More Neckline Styles Than You’ll Ever Need

neckline styles

Just like the waistline, the neckline style is a defining factor when it comes to the overall look and feel of your outfit.  Your choice of neckline styles defines whether your outfit is formal or casual, feminine and playful or sophisticated and stylish. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right neckline style for your garment; including body shape, bust size, décolleté line, shoulder size, neck length/thickness and face shape. Conventional wisdom might suggest that large breasted gals opt for higher necklines but this is actually a bad idea…the higher the neckline, the lower set it will make you lovely ladies appear so you should be going for medium cuts. Also, the wider the cut of the neckline, the broader your shoulders will appear –so you can offset a wide hip with the illusion of balance in … Continue reading

How to add extra pockets to any tote bag

add extra pockets

This week I want to show you how to add extra pockets to any tote bag.  I’ll demonstrate this with the extra pockets I added at the bottom of the small canvas tote bag that was recently published on our site.  Please also check out the full video tutorial showing all the steps in making this wonderful accessory. I love totes, especially small ones.  They are easy to make and to carry because they limit the number of things you can put inside.  That makes it easier on your back and perfect for walking around. With a small tote, all the essentials are right at your fingertips for you and everyone else as well, unfortunately!  But, where do you put your money?  This is one of those sewing hacks when you are not entirely satisfied with the number of pockets that your … Continue reading

How to make a bell sleeve top, a pattern transformation made easy

bell sleeve top

The focus of this tutorial is to teach you how to transform an existing pattern to adapt it to the bell sleeve top design.  It’s time to use the patterns you already have and learn how to alter them to come up with different outfits. This tutorial works best if you’re modifying the sleeves on the popular High-Low T-Shirt free pattern that we recently released.  However, if you’re more practiced in pattern alteration, you can do this with almost any top pattern.  You can download the pattern for the High-Low T-Shirt here if you’ve not done so already. I have chosen the bell sleeve style because it is very easy to make and it’s going to be trendy this spring. We’re going to look at two options of the bell sleeve design today.  The first is the classic, long bell … Continue reading

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

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

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