Crushed velvet dress – easy project for your fall wardrobe

crushed velvet dress

A crushed velvet dress is all the rage this fall.  This style usually means dressing in layers.  Stockings, light coats, long vests, short dresses worn as tops –the possibilities are endless.  The short dress for autumn is an essential piece of clothing that can take us from morning to night time.  It is easy to add to if the temperature drops and easy to wear during the warm hours of the day. Autumn and spring really is when northern and southern hemispheres actually have similar temperatures, so this design should work for everyone.  This particular dress is one of my favorites because of the flexibility that it provides –worn with high boots, stockings and ankle boots, over skinny jeans, leggings or just a scarf.  It is the perfect piece of clothing for your wardrobe.  Layer it any way you want and you’ll have … Continue reading

Adding Bling with Fabric Stencils, Sew-On Jewels, and Sequins

fabric stencils

Printing using fabric stencils is one of the easiest ways to decorate a garment in need of a bit of excitement.  To tell you the truth, the princess I “borrowed” for the photo shoot a couple weeks ago for the Easy Princess Dress Pattern didn’t like the costume at first.  Who can blame her?  There was no tiara, no jewels or slippers and most importantly no bling on the dress to make her feel special. The costume she wore was made of satin.  Plain satin can be a flat and somewhat boring fabric if it doesn’t have a little bling on it.  Satin is like a blank canvas where you can paint, embroider and glue things to it to make it more exciting and beautiful. So I set about to liven up the Easy Princess Dress and in the process I wanted to … Continue reading

The easy long cardigan, a staple in your wardrobe

easy long cardigan

This is a super easy project.  You’ll see that there isn’t a long tutorial because the design and construction are so simple.  This cardigan is very minimalistic and streamlined –perfect for the busty girl.  I have used tulle in the back to add a bit of drama but it is completely optional and you could use the same knit fabric to make the project even simpler. The easy long cardigan is a design that has been around since the sixties.  A favorite of women who have to step out in their pajamas to drop the kids at school.  At least that is what we see in the movies, isn’t it?  The fact is that it is a staple in women’s wardrobes. Worn with leggings and a tank top or shorts and heels, it is the perfect accessory to hide your bottom. … Continue reading

Easy Princess Dress Pattern: Have you seen Frozen?

fabric stencils

I am clueless about it because I don’t have a little girl in my house anymore, so I don’t really know much about the recent movie “Frozen” except that it was very popular.  Parents of a child under 9 will be more familiar with the lyrics and the story line.  A main character in the movie was the princess and as you would expect, the Disney artists made her gown magnificent and I’ve had a lot of requests about whether we could design a project to make something similar. While I didn’t see the movie, I am certainly still familiar with having “princess” in the house and I know how much little girls love the idea of princess costumes.  My daughter, who is now fifteen, used to parade herself around day and night in a tutu.  On “bad” or extreme princess … Continue reading

RFID shielded handbag: I’m calling it Gleam and the pattern is FREE

RFID shielded handbag

I have been looking for the perfect shopping handbag.  After a lot of research, I now realize there is no such thing.  Unless you want to walk around with a safety deposit box as a handbag, there is not a completely secure handbag.  However, there are certainly a lot of things we can do to make our handbags safer, more secure and functional.  I took some of the ideas from our last bag, the Anti Pickpocket Bag, added a few details from your comments and came up with this new shopping handbag that I’m naming Gleam. I have added RFID shielding fabric and made the bottom stronger.  I have kept the handles the same and added a removable pouch big enough for a camera.  The zippered internal pockets are hard for pickpockets to get to because they are hidden under the facing. … Continue reading

Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Final Video Released

Hi Everyone, here’s the final video in the the Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag tutorial series.  In this video we assemble the body of the bag and do all the finishing.  You can refer back to the original project by clicking HERE or on the image below. Due to a large number of reader comments on the tutorial on our website regarding the emerging threat of electronic pickpocketing, I have included some instructions on how to use anti-RFID shielding fabric to line the bag.  This should help prevent someone from being able to read your credit card, passport or other vital data by using an RFID scanner.  We’ve got a lot more coming out on this important topic so please stay tuned. If you’re looking for a good source of the anti-RFID fabric, we’ve put a good option in our sewing … Continue reading

Anti pickpocket bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

anti pickpocket bag

This is my take on an anti pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I’m calling it Helsinki and here’s the backstory to this design: As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I’ll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I’ll be writing about in the near future. In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pick pocketed and lost her very, very expensive iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag … Continue reading

Making Bag Handles From Twisted Fabric Scraps

making bag handles

Making bag handles and using fabric scraps from your stash is the aim of this tutorial.  To set the scene, it is 3 am and as usual I am working late or is it early? –I really don’t know anymore.  I realize that I do not have enough fabric for the bag I am making.  I could sew a few scraps together, but that would make it look “patch-worked.”  And I do not have the interfacing to stabilize it anyway.  I could use a thick chain, but unfortunately I don’t have one of those either.  Can’t use leather or canvas because yes, you guessed it, I don’t have that either. So I get the idea from the fabric covered beaded necklace that is hanging from the mannequin and the left over cord from the fringed bath mat.  These were both … Continue reading

Salina: The Easy Romper I wished I had packed

easy romper

I named this easy romper Salina. In Spanish, the name means “salt pan”.  You’ll understand why in a minute and if you ever seen a salt pan, like the ones out in the desert in the western US.  Many years ago, I visited Etosha National Park in Namibia famous for its wide open views the salt pans and amazing wild animals. I vividly remember seeing the long, thin silhouettes of elegant giraffes.  They seemed like mirages, like they were almost not even there.  The lines and the shapes made them look narrower than they were.  The design of this easy romper does the same thing and makes me look narrower than I really am, and I like the optical illusion.  Believe me, at “5 feet nothing” I take all the help I can get. I wished I brought this romper with me while … Continue reading

The bralette, perfect undergarment for summer

bralette

It is warm –so warm that the heat sometimes almost knocks the wind out me.  I am blaming my bra for it.  I want to burn my bra! It is the right fit, but it is so hot here and I feel I should be walking around in a swimsuit.  When I walked back home from the train, it feels like I spread butter under my armpits, (too much info I know..). Seriously, it is warm and humid and I was walking under a dreadful sun on a shopping street called Orchard Road back from you guessed it, buying fabric.  I decided to go back and buy some stretchable lace to make myself a bralette.  I am not looking for extra support, just a bit of support and some modesty. I have made the pattern for the following chest measurements … Continue reading

The Ultimate Beach Blanket

Ultimate Beach Blanket

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were living in Sydney, Australia.  The beach was never far –take your pick north or south you are bound to find one of the finest quality water lifestyles known to man.  Pristine, unpolluted water that can go on for miles along the coast.  So it comes as no surprise that the weekend activity for many Australians is generally beach-related. I was due around February 14th and I started to feel uncomfortable with a huge belly around New Years Eve.  It’s usually very hot at that time of year, and the only respite is to go to the beach.  However, the water current in summer changes and cold water from the south pole makes its way up the shore, dropping the temperature of the water to an average of 66 degrees.  So … Continue reading