “right” side while you gently pull the bias tape maker away from the iron.

4. Then flip it over to slowly iron on the “right” side while you gently pull the bias tape maker away from the iron.

Voila! Bias tape!

Voila! Bias tape!

Next, I carefully pinned the bias tape edge, right sides together, to the perimeter of the neckline. You want to get the fold along one side to line up with the seam line (You can see here that my bias tape fold was actually a little too narrow, but I just tried to maintain the seam allowance by pinning it about 1/4” from the raw edge of the neckline).

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I sewed the bias tape to the entire perimeter of the neckline, overlapping the ends at the point of the V-Neck. Then I clipped the interior corner of the V-neck (without clipping the seam), to make turning easier.

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Next, I turned the shirt inside out and folded the bias tape to the interior to press, making sure the fold on the other side of the tape was pressed under for a clean finish. Once it was all pressed in place, I clipped one of the raw ends so that it would be concealed under the other end of the bias tape. Then I folded the other end under and pressed for a clean finish.

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Last, I pressed the neckline on the right side to make sure there were no wrinkles at the V-corner, and secured the bias tape by sewing around the perimeter of the neckline (I sewed this from the wrong side to make sure my seam stayed on the bias tape).

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Next up: Lining the Front Center panel of the Fern Top

Another option for finishing the neckline of the Fern Top without a facing is to line the Center Front and Center Back pattern pieces. This is a great option for shear or eyelet fabrics to provide a little modesty without compromising and easy-breezy fabric!

If you go this route, you’ll want to cut two each of the Center Front and Center Back (one of the main fabric, and one of the lining fabric for each piece). I used an eyelet for this Square Neck version, and a lightweight rayon lawn for the lining which worked out really nicely! Also, my apologies for photographing white fabric on a WHITE background…seemed like a good idea at the time! Idunno why!

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We’re going to do things a bit out of sequence from the pattern instructions so we’ll have a nice-n-clean neckline finish! Start by sewing the shoulder seams together (right sides facing) of the Center Front and Center back of the main fabric and lining, separately:

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Then pin the lining to the main pieces, right sides together, lining up the shoulder seams and neckline, and sew the perimeter of the neck opening:

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Clip into the seam allowance at the corners and the curved areas to make turning easier. You’ll also want to trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4” (not shown). Turn everything right side out and press. Then understitch the lining to the seam allowance on the interior and press again.

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Baste the two layers together around the outer edges, just inside the seam allowance, to hold everything in place. Now we can add the sleeves!

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Sew the shoulder seams of the sleeves (right sides together) and finish the seams to your preference. Then attach the sleeves to the Center Front/Back, right sides together, lining up the shoulder seams and edges. Finish the seams with your preferred method.

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Turn the sleeves right side out and press! You can continue the blouse construction per the pattern instructions!

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Finishing touches!

When you are finished, your blouse(s) will look something like this! I added a ruffle sleeve to the V-neck version for a little extra PIZZAZZ! See below for how I did that!

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How to add a ruffle sleeve

Once you have constructed your blouse, instead of hemming or adding the sleeve cuff included in the pattern, you will cut a strip of fabric that is about 5 inches longer than the Sleeve Cuff Pattern Piece length (if you want a more dramatic ruffle, make your piece longer). I made the width roughly 3 inches wide.

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Sew a loose basting stitch along one edge and leave a thread tail that is a few inches long so it’s easy to pull. Pull the thread tail to gather the edge and create a ruffle. (also, I forgot to do this, but it is a good idea to finish the short edges of the strip before doing this step, especially if serging.)

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Right sides together, align the gathered edge of the strip with the raw sleeve edge and distribute the gathers to make the ruffle fit on the sleeve edge. Pin in place and baste the ruffle to the sleeve to ensure a clean join before sewing and finishing the seam to your preference. Flip the ruffle to the right side and press the seam toward the body of the blouse.

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Hem the ruffle by folding the raw edge to the wrong side twice by approximately 1/4” each time. Press and topstich the hem in place.

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And that’s it! Have fun flauntin’ your flounce!

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Anthropologie-Inspired Thrift Store Score Refashions (and some thoughts on creative passion and Me-Made May)

I’ve always been a fan of Anthropologie style. I pin wardrobe inspiration from their site constantly on my handmade wardrobe inspo Pinterest board, especially when I am looking for ideas for beautiful fabrics that I’m not sure what to use for.

That was certainly the case when I stumbled across these two “magic skirts” at a local thrift store (if you find yourself in Lansing, MI, be sure to stop by Community Finery, located in the REO Town Marketplace!). They each had two layers of what looked to be vintage screen printed silk fabric. Since I don’t really wear skirts, and since I really, really loved the fabrics (!!), I decided I would take them apart and make something new out of them.

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I already had the idea for a reversible Ogden Cami with tie straps (inspired by a Madewell tank I found a couple of weeks ago, but now can’t find a link to the listing—it might be sold out), and I had a vague concept of a loose and drapey oversized, lightweight cardigan. So off to the Anthropologie website I went! And found the following muses for my refashion:

LINK  to Madewell

LINK to Madewell

Then I started trying to find the right sewing pattern (I already had the Ogden Cami pattern). I searched around on some of the indie pattern designer sites first, looking for something that would work, or something that I could hack into what I wanted. After a little time, I decided that I didn’t want to risk ruining the fabric by getting too experimental, so I headed over to the Burda Style website. They almost ALWAYS have something that I am looking for—their catalog is enormous—and they have reasonably-priced PDF downloads, aka: instant gratification! The only caveat with most of the Burda patterns is that the instructions are not very in-depth and it takes a little sewing know-how to follow along since they don’t usually have images to accompany the instructions.

Anyhow! I found this knot front blouse on the Burda website and snatched it right up!

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But first, I made my reversible Ogden Cami:

I’ve made several of this pattern and my only beef with it is that the straps don’t hide my bra straps. But that’s an easy fix! I addressed it here by creating an extension on the bodice for the straps (using the Ogden strap length as a guide—I made each strap about 10” long so that I could tie them, and I tapered the ends). Instead of cutting the lining to stop below the bust, I just cut two of each bodice piece—one of each fabric for the front and back. After sewing the side seams of the bodice for the exterior and lining separately, I then sewed the exterior and lining pieces together around the arm holes, straps, and neckline in one continuous seam (right sides together) and then turned it all right side out and pressed. EASY!

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The little ties are SO CUTE and my bra straps are more concealed. I decided to forgo the understitching around the neckline because it never comes out neatly on fabrics like this for me. I think my machine is a little too rough for it! But I love the way this tank turned out, and IT’S REVERSIBLE! Two tanks in one, perfecto!

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And then, I made the cardigan…

This was one of those projects that made me feel pretty proud. I knew I wouldn’t have enough of one of the fabrics to make an entire cardigan, so I just embraced the floral-pattern-mixing glory of it all and went wild!

I only had a very little part of the navy blue floral fabric, and of course that one was my fave! So I spent the most time trying to position the front bodice pieces just so to have it be a feature on the blouse. It barely fit onto the pattern piece (and I also kept reminding myself to add seam allowance—most Burda patterns don’t have it included!).

After positioning the front, I worked my way through the pattern pieces, starting with the largest pieces first, and double checking that the pieces would fit in the fabrics I wanted for each piece. It was a measure-ten-times-cut-once sort of strategy!

