Monthly Archives: September 2016

National Sewing Month: Final Day!

q4-round3Wow—what a month! We are at our final installment of our National Sewing Month celebration. What a month it has been. Today we hear from our final group about what (if anything) still stops them dead in their tracks or at least gets them a little sweaty. Let’s see what they have to say!

Is there any technique/fabric/type of project that still terrifies you?

Sarai, Colette Patterns, CEO/Founder: I’ve never really had much fear around sewing, so I’d say no.

Lisa, Pattern & Branch, Pintuck & Purl Social Media Coordinator: Hm. I get intimidated by fitting. I know I can learn it, but sometimes I have to give myself a little push to work on garments that I haven’t learned how to fit well yet.

Kali, Kali Zirkle Quilts: I haven’t yet dived into pieced curves in quilting (and tend to avoid them!). I would love to start making lingerie, however the combination of fit and new fabrics has stopped me so far.

Sandi, Crafty Planner: I’m not really terrified by things anymore. There are things that “intimidate” me though. Things like button holes and bras give me hesitation. But I’m currently working on the Morgan Jeans pattern so I figure if I can make jeans, I can do anything… (Or at least that is what I keep telling myself!)

Peter Lappin, Male Pattern Boldness: Nothing terrifies me, but the thought of starting a big project, like, say, a men’s wool suit, causes me a little anxiety. I worry that I may be biting off more than I can chew. That said, how else are you going to improve if you don’t challenge yourself, right?

Karin, Leigh Laurel Studios: I can sew clothing, but I haven’t yet become confident with altering patterns to fit me. This is something I’d like to work on in coming months. Perhaps taking an in-person class will help me over this hurdle.

Christine Haynes, Christine Haynes Patterns: I think the only things that scare me are things that I don’t do often, like bound button holes or welt pockets. But I wouldn’t say anything terrifies me, rather something out of my comfort zone naturally makes me a bit uncomfortable. Never forget that it’s just sewing. In the grand scheme of life, it’s all going to be okay even if you totally mess something up!

Yes, Christine Haynes! It is just sewing, and eventually you will mess something up. It is almost inevitable. But, it is just sewing. 🙂

Now we have our final bonus questions. Both of these ladies are local bloggers and their creations are amazing. Kim has a plethora of hand-mades in her closet that are drool-worthy, and Karin’s quilts and hand appliqué have me itching to try my hand at some similar projects. Take it away ladies!

What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?

Kim, CraftyNHMom: My favorite thing I’ve ever sewn so far would probably be a tie between my favorite dress, a maxi Anna dress (By Hand London) and a giant beanbag and cover for my littlest son, the Rollie Polie (pattern: Made By Dana). It’s taken 6 years of abuse and he still loves it!

Karin, Leigh Laurel Studios: Occasionally I sew clothing for my daughter—pajamas, a night gown, a skirt with hand embroidered trim, a pillowcase dress with a matching mini version for her American Girl doll. It’s the best feeling to see her proudly wearing them and saying, “My Mom made this!” Tucking both kids in at night under quilts I’ve lovingly designed and made for them…makes me smile every day.

So, let’s take a moment and take a deep breath. Now, exhale. That feels better, right? I feel like we have learned a lot this month. From what we should have in our physical toolbox to what we should have in our mental toolbox. We have heard people say “just go for it” and that practice will eventually make almost-perfect. A big theme that we have heard this whole month is that this is a fun craft and no one is absolutely perfect. Learn from your successes as much as you do from your not-quite-successes, but let’s remember that we do this because we enjoy it. Lots of people can go and buy a new dress or a machine-made quilt from Marshall’s, but we can make our own and probably even do it better.  I hope this series has jump started your enthusiasm for your next project! We are all in this together!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in this fun series. We loved every minute of it here in the shop and we hope you did too. If you missed our giveaway yesterday on Instagram or Facebook, you have until midnight EST tonight to enter to win! Good luck and happy sewing!

National Sewing Month: Question #4 Round 2

National Sewing Month with Pintuck & Purl

Round two! Ding! Ding! Are you ready to hear what today’s panel has to say? (If you missed Monday’s post you can check it out here.) Are they ready to rumble with the likes of silks, velvets or bound buttonholes? Or do they need a bit more time training for that big project? Let’s find out!

Is there any technique/fabric/type of project that still terrifies you?

Kim, Late Night Stitchery: Nothing really terrifies me in the sewing world anymore!  I like a challenge.  I am trying to get into quilting, but sometimes the thought of making a large quilt overwhelms me.  I guess that is because most of the garments I make can be sewn in a day or two.  I have two young children and so my sewing time is limited.  I like to make something and have that item done somewhat quickly.  That’s one of my favorite things about garment sewing; you make it and wear it in a short amount of time.  I have started working on a quilt and it involves lots of scraps so it is going to take time.  (Perhaps if I picked an easy quilt that would be better?   See answer to question 3.  I like a challenge, haha.)

