Lulu Cardigan Sewalong, Part 2: Fabrics and Notions

You’ve gathered your inspiration and now you’re ready to find the perfect fabric for your Lulu Cardigan! So let’s dive right in…

The Lulu Cardigan pattern works best with medium to heavyweight knits with about 40% to 60% stretch. The fit is drafted to be very snug when zipped or buttoned up. If you find a fabric you love that is a little less stretchy, it may still work. But consider sizing up, especially if you are between two sizes.

TYPES OF KNITS TO USE FOR THIS PATTERN

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of community-recommended online fabric shops)

Double knits or Interlock knits will work really well for the Lulu. Double knits are made with a double knit weave construction, often making them reversible, as they have the same finish on both sides. This also makes them a little thicker than most other knits, which makes them very figure flattering. They have the perfect combo of stretch and stability that will support the princess seam lines and provide a very comfy fit. They’re also fairly easy to work with (great for beginners!) and they are very widely available. There are several types of knit that fall into the double knit category: Ponte, Liverpool and Scuba, to name a few. The main difference between each is the fiber content, which gives each a slightly different hand feel and drape, but the same high recovery, flattering stretch that makes them perfect for this pattern!

Top to bottom: navy double knit, grey Interlock knit, black Ponte. The navy double knit and black ponte have a very fine knit structure that gives the fabric a smooth, monolithic appearance.

Top to bottom: navy double knit, grey Interlock knit, black Ponte. The navy double knit and black ponte have a very fine knit structure that gives the fabric a smooth, monolithic appearance.

Closeup of the grey interlock that shows the identical knit surface on both sides of the fabric.

Closeup of the grey interlock that shows the identical knit surface on both sides of the fabric.

French Terry is a type of knit that has a soft, looped, textured side and a smooth side. French terry is one of my absolute favorite knits—it’s so soft and comfortable and easy to wear over and over again! It is less structured than a double knit, but will work well for the Lulu.

Sweater Knits are simply knit fabrics made for sweater making. These come in a wide variety of styles and fiber contents. So the stretch and structure will vary greatly. But they can still be great option if you find a gorgeous boucle or thrifted sweater to refashion into your Lulu!

Left to right: red chenille sweater knit, grey french terry, and yellow baby french terry

Left to right: red chenille sweater knit, grey french terry, and yellow baby french terry

Athletic and Performance knits are typically lighter weight polyester fabrics with moisture wicking properties. These knits may be a little more finicky with the topstitched seam lines, but I could totally see a running jacket made with the Lulu pattern in a great athletic knit (this is actually on my to-sew list)!

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Stretch Lace, Faux Suede, and Velvet are my wild card fabrics for this pattern! These fabrics tend to be lightweight and can be challenging to sew, BUT if you find one you love with decent stretch and recovery, you can create a cardigan with some serious drama! I made one of my cardigan samples out of a white stretch lace (Inspired by that Anthropologie cardigan I saw a few months back) and it has become my favorite thing to wear. And one of the testers sewed this fabulous little velvet number! I’d recommend going for it if you are comfortable sewing with these types of fabrics, or if you’re like me and just throw caution to the wind!

Left to right: stretch faux suede, stretch lace, stretch burnout velvet

Left to right: stretch faux suede, stretch lace, stretch burnout velvet

INTERFACING

There is only a tiny bit of interfacing along the placket for Version B. (You may also want to use it where the zipper is installed to keep the fabric from stretching out.) Look for tricot or knit fusible interfacing, such as Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit or Fusiknit Tricot Fusible Interfacing.

Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit

Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit

RIBBING FOR THE CUFFS, NECK BAND, AND HEM BAND (VERSION A)

Version A of the Lulu Cardigan pattern calls for knit ribbing to finish the neck band, sleeve cuffs, and hem. You’re looking for something listed as “1x1” or “2x2” “ribbing” that has a very high stretch percentage (up to 100%). It is often a little thicker and more stable. The fiber content is usually mostly cotton (or other natural fiber) with a small percentage of spandex, lycra, or elastane for extra stretch recovery. Using this fabric will give your cardigan that authentic bomber-style finish!

Left to right: grey 1x1 ribbing, white 2x2 ribbing, oatmeal 1x1 ribbing (you can see that the 2x2 ribbing has a more define rib structure).

Left to right: grey 1x1 ribbing, white 2x2 ribbing, oatmeal 1x1 ribbing (you can see that the 2x2 ribbing has a more define rib structure).

If you don’t want to use knit ribbing, or you can’t find one to match your main fabric, you can also use your main fabric for these pieces. **If you do this, you will want to size the neck band up about two sizes if your main fabric doesn’t have 60% stretch or more.**

ZIPPERS AND SNAPS

The Lulu pattern has two closure options: zip up (Version A) and snap front (Version B). For the zipper, you’re looking for a separating jacket zipper that is the length specified for your size. If you can’t find your specified length, get one that is longer because you can trim it to the right size. For this pattern, since we are working with knits, I really like the size #3 lightweight jacket zippers sold on Wawak.com. They come in brass, nylon, and molded plastic in a variety of colors and lengths. But this size is hard to find anywhere else (I searched high and low!), so a larger-toothed zipper will work as well if that is all you can find.