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There were many “SQUEEE!” moments as I sewed it all together. And it came together very quickly. I used my serger for all of the exposed seams and my sewing machine for any seam that would be concealed.

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I’ll probably eventually make another version of this cardigan with more narrow and shorter ties and short sleeves. I can see so many possibilities for it and I’m happy to have it in my pattern library.

PROJECT COSTS:

  • Ogden Cami PDF Pattern: $10

  • Burda Style #109 Knot Front Blouse PDF Pattern: $5.99

  • Thrifted '“magic skirts”: $32 total

  • TOTAL COST (both garments): $47.99


Me-Made May sewing

This project was a continuation of my Me-Made May challenge of repurposing thrifted clothing and materials, and I just have to say I am so grateful for this challenge! When I first heard of #memademay, I wasn’t really sure how I could participate in a way that would be interesting enough to keep me engaged AND meaningful enough to share publicly (because, hell, I’ve been wearing me-mades nearly every single day since I started sewing my own wardrobe—I’m already obsessed!). But this challenge really upped my sewing game and has completely shifted the way I approach new projects. I just don’t think I could have made something so beautiful without the focus on making something old new again. I don’t think I could have even imagined mixing patterns like this, or sourced fabrics that would have looked so lovely together on my own (but now I think maybe I could, because my brain has expanded a little after making this!).

How sewing is changing my life: A monologue…

And it makes me love sewing even more. This hobby has given me so much confidence…creatively and about my body. This time last year, I felt very “meh” about sewing and my wardrobe. I was sewing constantly for my other handmade business (fulfilling wholesale orders). While I was so grateful to be busy, I was getting so burned out sewing the same things over and over again. And I was super conflicted about growing my business, which was finally gaining some traction. I almost didn’t sew my first wardrobe piece, because the thought of investing time into a project that required so much sewing made me worry that I’d find it unfulfilling and not finish it. But my experience was completely the opposite of that and I’m so glad I gave it a try! Because now I’ve tapped into something really special that I didn’t even realize was there.

A little over a year ago, I was feeling so…honestly? Enraged…that pursuing my creative business felt so hard. It was like pushing an enormous boulder up a mountain at times. I loved that boulder, that I could be my own boss and be creative and pursue work that I felt I was “good” at, and that I genuinely loved. But sharing it and promoting it and trying to sell it felt off. I knew I had something to offer, that I was a really hard worker, and wanted to do something meaningful SO BAD, but everything I had to offer back then felt…just off. There was a disconnect, personally, and I think that had mostly to do with the fact that I was trying to use my talent and creative passion to please others with products that I thought people would buy (so that I could grow a business, make a living, and continue being my own creative boss, all really valid things!).

Sewing my own wardrobe has ignited my passion and creativity in ways that feel so inherent to ME. I want to share this stuff. I want to tell anyone who will listen about these projects. And for the first time since I started sharing my creativity with the internet (circa 2011, y’all), I feel totally connected to my work and a community of creatives. It feels good and natural. I feel helpful and useful.

So why am I sharing this? I guess I want to mark this moment. This feeling. I have always been a searcher, a try-er. A let’s-just-see-what-happens-er. That can be really frustrating when the searching gets long and drawn out, and the trying seems to fall short of success. When let’s-just-see-what-happens starts to wear on my personal relationships and completely changes my relationship with money…and identity. Gah, that boulder gets big! I feel like I have two responsibilities: to unapologetically pursue creative passion and purpose, and simultaneously acknowledge the societal pressure to be successful in a more traditional sense (get a job, be financially secure and predictable, etc.). So I am constantly waffling between the elation of creative freedom and the guilt of not following a traditional path.

Okay, so I’m writing and writing and feelings are coming out and this is getting long-winded (it’s my blog, I don’t care! Okay, I care a little…). My point is, I tried something new that stuck and it’s changing my world in the best ways. I’ve tried a LOT of things that didn’t work to get to this point. And if I can offer anything at all to anyone that might read this and feel a sense of “ME TOO” to anything I just typed: please don’t stop trying. We need each other!

Ok fellow creatives and sewing enthusiasts! I love you, I see you, thank you from the bottom of my sewing-obsessed heart. Sibley, out.

Call for Pattern Testers!

About a month ago, I sort of impulse-bought some gorgeous striped linen-look rayon from D&H Fabrics and Co. and needed a pattern for the “perfect” top I had pictured in my mind for it. Of course, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I set about drafting a pattern for myself!

After posting the finished look to instagram, several people reached out in my comments and DMs to ask for the pattern. And I had to give the most unsatisfactory reply that there was no pattern! But that has changed!

When I first started sewing clothing, I was quickly hooked and thought I might develop a few accessories patterns and maybe clothing patterns once I built my sewing skills a bit. I’ve been sewing and hacking patterns so much lately (and now, drafting more of my own pieces) that the time has come, sooner rather than later, to release my first pattern!

I’m pleased to present the Fern Top, a boxy, modern peplum top meant for mid- to light-weight woven fabrics.

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I’m really proud of this one, but also a little nervous! It’s fairly straightforward, but the task of fitting multiple bodies feels daunting. And this is why I need your help!

I’m looking for volunteers to test the pattern and let me know if the instructions are clear and if the pattern fits comfortably, in exchange for a free pattern (and a final, updated pattern after the testing phase is complete).

This pattern is ideal for the adventurous beginner or experienced sewist who likes playing with details (multi-directional stripes, pattern matching and color blocking? Yes, please!).

I’ve worked with a pro on the grading and will be offering this pattern in sizes 0-28 along with pattern options for Full Bust Adjustments for C or D cups. Advanced (but totally approachable) techniques in the pattern include pleats and understitched facings (and darts if you need the Full Bust Adjustment). The pattern will also include two options: a pleated peplum style with cuffed sleeves and a more boxy style with narrow-hemmed sleeves and straight skirt panel. And I am looking for a wide range of tester sizes to give this pattern the full review!

If you are interested in testing the pattern and providing feedback and photographs of your finished piece, please fill out the form below! And if you have any friends that might be interested, please send them here as well!

The application will be available until Sunday, May 19th, and the selected testers will be notified via email on Monday, May 20th.

I am hoping to wrap up testing within two weeks and launch the pattern the first week of June.

Please do not be shy about applying! I may not be able to accept all applicants for testing depending on how many people sign up, but I might be in touch for future pattern tests.



Making a Jasika Blazer, Part 3: Fabric Prep and Construction

This post may get a little long, but hang with me! I’ll try to stay organized…

SUPPLIES

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, I purchased my grey wool coating fabric for my Jasika Blazer from moodfabrics.com. I’m very happy with the quality and the nubby textural weave!

I debated about whether or not to purchase the kits that Closet Case had available—I think they are a great value, but I also love the thrill of the hunt! And I thought it might be helpful to share where I bought everything.

The fusible weft interfacing, knit interfacing, and shoulder pads came from Mood Fabrics (I also purchased cotton twill stay tape from Mood, but I bought the wrong width and ended up folding it or cutting it in half for areas that required it—worked just fine I think!).

I purchased hair canvas from fabric.com. This was a little more challenging to source since I had no prior experience working with this stabilizer and wasn’t sure exactly what it was or which brand I should buy. After reading a few reviews, I noticed that some versions on the market are polyester, which is apparently not as nice. So I found this mostly natural fiber version on fabric.com and it at least looks like the stuff that is recommended and shown in the Closet Case kits! It is a sew-in stabilizer.

