Every holiday I stand in my closet and look for something that is both dressy and comfortable and this year I’m going to have some lovelies to choose from! We usually do quite a bit of entertaining at our place this time of year and with that, quite a bit of cooking so comfort is key. But as hostess, I want to look festive and feel pretty.
You’re probably thinking "I love velvet, it’s luxurious, soft, glamorous but hard to sew, right?" Wrong. This crushed velvet is an easy first step into sewing your first velvet garment because this isn’t velvet in the formal sense, it’s stretch velour which for sewing and I would argue, wearing, is even better. I have some tips here that will have you crushing on this fabric.
Well I'm pretty excited to be a guest blogger today for Cali Fabrics and couldn't resist appeasing my velvet fix with their gorgeous collection of crushed velvets. There are several rich colors of this fabric on the Cali Fabrics website and I couldn’t choose just one so in true “fabricaholic” form I went ahead and picked two! I chose the romantic dusty light blue and elegant wine color for my holiday makes (but you can check out more colors here).
I took out my tried and true Blue Dot Patterns Georgia Top (of all my patterns I’ve made this the most and use coupon code CALIFAB and get 20% off the pattern for all of November!) to make a dusty blue luxurious (and very quick) sweatshirt. I made it straight out of the package minus the topstitching and it was quick and simple because this pattern doesn’t have any hems. I cut and sewed this in under two hours! I will probably wear this on Thanksgiving as it’s comfortable, washable (key when cooking, right?) and I’m pretty sure everyone will want to hug me.
For my next make I used the wine crushed velvet to sew up Simplicity’s fall release 8982. I bought this pattern as soon as it came out because of View C. The sleeves are divine! This top is almost as simple as the Georgia Top but adds set-in sleeves, gathers at the cuffs and a hem. Still, nothing difficult here and with the stretch velvet, the sleeves slid in like a dream and I used a twin needle for the hem. This top is just as comfortable and very easy to dress up. It looks good with black jeans but also would be great with a skirt and heels. Hopefully someone will invite me to a New Year’s party (wink,wink) because I’ll be ready with this top, black pants and sparkly earrings.
Now here are some tips that’ll help you overcome your fears and help you fill your closet with stretch velvet:
Choose the right pattern: This crushed stretch velvet has great stretch and recovery so it’ll work on a pattern for knits, but what’s most important in choosing a pattern for this fabric is the design. Simple lines and fewer pieces are a great way to insure success and since the fabric shines on it’s own anyway, there’s no use choosing something complicated. Both of the patterns I chose have 5 pieces each and require very little pressing. Which takes me to my next point...
Careful when pressing (you don’t want to crush your velvet): I try to press as little as possible when working with any velvet but when you do need to press, use the coolest iron setting that will work and press from the wrong side...always. In addition, press velvet against velvet. You could use a fancy needle board but why when you can use a scrap of velvet? Have your scrap velvet face up on your ironing board and your project face down so the pile of both are together. On curvy seams, I laid my scrap over my ham to press.
Be mindful of the nap: This fabric has a one way nap so when cutting and sewing make a quick double check to be sure everything is facing the same direction.
Roll your fabric to eliminate creasing: After cutting, I rolled my pattern pieces with my velvet to keep creases from forming.
Test your stitches: I do this on every project. Since this fabric is technically a knit, a ball point needle and a narrow zig zag stitch with a long stitch length worked well for me but use whatever works for you. The stretch stitch on my machine (it looks like a lightning bolt on the stitch guide if you have one) is too close together so if I have to take a seam out (gulp) it’s too hard to take out!
If you have a walking foot, use it: It’s not necessary but it will help.
You’re not going to believe me when I say this but use a fabric glue stick if you need to: When it came time to fold up my hem and I wasn’t able to press it in place, I sparingly used a fabric glue stick (not regular glue stick!) to keep everyone in place. Although it washes out and this fabric is washable, I didn’t want to make my project too gooey, so a dot here and there on the hem and when folding the neckbands in half really helped.
Thank you Cali Fabrics for the opportunity to sew with these lovely fabrics.
Sewing friends, enjoy 20% off the Georgia Top PDF Pattern on the Blue Dot Patterns website for the month of November! Use code: CALIFAB.
I wish you well in your holiday sewing and festivities. I know you’ll look great in your velvet!
