DIY: Wedding Sash and Garter

YAY! It’s wedding season! For those of you lucky enough to to have a beautiful bride in your life, or to be a beautiful bride yourself, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! eHow asked me to create two tutorials especially for you… How to Make a Sash … Continue reading

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SUMMER- you fickle beast!

Spring in South Carolina- it’s about a week- a brief snap between ‘should I fasten my coat?’ and ‘Ladies don’t get butt sweat’. It doesn’t leave much time for adjustment. This year it’s happened at least twice already. The local trashy things don’t know whether to wear camo or a tank top- all the back […]

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Palate Cleanser – Jalie 3355 – Floral Sweatshirt

Remember that last thing I made? The fluffy thing? The pirate thing? Yea, well, I needed something easy that was a win. Immediately. Like I needed something now. Enter Jalie 3355 (and really, if I’m being honest, Jalie anything). Something easy that was guaranteed to be a win. I bought this fabric at the National City Swap Meet a bit ago and knew when I bought it what I would use it for.

Let me tell you. This girl is so helpful. This girl really does love her sweatshirt. She does. Really. This is her favorite expression. She actively tries not to smile. I made a different Jalie sweatshirt for her and she will wear it until I force her to take it off. She says she likes things with pockets. And cozy things.

Here’s a more accurate picture of her true personality.

You probably can’t tell but I didn’t add the hem band to the bottom of this one.

Here’s the front of the pattern.

When I make this again, and if I leave off the bottom band, I’ll make the pocket a little larger and move it up a bit. Usually the bottom of the pocket only gets 3/8” smaller because it is a seam allowance. Since this time it’s a hem, I lost more of the bottom of the pocket. Oh well, she still loves it.

Damn photo bombers.

With my new Janome Coverstitcher (ssqqqqqqquuuuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!), I sewed on the wrong side to make this pattern on the right side. You can’t really see it. I should have done it with contrasting thread, but oh well.

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I feel better now.

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· More Shoes for Sale! ·

Hello, there! It’s Kathryn, the girl behind most of the photographs on this blog and who occasionally shows up wearing some of Lily’s fabulous creations. 🙂 I’m popping in today with the second installment in the “Shoes for Sale” series. I have a pair…

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Contain It! Blog Hop & Giveaway (Closed)

Contain It! Giveaway -- Enter to win a signed copy at The Inspired Wren

Happy Saturday! I’ve got a giveaway for you! Click on through for your chance to win a signed copy of Contain It! English Paper Pieced Accessories by Linda Chaney and Laura Gerth of Prairie Sewn Studios.

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Weekend: Spring Fling

If you live in the U.S., specifically the northeast, I hope you’re enjoying spring. March 20 was the official first day, but instead of it being cool and breezy, it was snowy and cold. Ugh. For the rest of March and until last week, temperatures teetered back and forth. This past weekend was the first time it really felt like the season. Hello 70 degrees! I’ve left the windows open most days since and Sage and Basil have found a new chilling spot on the sill. With warmer weather, I’ve naturally been wanting to get out more. You know what’s  great about sewing lingerie? You can knock out a few sets during the week and still have time to have a weekend. It’s not like an epic project where you hole yourself in your sewing studio for hours/days on end. I’ll be sharing some new bras next week, but until then, I’ll be enjoying the outdoors. You should too! Some of my favorite sewing links this week: Scruffy Badger makes a funky running skirt. Renee wants to purchase a knitting machine. Anyone have recommendations on where she can buy? Don’t forget to enter the contest to win 3 yards of lace and a bra kit! Another seamstress makes a bra! Sophie took the plunge into lingerie and sewed a Watson. Michelle wnet on a flexible underwire experiment.

The post Weekend: Spring Fling appeared first on Madalynne.

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Navy Reptile Print Brocade – Simplicity 1803

Spring has sprung in Chi-town! I’m so glad the sun is shining and the flowers are starting to bloom.I cannot believe an entire month has past since I last blogged. I’m happy to be back.For spring, you would think that I would sew brighter colors to w…

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Ponti Linden Sweatshirt and a neckband WIN!

I’m not sure when my desire to sew the Linden Sweatshirt actually started.  I sort of never really thought about the pattern and then all of a sudden I HAD to buy it and sew it up that very weekend. I’m more of a “buy the pattern and sit on it for…

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winter Aeolian

The Aeolian tee is not just for summer! I had some dark brown Gorman wool knit from Clear It left over after making a Harper jacket. I wore the jacket quite a bit last winter/spring, and knew that it was a warm fabric. There was just enough left for an Aeolian tee for winter layering. […]

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Sample Sale Time!