I planned to make my own sleeve heads, as those were hard to source, and I found a couple of tutorials for making them (and Closet Case also now has a blog post on how to do this). It looks fairly straightforward.

After all was said and done, my costs were maybe only a couple of bucks cheaper than the cost of a kit from Closet Case…so if you are feeling overwhelmed with sourcing, definitely get a kit and make your life easier! But maybe you already have a couple of things on hand and just need to buy a few items…then sourcing yourself is not too bad!

PRE-TREATING/SHRINKING THE WOOL

Wool coating fabric should not be laundered as it is vulnerable to massive shrinkage. However, it must be pre-treated to shrink the fabric a bit (I’m kind of an amateur at this, but my understanding is this will prevent additional shrinkage when pressing the fabric during construction and any environmental factors that may cause shrinkage down the road). I made the mistake of NOT pre-treating my Clare Coat fabric prior to cutting everything out and it definitely shrunk a little while I was making it. My coat is still wearable, but the sleeves ended up a little bit more snug than I would have liked!

I vowed to not make the same mistake with the Jasika, since I wanted a slim fit and shrinkage would definitely compromise my comfort while wearing it. A quick Google search informed me that there are generally three ways to pre-treat wool (oh, hey! These are also noted in the Jasika pattern instructions!):

  • press the fabric at home with an iron and lots of steam

  • throw the fabric in the dryer with a couple of damp towels

  • take the fabric to the cleaners and have them pre-treat it

I chose the dryer method—easy and quick is how I roll! I just wet a couple of bath towels (very damp but not dripping/soaked) and tumbled them with my wool fabric on high heat for about 45 minutes.

CUTTING AND INTERFACING

Once my fabric was pre-shrunk, I was ready to start cutting all my pieces. This part took a while! I used my altered muslin pieces to cut the main shell and sleeves (as opposed to retracing all of my adjustments, and this worked really well for me). I also made sure to transfer any length adjustments to the rest of the pieces that would be affected when tracing out the rest of the pattern pieces for cutting. By this time I was so ready to start sewing this thing already! But I tried to remain patient, knowing that all of my prep and planning would pay off in the end.

Marked new seams and adjustments on the muslin and trimmed the excess seam allowances

Marked new seams and adjustments on the muslin and trimmed the excess seam allowances

Altered muslin pieces used as pattern pieces.

Altered muslin pieces used as pattern pieces.

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Interfacing also took a while (as did cutting the interfacing). One thing I noticed was that my weft interfacing was really difficult to cut with my [ahem, cheap] pinking shears. For the pieces that required a pinked edge, I simply snipped into the edge at about half inch increments to soften it a bit and give it some flexibility to prevent an obvious edge from the exterior. This seemed to do the trick just fine!

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

FINALLY! It was time to put this baby together! The most labor-intensive part was preparing the front lapel and constructing the welt pockets. I chose View B from the pattern versions (welt pockets) and left off the breast pocket. I found myself constantly re-reading the pattern on this part to make sure I got it right.

Once the front panels of the jacket were assembled, the rest of the shell construction came together pretty quickly and I was able to start trying on the shell to test the fit. The only additional adjustments I made were to lengthen the front darts about two inches to reach the apex of my bust, and shorten the front of the blazer by an inch. I mentioned possibly shortening it in the muslin phase and once the blazer was on, it just seemed too long. The back was already short enough due to my sway back adjustment, so I gradually blended the shortened hem in the front to the original hem in the back.

When I reached the point of adding shoulder pads and sleeve heads, I decided that the sleeve heads were just too much for my liking. They were a little bulky (could have been the batting I was using) and I found that my fabric had enough structure to hold it’s shape at the sleeve without them. I can always go back and add them in later if I decide they are necessary.

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I took my time with some of the tailoring details and steaming. I wanted to make sure that everything had a professional finish and was symmetrical. I also left the stay stitching at the lapel in place until the moment I was ready to wear it out in public for the first time.

My last detail was the button/buttonhole construction. I decided to go with a pop of orange here and I think it is such a nice touch!

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FINAL THOUGHTS

I love this blazer! I have been periodically looking at my husband in surprise and exclaiming, “I made this blazer!?”. It’s such a nice addition to my wardrobe and I feel very accomplished for completing a big project like this. I have to say, this was probably the most mentally draining project I’ve done due to all the prep and detailing…but it was SO worth it!

My first time wearing it out was at a local bar/restaurant. Luckily, the cold weather stuck around in Michigan a little longer so I could wear it. Never thought I’d be glad about cold weather hanging around too long…

Click here to see the money shot(s) of my finished blazer :)

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A (Short) Cambria Duster with Flat Felled Seams

At the end of last year, I was a new convert to the wardrobe sewing craze and looking for new projects to sew like A MAD WOMAN. I knew that I needed to get more focused and pick items that were not only fun to sew, but also beautiful staple wardrobe pieces. Enter: The Cambria Duster by Friday Pattern Company.

I saw this project pop up several times on Instagram and loved the elegant and easy style of it. I’d also been searching for a shawl collar wrap jacket pattern and really liked the wide lapel detail on the Cambria. The only thing was…as much as I loved the drama of a long duster style, I wondered if I would get much use out of it because it’s it’s not something I would feel comfortable wearing without feeling overdone on a normal day (and I want to wear it a lot!).

So I decided to shorten it! I can’t take full credit for this idea—I also saw this on Instagram from a few posters.

By shortening it, the style transforms into a chic spring wrap jacket. And I love it!

FABRIC

I chose a creamy off-white Linen-Rayon fabric from Joann (I had trouble finding a link to it on their site, but they had many colors to choose from in the store!), and it was so nice to work with. It pressed like a friggin’ dream and my sewing machine sailed right through it.

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SIZING

My measurements (Bust: 38”, Waist: 30”, Hips: 44”) put me in the Large size up top and Extra Large in the hips. So I graded between sizes and the fit works well…EXCEPT that I probably should have done a broad back adjustment, and possibly a sway back adjustment. I kind of feared that might be the case before I started, but I was too lazy to do a muslin (the Jasika wore me out!).

Also, it’s possible that I cut something wrong (although I did double check), because when it was time to set in the sleeves, my notches were about an inch off. And the sleeve top just fit into the armscye. It had practically no ease, which made me nervous, but it fit! And I think it makes the sleeve feel a little more constricted at the back (but that could also be attributed to the broad back issue).

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MODIFICATIONS

As mentioned, I shortened the length. I used a measuring tape to measure from the top of my shoulder, over the largest part of my bust and straight down to figure out how long to make it and matched that measurement on the pattern piece, measuring from the shoulder seam and factoring in the hem (about an inch for a narrow hem).

I also lengthened the sleeves. The pattern has the sleeves at a 3/4 length, but I have a thing about my forearms feeling bare. So I added 5” to the sleeve length (I normally add at least 1” to all my sleeves, so if you have standard-length human arms, you might add 4”), and I did a wide hem on the sleeves. Funny enough, when taking photos, I rolled up the sleeve and think it looks great with a shorter sleeve! But now I have options, amiright!

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FLAT FELLED SEAMS

The pattern instructions didn’t go into a lot of detail on seam finishing (however, there was a link to a blog post on seam finishes). I’d seen a few people on Instagram finish the seams with bias tape, but I wanted something simpler. I decided to use a flat felled seam for all the seams (except the sleeves—I serged them for a more comfy fit since the armscye was feeling a little constricted).

