Sunday, April 12, 2020


You may be familiar with the Fun with Fabric pattern.  The envelope shows the top made with sleeves. 

 Also note the band at the bottom.  When making this in stripes, try changing the direction of the stripes for the band.  And play around with the buttons.

Anyway, you know Louise.  She's always coming up with variations for the patterns.  So she decided it would be cool to make this top sleeveless, like this:

 This version necessitates a few changes, so I'll go through them for you.  First, here's a look at the pattern pieces for the upper part of the garment.

Note that the side seams go up, then curve out.  Also, notice the dot at the bottom of the armhole.  Be sure to mark that dot.

To make the sleeveless version, you need to turn the armhole seam allowance to the inside by 1" (rather than 5/8"). That's going to force a change to the shoulder seam.  If you stitched the shoulder seam at 5/8" from the neck to the shoulder, you couldn't turn back the armhole seam allowance onto itself.  So you need to turn the pattern pieces back on themselves at the shoulder by 1", measure down 5/8" and make a mark, as I did in the following photo.  When you open out the fold, the stitching line will angle upwards toward the shoulder edge.

Serge the shoulder seam edges, then stitch the shoulder seams from the neck toward the shoulder.  At 1" from the armhole edge, follow the new stitching line you drew so the seam angles upward.  Now the shoulder seam will fold back nicely on itself, as in the next photo.  Serge the side seam/armhole edges. 

Then fold the armhole edges to the inside of the garment by 1" between those dots at the bottom of the armhole.  It's easier to do this pressing before you sew the side seams.  (At this time, you'll need to bind the neckline.  That must be done before you sew the side seams, but you will follow the instructions in the pattern for that step.  I'm not addressing the neckline in this post.)

Once the whole armhole edges are pressed (and the neckline binding is applied), it's time to sew the side seams.  Stitch them using a 5/8" seam allowance, but don't curve over to the dots at the underarm.  Instead, stitch straight up even with the dots--you'll be 3/8" away from them.

Press the side seams open.  That pressing should coincide with the 1" folds you've already pressed around the armhole.  Ta-da!  

Lay strips of Steam-a-Seam under the armhole edges, press lightly, and remove the paper backing. Fold the armhole edges in place and press to fuse.

Topstitch the armhole edges next to the serging. Begin on the side seam, 1/4" below the dot.  Stitch at 90 degrees from the side seam to the serging, pivot, and stitch around the armhole next to the serging.  Pivot and stitch at 90 degrees to the side seam, ending your stitching at the side seam.  

Here's how it looks from the outside.

You might like this as a breezy summer option for the Fun With Fabric top.


There was a question about the plackets on The Blouse Perfected posted on the Facebook Forum, so I thought I would make some samples, take some photos, and explain them here.  Shirts like these can be purchased, but they can be pricey, so it's nice to be able to make your own.  They're a classic style; make them in cotton for casual wear or in silk for dress-up.  They are an enduring style in white.

So let's begin.  First, let's see one of the samples I used for the DVD I filmed for Threads Magazine that shows the finished plackets.  I placed a button on the side that will have buttonholes on it when the shirt is finished (the right front).

And the same plackets viewed from the inside of the shirt.  The button is again on the right front where the buttonholes would occur.

In the photo above, look at the left front.  We're seeing the inside of the shirt, so it's on the left in the photo.  Note that the stitching to finish the placket would be done from the inside, using the edgestitching technique I've talked about in other blogs.

So now let's see how the folds are made on the left front.  The instructions say to fold at the first clips (nearest center front) at the neck and hem.  Stab pin in place.  Then use a seam gauge to measure the fold in between, stabpinning all along the fold.  Like this:

Make the second fold in the same way, using the second clips as a guide.  Here's a photo showing the inside of the shirt, showing the folds.  I laid the pattern over so you can see how the folds align with the foldlines on the pattern.  The interfacing is also in place.  Of course, these folds will be turned to the inside.  I only showed it with the wrong side up because it's easy to see the folds this way.

Here's the same thing from the right side with the folds in their final position. I left some interfacing sticking out so you could see where it goes.

And this photo shows where the edgestitching would occur when finished.

Let's look at the right front placket.  It's a bit different.  Here are the first 2 folds and the interfacing.  Again, fold the first fold at the neck and hem clips, use a seam gauge in between neck and hem to get an even fold, stab pin, and press.  Same for the second fold.  Note the interfacing placement.  (Note:  In order to show the pattern on top of the folded fabric, I had to show the inside of the garment.  The hem edge of the fabric piece is at the top of the photo and the neck is toward the bottom of the photo.)

Here's what it looks like without the pattern on top.  The black marks are at the clips.

Here's what the first 2 folds look like when pressed in place.  Again, hem is toward the top.