For the snaps on Version B, I chose 7/16” (1.1 cm) pearl snaps. These are pretty common and easy to find. You can really use just about any lightweight snap for this project. The finished snap placket width is 5/8” (~1.5 cm), so find something that will fit within that space and you should be good to go. You’ll also want to make sure your snaps aren’t too difficult to unsnap! Since this is a knit cardigan, a stubborn snap will lead to LOTS of tugging on a knit. This can also be avoided by making sure you have the proper tools to install the size of snap you have, as crushing or denting the snap can make them harder to snap and unsnap. Make sure to practice snap installation on scrap fabric to get the hang of it.

You can also use buttons! Installing buttonholes in a knit can be a total pain, but with the right knit and a little patience, it can certainly be done. Do a couple of test buttonhole on scrap fabric before committing.

Left to right: #3 molded plastic separating jacket zipper, #3 brass separating jacket zipper, pearl snaps (top), and plastic buttons (bottom)

Left to right: #3 molded plastic separating jacket zipper, #3 brass separating jacket zipper, pearl snaps (top), and plastic buttons (bottom)


WHERE TO BUY KNIT FABRICS + NOTIONS

I polled the sewing community for their favorite online shopping resources and I tried to get a mix of U.S. based and global shopping resources. Many places ship abroad, some with really affordable shipping (or free shipping!). If you have any other online fave fabric shops for buying knits to add to this list, shoot me a message and I will add them (also let me know if I need to add international shipping or eco-friendly tag if I left it off)!

FABRIC

(Shops marked with a * offer international shipping, shops marked with “(EF)” have eco-friendly fabric sourcing and business practices)



CANADA

Blackbird Fabrics * (EF)

L'Oiseau Fabrics (stocks European jacquard knits!) * (EF)

Watertower Textiles (ships to U.S.)



AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Tessuti Fabrics (Australia) *

Drapers Fabrics (New Zealand) *

The Fabric Store (New Zealand) * (EF)


ASIA

Swatch On (South Korea) *

Miss Matatabi Fabrics (Japan) *


NOTIONS

Wawak (US)

Etsy (International) *

Amazon*

Minerva Crafts (UK) *

Dawn Jeans: Rigid Denim vs. Stretch (tips for making both)

I love making jeans! If you’ve been following me for the last year, you know this. Jeans always seem so daunting because of all the fancy stitching and hardware detailing, but they are actually quite straightforward. With a good pattern and the right fabric, you can make a custom-fit wardrobe staple.

The only jeans patterns I have tried so far have been Closetcase Patterns Ginger Jeans and Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jeans. Both are really fantastic patterns and I’ve made several pair of jeans that far exceed any of my store-bought pairs when it comes to fit.

Today, I’m sharing three pair of Dawns that I made in the last month. You may remember my post on refashioning an oversized pair of thrifted jeans using the Dawn pattern (which I did twice, actually: once in rigid denim, and once in a stretch denim). In addition to getting that nice, worn denim in a handmade pair, I also learned a few things about sizing and detailing that might be helpful if you are thinking of making this pattern for yourself!

First up, non-stretch Dawn Jeans

I decided to batch sew two pair of jeans at once, after scoring some fantastic 9oz Brushed Bull Denim from Blackbird Fabrics, and a lightweight rigid denim from a Shop Well Fibre Instagram auction. I ran into a somewhat major snag during the basted fitting when both pairs would not even go past my thighs! I had sewn them BOTH a size too small. How, you ask? Well, I’d traced the pattern a size smaller for the last pair of STRETCH Dawns that I made, and totally forgot. And then used that pattern on my non-stretch denim. Oy!

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BUT! I fixed them both by sewing a strip of fabric into the side seams to make up the difference in sizes. Since I sewed them one size too small, and since the grade between size 14 and size 16 (my size) is 2” for this pattern, I knew I needed to add an inch to both sides. So I cut my strips 2 1/4” wide (1” plus a seam allowance on either side of the strip of 5/8”). I also tapered the strips toward the calf, since I was short on length in my remaining fabric and I was making flares and didn’t need the extra width at the bottom.

Dawn Jeans in brushed bull denim with  Pattern Scout Hana Tank

Dawn Jeans in brushed bull denim with Pattern Scout Hana Tank

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To be honest, I really love how they turned out! I think this technique would be so cool with some vintage-y embroidered ribbon, or velvet ribbon down the side. Happy accident!

Now, the bull denim from Blackbird Fabrics is super soft and, although it is technically a rigid denim, it does have just a little give. These jeans are incredibly comfortable and hold their shape really well. I’ve worn them a TON since I made them. A++

The pair I made with the lightweight denim from Well Fibre is SUPER RIGID. Like, surprisingly rigid for something so lightweight. If I had to do it over again, I might have used this fabric for something with a looser, more casual fit, as it has been resistant to “wearing in”…I don’t think that stuff stretched out AT ALL, not even a little bit. And I wore them to a sushi lunch…I had to basically throw my body into the car afterward, because bending/sitting was…uncomfortable. And elicited loud, guttural groans anytime I had to get up/sit down. But damn, they cute! And are totally comfy if I am standing, haha. I also used the selvedge as a fun little detail on the back pocket and front coin pocket.

