Posts Categorized: Sewing

Give Me Liberty! Club

Liberty of London Tana Lawn is one of my favorite fabrics. It is lovely to touch and lovely to sew with. One of the drawbacks of Liberty is the high price tag of $34/yard, which makes some people hesitate before pulling that trigger. However, once you have sewn with it, I think you’ll find it’s a price that is worth the quality of the goods. We wanted a way to let people dip their toes into the beautiful pool of Liberty fabric, so we created a new club called Give Me Liberty! I mean, obviously I wasn’t going to let this club naming opportunity pass me by. ūüėČ

In this club you will receive a beautifully wrapped bundle of four Liberty fat eighths, which will be a half yard for each bundle. The shipments will go out on the 15th of every other month, starting in December (and then the following months of February, April, June, August, and October). If you sign up for the whole year at once, you will get a discount on each bundle. If you just want to sample a few months, you can sign up for the deliveries of those particular months, but won’t receive the full-year membership benefits. We will also have a few other gifts for the full-year members, including a free quilt pattern at the end of the club that you can use your entire Liberty stash for. That full stash will be THREE YARDS OF LIBERTY, in 24 different prints. These will be perfect for machine piecing or hand work, or use them for fun bits of color in your sewn wardrobe.

Here is the pricing breakdown:

Full-Year Member

$90 for 6-month subscription ($15 per bundle)
+ 6 Bundles of 4 Fat Eights of Liberty of London (24 total=3 yards!)
+ Pintuck & Purl’s “Give Me Liberty! Quilt” Pattern (released in September 2018)
+ Exclusive deals for club members
+ Special member swag

Monthly/Single Month

$17 Bundle Purchase
+ 1 Bundle of 4 Fat Eights of Liberty of London (4 total = 1/2 yard)

So, what are you waiting for?!?! Sign up today over in the online shop!!



Black + White Checkers Pencil Skirt

I have never worked in an office setting before. Ice cream server, historical tour guide, waitress, and wine sales associate, yes. Something where I needed a pencil skirt? Not really. But it wasn’t so much that I never had the right setting for the skirt as that I didn’t have a pencil skirt that fit me, (if you are just joining us, I am as pear-shaped as pear-shaped comes!) and if I am not comfortable, I will not wear something. And I don’t mean pajama comfortable, but style/fit comfortable. I bet you knew that though. ūüôā

For years I would dismiss pencil skirts. Even when I first opened the shop I pined after fabric that would have made the perfect skirt and just decided that it was never meant to be. Then, one of my friends/staff introduced me to this pattern. It is from Delia Creates and is called the Pleated Pencil Skirt. She swore up and down that it would fit me, and I finally caved. We ordered a few barkcloths from Gertrude Made, (they are here in the shop!) and I knew that if this was such a magical pattern, I might be able to actually use that gorgeous fabric! The thought was enough to push me over the edge.

If you have been in the shop, or heard me in class, you know I don’t believe in wearable muslins. I believe in muslins made out of muslin. That way I only look at the fit and don’t get caught up with finishing and what-not. I don’t believe in wearable muslins. Except for this one. Hear me out:¬† this skirt consists of a few pieces‚ÄĒfront and back, lining and waistband. I knew that if I made a regular muslin, I would walk around for about one hot minute and deem it either amazing or terrible. I knew I needed a more in-depth analysis of this pattern and I wasn’t about to walk around in a muslin pencil skirt in public. A girl has to have priorities!

So I had to figure out which fabric was going to be my wearable muslin, which was really fun. I thought that the Cotton + Steel Checkers would make a pretty cute skirt. I think I was right. That was the easy part.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Actually, it wasn’t difficult to sew at all. The one thing I would change on my third attempt (yes, I have made two so far!) is the pleat. Right now it is all one piece for the back and the pleat is just a fold all the way down the fabric. I traced a size four for the waist and graded out to a 6 at the hips. I also took just a small wedge out of where the skirt and waistband meet to do an on-the-fly sway back adjustment. That was it. The rest was straight from the pattern. And guys, it fit. IT FIT! Like it actually fit my hips and butt! It was astonishing. After wearing it around all day, I was a convert. Actually, as I type out this post I am currently wearing this EXACT outfit! So, it wasn’t just a one-time skirt which, sadly, sometimes happens. This is for real.

So now I want to know–do you wear pencil skirts?¬† If you do, what is your go-to pattern?¬† Your favorite pencil skirt fabric?