The flat felled details are SO LOVELY and give this jacket a higher end feel. I did each seam as I went along, carefully folding them down by hand. It took a little time, but I was still able to finish this entire garment in half a day! Here’s how I did it:

1. After sewing each seam, trim one side of the raw edge down to approx. 3/16”

1. After sewing each seam, trim one side of the raw edge down to approx. 3/16”

2. Fold the raw edge of the opposite side in half and over the edge you just trimmed

2. Fold the raw edge of the opposite side in half and over the edge you just trimmed

3. Lay the fold down, concealing the raw edges and exposing the original seam line

3. Lay the fold down, concealing the raw edges and exposing the original seam line

4. Press the fold down to keep it in place (you may need to pin tricky seams that won’t stay down)

4. Press the fold down to keep it in place (you may need to pin tricky seams that won’t stay down)

5. Topstitch the fold down to the fabric, very close to the edge of the fold (I’m stitching about 1/16” from the edge here)

5. Topstitch the fold down to the fabric, very close to the edge of the fold (I’m stitching about 1/16” from the edge here)

6. Admire your beautiful seams!

6. Admire your beautiful seams!

Here’s the seam from the exterior of the garment with the topstitching exposed on the exterior. I chose to have the folded side of the seam on the interior/wrong side of the garment, but I think it would also look really nice exposed!

Here’s the seam from the exterior of the garment with the topstitching exposed on the exterior. I chose to have the folded side of the seam on the interior/wrong side of the garment, but I think it would also look really nice exposed!

PROJECT COSTS:

  • Linen-Rayon blend fabric (on sale), 3.5 yards: $21.81

  • Cambria Duster PDF Pattern: $14.00

  • TOTAL: $35.81

FINAL REVIEW:

Overall, I am really pleased with this project. The fit is just fine for a first time sewing it without a muslin, and the style is pretty stunning. It’s a simple garment with big impact that can be worn for multiple occasions. I love that about it.

As a side note: I may eventually dye this a pale, dusty blue-grey. It took me FOREVER (like, an hour) to pick a color from the wide array of options at Joann. And I ended up choosing this creamy off-white! Again, I want something that is versatile and can be worn a lot. The white will go with anything, so I plan to wear it around a bit until I decide to dye it a new color!

Making a Jasika Blazer, Part 2: Making a Muslin + Assessing My Fit


TLDR: I made a muslin and decided to make the following changes to my Jasika Blazer pattern pieces:

  • Lengthen the sleeves and bodice by 1”

  • Increase the seam allowance at the waist seams—front and back—to slim the waist

  • Slim the sleeves, starting just below the armpit

  • Do a sway back adjustment (take out about 2” total from the back)

  • Rotate the sleeves forward at the shoulder approximately 3/4” (without changing the shoulder seam of the bodice) to accommodate forward shoulders.

The photos below show the muslin in three stages:

  1. Initial construction with only the length added to the bodice and sleeves

  2. Waist and sleeve slimming with initial slimming of center back seam (which made things funky in the back!)

  3. Rotated sleeve and did a proper sway back adjustment. Also slimmed the waist at the back.


I tend to be a jump-right-in kind of sewist (and maker, in general). Most of the time, this serves me well, and I get a LOT done in a short amount of time. Some call it impatience…I call it time management. Tomato, tomato.

At the end of 2018, I sewed up a Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut Patterns without making a muslin first. And while it looks nice, the fit is just a little off. I made a few modifications on the fly without testing the fit first. So, long story short, I have only worn it ONCE. And every time I look at it, I feel a slight tinge of shame for making something really nice in a beautiful corduroy fabric that I never wear.

For the Jasika Blazer, I decided I would not let that happen again! Closet Case made the construction process very approachable and fun by offering loads of fitting resources (which you can have access to by signing up for their email newsletter). AND they made it very clear that a muslin is simply indispensable. So here we go!

For my muslin, I used some basic cotton muslin fabric I had laying around (I never buy fabric like this but did one day a few months ago on a whim…possibly because it was on sale at JoAnn Fabrics?). The only necessary pieces for the muslin phase were the most basic body, sleeve, and collar pieces of the pattern—just enough to get the thing on my body for a visual reference of where I needed to make changes.

I have to be honest: I was kind of dreading this process, but once I got my size traced onto tracing paper, and then transferred to the fabric, I found it to be quite satisfying. I ended up tracing the pattern directly onto my fabric with a sharpie (a tip I picked up several weeks ago watching Closet Case’s stories on Instagram). So now I have these freaking amazing working muslin pattern pieces with all kinds of marks on them. My architectural brain is firing on all synapses.

(Did you know that I was an architect in a former life? Apparently, designing buildings and figuring out how they fit together didn’t really scratch my creative itch—but clothing? YES, PLEASE!)

All my muslin pieces marked and cut!

All my muslin pieces marked and cut!

My Sizing Details

First off, a note on sizing: It’s been a tiny challenge to accept my measurements, not really because I am ashamed of them, but because ready-to-wear sizing is usually numbered smaller (aka, vanity sizing), and most RTW clothing is a straight size that fits funny in at least one place (usually the hips). So I’ve grown accustomed to either fitting my hips and taking a RTW garment in, or fitting the rest of my body and having it be kinda snug in the hips to get myself into a smaller size. And all of this sometimes makes me second guess pattern sizing because it is always numbered “larger” than what I buy in stores.

When making my own garments, I’ve found that I usually have to take in a little more than the seam allowance for the sizes I measure off of pattern packaging (mainly in the waist and the transition areas around the hips). However, even knowing this, I always start with a size range that is indicated on the pattern even if it’s a little loose at first. I know I can keep trimming, but I can’t add that fabric back on!

My measurements:

  • High Bust: 36” (~ 91.5cm)

  • Bust: 37.5” (~ 95cm)

  • Waist: 30” (~ 76cm)

  • Hips: 44” (~ 112cm)

  • Height: 5’-9” (~ 175cm)

My measurements put me in the size 12 range in the bust and waist and size 16 in the hips (as a reference, I am usually in the size 8 to 12 range in RTW clothing). So I went with a 12 and graded to a 16 in the hips.

Constructing the Muslin

Initially, I lengthened the sleeves and the bodice by 1”, which I do for every pattern as a starting point because I have a long torso and arms. After sewing all of the pieces together, I’m happy with the length of the sleeves. Initially I thought the bodice length ended up being a tad too long, but you’ll see in my notes below that other fitting adjustments made the length feel more spot on. Overall, the initial fit was pretty dang good! Here’s my first go at the muslin with all the aforementioned sizing and modifications included (I tried on the blazer with shoulder pads inserted):

1a: needs more shape at the waist

1a: needs more shape at the waist

1b: back is mostly ok, but needs sway back adjustment to remove bulk

1b: back is mostly ok, but needs sway back adjustment to remove bulk

1c: lack of shape at waist/back

1c: lack of shape at waist/back

I decided to taper the back center seam to remove the little bit of bulk at the lower back—this did not really work. You can see below that there is still some “bagging” at the back and a proper sway back adjustment is necessary. I also took in the side seams at the waist at the front to give that a little more shape, and took in the front seam of the sleeves to get a slightly slimmer fit. I may slim the sleeve more once I sew it up in my tweed fabric, but I want to see how the fabric moves and stretches first and this is an easy enough adjustment to make as I go.