#bluedotpatterns, #simplicity patterns, #sewover50, #holidaydressing, #holidaysewing
I'm happy to share with you a topstitching technique I use quite often in my sewing. I used it here on my Coffeehouse Pants both on the pocket and on the hem (see below). This is one of those sewing tricks that I've shared in my sewing classes and people don't believe that it actually works because it sounds too easy! Although reverse bobbin work is something we often see in quilting or "art to wear", I think it's perfect for everyday garment sewing and it's a whole lot of fun for something so quick and easy.
Reverse bobbin topstitching is stitched from the wrong side of the fabric so when you look from the front you are actually looking at the bobbin thread. If you load some chunky or interesting thread that might normally be too thick as an upper thread, you can load it in the bobbin and use it. It can be a thread for hand embroidery or machine...I've used different types. Here's how to do it:
Enjoy my friends. And I'd love to see examples of your stitching!
It’s week #2 of the “Bottoms-Up” skirt series. Last week I made a gray and black Ally Skirt but this week I have a wintery but colorful plaid skirt that’ll spice up my closet.
This beautiful wool boucle from Fabricland was one I couldn’t pass up. Clearly, it would make a stunning jacket but I would wear a skirt so much more. Chanel boucle jackets often have fringe trim so why not add some trim to my skirt as well?
I used McCall’s pattern 7096. It’s fairly new pattern and has front and back seams that would lend themselves to fringe. I made view A in a size 12 because I found it ran a little big and it still sits too low on the hip for me. I figure by the time Thanksgiving is over it’ll be just perfect.
I took my time cutting the plaid (for obvious reasons) and cut all pieces in a single layer to make sure I got the match right on. The best way I found to ensure everything lined up was by using my 24” quilting ruler across all of the pieces. And after all of that painstaking work lining it up, I used the Accufeed on my machine (essentially a built-in walking foot) to keep those plaids in place.
The fringe may look difficult and time consuming and it may make you think I’m clever, but it’s so simple you won’t think I’m such a genius. I sewed the front and back seams wrong sides together, pressed them open from the front, and did a long zig-zag stitch down the center seam to stabilize the seam for fringing. I simply pulled threads (while I was on the phone with my sweet mom) and it was done! It really is that easy.
This is an unlined skirt pattern and for sure a wool skirt needs to be lined. I wrote a “How to Line an Unlined Skirt” post to show how to make a pattern for a skirt lining. The lining was made without the front and back seams to eliminate bulk. I then attached it to the yoke. Check it out!
I have a purple skirt in the works for week #3. Doesn’t every girl need a purple skirt?
Deep down inside, I must be a little granny because I love to line my skirts (I've been known to wear a half slip but don’t judge). Cotton, linen or otherwise, making the the inside as pretty as the outside is part of the fun of sewing. I recently made McCall’s 7096, a six gore unlined skirt, out of a wool boucle. Needless to say I wanted it lined. Since I have a skirt blog series coming up soon, A "How To" for skirt linings seems appropriate.
A lining should be as smooth as possible as the last thing we want to do is add bulk to the inside of a garment. Making a lining with as few seams as possible is the goal. I turned this six gore skirt into a simple one piece front and one piece back lining. Here’s how to do it:
Draw the stitching lines on the front and side front pieces along the front seamline.
Overlap the stitching lines and pin together. Go as far as you can while keeping the pattern pieces flat. They will spread into a “V” near the top.
Place tracing paper over the pinned pattern pieces and trace the outside and the “V” at the top of the pattern. This forms the new dart or pleat.
Make all the pattern markings on the new pattern and repeat for the back. Cut off the hem allowance from the original pattern (in my case I cut off 1 1/2” as stated on the pattern.)
There it is! Easy peasy, right?
I made the tiniest little boy shirt out of this fabric and since the shirt was so small, I wanted to minimize the busyness of the pattern by matching the pattern on the pocket. Actually, if I were to be completely truthful, I really wanted to match the pocket because I love matching patterns and probably would never have another chance to line up "googly eyes". Learning to match a pocket is quick and this method works for prints, stripes as well as plaids.
Here's how to do it:
Here's how to prep the pocket and stitch it on:
February is the time when I'm racing to finish up winter projects and at the same time looking ahead to some spring sewing. It's not quite time for short sleeves but it is a good time to brush up on our skills in preparation for spring projects. And if you're a new sewer, now's the time to learn some good foundational skills that'll launch you "armed and dangerous" into your new hobby. So... join us for the Blue Dot Patterns Dover Jacket Sew-Along....8 Things Every Sewer Should Know.
