Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Colette Cinnamon Slip Mod - Corset Ties


In case you missed it, today I wanted link up a tutorial I did for The Coletterie that was posted Monday. The pattern is the Cinnamon slip, and the tutorial is how to do this corset tie modification in the back.


I was so, so happy with how it turned out. It's just so pretty. Like disgustingly pretty. It just might be the most disgustingly pretty thing I've ever made.


The tutorial goes through the process step by step, so I'm not going to go into much detail, except to show you the GOLD BIAS TAPE. Yes, gold bias tape. It's Wrights, and it's pre-made, and what I'm saying is that I might never use non-gold bias tape again.


It goes so well with the blush pink cotton gauze and satin ribbon [like I said, disgusting], although for some reason I decided to put it on the inside instead of attaching it to every known and possible visible surface the outside.

I also put a lil' decorative stitch in there. WHO AM I BECOMING??

Cinnamon Slip with Corset Ties

So anyway, go check out the tutorial if you're interested in the how-to!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tutorial: 3/4 Circle Skirt (includes sewing instructions)

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Here is the tutorial I promised in Monday's post. Like I said then, when I was making my 3/4 circle skirt, there didn't seem to be many tutorials online for how to put one together after you figure out your radius. There are some great circle skirt calculators out there, but I'm talking about what to do after you calculate. If you know of any and I'm just missing them, feel free to link them up in the comments!

On my previous post, the By Hand London circle skirt app was mentioned in the comments, and it's awesome! They have 1/4, 1/2 and full circle skirt functions. They also have a few posts for what to do after, like attach a waistband and insert a zipper. But I wanted to expand on what to do in between - how to make a pattern piece and how to go about splitting up your circle into smaller sections to become the pieces of your skirt.

First, you'll need to calculate your radius. I used Patty the Snug Bug's calculator because she has a 3/4 column, plus it's a downloadable Excel spreadsheet so you can keep it on your computer and always have it. Plug in your waist measurement [make sure you're using the 3/4 column!] and then round your radius measurement to the nearest 1/4". My waist is 27", so my radius is 5.25".


First let's talk about what a 3/4 circle skirt is. Just as the name implies, when it's flat, it looks like three quarters of a circle [aka an 8 slice pizza with 2 slices missing].

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

WHO WANTS PIZZA NOW?? *raises hand*

So, we need to fit that shape onto our fabric. If your fabric is wide enough, your skirt short enough, and your waist petite enough, you might be able to fit it on your fabric in one big piece. However, that is a lot of "if's"; it would also, in my opinion, be a huge pain in the booty, because you'd have to draw a giant circle very accurately. It's a lot easier to be accurate when you're working with smaller pieces.

So, since we have a front and a back, we'll divide the shape in half: half for our front, half for our back.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

I did a center back zipper for a few reasons - sometimes I don't like how zippers hang on side seams, and I also wanted to easily add side seam pockets. So for a center back zipper, we need to divide one of those halves in half again.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

So here's an overview of how our skirt will go together. Two quarters in the back joined by a zipper, and two quarters in the front cut in one piece.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

[At the risk of being confusing, I want to clarify - I'm dividing the skirt into four pieces, so I'm calling them quarters, but they aren't quarters of a full circle, they are quarters of a 3/4 circle.]

Now, we want to make our pattern pieces as quickly as possible using as little effort and pattern paper as possible. Or at least I do. Call it lazy, call it efficient. Call it, let's just get to the sewing part already. So we are going to make just one paper pattern piece to fulfill our requirements.

But first, we math!

Our friend geometry will help us figure out how long the upper curved edge of our piece will be. Here we go:

1. First we need to figure out the circumference of the circle of which our 3/4 circle is a part [the purple ring]. The circumference of a circle is 2  x  pi  x radius. So, multiply your radius by 2 and then by 3.14.

2. Now we need to find out what 3/4 of this circumference is [the pink ring]. So multiply the result of step one by .75. To keep things simple, round to the nearest 1/4".

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)
[Note: I'm using my radius of 5.25" - make sure you use your own radius measurement!]

So now we know the total length of the top curved edge of our 3/4 circle skirt. Next we need to figure out what a quarter of it is [the green line in the next drawing] so we can break our skirt into four pieces.

3. Multiply the total length of the 3/4 circle skirt edge by .25. Round to the nearest 1/4". Remember this number. Mine is 6.25".

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Now that we have our numbers ready, it's time to draw the pattern piece.

