Eve: the any day, everywhere pleated blouse

pleated blouse

Many of you may remember the very popular project we published recently featuring Bali the Reversible Skirt.  When we were shooting the photos for this post, we chose to use a white pleated blouse to complement the skirt.  While the skirt was very well received and many of our members made the project, we ended up getting as many questions about the blouse the model was wearing as we did about the skirt! So this week I decided to make a pattern and project for this attractive pleated blouse. About the name: Eve, the any day blouse, why the name?  According to the Bible, Eve was the first mother.  As mothers go, once you are a mother, you will always be a mother.  So in the lead up to Mother’s Day, I wanted to share this blouse tutorial with you as … Continue reading

Peek-a-boo: a free easy t-shirt pattern

“A t-shirt that doesn’t look like you are wearing a t-shirt”– I thought this was a strange request until I saw 3 more women asking for the same thing. One of these women send me a very long and emotional email about she struggled with her weight since she was a young girl, how she never have felt comfortable in her cloths, and how she hid for so many years under sweat pants and extra large hoodies.  Sarah, that is her name, wrote how she has a dog now and she is walking regularly, but that sometimes she lacks the courage to step outside because she doesn’t want to go back to the sweat pants and ugly t-shirts and that it is getting too hot for hoodies.  She said she needed a top to feel good in, but at the same time comfortable … Continue reading

Warm days and cool nights, a flared t-shirt for many seasons.

Flared t-shirt

Spring is the time to dress comfortably and in layers.  A flared t-shirt is the one of those pieces of clothing we can just throw on with a pair of jeans, leggings, capri pants or if the top is long enough, it can also be a short mod-style dress.  Perfect for a quick run to the supermarket or picking up the kids!  This is an incredibly easy pattern and I have added two sleeves lengths to give you some flexibility.  If you want to, you can even eliminate the sleeves entirely and it becomes yet another top. I am using a fabric from my stash, because I am determined to reduce the amount of fabric in my sewing room.  I realize it is spring after all and that you would want to see some flowers.  I am not a flowery … Continue reading

How to draft your own facings

This shows you how to create your own one or two piece facings. How to make a sleeved dress sleeveless or how to make a facing intead of a lining.

Have you ever wanted to change up a favorite pattern, to make a dress or top without the usual sleeves, or maybe skip the collar this time?  Or maybe you have a dress pattern that has a full lining and you just want to replace it with a one-piece facing instead.  Take a tried and true pattern and design your own facings so you can finish neck and armholes neatly! To begin with, you will need your pattern pieces, paper, and a pen or pencil. Take the bodice front pattern piece and trace around the neck, shoulder and armhole, and a couple of inches down the side seam. Keep in mind any seam allowances that may need to be added – the Haven Acres Blouse pattern that I’m using has no seam allowance at the neck edge, as it is bound with bias … Continue reading

Sew a pretty lace jacket

One piece free pattern for this pretty lace coverup. Ideal for modesty over a strapless dress.

Do you remember the free Sew A So Simple Shrug pattern that came out at the start of this year. I’ve worn that thing to death! But already its getting a little warmer here in Cayman and although sometimes you need a little cover up in the evenings, not something very heavy. And I do like to wear a nice dress when we go out for dinner, which is almost always outdoors, or sometimes in a restaurant with overly aggressive air-conditioning. So I needed something light but pretty to wear with a nice dress. Ta dah – I already had the perfect pattern for it, I just needed to use a lighter fabric. This stretch lace is perfect. You will need: Stretch lace – 1 yard of 58 inch wide.  (The largest 2 sizes will need just a few inches over 1 … Continue reading

Moved to Tiers Tunic – POTM

Single layer shingle tunic top pattern. Love how this looks in stripes but there are some fun color blog versions here to check out too.

Thanks to Sharon who suggested this style of top based on one she owns and loves. This Moved to Tiers Tunic pattern has 4 layers, tiers or ‘shingles’ and is so versatile. Make it in a fun and funky stripes, or on-trend with color blocking with a different fabric in each tier or just comfy and casual in a solid color.  What about an ombre version with the tiers going from light to dark?  Features: Comfortable relaxed fit in a knit fabric 3 different sleeve lengths Versatile mix and match for the layers Sizes 29 to 45 inch bust Only one layer, no lining layer How about extending and making a dress! By request this time, the pattern is now all black and white to save on colored inks while printing.  I’d love to hear your feedback on whether you … Continue reading

Free crossover top pattern – with a difference!

