Posts Categorized: Sewing

National Sewing Month Question #1!


Today is the first day of our celebration of National Sewing Month! We asked a group of indie designers and bloggers four sewing questions for the month and this week we will focus on the first question, which is one of our favorites here in the shop: What is your favorite tool? We have had heated debates here about whether seam gauge (Maggie), her new Zirkle (Lisa), walking foot (Jenny) or rotary blade and mat (Lauren) should wear the crown, and we were no different from some of the others on our star-studded list.

Instead of grouping all the designers, bloggers, garment sewers or quilters together, we just threw everyone together and will give the scoop from a mixed group today, Wednesday and Friday. It will be a whole week of sewing fun! Today we are lucky enough to hear from the likes of Grainline Studios, Colette Patterns, Lauren Taylor, CraftyNHMom and Guicy Guice. Now, let’s get down and read what this group thinks reigns supreme in the sewing room:

Lauren Taylor, OH, so many! Other than the obvious “sewing machine” answer – I love my iron and all the pressing tools related to it! I have a fantastic industrial gravity feed iron that really works some magic with the amount of steam/heat that comes out of it. I also love my little bamboo point turner, my sleeve board (I honestly don’t understand how anyone can get anything pressed without one) and my clapper. I also love the good ol’ basic seam gauge. I have several scattered around my sewing room and I use them constantly!

Kim, CraftyNHMom: I love my pincushions because they’re so cute. The tool I can’t live without is my purple fabric marker.

Wallis, Colette Patterns, Pattern Maker: My ergonomic fiskars scissors and chalk wheel.

Guiseppe, @guicy_guice: Currently, I am obsessed with Joan Hawley’s (of Lazy Girl Designs) Flying Geese Ruler. It flawlessly makes four flying geese at once, no trimming required. The ruler makes units from sizes 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ thru 3 1/2″ x 7″. I love flying geese and use it for every flying geese project.

Jen, Grainline Studios: I have to say my favorite tool is snips! I have tons of them scattered around my studio.

Haley, Colette Patters, Editor in Chief: Hands down has to be a good fine point seam ripper. Mistakes are going to be made, it happens! What is important is we learn from our goof-ups and that we have a good quality seam ripper to reverse all the damage.  I’m here to tell you, all seam rippers are not created equal! Your seam ripper should have a small point for getting up and under even the tiniest stitches and be sharp — this mean replacing it every few years if necessary. Clover makes a really high quality one that I  recommend.

These were such great answers. I know I now have some things to add to my list: gravity feed iron?!?! That should totally fit into my stocking this year! 😉 The fun isn’t over yet with the group we heard from today. Come back next Monday to see their answers to next week’s question.

Bonus questions! We also thought it would be fun if we threw in some extra questions for our participants.  We will put these in randomly throughout the week. These two questions got some fantastic responses, and we loved reading through all of the answers. We hope you do too!

What is your favortite thing you have ever sewn:

Usually my favorite thing is the last thing I made, because it’s new 🙂 (Jen, Grainline Studios)

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

I wish someone had told me that it’s okay if it’s not perfect. I was taught by my grandmother how to sew and she is very much a perfectionist. Having worked professionally at a factory that made clothes for Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, her attention to detail is remarkable. I just wish that when I made a mistake I was told “it’s okay” instead of “that’s wrong.” At the end of the day, this worked in my favor. I pay close attention to details and take great pride in those details. But I wish I weren’t so hard on myself when I get something “wrong.” (Guiseppe, @guicy_guice)

Thank you so much to today’s participants! Stop by the blog on Wendesday to hear from Heather of Closet Case Files, Kim of Late Night Stitchery, Allie of AllieMJackson, Mary of See Mary Quilt, Meg and Autumn from Colette Patterns, and Morgan from Thread Theory.

Now, what is your favorite tool? We want to know! 🙂

Papercut’s Sway Dress in Silk

Silk Papercut Sway Dress

What do you do when you have beautiful silk and an itch to sew something new? Let me tell you, Papercut’s Sway Dress just might beat out whatever’s next in your queue.

For us here in the Northeast, it’s the last waning days of summer and this dress is perfect for the weather we have right now. It’s light, breezy, and easy to wear. The construction of the dress is pretty simple: only four pieces (plus facings), great directions, optional pockets and belt loops, and two lengths…more on that soon.

We have had this particular silk in the shop for a bit and every time I would pass it by I would stroke it, wondering what it could be. The pattern is random and the width is small. I knew it could be a knock-out *insert garment here*, I just didn’t quite know what that magical garment was.

Then one day I was rearranging the patterns in the shop and picked up the Sway dress. I realized this was what that silk was meant for. I think I might have heard angels singing even. Maybe.

Pintuck & Purl's Silk Sway Dress

I set to prepping the fabric and getting the dress started. I traced the pattern for the shorter version, not realizing how truly short it might be. I assumed that since I was short, everything would work out just fine. For the most part it did. I think because of this choice I was able to squeeze the pattern pieces onto my narrow fabric. Once I was out for the photo shoot, I realized it was pretty darn short. Since it was already done, and we were on location, a short dress it was going to be.

As I said earlier, construction was a breeze. I opted not to break up my busy print with center front and back seam allowances and placed both on the fold. Now my dress consisted of only two pieces plus facings. Done. I interfaced the facings with silk organza. Since I knew it was to be a summer dress, I didn’t want anything too bulky or hot. I sometimes find fusible interfacings sticky in the heat and I wanted breathability.

Silk Sway Dress by Pintuck & Purl

This dress has the added benefit of being reversible. I neglected to tell my photographer that on the day of the shoot, so you only get to see one side in action. However both ways look great. I prefer a v-neck, but the scoop neck option is there if I decide I want a change.

The tricky part of the dress is the hemming. That circumference is a beast! I pulled out my trusty BERNINA hemming foot and it was tear-free. If your machine has an option for one of these feet, it is a great investment. It knocked down maybe an hour or more of hemming to about fifteen minutes or so.

Papercut Sway Dress by Pintuck & Purl

Have you made the Papercut Sway dress or seen a version you love? What do you think, should I now make this a tunic or should it stay a short dress? I can’t decide!

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Camden Cape in Silk and Tweed


It is supposed to be spring around here. It snowed yesterday. Not so much springlike, but that does mean that the weather is perfect for a nice wool cape!

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Black Wool Emery Dress


You may have stumbled across the many, many, (many!!) versions of Christine’s Haynes Emery Dress online. “Maggie, WHY are there so many?”, you ask. Well, I will tell you—the pattern is brilliant. It is well drafted and the result is one of the most adorable dresses on the planet. On. The. Planet. I am shocked that I haven’t sewn at least twenty more out of my stash fabrics since completing my first.

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