How to Sew the Sharp V Neck on the Laminaria Swimsuit

The sharp V neck on the Laminaria swimsuit is a bit tricky to sew. I recommend trying it at least once on a scrap of fabric before you do it on your actual swimsuit. If you find this too hard or don’t want to bother you can always sew the soft V neck instead! So why are we even doing all these weird fussy steps? It effectively adds a seam allowance to the center front V so that you can sew elastic to the edge and turn it to the inside without stretching the center front. The first step is to stabilize the center of the V. If you already basted the body to the lining along the center front that should be enough. If you haven’t, sew for a few inches on either side of the center V 1/4″ from the edge using a straight stitch and pivoting at the …

How to Attach the Laminaria Swimsuit Straps

The Laminaria Swimsuit really can be sewn by a confident beginner sewist. I have a selection of photo and video tutorials to give an added boost of confidence. Today, I’ll show you all the steps involved in attaching the straps to the front and back of the suit. I’m showing the steps out of order but clustered by back and front strap attachment so that you can understand the process to the finished swimsuit which should hopefully make the steps intuitive when you reach them in the instructions. Remember, there are 3 options for how you attach your straps. If you want them to go straight in the back or cross in the back, start by attaching the straps to the back of the suit. If you want halter ties, skip over the back attachment steps and only attach them at the front. BACK: In steps 36/37 we pin and baste the …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Fabric Selection for the Achatina Messenger Bag

Choosing fabric for the Achatina Messenger Bag is pretty easy – because it’s a bag and not a garment there are a TON of different options and the fact that you can interface for added stability and strength (more on that in a future sewalong step) further widens your options. I talk through options and what to look for in the video above. For the main fabric, you want to choose a midweight (up to almost a heavyweight) fabric with minimal stretch. A tiny bit of mechanical stretch is okay (like the super 1970’s polyester I used for all of my original bags), as long as it handles like a stable woven when sewing and carrying it. Within the realm of midweight, you can choose almost any fabric. The most obvious choices are midweight cotton fabrics like denim, canvas, and twills. Just about anything that weight works, so consider other alternatives …

Nautilus Swimsuit Sewalong: View C

Sewing the Bikini Bottom for View C of the Nautilus Swimsuit is quick and easy. A nice wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am to finish off the swimsuit! If you’re sewing all of View C, start with sewing the top and attaching the straps and clasps because they have more detailed sewalong information. If you’re just sewing this bikini bottom, make sure you’ve read a few of the basic swimsuit sewing tutorials like how to choose swimsuit fabric, how to sew elastic to a swimsuit, and how to add a contrast or finished edge to a swimsuit. The following steps are numbered like they are in the illustrated instructions so you can compare back and forth. [115] & [117] Sew the Bottom Front to the Bottom Back, right sides together at the sides and crotch. [116] & [118] Sew the Bottom Front Lining and Bottom Back Lining, right sides together, at the sides and crotch. …

Nautilus Swimsuit View B

View B of the Nautilus Swimsuit is the bikini versions with sexy twists at hip bone that echo the twist in the center front of the bikini top. At this point in the sewalong you should have read through the various posts on swimsuit sewing techniques and have sewn the swimsuit top with its straps and closure. The steps below are numbered like they are in the written instructions so you can check back and forth. Sewing the twists onto the sides of the Bottom is just like sewing the twist at the center of the Top, so you might want to give the Top Sewalong instructions a quick read-over before sewing the top if you haven’t looked through them recently. [78] Sew the Bottom Front Facings to the Bottom Front Lining on either side, right sides together. Match the notches. When you sew, stop with the needle down at the center …

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Summer Swimsuit Sewalong

To celebrate the release of the Nautilus Swimsuit pattern and the fact that it’s summer I have a HUGE sewalong planned with step by step photographs, supplementary videos, and a whole bunch of variations that can be applied to the Nautilus Swimsuit or any other swimsuit pattern! So even if the Nautilus Swimsuit isn’t your style, join me in a Summer Swimsuit Sewalong! Follow along with the blog as it happens or check into the Nautilus Swimsuit Sewalong Page to see all of the posts collected together. Again, to be totally clear, some of the blog posts I have planned are specific to the Nautilus Swimsuit but the vast majority are applicable to sewing any swimsuit. So grab a button and join on in by sewing any swimsuit this summer! The sewalong will run through July and I’ll put together a roundup in the beginning of August. To make this …

Sewing the Conifer Skirt Waistband & Pocket

This is the standard construction method for the Conifer Skirt waistband and will walk you through what you need to do with or without a pocket. If you are a beginning sewist, check out the simplified waistband construction instead. Before reaching this point, you should have selected your fabric, selected your size, selected the stitch you will sew with, and sewn the layers and sides. With or without pocket: [28-29] The photos used in this sewalong show the wide yoga-style waistband, but the process is exactly the same for the narrow waistband. Sew the two Waistband pieces right sides together along the sides. For the yoga-style waistband, make a notch in the seam allowance at the center point (this allows the waistband to fold down without creating a bulge at the center. [30] Press the side seams of the waistband open. With pocket: [31] Sew one side of the pocket …

