Quick Tip Tuesday l Fall Update and the Debut of the Tee Neckline Workshop

Hey Everyone,  Some of you have noticed that I’ve been working on my website.  I’m trying to make it easier for customers to buy my stuff.  So, I’m working on a single Store page that will have links to individual items.   This will make the page look nice and neat, plus I can get rid of the old, old, old link to the blogger page that has all of my original patterns on it.  My husband was helping be figure out how to “hide” the individual pages so they didn’t show up in my blog roll, or on my menu bar… So we did some test posts and pages.   (I forgot that every time we published it tweeted and posted to facebook too :) …Thank you for commenting and retweeting my Tests!  Happily, I think we’ve figured it out.  So as a public test, I’m linking this post to my new store page that has a description of my new Tee Neckline Workshop.   Click on the photo and it will take you to the page where you can buy it if you would like.   I’d love to know if you think that’s better than my jumbled mess I have now.

In Tuesday’s QT, I’m outlining my fall plan of action as well as talking a little about the workbook…    I really want to talk about a question that I received from a new “Man Fan” … but I don’t have all the info yet… I hope to sneak that in Thursday along with a discussion about Ponte Knits and stretch jeans.  (I need to do something about my expanded size while I’m trying to deflate).  Anyway, hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions about my new Tee Neckline Workbook, or anything else for that matter, please let me know.     PS… If you click on the new store link after you watch this video, you don’t need to watch the video on the workshop page because it’s the same thing!   Happy Day




Quick Tip Thursday l How to Clean a Cold Iron – With Minimal Fumes

Hey Everyone… Welcome back!  As soon as I score a new laptop that I can edit on, I’ll be able to do quick tips and other fun videos when I’m traveling :)  October is my clean/organize and plan month.  It’s the perfect time to start fresh… Before the crazy holidays pop up and then the new year I’ll have my plan of action all ready to go.  So, I decided this is the perfect time to share how to clean a cold iron.  Honestly, the only time I do it this way is when I’m starting a huge project or planning ahead.  Most of the time, I need to clean my iron when it’s hot (because I messed it up in the middle of a project and I don’t have time to wait for it to cool off.)  If you have hot iron cleaner, and need a toot for that… check out this one from Angela Wolf.   This is an easy way to clean your iron, and Angela does a great job showing you step-by-step!

I’m going to show you how to use Cool Off to clean your Cold Iron.  It’s important that your iron be completely cooled off…If you apply this cleaner to a warm or hot iron, it will smear and make a mess.    It’s designed to use with presses (like the Elna Press) which do not have ports for the cleaner to get in.   But, I’ve discovered it does a great job on my iron, and the little bit of cleaner that gets into the ports and be removed by using the steam feature on your iron.   The big benefit of cleaning your iron when it’s cold is that there are almost no fumes.  After you wipe all the of the Cold Iron off, you can heat your iron up and allow it to heat up the bits of cleaner that are in the ports.  They form a tiny pellet and get spit out when you press the steam button.   There is only a minimal amount of fumes.    (Great for cleaning your iron in the winter when it’s cold and you don’t want to open your windows to ventilate the room!)

Check out this tutorial and let me know what you think!

Quick Tip Thursday l Compare Short Cut on the Bias vs Straight of Grain

Hey Everyone,  I am in LOVE with the bias cut shorts.  A little surprised that there wasn’t a bigger difference.  I didn’t even need any of the extra ease I added along the side seams.  So, I’m going to finish them, I’m interested to see how the front fly zipper goes in…I’ll keep you posted :)  Having said that, the shorts I cut out on the straight of grain fit well too… I think I’ll wear the bias shorts when I’m having a “puffy” day and save the others for my “skinny girl days” :)

I don’t know why I waited so long to try twill on the bias… I think I was worry about the twill (diagonal) weave.  I imagined that it would do something funny.  Of course, these are just shorts, the next step will be to try knee length shorts.  I’m interested to see how the leg hangs.  If all goes well, I’m going to try my pant pattern.  :)

Have you tried a garment on both the bias and straight grain lines?  If so, I’d love to see how they came out!  Plus I’m starting a Sewer Girls Photo Gallery on my blog.  Every time I teach a class, whether it’s online or in person, I’m always inspired by what my students are making.   So, when I get back from the American Sewing Expo at the end of the month, I’m going to get that going! So dig out all your photos :)

Please let me know if you have any questions! Have a great day! :)

Quick Tip Tuesday l How to find the Bias Grainline…

Using the Straight Grainline Printed on your Pattern.