Lightweight Rigid Denim Dawn Jeans with  Pattern Scout Lulu Cardigan  over self-drafted linen jersey tee

Lightweight Rigid Denim Dawn Jeans with Pattern Scout Lulu Cardigan over self-drafted linen jersey tee

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Okay, now on to the stretch Dawns!

These turned out GREAT! I sized down one size (back to that too-small size from before) and added a pocket stay for the front pockets. (You can see how I adapted a pocket stay for the Dawn Jeans from the Ginger Jeans pattern here).*

Italian Stretch Popcorn Denim Dawn Jeans with  Grainline Studio LInden Sweatshirt , thrifted scarf and boots

Italian Stretch Popcorn Denim Dawn Jeans with Grainline Studio LInden Sweatshirt, thrifted scarf and boots

I used a 10oz Italian Stretch Popcorn Denim, again from Blackbird Fabrics. The stretch is just right, slightly stretchier than my favorite Ginger Jeans that I made with an 11 Oz Cone Mills S-Gene Denim. And they hold their shape really well and are so comfortable—I wore them while traveling and they held their own on a 2 hour bus ride and two flights (with a layover in between where I ate disappointing airport food) the last time I went home to Mississippi (and again on the way back to Michigan). If that’s not a true test of the droopy-drawers potential of a pair of pants, idunno what is!

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I also used Gutterman Mara 70 thread for all three pairs, and man, that is some nice thread. THREAD MATTERS! It provides a really clean topstitching finish without making my sewing machine angry. Keeps my sewing rage at bay, and this is a good thing, because sewing should be therapeutic.

*I will note that I DO NOT recommend adding a pocket stay on rigid denim Dawns. I did this on my very first pair and it’s like have a vice grip on my belly, y’all. Rigid denim + pocket stays = torture pants. Learn from my mistakes. Ya welcome.



Lulu Cardigan Sewalong, Part 1: Inspiration

When I got the idea to design the Lulu Cardigan, I was looking for a cardigan for my own wardrobe and couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. I wanted a fitted and cropped style that could go dressy or casual. Most of the cardigans I was finding were more boxy and oversized (which is also a great style!) but, as it usually goes with my pattern or clothing hunts, I had a very specific style in mind that I was determined to bring to reality!

I also wanted to provide options for other sewists making the pattern. So I started looking at ways to switch up the style easily, while allowing the sizing to be custom fit on multiple bodies for that snug fit. The addition of the princess seams make it possible to easily adjust the bust and fit (and they also make it a great scrap-buster by breaking the pattern into smaller pieces, which also reduces the amount of total fabric needed. Win!).

Below are a few ideas for making your own Lulu Cardigan (and a few that inspired the direction of the pattern during the design phase)!

See all these images and more on the Lulu Cardigan Inspiration board on Pinterest!


ROMANTIC

My ultimate inspiration for the pattern was the white lace bomber (below) that I saw on Anthropologie earlier this year. I loved it immediately and made myself one in a stretchy knit lace from Joann Fabrics as soon as I had the pattern drafted. I have been stopped by total strangers to ask about it on several occasions! It’s my current favorite piece in my wardrobe.

The thing that (I think) makes this pattern so special is the ability to pair a more structured silhouette with more feminine fabrics and detailing. A match made in fashion heaven!

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MODERN

Another important feature that I try to work into all my patterns is scrap-busting, which inevitably lends itself to COLOR BLOCKING! I know I’m not the only sewist with a stash full of barely usable scraps from previous projects. If you love thrifting, color blocking is an awesome way to repurpose vintage sweaters and t-shirts, too. Use them up and create something unique!

And as much as I love pairing feminine details with structured silhouettes, I also love the idea of leaning fully into the modern styling and lines of a fitted jacket/cardigan with more stable, structured fabrics and bold details (maybe you have some leather scraps to use for shoulder patches, or a modern burnout knit for the bodice?). Scuba knits are also great for creating uber-sleek garments and are perfect for this pattern.

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FUN PRINTS AND TEXTURES

Last but not least, you can really mix things up by incorporating bold prints and touchable textures into this pattern. For busier prints, the style lines will fade into the background, letting your prints shine. Maybe you have a double-sided knit that you can switch front to back for some of the pieces for a funky color-and-print blocking technique. Or maybe you have a luxurious quilted knit or faux fur—easily size the cardigan up a couple sizes for a looser, more casual (and cozy) fit!

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If you want even more inspiration, be sure to check out the Pinterest board I made for this project, and pop over to the Tester Roundup and #pslulucardigan on Instagram to see what others made!

In the next post in this series, I’ll be sharing tips for sourcing fabrics and notions for your Lulu Cardigan project. Thanks for following along!

Lulu Cardigan Tester Roundup

Several years ago, I bought a cheap peplum cardigan from H&M. It was fitted, but had a little structure to it and could be worn with so many things. Not long after that purchase, I decided not to shop at stores like H&M anymore (because of their promotion of fast fashion and the impact that has on workers and the environment). But I wore that cardigan ALL. THE. TIME. And it was one of those pieces that I always received compliments on. Eventually it was too worn out to be presentable (and had pit stains, sorry TMI!).

