Archive: Feb 2015

Pauline Alice: the Eliana Dress

aka The Wistful Dress. Life is has been busy and TBH ‘worse than yuck’ I need something/anything to go right… my girls love this dress so I’m taking it as a ‘win’. This was one of those projects that I wanted to … Continue reading

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Reinforcing a Kimono Sleeve: A Tutorial

Today I have a tutorial to help you reinforce the curved edge of a kimono sleeve.  I have mentioned this technique before, but thought it was deserving of a more in depth tutorial.

I love a kimono sleeve.  The design feature is classic, easy to wear, and very easy to construct.  As a fan of vintage silhouettes, I have made quite a few dresses and blouses with this design feature over the years (the Anna Dress is a perfect example, as is this blouse, as well as my most recent project).  But I have never liked the fact that it requires clipping into a seam that sees a lot of movement and potential wear.



There are, of course, different options for reinforcing a non-gusseted version of a kimono sleeve.  If your fabric is lightweight, a French seam is an excellent choice.  Because the seam allowance is trimmed during French seam construction, the need to clip into the seam is eliminated.  If, however, you find the perfect fabric for your kimono sleeved pattern, but a French seam is going to be impossible with your thick fabric, there is another way!

This reinforcement technique is often included on vintage pattern instructions; the first time I came across it was on the instructions for this dress.  Over the years, I have used the process on many, many cut-in-one sleeved bodices, and along the way, I have figured out a few extra steps that makes the process easier, and (I think) even better!
Before you start construction, stay-stitch each side seam on the front and back bodice pieces (this step is not shown on the mini muslin mock up).  Complete any construction necessary on the bodice (darts, for instance) until it is time to close your side seams.  Stitch the side seam closed.  For a side seam zipper insertion, stitch the curved portion of the side seam from sleeve opening to the top zipper opening.

At this point, pressing that seam open along the curve is going to be next to impossible.  And when you turn the garment right side out, this is what you get. 

The larger the seam allowance, the worse the pulling will be.  It doesn’t look pretty, and it is certainly not comfortable to wear.

In many situations, a second line of stitching just inside the seam allowance is a great way to reinforce a seam.  However, if you need or want to press your seam allowance open (as in the case of a side seam) this method will not work.  Instead, stitch directly over your first line of stitching using a small stitch length.  It is not necessary to reinforce the entire side seam, just the curved area that will be clipped.

Now it is time to clip into your seam allowance and release the tension so the fabric lays flat.  Make sure not to clip past your stay-stitching!  Some fabrics will require cutting closer to the seamline than others.  Wools, for instance, tend to be quite malleable under the iron, while a tightly woven cotton may require more cuts in order to lay flat. 

Clipping into the curved seam is essential, but it weakens the integrity of the fabric which can be especially problematic in an area that sees quite a bit of movement.  To reinforce the clipped area, I like to top-stitch the curved section of the seam.  In many cases, the stitches will sink right into the fabric and are virtually invisible, although they can end up being visible on certain fabrics.  However, most of the time this area will be covered by your arm, and without a gusset, this type of sleeve has excess fabric to allow for movement that will fold and create shadows, making that small bit of top-stitching disappear.  Or, I suppose, you could even make the top-stitching a design feature and continue it all the way down the seamline! 
Press the side seam open – which should be easy to do once those cuts are made!  (A tailor’s ham or sleeve board can be very helpful to press those curved seamlines.)

Now the side seam can lay flat along the curved underarm area.

Pin the seam allowances in place from the right side of your garment, making sure to catch all the bits of clipped fabric on the wrong side.

Top-stitch along the curved edge to reinforce the seamline.

If you are machine stitching, make sure to secure the thread ends on the wrong side of the garment – you do not want that line of stitching to come undone!

The finished product should look something like this.

I like to add a second layer of protection which covers the clipped edges (less direct friction on those raw edges will slow down the fraying process).  It also helps to reinforce the line of top-stitching, especially on a loosely woven fabric.  I often use a strip of rayon seam binding for this purpose.  Twill tape would also work.  For this dress, I used a small scrap of silk organza that was handy.  The added piece of fabric will also keep the seamline from pulling open.

