Monthly Archives: February 2014

Get Carded

02-cardedSometimes social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) is a wonderful thing. I find that when designers give previews of upcoming (typically sewing) patterns, it not only gets my creative juices flowing, but I start planning for the upcoming project. The Get Carded wallet from Dog Under My Desk  was one of those patterns – as soon as she posted a prototype of the design, I was hooked (in fact, I may have harassed her a few times as to how much longer the pattern was going to come out). As soon as it came out, I purchased it and started cutting, but other commitments got in the way of me finishing it until this week. I love the end result…. and so did my daughter because she is using it now (she said it looks very Vera Bradley).


For my version, I went with the clear ID front pocket with the ruffled zippered area. It took about 90 minutes (maybe not even that much) to sew after everything was cut and fused together and all the pieces came together nicely. In fact, with a lot of wallet patterns there’s usually a lot of bulk to contend with (especially when you start adding a lot of interior pockets), but I didn’t have any problems with the Get Carded since only portions of the pockets (not the ‘full pocket’) are interfaced. The best part (IMHO), however, is sewing the front and back pieces together and turning right side out – you see there’s a ‘flap’ that is left open and topstitched in place so there’s no hand sewing necessary. Not only is that a cool technique, it allows you to slip a piece of heavyweight interfacing between the wallet to give it more support without having to contend with sewing the bulk.  I will also admit that I like the continuous loop strap as well, but nothing can beat skipping the hand sewing in my book!

The Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a small walletwristlet that you can make for yourself, I highly recommend Get Carded. Not only does it have some clever and unique features, it sews up quickly and has great instructions which makes it perfect for an advanced beginner (I’d recommend that the individual have some sewing experience prior to working with this pattern since there are several techniques like gathering and fabrics such a clear vinyl that might be problematic for an extreme beginner).  I can definitely see myself sewing this one up again – I’m thinking it would make a fabulous present this Mother’s Day!

Linky Thursday

I may have a pincushion addiction. This Caravan Patchwork pincushion is definitely a new favorite.

Free baby leggings pattern!

Going somewhere? The Ellie Travel Case will hold all your stuff for the trip!

Keep all your nighttime necessities handy with this bedside organizer.

Skip the chicks and bunnies this Easter and make some lambs instead (they look so much cuddlier too!)!

Speaking of Easter Chicks, this tutorial will teach you how to which up a quick chicken pouch that’s just large enough to hide a chocolate egg inside.

Baskets are a great way to store and organize your belongings while bringing a bit of interest to your home. Of course, there’s lots of ways to do it. Follow these instructions for a tribal batik bucket and this one for a woven basket.

Dressing up? This easy, clip-on bow tie will have you looking schnazy in minutes!

It’s Kitchen Week at Sew4Home and while I don’t normally like to cover my appliances, I love the colors and design of this Toaster Cover so much, I might consider it!

Win a beautiful fat quarter bundle.

I love fun and unique bags. Lipsie the Pocket Girl definitely fits the bill.

Amy Butler has a new quilt pattern out and once again, it’s gorgeous.


Go To Cape

02-capeIf you headed over to GoToPatterns this weekend, you may have seen my face as their “Sew and Tell”  project of the week(end). I had a great opportunity to stitch up their Go To Cape and give a brief review for their blog… as you can see I finished it up just in time to get some use out of it (we had a great deal of snow on the ground when these photos were taken)!

There’s lots of design opportunities to make this pattern your own, However, I just went with topstitching all the seams (because I LOVE the way it looks) and two button tabs on the top of the coat. You can check out my fabric choices, thoughts about the pattern, and a few more photos on the GoToSew website!

More Lame

02-pipingApparently, I am a glutton for punishment because I didn’t just stop at making lame (not ‘lame’, but ‘la-may’…. I just can’t seem to find the ‘e’ with the little accent right now!) appliques, I decided that I needed to make piping too!  Actually, it went much smoother than what I anticipated – largely because I used a metallic needle to prevent snags and kept the handling of the lame to a minimum (so it wouldn’t fray). I am totally in love with the end result – lots of hours spent on it, but I think the hard work payed off.

Now it’s time to sit in front of the computer and write the instructions for this one up. Yes, you’ll be seeing more of this guy a few months down the road from now. Until then, I’m marking this one off my ‘to do list’ so I can concentrate on my Ziggi!

Welcome to the Ziggi!

01-ziggiToday’s the day – the start of the Ziggi Sew Along! Chances are, you opened up your pattern packet, looked at all the pieces and instructions, and said to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?” Have no fear, that’s what this sew along is all about: a chance to work together while we sew up this pattern, chat with others about questionsproblemsconcerns over on our Flickr group (or here or Maris’ blog), and show off our progress! Today post is all about  cutting.

