A Score of Skirt Styles: Be Sure to Take the Quiz

skirt styles

The age old, immensely feminine, and ever evolving skirt is a staple in the wardrobe of anyone who’s proud to call herself a woman and it comes in more skirt styles than most of us can imagine or certainly name by memory. When building up your wardrobe and planning for your next sewing project, take a look at some of these timeless and unique skirt styles to see if you can find something you don’t already have –perhaps a skirt style to flatter your particular form or make a slightly different fashion statement. Rest assured, in one of these styles you ought to see something which gets that pedal foot jittering! A simple rule of thumb to keep in mind when skirting for a particular body type is this: Maxi skirts will lengthen, fitted skirts will show off a stunning … Continue reading

Sewing Viscose, or is it Rayon??: Fabric Tips

sewing viscose

Viscose (known in the US as Rayon) often elicits very strong feelings. Some sewists hate this material, while others see its benefits.  I remember back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when this fabric started to be popular and it was used for numerous garments that you would see on the racks in the store. The material does not crease much and was, therefore, a big draw for clothing stores. However, the first time the garment gets washed, it tends to shrink. This often meant a big waste of money, so after a while, viscose clothes went right back on the rack when the shopper saw a label saying viscose or rayon. Today, however, viscose standards are significantly different and many sewists are turning to viscose more often. While the fabric should always be pre-washed before you start a sewing … Continue reading

All Natural DIY Dye for Fabric and Yarn: Safe & Healthy

natural diy dye

There are a lot of practical reasons to make your own natural DIY dye from natural ingredients. It’s cost effective, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. It’s derived from renewable resources and is biodegradable; it can be disposed of safely in your kitchen sink. These are all things to feel good about, but beyond the practical, there’s the meditative, gratifying art of natural dye making. The colors achieved using natural DIY dye are earthy and organic, and the results are variable and inconsistent in the best way possible. What artist wants to create the same masterpiece twice? The inspiration for your palette is everywhere: in your spice drawer, your backyard, and blooming in your flowerbed. It quite literally grows on trees. Here’s a little to get you started. For blue, use hyacinth, mulberries, or dogwood fruit. For brown, use coffee, cinnamon, walnut hulls, … Continue reading

Common Sewing Stitches You Need to Know

common sewing stitches

Generally speaking, sewing machines in the current market come with a great range of functionality.  However, one of the most important tasks, perhaps the backbone of every impeccable garment, is understanding the various stitching techniques every machine has to offer.  No matter the complexity or style of your sewing machine, even the simplest ones should accommodate these common sewing stitches. The fundamental art of stitching is primarily based on the stitch structure and the method used to interlace the threads.  Occasionally, you might get confused on what stitch to use where.   Not to worry; here is a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide featuring ten most common stitches to see you through your sewing projects. 1. Straight Stitch or Lockstitch To say that this is a common stitch is an understatement.  With its innumerable number of faces, this stitch is arguably the … Continue reading

Detachable collar: the easy way to bling your outfit. Part 1

detachable collar

A detachable collar is perhaps the easiest way to “bling” an outfit and make it more elegant without having to go and spend a whole bunch of money on jewelry.   A removable collar is also a great alternative to the current trend of chokers that are in every jewelry store these days –at least in my corner of the world. Here is a super easy way to make one that will take you only a short time, few supplies and little money to make. When making this collar, you should take into consideration the venerable Fibonacci sequence which is a pillar of design and even architecture.  This sequence of numbers is found all around nature and using it in your designs will make them really stand out.  We are more in tune with nature than you think and our brain recognizes … Continue reading