So when I started sewing my own clothing, and then designing sewing patterns, I knew I had to recreate the cardigan, but better. Better fit, sleeker styling, more design options. I’d also recently seen a super cute lace bomber-style cardigan on Anthropologie that I ALSO had to have. SO I decided to nab two birds with one pattern. Enter: the Lulu Cardigan!

Lulu is a fitted knit cardigan with princess seams and two style options: a bomber-style zip up or a snap front peplum style. The pattern is drafted to fit very close with minimal ease in the bodice, but can also be easily sized up for a looser, more casual fit. I love how versatile this pattern is, and the tester versions are a testament to that! Speaking of the testers, I couldn’t have created this pattern without them. Their feedback and commitment to helping me get it right are so greatly appreciated! They created some really beautiful cardigans. Scroll through to see how they helped bring this pattern to life!




Danielle (@sew_danielle)


Olivia (@shaftedpin)

Chwryl (@chwrylsews)




McKell (@mckellmakes)


Susan (@sew_can_sew)




Mariane (@marianesglover)






Lulu (@lulu_sews)



Siobhan (@moderndaymaker)


Alyssa (@igotsewl)



Jessica (@kunklebaby)








Heather (@vosewsandsews)



Emanuela (@emanuela_ker)


Johanna (@johannadoes)


Ashley (@ginghamhive)



Bernice (@sewbee73)

High Waisted Sasha Trousers Pattern Hack

After almost a year of sewing mostly basics, I’ve been feeling the urge to bust up outta my sewing shell and add a few fun pieces to my wardrobe. To date, I’ve made about 5 pairs of jeans and 3 or 4 pairs of leggings. so I think I got my basics covered in the pants category. It was high time I sewed up these Closetcase Patterns Sasha Trousers!

Sasha Trousers with Deer & Doe Melilot shirt and  hand-painted thrifted loafers

Sasha Trousers with Deer & Doe Melilot shirt and hand-painted thrifted loafers

Sasha Trousers with  Hana Tank

Sasha Trousers with Hana Tank

I was basically forced to go for it, too, when fate had me stumble on some really great black, navy, and grey check fabric with just a little stretch in the perfect weight for fall. Unfortunately, I can’t find it online (sorry!) but I bought it at Joann Fabrics.

Y’all know my love for Closetcase patterns runs deep, so I’d had my eye on the their trousers pattern for a while. The only thing I was a little hesitant on was the rise. It hits kinda mid-to-low and I knew I’d want to lengthen it on my long torso. After a bit of Instagram stalking the hash tag, seeing a couple of higher-rise hacks, I was sold. It really is a very flattering pants pattern!

Now, here’s my beef with trousers in general: the slanted front pockets. They almost ALL have them and it is quite possibly the least flattering pocket on my curvy hips. They ALWAYS flare open and visually add more width in that area (not that wide hips are bad, but it just looks odd to have my pockets hangin’ wide open all the time in front of God and errbody!).

So I debated whether or not to add pockets at all, then all these memes about pockets on women’s clothing fluttered into my memory, and I decided to be a good feminist and add the pockets…with a slight modification.

Also, I really wanted that tummy tucking panel courtesy of the pocket stays.

Here’s how I lengthened the rise AND modified the slant pockets by moving them higher and to a more horizontal position:

STEP 1: If grading between sizes, cut the larger size first and wait to grade until after you have lengthened the rise.

I lengthened the rise by about 2” by cutting at the lengthen/shorten line and taping extra paper to the gap. I used my Ginger Jeans (which I also lengthened the rise on) as a guide for how high I wanted these. I ended up going even higher!

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After I had the pattern pieces sliced and spread to my desired rise, I graded between a size 10/12 in the waist and a size 16 in the hips. On the finished garment measurements, the waist circumference is noted to sit below the navel and is drafted to have zero ease. Knowing this, I saw that my waist circumference fell in between the 10 and 12, and since I was bringing the rise back up closer to my natural waist, I knew I needed to size down a bit. The orange line shows where I would need to grade between sizes.

I also did NOT cut the pocket line of the front leg—I cut them as if I would not be adding pockets.

Then I lengthened the back darts by 2” and redrew the dart legs so that the dart point would remain in the original location.

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STEP 2: Transfer all lengthening to the fly, but do NOT lengthen the pocket bags, only grade them between sizes if needed.

Throughout this process, I was using all my thinky-brain power to make sure I got the pockets to line up properly with the grading and lengthening of the legs. I ended up cutting the pocket bags at the largest of my graded sizes and then overlaying it and tracing a new outline from the pants legs. And I decided not to make the pocket bags larger by lengthening them with the rise because they are already pretty large. In the end it was a good decision.

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STEP 3: Draft new pocket openings and facings

I decided to rotate the pockets to a more horizontal position, while maintaining the pocket opening length (shown in purple). The length for my size was roughy 6.25”, so I used my metal ruler to position a line that was 6.25” and touched the side seam and waistline. I aimed for the pocket opening to touch the waistline kinda close to a belt loop position (even though I wasn’t planning to add the belt loops, I might on a future pair). Keep in mind that once seam allowance is accounted for, the line will actually sit approximately 5/8” lower, and be a little longer (and closer to the belt loop location).