Layers and Side Seams on the Conifer Skirt

We’re ready to start sewing the Conifer Skirt! Before this point you should have already cut and marked your fabric as well as tested and chosen the stitch you will use to sew. Most of this portion of the sewalong is dealing with the shingles, so skip down to the bottom if you aren’t putting layers on your skirt. HEMMING: Before we attach any of the shingles, you will want to hem them (if you have chosen to do so. Remember, that choice was made when you cut the fabric. Hemming isn’t necessary and the skirt used for the majority of these photos does not have hemmed shingles). Fold the bottom of each layer to the wrong side 5/8″ and run a line of stitching just below the raw edge of the fabric. On many knit fabrics the right and wrong side look similar, so make sure that you are hemming a shingle …

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Sewing the Seams of the Conifer Skirt: Stitches for Sewing Knits

If you’re already a confident sewer-of-knits then you can probably just skip over this post and jump right into sewing your Conifer Skirt. If you want a refresher or haven’t done a lot of sewing with knits, then this should bring you up to speed and help you feel conifdent enough to get started! There are several different options for stitches you can use when sewing knits. The first option is to use a standard straight stitch and stretch your fabric as you sew. This is also the option I recommend the least – your stitches often end up looking stretched out and uneven and there isn’t much stretch in the seam so it’s prone to breaking. You may have okay luck with this technique with a stable knit that has very little stretch like a ponte, but I do not recommend it for any knit that you would use …

Cutting & Marking the Conifer Skirt

Almost any pattern that you sew will have various marks that you will want to transfer to your cut fabric before you start the actual sewing. The Conifer Skirt is no exception. The Conifer Skirt has notches that we use to align the top of the skirt with the waistband and optional pocket. As with any pattern, you can mark the notches in several ways. When you are cutting out the fabric pieces, you can make notches of fabric pointing out. If you find that laborious (or forget before it’s too late), you can make little snips into the fabric piece. Remember that you have a 5/8″ seam allowance and make sure that your snip is significantly less than that. Any fabric that you would use on the Conifer Skirt is likely to handle a snip well, but remember that you don’t want to snip into any very delicate fabrics …

Size Selection and Grading the Conifer Skirt

Size Selection: If your body measurements don’t put you in a single size for SeamstressErin Designs, most women should select the size of your Conifer Skirt based on your hip measurements. The exception to this rule is if your waist size is more than one size larger than your hip size. Then you should select the pattern based on your waist size. Bust size has no effect on the sizing or fit of this pattern. Wearing: The Conifer Skirt is sized to fit on the low waist with the hips 6″ below the waistline of the skirt. However, because the skirt has a soft A-line shape, you don’t need to change anything about the shape of the skirt to wear it higher or lower on the body. If you want to wear the skirt higher, you may want to go down a size although you can also simply adjust the …

Knit Fabric Selection for the Conifer Skirt

When choosing fabric for the Conifer Skirt, there are several aspects to the fabric that you want to know and consider. In fact, these considerations are important for selecting knit fabrics for any garment! For the Conifer Skirt, you will particularly want to consider roll, recovery, stretch percentage, stretch of a print, and weight. I talk through all of these aspects in this video, for those of you that like watching instructional videos. Fabric type: A jersey is the most obvious choice for the Conifer Skirt. However, there are many types of knits and if you find one that has the necessary characteristics discussed below, go for it! ITY knits and four-way stretch knits are also obvious choices. You might even find a stretch woven that will work. Roll: Do the edges of your fabric roll? Don’t fret, this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. The edges of some knits will roll …

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Spring for Cotton Farm Animals Dress

When some people think of spring, they think of budding flowers, or sunshine, or lengthening days. Nothing says spring to me like baby farm animals. Now that we live in a rural area, I find myself squealing when I drive past a neighbor’s yard full of baby sheep and goats (much to Adam’s dismay). I even took a chick-raising class at the hardware store (although actually getting chicks is going to have to wait until we have a home of our own!). For the Spring for Cotton sewalong, I knew that I was going to have to sew a dress form this amazing/ridiculous farm animal print cotton that I found at the thrift store recently. I used vintage Butterick 4309 from 1966. A fairly basic shift dress I had in my pattern stash, but I was drawn to the oversized asymmetrical collar and contrasting yoke. And even better, the dress has pockets! It’s a kangaroo …