The Dover Jacket View B is a loose fitting, 3/4 length sleeve jacket that is a versatile wardrobe builder. It goes together quickly and is a great project for the beginning/intermediate sewist. You will learn 8 basic sewing skills that'll not only make your garments look professional but will also help your garments go together more quickly and easily. If you are new to garment sewing, this would be a great sew-along for you!
Here's what we are going to learn:
February 12 - Day #1: Selecting Fabric, Supplies and Choosing Pattern Size.
February 16 - Day #2: Preparing to Sew: Put Together the PDF, Cutting, Marking and Interfacing.
February 19 - Day #3: Constructing the Body of the Jacket: Gathering, Clipping and Understitching.
February 23 - Day #4: Finishing up: Topstitching, Buttonholes and Sewing on Buttons by Machine.
Here's the Sew-Along Badge if you'd like to add it to your blog:
Okay....let's get ready. I can't wait to see what you make!
There's nothing like the satisfaction of finding the perfect pattern for that fabric and then realizing you can have it immediately by printing it at home. You find it, buy it, print it and can be sewing in a few minutes! But... taping them together isn't quite as fun. Today I'm sharing the fastest way I've found to tape them together so you can be on your merry (sewing) way.
Here's what you'll need:
Rotary cutting mat
Clear tape (matte finish)
Step 1: Test Square (don't skip this step)
Print the test square provided on the pattern and verify that it's the correct size. In my example, the test square must be 4". If your test square size is incorrect, be sure to go back and make print setting adjustments (setting the printer to "actual" size is the common fix) until it's right on. Once everything is correct, print your pattern.
Place ruler along the left line of pattern frame and cut off margin using a rotary cutter. Do the same for the bottom margin.
Be sure to leave the top and right sides untouched. Your pattern pieces should look like this:
Step 3: Tape pages together
Align numbers or markings on the pattern and tape. Because you cut the left margins off already, you simply need to slide the left page under the right. Tape pages together in rows from left to right.
In this example, Blue Dot patterns have both a number and a circle to help make alignment accurate. I tape at all alignment marks and pattern lines to assure my pattern stays together. I use "matte" clear tape because it allows me to use a pencil or pen to make any fitting adjustments.
Step 4: Tape rows together from top to bottom.
That's it! The rotary cutter saves so much time!
I hope this helps you enjoy your PDF patterns!
Hello! I'm glad to be back on the Fabricmart blog and joining the other Fabricistas with a new summer project for May. Well, I may have been one of the few people on the sewing planet that hadn't made Wiksten's Tova Tunic, but folks things have finally changed. I'm bringing summer in with a sunny sunburst Tova.
There are plenty of reviews of the Tova tunic out there so there's no need for me to review it here. But I will say although the blouse has simple lines and lends itself to all types of fabrics and embellishments, I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. It's a seasonless pattern and would be a great project for an intermediate sewer.
Some time ago I pinned a Steven Alan shirt onto my I Wanna Make This pinterest board because I loved the fabric. Eureka! I found it! Fabricmart's abstract bursts 100% lightweight handkerchief linen in white, blue and pale coral is just that fabric! This linen is lighter than any other I've ever worked with but still is crisp like other linens. I machine washed and dried it before I cut it out and it came out lovely.
The colors are beautiful in this fabric and I decided to highlight the coral on the bib of the tunic using embroidery thread and my sewing machine. Reverse bobbin work is popular among art quilters but I don't often see it anywhere else. Quilters take decorative threads that don't fit through sewing machine needles and wind them on the bobbin instead. When you sew from the wrong side, the decorative thread from the bobbin shows through on the right side.
For the reverse bobbin work, I used DMC embroidery floss and wound it by hand on a bobbin and loaded it into my machine without changing any settings. Don't be afraid...just do it...it'll be okay.
Working from the back of the blouse, I stitched along the seam line of the bib of the tunic so the bobbin thread would show on the front. It's as easy as that.
It's subtle but isn't it pretty? I also added some to the band of the sleeve. Once you get going it's hard to stop. And yes, reverse bobbin work washes well.
I ended up shortening the blouse 4" (I found it longer than the drawing suggests) but otherwise made no other changes. I will probably make it again this fall in a cozy flannel. Wouldn't it be great? But right now I'll enjoy my new sunny blouse.
Have you made a Tova?
Happy almost summer everyone!
Diane - Gatorbunnysews
Hi! I'm Diane, a wife, mom, sewing teacher and pattern designer from sunny Southern California. I share my sewing adventures here on the Blue Dot Blog formerly Gatorbunnysews. For more info click here.