How to shop for knit fabrics online

Stretch fabric swatch kit - at last I can see and feel what all these knit fabrics are like so I know which one to choose for my project. Great idea.

Do you ever shop for fabrics online?  What about shopping for knit and stretch fabrics?  Are you confident in where and how to shop for knit fabrics online, and how to make sure you are using the right kind of fabric for your project? I came to sewing only recently so naturally when I wanted to sew clothes,  I wanted to emulate the types of clothes already in my wardrobe, and these days most of them are stretch in some way or another.  I think some of that has to do with the expanding nature of my body in the last couple of years – I’ve found a stretch garment will fit me over more size changes than a regular woven garment. Many of the sewing patterns I’ve developed have been for stretch fabrics, but I still sometimes struggle to … Continue reading

Must have features for your first serger

Must have features for your first serger - and those you can do without. Great tips if you are thinking of getting one.

Hi there! I’m Irene and I usually blog at Serger Pepper; today I’m here sharing with you all I know about one of my favorite topics: sergers! Yes, I’ll do my best helping you choosing your first serger (or overlocker, depending on where you come from)… aren’t you excited? I am! Let me start saying that the perfect model does not exist! It’s all relative! Read what you should consider before you start evaluating the models/features: What is a serger sewing machine? Maybe you already know what a serger is/does, maybe not: let’s define it! A serger is a fast sewing machine that produces professionally finished seams because it trims away seam allowances and encases raw edges with an overcast stitch…. wow! Can you guess how much it reduces the boring time spent trimming and zig-zagging seam allowances? One step does everything! Do I really … Continue reading

How to Line a Skirt in 8 Easy Steps

How to line a skirt. Ah ha moment here. This is so straightforward.

  How to add a lining to your Show Some Flare Skirt in 8 easy steps! Hi this is Judy from StoneyLonesomeSewWorks. I am a self taught sewer who has been sewing on and off for about 20 years but only became serious about 3 years ago when both of my children were in High School and there was more time! I started out sewing basic totes and easy gifts for family and friends gradually moving up to more complicated patterns. In the past year I have been most interested in garment sewing with a few quilts and bags on the side. It is very exciting to be sharing this tutorial on adding a lining to your So Sew Easy Show Some Flare Skirt. The Show Some Flare has quickly become one of my favorite SSE patterns due to its ease of … Continue reading

How to sew a recessed zipper on a bag

Great video on how to sew a recessed zipper for a bag. This is the easiest & clearest way I've seen to do it.

I’ve been working on some new bag ideas and one of the areas of bag-making that has been a bit of a puzzle to me until recently is how to close the top of the bag. Of course, not all bags need to be closed. Some simple tote bags are left open, and that’s just fine. With these examples of the Expanding Nautical Tote Bag and the Turning Japanese Purse, in each case simply holding the handles keeps the bag closed. The Zipper Top Tote bag as a zipper right across the top and isn’t very deep.  Other bags I’ve made have either had magnetic closures and snaps or zippers at the top, like the Easy Cosmetics Bag.  So I was up for a challenge and looking forward to learning something new so I’ve got a video for you today … Continue reading

Anke’s Brushes Bag – now with Video

Free pattern and video tutorial to make this cute cosmetics bag with brush roll attached.

Do you remember that awesome tutorial and pattern that Anke shared for how to add a brushes bag section to the Easy Cosmetics Bag? I couldn’t make up mine right away because I had to wait for my closures to arrive from overseas but I was so keen to give this bag a try.  I just love it when people send in photos of things they’ve made with my patterns, and especially this one where it was such a big change from the original. This is my version – what do you think? Knowing how long her tutorial was, I had set aside a whole afternoon, but in fact, it went together very quickly. The tutorial was just long because she had been so very thorough and included great photos and instructions for every step. None of it is difficult or … Continue reading

How to install bag feet – 2 styles

How to install bag feet, different types and where else to use them

I’m always looking for ways to make my homemade bags looks more professional and although it does increase the cost, adding hardware such as clasps, feet, grommets, sliders, straps, rivets, studs and handles really does make them look great. Today I’m looking at a couple of examples of bag feet and how we can easily install them. Both of these examples came from Pacific Trimming. There is one you are probably more familiar with, the flattened cone shaped ones with the long prongs, and another that you don’t see as often but are actually very versatile, these dome shaped ones with a screw fitting. Let’s have a look at how we can use them. How to install Bag Feet – Do you have a ‘firm bottom’ ? Firstly, in order to install the bag feet, you need a bag with … Continue reading

Scrappy reversible Halloween table mats

Great way to use jelly rolls or scraps for a scrappy look. Love the silhouette applique on the back.