Allie, AllieJ: I have been amping myself up to make a tailored blazer for basically a whole year now. I want to do it right, with hand padstitching and everything, which is something I’ve never done even a little bit of. I hope to actually get down to it this year. Wish me luck! Also, any time you have to cut into a nearly-completed garment, like for a welt pocket, always gives me pause.

Autumn, Colette Patterns, Sample Seamstress: I wouldn’t say terrified but I definitely have much to learn about couture techniques.

Morgan, Thread Theory: Up until just a few weeks ago, draping on a dress form rather intimidated me!  I had done it once in school for a very simple project but had never practiced again and instead relied entirely on paper and computer-based pattern drafting.  My husband’s cousin asked me to sew a wedding dress from chiffon that features a gathered draped bodice.  I’ve been putting it off for months now because I couldn’t find any resources on draping the bodice style online or at the library.  I finally dove in though and had so much fun making it up as I went.  I have no idea if I did things the ‘correct’ way but I am so pleased with how the bodice is turning out!

Heather, Closet Case Files: I refuse to be terrified by sewing. Sewing is my retreat from the things in the world that are really scary, so I try to approach each new challenge with curiosity and openness. That said, I’m not exactly champing at the bit to make a couture chiffon gown, but I’d be super excited to have the time and space to do so.

Mary, See Mary Quilt: I don’t know if I’d say a project terrifies me, but I do know things I should avoid. Like complex garments that take more than a day to make, I know I’ll probably not like it enough to be worth that amount of work.  I’ll still do it, but there will be a lot of grumbling.

Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: I’m still not a fan of collars.

I agree with Heather, a chiffon gown is nowhere on my radar at this point, but maybe someday. Well, folks there you have it! Thanks again to our panel for this week and for participating the whole month. We hope you have enjoyed their time here as well. Did you relate with anyone’s fears today? Or do you have your own? Let us know in the comments!

We have another set of bonus questions as we come closer to the end of this series. Today we hear from Allie who has a fabulous blog. If you haven’t checked it out, now is the time to do so. She shines in vintage patterns and her taste is impeccable. She is one of those bloggers that makes me want to dig through my vintage stash and see what gems I have in there. Her favorite make is a knock-out–and her wedding dress to boot. Simply stunning.

AllieJ National Sewing Month

What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

Allie, AllieJ: I usually think whatever I’ve made most recently is the best thing I’ve ever made, because my skills are improving all the time. But some of my favorites are my recent seersucker raglan-sleeved dress, my black Wednesday Addams dress and of course, my wedding dress! All three were made from patterns from the 1960s and totally reflect my modern-meets-vintage, slightly preppy aesthetic, which I like to call “Modern Mid-century” style as a play on the term “Mid-century Modern.”

Thanks again for reading! We have one more post to celebrate National Sewing Month. Can you believe it?!?! We also have a fun giveaway for all of our readers tomorrow (Thursday!) on Instagram and Facebook, so keep an eye on our little corner there. Happy sewing!!

National Sewing Month: Question #4!

National Sewing Month with Pintuck & Purl

We did it! We made to the last week of our celebration of National Sewing Month! I feel like we’ve learned a lot these past few weeks about tools, techniques and ways to improve your sewing. This final question was a fun one to read the answers to. Maybe  you are fearless when it comes to sewing (and some of our guests clearly are!) but maybe there is that one type of fabric or technique that still gets your palms a little sweaty? We asked our awesome guests if there were any areas of fear for them. Read on to see what they had to say!

Is there any technique/fabric/type of project that still terrifies you?

Jen, Grainline Studios: There isn’t actually anything! I am confident that I can handle anything as long as I take it one step at a time.

Giuseppe, @giucy_giuce: I am so intimidated by improv sewing, which is funny, because that’s actually the first type of piecing I delved into. I find it to be so inspiring, but whenever I try to just sit down and just play with the fabrics, I always hit a wall!

Lauren Taylor, Naw, I feel like I can handle pretty much anything! Although, I am currently learning how to quilt and it has been quite a learning curve 😉

Kim, CraftyNHMom: Yes! I won’t even consider touching a bridal gown. Maybe someday, but I like sewing to be fun–not stressful! 😉

Wallis, Colette Patterns, Pattern Maker: I still am not confident enough to sew with silk or chiffon; they’re so delicate that every time I try I end up tearing apart the fabric!

