Shortening/Lengthening the Laminaria Swimsuit

One of the coolest things about sewing your own swimsuit is that you can make the torso the right length. As a tall gal, 1 piece swimsuits have always been my nemesis as there’s nothing worse than rocking a wedgie every time you put on your swimsuit. The Laminaria swimsuit has printed shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern pieces to make shortening and lengthening easy. How can you tell if you need to add/remove length from your swimsuit? The size chart tells you the crotch length that the pattern is designed for which is average for an average height woman (5’6″). If you need more/less length in ready-two-wear swimsuits, you’ll probably want more/less in this swimsuit. However, the only way to tell for sure is to make a muslin out of the same fabric that you will be using for your final suit as small differences in horizontal and especially vertical stretch …

Laminaria Swimsuit Pattern Testers

The most satisfying and inspiring part of any pattern release is seeing it made up by other women! It is so fun to see a collection of different women using different fabric and making different design decisions, all from the same pattern. I was fortunate to have an amazing, inspiring, creative assortment of women that tested the Laminaria Swimsuit and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations and their thoughts on the pattern! (Because this pattern is a swimsuit there were quite a number of women that asked not to be included in this post – they know who they are and I am just as thankful to them for their help!) One thing to note – you may notice that the larger sizes show off more cleavage than the smaller sizes regardless of cup size. The final pattern was regraded across the top range of sizes to fix …

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Introducing the Laminaria Swimsuit!

Introducing…the Laminaria Swimsuit! It’s a one piece swimsuit with a sinuous inset panel that wraps around the body like its namesake kelp. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 2 different cup size options (A-C cup or D-F cup) to make fitting a breeze. View A has decorative inset panels while View B is plain. Either can be sewed with a sharp V neck or an easier to sew rounded V neckline. Instructions are included for optional cup insertion. The straps can be tied around the neck halter style or can be attached to the back either straight down or crossed across the back. And in further exciting news, the pdf pattern is a layered pattern AND it’s also available in print! Buy the Pattern Now Laminaria is the scientific name for kelp (referring to the order Laminariales, family Laminariaciae, or genus Laminaria). When developing the swimsuit, I pictured …

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How to Print a Layered PDF Sewing Pattern

From here on out, SeamstressErin Designs patterns are being published as layered pdfs (wahoo!). What does this mean? It means that each size is on a different layer so that you can select only the size you want to sew for printing. You can also select a cluster of sizes in case you need to grade between sizes or even two totally different sizes if you want to print out your size and your best friend’s size at the same time! Why bother, you might be asking? Of course you can still print all of the sizes like before (pattern pieces are still nested). But you might find it handy to print fewer sizes at a time because the markings on nested patterns can get a bit hard to discern, especially on small pattern pieces. Start by opening your pattern in Adobe Reader. (There are many different programs that open …

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Rainbow Raindrops Waterproof Minoru Raincoat

I live in the Seattle area. You may not have heard this about Seattle, but it rains a fair bit here (ha!). In fact we broke rain records yet again this year so a raincoat is a timely project. Of course I finished it just in time for May flowers instead of April showers (or all winter long incessant drizzle as the case may be). But I can promise you that this raincoat will be getting plenty of wear over the years. Though I didn’t finish many projects this winter, I really took my time with what I did sew to make them as perfect as possible with deluxe fabrics and this coat is no exception (my wool & silk Fumettere and quilted velvet puffer vest being prime examples of what I mean). I used Sewaholic’s Minoru pattern (that I’ve had and been meaning to sew since it came out …

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Baby Pants

There are two types of sewists when it comes to sewing things for babies. There are those that look at pattern pieces for pockets and say “That’s silly, she won’t be needing the pockets. I’ll just leave them off for simplicity’s sake.” And then there are those of us that go “Squee!! Tiny pocketses!!” By looking at the photos of Evelyn’s latest pants, I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which camp I fall into :) I know that babies grow in spurts, but I swear I just blinked and all of the sudden Evie only had 2 pairs of pants that fit her.  Since I try to avoid doing laundry every single day (though sometimes that seems to be inevitable), I grabbed the couple pair of pants that fit her from our island thrift store and I made her a couple of pairs myself. Though it is tempting to …