Bettine in Wonderland Rayon

Did you know that the shop carries Tilly and the Buttons patterns? We do indeed! Tilly has the ability to create patterns that look vintage 1960’s inspired while still being fresh and current. It is the best of all worlds in my opinion.

The pattern that caught my eye the most from her line is the Bettine Dress. When we finally got the patterns in the shop, I knew it was going to be the first thing I would sew. This easy-wearing kimono-sleeved dress with elastic waist has been high on my “must sew” list since its release. It looked like the perfect spring/summer/fall dress that you could throw on and instantly look put together. I was right!

I initially made a full muslin with some rayon, as I knew that was going to be my final choice for fabric. On my first attempt I put in the pockets, but I think my fabric was just too drapey, and it looked pretty sloppy. I know it can be done, as I have seen other people do it, but I decided against pockets on my final version. And the benefit was no droopy pockets and much faster! Win win!

This dress was pretty fast to construct. I think I sewed almost all of it during a Sip + Stitch at the shop. I am pretty sure that if there had been no distraction at all (which is probably not ever entirely possible) I could have it completed in a couple of hours.

I didn’t change anything on this version of the dress and sewed up a straight size 2. I was unsure about the tulip shape of the skirt. I am absolutely a pear shape and even in the final version, I am not loving the skirt. Should I make this again, I will just shave the excess off the pattern.

I sewed this up using the Cotton + Steel rayon from their Wonderland collection, which we still have in the shop. I have used this fabric before here and here, and to be completely honest, as long as they continue to make it, it will usually be my first choice for rayon. Those ladies have found a magical formula that feels amazing to wear all year long. It’s light in the summer, yet substantial enough to wear on cold days as well (layered obviously). The colors are bright and the durability is top notch. Yet another win!

When I sew this again–and I’m shocked I haven’t–I will change a couple of things. I will shave off the tulip shape of the skirt and I will also add in-seam pockets. I am tempted to try to swap out the recommended elastic for a thinner one, based on a dress I currently own that has this feature. If I don’t, I won’t be that upset. I am pretty happy with the elastic as is, but I think thinner would also be cute.

This pattern would be great for beginners since there are no closures and the construction is pretty straightforward. For those that are more advanced, it is a nice, quick project that isn’t just an elastic-waist skirt! Not that I don’t love elastic-waist skirts, but sometimes you need something else.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Sewaholic Rae Skirt in Metallic Linen

Summer has finally hit the East Coast! I have a great quick pattern for your summer-time enjoyment. Truth be told, these pictures were taken in April and even though it looks like I am basking in a warm sun, it was COLD! If you look closely, you can actually see the goosebumps on my legs! Brr!

This is the Rae Skirt pattern by Sewaholic patterns. The pattern company was started by Tasia St. Germaine in 2010, and she drafted for the¬†pear shaped customer. Lucky for me, that is just what I am. I have a small chest, tiny waist but larger hips, hence the “pear” shape. Even though she drafts for my fellow junk-in-the-trunk people, I have seen numerous renditions of her patterns by non-pear people that look amazing, so ¬†fear not! Tasia sold the¬†business a few years back, and quite honestly, we haven’t seen much new from¬†them. There are¬†some solid, fantastic patterns, so the¬†line is still quite popular. You will see her Renfrew, Cambie, and Granville¬†still popping up around the sewing blogs.

This pattern in particular was produced to help people learn how to sew. I am talking about giving confidence to someone that has not even sewn a pillowcase, let alone a skirt. The instructions are fantastic for new sewers, and she holds your hand with every turn. If you are not an in-person class taker, this is like having Tasia with you every step of the way. I am not a beginner, but I love sewing this skirt. It is one of those things that I find flattering (which is tough to say about an elastic-waisted skirt!), a quick sewing palate cleanser, and yields endless opportunities to use up fun fabric.

My initial thought was to do this in a Cotton + Steel gingham, but I decided that with the way the pattern pieces were shaped, it might be a bit of an eye-sore with the plaids blending into each other. It might have worked, but I will probably never find out. I found something else to do with said gingham, and instead used the Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic linen in red with a golden tone for the Rae. It is super fun!

This is my third version of this skirt, and I almost have it perfect. This time I added belt loops, which are a must. I was in a time crunch to finish the skirt so even though pockets would make this the PERFECT skirt, it is sadly sans pockets. Next time though!