2a: happy with waist shape now

2a: happy with waist shape now

2b: tried shaping the center seam, but this did not reduce bulk in back

2b: tried shaping the center seam, but this did not reduce bulk in back

2c: profile is much better, but noticing tugging lines at the shoulder

2c: profile is much better, but noticing tugging lines at the shoulder

Tried shortening the hem length…too short!

Tried shortening the hem length…too short!

I took a photo with the length hemmed about two inches (pictured to the left) and felt that it made the blazer look too small for me. So I took that out in the next round. I just had to see! :)

For my last round of muslin adjustments, below, I rotated the sleeve forward about 3/4” (I noticed a some stress lines at the shoulder/arm in the above photos, apparently I have forward shoulders!). I didn’t want to alter the seam allowance on the top of the shoulder because I didn’t notice any tugging in that area, just the top of the sleeve. I think this alteration worked well!

I also decided to undo the center back seam, re-sew it at the original seam allowance, and do a sway back adjustment. Which worked like a charm (which is hard to tell in the photo, but it is much better)!! This adjustment always amazes me (I knew this, why didn’t I just start there?!)! I ended up pinching out almost 2” from the center back and tapered it to the front of the side panels. Then I slimmed the waist/side seams at the back. So much cleaner!

Also, a note on my muslin fabric: this fabric is a lighter weight than my jacket fabric AND since it’s not lined, it kind of sticks to my shirt underneath, making it hard to get everything perfectly smooth for photos. But the overall shape and fit feels great!

3a: No changes to the front for this round

3a: No changes to the front for this round

3b: sway back adjustment to take out a little bulk while maintaining original seam allowance at center seam.

3b: sway back adjustment to take out a little bulk while maintaining original seam allowance at center seam.

3c: side profile lookin good!

3c: side profile lookin good!

The subtle changes that I made to the muslin really make a difference in the fit! I took my time with the alterations and walked away several times when I started feeling lazy about making any more changes, or going back to what I started with to re-assess (“Oh, this is GOOD ENOUGH…I don’t need it to fit perfect!”). Usually after taking a break, I have a renewed stamina for sewing challenges! For the slimming at the waist and arms, I probably could have done these on the fly while making the actual jacket. But the sway back is good to know going in because I’ll have to alter the pattern piece before cutting my fabric.

What I am trying to say is: I’m glad I did the muslin!

And taking photos was a huge help in this process, especially for the back and sides—I highly recommend it.

Next, I will mark (with a new color) the new seam lines and take the whole thing apart to use as a reference for cutting the pattern. Closet Case provided a fantastic muslin fitting guide to make notes on that I plan to use to stay organized (sign up for their newsletter to get it!).

Woohoo! Almost time to cut fabric!

Making a Jasika Blazer, Part 1: Getting Started!

It’s no secret that I love Closet Case Patterns (don’t even get me started on my Ginger Jeans that I wear more times each week than I am comfortable admitting…)

(Jk, it’s every day.)

So when Closet Case announced the release of the Jasika Blazer, I knew it would end up in my queue.

Seeing the blazers popping up on Instagram has made me so excited to make my own. I especially loved Tessa’s (of @sewspoke on Instagram)! It is fitted and modern with a few details that really elevate the style. Judith Dee of @judithdeecreations was another fave…the tailoring and shape of her blazer is PERFECT! And I like that she went with the welt pockets—I plan to do the same. You can search #jasikablazer and #blazerofglory for all sorts of inspiration from the sewing community. Prepare yo’self for the rabbit hole!

Printing the pattern

My first step was to buy the pattern (I went with a PDF) and had it printed with pdfplotting.com. The order total, including shipping, was $15.33 for 8 printed sheets (I also printed a few copies of the Luna Crossbody pattern to meet the order minimum—half were 36x48 inches for the Jasika, and the rest were 24x36 inches for the Luna). This was my first time using this service and the shipping was lightning fast! My prints shipped the same day and arrived in two business days. I’ll definitely be using this service again.

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Researching blazer styling + buying fabric samples

I’ve been searching for and pinning blazers on Pinterest since before the Jasika was released (this pattern was an answer to my blazer prayers!). Below are a few examples of the looks I loved the most for ready to wear blazers with a slim, fitted style. I have a board dedicated to my handmade wardrobe inspiration and anticipated projects.

My go-to for coating fabrics has been moodfabrics.com. I bought the fabric for my yellow Clare Coat from Mood and was really happy with it. For the Jasika, I ordered 7 samples of tweed—I wanted something textural and sophisticated that could also be dressed down for a more on-the-go casual look.

I loved the textures and colors in pretty much ALL of these! But my favorites were number 6 and number 7. Number 3 , 4, and 5 were also beautiful, but a bit on the thin side (and a commenter on Instagram noted that they had tried number 3 for a jacket with not great results because of its thin, drapey hand…good to know!).

After much internal, type-a debate, I decided to go with number 7, the Gray Woolen Tweed. It was so easy for me to visualize this fabric in my wardrobe and fantasize about all the outfits I could put together with it for spring and fall weather. Visualization is key for me with any creative project!

Next up: making a muslin!

While I wait for fabric to arrive, I’ll be working on my muslin—this process intimidates me JUST A LITTLE BIT! I’m not sure why. So stay tuned! In my next post in this series, I’ll be sharing that process.


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As always, you can find me sharing on Instagram, too!

Custom Printed Fabric on the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse + True Bias Ogden Cami

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you may have noticed that in addition to wardrobe and accessories sewing, I also design artwork for textiles and other products.

When I started sewing clothing as a hobby in 2018, my fabric designs took on a new life, and I had tons of inspiration for new fabric patterns that could be used for my wardrobe projects.

Spoonflower has been my go-to for on-demand fabric printing (this is not a sponsored post, ha!). The thing I like about using a service like Spoonflower—besides the obvious perk of having custom fabric—is that I’m only printing what I need, and if I sell fabric through their site, they are only printing what each customer needs. This model greatly reduces product waste, something that became very important to me after running a product business. They are also an eco-conscious company, which you can read more about on their site.

Anywho! I’ve really enjoyed using my fabric, and sewed a couple of tops from my Fuchsia Floral Dark pattern in the Poly Crepe de Chine.

First up is a Pussy Bow Blouse from Sew Over it:

Get the pattern here

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I really like this pattern because it is so simple! No darts! The bodice is slightly slimmed at the waist to add a little shape. But it also allows for some “blousing” when tucked in, which I think looks sophisticated. And the cuff detail is really nice, too.

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I plan to make this one again, but I’ll probably make the neck tie longer and wider for a little more drama!

Sizing and modifications: I blended this pattern between a size 14 in the bust and hip, and a size 12 at the waist. The fit is very comfortable! I also lengthened the sleeves and the bodice by about 1 inch (standard for me in most patterns, as I have long arms and torso!). After a couple of wears I decided to open the neckline a bit more for a deeper v-neck (I made Version 2).

Next up, the Ogden Cami from True Bias.

Get the pattern here

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I had just enough fabric leftover out of the 3 yards I ordered for this tank top. The Ogden is a great staple pattern (as are most of the True Bias patterns!). It’s a straightforward and quick project. I’ve made three of these camis so far and plan to make more (I have a hack idea for a button-front style that I have pinned on my Handmade Wardrobe Inspo board on PInterest).

