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

Double welt pocket with flap by the butterfly method

double welt pocket with flap

The double welt pocket with flap using the butterfly method is a really easy and contemporary technique to make a pocket and attach a flap at the same time.  I have already showed you the five lines technique that is used mostly on thin fabrics.  This new technique using the butterfly method works well on both thin or thick fabrics.  It can even be used on leather and suede as well as with thick wools and cashmeres coats. I was told by a reader in a comment that the correct name for this pocket is double piped besom pocket or pound pocket.  Prior to 1962, all the tailoring books called this type of pocket by that name.  However, no contemporary tailoring book I was able to search in used the term double pipe besom pocket or pound pocket.  I think the language has … Continue reading

Adding Piping to a Flap or Collar: The Easy Way

adding piping

This is the easiest way I know of adding piping to a flap or a collar.  You can use this technique to make an iconic Chanel-inspired jacket, a sophisticated set of silk pajamas or even cushions. When I was in design school, the thought of adding piping to a collar or to a pocket filled me with horror and I would often result in many sleepless nights trying to finish a garment.  That was until, I found this much better way to do it and this is what I am going to share with you here today. I’ve created a little practice tutorial below if you want to get comfortable with the technique.  Of course, if you’re going to use the technique on a sewing project, you will need the corresponding materials.  The short list below is only if you want to try … Continue reading

Three ways to make an easy tassel

easy tassle

Here are three ways to make an easy tassel.  Tassels have been made and used for centuries from the times of ancient Rome until today as ornaments, embellishments, and decorations.  They were often viewed as symbols of power and prestige.  Today, they mainly just make things like our handbags and curtain holdbacks look better.  I learned a lot about the history of tassels which I’ll write about in the future, but today I wanted to show you these simple techniques to make an easy tassel. Using the leftovers from our recent projects, there should be very little shopping to do.  I had a few beads left from the fabric cover beaded necklace.  The hessian threads are from the fringed table runner from a couple weeks ago. The first tassel illustrates the most common way to make tassels.  These sort of tassels are commonly used … Continue reading

How to make a double welt pocket using the 5 lines method

double welt pocket

I am going to show you how to make a double welt pocket using the traditional, but simplified, tailoring method called “five lines”.  There are a few ways to make a double welt pockets, this is just one of them.  Before we get started, let’s make sure to define our terms.  So what is a “welt” anyway?  According to the dictionary, a welt is: Our double welt pocket has “welts” on both sides of the opening.  You’ll be very familiar with this style of pocket since it is commonly used on men’s and women’s tailored jackets, light weight hoodies, light coats, slacks back pockets or the inside of pockets in the lining of jackets.  Unfortunately, this technique isn’t suitable for very heavy fabrics or situations where you have to match a design such as stripes. There are a few ways to make … Continue reading

How to upcycle kid’s clothes, reusing hems

Upcycle kid's clothes no hemming required

Hi! Stephanie from Swoodson Says again, and I’m sharing one of my favorite tips on how to upcycle kid’s clothes. A new year often triggers cleaning out the closet, but don’t donate all those clothes just yet. You can upcycle adult clothes into kids clothes quick and easy – there are a few adjustments to make so you can reuse the existing hems and skip the fussiest part of sewing. If you don’t have any clothes to work from, I have some tips for thrift store shopping effectively, specific to sewing refashions and upcycles. Something that looks dated and frumpy for an adult can turn out to be just perfect on a child! Step 1 Pick out a pattern to use, and make sure that you will have enough fabric by holding it up to the existing garment. The main … Continue reading

How to Make An Appliqué

Applique 101. Easy to follow step by step in lots of details about all aspects of how to make an applique decoration.

Appliqués are shapes or letters with an adhesive on the backside so that they can be applied, using an iron, to everything from clothing, (think adorable initials on Children’s coats, for example) to pillows, to tablecloths. Making your own appliqués is a great, simple, project to do with children and is an easy, and affordable, way to create custom pillows, and decorations for any holiday. To make appliqués you’ll need fabric (I highly recommend 100% wool felt, and cotton flannel), paper scissors, fabric scissors, embroidery scissors, a marking pen, pins, paper and a fusible web like Pellon “Wonder-Under”. If you want to create text, you can either draw your letters or print them out. You will have to be cutting these out, so a large, block, text is going to work much better than a narrow, scroll text. Additionally, if … Continue reading

How to install a magnetic snap

Just getting started in bag making? This is the right way to install a magnetic snap, and keep it from showing wear marks on your fabric.

Hi, Vicky here – Do you love bags as much as I? I am passionate about bags. I just love how any fabric can be transformed into something new and practical. One of the simplest closures is the magnetic snap – I love them as they secure your bag but are quick to open.  Ideal if you are making a bag for anyone with manual dexterity issues. How to install a magnetic snap To insert your magnetic snapper you will need: Magnetic snap Fusible fleece scrap Fusible interfacing Seam ripper Fabric pen or similar (I use a pencil) The magnetic snap comes in two parts, the male (on the left of the photo) and the female side (on the right hand side). Due to wear and tear around the magnetic snap its a good idea to reinforce the fabric with an extra piece of fusible … Continue reading

How to mark and sew double ended darts

The easy way to mark and sew double ended darts. Now I KNOW I can get them exactly level with this method.

Have you seen this shape of dart before?  It will typically appear at the waistline in a dress that doesn’t have a seam at the waist.  You might find them on the front, on the back or both.  They add in shaping between bust, waist and hips and help the fabric to curve to your body. Imagine if you had a dress with a separate bodice and skirt.  The bodice would have a dart between waist and bust, and the skirt would also have a dart between waist and hip.  So if you have a dress without a waist seam, then these two darts meet up and make this ‘double ended darts’ shape. They need a little extra care when it comes to marking and sewing them, and a different technique to the single darts.  Check out these earlier articles … Continue reading

How, when and why to clip seam allowances

If you have ever read instructions from a sewing pattern which included any curved seam, you’ve certainly been asked to “clip (or notch) seam allowances”. If they were your first steps in sewing, I bet you stopped a while to figure out what you had to do…  and maybe you’re still there, wondering what you needed to do and why? Go on reading my “how-to clip (and notch)” guide and never skip this important step again! When should you clip your seam allowances? When you’re sewing a concave curve (C-shaped valleys) or inside corners (think welt pockets, a zipper pocket slots, squared necklines…). On a garment, you’ll likely need to clip seam allowances on necklines, facing, armholes, hip pockets: mostly curved seams! Why do you need to clip? To allow fabric’s raw edge to stretch enough to lay flat, without … Continue reading

How to print a layered PDF file

Software for creating sewing patterns is improving all the time. As I invest in some of the new and rather pricey software and the training that goes with it, I’m hoping to create better patterns for you. One of the improvements you’ll see coming up is what’s known as a ‘layered PDF file’. In easy terms, this simply means that the different sizes are all within the same file but at the same time, they are separated onto different layers so you can choose to turn them on and off. I have a new pattern coming out for you tomorrow and this will be the first with the new layered PDF design so it’s going to be helpful for me to show you how that works, as you might not have seen one before – and it’s cool! How to … Continue reading