I sewed up a size two and it fit pretty much spot-on. I mean, it does have an elastic waist, so fitting is pretty much nonexistent, but the amount of fullness is just enough for my frame. I really want to do my next version in something with a bit more drape. And with pockets.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Working with the linen was not a problem. I was concerned it would fray like crazy, but I just zigzagged over the¬†raw edges and all is still good. This linen is a dream to wear in hot weather. I recently wore this in Athens, which was standing-on-the-sun hot, and I was very comfortable. The composition is about half linen and half cotton with a little lurex, so you don’t get the crazy wrinkles, but it is still lovely and breathable.

This skirt took me two hours to make from tracing to attaching the last belt loop. What could be better than that?? I will need to block out a bit more time for pockets next time, but still a great and satisfying project.

Have you sewn any Sewaholic patterns? Are you a fellow pear-shape? What are you sewing for your summer wardrobe?!?!?!

Frances Dress in Wonderland Rayon

I think I was on a posting roll for awhile, and then WHAM! Since I last posted we had Heather from Closet Case Patterns here at the shop, and I also went on a ten-day (10!!) vacation to Athens and Rome. Side note: in case you are curious if fabric store owners still purchase fabric when they are on vacation, the answer is a big fat yes. Hopefully I will get to sew some of the new stash before the end of the year, so hold tight on that front!

Before I got crazy busy, I was able to whip this little number up. This is the Frances Dress, by Green Bee Patterns. Green Bee is co-owned by Alexia Abegg, who is also one of the main designers for Cotton + Steel. ¬†I will be perfectly honest, this dress is a full-on copy of the one I saw Devon Iott, a.k.a. Miss Make, wear at Quilt Market last fall. She didn’t do the elastic and had a straight hem, so I guess it isn’t a complete copy, but she is absolutely responsible for this arriving in my closet the store as a sample.

This is one of those patterns that kind of sneaks up on you. The pattern cover shows a contrast button band and collar,¬†which is just not my jam, so I never really gave it a thought. If it’s your jam, you are way more of a risk taker than I am. It just kind of sat on our pattern shelf until I saw it in person at Quilt Market. Then I was completely obsessed and waited until the Cotton + Steel Wonderland fabric arrived.

Wonderland is the second collection from the Rifle Paper Co. and C+S collaboration. The hardest decision was which color way to use:¬† the pink/brown–a personal favorite combo, or the blue/black. I think either would have been amazing, but I settled on the pink. This also gave me a chance to use hot pink thread for construction and topstitching. I can’t say that with any of my other projects! ūüôā

As far as construction goes, this dress is pretty darn simple and the instructions were very well written! The sleeves are sewn in flat (yay for no gathering stitches!) and the¬†collar is a camp collar. If you aren’t familiar with that type of collar, it means there is no collar stand–the collar is sewn directly onto the dress. This takes some of the stress out of making a collar. Think of it as a collar with training wheels! It will get you ready to take the big plunge with a grown-up collar (with stand!). When I saw Devon’s, she didn’t add the elastic at the waist and it had more of a boxy style, which I adored, but after asking everyone at Sip + Stitch what I should do, I ended up adding the elastic.

One thing to note for anyone out there who is going to make this with elastic: I did notice that the elastic guide seemed kind of high (and double check that since I didn’t actually transfer the lines, I just remember thinking it as I traced the pattern), so I just made my own line. How? I just measuered up from the side seams and only ONE of the fronts. Can you figure out what I did wrong? I bet you can. Yes, please measure both fronts. Mine aren’t level, but you know what? Wabi Sabi, man.

I did not do any adjustments to this pattern either! I actually sewed it…gulp…without making a muslin. I know, I know! This is totally against all my rules, but I just wanted to sew something and figured that the loose/relaxed style of the dress would work in my favor. Which it did. Thankfully! The pattern is drafted well and everything lined up as it should.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Actually, I guess did make one small¬†change to the pattern. It called for buttons, but instead I used our fancy pearl snaps in hot pink. I do feel like a superhero when I take it off at night, which is awesome. I am sure one night I will rip one of those little suckers¬†off with my mighty strength! ūüėČ

If you want to make a shirt-dress but are intimidated, this pattern is a great place to start. It has easy construction, a nice relaxed fit, and is super cute! It is like its own super power!

Have you sewn this dress up? Are you a constrasty-trim type of sew-er? Do you have your own super power?? Fess up! ūüôā