That Sewing Blab

When I get together with sewing friends I talk a lot. I mean, I generally talk a lot no matter the subject material, but I definitely talk a lot when sewing is involved! Last week I was the guest on That Sewing Blab, a live internet show that runs every week. It’s hosted by my new friends (it’s pretty easy to make quick friends out of other sewists!) Dawn of Duelling Designs and Myra of 1 Simple Inspiration. They’re both delightful ladies and inspiring sewists and really great interviewers! On the show I talked a lot (no surprises there!) and we covered a broad range of topics from my mission, to my travels, my favorite makes. I talked about what it means to me to play dress up, how I end up with an overflowing fabric stash, and how my handmade clothing and my tattoos are great conversation starters. There …

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Introducing the Ultraviolet Tee

The Ultraviolet Tee will be an everday staple of your summer like the UV rays from summer sunshine. Oversized with short cut-on sleeves, the shirt can be sewn from knits or wovens. View A is slightly cropped and has a curved hem that meets sharp and high on the side and has a subtle high-low shape from front to back. Wear over a camisole, with high-waisted shorts, or enjoy showing a little peek of skin as you move around. View B is standard shirt length and has a straight hem. Available in 2 cup size options: A-C (dartless) or D-F (darted/gathered) and with an optional pocket. Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions provide separate construction information for wovens and knits. What features make the Ultraviolet Tee special? Size range from 0-24 (high bust of 32″-52″) Two separate cup size ranges (A-C or D-F) Two different hem options (curved or straight) Separate pattern …

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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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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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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Introducing the Electron Layette!

The Electron Layette is so named because it’s a current take on a baby layette – modern, full of personality, and gender-neutral. It includes easy-to-sew patterns for harem pants, drool bib, hat, and sweatshirt in newborn through 2 year sizes. Buy the Pattern Now Drop-crotch (or harem) pants are easy to fit and easy to sew. They’ve got plenty of room for baby to walk and crawl and wiggle around. Trust me, I can vouch for this one personally. Evelyn is just figuring out how to crawl and the little wiggler won’t hold still! The pants also fit nicely over both disposable and cloth diapers. We cloth diaper Evie and you can see in these photos that she’s got plenty of room to wear the pants comfortably over her big cloth diaper. I went up a size for the purple pants pictured here so she has room to grow but you can also choose …

Sewing Tools iPhone Covers

The moment I take a new phone out of the box I put a cover on it. Seriously, I have to have a cover ready and waiting next to me before I can open the new phone box. Okay, so a big part of it is that I’m a total klutz and I drop my phone all the time. But a big part of it is the excitement of having a decoration for my phone that makes it uniquely mine. I’ve had many different cases over the years, but I’ve never had one that showed off my love of sewing – so I decided to do something about that! I designed an iPhone case based on the tools of our trade – sewing tools! They feature tailor’s chalk, snips, a tape measure, scissors, a seam ripper, tomato pincushion, and a thimble. They are available with an orange, purple, or aqua …

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All For Knot Skirt, Keyhole Tee, and Terrycloth Twist in Sew It All Volume 10

Sew It All Volume 10 is out and it’s got a bunch of fun and easy patterns in it – including three of mine! Even if you thrive on masochistic, overly complicated sewing projects (ahem), sometimes it’s fun to sit down and whip out a project in a couple of hours and every project in this magazine would fit that bill. All for Knot Skirt features a gigantic Chinese-inspired frog closure on a simple wrap skirt. Of course you could make the skirt without the elaborate frog or use the large frog on a different skirt. I used a gigantic wool I-cord that I salvaged from an old RTW sweater but I kinda want to make the skirt again in some fancy fabric with a satin frog. It’s too subtle as is for my taste :) The Keyhole Tee is a simple t-shirt that get’s its bang from contrast bands …

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Up in Arms Blouse in Sew News Feb/March 2016

My Up In Arms Blouse, which I originally wrote for Sew It All TV, was published in this month’s (February/March 2016) Sew News Magazine. The fun thing about the version in the magazine is that it highlights all four different sleeve options! I think one of the great things about such a simple blouse is that changing up a single detail – like fabric choice or sleeve choice – really gives a totally different feel for each garment. It’s always fun to get samples back, and the awesome part about this blouse is that, because it’s gathered above the bust, I can actually still wear it right now! The armscyes are a bit tight (as, with the 30 lbs I’ve gained in this pregnancy so far, I’m definitely no longer sample size) but the blouse fits over my bust and my babybump! Of course it ends up stopping mid-belly, but …

