Tag Archives: Tutorials

Easter Sewing Plans

I missed Sunday Sevens this week-whoops! I guess you can’t win them all. But I’ve been putting together my Easter sewing plans at least.

I love making new clothes for us to wear to church on Easter Sunday. This year is a little different, because for church on Easter we will be having General Conference, which we will watch on our TV from home.

So I’m shooting for our Easter stuff to be finished the following Sunday when we can wear it to church. That’s good for me, because I really want to make a jacket for me before I start the Easter stuff. I’ve never sewn a jacket before, and I want to make one while it’s still jacket season!

Anyway, back to the Easter stuff.

I’m going to make the boys matching ties again of course.

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Last year’s matching ties.

For Owen’s and Ezra’s, I’m using this tutorial. I slashed and spread the pattern for Ezra’s size.

For Jon’s and Seth’s, I’m using my tie pattern and tutorial.

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For Seth I shortened the pattern.

I’m going to use this fabric to make the ties and I think it’s going to make some sweet ones:

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I know I’m short on time, so instead of a whole outfit I’m going to try and finish a top for me that I can wear with the skirt I just finished.

I just ordered some yellow poplin to make the Colette Violet top. It looks so cute.

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Picture of the pattern from the Colette website.

Hopefully I finish it all!

What do you sew for Easter?

 

P.S.

I made Jon another tie for Father’s Day.

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While making it, I realized that when we digitized our pattern (See the Free Patterns And Tutorials tab at the top of the page if you’re interested in downloading the free pattern) we accidentally put the notches in the wrong place by a little bit. Too bad we didn’t notice until after it’s been downloaded a couple thousand times.

But it’s fixed now and that’s good.

Color Blocking A T-Shirt

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I made Ezra another t-shirt (with my pattern), color blocked this time. He had a friend over who had on a great color blocked t-shirt.

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So I based Ezra’s off of that one.

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First, I decided where I wanted to have the color blocking start and then I marked that on the front and back pieces of my pattern. I made sure the lines would match up on the front and back by aligning the pieces at the bottom of the armscye and marking where the lines should go.

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Can you see the cut lines I drew on there?

Then, I cut the pattern pieces apart and added a seam allowance to the new edges I just made.

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I added seam allowance to the new edges of my front and back body pieces, and my new front and back yokes.

I cut the body pieces out of one color, and the yoke, sleeve, and collar pieces out of another color. Then I serged the yokes to the body pieces and then topstitched the seam allowances down.

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I assembled the rest the usual way. I like how it turned out, and Ezra likes it too. Although he was sad there were no stripes on the sleeves of his shirt. Next time maybe.

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I got new clothing tags and I’m happy about that. My old ones were too girly to put in any of my boys’ clothes which was a real bummer since 4/5 of the time I’m sewing for boys. Now I can tag everything I make.

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Free Men’s Neck Tie Pattern And Tutorial

[Note: this post contains the instructions. The pattern pieces are available for download as a pdf file here.]

I love making Easter ties for my boys (including Jon). Last year, I picked out what I thought was some awesome striped fabric for their ties. The fabric had some purple stripes in it and I made me a top out of the same color of purple so that we matched.

Jon wasn’t a fan of the purple and so after Easter was over he never wore it again. So this year, I told Jon to pick out the tie fabric because I didn’t want to make another useless tie. I think he picked out some awesome fabric, even if it’s not all that Eastery.

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I’m sharing my tie pattern and instructions, in case anyone else would like to make an Easter tie for a special guy (or Father’s Day will be here soon too).

Men’s Neck Tie Tutorial

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Materials:

Tie pattern pieces. Click here to download.

1 yard of main fabric. I suggest medium weight fabrics that have some polyester in them so they’ll resist wrinkling. The fabric for the above tie came from the home decor section at fabric.com so you can look around and be creative in fabric choice.

1 yard of lining fabric. Again, I suggest non-wrinkling fabric, but I prefer lightweight fabric for the lining. I used a polyester blend broadcloth.

A small piece of double fold bias tape, twill tape, or ribbon for the tie keeper.

All seam allowances are 3/8″.

Instructions:

1. Print pattern (make sure fit to page is not clicked) and tape together, matching up the overlap lines (crosses).

2. Cut one front tie and one back tie from main fabric, and one of each from lining fabric. Make sure grain arrow is parallel with the selvage (you will be cutting the tie out on the bias).

Mark your notches.