Hey Everyone,  Remember my Bias Cut Jeans I made from a pair of black bias cut men’s jeans that I found at the Salvation Army? (I can’t believe that was in 2009!).  They ended up being one of my wardrobe favorites (until I grew out of them :)   …So what about bias shorts?  I’ve been thinking about trying to make a pair for a while.

Shorts are perfect to test bias, because if they don’t come out right, I’m not wasting a ton of fabric.  (But, I’m feeling pretty confident.  In this video, I’ll show you how to find the bias grainline using the straight grainline + how to position the pattern piece on the bias grainline.  Then, on Thursday, I’ll have them sewn together and I’ll let you know how they fit,  etc.    If you are new to working on the bias, you may want to check out my class “Put it on the Bias” on Patternreview.com… this video class goes over everything bias, step-by-step!   Hope everyone is staying cool… very warm here!


Quick Tip Thursday l How to Repair a Tear in a Pair of Pants

Hey Everyone… I had to take a shorts break and fix pants for my neighbor.  Let’s be honest… I hate fixing things… But my neighbor has a super cute puppy :)  (So I said “yes, I’ll fix the tear in your pants” :)  Btw… If you’re new to sewing and things just seem to “happen” while you’re sewing…and you don’t know how to fix them, I have a new class on Craftsy called “Sewing Mistakes: What can go Wrong and how to Make it Right.   If it sounds interesting, I think Craftsy is having a big sale over the holiday weekend! (I’m not new to sewing, and I experience mishaps all the time :) That’s where I got the idea for the class!

FullSizeRender(2)So let’s talk about fixing tears in garments.   If you’re lucky and the tear is near a seam, you can sew in deeper to hid it in the seam allowance.  But, if it’s straight down the middle of your butt… not so lucky (and your options are limited)

I decided to use black interfacing to support the torn fabric, add some Fray Check to protect raw edges, then finish it up with a triple zig-zag.  In this case stitching did not make the tear more noticeable… but in some cases, I may opt not to stitch.  (Of course if the tear is in a stress area, stitching it closed will prevent if from popping back open.)    The trick is to pick a thread color that disappears into the fabric.  Luckily, these pants were gray…with a lot of variety in the weave of the fabric, so I was able to pick a thread color that blended pretty nicely.  So, check it out and let me know what you think!   Plus, if you have a tear that you fixed (successfully or not), send it to me and I’ll share it with everyone!  I think we all need fix it inspiration :)

Quick Tip Tuesday l How Denim Details Can Make Shorts Construction Really Easy

Hey Everyone…I’m sitting here in my studio listening to the very loud droning and buzz of chainsaws and wood chippers :(  I was so excited to shoot my QT today, but it’s just too noisy outside.  I went out to inquire how long it would take them to chop the trees down… They are planning to do the whole street…  So I decided to do a slide show instead.  (sorry about that).

I finished my shorts, and I love them… I wore them all day yesterday… After I wash them, I think I may have to take them apart and take them in a  little bit… They are comfy, but slightly too loose. (I was going for not squeezing me, and I think I was a little too generous with the ease)   Anyway, let me know if you have questions.  Hoping to shoot something fun on Thursday… Keep your fingers crossed!

Quick Tip Thursday… How to use all the good parts of jeans to make new shorts

Hey everyone.   I don’t have a lot of time for chatting today because my daughter is circling (It’s dinner time and I haven’t figured that out yet :)   Today’s quick tip is an update on the denim shorts I started yesterday.  I had a really easy time cutting out the front of my shorts so I could use the existing front fly and pockets.  …But when I started working on the back pieces, I had to walk away and think about it a  little bit.  I didn’t like the way my back shorts pattern piece fit across the existing butt section of the back of the jeans.  The yoke and position of the back pockets would have been very weird… But I did come up with a solution… Check it out and let me know what you think!

Quick Tip Tuesday… How to Transform Jeans into Jean Shorts (No Front Fly Construction Needed!)