Monster Mittens Sewalong

What follows is step by step photo instructions for sewing the MonsterWear mittens (hat instructions are over here). There’s some additional tips and tricks mixed in. If you’ve got any questions while sewing along that this sewalong doesn’t answer, ask a question in the comments and I’ll do everything I can to help. Before sewing along, you might want to read about Fabric Selection and Sizing for the Monster Wear and you definitely want to read tips for working with faux fur. Note as you’re sewing these mittens that the thumb and claw uses a 1/4″ seam allowance while the rest of the construction is a 5/8″ seam allowance. Before you start, you will want to machine wash your lining fabric and if you are using fleece, wash the fleece as well. Don’t machine wash faux fur. After cutting your pieces out, transfer the markings using chalk – I don’t recommend snipping the notches because the 1/4″ …

Monster Hat Sew Along

What follows is step by step photo instructions for sewing the MonsterWear hat (mittens sewalong is over here). There’s some additional tips and tricks mixed in. If you’ve got any questions while sewing along that this sewalong doesn’t answer, please ask a question in the comments. Before sewing along, you might want to read about Fabric Selection and Sizing for the Monster Wear and you definitely want to read tips for working with faux fur. Steps 1-3: Construction of the Monster Hat starts with the ears (variation idea: leave off the ears). The whole pattern uses a 5/8″ seam allowance, so use the same seam allowance throughout. We first sew the ear contrasts (variation idea: leave off the ear contrasts). Take two ear contrasts pieces and sew them right sides together. Trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4″ and notch the seam allowance. This helps the curve have the …

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A Couple of Sweatshirts

When I ordered both solid grey and maroon fleck sweatshirt fabrics from Minerva Crafts (free as part of their blogging network), I had grand visions of a colorblocked sweatsuit. When the fabrics arrived, I changed my mind because I didn’t like the two colors together like I thought I would (it’s so hard to order fabric online sometimes) and I realized that, now that I work at home, I really don’t need any more excuses to not actually get dressed for the day and sweatpants barely count as getting dressed. So, I rattled through about 400 different permutations of what these fabrics could become and I am absolutely thrilled with where I ended up! For the grey fabric, I used a vintage Butterick pattern from 1976, Butterick 6336. Although the pattern calls for a woven, I thought that a stable knit like the grey sweatshirt fabric (which has almost no …

Fabric Selection for Monster Wear Hat & Mittens

The MonsterWear Hat & Mittens are really my excuse to wear the fluffiest, gaudiest faux fur that I can find! But if that’s not quite your style, there are definitely other options as well. Watch the video above about choosing fabric, or keep reading below. The recommended fabric for the body of the monster hat and mittens is faux fur. There are different qualities and thicknesses of faux fur, so bear in mind that the thicker the backing of your fur and the longer the nap, the harder it will be to work with the fur. Good faux fur is often expensive, but cheap faux fur can look really, well, cheap, so if you can, order a swatch or pick out your fur in person. You can also make the hat and mittens out of fleece which is definitely less expensive and easier to work with but still makes a …

Amity of Lolita Patterns and the Rambo Project

I’m afraid that Amity of Lolita Pattern’s exciting news totally overshadows her fun Rambo Project. Once I tell you that she sewed a baby sling from the Rambo fabric, can you guess what the news is!?!

Katie of Kadiddlehopper and the Rambo Project

Rambo went full on girly in Katie’s contribution to the Rambo project. And OMG do I love it! Great fabric pairing makes this gorgeous skirt very, very wearable! Hey Katie, want to trade Rambo skirts?

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Heather of Handmade by Heather B and the Rambo Project

I thought that nobody could top Tempest’s delightful re-imagining of the Rambo story, but Heather sure gives her a run for her money! In Heather’s hilarious re-telling “Unable to make carbon copy clones of John Rambo, the team came up with a different plan. They would make a female super solider, one that was as good with a gun as she was with a needle…….and so Jessica Rambo was born.” I never dreamed that anyone would turn this fabric into a bustier dress but OMG I love it!

Shams of Communing With Fabric and the Rambo Project

Shams of Communing with Fabric turned her Rambo Project turban into a jeans style jacket. I had the pleasure of seeing it in person and the construction is impeccable (of course) and there was SO MUCH hand stitching so that the crazy fabric would stretch out during construction. Love how she used the stripes in her jacket!

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My Rambo Skirt

I try really hard to write catchy intros to my posts that tell about my life at the moment or about what inspired a project or something that will grab you, my dear reader, and make you want to know more. But I’m at a loss for words (which, those of you that have met me in person will know, is something that doesn’t happen often!). I don’t have any more to say about The Rambo Project that I haven’t already said, so I’m just going to jump in and show you this skirt! By now you might recognize the stripes on the waistband as having been cut from a Rambo III turban. (And if you don’t yet, by the end of this month you sure will!). The front button placket also came from the turban. I had such a hard time figuring out what to do with this weird fabric, but …

Sonja of Ginger Makes and the Rambo Project

The awesome Sonja of Ginger Makes turned her Rambo Project turban into a super fun summer top. I love her use of the stripes! She says “I turned this old turban into a swingy, summery top!” putting an awesome spin on the phrase “Oh this old thing?”