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Sizing and modifications: I went with a straight size 10 and the only adjustment I made was lengthening the lining by about 2 inches to fully cover my bust (the original length was hitting right near the apex of my bust). I am a D-cup bra size, something to keep in mind!

Total cost for both projects:

Fabric: Poly Crepe de Chine, 3 yards (Includes the designer discount and shipping)…$65.10

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse PDF Pattern...$11.83

True Bias Ogden Cami PDF Pattern…$10.00

Thread (approx.)…$3.00

TOTAL: $89.93


Lastly! If you are interested in designing your own fabric, I have a couple of online classes on Skillshare all about my process! You can get super technical by designing it in Adobe Illustrator, or you can keep it simple and design it right on your iPad.

Happy making, friends!


Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 9, Sewing + Installing Straps

Folks, we’re in the home stretch now! In today’s post, I’ll walk you through sewing and installing the strap on your Luna Crossbody. I’m showing two methods: non-adjustable and adjustable straps. If you are installing an adjustable strap, skip the section of this post labeled “NON-ADJUSTABLE STRAP ASSEMBLY”.

The Luna is designed with a thin 5/8” strap, but you can easily adjust the size to your preferences. You’ll just have to cut the strap fabric piece wider. To calculate the width of your strap, take your desired finished strap width and multiply by 4. For example, for the 5/8” strap, I calculated it this way:

5/8” finished strap width x 4 = 2 1/2” wide piece of fabric

If you decide to create a wider strap, you’ll also need larger sizes of purse hardware. It might also be helpful to research available hardware to decide on your strap width.

If sewing a strap according to the pattern instructions, all the hardware you need is included in the Luna Hardware Kits in my shop.

You may need to add length to your Purse Strap if your fabric width is less than 60” (152.5cm). To do this, cut two lengths of strap from your Main Fabric (or material you plan to use for the strap) with a total length of 61” (154 cm) between the two. Each should be 2 1/2” (6.5cm) wide. Grainline is perpendicular to the longest length of strap.

Lay one of the strap pieces face up, then lay the other face down on top with the ends aligned in an L-shape, like the photo below.

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Stitch diagonally across the ends at the corner to attach them together, then trim the corner to reduce bulk and press the seam open. You should have a clean seam join on the right side of the strap.

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Fold the Purse Strap fabric in half length-wise and press along the entire length. Fold the two halves inward again, aligning the edges with the center and press again. Next fold the original center fold again with the raw edges concealed and press. You should have a folded strap that is approximately 5/8” (1.5cm) wide.

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Topstitch along the entire length of the strap 1/16” (2mm) from each of the long edges.

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NON-ADJUSTABLE STRAP ASSEMBLY (SHOWN WITH ALTERNATE LEATHER STRAP BELOW):

Use fray check or a zigzag stitch on the ends of the strap to prevent the ends from fraying if using fabric. They will be concealed in the outer pocket.

Slip one end of the strap approximately 2” (5cm) into the outer pocket close to the outer side edge. Use an awl to create two holes through the Outer Pocket and Purse Strap. Use rivets to secure the strap through all layers, with the back of the rivet on the inside of the pocket and back of the strap.

Here is a tutorial for installing rivets from Sew Mama Sew.

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Now is a good time to check the length of your strap. Try the purse on how you will most likely wear it most of the time and trim the strap length before moving on to the next step. Secure the remaining strap end to the other side of the Outer Pocket with rivets through the Outer Pocket and one side of the Main Body.

ADJUSTABLE STRAP ASSEMBLY:

Trim two 3” (approx. 7.5cm) long pieces from your finished strap. Use fray check or a zigzag stitch to prevent the ends from fraying, if needed. They will be concealed in the outer pocket. Fold the 3” pieces in half and press to create a loop. Feed one end of each piece into a metal square ring, letting the ring rest in the fold you just pressed.

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Slip the raw ends of a loop into one side of the Outer Pocket. You can use a pin to secure the strap loop in place if needed, but you may not need them if your fabric is really thick here. Use an awl to carefully drill two holes that go through the Outer Pocket and strap loop (do NOT poke through the Main Body).

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Place a rivet post through each hole from the interior of the Outer Pocket. Attach a rivet cap to the post on the exterior side and press firmly with your fingers until you feel the post and cap click together. Do one rivet at a time, realigning the loop as you create new holes for each rivet. Measure the distance between the rivet holes each time to make sure they are consistently spaced (your pattern includes templates for the rivet holes)

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Next, secure the rivets by carefully hammering with a setting tool and anvil. You will want to do this on the edge of a sturdy table, with the anvil inside your purse (hammering through the entire purse may create abrasions or holes on the fabric of the opposite side). Rivets usually only require a couple of firm, medium-force taps with the hammer and setter. So don’t go too crazy! It’s recommended to practice on scrap fabric to get a feel for it. Secure rivets will be snug against the fabric and not rattling or shifting at all.

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Slip one end of the Purse Strap through the Tri-glide (strap adjuster). Fold the raw end twice against the strap so that the raw end is concealed in the folds and the center bar of the tri-glide is secured in the fold.

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Use an awl to create two equally spaced holes through the folded end and secure with rivets. You can also secure the strap by stitching the folded end if you prefer.

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Next, slip the opposite end of the strap through one of the Square Rings on the outer pocket. You want to come from underneath the square ring so the the strap comes out in front.

Fold the strap back on itself and pull the raw end up through and back down through the Tri-glide (this may take a little extra effort if working with heaver fabric, don’t give up! You can even use pliers to pull it through). Pull the strap through until the tri-glide is about halfway down the strap.

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Slip the raw end of the strap through the opposite Square Ring of the outer pocket, this time in front of the ring. The raw end should be against the purse. Be sure that the strap is not twisted.

Fold the raw end twice against the strap so that the raw end is concealed in the folds.

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Use an awl to create two equally spaced holes (centered on the strap and .” (2cm) between holes) through the folded end and secure the strap with rivets. You can also secure the strap by stitching the folded end if you prefer.

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And that’s it! You just made a simple, modern, functional crossbody purse! Be sure to share your purse with us on Instagram and tag @patternscout and #pslunacrossbody (and check out the amazing projects being posted!). Can’t wait to see your Luna!

Thank you for joining the sewalong!

Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 8, Finishing the Body

In this post we’ll finish up the purse body by sewing the perimeter. This step will go pretty quickly!

First, open the zipper all the way—don’t skip this step, or you won’t be able to turn your purse right side out later!.

Align Main Body pieces right sides together and Lining pieces right sides together with the zipper pull and teeth facing into the lining, and taking care to make sure that the Main Body Exterior pieces are perfectly flat against one another at the top seam. This will make turning zipper corners easier later. Also, You want your piping to curve out right at, or just below, the top finished seam at the zipper (my photo below shows the very end of the piping slightly above that seam, but at the seam allowance it is in the right location).

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Pin around the edges (use those pins liberally). This step will require a little extra tugging of the Main Body pieces to get them to align over the piping. You want the edges of the Main Body and Piping flange to be perfectly aligned (I know perfect is a lot to ask, but you know what I mean!). :)

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Once you have everything secured in place with pins, it’s time to sew the perimeter of the bag. Switch to your zipper foot for this step in order to have your seam right up against the cord in your piping assembly.