3. With right sides together (rst) and matching notches, sew front tie to back tie for both the main fabric and lining fabric.

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Pinned and ready to sew.

Neaten seam allowances. Press seams open. Press from the front of tie too so it looks nice and crisp.

Now your tie pieces should look like this:

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A long, continuous tie in main and lining fabric.

4. With rst, sew lining and main fabric together at only the two ends of the tie (the v-shaped area at both ends).

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The two ends of the tie, pinned and ready to sew.

Trim the seam allowances to about 1/8″ at the points. Don’t trim too close to the stitching though, so that your tie doesn’t fall apart over time. Flip tie so the right sides are out. Gently poke the points until they are nice and crisp. Press.

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6. Fold tie in half lengthwise, with the lining side facing out.

Sew down the entire length of the tie. I like to backstitch a couple of times at the beginning and end to make sure it’s secure and won’t pull apart when flipping the tie.

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Sew all the way down the length of the tie, where it is pinned in this picture.

Center the seam so it’s in the middle of the tie and press seam open.

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7. Pin a safety pin to the short end of the tie. Pull the short end through to the other side so that the right side of the tie is facing out.

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Safety pinned and ready to pull through.

Making sure seam is in the center of the tie, press tie. This part is very important to making the tie look professional. I iron from the front, then the back, then the front again.

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8. Make a tie keeper for the back of the tie by cutting a 3″ long strip from double fold bias tape, twill tape, or ribbon.

Press the short ends of the strip under.

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Hand stitch the strip to the back of the tie, about 8 1/2″ up from the front tie bottom. Be careful not to stitch all the way through to the front of the tie.

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You are finished! If you have any questions or need help with the instructions, please ask.

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Sewing With Knits: Tips For Getting Started

Besides sewing, I have another love. And that love is running. In fact, my sewing room has a big treadmill in it.

Yesterday was great because it was filled with running and sewing. First I ran a fabulous 10k race. I had a wonderful time and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful.

My husband and kids stayed home, but my husband took a picture of me before I left since he wouldn’t be there to take one at the finish line.

After I got home, the boys watched a show while I did some sewing. It worked out nicely because I was tired from my race, and they were tired because we’ve spent so much time playing outside this past week.

While I was sewing, I thought of some tips I want to share for sewing with knits. You might have guessed from all the knit items I display, but I love sewing with knits more than with woven fabric.

I think they’re more forgiving because they stretch and that compensates for a mistake here and there. You usually don’t have to worry about buttonholes and zippers when you sew with knits. And I don’t know about you, but most of my closet is made up of knit clothing. So when I decided I wanted to learn how to sew clothes for my family and myself, I knew I’d have to learn how to sew with knits.

I’m going to be honest and admit that I like to sew them with my serger the best. I think a serger makes garments look more professional. And I love my coverstitch machine too. But, I learned how to sew knits on my regular sewing machine first, before I ever owned a serger or a coverstitch machine.

I’m going to assume that most people who are learning to sew with knits only have access to a regular sewing machine, and I will share a few tips for sewing them with a sewing machine.

So let’s talk about the solution to three things that can cause a little bit of trouble when sewing with knits.

First, knit fabric can slide around a bit and sometimes it can be fed into the machine a little bit unevenly. Using a walking foot on you sewing machine can help a lot since it keeps the fabric fed evenly because it adds mini feed dogs to the top to help out the lower feed dogs on your sewing machine. My foot was about $13 from Amazon and has served me well.

My walking foot.

Second, finding a stitch that will stretch with your knit fabric can be tricky because if you use a regular straight stitch, most likely the stitches will pop when the fabric stretches to fit over your body.

But this is an easy fix. Many machines come with a stretch stitch that will give your stitches the stretch they need. Look in your manual to see what your machine offers. My machine has a triple stretch stitch, and that is what I use. It takes two stitches forward then one stitch back, so it lays in three times as much thread as the seam is long. It’s very stretchy but it also takes three times as long to sew as a straight stitch does.

If your machine doesn’t have a stretch stitch, you can also use a zigzag stitch. Just make sure you use a long, narrow zigzag stitch so that your seam doesn’t end up looking wavy. You can play around with your stitch width settings and stitch length settings to figure out what stretches the best for the particular fabric you are using.

If you have a stretch stitch, it’s a better option than the zigzag stitch.