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Then I just folded the pattern pieces at the pocket lines (again, thinking of how I might reuse this pattern in the future in different ways, so I didn’t want to cut it).

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Now to draft the pocket facings. This step took me a minute to wrap my brain around for some reason, but once I drafted the pieces, it was actually pretty straightforward. You need a roughly 2.5” wide facing for the pocket opening on the pants leg, and you need a facing for behind the pocket opening to be the pants material to hide the pocket bag. Both of these facings will be sewn to the pocket bag pieces.

I traced the outline of the back pocket bag piece, then overlayed the front pocket bag to trace the new slant pocket opening. Then I duplicated that piece and traced a wide arc beneath the slant opening, making sure to extend the curve about 2.5” past the slant line on the waistline and the side seam. The finished pieces looked like this (in blue):

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And here’s how the facings (in black plaid) attach to the pocket bags (blue striped fabric):

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Once you have all the pieces lengthened and cut, you are all set! Just follow the pattern instructions as you normally would to complete the pants construction.

I’m super happy with how these pants turned out! The fabric is heavy weight and slightly stretchy, so i feel like it holds me in while letting me move! The pattern fit nearly perfectly on the first basted fit. And I could probably take it in just a little more on the side seams for an extra snug fit, but I wanted to wait to see how the fabric stretch after a few wears.

Sasha Trousers with an old RTW turtleneck that I’ve had for more than 10 years!

Sasha Trousers with an old RTW turtleneck that I’ve had for more than 10 years!

Hand-painted Animal Print on Thrifted Suede Shoes

Animal print is SO in right now. Wait, was it ever really out? I have to be honest, I used to shy away from animal print. But these days, I’ve been embracing it in small-yet-gradually-increasing doses. Maybe I’m reaching an age where it just feels right. And I especially love abstracted animal prints!

Anyhow!

Over the weekend, I popped into my local thrift store after a breakfast outing at our fave spot. Apparently, someone or someones had unloaded a large amount of really nice, barely worn shoes that were at or close to my shoe size. I squeezed my foot into many pair that didn’t quite fit, but managed to snag 4 pair in my size that perfectly filled a few holes in my shoe collection. All together, it only cost me $27, and this brown pair of loafers came in at a whopping $3.50! AND! I’d been planning a trip to the shoe store this same weekend to shop for loafers to go with my new Sasha Trousers. So I think it was fate…

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One of my first thoughts after bringing them home was…”Ooh, maybe I should paint these!”. I’d seen @rooted_soles and @katiekortmanart do it on Instagram, so I figured I should give it a go. And it turned out to be SO stinking easy!

To start, I gathered my supplies, all of which I already had on hand:

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Then I set about painting hundreds of tiny spots onto my shoes! Holding my breath at first, I worked my way around, trying to keep the spacing and scale consistent while also making it look as if some spots were cut off at the seams so it would look like the original fabric was printed. Once I conquered the first few spots, I was good to go.

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It only took me about 30 minutes to finish and the paint dried really quickly (it doesn’t take much at all). I used a couple of animal print items I had in my wardrobe as my inspiration for this simple, abstract, spotty animal print: a little purse from Target and another thrifted item that I made into a silk Hana Tank. Before I knew it, I was done!

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I wasn’t sure how I wanted to tackle the tassel, so I left it and the top panel as they were to make it look more intentional. Plus, I was afraid painting the tassel might look a little shabby. And sometimes less is more, students!

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This was such a satisfying and quick project with minimal mess or cleanup involved, which is basically my most favorite type of DIY. And the shoes look SUPER DUPER cute with my hacked plaid Sasha Trousers, if I do say so myself (look at me, mixing prints, too!)!

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Hana Tank + Dress Pattern Tester Roundup

One of my favorite parts of creating a new pattern is the testing phase. It’s a chance to finally see my pattern on other sewists while getting crucial feedback on the fit and instructions. While it makes me feel really vulnerable to put the pattern, flaws and all, out there for the first time to be scrutinized, by the end of the process I feel so grateful for the people that donate their time and resources to help me make the pattern the best it can be! And every time I do this, I come away thinking “I have the best group of testers EVER!”.

This time was no different. And I managed to get my act together early on in preparation for doing this roundup. I have to say, this group really showed out and showed up. I was blown away by their Hanas and did a little happy dance every time a new photos popped up in my inbox and the tester forum!

The Hana comes in three views with options for cropped, hip, and dress length, plus a tie waist option! You can purchase the pattern by clicking this button:

So, let me quit yammering on and show the Hanas already (click images to enlarge)!

Version A, Crop

Nichole (@sewnichole)



Danielle (@sew_danielle)




Version A, Hip Length


Charlotte (@charlottevictoriaturner and also here)

Version A, Dress

Boon Kuan (@limbksews)


Siobhan (@moderndaymaker)



Cass (@craftyprofessor and also check out Cass’s blog post on creating a facing for the Hana here.)



Version B, Crop


Karina (@liftingpinsandneedles and Karina did a youtube review of the Hana! CLICK HERE TO WATCH


Leanna (@lgoeckeritz)

Version B, Hip Length



Version B, Dress


Cassandra (@cassandrasews)


May (@handmakingtales) and she added pockets!