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Introducing the Achatina Messenger Bag Pattern

I’m excited to introduce SeamstressErin Designs’ latest pattern – the Achatina Graphic Messenger Bag. It’s a large messenger bag that’s easy to sew and all sorts of fun to customize. Like the giant snail shell for which this bag is named, you’ll want to carry this bag with you wherever you go. The front flap makes the perfect canvas for graphic appliqués or for showing off unique fabrics. It closes with a velcro tab and has an interior pocket with an optional zipper closure (for intermediate sewists). I first designed the bag many years ago when my Great Aunt gifted me several bags of polyester fabric that had belonged to my Great Grandmother when she owned a fabric store in the 70’s. I couldn’t bring myself to wear the thick polyester, but it turned out to make the most wonderful bags that I sewed dozens of them. And of course I couldn’t …

Comfy Embroidered Skirt in Stitch Magazine Winter 2015

In Stitch Magazine Winter 2015 you’ll find an embroidered skirt pattern by yours truly. The pattern is simple instructions for a dirndl skirt with a narrow waistband and center back zip with a deep embroidered hem and a pattern for embroidering the hem. Working with Stitch magazine was quite fun and quite different than the experience I’ve had working with other magazines. The original pitch that I sent to Stitch was a wool pencil skirt with an embroidered hem. The embroidery was inspired by a Burmese fabric that I bought in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over several back-and-forths with the editor, the final project became a full dirndl skirt made out of sweatshirt fleece. While there are often changes from a pitch to final project, usually I’m the one suggesting the changes as I work out kinks and details over the course of drafting and sewing a pattern. For this skirt, …

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Presidio Purse Re-Release Testers

The pattern for the Presidio Purse didn’t change with the re-release, but the instructions underwent an overhaul so I wanted a new set of pattern testers to look at them with fresh eyes. I only had a few testers, but these ladies sure didn’t disappoint with their gorgeous bags! I wanted to thank them publicly for their helpful help and show off their beautiful bags! Kyla used an upholstery fabric with a heavy weight lining so she got a lot of structure without needing to interface the body. Her boyfriend also suggested another use for the purse – when she said it would be great for traveling he said “yea, and then you can stuff it and it will double as a pillow”. Ha! (Find Kyla on her blog). Anne used a corduroy outer (with piping all around, thanks to the sewalong instructions) and an upholstery weight lining so she …

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Presidio Purse Re-Release with Free Video Sewalong

What I thought would be a quick and easy project (ha! as if those exist!) turned into a fair bit of work. But I’m super happy to have done it! I’ve updated and re-released the Presidio Purse pattern to keep it consistent with my more recent pattern releases. I’ve almost doubled the number of illustrations in the pattern and have included a second pocket sewing variation in the pattern that was originally only in the sewalong. Aaaand….I’ve updated the sewalong to include a full, step-by-step video sewalong! The videos are interspersed in the photo sewalong so you can watch them if you need additional clarification. Or you can find them all together in a playlist on YouTube. The video sewalong should hold your hand enough that a beginner sewist can tackle the project. If you’re an intermediate sewist you may enjoy it for the general sewing tips and tricks that I intersperse throughout. …

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No Sweat Sweatshirt in August/September 2015 Sew News

This month in the August/September issue of Sew News, you’ll find my No Sweat Sweatshirt (and, for reference, I’m definitely not the one that comes up with the catchy pattern titles). It’s a loose fitting hoodie with slightly oversized hood and drop shoulders. I had some delicious french terry that I used for the fabric and thought it made for a fun detail to sew the cuffs and pocket with the loopy side out. The best part is, the pattern is free to download right now and, though you’ll need the magazine for instructions, anyone with a bit of garment sewing under their belt should be able to figure out how it fits together sans instructions :) I can’t always wear the sample sizes for magazine articles once they come back to me, but I definitely can for this comfy loose-fitting hoodie. And, while I’m certainly not complaining about the …

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“From Good to Great” Workshop at Britex SF 7/25

In less than two weeks I’ll be back in good ol’ San Francisco to teach a workshop at Britex. I’m pretty giddy with excitement as I always find the amazing fabrics at Britex inspirational and I’m thrilled that I can be a source of inspiration for others while there! The workshop is about upping your sewing game. I’ll explain and show an arsenal of sewing techniques that are easily understood and completed but help elevate any garment from good to great. Learn the where, why, and how for techniques like understitching, underlining, pattern matching, and much more. This workshop is great for beginning sewists just learning techniques or intermediate sewists who want to brush up and learn new applications for what they already know. I’ll have sample garments and step-by-step muslin samples to pass around so you can see how the techniques are done and what a difference they make. …

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Pattern Testers for the Nautilus Swimsuit

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 Nautilus Swimsuit and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations (and to hand out completely arbitrary and useless awards to thank them!). (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!) Mariah of Blackberry Jamble wins most classic for her cute black and white polka dot. (I made some of my initial samples in the same fabric!) She said after taking …

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Announcing the Nautilus Swimsuit Pattern!