Fancy Forest Pillows for a Reading Nook

I have a vision of a jewel tone rainbow forest for Evelyn’s bedroom and I’m slooowly working my way there. Evie sleeps in a nursery right now (which is a second closet in our bedroom and just big enough for a crib and a dresser) but she’ll need a bigger room eventually and it’s nice to have a playroom to contain messes because if she’s good at one thing, it’s pulling things out of bins and off of shelves. The first bit of decorating that I’ve done is to make pillows for a reading nook. The thistle and owl quilting patterns for the big pillows are from Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest quilt pattern (which I am also sloooowly working on for the room). The hedgehog pillow is a panel print intended for a baby quilt that I snagged from my mom’s stash. I sewed the log pillows out of brown …

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How I Organize My Fabric

I have a rather large fabric stash (580 yds when I counted at the beginning of the year). I’m not ashamed. It makes me happy and inspires me. I love having a whole wall of fabric to pick from any time I want to sew. The vast majority of the fabric has been gifted to me or came from the thrift store for $2/yd so it also helps me to sew frugally. However, I also like to be organized and a stash like this certainly needs an system if it’s going to stay organized! I’ve toyed around with various organizational systems, both physical and digital, and have finally settled on a pretty dang simple method that works well for me. I really wanted to find a digital solution that I loved, but there were always flaws. If it was a digital system without photos (like an Excel spreadsheet) then my …

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Wool, Silk, and Leather Luxe Fumeterre

I started this skirt at the beginning of the year. I meant it as a replacement of an old high-waisted wool maxi skirt that I loved in theory, but I had made it so long ago that the shoddy construction I used back then drove me crazy now. I used Deer & Doe’s Fumeterre skirt pattern for a replacement wool skirt. I certainly could have drafted my own 8-gore maxi skirt, but I just couldn’t get over those delicious front pockets. Again, I could have figured them out on my own, but Eleonore had already done the work to get the proportions perfect and I like to support indie designers so I went ahead and bought the pattern. This is a very deluxe skirt that also happens to be quite frugal. I used a gorgeous wool crepe that I picked up at the thrift store for $2/yard, a silk crepe de …

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How I Organize My Zippers

I love organizing things, but sometimes great organization solutions are slow to appear. I think I’ve finally hit upon a pretty dang good one for zippers and I’m excited to share it with you. My zippers were formerly all housed in a nice labelled tupperware together. The problem was, I accumulate zippers since I pick them up at the thrift store and to find the right color/length zipper, I’d have to dump the whole tupperware on the ground and sort through the zippers one by one. And then I reached a point where I had too many zippers to fit in the tupperware so it barely closed so the zippers were constantly spilling and it just wasn’t a good situation. I had a flash of genius (if I do say so myself) that allowed me to easily and visibly organize zippers by type and size. To organize your zippers in the …

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Sunday Stash

A few weeks ago I had a revelation. I can buy fabric. Yeah, that might seem a little ridiculous, coming from a woman who has almost 600 yds of fabric in her stash, but bear with me. Almost all of my stashed fabric has been gifted to me or I’ve bought it at the thrift store for $2/yd. I have one stack of fabric that I bought new while traveling in SE Asia, but generally when I buy new fabric it’s for a specific project that then gets immediately sewn. I don’t stash new fabric. Though I’m generally a pretty frugal person, this has mostly been out of fiscal necessity. But I kinda just realized that I’m no longer a college student just scrimping by or a graduate student just scrimping by. Our household has a stable, comfortable income so it’s okay if I sometimes buy new fabric, even if …

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More Than “Good Enough” Nursing Bra

Apparently “good enough” isn’t good enough. I was sure that the “good enough” nursing bra that I just made was going to last me just fine until I’m done nursing. But sitting down to blog about it got the idea of making a better version stuck in my head. So I used Evie’s nap time the last couple of days not doing any of the tasks I really *should* be doing (or working on one of the other handful of WIPs I already have going) but instead sewing another bra. And I’m pretty well chuffed about it. Never mind that this set of photos look pretty dang close to the last set of photos, I swear they’re of a different and better bra! It’s the same Kwik Sew K3594. I went down one band size and used 2 layers of power mesh for the band (instead of the 2 layers …

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Kate of The Confident Stitch on Sewing & Style