Kristine (@kristinesews) (it’s a bananahana! :) )




Leanne (@threadyforit)


Sherrene


Jessica (@kunklebaby)




Allison (@alleedew_sews)






Purchase the Hana Tank + Dress Pattern

Recommended fabrics:

Light- to mid-weight woven fabrics. For a more structured, boxy fit, use fabrics such as linen, chambray, poplin, and voile. For a more fluid drape and flowing fit, use fabrics such as tencel, rayon challis, and crepe de chine.

INTERFACING: Light- to mid-weight fusible woven interfacing (choose appropriate weight for fabric choice), such as Pellon SF101. 

1/2" (12 mm) BUTTONS: Crop / Tie Waist (6 -7)    |   Hip Length  (7-8)    |    Dress  Length  (13-14)

SIZES:

Women’s sizes 0-28 with optional pattern pieces for Full Bust Adjustment C or D cup. (See below for sizing and yardage requirements.)

SKILL LEVEL:

Advanced Beginner

Bias Binding Tips for Smooth Installation

The Hana Tank + Dress Pattern features the bias binding method of finishing the neckline and armholes. While this method is a great scrap buster, the first few times you try it might be frustrating. It takes practice and a little patience to make sure all those seams lay flat with no puckering.

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Well, today I am here to help! During the testing phase for the Hana pattern, a few of my testers had great feedback for getting a beautiful finish with bias tape binding.

If you’re still not into it, check out this tutorial for making a facing instead!

First things first:

You actually don’t have to make your own bias tape at all.

Many fabric stores keep it in stock and you can also find a wide array of pre-made (and quite beautiful) bias tapes online. Etsy is a great resource for this! You’ll need about 3 yards for the Hana pattern. Just make sure you bias tape is similar in weight and behavior to your main project fabric.

But making it yourself is pretty easy and fun once you get the hang of it!

Making bias tape is a great way to bust some scraps! Whether you are trying to squeeze a lot out of your project fabric, or want to make a contrasting bias tape, you can piece together multiple smaller strips of fabric pretty easily to make good use of some of those otherwise unusable scraps you have laying around.

The Hana pattern has a pattern piece for cutting bias tape, but you don’t have to cut your sections that long at all. With piecing, you can connect multiple, much smaller pieces together pretty easily!

In this post I’ll lay it out step-by-step (with LOTS of photos!)…

STEP 1: Cut fabric strips on the bias

Cutting “on the bias” just means cutting it at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. If you have small pieces of fabric, you can make quick work of laying them out on a cutting mat and cutting them down with a straight edge and a rotary cutter.

For larger pieces of fabric, lay it out flat, then fold up one corner to make a 45 degree fold (as if you are folding a perfect square on the diagonal). Then rotate the folded fabric so that the folded edge is parallel to your cutting mat rulers. Using your straight edge and rotary cutter, cut perpendicular (90 degrees) to the folded edge to create your strips.

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STEP 2: Piece short strips together at ends if you need longer strips

Lay one piece right side up with the end straight up and down. Then lay the end of the next piece on top of the first piece so right sides are facing. Sew the ends together at a diagonal.

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Unfold the strip and press the seam open to create one continuous, straight piece. Trim the seam at the sides for a neat edge.

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STEP 3: Stretch the bias tape!

Yep, you stretch it. I never knew this until this pattern test, but it actually works really well to pre-stretch the tape. Who knew!?

Using lots of heat and steam, begin ironing the strip of fabric while pulling it away from your iron as you go. You’ll notice that your tape will become more narrow with the stretching. You can do a test piece when cutting to make sure the stretched width is appropriate for your project. Wait for the fabric to cool before moving it.

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STEP 4: Fold the edges

If you’ve ever been turned off at the thought of making your own bias tape, I’m about to change your mind: Get yourself a bias tape maker! This little inexpensive tool makes bias tape-making a total breeze (and it’s actually quite satisfying).

If you don’t have one, you can still make bias tape. You’ll just have to manually fold and press the edges in, which takes a little longer but works just fine, too.

With your fabric strip and bias tape maker face down, thread one end through the large end of the bias tape maker channel (you may need to use a pin or the tip of your seam ripper to help it through). It will come out the other end with the two edges folded up. Only pull it through about an inch and press the end to hold the folds.

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Flip everything over so the the folds are now face down and the bias tape maker is right side up. Continue pressing the folded tape and gently pulling the bias tape maker to the left. Keep the tip of your iron close to the tool as you pull. Continue until you’ve pulled the entire strip through the tool. Voila! Satisfying, right?

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STEP 5: Pre-curve your bias tape

Some prefer to do this step prior to folding the tape, but I like doing it after to keep the edge folds consistent. Either way, curving the bias tape is possibly the most crucial step in getting a nice finish (learned this from Jenn of @msjennmakes, who taught me a lot on this subject during testing!).

Once again, using a fair amount of heat and steam, press the tape as you pull it in a curved direction. I like to compare my curves to the curve of the armholes and neckline periodically to make sure I am getting enough curve in there!

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Let it cool before moving it.