On a large piece of paper, draw a straight line with a yardstick. Mark out from the end the distance of your skirt radius. This is the number that the circle skirt calculator gave you in the beginning. 

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Now start marking points, rotating the ruler a little between each one, measuring out from the end of the original line - I'm going to call this the axis - and marking the skirt radius point. Make sure the end of your ruler is always on axis as you're measuring. Mark enough points to draw a curve. [The dotted lines show ruler placement.]

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Keep going until your curved line measures the value of the green line we figured out earlier. Use a tape measure or other flexible tool and measure along the curve. At that point, draw another straight line from the axis out through the curved line.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Now determine what you want your finished skirt length to be, and your hem allowance, and add them together. My skirt was 20" and my hem allowance was only 1/4" because I hemmed with bias tape. So for the next step I was measuring 20.25".

Using the same procedure as above, measure your skirt + hem distance away from the first curved line, marking points and connecting into a curve. Make sure your ruler is still going through the axis with each mark. I like to use a yardstick and keep the 0 end out at the hem; every time I rotate and mark, I make sure that the skirt + hem measurement is even with the curved line, and the yardstick is also passing through the axis.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

The last thing to do is add our seam allowances. You can use whatever you think is easiest. I did 3/8". Use a ruler to add your seam allowance amount to the straight edges and the smaller curved edge. Whatever seam allowance you choose, write it on your pattern piece so you don't forget.

Then cut out your pattern piece.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)


If you have a protractor and you know how to use it, you can skip most of the preceding steps. Draw a 67.5° angle on your paper [67.5° is 1/4 of 270°, which is 3/4 of 360°]; that angle sets the outer bounds of your pattern piece. Measure the skirt radius points, then the skirt + hem points, and add seam allowances. 


So here's how we're going to cut our fabric using only one paper piece. Depending on the width of your fabric, you may have to open it up and refold it the other direction to get your pieces to fit.

For the front, cut one piece on the fold, letting the seam allowance of one straight edge hang over the fold. You can also crease back the paper if that's easier. After cutting, notch your center.

Then, use the pattern piece to cut 2 backs, with one straight edge parallel to the fold/selvage. This edge is the center back. Mark it on both pieces.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

You'll also need a waistband. Here is how you figure out cutting dimensions:

LENGTH: waist measurement + 1" + [2 x (seam allowance of back seam)]
WIDTH: [2 x (desired finished width)] + [2 x (seam allowance of shorter curved edge)]

Notch the center of the waistband's long edges. 


Staystitch upper curved edge of skirt pieces. [This means stitch through a single layer 1/8" smaller than your seam allowance.]

Stitch skirt backs to skirt fronts at side seams, right sides together. Finish and press open.

Interface waistband. Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to crease. Reopen. Pin one long edge of waistband to top edge of skirt, right sides together, matching ends and center front notch, and easing the skirt in to fit the waistband. Stitch together and press seam allowance up.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Install invisible zipper on back center seam with zipper stop just below crease in waistband. Stitch the rest of the seam, finish and press open. [Here is an invisible zip tutorial if you need help.]

Press raw edge of waistband a scant seam allowance to the wrong side. [ex. if your seam allowance was 1/2", fold it a teeny less than 1/2" and press]. Fold waistband around zipper, right sides together. Use a zipper foot to stitch waistband down along zipper. Make sure bottom of waistband stays folded when you stitch over it.

Clip corner and turn waistband to inside. Pin all the way around, covering waist seam allowance, and then stitch in the ditch from the outside to secure waistband on the inside.

3/4 Circle Skirt Tutorial (includes sewing instructions)

Let your skirt hang overnight, then hem as desired.

I hope that was helpful! If there are any parts that need clarification, please ask in the comments.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Moneta Crop Top, a 3/4 Circle Skirt, and a Mammoth

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt

A few weeks ago, one of my dearest friends who is getting married in the fall had all of her bridesmaids come to visit her in D.C., myself included. We went dress shopping, drank champagne, and burst into spontaneous yet choreographed song and dance at various times throughout the weekend [not really].

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt

Since we all know that traveling provides some of the best sew-jo, naturally I had to make something to take with me. One of the items on the weekend's agenda was '90's night dancing [oh yes]. After much debate, I decided to leave my guitar pick & hemp choker and L.E.I. jeans behind; instead I went with a 3/4 circle skirt out of Robert Kaufman Radiance, which is a cotton/silk blend, and a knit crop top out of something from Joann's.