I make a lot of stuff over the year… when I’m desigining for a new collection I get so many ideas, and not all of them make it into my collection. I’ve added quite a few one of a kind items to this year’s sample sale! I also have old ready-made stock that I’m trying to clear out…

Photography : Mlle Chèvre (
Model : Ms White Willard (
Make Up : Audrey Lavigne Makeup Artist (

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rebranding + patterns in print!

You guys! I’m so excited to tell you about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes over the last few months (not this hehe). Our patterns are going back into print! We’ve redesigned our branding and made our patterns even better! can you see me dancing! ALL CAPS EXCITEMENT There’s a lot i want […]

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Cartwheel shorts

I love having little girls to sew for, and lately I’ve been having a lot of fun creating new styles for their Summer wardrobes. I’m especially excited to be sewing shorts for them in the first time in FOREVER! Now I know there are already some great kiddie shorts patterns out there, but I kinda like to do things my own way. I get a big thrill out of making something completely new. I also had quite a few specifications from Miss Seven that simply had to be met, namely pockets, pleats, and cartwheel worthiness. These little shorts were also a pretty good scrap bust. You’ve seen the yellow sateen before (here and here) and the printed sateen trim has been around the block too. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all my scraps when these girls get bigger.

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Season of Separates: Tops Challenge Finale

Wow! What a wonderful of array of tops in this, our second month of the Season of Separates!   And now for our surprise prize! Christine Jonson Patterns has donated her lovely Shirred Top & Princess Wrap #426. Each participant (excluding the CSC editors) was given a number and we used a random number generator to […]

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Sailboat Skirt & Top {All The Skirts: Oliver+S & Fat Quarter Shop}

The Oliver + S Sailboat Skirt And Top pattern sums up poetry in skirt form!  This skirt was seriously so fun to put together that we’d sew up another one just for the pure joy of seeing it all come together.  You could probably make this skirt many, many times without getting tired of constructing […]

The post Sailboat Skirt & Top {All The Skirts: Oliver+S & Fat Quarter Shop} appeared first on Skirt Fixation.

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That Voodoo You Do So Well

Recently I was contacted by the vintage inspired clothing company Voodoo Vixen asking if I would like to review an item from their new Spring/Summer 2015 collection. As noted in my last post I have recently felt the need to expand upon my vintage inspired/repro collection and was eager to see what was available! The Spring/Summer […]

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Wishlist for a spring picnic

Being from Southern California, spring time seems to come earlier than the rest of the states. As I type this, it’s sunny out, but quite windy. If I were to go out and have a hypothetical picnic with a friend, I think I would shove them into these…

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Thrifty Thursday/The Peasant Dress or Top

Well, it just wouldn’t be Friday if I wasn’t skating in late with my Thrifty Thursday post!!! At this point, I might as well make a joke about it ;)Before I get started, I thought I would tell you a little story. My grandmother made the best pie crusts…

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3 Softie Makers You Should Know About

Softies were my route into sewing and they remain at the core of my interest in thread and fabric. I don’t think I’ll ever be a quilter or a garment sewer or a bag maker. When I see a pile of fabric and a sewing machine all I want to do is make a little… 

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Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain.

AHOOOYYY THERE MATEYS! It’s Friday! It’s Friday and, for the first time this week, I woke up feeling well. It’s only been a cold, and I’ve been able to work through it, but MAN, it has made this week a massive drag. I had a few pressing deadlines at work, and then a few arbitrary and annoying last-minute deadlines were thrown into the mix – I’ve basically spent this week on the sofa, cussing out the world.

I’m still not 100% better – I’m sniffling like nobody’s business and I can feel a tension in my neck that is partly due to the fact that I have been writing all week and partly, you know, having a sore throat and that, but I am feeling chirpy enough to do something other than knit and watch eleven thousand episodes of Law & Order UK. So I’m calling it an improvement. Just in time, too, as I’m away to London tomorrow for a museum visit, afternoon tea, fabric shopping and cocktails with some sewing friends. As Peggy Hill would say, HO YEAH!