Start sewing on the lining side, about an inch from the zipper seam, backstitching at the start of the seam. Then sew straight across the zipper seam (I usually backstitch over the zipper seam a couple of times, as this area gets a little extra stress over time), and continue sewing the perimeter of the bag. Sew as close as you can to the piping, maintaining the 1/2” seam allowance. Move slowly around the curve of the bag, removing pins as you go. It is ok if you catch some of the interfacing in the seam, just focus on maintaining a smooth, consistent, curved seam.

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Once again, backstitch over the zipper seam on the opposite side as you cross over to the lining. When you sew the lining, increase your seam allowance to about 5/8” (this will help the lining sit inside the bag more comfortably after turning). Sew almost all the way around the lining, leaving an approximately 4” opening in the side of the lining for turning. Backstitch at the end of the seam, too.

Trim/grade the seams of the Main Body down to about 1/4” (7mm) to reduce bulk.

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Clip into the curve at 1/2” (1.25cm) increments to make turning easier. Be sure not to clip the stitch line (I trimmed mine a teeensy bit too close in the photo! You want to get it close, but not so close that a little fraying will cause the bag to pull apart later down the road).

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Turn purse body right side out, leaving the interior lining pulled out of the body. Use your fingers or a turning tool to poke out all the edges and the ends of the zipper, pulling and shaping the curved edge for a clean finish. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive with your zipper...turning those corners takes a bit of muscle and forceful poking at times! I think I have super-strength fingers from doing this so much over time. I know, impressive, right? Your zipper end should look like the photo below.

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Close the opening in the lining by hand stitching with a ladder stitch or sewing the opening closed on your sewing machine.

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Return lining to interior of purse and press exterior if necessary, taking care to not apply too much heat to your sewn-in magnet (be careful not to melt the plastic).

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Pat yourself on the back! You have a clutch! In the next post in the series, we’ll sew the strap so you can officially wear your bag in the wild.

Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 7, Making + Installing Piping

We are so close to the finish line! Woohoo!

In today’s post, we’ll cover piping. I think the piping is the design feature that gives this bag a little extra “oomph!” of style. Take your time with this step—and don’t be afraid to use a lot of pins—for a smooth curved edge.

First, we need to make the piping. If you purchased pre-made piping, you can skip ahead to installation below. The piping specifications for this pattern require 3/16” cord, but you can definitely go smaller (or bigger) if you prefer. Also, a lot of pre-made piping that you might find in the bias binding section of the craft store will be smaller. Just something to keep in mind, although it will not affect the integrity of your bag design.

The Piping Wrap fabric should be cut on the bias. If you are short on fabric, you can cut the fabric straight on the grain, but bias-cut wrap will make piping installation much easier and cleaner around the curve of the bag perimeter (something the testers taught me—I, too, am learning every day!). In my photos, you’ll notice that I did not cut on the bias and I had to wrestle a lot with the piping to get it to form around that curve!

With the Piping Wrap fabric piece wrong side up, lay the cord in the center and fold the wrap in half lengthwise to encase the cord. Pin in place and stitch the entire length of the piping (you may need to stitch across the piping assembly at the start to secure the cord and keep it from sliding out of the casing). You want to stitch close to the cord, approximately 1/8” (3mm) away from it, but not right up against the cord just yet. This stitch will eventually be hidden in the seam allowance.

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Next, with the purse body exterior (and zipper) face up, pin the piping around the perimeter of the side of the bag with the exterior pocket as shown in the photo.

NOTE: Make sure that you are only attaching the piping to the exterior and NOT to the lining beneath (fold the lining pieces out of the way for this step).

Curve the ends of the piping into the seam allowance. Make sure the edge of your piping flange is aligned with the edge of the Main Body. Use lots of pins, especially around the bottom curve—you’ll thank me later!

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Baste the piping in place with an approximately 3/8” (or less) seam allowance. Again, you don’t want to stitch right up against the cord just yet, so that the stitch is concealed in the seam allowance in a later step.

Start the stitch at the top seam of the Main Body/zipper. I like to curve the piping just under this seam, so it is completely clear of the zipper seam. At the start and end of the stitch, sew straight across the curved piping at the 3/8” seam allowance. This part feels a little weird, but if you keep this stitch straight, you’re gold!

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Remove pins as you go. You’ll notice that the piping will level out a bit as you go, too. Work slowly and make sure that the flange/edge of the piping maintains alignment with the edge of the Main Body.

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Again, sew straight across the curved piping at the top:

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Once your piping is basted in place, you should have enough room for a 1/2” (1.25cm) seam allowance between the edge of the body piece and the piping.

Trim excess piping. Voila!

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In the next post, we’ll finish sewing the body!

Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 6, Installing the Zipper

If you’ve never installed a zipper, or if you have and it was a disappointing experience, you may have written them off entirely (in a former life, I thought I’d never sew them. I was just like, “Nope. Not sewing zippers. Ever. #buttonsforlyfe!”). But once you master the zipper? You open up a whole new world of possibilities in pro-level sewing.

I’m going to hold your hand through the entire process. So let’s do this.

First, let’s prep the zipper:

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Fold the ends of the zipper tape under the zipper at a 45 degree angle and baste.

This step will keep the ends of the tape clear of the seam allowance when we assemble the purse body later. Do this on both ends.

Now, lay the Main Body (the side you just attached the Outer Pocket to) face up. Lay the zipper face down along the top edge of the Main Body, leaving about 1/16” gap between the zipper tape and the top of the Main Body piece. Make sure the zipper is centered.

Baste the zipper in place.

(The zipper I used was a little too long, so I had to trim it, which shows in the photo. When this happens, I will wait to trim it until after I have basted it to the body. Also, I turned the end the wrong way on the trimmed/right side in this photo! It should be turned up—toward the bottom of the zipper—as shown on the left side.)

(The zipper I used was a little too long, so I had to trim it, which shows in the photo. When this happens, I will wait to trim it until after I have basted it to the body. Also, I turned the end the wrong way on the trimmed/right side in this photo! It should be turned up—toward the bottom of the zipper—as shown on the left side.)

With the Main Body still facing up, lay the Lining (the side that does NOT have the Interior Pocket) face down on top and align all the edges. Pin in place.

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Now is the time to switch your presser foot to a zipper foot if you have one for your sewing machine. If you don’t have a zipper foot, that is ok. You’ll just have a more narrow seam allowance at the zipper with a regular presser foot.

Stitch the zipper in place with a 3/8” seam allowance. Stop halfway to lift the presser foot, open the zipper past the needle, then lower the presser foot again to allow you to sew the entire length without getting hung up on the zipper.

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Once you have the zipper sewn in, press the Main Body and Lining back away from the zipper with wrong sides together, exposing the zipper. Topstitch the top edge to secure everything in place.

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Repeat these steps for the opposite side, making sure to maintain the same 1/16” gap between zipper and top of opposite Main Body piece when basting.