STEP 6: Attach the bias tape to the armholes

For the armholes, pin the bias tape in place about 1” from the side seam at the bottom, with about 1” to 2” of extra bias tape extending past the seam. You also want to make sure you are maintaining the correct seam allowance (I made a 1/2” bias tape with 1/4” folds. My armhole and neckline seam allowance is 3/8” so I offset the edge of the tape roughly 1/8” from the raw edge of the armhole here). You’ll use the fold of the bias tape as a guide for your seam.

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You can pin this in place if you like, but I like to sew with out pins, positioning the bias tape as I go. As you do this, remember to “observe the curve” (sage wisdom form another tester, Olivia of @shaftedpin). Try to go slowly and rotate the curves under the needle without stretching the fabric or bias tape as you go. Sew the bias tape around the perimeter, using the bias tape fold as a seam allowance guide. Stop about 1” from your starting point.

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Trim your bias tape, again with about 1 to 2” overlapping the side seam at the bottom of the armhole. Fold each of the raw ends backward, with their folds touching each other. Then, use the folds as a seam guide. Pin the ends together and sew them together along the fold lines.

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Flatten the folds and sew the rest of the bias tape to the armhole, closing the gap.

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STEP 7: Understitch the bias tape to the armhole

Press the bias tape up/away from the armhole to lay on top of the seam allowance (you can also trim the seam allowance back if you have little strings poking out). Understitch the bias tape to the seam allowance around the entire perimeter, keeping your stitch very close to the seam.

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STEP 8: Finish the bias tape with topstitching

Press the bias tape to the interior, keeping the edge neatly folded under. Topstitch the bias tape in place around the perimeter of the armhole, keeping the stitch close to the edge. I find this is easier to do from the wrong side of the garment. And remember to “observe the curve” by guiding the armhole under the needle in a curved motion without stretching the fabric.

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Armhole: Done! Repeat for the opposite side.

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STEP 9: Install bias tape to neckline

Use the same techniques to install the neckline binding, this time starting at the point of the v-neck (the pattern includes a mark point to indicate the start and stop location). Leave approximately 1” to 2” of bias tape past that point. Sew all the way around the perimeter of the neckline.

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When you reach the starting point at the point of the v-neck, fold the edge of the bias tape in where you started. Then overlap the end of the bias tape over it, and continuing sewing until you reach the exact point where you started. This should be right at the edge of the bias fold underneath.

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Clip the v-neck point to make it easier to turn the bias tape to the interior.

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STEP 10: Understitch the bias tape to the neckline

Press the bias tape up/away from the neckline to lay on top of the seam allowance. Understitch the bias tape to the seam allowance around the entire perimeter, keeping your stitch very close to the seam. Be careful not to sew over the overlapping ends at the v-neck point.

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STEP 11: Finish the neckline with topstitching

Just as you did at the armholes, press the bias tape to the interior and topstitch to secure. When you reach the point of the v-neck, overlap the bias tape and fold one end over the other and press for a neat finish (I like to pin this fold in place to secure it while I topstitch the neckline).

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Finished!

Give your Hana a good pressing and admire your work!

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MORE FROM PATTERN SCOUT:

How to Make an All-In-One Facing for the Hana Tank + Dress

The Hana Tank + Dress Pattern features the bias binding method of finishing the neckline and armholes. A few testers noted that they would like the option to finish the Hana with a facing instead. Cass, one of the Hana testers and the sewist behind @craftyprofessor on Instagram, has created a tutorial for drafting and sewing an all-in-one facing for Hana.

Take it away, Cass!


I’m going to walk you through how to make an all-in-one facing for your Hana tank or dress using the Burrito Method.

Hana Dress, Version A

Hana Dress, Version A

Hana Dress, Version A back

Hana Dress, Version A back

Hana Tank, Version C

Hana Tank, Version C

Hana Tank, Version C facing

Hana Tank, Version C facing

STEP 1: Draft facing pattern pieces

To draft facing pieces, simply trace your pattern pieces onto extra paper – my facing pieces are blue.  The facing in the front will need to end above the bust dart, so make a mark just below the bust dart (after hemming it will be above it) and draw a straight line to the center front.  For button placket versions, the center front facing will end about half way between the fold line and the first notch. For View A, you will want to curve the line up a bit in the center so that the facing hem is not right at your bust point (You can do this for all versions if you want). For View A, just make your facing to the fold line and then cut it on the fold.  

 
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Make sure that the back facing piece is the same length as the front piece under the armpit, as this is where the front and back pieces meet.  I have shown an alternative cut line for the back facing, but in my examples below I have used a straight line.

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STEP 2: Cut facing fabric

Cut facing pieces instead of bias binding and make sure to also stay stitch the arm lines.

STEP 3: Prepare bodice for facing

Stay-stitch the bodice neckline and armholes, then prepare the placket (if sewing Versions B or C) and sew the bust darts as shown in steps 1-3 in the Hana Tank + Dress Pattern instructions.

STEP 4: Sew shoulder seams

Sew shoulder seams together for both the main bodice fabric pieces and the facings and finish with your desired method. Do not sew the the side seams yet.