That’s the craic with me. No sewing this week – seriously, I have basically only been on either the sofa or in bed (working from home for the win) but, maybe this afternoon. My sewing machine is winking at me from the corner and I have some mad fabric that’s waiting to be made into some sort of impractical party frock. You know, standard. But, like I said in my last post, I do have a queue of stuff to blog about. Rachel commented on my last post to say that when I blog a dress, her five-year-old daughter shouts, “Dolly Clackett’s got a new dress!” Well, Rachel’s daughter:

(Seriously though, is that not the cutest damn thing you’ve ever heard? That really made me smile.)

Here’s the dress, anyway:

Amity dress – By Hand London Kim dress, worn with Miss L Fire Lovebird sandals

Dolly Clackett has a new dress and a fat face, apparently. And she also has prescription sunglasses now, which look a lot less goofy in real life. Maybe.

So. The story of this dress is that I used to have a different dress made out of the same fabric. It was a By Hand London Anna dress with a gathered skirt and you can see it here. I loved that dress but it became too big, and it didn’t survive one of my many wardrobe culls. I can be pretty brutal, even with handmade dresses that I love. Anyway, a few weeks ago Sharne spotted some of the fabric (which is ‘My Favourite Ship’ by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller) at a ridonkulous price in Abakhan (like, £5.95 a metre) and she very kindly bought a couple of metres for me and popped them in the post. Sewing people are the bomb dot com, and that’s the truth.

The other truth is that, despite the following facts, I never seem to have enough nautical-themed dresses:

  • I can’t swim and have no intention of learning (don’t lecture me, I don’t care)
  • Leamington is pretty far from the sea. It’s a matter of dispute, but we do have a tree that people claim is the tree that is furthest away from the sea in England. It’s called the Midland Oak, and it has a plaque on it and everything
So, you know, another dress with nautical shit on it maybe isn’t that necessary. But who cares, right? 
Seriously don’t lecture me about learning to swim, because I don’t want to hear it.

I still have a little bit of work to do on the Kim bodice to get the fit just right. I’ve re-drawn the straps to make them substantially shorter, which I thought might make shortening the bodice unnecessary. I think I could still stand to shorten the bodice a bit. I could go all-out and do a slight FBA as well but to be honest, what’s stopping me from doing that is that I don’t really mind my bust being a bit downplayed, here. I don’t know. I still feel pretty exposed in anything other than a high neckline. Those are minor things though and I’m mainly pointing them out because I feel like I should. I’m super happy with this dress. So happy, I’m even going to show you my Derpy Back. Prepare yourselves:


Just looking all casually here at the pedalos. Yeah – Leamington might not have the sea, but we do have a place where you can hire pedalos shaped like cars and swans and stuff. You can hire actual boats, too, but that’s not as funny. I’m standing on a little bridge here, which seemed like a good place to take photos, but we kept being interrupted by this couple who… I don’t know what they were at, to be honest. They were either powerfully curious at the act of someone having photos taken or they just really enjoyed crossing the same bridge OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

In all seriousness, I was shaking my head here. Why does the public have to ruin public places?!

In honesty, the bridge was already kind of my back-up photo location. Right by this bridge is a little children’s play area that has a pretty boss pirate ship climbing frame/slide deal, only when we walked past it initially there was a really sketchy guy sitting on the merry-go-round thing. Like, you couldn’t make it up – it was some sketchy looking dude in his 40s, sitting on his own in a children’s play area, with his hands in his pockets. It was like something out of Brass Eye. Or the Daily Mail. There weren’t any children around, so it could have been worse, but I didn’t especially want to engage with him. However, the couple on the bridge were such an irritant, we decided to go to the little play area anyway. The sketchy guy had moved on, but that damn couple followed us! I’m totally serious. Anyway, who cares, because:

oh yeah

The fake pirate ship has a steering wheel, which I desperately wanted to have photos taken on. I wasn’t sure I’d be up to climbing up the rigging and, foolishly, thought the best way up was by going up the slide. “How hard can it be?” I thought, “It’s only for small children!” WRONG.


Nic did take some photos of me at the steering wheel thing, but to be honest I look like a complete dick in all of them. So here’s me looking out to sea. I mean, looking out over the park, and thinking about my lunch:

I bet you’re wondering how I could look more like a dick in the photos that I deleted than I do here. Ha ha!

The only way down was to take the slide.

Honestly, you guys. The things I do for this blog. But also this was the best lunchtime I’ve had in months. After we played on the slide, Nic and I went and bought sandwiches and had a little stroll in town, and then I came home and finished up my work for the week. Hurrah! We’re going to head out shortly for a walk and to do some grocery shopping (translation: buy some wine) and I might even get some sewing done when we get home.

