Faviola, The “housewife” summer dress

summer dress

A couple of days ago, I went to a local store to buy a floor runner for a hallway.  After looking for a while, I finally decided on one and proceeded to bargain the price –a common practice here in Singapore before you agree on a price.  After much arguing, I actually decided not to buy the rug.  It wasn’t anything special and the price was indeed inflated.  When the salesman perceived I was backing away, he proceeded to use the old flattery tactic, but having grown up in Latin America I was immune to it. What did catch my attention though, and despite me wearing a rather obvious wedding band, he continued to use the word “miss”.  I corrected him and said “missus” –after all, I am married.  The man said but you do not look like a “housewife”.  I … Continue reading

Mens Pajama Shorts with Pockets – Father’s Day idea

Mens Pajama Shorts

For most men I know, nothing beats a sunny warm morning, a cup of coffee, and some good reading material by the porch, balcony or in the back yard –but hanging out there cool enough without scaring the neighbors sometimes can be a little challenging.  I’ve got two men living in my house and because it’s quite warm here, they always seem to be walking around the house in their underwear and as you can imagine, that causes problems from time to time. I wanted to give the guys an alternative, but it’s hard to find store bought mens pajama shorts that are both comfortable and stylish enough, so I decided to come with my own design that would be both.  Here are some mens pajama shorts that no one will know are pajamas and are good enough to go to the supermarket and grab … Continue reading

How to make an easy party dress for summer + VIDEO TUTORIAL

easy party dress

The other day I needed to make an Easy Party Dress for Summer in a hurry.  A long-forgotten invitation at the bottom of my daughter’s school backpack and just a few hours of warning led me to realize that she had nothing appropriate to wear.  I’m sure all those that have kids, especially teenagers, can relate to what was happening.  Suddenly, overnight it seems that my daughter went from a little kid to a female taller than I am, so I couldn’t even lend her something of mine to wear. Panic-stricken and  looking in my fabric stash, I spotted a print that looked fancy although if I recall, the price I had paid did not reflect that –I think I payed only something like $2 dollars a yard.  I got some elastic and some lace and sat at my sewing table … Continue reading

How to Use the Pintuck Foot

pintuck foot

I’ve been learning more about the different sewing machine feet in my mega-box of presser feet that I bought.  This week, the pintuck foot has been intriguing and delighting me.  Accurate sewing has never been a strong-point of mine so the prospect of sewing lines and lines of neat and accurate little pin tucks – well, that would fill me with horror! Bring it on now that I have the pintuck foot.  Accurate and straight sewing has never been easier with this simple addition to the machine.  Often seen in heirloom sewing mixed in with other decorative stitching, pin tucks are pretty and give dimension and structure to your sewing.  They can be used purely as a decorative addition, but with some clever thinking they can also be used to give shaping to garments in place of pleats and darts … Continue reading

Shirring without elastic thread

shirring without elastic thread

So what is shirring anyway? In preparation for a new project this week, I want to introduce you to a technique called shirring (which is sometimes known as smocking) with a simple practice tutorial.  According to Wikipedia, “shirring is two or more rows of gathers that are used to decorate parts of garments, usually sleeves, bodice or yoke.”  With shirring, the gathers can be both decorative as well as functional since elastic can be used to draw in the gathers giving the garment more give to accommodate different sizes. Most techniques you’ll see around will show you how to do shirring with elastic thread.  Personally, I think that technique has some significant limitations, so I’m going to show you how you can do shirring without elastic thread and using normal elastic.  When you use elastic thread, this thread can irritate … Continue reading

Culottes tutorial for summer time glamour

culottes tutorial

Culottes, one of the most trendy styles of the 50’s and 60’s, are back!  Culottes are flared pants or shorts that can often look like a skirt or a dress when you’re wearing them.  I have been trying to help you build a warm weather wardrobe that is both easy and practical  –and that is easy to make.  Here is another free pattern to add to your collection of projects for the summer. “Culotte” is a French word that means the lower part of a garment or knee breeches.  They have been fashionable since Henry III made them popular at court in France in the latter part of the 1500’s and were worn mostly by the upper class.  Later, in the time leading up to the French revolution in 18th century, the lower classes who wouldn’t have worn culottes became … Continue reading

Baby Kimono Onesie – Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial

Free Baby Kimono Onesie Sewing Pattern: Make this cute kimono style onesie for your little one or as a lovely baby shower gift.