Also, using a stretch needle in your machine is a great idea. Stretch needles have a blunt point instead of a sharp point like universal needles, and a shape that makes it less likely your machine will skip stitches.

And finally, hemming knit garments can cause trouble sometimes because when you hem, you are usually sewing parallel to the direction of most stretch in your fabric. This can stretch the fabric out and make it look a little distorted.

Hems on ready to wear garments are sewn with a coverstitch machine, but you can get pretty good results on a sewing machine if you use a twin stretch needle. The twin needle gives you that double row of stitching like you will find on something hemmed with a coverstitch machine. You can use a regular straight stitch when using a twin stretch needle.

While I found that on some types of knits I still got some distortion when hemming with my regular sewing machine even using all the tips from above, most of the time it looked pretty good.

Here’s something I hemmed on my sewing machine:

vs something hemmed with my coverstitch machine:

Or, you can skip the traditional hemming altogether and use bands (cuffs) to hem your clothes.

Hopefully this is helpful and can get you started.

Your turn:

What questions do you have about sewing with knits? Do you have any tips to share about how you sew with knits?

Cuff That Cardigan

I have been working on making a cardigan similar to this one that I love:

My first attempt came out ok.

But there were a few things I wanted to change about it. One of them was the sleeves because they were a little too baggy. I also needed to ease the neck area more.

I fixed the pattern up and made it again. This time the sleeves were too small. Rrrr!

I chopped the sleeves down because they were tightest at the bottom so at least I can still wear it, and I think I finally have the sleeves right. I guess I’ll find out for sure when I cut out another one!

Here’s the second one:

I love the bands (cuffs) on the cardigan. Bands are my favorite way to hem sleeves and bottoms of shirts because they’re so cute. If you don’t have a coverstitch machine, bands are the easiest way to hem because you don’t have to worry about your sewing machine stretching out the seam. The stretching happened to me a lot before I had a coverstitch machine, even if I used a walking foot and a twin stretch needle.

We’ll talk more about those awesome bands in a minute but first, if I’m going to keep going on about my coverstitch machine then maybe I should tell you a bit more about what it is exactly.

My coverstitch machine.

A coverstitch machine is a kind of overlock machine. A serger is also an overlock machine, but a coverstitch machine doesn’t cut anything away as it sews and the loopers don’t pass the thread above the fabric.

Coverstitch looper.

You can buy a serger and a coverstitch as one machine. I have separate machines though, and I like that because you have to disengage the cutter to coverstitch if you have the two functions together.

The best way to see what a coverstitch does is to go find one of your store bought t-shirts and check out the hem. That double row of stitching at the bottom is from a coverstitch machine.

Top and underside of a coverstitch hemmed t-shirt.

It comes in handy for much more than just hemming, though. But we can talk about that another day.

Now, back to those cuffs. To add a cuff to a sleeve, the first thing you need to do is figure out how wide you’d like your finished cuff to be. We’ll say we want to have a two inch finished cuff.

To figure out the width of the strip we need to cut, we need to double the finished width. That will give us four inches. Then we need to add a seam allowance to both sides of the strip. We’ll use a half inch seam allowance. That means we need to add one inch for the seam allowance (one half on each side of the strip). So we need to cut a strip that is 5 inches wide.

Width of cuff = Finished width x 2 + seam allowance x 2.

Now we need to figure out the length of the cuff. I think the easiest way to do this is to measure around your arm where the cuff will go with a tape measure. Cut your strip the correct width, and as long around as your arm is. You will probably end up cutting some off since the cuff will stretch, but this will give you a good length to start with.

If you like your cuffs really loose, then you could add a couple inches to your arm measurement.

Wrap the strip around your arm and decide how tight you would like it to be. Pin it to mark the desired tightness.

Then, add a seam allowance to both ends of the strip and cut the rest off. Now you have your strip. Cut another one for the other arm.

Fold the cuff so that the short ends are together and right sides are together.

Serge or sew down the short end of the strip, using our half inch seam allowance. Press the seam.

Now we have a circle. Fold the circle in half the long way, right sides out. Press.

Now, pin your cuff to your sleeve with the shirt seam and cuff seam aligned, right sides together and raw edges aligned. Gently stretch the cuff to fit the sleeve and pin again on the other side.

Serge or sew the cuff to the sleeve, gently pulling the cuff to match the sleeve length if needed.

All serged.

Press seam allowance toward the top of the shirt. Coverstitch or topstitch the seam allowance down and you are finished!