Bad Sewing Habits: It’s Time For a Change

bad sewing habits

Everyone has bad habits. Whether you aren’t the best housekeeper, you cut corners on your work projects or you eat unhealthy foods while you are supposed to be dieting, everyone has bad habits. If those bad habits are part of your sewing experience, however, it may be time to say goodbye to them. Hopefully, you also have some good sewing habits that are helpful to your efforts. Below is a list of some bad sewing habits that people who sew tend to develop. If you have one or more of these habits, it may be a good idea to work toward changing the habit into a good one instead. Thread Storage: Is Your Thread Out in Plain Sight? Many novice sewers tend to leave thread out on the table. Even if you opt for a basket or small box that … Continue reading

Tutorial on sewing backpack straps, Small Backpack: Part 2

sewing backpack straps

This is a tutorial on sewing backpack straps and it’s the second part of the Small Backpack Pattern sew along.  If you landed here directly without seeing the first part of this sew along tutorial, you may want to go back and start the project from the beginning with Part 1: Small Backpack Pattern, for Small Budgets. This is a technique of sewing backpack straps.  It’s especially useful when you do not have enough fabric to make the handles in the same fabric as the bag.  You can use these straps on totes, backpacks and cross body bags in leather, vinyl, Kraft-Tex, and fabric.   The first thing you may notice is that I’m not using D-rings as specified in the materials list for the tutorial.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get normal rectangular-style D-rings with the rounded sides and I could only … Continue reading

Have Sewing Space, Will Sew!

sewing space

If you’re just starting to discover sewing as a creative expression, you’re probably still using your dining table as your sewing board and dreaming about having your own work space.  There’s nothing wrong with converting your dining room into your sewing space, but believe me, having an organized sewing room will inspire you and your creative juices to keep right on flowing. So if your dining room table contains fabric and sewing notions more regularly than plates, food and wine glasses, it is high time to think about having your own dedicated space for sewing. Find a space in your home and convert it into one and it doesn’t really matter how big it is. What matters most is how you organize your space to get the most out of it. Let’s say you’ve chosen your sewing space in your … Continue reading

The Art of Thrifty Sewing: How to Save Money When You Sew

thrifty sewing

It’s hard to consider sewing to be a money-saving activity when you add up your costs. After you buy a pattern, full-price fabric, and any accessories, you can easily spend twice as much as you would on the same item – already made – at a discount department store. Occasionally, buying everything new will be the only way to create what you truly want. But most of the time, if you can be flexible and a little patient, there are some excellent sources out there for sewing supplies at next-to-nothing prices. Buy Vintage Thrift stores and yard sales can be a great source of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools. The best yard sales for these items are typically in older, well-established neighborhoods of mixed age demographics. Finding the perfect yard sale for sewing materials can be rewarding for the buyer … Continue reading

Body Shape: Tips to Make Your Style Match Your Figure

Body Shape

Do you find fashion unforgiving? Perhaps clothes look great on hangers but don’t suit your figure. The trick to always looking fabulous is to make your style match your physique rather than the other way around. You can’t make clothes look flattering if it’s designed with a different body shape in mind, no matter how hard you try. Select garments that complement your proportions, and you can’t go wrong. Hourglass body shape (triangles contrasting) — Hourglass-shaped figures have a narrow waist, and the bust and hips are a similar size. Classic hourglass figures look amazing in ’50s-style dresses with nipped-in waists. Wide belts emphasize curves, and pencil skirts draw attention to shapely hips. Fitted clothes that glide over the body are flattering, and skinny jeans can look great with a loose top. However, avoid teaming baggy bottoms with a tunic … Continue reading

A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money

clothing care tips

We all spend a lot of time spend a lot of time and money on our clothes and this is particularly true if you’ve learned to sew your own garments.  I was thinking the other day that we sewists may not pay as much attention to how we care for our clothes after we’ve made them as we do when we’re making them.  I know I’m certainly guilting of this, so I thought we’d share some clothing care tips from a new contributor to the blog. A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money Clothing, especially your career wardrobe, is an expensive investment, and taking proper care of your clothing can save you considerable money over time, not to mention the time and frustration of having to repair or replace garments unnecessarily. Excessive cleaning of clothing wears it … Continue reading