Kate and I first bonded over being tall. Since then we’ve discovered we have a lot in common so she’s definitely become more than just a tall sewing friend – she’s more of a tall big sister cheerleader sewing friend. I’m excited to share her thoughts as part of my Sewing & Style interviews, especially in relation to her own new “baby” – The Confident Stitch fabric store that she recently opened in Missoula, MT (which also has an awesome online shop). Describe your style. I’d call my style Sophisticated and Down-to-Earth. I love high-quality natural fibers and tend to wear neutral solids with an occasional pop of pattern and color. Describe what you sew. I mostly sew clothes, but I also sew some quilts. What inspires or influences your style? I grew up in a fancy town located next door to Berkeley, California. My style is a mash-up of …

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Kwik Sew K3594 Nursing Bra

This bra isn’t that exciting. It’s Kwik Sew K3594 that I converted into a nursing bra. As much as I want to sew only exciting things, apparently practical still wins out occasionally. This bra was meant to be a wearable muslin – I do have pretty fabrics and lace that I want to sew into a bra, but I’m not totally sure what size I should be wearing right now as my bust size has changed yet again since I have been slowly losing weight post baby. Since it’s pretty near impossible to figure out if a bra fits until it’s almost all sewn, I figured I’d start simple and then when I figure out the fit go ahead and use my pretties. I haven’t quite gotten the fit right with this bra. You can see there’s a bit of extra fabric in the bottom of the cup. The one fit …

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#OOTD Month 2: I Quit

I’m not one to give up on things. I finish reading books even if I hate them. I can’t leave a movie half way through. If I find a new musician I like I listen to their whole discography. But I’m already quitting the challenge I gave myself at the beginning of the year. Why? I learned what I needed to learn from it for a while. I challenged myself to take an OOTD photo of myself every day to help me re-figure out my style and to push myself out of dressing like a schlub and back into looking at every day as another chance to play dress up. I learned quite a bit during January about the current state of my closet and the silhouettes that feel good to me right now. I cemented those findings when I read and worked through the Curated Closet. I posted some photos in …

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Electron Layette Pattern Testers

As always, I have so much gratitude for the awesome ladies that help me release patterns by volunteering to be pattern testers. The batch of dedicated and talented folks who helped me with the Electron Layette are no exception! Here are most of their finished garments for your eye candy pleasure! (If you’re interested in helping me pattern test in the future, make sure to sign up here). Carolyn sewed the whole set (aside from hems and topstitching) on her serger. She comments that the “Tips for Sewing Knits” section in the instructions would be “especially helpful for people new to sewing, or just new to sewing knits.” (As a side note, I’m seriously crushing on that floral print for myself!) Maria (Blog & Instagram) used a stretchy knit for all of the pattern pieces for a slightly different look but it sure does look cute on her 2 year old …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Sweatshirt

The first step is to select your fabric. The sweatshirt calls for a mid-weight knit with less than 20% stretch. This means fabrics like french terry, sweatshirting, even fleece or ponte. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, the notions you need are snaps and interfacing. Cut your fabric. If you cut your pattern pieces out with your fabric on a single layer you can squeeze it into a smaller amount of fabric. Regardless, you need to end up with 2 fronts (mirror images of each other), 2 sleeves, 2 pockets (optional), 1 back, and 1 back neck facing. Note that there are two options for the neck facing piece – one has size 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months on it while the other has size newborn, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years on it. The …

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The Curated Closet and Curating My Own Closet

As I’ve talked about before, I’m currently re-discovering my style in my stay-at-home life, in my post-baby body. I’ve never really quite been able to put a finger on what my style is, but it has been bothering me recently. The only style book that I’ve ever connected with is Women In Clothes (my review here) and it’s an awesome inspiration for letting your own freak flag fly, but it’s not so much help in figure out what your own freak flag looks like. Enter The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. It’s a great book that describes a really easy way to figure out your own style and to build your own wardrobe around it. No trying to make yourself fit into a prescribed category, no lists of things you need to have, no pressure to have a capsule wardrobe. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a bit of …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Pants

