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

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

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