Depending on the garment and/or my fabric choice, I will hand stitch with a pick stitch or use the machine for this added line of stitching.  Depending on the curve of the pattern pieces, it can be much easier to manipulate the fabric by hand, which also happens to make the stitching line less visible.  Generally, my lining fabric gets a machine application and my outer fabric gets hand stitched.  But the choice is yours! 
Because the fabric for this particular dress is very loosely woven and has a tendency to fray, I treated the base of each clip with a spot of Fray Check.  I would not recommend doing this, however, if your garment does not include a lining.  The Fray Check can create a rough edge to the fabric as it dries and would be rather uncomfortable on the underarm area without the coverage of a lining material.

A scrap of fabric or paper placed behind the clipped seam will keep the Fray Check from getting on the rest of your garment while it drys.

I like to repeat the top-stitching process on my lining as well, eliminating the layer of added organza or seam binding from the equation.  The lining is also an excellent chance to practice the technique before working with your fashion fabric.

And that is one way to reinforce a kimono sleeve (or any clipped seam that needs some extra security, for that matter)!
[The fabric for this dress was received in exchange for my contributions as a Britex Guest Blogger.]

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Top Tops Abound – McCall 6963 and Simplicity 1916

  I’m reviewing two more knit top patterns. My goal is to make different styles that will work with a variety of skirt, pant, and jacket combinations.  One of my wardrobe observations is that some tops don’t work well with certain jackets or …

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What’s Next?

Hi everyone,Before I start with another review, I wanted to thank each and everyone who continues to visit my blog.  These days I’m playing catch up on projects made in December and January.Helen asked if I was challenging myself to make a top a d…

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the suit

Ahem. I had a look in my blog archives and I actually made this jacket way back in 2011… What possessed me to wait this long to make matching bottoms? It was the intention all along and I know it has been among my sewing plans for winter for at least…

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Cameo Shawl

Nearly a year ago I started my Whippoorwill shawl, then you may remember that disaster struck with it!  Well, it lay in the knitting bag until just before christmas, when I decided to have a look at it again.  I really wasn’t feeling the love…

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When you think about it, thinking about thinking is the hardest sort of thinking there is, which makes you think.

Hello hello! Happy weekend, everyone, and happy end of February! I am so ridiculously pleased to have reached the end of what is always a very difficult month for me that I celebrated last night with gin and I am going to celebrate tonight with champag…

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Made by Me: Style Arc Dixie dress

Hello there.  After several weeks at the beginning of the year with hardly any sewing being done around these parts I seem to be getting my mojo back.  I’ve made my second Style Arc pattern of the year, and I’m a definite convert!This one is …

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Ilsley skirt – free pattern download

Hello lovely ladies! I’m very excited, as not only have I just sent off my upcoming pattern for testing, but I also have this cute little free MULTI-SIZED pattern to share with you (scroll to bottom of page for links).

Whilst I was pinning away on Pinterest for my western style skirt, I was also subconsciously gathering quite a lot of skirt images with curved hems. It all kind of accidentally became a thing and fell into place to become this simple little pattern.

The style is a straight skirt with elasticated waist, pockets and curved hem for ultimate sewing ease, comfort and style (in my opinion).

I have kept it at it’s most basic and made it up in this soft linen fabric, but it is ripe for a good pattern hack!

Look how well it goes with my other freebie sailors top pattern?

Here’s a pick of the lovely and tidy insides! All totally achievable on a standard sewing machine.
As it’s a free download I have included instructions, but they are fairly minimal. Hopefully there’s enough there to get you through!
Now onto the bit that I feel a bit awkward about! This is totally obligation free, but I wanted to include a link to my charity fundraising page for anyone who wished to donate to Breast Cancer Care. I thought it would be a shame to waste the opportunity to raise money for a good cause, but do sincerely believe that charity donations are a very personal matter and everyone does their bit in their own way, so am in no way intending to pressure anyone to actually visit my page or make a donation.
Here’s the link to my page –
Right now that’s out the way, here are some of the pins that got me thinking and could also inspire your own versions. I have not included any links here, but if you want to click through to the image source then go and visit my pinterest board!