1. Main Body pieces right sides together

1. Main Body pieces right sides together

2. Align zipper face down with top (maintain 1/16” gap at top)

2. Align zipper face down with top (maintain 1/16” gap at top)

3. Baste zipper to Main Body

3. Baste zipper to Main Body

4. Opposite side of Lining (with Interior Pocket) face down, right sides of Lining together

4. Opposite side of Lining (with Interior Pocket) face down, right sides of Lining together

5. Align top of Lining with top of Main Body and pin in place. Sew at 3/8” seam allowance with zipper foot.

5. Align top of Lining with top of Main Body and pin in place. Sew at 3/8” seam allowance with zipper foot.

6. Press Main Body and Lining away from zipper and topstitch top edge.

6. Press Main Body and Lining away from zipper and topstitch top edge.

And that’s it! Your zipper is in! Here’s what it should like like from the exterior and the interior:

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In the next post, we’ll cover making and installing piping for the perimeter of the bag.

Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 5, Assembling the Pockets

Next up: Pockets!

The Luna Crossbody has two main pocket assemblies. There is a large slip pocket on the exterior with an invisible magnetic closure (this is where I keep my phone—it’s always right by my side in that pocket for easy access). And the interior pocket is designed to hold credit cards and a few small items, like loose change or chapstick (I have chapstick stashed EVERYWHERE. It’s a necessity, amiright?).

Interior Pocket

Let’s start with the interior pocket. First, you’ll want to fold it accordion-style following the fold lines. Your goal is to make the card slots out of one piece of fabric, so each fold will be a card slot. Fold each section individually (starting with the longest section), pressing the folds as you go and realigning the entire assembly after each fold. This step takes a little patience, but hang in there! Use the edges of the interfacing as a guide for each fold. When you are done folding and pressing, you will end up with the folds enclosed in the assembly and right sides of your fabric on the exterior.

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Topstitch the front two folds to finish the edges (wait to topstitch the top/back fold…we’ll do that one in a few steps). Make sure you only topstitch the fold, and do not stitch it to the fabric behind. You want to be able to slip your credit cards into the folds after it is sewn to the lining.

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Next, with your folded pocket still facing up, unfold the back fold (the longest piece). Baste each side of the pocket, securing the two topstitched folds to the pocket assembly in preparation for the next step.

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Fold the the fabric (that you just unfolded) back over the pocket assembly, right sides together, lining up the raw edges and corners and concealing the topstitched folds.

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Sew around the 3 raw edges, leaving a 3 to 4 inch opening along the bottom edge for turning. Trim the corners to reduce bulk.

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Turn the pocket right side out, poking out the corners with your finger or a turning tool. Tuck the raw ends of the opening at the bottom into the assembly. Press so that you have a rectangular piece. Now you can topstitch the top fold (which I’m realizing I forgot to do…oops! Do as I say, not as I do :) ).

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Next we will attach the pocket to the lining! You may have noticed that we are not interfacing our lining for the Luna. You may also feel some trepidation about this, since we’ll be attaching a stiff pocket to it, but I have tried it both ways and really prefer to not interface the lining. Doing so makes the lining too stiff and bulky, in my opinion, and prevents it from sitting comfortably inside the bag (which is already pretty narrow). Also, this purse being so small, you won’t get a lot of stress on the lining from excessive tugging and weight. However, one of the testers mentioned that she would prefer to use a lightweight interfacing for the lining, especially for a lightweight quilter’s cotton. Which is a valid point!

All this justification aside, if you want to interface your lining, doing so is totally fine. It comes down to personal preference, but It’s not necessary for the integrity of the interior pocket stress points.

Ok, where were we?! Pocket. Lining. Let’s do it…

Line up your pocket with the marks on the lining (you want to keep the bottom corners of the pocket clear of the seam allowance of the curved bottom of the lining, so about 5/8” from the edge). Pin the pocket in place and topstitch around the edge of the pocket on three sides, leaving the top open and closing the bottom where you previously turned the pocket. Then topstitch the center of the pocket to create 4 card slots on the front and two larger pockets against the lining. When topstitching the center, it is easier to prevent bunching if you start at the bottom and sew up to the top.

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Nice job! now we’re ready to move on to the…

Outer Pocket

First we will attach the magnets for the closure (wait to attach it until after we sew the Outer Pocket lining to the Outer Pocket exterior). Separate the two sides of the magnetic closure from one another. One side of the magnet will be attached to the marked location on the Main Body, and the other to the Outer Pocket Lining. Pin the magnet in place through the silicone flange, centered directly on top of the mark, flat side of the magnet down on the interfaced side of the fabric.

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Sew around the perimeter of the flange to secure the magnet to the fabric (shown below on the Outer Pocket Lining piece; do the same for the Main Body piece where marked).

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Set your Main Body exterior with the magnet aside for now.

Grab your main fabric for the Outer Pocket piece and lay right side up. Pin the Outer Pocket lining, face down with right sides touching, on top of Outer Pocket exterior.

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Sew across the top/straight edge, securing the two pieces to one another. Press the two sides open and away from one another, while pressing the seam open. Then fold at the seam so that the wrong sides are touching and the curved edges are aligned. Press again and topstitch the seam to create a finished top edge.

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If you are using a snap closure, now is the time to attach it to the Main Body and Outer Pocket at the closure marks (you’ll create a hole through the entire outer pocket assembly for the cap side).

Ok, now grab your Main Body piece with the magnet and lay it right side up. Then position your Outer Pocket on top with the lining fabric facing down and use the magnet closures to help align everything in the right place. Baste the Outer Pocket to the Main Body along the curved edge.

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And just like that, the pockets are installed! In the next post, we’ll install the zipper…

Luna Crossbody Sewalong: Part 4, Preparing Your Pieces

The first step in constructing the Luna Crossbody is to get all of your pieces cut, interfaced (where applicable), and mark locations of pockets and closures.

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I also recommend using a rotary cutter and a straight edge for cutting all of your pieces. The rotary cutter makes cutting work a breeze and handles curves like a pro. It can also cut through multiple layers at a time (if, let’s say, you’re making Luna Crossbodies as gifts! Or batch sewing for your business). You’ll also need a cutting mat for this. I have a small 18”x24” cutting mat that I taped to a table with carpet tape to hold it in place. I use a large quilter’s ruler with a little lip on the end to grip the edge of the cutting mat and assist with straight cutting.

As you can see, my cutting mat is well-loved!

I like to get all the pieces cut and neatly stacked—so I have a visual inventory—before moving on to interfacing. Your pattern PDF includes a handy check list of each piece with dimensions, as well as templates for the interior pocket and main body pieces (I am not showing the Strap or Piping Wrap pieces just yet…we’ll get to those in a later step. But you may want to go ahead and cut those according to the diagrams int he pattern).

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We are using Pellon 809, a fusible, medium weight interfacing. To apply it, simply center the interfacing pieces on the wrong sides of their respective fabric pieces and press with an iron (if you are block fusing with a lighter weight interfacing, you’ll apply the interfacing before cutting your pieces). Use a high heat setting and iron each area for about 10 to 15 seconds, ensuring that your interfacing is fully adhered to the fabric. Let your pieces cool before moving them to the side to prevent the interfacing from peeling away from the fabric before it cools.

Next, mark the locations of the magnetic closures on the wrong side of the Outer Pocket Lining and one side of the Main Body, also on the wrong side (both markings will be on top of your interfacing). Then, mark the location of the interior pocket on the right side of one of the main body Lining pieces.

You’ll also want to either mark or clip the edges of the interior pocket to indicate the fold lines.

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Then you can use the marks or clips to measure and draw lines for lining up the interfacing with the interior pocket fold lines (I like to use this chalk pen for marking):

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Now that you have all your Main Body, Lining ,and Interior Pocket pieces prepped, you’re ready for the next step!