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate. Brew up some lemonade, grab your sunglasses, and whip up a Nautilus Swimsuit! Why call it a nautilus? Nautiluses are pretty cool animals – the only cephalopods (that’s the same family as octopuses) whose bony structure is a shell. Mathematically, the interior structure of the shell is quite interesting (nerdy sidenote: Although it’s often thought of as an example of a golden spiral, as a matter of fact it’s actually a logarithmic spiral with a different ratio). So why name the swimsuit after this cephalopod? The center knot in the swimsuit made me think of the interior twists of the shell! The Nautilus Swimsuit has an elegant twist center front, like the shell of its namesake cephalopod. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 4 different cup size options (AA cup, A/B cup, C/D cup, or DD+ cup) to make fitting …

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One Hour Halter in Sew News June/July 2015

My super fast, super easy, and super cute (if I do say so myself) one hour halter pattern is in Sew News magazine this June/July. One of the perks about needing to sew samples for magazine articles is getting to keep the finished garments, and since magazines run on such long lag times, it feels like Christmas when they come back to me – since I’ve just about forgotten them it’s like they’re brand new to me! The color of the sample on the model doesn’t look great on me but it’s good on my mom so she’s a happy recipient of that one (as well as both tunics from my last Sew News article. Lucky mom!). I’m digging the fact that I have a metallic gold version for myself now – I just have to actually go out some evening so I get the chance to wear it! I …

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Conifer Skirt Pattern Testers

Any time a new pattern is published from an indie designer, my favorite part is seeing the assortment of garments from pattern testers. 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 my Conifer Skirt and I’m honored to share some of their gorgeous creations. Woolbothy wins my unofficial award for most romantic photos. Isn’t the setting of her daily life simply gorgeous! She made and started wearing the skirts while it was still quite chilly in her part of the world (Scotland), showing that these really can be year round skirts. She made them a bit shorter than maxi – “more ankle skimmer than mud trailer” – and remarks that, at 5’3″, she’s proof that you don’t have to be …

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Introducing the Conifer Skirt!

I initially developed this skirt after getting a little too excited about a purple and green striped jersey that I found on an outrageous sale and bought kind of a ridiculous amount of it. I wanted to sew a maxi skirt since I love wearing skirts, I especially love wearing maxi skirts, and the idea of a maxi skirt from a comfy knit sounded like a dream. I wanted to play with the stripes, so I put giant shingles of fabric on the maxi skirt. The initial drafts of the skirt in the purple and green stripes have since gone the way of the thrift store (that’s why it’s pattern development – there have been definite improvements since that first draft!) but I found that I loved wearing the shingled maxi and that the base skirt that the shingles are layered on makes a great, simple skirt on its own. Since the …

Breezy Blouse in Sew News Magazine April/May 2015

My mom is always the first person to be proud of any accomplishment of mine (although my husband now fights with her for that title), but I have to admit that my mom was excited that my Breezy Blouse pattern was going to appear in Sew News Magazine April/May 2015 for more than just pride – she wanted me to give her the samples! I originally drafted the pattern for my mom and its working title was simply “Mom’s Blouse.” It was inspired by a RTW blouse that she liked. I have already made her 3 versions with the batik rayon version her definite favorite and the beige silk version a strong second. Sew News is offering the pattern available as a free download (until May 31, 2015) although you will need to buy the magazine for the instructions, so pop on over now if this is a pattern that …

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Pattern Testers for Monster Wear

My awesome pattern testers made some lovely versions of their Monster Wear hat & mittens that I’m very happy to be sharing with you today. Many thanks to them for their help! Vasiliki of Delightfully Peculiar made a beautiful faux fur version. She said that the fur she used wasn’t great quality (although it was a stashbuster) and noted that the quality of fur you use is noticeable (as I mention in the post on choosing fabric for Monster Wear), so she wants to use a nicer fur next time. The lining was cut from an old t-shirt making it soft and cozy against her head. I was floored by the gorgeous combination of fur, lace, and animal print in Kathleen’s first hat. Not something I would have come up with myself but I adore it! She also made a fun set using Monsters Inc. print fabric for the ears …

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Monster Wear Hat & Mittens Pattern!