Since you purchase Style ARC patterns by individual sizes, you can go ahead and cut your pattern pieces without tracing. However, if you can’t bare the thought of cutting into it or you are anticipating making some alterations, go ahead and take the time to trace each piece. Keep in mind, if you are going to skip lining your finished jacket, you’ll only need to trace off 14 pieces instead of the full 23 (that will definitely save some time!).

muslinNow that the pattern is ready to go, it’s time to cut into that fabric! If you’re planning on making a muslin, you will only need to cut the ‘main’ portions of the jacket (front and back pieces, yoke, side back, and sleeves) – details such as pockets, collar, and lining can be skipped at this point. Even thought it’s called a muslin, be sure that you are using an inexpensive material that closely resembles your final fashion fabric in weight and drape that way you can accurately assess how the garment will fit, feel, and move with you (for example, my final garment fabric is a fused leather. I might select a mid-weight denim to test-fit my pattern).

02-pencilIf you’re ready to jump right into your fashion fabric, you’ll want to ‘play’ with your pattern layout as there is not one included in the instructions. There really isn’t a hard or fast rule how to do this except I do like to lay everything out on my material before I cut to make sure that everything will fit. How you lay out your pieces is really determined by the size you’re cutting and width of fabric. Take note that you’ll only be cutting pieces 1-14 out of your exterior fabric and that pieces 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, and 14 will be cut twice and piece 11 will be cut 4 times. For the lining you’ll want to use pieces 15-23 with numbers 15, 16,  17, 18, 19, 21, and 22 being cut twice and number 23 being cut 4 times.

If you’ve opted to use leather (faux or otherwise) you’ll want to take special measures when cutting into your material:

  • First off, if you’re using a genuine leather hide, be sure to inspect the exterior for flaws – you can expect that there will be some holes, mars, or scars somewhere. Take note where these flaws are so you arrange your pattern pieces around these areas.
  • It’s important to keep in mind that pins will leave permanent holes in your hidefabric – if possible, avoid using them unless you are vigilant about keeping them within the seam allowance (this will also be important when it comes to sewing as well – now’s a good time to invest in some of those awesome Wonder Clips). Instead use pattern weights and trace around your material.
  • Even though there are pieces that need to be cut twice, it’s a good idea to cut them individually (just don’t forget to ‘flip’ your pattern pieces!). Not only is it easier to cut, but since leather is difficult to pin, you don’t have to worry about multiple layers shifting out of place.
  • Speaking of cutting, most leathers (unless you’ve selected a particular hefty weight) can be cut with sharp scissors andor rotary cutter – no special tool are required here!
  • Don’t forget to transfer your pattern markings. This will need to be done on the backside of your hidematerial using tailor’s chalk or similar tool – avoid using a tracing wheel as it will leave permanent marks (like pins) on your leather).


New Neckline

02-necklineAfter sewing up my new leggings, I decided that I needed a new top as well. Originally, I had thought I would make another Sunny Top, but after pairing them up together, I wasn’t fond of the look. So, after some searching, I decided I wanted to stitch up Kwik Sew 4027 – a really basic, tunic length v-neck tee (plus it was on sale, you can’t beat that!). I should have stuck with a v-neck pattern that I already own because I can say, so far, I’m not very fond of this one. My real issue is the neckline – I’ve had to re-work it. The pattern calls for the binding edges to be ‘raw’ (which is not something that I wanted in this top) – something you can’t see in the model photos. The seam allowance is also 5/8″ – which I would recommend trimming down because it’s downright impossible to get a smooth neckline.

In the end I think this worked out fine, but there’s a ‘lump’ that I notice right at the ‘V’ (because I went with the 5/8″ seam allowance with this shirt) that I’ve ‘fixed’ a bit by topstitching. Perhaps the next shirt I sew up I’ll use the raw edge look, but I wish I would have seen that in the description before I bought it.

Linky Thursday

It’s National Embroidery Month (who knew?)! To celebrate, Sew4Home has 5 FREE designs to download for your machine.

I am totally loving this High-Low shawl collar cardigan – I can see this being a great transitional wardrobe piece this spring!

It’s a stuffed animal. It’s a pillow…. It’s a pillow pet (or at least a DIY version)! The name on this tutorial makes me want to make them, too: Bed Bugs (and the pillows are bug shaped)!

Fulfill your inner bag junkie desires, stitch up a new duffel bag – perfect for workouts, overnights, or just for fun.