Haley, Colette Patterns, Editor-in-Chief: Oh man, that would have to be velvet. The first time I sewed velvet I chose the most gorgeous and trickiest silk velvet imaginable to make nothing other than a blazer. Thinking about hand setting those slippery sleeves makes my chest tight. I now prefer to stick with simple lines when sewing with slippery pile fabrics like velvet. It makes a huge difference, and won’t cause you to ruin your mascara.

I have my eye on some silk velvet right now. I will have to take Haley’s advice and choose my project carefully. Whether you are in the “I can do anything camp” or “I am not ready for project x”, know that you are in good company either way!

Now, I saved two of my favorites of the bonus questions for today. Both of these sewers are extremely talented even though their work is very different. Lauren Taylor, as you know, is big into garments and Giuseppe is a phenomenal quilter. We asked them what their favorite thing is that they have ever sewn. I imagine having to pick a favorite creation if you were one of them might be difficult, but the common theme is that both of these projects make them happy. People, that is what sewing is all about. Let’s check them out:


Lauren Taylor, This changes constantly because pretty much everything I finish is my new favorite, but one that comes to mind is my 1940s bird print wrap dress. I made this 3 years ago, and it still makes me so so so happy. I love the fabric + print (Marc Jacobs silk georgette!), I love the soft gathers and pleats, I love the wrap – I love everything about it! I don’t wear it nearly as much as I would like since it’s pretty fancy, but it’s my go-to dress for anything that requires dressing up (weddings, nice dates, the Symphony with my BFF, etc). It always gets lots of compliments every time I wear it. And bonus – I have actually seen the real Marc Jacobs dress that was made with this fabric (I stood behind someone wearing it while in line at the library) and I can confidently say that mine looks way better 😉 HAHA.


Giuseppe, @giucy_giuce: Hands down, no question, my Sew Demented Sew Together Bag. I use it every single day and every time I see it, it brings me joy!

I want to say a huge thank you to today’s group! We will be saying goodbye to them after today, but we hope you enjoyed their answers and had some fun! Stay tuned for our next group’s answers Wednesday!

And…keep an eye on our Instagram account for a little hint about something fun coming at the end of the month!

National Sewing Day: Question #3 Final Round!

National Sewing Month Celebration

The final day of question number three is here! We have been chatting this week about advice for new sewers. If you want to catch up on our posts from earlier this week, you can read those here and here. Today we hear pearls of wisdom from the final round of bloggers and designers. Pull up a seat and let’s dive right in!

What advice do you have for new sewers?

Sarai, Colette Patterns, CEO/Founder: One thing I’ve learned is that a garment is only as strong as its weakest part. That’s why you should take the time to make sure the details are done right, like closures and finishing. If you don’t know how, research!

Christine Haynes, Christine Haynes Patterns: Iron! No seriously, use your iron to properly press as you sew. Makes a huge difference in the final result!

Sandi, Crafty Planner: You have my permission to fail! Try out a new pattern you think you’d like. As with any new skill, you have to try it and keep practicing before you get better.

Lisa, Pattern & Branch, Pintuck & Purl Social Media Coordinator: First of all–you can do it!  When I get intimidated by a project (whether because of how much I have to learn or the length of time it will take), I tell myself to just do the next step.  That way I am moving the project forward little by little, and even if it takes me a long time, it will eventually get done.  I also try not to aim for perfection.  If I can learn one or two new things in a project, I try to let the other things that might not be perfect go.  Imperfectly finished is better than perfect but unfinished.

Kali, Kali Zirkle Quilts: Sew what you are excited about! Your skills will grow with time and practice, but if you aren’t excited about what you are making it may not feel like it’s worth it to work through the small things that don’t yet come easily when sewing.

Karin, Leigh Laurel Studios: Keep going. If it’s not right, take a breath, rip it out and try again! Some of the people I admire most in the industry are seemingly fearless when it comes to experimenting and trying new things. They jump in and figure it out as they go without being hyper critical of what they’re producing while in the learning curve. Video tutorials are amazingly helpful—I *may* have an addiction to watching classes on Creativebug…

Peter Lappin, Male Pattern Boldness: I think it helps a lot if you have a sewing buddy at the beginning — someone who can give you guidance when you really don’t know what you’re doing.  I had a guy I’d met on Pattern Review, Brian, who helped me tremendously at the beginning.  It’s easy to get intimidated and stop sewing.  It’s nice when there’s someone who can lead you through the tough spots.  Luckily, thanks to social media, your buddy doesn’t have to live in the same city, or even in the same state!  I also think it helps to start with a vintage mechanical sewing machine, like a Sears Kenmore or Singer.  Those old machines are easy to use, easy to find (try Craigslist) and reliable.  A cheap plastic machine is bound to cause a new sewer a lot of frustration, and who needs that?