The first step in sewing your Electron Layette Pants is to select your fabric. Paying attention to stretch, you can use a variety of fabrics including jersey, interlock, ponte, and sweatshirting. For a thorough walk-through, read/watch Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Cutting the Electron Layette pants is quite simple. You need 1 Front, 1 Back, and 2 Waistbands. Cut the fabric on a single layer and, if your fabric is directional, make sure that your pattern pieces are facing the same direction. Make sure that the direction of greatest stretch is perpendicular to the selvedge so that it stretches most around the body of the baby/pants. Place the Front and Back right sides together and sew the side seam using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Since your fabric has stretch, you will want to make sure that you are using a stitch that stretches. If you have a fancy stretch …

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Introducing the Geometric Table Runner

Though it’s clear my biggest obsession is garment sewing, I do dabble in many things textile related and quilting is certainly on that list. I originally wrote the pattern for this Geometric Table Runner for Sewing World Magazine, May 2014 where it was called “Tangerine Dream”. After getting a couple of requests for the pattern since then, I decided it was about time to dust it off, reformatted it, and expand and illustrate the instructions. The pattern is really quite simple so it’s approachable for beginning quilters. More experienced quilters can have fun playing with quilting in the large open spaces or getting creative with fabric choices. The pattern uses 5 separate fabrics. I’ve made the table runner twice for my house and it’s quite remarkable how different it can be when comparing an assortment of high contrasting solids to using low volume prints. We’ve changed color palettes again so maybe I …

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Quilted Velvet Puffer Vest

When winter set in and I started thinking about what I wanted to wear, vests were at the top of my list. I tried a quick-and-easy vest and it was a hilarious flop, so I started working on making myself a quilted velvet vest. And I slooowly worked on it, and worked on it, and worked on it. It’s finally done (just in time for the weather to warm up, of course) and I don’t want to take it off, inside or outside. I think it’s the perfect blend of unique, comfy, practical, and pretty for me. I’m kinda obsessed. Before you get too gaga about my velvet puffer vest, I have to admit that it’s not actually a silk velvet. It’s an upholstery velour or velveteen (I so remain perpetually a bit confused about the nuances of difference between velvet – velveteen – velour) which sounds decidedly less glamorous, …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Bib

The first step is to select your fabric. There are many options for the bib. You can use fabric with or without stretch though it will be easier to sew without stretch. I recommend cotton for drool absorption purposes. If you use a layer of waterproof fabric in the middle it will prevent drool from leaking onto baby’s shirt. For more about selecting fabric, see Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, you need a piece of velcro. The pattern calls for a 3/4″ square of velcro, but really anything in a similar size will work – 1/2″ to 1″ will work just fine. If you don’t like velcro (or don’t have any on hand), or if your babe is prone to just yanking the velcro’d bib right off, you can substitute a snap for the velcro. If you choose to use a snap, make sure that you still …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Hat

The first step is to select your fabric. You need to choose a knit with at least 30% stretch so that it comfortably stretches on for wear on baby’s head. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. You don’t need any notions for this hat. Start by cutting out your hat. You need to cut two copies of the hat and make sure that the direction of greatest stretch goes horizontally across the hat so that it stretches around baby’s head. You can cut the pattern piece twice on a single layer of fabric or once on a folded piece of fabric. The first thing to do on any sewing pattern, after you have cut out the pattern pieces, is to transfer any markings from the pattern to the fabric. The Electron Layette hat has three markings that we need to transfer …

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#OOTD Month 1: What I’ve Learned

Wow. 1 month of taking photos of my #ootd and I’ve already learned a ton. (As a reminder, I’ve challenged myself to take #OOTD photos for a year in order to get out of my current rut re-discover my style). The first thing I’ve learned, which isn’t really much of a suprise, is that I hate taking photos of myself every day! Other than that, I’m pretty excited about what I’ve been learning about the clothes I like to wear, the clothes I look good in, and the gaps in my current closet. I think that my overall philosophy toward clothing has certainly been cemented this month. I’ve decided that it’s of the utmost importance to me that the clothes I have be well made and fit well. I’d rather have a smaller selection of things I truly love than a closet full of things that leave me frustrated or un-inspired. I’ve challenged myself …

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Fabric Selection for the Electron Layette