Sometimes, when it’s chilly outside you need something that will warm you up and put a smile on your face and the faces of those around you. That’s exactly what Monster Wear Hat & Mittens are for! Spring may be starting to show its first signs of arrival, but there’s more winter yet to weather and what better way to weather it than with a faux fur hat with ears and mittens with claws. I first designed this hat and mittens as a costume to wear to a Yuri’s night celebration in 2008 (it was an all day science exhibition and rave to celebrate the first man in space, held at a NASA base. Pretty dang cool. I was a Moon Monster.) It became my go-to hat for staying warm while dancing all night. It got worn to a lot of raves, even more camping trips, and even went to …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Front Pocket Hidden in the Inset

I love pockets. And secret pockets? Even cooler. While the Presidio Purse already has two interior pockets and a bonus tutorial for how to add a patch pocket to the front, I wanted to add one more tutorial for secret hidden pockets. So, follow this tutorial if you want to turn the front insets into functional hidden zipper pockets. You will need (in addition to the standard purse front and inset): 14″ or longer zipper and 2 plain insets cut from lining fabric. I’m showing this tutorial on a plain purse inset because it is easier than a gathered inset. If you really want a gathered purse inset, start by gathering the top of your purse inset so that at 1/2″ in (the seamline), it is 14″ across the top. Even if your purse inset is gathered, your pocket insets will still be plain. Sew a zipper to the top of …

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Tangerine Dream Table Runner in Sewing World Magazine May 2014

Oh me oh my! My first published quilt pattern! My first magazine article! I am all sorts of excited! You can find my Tangerine Dream table runner quilt pattern in the May 2014 issue of Sewing World Magazine. The quilt is made from Kona cotton solids in Brown, Tangerine, Papaya, Lagoon, and Cream. My wonderful mother quilted the quilt with simple, geometric designs to play off the geometric shape of the runner. She never quilts my quilts the way I ask her to, and they’re always way more awesome than if she had followed my instructions. I know that tangerine and turquoise isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I put together illustrations of what the quilt would look like in different colorways. Using all Kona cottons you can get these different looks with: Mulberry, Thistle, Steel, Shadow, and Black for a gray and purple colorway; Valentine, Kumquat, Kiwi, Cyan, and Canary for …

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Floral Knit Cowl

This floral cowl was a fun excuse to learn a new skill. I designed the chart and knit it as a double-knit, so the inside and outside are the same pattern but inverse colors. I figured a little cowl is just a tube so it should be quick and easy to knit, right? Ha! 40 hours of knitting later (and one stripe less than I originally planned!) it’s finally done. But it was worth every (slow) stitch because it’s bright and fun and happy and cheerful and cozy. I knit this from Sublime cashmere-merino-silk DK weight yarn given to me by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogger network. It’s a lovely yarn and I would be very happy to use it again in another project. In fact, I’d be tempted to use this same selection of colors to knit myself a little cardigan or a simple pullover. …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Cutting the Pattern and Fabric

The Presidio Purse comes with two different options for printing – at home or at a copyshop. The copyshop version is 30″ by 36″ (76cm by 91cm) and should be easily printed at any copyshop that offers large format printing. Ask for architecture or engineering prints for the best price. The home print version prints on 18 sheets of either 8.5 x 11″ or A4 paper. Make sure that you select “Do Not Scale” and “Auto-Rotate and Center” or manually set the scale to 100% when you print – the exact wording and options will depend upon your computer (“Auto-Rotate and Center” ensures that the image is centered on the page and not smushed to one side). Check that the 3″ x 3″ test square (printed on page 5) is the correct size. The instructions are separate and can be printed or read on your computer or digital device. All …

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Presidio Purse Pattern Release

Let’s start this year off with a bang! My Presidio Purse pattern is live! Find it in my pattern store and keep an eye on the Presidio Purse page on my website for a summary of all things Presidio Purse as they are posted. There’s so much in store for this coming year – I’ll be finishing graduate school, moving to Seattle, and getting married (although I’m not yet sure in what order). This should be a great year for me and an exciting year for SeamstressErin Designs and I’m thrilled to start it with my first big sewing pattern launch. What is the Presidio Purse? My pattern testers said: “This is the perfect purse for a woman on the go! It will stylishly hold everything you need for a day out, while the pockets inside keep important items handy. The handle length is perfect for throwing over your shoulder …