  Halloween is a great time of year to have friends over.  Costumes optional, although with some of our friends, it’s sometimes hard to tell! Whether you are having a full-on party, just a few friends over for nibbles or a family dinner, it’s fun to put together a Halloween table setting.  I’ve been making a few things to share with you. Bargello Style Halloween Table Runner My Bargello-style Halloween table runner tutorial is being featured over at GYCT today as part of their 31 Days of Halloween series.  There is my usual video and a tutorial on how to make this reversible table runner. I’m using the same Jelly Roll today to make matching table mats, although in a different design. Scrappy reversible Halloween Table Mats These mats are quick and easy to make and a fun way to … Continue reading

How to sew a hem facing on a circle skirt

How to sew a wide hem on a circle skirt using a hem facing

I’ve got a project I’m working on that has been giving me a headache.  I’ve been itching to make a half-circle skirt but the hemline is just not turning out as I would like.  It really is impossible to sew a ‘regular’ hem when the bottom of the skirt is so curved.  Usually on a skirt I would turn in half an inch and press, and then turn up another inch, inch and a half or even two inches on the bottom of a regular skirt, and sew. But that’s not going to work on a circular hemline simply because the length of the hem around the outside is longer than the length of the fabric you are turning into, so it’s never going to lie flat. Now you can sew a teeny tiny hem, by pressing up tiny 1/8th … Continue reading

How to sew snap tape to close a pillow back

How to sew snap tape to make a pillow back so you can remove the cover for washing.

I’ve been making a few throw pillows (cushions if you are British) just recently and been looking for ways to close the back so they are still easily accessible for removing the insert and washing the cover, but I don’t have any long zips right now (and I admit I’ve not yet ever sewn a zipper into a pillow cover) so I was looking for alternatives. A few ideas: Just step up and learn how to do it with a zipper (added to a future to-do list) Sew on buttons and buttonholes (I’ve got these skills mastered now I think) Use Velco, hook and loop tape (sticks to everything in the wash) Make an ‘envelope’ back that just opens and overlaps (Like my woven fabric pillow and the Oliver the Owl nursery pillow) Just stuff and then sew the pillow … Continue reading

Faux chenille baby blanket

The most adorable chenille style baby blanket. I want to make a full sized on for my own bed. Just takes a bit of patience!

After my recent attempt at quilting and all the adventures, failures and very steep learning curve that went into making a baby quilt, I decided for my next expectant friend, a different approach was in order. Pinterest to the rescue for inspiration and I came across this tutorial for a faux chenille baby blanket. Although the end result is lovely, it didn’t look easy and even the writer had plenty of problems along the way. Never to be daunted, I gathered my materials and got to work. Materials needed: Top layer – I used this cotton panel above.  Any good quality non-stretch fabric should work. Quilt binding, or make your own Underneath – shaggy layers, I used 3 pieces of flannel.  Try with 3 or 4 layers. Basting spray Patience – lots of it I wish I’d used a lighter color … Continue reading

Estimating extra fabric for pattern matching (and giveaway)

How to work out exactly how much extra fabric you'll need to buy to match a pattern.

So you’ve got the perfect pattern and you’ve seen the perfect fabric.  Except the envelope says that you need 3.5 yards to make this dress.  THEN its says ‘extra will be needed for pattern matching’.  Your fabric has a print you’ll want to match.  So exactly how much extra fabric will you need.  Half a yard, a yard, 2 yards?  I know exactly the lady who knows – introducing Gwen who knows everything there is to know about matching fabric to patterns. How Much Do You Want? We all know that feeling…  Maybe you’re shopping for a particular project or maybe you are just window shopping – but all of a sudden, out of the blue, a piece of fabric catches your eye and you just can’t look away… The color, the texture, the design – it connects with something … Continue reading

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