If you’ve ever dressed a little baby, you’ll know how much they like to wiggle; making it really difficult to put any clothes on them. Any item of clothing which needs to go over the baby’s head, or has lots of fiddly buttons can be especially cumbersome. That’s why I love baby clothes with a front opening, such as this baby kimono onesie. My baby girl, Umi, has been wearing a kimono as her pyjamas ever since she was born. She’s recently grown out of the kimono I bought for her in Japan, so I decided to make my own baby kimono in a bigger size. The Sewing Pattern This baby kimono onesie sewing pattern comes in two sizes, 3-6 and 6-9 months. Umi is 7 months old and she is wearing the 6-9 months size.  Make sure you print the … Continue reading

Easy Tunic

easy tunic

This is a tunic that is so easy to make that you will want to make many in different colors.  This pattern would make a good project for those looking for their first garment. The only slightly tricky part is applying bias tape to the v-neck which is why we’ve created a separate tutorial on that to make sure anyone and everyone can succeed at this project. Last week we had the pleated blouse and many of you asked about elongating the sleeves so the arms will not show as much.  We’ve tried to address that request in this new design.  This tunic has a very loose fit, is very easy to make and easy to wear.  Dress it up or down to be perfect for any occasion. This tunic makes an awesome mini dress if you make it a couple sizes too … Continue reading

May Mug Rug of the Month – Puppies and Kittens!

may mug rug

Everybody loves puppies and kittens, and who wouldn’t? They have big, innocent eyes, ears they have to grow into, and watching them play is such pure joy. Mug rugs remain so popular! For the past couple years they are by far my biggest pattern sellers. This is probably for many reasons. They are super easy to make, they can be made using your favorite techniques (hand or machine), they make great gifts, and they can be decorative as well as functional. Most of all, they are so much fun! I hope you will follow us along here on our Mug Rug of the Month Tutorial. A FUN VARIATION: If you are a cat person, and not a dog person, make two cats, and vice versa for dog lovers. I have one of each, so I am putting one of each … Continue reading

Tips For Sewing Denim

sewing denim

Denim is a very popular fabric these days and is synonymous with jeans. Today term “jeans” usually refers to a specific style of pants, called Blue Jeans.  These“rivet-reinforced” denim pants were invented by Jacob W. Davis, along with Levi Strauss & Co., in 1871.  We did a post a few months about highlighting this story of Levi Strauss, who perhaps more than any other individual or institution has done more to expand the role of denim in our society. Origins of Denim However, given this important American contribution to the success of denim, what most people don’t know today is that denim was actually invented in France.  In fact, the word “denim” comes from the French “de” which means from and “Nîmes” which is a wonderful town in the south of France where denim was invented during the Middle Ages.  So denim literally … Continue reading

Bali the Reversible Skirt

reversible skirt

I’ve had so much fun working with Batik fabric since my recent trip to Indonesia.  This is another in the series of projects featuring Batik.  If you missed any of the prior articles, please have a look at The Ancient Art of Batik Printing for an introduction to Batik as well as our first project, a Folded Shopping Bag from Batik Fabric for more background and a neat beginner project.  Given that spring is well and truly on the way now, I thought it would be good to make a tropical-themed skirt for those warm summer evenings out.  I’ve used Batik fabric for both sides of this reversible skirt.  You can, of course, use other fabrics of similar weight and texture, but I like the exotic look of Batik. This is a very pretty reversible skirt, made out of cotton and silk … Continue reading