Hey Everyone… Sorry about the delay getting Tuesday’s Quick Tip to you!  … It was all about finding the Energy Star Fridge and a few  other things for Anna’s dorm room yesterday.  Plus, Abby needed new shoes for school… Happily we found everything :)

I’m so excited that Beyond the Boat Neck…New Necklines for The Tee is completely finished.  It should be up and available on Patternreview.com within a week!  (Yay, I love checking big projects off my list)… Now I’m onto finishing the shorts pattern…at the end of August :( …  Maybe we’ll have a warm fall!

If found a pair of jeans at the Salvation Army.  They have a really cool front fly.  My first thought was to pick the pieces apart and cut out the front and back legs out of the legs of the jeans…Then use the fly pieces when I construct the fly of my shorts.  But then, I got a better idea :)   I decided that I would try using the front as is…no fly construction needed.   Here’s how it’s going so far….

Step 1:  Pick apart the waistband and the bottom ends of the belt loops.  Then pick apart the side and inseams.

buffalo1Check out the front fly… isn’t is cool?  I love the details, especially the topstitching and the bound edge of the button fly.   Plus the button and buttonholes are really neat too. buffalo2The waistband is too long for my because these jeans are a men’s size 44.   So, I’m going to take the extra length out of the CB so I can take advantage of the existing button and button hole…

Buffalo3Step 2:  Prepare the front pattern piece so I can trace it onto the left and right front leg of the jeans.  I cut off the seam allowances along the center front of my fitted shorts pattern.

Buffalo4Step 3:  Then I laid the pattern piece on top of the jean leg, carefully aligning the center front edge of the pattern with the center front edge (Front crotch seam) of the jeans.

buffalo5Step 4:  Trace around the pattern piece.  In this case, my pattern piece had a very similar rise to the jeans.  I had to fold the hem allowance up because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut it out…So I added and extra 1/2″ along the bottom of the leg so I can sew a facing to the bottom of the leg to hem it later.

buffalo6buffalo7Step 5:  Repeat for the opposite leg and cut it out.  Because I’m not 100% sure how the front width will translate by aligning the center front edge of the pattern up with the fly on the jeans, I’m going to add 1/2″ extra along the side seams just in case I need a little more room.

buffalo8Viola!  The front of my shorts are all done!  Front Fly and Front pockets …check!    Here’s what the inside of the front of the shorts look like.

buffalo9Super excited about this project…and I can’t wait to try them on to see if it worked out.  I’m feeling pretty confident :)  Stay tuned for Quick Tip Thursday… I’ll show you what I did in the back and how I put these shorts together.



Quick Tip Thursday l Knit Fabric: Percentage of Stretch and Shape Retention

Hey Everyone,   Happy Thursday :)  Today I want to talk about knit fabric and how to tell how stretchy it is…and whether or not a garment sewn out of it will hold it’s shape or not.    Both fun topics that can really affect the quality and fit of a knit garment.  It’s important to know how much stretch there is because most knit patterns recommend fabrics with a specific amount…  If you have a fabric that doesn’t agree with the amount of stretch required by your pattern, you can make adjustments to the pieces so you can still use it (like making it larger if there is less stretch).  But, if you don’t know and you cut it out and sew it together, it’s likely to be too tight (or too loose if there’s more stretch than recommended).

Another important factor is whether the fabric will retain it’s shape… or will it keep growing.  Check out today’s quick tip for all the juicy details on that.

Another topic that I touched on this week is fit vs. bra  …I bought a new comfy bra and I was so excited to wear it will shooting my tee neckline class. I noticed, while editing the footage,  that one of my knit tops looked yucky on me because my new comfy bra caused my bust to be shaped differently…   I know that the fit of a bra is important to the fit of a top… especially a snug fitting top.  So this is a reminder to check the mirror before you get going :)

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions about these topics!  I hope everyone is enjoying the rest of Summer…I can’t believe it is almost over :(  School starts next week for Abby, and I’m dropping Anna off at college next weekend!

Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Stitch a Buttonhole that’s Fit for a Drawstring

Hey Everyone… It’s another hot one in Connecticut.  Happy I got up early and got the quick tip going :)  Today I want to share with you how to stitch a dense buttonhole on knit fabric.  Usually, I’ll stitch a knit buttonhole when I’m working on stretch fabric.  But, in this case, I want it to be durable because the buttonhole is being used as the opening for a drawstring.

So, I played with stitching a dense satin buttonhole using interfacing and wash away stabilizer.  I got happy results, but not before I also adjusted the density of the buttonhole on my sewing machine.

Let me know if you have questions.. Happy Day!