 Now the third fold has been made in the same manner.  Make this fold with the previous folded edge tucked up right against this third fold.

Once that third fold is pressed, turn the whole front over so you are looking at the right side (outside) of the garment. 

With right side up,  stitch 1/4" from the folded edge.   

When finished with this line of stitching, turn the right front over so you are again looking at the wrong side (inside) of the shirt.  Press the body of the shirt away from the placket (to the right in the next photo).  The photo shows it already pressed; placket is on the left, body of shirt extending to the right.

Your previous stitching is on the left in the following photo.  Your next step is to stitch 1/4" from the edge as in the following photo (the line of stitching on the right).  The buttonholes will go in between the 2 lines of stitching.

 It might be helpful to cut a couple of large squares of fabric, make the clips as on the pattern, and make a sample before working on your actual shirt.  

I hope this clears up confusion.  As always, feel free to write to us if you have any questions about a technique on one of our patterns.

Thursday, April 9, 2020


I promised you a blog about the pockets I put on my Easy Ageless Cool shirt, so I'm back to explain those to you.  I used the same basic technique for both pockets, and you can create endless variations of them.

Of course, they can be any size you want them to be.  Draw a rectangle for the size pocket you want, including the 3/8" seam allowances on all 4 sides.

The fun is choosing the fabrics.  You'll want a large piece for the body of the pocket, a piece as wide as the pocket but about 3 inches (plus seam allowances) deep to act as the pocket facing, and a third piece about 2" deep as a trim piece.  
Place the pocket piece wrong side down on top of the facing piece, with the facing piece right side up, like this.  I have them folded back just so you can see the right and wrong sides.

Pin the pocket and facing together across the top edge.  Stitch them together across the top and grade the seam allowances, like this.

Press the seam allowances open.  Using a Pressing Template, press a 3/8" hem across the free edge of the facing.

Wrap the facing around the seam allowances and turn it down so it lies on the right side of the pocket.  This will prevent any of the pocket wrong side from peeking out at the top of the finished pocket.

Fold the trim piece in half, wrong sides together, and lay a strip of Steam-a-Seam across it next to the raw edge.  Press it lightly and remove the paper backing.

Slide the trim piece under the pocket facing just enough to cover the Steam-a-Seam.  Press again to fuse.  At this point, you could also slide a strip of Steam-a-Seam under the trim piece, right under those same raw edges.  Press lightly again, remove the paper backing, and press to fuse.

Now you can stitch across the bottom of the pocket facing, attaching both the facing and the trim piece to the pocket.

Staystitch both sides and the bottom of the combined pocket/facing/trim at 3/8".  Using a Pressing Template, press a 3/8" fold on all sides of the pocket, favoring the staystitching a thread or two to the wrong side.  Lay strips of Steam-a-Seam on all 3 folds, press lightly, and remove the paper backing.  Position your pocket on your garment and press again to fuse.  Be sure the seam allowances at the top corners are tucked down into the pocket slightly so they won't show when you're finished.

When everything is fused correctly, you can edgestitch your pretty pocket to the garment.  Be sure to stitch across the top of the pocket for 3/8" to catch the seam allowance at the top corner.  Count the number of stitches across at the top corner (usually about 4), then continue stitching around your pocket, using the appropriate presser foot.  End by stitching across the other upper corner with the same number of stitches as you used on the first top corner.  And ta-da, a terrific pocket!!

I only stitched my sample pocket 3/4 of the way around so I could show you that photo of the 3/8" folded back.  But the following photo will show you the thread tail where I started at a top corner.  

 One of the things I love to do is use strips of selvedge like this as my trim piece.  I just cut them wide enough so that their raw edge will fit under the pocket facing.  So save those selvedges!  Many have the circles of all the dye colors used to print the fabric, and some have lettering or other decorative motifs that would look great on a trim piece.

So there you are, everyone.  Have fun making distinctive pockets, and post them on the Facebook Forum for everyone to see.  Sharing feeds creativity for all of us. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Hi fellow sewers,

Because we've posted so many new Ends of Bolts on the website, I wanted to add another idea about combining fabrics to the suggestions I posted in the newsletter and on the Home Page.

In those spots, I showed you garments you could make from a short piece of fabric like an End of Bolt.  For instance, make a shell or even the pencil skirt from the Putting It Together pattern.  

I also showed you patterns that are intended to use more than 1 fabric, like Pick Stitch Perfect.


What I'd like to show you today is a shirt made from the Easy Ageless Cool pattern.  Typically, this relaxed campshirt would be made from one fabric.  But I had a small stack of fabric leftovers that I didn't want to discard, so I put on my thinking cap and considered what I could do with them.