The name of the dress is a reference to two things. One is that I was listening to Elliott Smith while I was sewing it – I started with Figure 8 and moved on to XO – but also, you know, it has boats on it. They’re pretty big boats, but Jaws is one of my Top 5 Favourite films. It’s a film that I never don’t feel like watching, if that makes sense? Like, I’m always happy to watch it. I’d be happy to watch it even if I had already watched it that day. Jaws is another reason why I’m in no massive hurry to learn to swim. No, that’s a joke, mostly.

I love everything – seriously everything – about Jaws. I think it’s pretty much the perfect film. But, and think me shallow if you like, but seriously one of my favourite things about the film is Murray Hamilton as the Mayor of Amity, Larry Vaughn. I mean, come on:

LINEN BLAZER WITH ANCHORS ON IT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. That’s also a nice tie there, boss. Maybe it’s weird, but I am totally inspired by this. Maybe I should make a blazer out of that Robert Kaufman anchor-print chambray that was everywhere a few months ago. I reckon I could wear that. I wouldn’t look as totally rad as this guy though, sadly.

You know what I’m saying, right? I just don’t have that kind of panache.

Anyway, that’s my nautical Kim dress. You’d better believe I’ll be packing this when we next go to visit Nic’s mum and dad at the seaside. Hopefully I’ll have some kind of nautical blazer to wear with it by then too. Watch this space.

Right lads, I’m going to head off here and go out and buy some wine. Farewell and adieu, you fair Spanish ladies.

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Thoughts: Going Back To Work & My Big Revelation

I’ve had some heavy thoughts on my mind lately. Thoughts on going back to work, blogging, and purpose. I had a big revelation; but let me start at the beginning. In 2009, I left my career in insurance to run … Continue reading

This awesome post Thoughts: Going Back To Work & My Big Revelation appeared first on SewsNBows.

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Vintage wrap top

Onto my second vintage pledge already and it’s another wrap!

This one comes from an old magazine and is featured on a few blogs, but this is the one I found first. It’s not a pattern, but a tutorial that is originally from Life magazine, but all the links to the article I have found seem to be broken.


It’s so simple, but elegant. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted this to be my next vintage pattern pledge make. It’s a similar idea to the walkaway dress, but nicer!

I have not followed it to the letter, but I haven’t strayed too far away from the original. I mean it’s a rectangle, so I haven’t gone crazy!!!

I didn’t want to wear something quite so figure hugging, but wanted to play with the idea, so I have kept it loose fitting and rather than adding ties have added a side button fastening.

and rather than back ties I added an elastic strap. Before you recoil in disgust at this monstrosity, let me assure you this has been removed!!! After about half a hour of wearing the top the elastic bugged me so much I cut it off and machine sewed the flappy fabric wrapping from the front to the back piece. It’s loose fitting so is easy to pull on and off without any fastenings. It’s become less wrap around now and more woven t-shirt.

This is what I have now done. The stitch line is on the back and goes through to the edge of the front wrap starting a few centimetres from the hem and ending a few centimetres above the line of the top button.

I may add ties to a future version, but I am happy that I haven’t on this one as I appreciate the looser and cooler fit here and also feel that front ties would limit it’s flexibility to wear with more garments.

 It’s interesting what you gauge with wearing an item and if you choose to have a go at this top then it’s all about putting your rectangle over your head and deciding where you want to place your fixtures and fittings. It’s fun to play or experiment and it just goes to show what you can do with no paper pattern and simple shapes. You could even bung a couple of rectangles onto the sides for sleeves!

Here’s what I looks like flat. Ok, so it’s not entirely like this now since I removed the elastic and sewed it shut on the side seams, but you get the idea. I even think that this would look nice with the edges sewn up to under the arm to make a rectangle t-shirt or tunic.

The neckline I borrowed from the BHL Anna dress and is so pretty. I simply bound it with bias tape.

Here’s some diagrams of the fabric dimensions and construction.

For my measurements I measured from the highest point of my shoulder to my waist. I then added 3cm for a shoulder seam allowance and small hem. The shoulder allowance is optional, but I was using a directional print so needed a seam there.

For the width I measured my waist and subtracted 10cm (this includes allowance for the double turned edges), so that it was wide enough for a wrap, but not too wide that it would meet in the middle.

All edges were double turned with a 1.5cm allowance and the shoulder was French seamed.

The button holes and button placement were judged once I had it draped on the body, so is down to personal preference.