First let's talk about the top. Since the skirt fits at my natural waist, I didn't want to deal with tucking anything in, so I decided to make a crop top using the Colette Moneta dress pattern. I just cut and assembled the bodice pieces as usual [no alterations except for my personal fit]. Then I cut a band that was 2" shorter than the circumference of the bottom edge and double the finished width plus seam allowance. [Next time I might just do 1" shorter, it was a teensy bit snug.] I sewed the ends together to make a circle, folded it in half, and attached it to the bottom edge of the bodice. It worked out really well, and hits at the perfect place right above the skirt.

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt

You know what's dumb, though? When it came time to wear my new crop top, I completely wimped out and wore a tank top under it. I used the convenient excuse that it was cold - it was cold - but if I'm being completely honest, it was also because I was nervous about feeling exposed or getting unwanted attention, and my social survival mammoth prevailed [read this article about the mammoth, it's good]. And it's silly, because I think the crop-top-high-waist thing looks great when other people do it, and I don't think anything of it. I guess when it's warmer I can try to beat the mammoth back into its cave and wear the crop top in all its croppy toppy glory. [How often does your social survival mammoth win?]

But anyway, a great time was had by all. Dances were danced, lyrics were screamed, the 90s were alive and well.

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt
reenactment of said dancing

So on to the skirt. I didn't have enough fabric to make a full circle skirt, so that's why I went with the 3/4. I already had the fabric, so for the sake of being responsible I used it, even though it's a bit on the lightweight side. It also tends to wrinkle a lot in the back when I sit on it, which is a bummer but I suppose unavoidable. It is, however, shiny and drapey and beautiful. I hemmed with store bought bias tape - I wanted the stiffness to make the skirt bell out a little - and I hand stitched it so it wouldn't show from the outside.

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt

And of course, there are POCKETS! And also a waistband and back invisible zip.

Moneta Crop Top + 3/4 Circle Skirt
I'm sorry I made this face more than once in this post, feel free to punch me

I was a little pressed for time, so I looked for a 3/4 circle skirt tutorial online so I didn't have to figure anything out, but I didn't really find one. I'm not talking about the calculations, I mean how to go from that to a pattern and then to a skirt. So on Wednesday I'm going to post a tutorial for how I made my skirt in case anyone wants to know.

In the mean time, I'm gonna go have a talk with my mammoth.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My New Job [and a free pattern!]

Candy Heart Sewing Pattern

So about a month ago, I started a new job. I'm working for the Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff sewing machine brands in their Education department, doing a mix of some social media, online content creation, and downloadable project management. It's pretty cool!

Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff [along with Singer] are now all owned by the same company. Their headquarters are just outside Nashville, which I didn't even know when I first moved here. Who'da thought! They also have a large office in Husqvarna, Sweden.

Five weeks in, I can say it's been really great so far. I wanted to share one of the projects I've done, because there's a free pattern download, and because it's GIANT CANDY HEART PILLOWS and I kind of can't get enough of them. I really love giant versions of food. I don't know why, I just do.

Candy Heart Sewing Pattern

In fact, I kind of like anything that's the wrong size. Like the giant iPhone in the Apple store, which in my mind would make a really good pool float, or those tiny Japanese erasers that look like fruit. [A few years ago I made a giant tomato pincushion, and in the post I go into great detail about how much I love things that are the wrong size, so read it if you're looking for more.]

These hearts are really fun to make. There's a free downloadable pattern on both the Pfaff blog and the Husqvarna Viking blog. It's exactly the same pattern, either link has I guess pick your favorite brand and click that one!

Candy Heart Sewing Pattern

The download also includes six free embroidery files for the captions, in case you have an embroidery machine. If you don't, you could always make the letters out of felt and whipstitch them on.

I've been starting to learn how to use the embroidery machines, and I have to say, it's pretty awesome. I never really thought I was very interested in it, but now my brain-wheels are slowly starting to turn with all the possibilities.