STEP 5: Hem facings

Hem or finish the bottom edge of facings using your desired method. 

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STEP 6: Prepare the placket for facings (Versions B + C only)

For versions with the button placket, proceed with pattern instructions in step 5 (fold back and baste the placket). 

STEP 7: Attach facing to bodice pieces at neckline (all versions)

Next, lay the main pieces flat, with the right side up and put facing on top of it, right sides together.  Pin around neckline matching up shoulder seams.

For versions with the button placket, the facing should be about ¼ inch short of the fold in the front 

Facing for Versions B + C, Facing is split in the front.

Facing for Versions B + C, Facing is split in the front.

Closeup of facing for Versions B + C, pinned in place.

Closeup of facing for Versions B + C, pinned in place.

Facing for Version A, continuous in front and back.

Facing for Version A, continuous in front and back.

Sew around the entire neckline with 3/8 in seam allowance. For versions with the button placket make sure to start sewing at the edge of the fold of the placket and sew beyond the facing all the way to the edge of the other placket fold.

Clip the curves (all versions) and the point of the v-neck (Version A only) without clipping the stitch line. Press the seam allowance towards facing.

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STEP 8: Understitch the facing

Understitch the seam allowance to the facing very close to the seam along the neckline.  Make sure to sew through 3 layers – the two layers of the seam allowance and the facing.  I like to sew from the right side of the facing, but I will demonstrate from the wrong side so you can see where the stitching is going.   

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This is what it looks like after it is understitched. You should be able to see a line of stitching on the facing very close to the neckline.  This will help your neckline stay turned under nicely and the stitching will be concealed on the interior of the finished garment for a clean finish on the exterior. 

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Press facing to inside, and for versions with the button placket, flip front placket back to right side

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STEP 9: Sew the Armsyces – The ‘Burrito Method’ (all versions)

I will be using the ‘burrito method’ to attach the facing and main fabrics together at the arm holes. This video shows the method in action! Photos and written instructions continue below.

Video created by Cass Hausserman of @craftyprofessor


First, with the right side of the facing up, roll one side of the top over to the other side

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Next, you are going to match up the facing to the main fabric, but you have to make sure you have the right sides together.  To do this, reach under the top and pull the main around the burrito to match it up with the facing. Pin the facing to the main bodice long the armscye curve only. Sew just the curve of the armhole with the 3/8 in seam allowance.

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Clip the curves, and then pull the top through the shoulder.   

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Pulling the facing and bodice through “burrito” to right side (shown here on the Version A dress)

Pulling the facing and bodice through “burrito” to right side (shown here on the Version A dress)

Repeat this for the other side.

Now the facing is attached to the main fabric.  

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STEP 10: Press the armhole seams

Press the seams making sure to open them up as much as possible with your fingers as you’re pressing.  

STEP 11: Understitch the facing at the armholes

Next, understitch the facing to the armhole seam allowance as far as possible.  For this, you will be stitching the two layers from the seam allowance and the facing together very close to the armhole seam you sewed during the last step.  This top has a nice wide shoulder strap, so I was able to get almost all the way up to the shoulder seam in the back!

Underside of understitching shown on Version A dress

Underside of understitching shown on Version A dress

Finished understitching on right side of facing. You can see it is very close to the edge of the armhole.

Finished understitching on right side of facing. You can see it is very close to the edge of the armhole.

STEP 12: Sew side seams

Pull the front and back facing pieces out and away from the main bodice. Line up the armhole seams and pin the side seam of the front and back bodice and facing pieces together. The side seam of the facing and the main bodice pieces will be sewn in one step. 

Line up side seams (Version A dress)

Line up side seams (Version A dress)

Line up side seams (Version C tank)

Line up side seams (Version C tank)

Finish the side seam with your preferred method and press open or to the back.  Since the facing is only a couple of inches from the armpit opening, it is important to tack it down so that it doesn’t flip out.  You can make this nearly invisible by stitching a few stitches “in the ditch” of the main bodice side seam.

Facing is pinned to side seam and tacked to the main bodice. Tacking stitches are sewn “in the ditch”, meaning they are concealed in the exterior side seam.

Facing is pinned to side seam and tacked to the main bodice. Tacking stitches are sewn “in the ditch”, meaning they are concealed in the exterior side seam.

STEP 13: Proceed to the pattern for the remaining instructions

For versions with the button placket, proceed to the pattern instructions step 8 to topstitch the placket in place, then proceed with step 10 and 11 as indicated in the pattern.



And that’s it! Thank you so much, Cass, for sharing this technique!

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ABOUT CASS HAUSSERMAN

Hi!  I’m Cass, or CraftyProfessor (on Instagram).  I have always been crafty and have been sewing rectangular things and altering t-shirts for as long as I can remember, but I had never used a pattern.  About 2 years ago my VERY basic sewing machine died, and I decided to upgrade. I also had a 6 month old baby, and figured that I would try making him some leggings using a pattern for the first time, now that I had this nice new sewing machine.  About a year ago I started sewing for myself and my husband, and now I can’t get enough! I am somewhat fearless when it comes to trying new things and know that the Internet is such an amazing resource for what I don’t know. I work full time as an accounting professor, but I try to sneak in some sewing almost every day!