I absolutely believe one million percent in everything that our guests have said this week! Sewing buddy: check. Ironing: double check. And practice, practice, practice! Thank you to our panel today. We will hear from them one final time next week. Can you believe it’s almost the end of the month?!?!?

We also have another bonus answer for you today! Woohoo! Today comes from one of our local bloggers, Lisa from Pattern & Branch, who also handles our Social Media. She has a great sense of tenacity when it comes to her sewing. She pushes her limits, (have you guys seen her Refashioners projects this year and last year?) and has a fun, engaging personality, which shines through in her blog. Her advice is short and sweet, but oh, so spot on. Take it away Lisa!

What advice do you wish someone had said to you before you started sewing?

Lisa, Pattern & Branch: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be AWESOME.  I actually learned this through knitting, but it definitely applies to sewing as well.

That’s a wrap for this week! See you next week to finish out the month. Make sure you stay tuned–we might have one more surprise next week. 🙂

National Sewing Month: Advice Round #2

Advice to New Sewer!

We are back today with more advice! This week we’re hearing from our special guests about what they think is great advice for people who are just venturing into the wonderful world of sewing. The answers they gave cover all aspects like fabric, tools, and, most important, how you can mentally prepare for sewing. I have to say in my years of sewing there have been many a tear shed. But! With each tear comes a new understanding or the realization of what not to do 😉 If you missed Monday’s installment, you can catch it here. Let’s forge on with today’s group and see what they think!

Kim, Late Night Stitchery: Yes, congrats on learning to sew!  It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to sew and make your own clothing and home-wares.  I think my advice would be to take it easy on yourself when things don’t turn out as perfect as you had hoped.  It can be very frustrating, but everything looks better with a fresh set of eyes.  When something isn’t turning out the way I hoped and frustration is starting to set it, that’s when I put whatever I am sewing away for another time or go to sleep and try again the next day.

Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: Try anything and everything. Do the instructions explicitly tell you to avoid that fabric? No? Then do it, and have fun doing it your way.

Allie, AllieJ: There are so many resources out there. Even if it’s a little bit beyond you, go for that big project–but don’t try to do it in a vacuum. Look for help online (and in your local sewing shop, too!) and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I love getting emails from readers asking about how I did certain projects, and I think that goes for most sewing bloggers. I send this type of email all the time too, like, how exactly did you do xyz and was it hard?

Morgan, Thread Theory: My advice to new sewers is to jump in there and make a mess!  Go to the thrift store and buy yourself an old sheet or some cheap fabric so that you can experiment and practice without the intimidation of cutting into your ‘real’ fabric.  While it is very useful to read books and blogs detailing sewing techniques, it is even more useful to try out what works or doesn’t work for you.  The more you work with your sewing machine and tools, the more confident you will be and the better you will be able to understand any reading you do on technique.

Heather, Closet Case Files: Don’t be scared. It’s just fabric. Sewing is supposed to be fun, so don’t beat yourself up if your plan doesn’t work out. Each mistake is a learning opportunity, and you need to fail sometimes in order to get better.

Autumn, Colette Patterns, Sample Seamstress: Taking the time to set up your workspace really pays off.

Mary, See Mary Quilt: The Internet!  Everything is on there.  Want to learn to knit Continental? There’s a video on YouTube.  Or confused by a step in a pattern? Someone’s probably written a blog post about it.  How did people make anything before the Internet?!  And find your people.  I never would have moved away from knitting scarves if I hadn’t joined a Stitch n’ Bitch group and seen people knitting sweaters like it was no big thing.  And it’s always more fun to craft with a crowd.

Thanks, guys! I agree with Kim, it is always better to put something away when it starts to frustrate you. It will only get worse if you don’t take a break—trust me!

This week we have two more bonus answers. We’re hearing from Meg, of Colette patterns, who is in charge of communications (she answers all sorts of my crazy questions!) and has her own closet full of awesome handmades, and Kim, from Late Night Stitchery, a local gal who has an eye for apparel, quilting AND knitting! Let’s see what they have to say.

What advice do you wish someone had given you before you started sewing?

Meg, Colette Patterns, Communications Manager: I wish someone had told me to let go of expectations and enjoy the learning process. It’s what I’m doing now, and it feels great.

What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?

Kim, Late Night Stitchery: Some of my favorite things I have ever sewn were for my children.  I’ve made my daughter so many little dresses and outfits and jackets, pants and shorts for my son.  Two of my favorites are the Quick-Change-Trousers and the Baby-in-the-Hood-Jacket from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings. I absolutely LOVE when my children wear my handmade clothes.  I love to sew for them because I am putting so much love into their clothing.  I picture them wearing each item and how cute they are.  It makes me really happy to sew for them.  I have saved everything that they outgrow, so someday they can pull out their old handmade-by-mama clothes and show their own children and know that they are loved.

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