So you just might see some of that the mean time, go make some hearts!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cotton + Steel Frock Rayon Oakridge Blouse

frock oakridge14

I am so happy to be today's stop on the blog tour for Cotton + Steel's new rayon collection, Frock. The talented team of women behind C+S have already tempted us time and time again with their incredible quilt weights, lawns, double gauzes and home decor fabrics; now, praise hallelujah, they are venturing even further into apparel. Frock ships mid-February, and it'll feature eight different prints on the most dreamy-drapey rayon substrate.

frock oakridge25

After much anguish I chose the Gemstone print in pink, designed by Sarah Watts. Then the stars aligned and maybe some black holes collided and Sewaholic released the Oakridge blouse pattern. It was the perfect project for some pretty rayon [Jaime and I must have been bouncing around in the same thought bubble] so it was an easy project choice.

frock oakridge05
it was really raining, that's not just some kind of prop
First, let's talk about the fabric. It's luscious. This is, sadly, not the first or even second time I've used the word luscious to describe fabric on this blog, which could be yet another sign that I have a problem. But this fabric really is luscious. It has such a soft, almost-peach-skin-like texture, and it's flowy and fluid without being clingy. It's very comfortable but it looks really luxe. [Keep in mind that it's 45" wide, so take that into account when shopping for a project.]

frock oakridge10

Now, the very first thing I do when I get this beautiful stuff into my hot mitts is to throw it in the washer on gentle and the dryer on whatever. This is how I've always washed rayon, not for any particular reason except that it works nicely with my strict laissez-faire approach to laundry. Lo and behold, C+S actually recommends that you dry clean. So, my anecdotal experience says that I didn't notice any adverse effects from the washer, but the official word is to dry clean [although I bet hand washing would be ok].


Of interest to note [at least to me] is that because of the molecular structure of rayon, it is much more fragile when wet than dry. It's made of plant cellulose, which absorbs a ton of water, which in turn puts a lot of strain on the fibers' cell structure. So if you do wash it, treat it gently when wet.

frock oakridge07

Now let's talk about the pattern. First let me set the stage. It was Friday night, I'd had a long work week at a new job [which I'll tell ya'll about soon] and my sewing room was in a such a state of disorder that I'm sure the producers of Hoarders are on their way to my house as we speak. It's been the recent site of many back-to-back endeavors in which I throw things directly on the floor when I'm done with them, which is my tried and true method for completing a project in a timely manner.

It can be a thrilling way of working, but it has its drawbacks.

Anyway, this project was actually the first time I was doing a sleeve placket, as I've never made a long sleeve button up shirt before. When I got to that point in the directions, I really couldn't tell what was going on, which may or may not have been at least partially due to my mental state and work environment. I actually ended up looking up the Grainline Archer sewalong post for the placket, and it dissolved all my troubles. So, thanks Jen!

And all in all, I'm SO happy with how the plackets turned out, especially considering they're rayon.

frock oakridge15


frock oakridge23

Fit wise, things went pretty well. I was measuring into the 6 and considered making the 4 based on the finished measurements but I was scared because I wasn't doing a muslin, so I cut the 6. I did shorten the sleeves by 2" after reading Jaime's post and holding the pattern piece up to myself in the mirror; next time I'll shorten an additional inch. I decided to also do a 3/4" narrow shoulder adjustment, again after the extremely hi-tech method of holding the pattern piece up to my body, which actually worked out well. The only other thing I'd change next time is to raise the dart a little because it's hitting me a bit low.

I really, really like this shirt, and I looove how it looks in the back, even though there's nothing happening there. I don't know, I can't explain it. In the rayon it just looks so nice.

frock oakridge collage 1

Miraculously, both set-in sleeves went in on the first try. I hemmed with 1/2" single fold bias tape because the bottom was curvy and slippery and I already had the bias tape, so done and done!

frock oakridge26

Like everyone else has said, the best thing to do when working with rayon is to GO SLOW. [I cut everything in a single layer with a rotary cutter.] Practice all those good sewing habits that you know you're supposed to, but maybe sometimes skip. Be careful and deliberate, it'll make it so much better. It's worth it!

This is going to be a great shirt to wear to work, and I will definitely be making some more. As for the Frock rayon - I'm going to be first in line to get some more of this stuff, because it's truly a level of lusciousness that's impossible to resist. You've been warned.

Here's are the other Frock blog tour stops so you can check em out:

January 28 Jaime -  Fancy Tiger Crafts
January 29 Deborah - Whipstitch
January 30 Amber- Fancy Tiger Crafts
January 31 Rochelle - Lucky Lucille
February 2 Christine Haynes Christine Haynes
February 3 Devon Iott - Miss Make
February 4 Jemellia Hilfiger - JemJam
February 5 Anna Graham - Noodlehead
February 6 Oliver + S - Oliver + S
February 7 Rae Hoekstra - Made by Rae

frock oakridge01


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