How do you get your hands on the download? Just here….
For the printable pattern click here.
For the instruction booklet click here

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Haven Acres Mini Collection! ie PONY HAT!

Check out my review (and the cute photos of Edison!) of the Haven Acres Mini Collection over at Pattern Revolution! It was my début review so leave me loads of comment love and cheerleading support over there please :B

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Weekend Doris dress!

I was a pattern tester! For the first time ever I was the tester for a pattern and it is this lovely Weekend Doris dress that I had the pleasure of trying out!

I’m not sure how well I did at the testing bit, but I sure do like the pattern. Suitable fabrics as per the pattern are supposed to have stretch in, but after reading the designers blog post about her success with a woven here I could not resist breaking the rules and trying out this lovely cord. This fabric is actually left over from one of my previous pattern samples and I even cut said sample up to make up enough fabric, but I’m really pleased I did as this is the cosiest dress in town!

The pattern itself is very easy to use and so reminiscent of vintage, easy sew shift dresses. It’s a lovely shape and comes together quickly with no fit issues and has no fastenings. I got away with the no fastenings just about on the woven as it does pull over my head, but if you’re worried about hair and make-up then you may want to pop a zip in!

The pockets are nice and deep, so perfect for shoving hands in and storing lots of hair clips and tissues (that’s what I keep in my pockets). I lengthened the dress by approx. 20cm as I was unsure I would wear the pattern length. It looks better with a belt made up longer, but the shape curves in at the waist, so there is not unnecessary bulk to gather in under a belt.

The sleeves (apart from the length), were the only pattern piece I modified for a woven. After reading Jeanette’s blog post I added about 10cm to the bottom of the sleeve width and drew a straight line up to the underarm. I also omitted the sleeve cuffs in favour of a turned up hem.

I think m version has quite a different feel to other tester versions I have seen due to the fabric choice and additional length (obvs), but I’m looking forward to making this up again in a linen for the summer. The only change I would make next time if using a woven would be to cut the neck band on the bias, but I had no fabric left to accommodate that for this dress. Alternatively it would look nice with a faced neckline or bias binding, who knows!!!
The pattern has officially been relased today, so pop over to for more details on how to get your hands on it.
BTW, I took these photos early last week, but am actually wearing this exact outfit right now! 
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February Indie Pattern Update!

There has as always been a lot going on in the world of indie sewing pattern design this month. I have spotted in particular lots of calls for pattern testers on individual pattern company blogs so if that’s something you’ve been interested in doing ke…

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February Wrap-Up, Stashbusting

First…the stash. I am both confused and in awe of non-stashers.  I can’t do it! I have to BUY ALL THE THINGS!! when I see them! I have very good intentions when I buy too! :)However, I reach a point where I feel bogged down by it all. Of co…

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Button sewing, more that meets the eye

Hi and Happy Friday. Thank you so much for all the nice comments on the Quart coat, I really appreciate it. It probably goes to show that I really like making tailored wool items. I am about 3/4 of the way through making the Burda coat which I mentione…

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I’m Going on a Safari….

Behold my latest pattern purchase, Folkwear 130, up top.It’s called an “Australian Bush Outfit” but isn’t that the same thing as a safari outfit?  If you’re from Down Under, maybe you know.  It’s a unisex pattern and includes long pants and/o…

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Odds and Ends and Lambs Running

Good afternoon everyone. I’m back again here finally after the unfortunante Cat Pee Incident of last week. I had to replace my laptop but luckily, the hard drive was okay and so all my files and work are in tact. Thank goodness for that! I was able to …

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All tied up

Follow my blog with Bloglovin    Issue 58/March 2015 of Making magazine was released in the UK yesterday and in it is this simple front buttoning bow tied blouse pattern and tutorial by yours truly Now the issue is on the shelves I can share this version with you- available on my Free Patterns Page […]

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Your Makes!