So that’s it really. I only used half a metre of fabric, as I got the front and back out of the width of fabric and used a ready made binding for the neck so super economical and zero waste!!!

I know there are sewists who don’t like to work at all without a pattern, but it’s fun! When I was learning pattern cutting at uni we were encouraged to drape with big shapes and see what happened and this is kind of like an introduction to that. It frees you up from the constrains of body blocks and can lead to really interesting forms should you explore the idea further.

How about you, would you have a go at this?

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introducing the butterfly blouse + skirt sewing pattern

Introducing the Butterfly Blouse + Skirt sewing pattern. I think you’ll love how these new separates work together.

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bra: self-drafted // leggings: pattern here //top: random brand *Fabric for this project was provided by Funki Fabrics. All opinions, day-glo predilections, and strapping adventures are my own. Funki Fabrics was generous enough to send me fabrics for three separate “outfits” (as much as you can call a neon bra/panty set an “outfit”) and this is the […]

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Pattern Workshop Review: It’s an A+

Pattern Workshop review on

I accidentally got my first Illustrator instructor fired. But Lauren Dahl gets an A+ for her Pattern Workshop course. Here’s my Pattern Workshop review.

Click here to find out what a bee-yatch I was to my first teacher. And learn why you should buy Pattern Workshop, like, now.

The post Pattern Workshop Review: It’s an A+ appeared first on Sew McCool.

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Beautiful Mother’s Day Projects!

If all those years ago your mom wore for a whole week that macaroni and…

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A Sunflower Garden Planting Guide

A bouquet from last summerFlowers include Autumn Beauty, Sungold, Stella Gold,Greenburst, and Moulin RougeI’m just getting around to thinking about my garden this year. I’m a late gardener – putting in my garden in mid-June. I thought some of you might…

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How to Add Line Drawings to Your Pictures

I’ve gotten a ton of questions lately about how I get the line drawings into my pictures. I have to give all the credit to Melissa of Fehr Trade for what she said in one of the posts at PatternReview. Then I had a head-slapping moment and I’ve done it ever since! So here’s your little tutorial. It’s not hard, but easier to explain with pictures.

Go to the Burda Archives or the BurdaStyle and find your line drawing. This might actually be the hardest part because Burda isn’t known for keeping things easy to find. I use Burda’s French website, but they haven’t been updating the magazines for 2015 (but they do go all the way back to 2006!!). Find your line drawing, right click (on a PC, I have no idea what you do on a Mac) and select Copy Image. ETA: You can also get line drawings from Simplicity, McCalls, etc. The only difference is that you will need to crop out the other versions of the pattern first. Well, unless you want all the different versions on your picture. I do this sometimes with Burda too. They will show the front and back, and I only what the front or something like that. 

I’m using Adobe Photoshop Elements, but any program with layers will work. Make a new page. Click CTRL V to paste your precious line art into the new window. You can also just clock from Image from Clipboard. Both ways work well. 

Use the Quick Selection Tool to select all the empty space around your line drawing. Notice how the dotted lines go around the outside of your line drawing to the borders. You’ve selected all the white space around the line drawing. This is where I used to delete the white space, try to crop the photo, make the background transparent and try to use the crappy line drawing. Trust me, this next step makes this worthwhile.

Here’s the head slapping moment (for me anyway). Type SHIFT + CTRL + I to select the inverse (so now you are selecting your line drawing (duh!). Then, while your line drawing is selected (the dotted line will be around your line drawing now and NOT the outside edge), just type CTRL C to copy. Then go to your lovely photo and type CTRL V to paste it in.

You can change the size of the line drawing, position it where you want it, etc. In my program, it pops up automatically as its own layer. If yours doesn’t, just make a layer and paste it in on that blank layer. I should add that I’ve already corrected this photo and changed the size to the final size. You don’t have to, but photos are usually large and line drawings are small. You’ll end up with a micro-line –drawing and you’ll end up enlarging it so much it starts looking bad and distorted.

Hope that helps you guys!! Obviously I chose a random line drawing and a random picture to go with it. Ha!

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week recap – April 12th-17th

Yup, Friday already (or at long last ?! ahah !), time for this Week Recap !
I’ve decided to make a couple of “mosaics”/collages, it takes me fewer time
to edit rather to save, resize etc each photo.

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Vintage custodian? Or weakness?

I’ve been sewing quite a lot lately. I’ve got at least three projects waiting in the wings. Opportunities for taking photos has been limited and, to be honest, I’m tired. I hate photos when I feel like I’ve been hit … Continue reading

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