Great beginner video tutorial on pattern hacking. How to take a basic t-shirt pattern and create this top, knowing it will fit you.

As you know, every month I like to offer up a new free sewing pattern. But so many people have been asking me recently about how I make the patterns, how they can make their own, and how they can adjust patterns to fit them better or slightly change the style, that I thought a change was in order for this month. So the free pattern for February is one you already have, and might already have downloaded and sewn.  What?  Stay with me, because we are going to do something very interesting this month that will change one pattern into something completely different. Why learn more about sewing patterns? Understanding how a pattern works, how it is created and can be manipulated is a really important skill for sewing your own clothes. It helps you take a simple pattern … Continue reading

Free shrug pattern – Sew A So Simple Shrug

Free sewing pattern for an easy shrug. 1 pattern piece, 3 seams and its done!

The free sewing pattern for January is the Sew A So Simple Shrug – try saying that quickly!  It’s a bit of a tongue-twister.  But honestly, that’s the most difficult part right there. The free shrug pattern looks pretty funky when you look at the pattern.  It’s just one piece and hard to make out what it’s going to become.  But the sewing is really quick and easy and you’ll be carrying this one around with you as Winter turns to Spring. (Soon I hope…) You will need: Stretch knit fabric – 1 yard of 58 inch wide.  (The largest 2 sizes will need just a few inches over 1 yard.) More needed for pattern matching. thread the pattern download To Sew your Free Shrug Pattern It will take me longer to write about how to sew this pattern than … Continue reading

Cuddle Me Cardy – POTM

Love this really unusual pattern for a draped front cardigan, for stretch fabrics. PDF pattern.

If there is one thing I don’t get to wear very often here in the tropical weather of the Caribbean, it’s a cardigan or jacket.  But when I was running a few ideas past the pattern testing team, a cardy or jacket was a pretty popular idea now the cooler months were coming and so I knuckled down and got my thinking cap on. I don’t mind telling you, it took 7 different pattern designs and many trials and errors before I finally settled on this design that I hope will look flattering and wearable to most figure types. Features: Interesting vertical seaming Long loose sleeves to wear over the top of other things Optional ties at the waist High cosy collar at the back of the neck Can be worn loose and long, or cinched with a belt Not … Continue reading

‘Give me a shrug’ Top pattern – POTM

Interesting top to sew with a built in collar that looks like you're wearing a shrug over the top.

Did you notice the black top I was wearing when I modeled the Flirty Skirty pattern a while back?  It had my pattern testing team calling out for me to make a pattern just like it.  Their wish is my command! So here is the Pattern of the Month for September – the Give Me A Shrug Top. Features: Made with knit fabric Wrap around collar that pleats under the arms and forms a back yoke 3 sleeve lengths 7 sizes from 31-46 inch bust Lined over the bust Wear the collar turned up or laid flat Flattering square cut neckline Includes a short video just to help with the pleating, the rest is easy Pattern rating – Intermediate My own versions I made several versions during my development of this pattern using various different fabrics and sizing.  I think … Continue reading

It’s a Wrap top – free pattern

Love the way the pleats form the wrap front on this top. Video and free pattern.

I’ve had this pattern on my mind for a while now and at last, ‘It’s a Wrap!’ The Wrap Top is loosely based on the original Wrap Dress pattern that has been downloaded thousands of times and been the most popular pattern on the site so far.  This ‘It’s a Wrap’ top has taken some of the best elements of that dress and turned it into a blouse with a few variations that I think you’ll like. Features: Cross-over front bodice Loose and casual sleeves with a little flutter Pleats on one side to create soft draping across the front Can help to hide a prominent tummy Slightly shaped at the waist Close fitting in the hips Flattering look with no awkward ‘gaping’ Step by step photos and written instructions Video tutorial too Sizes from 32 to 44 inch bust This … Continue reading