Happy Friday, everyone! Tilly is head down working on our next sewing patterns, so it’s Laura here today. London has been going clothing crazy during the last few days with London Fashion Week, but we much prefer seeing the handmade fashion you’ve been making yourself with T&TB pattterns!

This month people have been suffering from Megan madness – we have seen so many great versions of this dress being made! Charlotte loved making herself a new Little Black Dress, and Jemima made the Megan dress her own by lowering the empire waist line and adding a self-drafted collar and button placket. The pattern is included in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch.

Katie used some swoon-worthy floral Liberty fabric to make her Megan dress. And Jane looks very happy to be wearing her version made with a beautiful swirly print fabric.

The Lilou dress (also from Love At First Stitch) has been getting some major love too. Thouraya has sewn her new favourite dress in a fab arrow print fabric, while Elie’s floral version looks super cool with black tights and boots.

Who would have guessed that this awesome bright red Coco is the first garment Lisa has ever made?! I love how Selmin has used a different colour fabric for the funnel neck and sleeves on her Coco – such an effective idea.

Spring is definitely in the air, and Holly is getting in the spirit with her adorable floral Mimi blouse (pattern in Love at First Stitch). Sylvia has also used a fab flower print for her version, in a gorgeous shade of green. Cute buttons too!

Lottie had her head in the clouds when making herself this fun Clemence skirt (project included in Love at First Stitch). Sarah has chosen some great fabric too – who doesn’t love a bright geometric print? It really stands out when teamed with a black top and tights.

The sleeveless version of the Francoise dress will be great for warmer weather. Ping looks stunning in her printed velvet dress with contrasting collar, and Tabatha was getting into the Valentines Day spirit with her Francoise in a crazily cute heart print. Also, anyone else have major rug envy?!

The Margot pyjamas (pattern included in Love at First Stitch) are just what you need to get cosy in the cold weather. This fab pair sewn by Sara are the first garment she has made – so impressive! Andy is also getting involved in the action, with these super fun pjs made for him by Christina.

Running out of things to team with a classic Breton striped top? What better than a bright yellow denim Delphine skirt, like this awesome one made by Jenna. Sophie has made her Delphine in a super stylish tartan. (Pattern from Love at First Stitch.)

Lindsey has made not one, but two adorable versions of the Mathilde blouse with short sleeves. Emma’s version looks great worn with some jeans – such a pretty, relaxed look.

If you (like me!) are getting major sewing envy right now, there is loads more inspiration in the Maker Galleries on Pinterest – go see what people have been making. If you’ve sewn something with a Tilly and the Buttons pattern, send us your best photo for the Maker Gallery – you can tweet us, email us, or send us a link through this page (unfortunately we can’t pin from Instagram). We can’t wait to see!

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Brown Hair, Puyallup, and More!

Well, the deed is done! I’m back to my (kinda sorta) natural hair color. It required an enormous amount of work to get it to this shade, so I can hardly think of it as really natural. But I’m sure it’s someone’s natural hair color. My big photo sh…

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Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art