Here's the result of my brainstorming.  I cut each front out of a separate fabric and combined 2 fabrics to make the collar.  I also used different fabrics for each pocket.  Another fabric made the front facings.  The sleeves were cut from the same fabric as the left front.  

I made some of my decisions based on how much of each fabric I had.  That pocket on the left front used all but a few threads of the fabric scrap I had!


In the back, I was forced to take a different approach.  I laid out the remaining pieces of fabric and decided what looked good where.  I straightened all the edges with a ruler and rotary cutter, then began sewing the pieces together.  Once I had a large enough block of combined fabrics, I laid the  pattern piece on top and cut out the back.  Here's what that looked like when done:

A couple more views so you can see the entire back:

I really had fun playing with the pockets.  Here are their close-ups:


If you've used our patterns for a while, you know that our collars are cut as 1 piece, on the fold.  That means the entire collar must be cut from one fabric.  But-of course!-I didn't want that.  (Nothing like looking for trouble.)  So I traced the collar pattern.  Let's look, then I'll explain.

On the left side of the photo, the original pattern says, "Center back on fold." I added a 5/8" seam allowance there.  I also traced the pattern and added a 5/8" seam allowance in the same place.  The seam allowance is already included on the other end of each pattern.  Now the 2 pieces can be sewn together on both ends to form a complete collar which you can finish according to the instructions in the pattern.


Start digging through your stash for those small, special pieces of fabric you've been treasuring.  An End of Bolt from the website could give you a headstart.  Put together a plan to make your own combined-fabrics garment.

I'll post another blog in a couple of days to explain in detail how I made the pockets on my campshirt.

I hope that I'll soon start seeing the garments you've made from combined fabrics.  Post them to the Facebook Forum and let's do some distance celebrating! 


Thursday, April 2, 2020


Hello all,

I hope that some of you have some fabric (like there's anyone out there who doesn't!) and that you have modified your Anything But Ordinary pattern for the Go-To Top as shown in my previous blog.  Also, just a quick reminder that if you don't have the revised One-Seam Pants pattern, you might want to get it so you have the new sizing chart and design details.

Ok, so we are caught up.  Today I'd like to show you a few details for sewing the Go-To Top and the darts in the One-Seams.  Here's the outfit again.  It's ideal for these days when we all have to be inside--comfy, casual, but a finished look.

As you are making the top, remember that if you are making the XS or SM, stitch the neck facing to the garment at 3/4" rather than at 5/8".  You'll want a slightly bigger neckline to get this over your head.  When you are ready to topstitch the facing near its edge, you can use a piece of painter's tape on your machine to give yourself a guide. 

When you get to the side seams, you'll want to leave room for the side vents.  We'll make them in the same way the vents are made on the My Swing Set pants.  Here's how to measure the vent opening at the bottom of the side seams:

Press the seam allowances open, including at the opening.  Clip into the seam allowances where the side seam stitching ends and 3/8" from the serged hem edge.  (See the previous photo.)  Then trim the seam allowances between the clips and lay strips of Steam-a-Seam on them.

Fold the hem up.  It should be 2-3/8" wide.  Measure with a seam gauge.  Look carefully at the vents--you want to favor them slightly to the inside.

 Press the remaining parts of the hem.  Use Steam-a-Seam to fuse all of it in place.  Stitch the hem from the wrong side right next to the serging.  Then change your presser foot (I use my blind hem foot) so you can finish the vent.  Leave long thread tails and edgestitch up one side of a vent.

At the top, pivot to take one stitch across the top of the vent, then finish edgestitching down the other side.

Pull your thread tails to the wrong side, tie off, and use a handstitching needle to hide the threads between the fabric layers.

 I also wanted to give you a couple of tips about the pants. Of course, you'll be following the instructions.  Sew the inner leg seams first, always pinning and sewing with the back leg on the bottom.  Place one pin at the crotch point, then move to the hem and pin as you move up the leg.  Be sure you are pinning the layers one to one.  Pin up to 6-8" from the crotch point.

Near the top, you should have a bit of extra fabric on the front layer.  Grasp this top portion of the seam and gently stretch so the layers are even; pin.  Now you can stitch.  Keep the back on the bottom.

Continue following the instructions.  When you are ready to insert the elastic, stitch one end of it to a scrap of fabric.

 Fold over the fabric and attach your bodkin.

Once you've completely sewn your pants, decide how many darts you want.  Take a look at the pattern piece.  Notice that I folded up the hem portion of the pattern piece because I have already stitched the hem of the pants and intend to sew my hem darts on the outside of the finished legs.

I stitched a dart at the center front and back of each leg as well as the outside of the leg opposite the inner leg seam.

Enjoy your new, easy-to-wear outfit!  Both garments are quick and easy to sew, but each one has distinctive details.  Make them out of a variety of fabrics to wear anywhere.