Learn how to make a beautiful, patchwork pencil case.

Everyone could use more patterns, right? Learn how you could win 15 new ones from GoToSew!

Eventually the snow will melt away and we’ll all start being able to wear spring wardrobes again. Just start your sewing by whipping up a new maxi skirt.

If Easton knew there was a pillow out there based on the song, What Does The Fox Say?, he’d make me sew one up.

Valentine’s Day may be over, but it’s never too late to make a pretty pair of underwear.

Upcycle a pair of old jeans and transform them into a mini backpack.

Add some sparkle into your closet by stitching up an easy to sew sequin skirt.

Slouchy may be in the title, but this tee is anything but! Learn how to create your own shirt with this tutorial.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this before, but this deer head is so fun, I can’t help but do it again!

Ziggi Info.

It’s almost here! It’s almost time for the Ziggi Sew Along to begin! Not only will you end the month of March with a fabulous, new jacket, you could win prizes doing it, too – thanks to StyleARC and! I’ve also created a Flickr group so you can begin chatting, showing off photos, etc. Maris and I will be starting our blog posts Monday, come join the fun!

With that said, it’s high time that I talk a little bit about my fabric selections. I’ve decided to go with a ‘traditional’ looking moto jacket in black leather. I went with’s fused leather (a cowhide that has been fused to a woven backing) and a red plaid for the lining (yes, I was a child of the ’90s). Unfortunately, this time around, I was not able to take advantage of a lot of salescoupons so the break down of this project is, well, pricier than a lot of my other projects (but still far less than a leather jacket ‘off the rack’). Costs aside (ouch), I am super excited to get to work on this jacket… I think when it’s finished I’ll pair it up with my cool new leopard leggings, a pair of boots, and hit the town!

Pattern: StyleARC Ziggi



Black, Perfection Fused Leather from


Plaid polyrayon woven from Hancock Fabrics





Total Cost:





A Good Save

02-snowflakeWhy does it seem like the last step of a large project is the one that gives you the most trouble (especially when things went swimmingly before)? That was my day yesterday. You see, I’ve been on a metallic kick lately – I’ve been testing out threads, fabrics, etc. for an upcoming article. I finally started putting it together and wham, my machine decides to grab extra fabric that was pushed off to the side and start eating it. It was totally my fault, too: I had too much material bunched up around the hoop and I left the room to finish talking to my husband (leaving my machine unsupervised).  When I came back, the machine was jammed and the excess fabric wasn’t just sewn into the hoop, it was intertwined and sewn around the presser foot and the needle was snapped. Yes, it was a hot mess.

After taking a few minutes to say a few curse words (and a few prayers too), I set to work untangling my mess (I had to remove the presser foot as well since everything was sewn into that area). After several minutes carefully ripping some stitches, I was able to evaluate what I had done…. it was ugly – little holes and deep wrinkles were all over the area I had ripped out. I determined I had a few options: put an applique over the area (not what I wanted to do), iron it out and see if I could ‘hide’ what I did, or start over…. I started off with the second option.

Because my base material is synthetic, I started with that setting on my iron then ‘bumped it up’ a bit and managed to ‘melt’ the holes enough so you can no longer see them unless you really try. Then I fused a scrap piece of woven, fusible interfacing to the back of the damaged area to make sure that rubbing, etc. doesn’t cause the holes to open back up at some point. It was a good save.

The moral of the story? Never leave your machine unattended (oh yes, and metallic fabrics look totally awesome embroidered, but that’s a different story).

Undies Altered

02-undiealterA few weeks ago I decided to change up an underwear pattern a bit to add contrasting side pieces. While the end result was fine, I wasn’t really happy with the amount of contrast showing, so I went back to the drawing board and made a few more modifications. Now I like the result!

For this pair, I not only increased the length of the contrast sides, but used a scalloped-edge stretch lace in this area as well – very pretty and feminine, but you’ll need to use a different technique to put in the leg elasticfold over elastic in this area if you intend to keep the decorative edge of the lace.  Here’s how:

  1. Attach the crotch piece to the front and back pieces as you normally would.
  2. Measure the leg area and subtract 1-2″ inches from your measurement (I don’t like them tight in the leg so I only take off about an 1″). You leg area should be ‘open’ – do not attach the scalloped elastic to the front yet.
  3. Apply elasticfold-over-elastic to each leg piece.
  4. Attach the scalloped edge lace to the front and backsides of you panty. Since you can typically see through the lace, I like to press the seam allowances toward the fabric portion of the panty and topstitch (1/8″ away from the seam) to keep the raw edges in place.
  5. Attach the waistband as you normally would your finished panty!