Only a few days until my family arrives in London, and I have to say that my decorating/re-decorating has reached a slight fever pitch!
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art  Our Family FourOne area that I have been DELIGHTED to finally have tackled is the area at the top of the stairs.  It was a big blank space and now there is color, texture, and art, and best of all it was FREE!  See that big, touchable weaving on the right?  It is made entirely of fabric scraps from my stash, t shirt yarn (which I’ll show you how to make below) and woven on the back of an art piece that had been hanging in my living room.  I love these kinds of “use what you’ve got” projects, particularly when they turn out so well!Heart Weaving Wall 2Fabric Scrap Wall Art WM
Also, I’m sharing the tutorial for this T Shirt Yarn Heart Weaving today over on The Sewing Rabbit if you want all of the details of my slight obsession with weaving. 🙂
First, gather your supplies.
Weaving Tutorial 1A note about the optional but helpful items:
The long stick will be used as a shed.  (If you have a shed already, great!  But I’m trying to show you how to do this all without having to run to the store for anything new.)  This can be a long knitting needle, dowel rod, (clean) paint stirrer…you get the idea .  A shed is woven through your warp and stays in the loom as you are weaving.  It saves you time and effort because each time that you want to weave that particular up/down pattern, you simply raise the shed slightly and run your fabric yarn underneath it.
The fabric tuner (or a loop turner) is a sewing tool used to turn a narrow strip of fabric inside out, like a spaghetti strap.  BUT in weaving it is perfect for grabbing the end of your fabric strip, securing it in the little hook closure, and pulling the strip easily back through the warp.  Paired with the shed it makes the weaving go much more quickly.
I’ll show you both of these in action below. They are so great together.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 1 2 First up, make t-shirt yarn for your loom’s warp, which is the vertical strings that you will be the base of your weaving.
Weaving Tutorial 2If you have old t-shirts that you want to upcycle these make perfect t-shirt yarn as well.  Cut your fabric in horizontal strips, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide and pull them until they stretch into long skinny cords.  Don’t worry about needing one long continuous string, the glue gun can easily and discreetly attach the ends together so that you can continue weaving with several shorter strands.  
Next, get/make a loom.  I have an adjustable loom but even in the largest setting it was smaller than what I was looking for, so I took a took a long canvas frame that was hanging in our living room, flipped it to the back and hammered nails 1/2″ apart along the top edges, and used it as my loom.  Even with slightly crooked nails it worked perfectly.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 2Take the end of your t-shirt yarn, knot the end around the top of the first nail, wind it down around the bottom nail, and continue on this up and down pattern until your loom is full.  Make another small knot at the end of your t-shirt yarn and slip it over one of the nails on the end.  You have just made your warp!
  Be aware that because this is a stretchy t-shirt yarn, once you remove it from the loom it will shrink up in length.  If you want to keep the length make sure that there is a bit of slack in your warp and that it is not pulled too tightly.
Now it’s time to make the fabric strips that you will be weaving.
This is a perfect time to use your scraps!  Pull out your basket(s?) of scraps, salvages, and any fabric that looked really pretty in the store/online but didn’t work out.  (My warp is made entirely out of an inexpensive but horrible feeling polyester knit.  So glad to finally put it to some use!!)
Go through your scraps and look for anything that is roughly as wide as your loom or longer. You don’t need a really long continuous piece (I’ll show you why in a minute.)
Fabric Scrap 1Fabric Scrap 2Fabric Scrap3 TIPS:
-Look for fabric in varying textures: knits, wovens, linens, sweater knit, french terry, etc.
-Be sure to grab any fabric that has different looks on each sides (like terry or a double-sided fabric would be perfect.)
-This is also a good time to go through your clothes for up cycling-100% cotton t shirts make the best fabric yarn.

Now it’s time to cut.  Get your rotary cutter and mat and cut each piece to your desired width.  I cut my wovens about 3/8″ and my knits 1/2″ because I knew they would shrink as I pulled them taut.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 6Now is the moment of excitement, time to weave!!
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 3Pick a fabric and start weaving about an inch from the base.  

If you have the shed stick in your warp, you can simply slide the fabric turner through the up/down pattern that you have just created with the shed, hook the end on the edge of your first strip of fabric, and carefully pull it through to the other side.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 7Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 10Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 8When you reach the end you simply wrap the fabric around the outer edge of the warp and go back again the other direction, alternating the up/down pattern that you used on the previous line.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 12Now the beautiful thing about using fabric scraps for this weaving is that you can pair them with a tiny dab from a glue gun and it makes for lots of ease and happiness.  As I went along, whenever I wanted to change colors or my fabric was about to run out, I used a tiny dab of hot glue to join my old fabric strip to my new fabric strip, and then just kept on weaving.  No loose tails hanging off of the back, no knots, no problems.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 20Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 22Whenever I reached the end of a row, I used my comb to carefully push the fabric strip up against the previous row and then carried on with my weaving.
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 1Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 2
I just loved making this.  It was easy, relaxing to work on, and it came together so quickly!Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 27When I reached the end of my weaving, I slide a branch through the top and bottom loops of my weaving, making sure that each loop encircled the branch.  
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 28700x466Then I carefully slide each loop off each nail until they were all on the branch, tied some string on the outer edges of the top branch, and hung it up.

Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 12

Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 4Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 13
I decided that I didn’t like the branch as much as a dowel rod for this project so I switched it out afterwards.  But I would recommend having a few choices on hand before you remove it from the frame, because transferring it from the branch to the dowel rod was not my favorite thing.  But this hanging is.
 Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 22Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 20 
Woven Fabric Scrap Wall Art 1 2It’s such a happy little grouping. 

Woven Wall Hangings 2Fabric Woven Wall Hanging 20

Great at the top of the stairs, right?
Now go check out the T-Shirt Yarn Heart Weaving on The Sewing Rabbit.  It’s my first DIY there and my second ever post, and I love it!!

Heart Weaving Wall 1

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Abstract in Watercolour

How to start a blog post almost two whole months after the last one, especially when it was full of positivity & promises of action..  Well, something is better than nothing I guess, so here goes with the first project … Continue reading

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Instagram, Sewing Lessons and Little Things to Sew

After a ridiculous – embarrassing even- amount of deliberation, I decided to join Instagram.  (You can find me at @rachelstitchedtogether ).  I must have talked to Dan about it a dozen times, to which he finally responded, “Rachel, it’s Insta…

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My New Favorite Shirt Pattern.

My new favorite shirt pattern is Simplicity 1544. It is a long-sleeve pattern with a separate button placket.  I like shirts with this type of placket because it pops out and makes the shirt look dressy.  I made no adjustments for length, whi…

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Wool + Pleather Linden Minidress!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well and sewing up a storm! OK, question: do you have seasonal color palettes? I know I do! Sometimes I feel like my closet is split between two different people- winter me and summer me! In warm weather, I’m all about bright colors and fun prints, but in the winter, […]

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Light on the bottom

Hi, friends! Before I move on to today’s post, I have to stop and say how much I’ve been loving all your comments on my last post about my new hair color and more importantly, about celebrating yourself. Thank you for all the lovely compliments, but REALLY thank you for… read more »

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Ready, Set, SEW: Video tour of Marcy Tilton Sew Expo Booth

Come See Us @ Sew Expo PuyallupToday is the big day!  All set for the Sew Expo opening this morning.  Come see us in booth 830, and come to the Tilton Sisters Vogue/Butterick Fashion Show:  Thursday/Friday at 10:30, Saturday at 2:30. &nb…

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Papercut Clover Dress in Wanderer

I had sworn off dresses, promising to only make separates for a while…but when I saw this print from April Rhodes new fabric line, Wanderer, I thought it was a perfect match for the Papercut Clover dress.  April had contacted me and asked if I would like some of her new fabric in advance of […]

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Surprise Lullaby Layette!

Luallaby Layette from Oliver + S in Riley Blake Designs knit sewn by The Inspired Wren -- got all that?

I have an announcement…

I LOVE the Lullaby Layette from Oliver + S and I’m sad to give it away — but ain’t no one in this house ever gonna’ fit in that.
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Spring McCall’s Are Out!

There are some decent patterns; lots of simpler silhouettes. Lots of ‘learn to sew’ patterns.They are here7133:Like the idea; but I don’t need another jumpsuit pattern. I think I have 6; plus Burda magsSeveral that may appeal to tweens (no offense if i…

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Mustard Panda Scarf

Hello everyone! A slightly different post from me today. A knitting project. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this here before, but I do know how to knit. And I actually enjoy knitting. It’s the perfect activity to do when watching a series or a movie,…

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