I’m talking about fabric selection for the pieces of the Electron Layette together since it’s likely you’ll be picking out fabric for more than one of the patterns at a time. If you like watching videos, I’ve talked through each garment with example fabrics in the video above. In general, the most important things to consider when choosing fabrics for the Electron Layette are weight and stretch. For weight, you can generally use your gut – feel the fabric and think “would this be appropriate for a hat/bib/sweatshirt/pants?”. For the Electron Layette hat, the most important thing to consider is stretch. The hat needs to stretch to comfortably fit onto baby’s head. The pattern calls for at least 30% stretch though the more stretch the merrier. Jerseys (left) are a good choice but you can also use fabrics like ITY knits (right). You probably want a fabric that has recovery to it – when …

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SeamstressErin Designs in Be Creative with Workbox January/February 2017

I was honored to be featured in the January/February 2017 issue of Be Creative with Workbox, a UK based magazine that is new to me. The magazine focuses on textile based art and I greatly enjoyed reading through it and being inspired by art that I wouldn’t usually encounter as, when I do pick up magazines, they are usually focused on garment sewing. The main article about me was in regards to my blog. It was part of a regular series they have called “creative bloggers”. I talked about how my blog has come full circle. It started as a way to share crafty projects that I made in my precious spare time during graduate school, became an important nexus of friendship for me as I connected with friends near and far through blogging about sewing, then it served as a springboard to launch my pattern business. At the time …

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How to Set Snaps in Clothes

I love using snaps in clothes. Whether it’s attention-grabbing snaps to give a hint of cowgirl on a blouse or subtle snaps down the crotch of  baby clothes to make ins-and-outs easy, snaps are a fun substitution for buttons and useful addition to any sewing project. I use and adore and swear by my SnapSetter tool for how it makes setting snaps almost mistake proof (nothing’s completely mistake proof, if you’re me ;). It’s what I recommend you use and it’s what I’ve geared this tutorial for. If you have snap pliers or an anvil snap setter, I recommend this Seamwork tutorial for using them. But seriously, pick up a SnapSetter for yourself – you won’t regret it! To set snaps you need: Snap Setter snap components (Make sure they are all the same size and the same size as your snap setter. Size 16 is a pretty standard clothing size.) cap …

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How to Make and Use Tailor’s Tacks

Allow me to wax poetic about tailor’s tacks for a moment? When I first started sewing, I figured tailor’s tacks were archaic and complicated and I never bothered to use them because they were hard and I could always use pins or chalk. Well, it turns out that pins fall out and chalk rubs off and tailor’s tack are actually really, really easy to use. I wish I could jump back in time and tell myself this so that I could have fallen in love with tailor’s tacks sooner. Instead, I’ll wax poetic here on my blog and hope that I can jump-start someone else’s love for tailor’s tacks before they might have otherwise fallen in love on their own. So how do you make tailor’s tacks? Easy! Use a contrasting thread doubled through your needle. Bring your needle through both layers of fabric, coming back up as close as possible. You can …

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How to Sew a Cat Bed

I just got another 2 cats. But that doesn’t put me in crazy cat lady status, I swear, since it still adheres to the n+1 rule (where n= number of adults in a household and n+1 is the number of allowable cats before you have a “problem”). I intended to just get one more cat so that Tig could have a companion again, but when we went into the shelter room to meet Etta, Bandit jumped into my lap and started purring and playing with Evie. So I managed to convince my best-ever-in-the-whole-wide-world-husband to let me bring both Bandit and Etta home. Tig still isn’t quite convinced that she wants companions, but a sort of detente has been reached, and I know they’ll be friends soon. Since Bandit & Etta started their introduction to our home by living in the bathroom, I needed to quickly make them beds so they …

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Sewing Community Gives 2017 Summary

You guys, I’m in tears. I am moved by your generosity, compassion, and charity. Thank you so much for all that you pledged. As a community, we definitely joined together to make the world a better place. Together, over 250 people pledged over 2500 hours and over 12,500 dollars!!! Even those those of you who didn’t have much free time or money found creative ways to give – for example: “Much of my donation was raised by selling unused craft kits purchased at Value Village on Ebay.” and “I’m volunteering & doing alterations on school uniforms, asking parents to donate the money they would spend on alterations.” So many of you shared where and why you’ve donated which I found very inspirational. I’ve put together a summary so I can inspire you as well! I will continue to align with non-profits to inspire and create. I love working with my …