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ON MY MIND OTHER TUTORIALS

FABRIC STASH ORGANIZATION

July 1, 2019

Last week I talked on instagram stories about my stash and my unsuccessful attempt at organizing it. For years I have been folding and storing all of my stash fabric (which I embarassingly have way too much of) in bins tucked under my cutting table. The problem is that although it was nice and safe in there, I never remembered what I had so I would buy more and more. I also couldn’t easily locate fabric when I needed it. Enough was enough so I decided to take everything out of my bins, organize it, donate the fabric I was never going to sew, (I was able to donate it to my local library for their creative space) and get all of the stash fabric organized onto shelves. I started using the rolling method because I had heard it was easier to see your fabric, but as I kept going I realized it was way too messy for my liking.

They I shared it on instagram and a bunch of you replied that you used the comic board method. I had never heard of this method before so I went to youtube where I found this great instructional video from Sew Sweetness. I was immediately hooked and decided to change my methods. The only issue I anticipated was that all of the tutorials I found were geared towards quilting and therefore 44 inch wide stable cotton fabrics. Most of my stash consists of 54-60 inch wide apparel fabrics. Some of them are super thick, others are slippery, and most are in 2-5 yard cuts. So I wanted bigger boards right off the bat.

Instead of the smaller comic book boards, I went with these 8.5 x 11 inch magazine boards. This little bit of extra size gives just enough extra room to help with my wider fabric. They also happened to fit the height of my Ikea shelves better. This is definitely something I would consider when choosing the size of the boards you use. Magazine boards are kinda like a thick cardstock, pretty inexpensive, and most importantly are acid free. This is something I would highly recommend thinking about because you do not want the cardboard you are using to damage your fabric if it stays on there for a long time.

I also ordered these clear plastic alligator clips which come in a big package and are pretty cheap. I do wish that they had bigger ones for the thicker fabrics in my stash and I am still on the lookout for those. So far I have only found metal ones that are bigger and I don’t feel comfortable using metal on my fabric in case it rusts. I know a lot of shops also use T pins which are a great option if you are not worried about rust or the pin damaging your fabric. I decided to stick with the clear plastic ones and make them work.

Now that you know what I am using, here is the step by step of how I folded my fabric. Keep in mind that I am no perfectionist when it comes to folding these. I always wash and dry my fabric right after buying it so I am left with some wrinkly fabric and frayed ends. This doesn’t bother me at all. You could certainly go the extra mile and iron your fabric before folding but personally I think this makes the whole process too long and more of a hassle. That’s just me though.

For this demo I am using 2 yards of denim that is 60 inches wide. For each cut of fabric you need one board and two alligator clips.

Start by folding your fabric lengthwise with selvages touching. I choose to have the right side of the fabric out so that it’s easier to see the fabric for what it is on the shelf, but that is up to you.

Take your magazine board and place it in the middle of the fabric between the selvages and the fold and about 5 inches in from the cut edge.

Fold down the top selvage edges over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case). This can get a little tricky if you have more yardage. On my rayons when I had 4 yards I folded the whole thing in half widthwise so it was like I was dealing with 2 yards wide.

Fold up the bottom folded edge over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case).

Fold in the 5 inches to the left of the magazine board.

Flip the magazine board with the fabric over and over until you get close to the end of your yardage. Keep it nice and tight.

Fold in the cut edges at the end of your yardage so that they are not hanging out.

Now fold this last fold in so that everything is nice and neat.

Take your alligator clips and slide them into the second two layers of fabric up against the last fold you made. This will hold your fabric tight on the roll without having to expand the small alligator clip too much.

That is it! I am so excited about how nice and neat it looks.

They stack perfectly on my shelf and keep it looking tidy, while still allowing me to see all of my fabric. I love it so much.

Folding all of my stash only took a few hours, cost about $30 US and was weirdly relaxing. I am hooked. It is how I plan to organize my fabric stash from here on out. I hope this was helpful for you as well.

Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions are honest and my own.

OTHER

SALIDA SEWALONG DAY 5 – TOPSTITCHING, HEMS, AND HOOK & EYE (STEPS 35 – 38)

December 7, 2018

Welcome to the last day of the Salida Skirt Sewalong. Thank you so much for following along. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Step 35 – Starting at center back, edgestitch the entire waistband at 1/8” from the finished edge, pivoting at corners.

Step 36 – Zip up the skirt and mark the position for the waistband hook and eye. Hand sew onto the waistband as shown. Make sure that you only sew through the inside layer on the outer part of the hook and eye. I usually sew this one on first since it is more tricky.

For the smaller, inside part of the hook and eye, feel free go through all layers since it won’t be show on the inside waistband.

VIEW A ONLY (For View B, skip to Step 38)

Step 37 – All done except for the hem! Fold the bottom raw edge of the skirt up by 1/4”, wrong sides touching, and press.

Fold up again by 3/4”. Pin and press.

To secure the hem, stitch close to the fold.

 

VIEW B ONLY:

Step 38 – Fold the bottom raw edge of the middie skirt up by 1/4”, wrong sides touching, and press. Fold up again by 1/4”. Pin and press. To secure the hem, stitch close to the fold.

 

Congrats! You are finished!

OTHER

SEW FROSTING WINNERS!

December 6, 2018

Today is the day when Heather and I finally announce the winners of the Sew Frosting Challenge.

First, let me say that you blew us away with your talent, effort, and love for sewing things that are simply fabulous. You made the decision so hard. I hope that even if you didn’t win, you enjoyed participating and sewing something that pushed you a bit out of your comfort zone. I know that for me, this was an important few months for to really reflect on why I sew and what brings me the most joy to create. I already have ideas for what I want to create next year.

And here are the winners:

Unconventional Fabric/Material: Keira (@islandsewcialist)

You have to check out Keira’s blog post all about how she embroidered this jacket with upcycled trash! She is a true artist and she was a clear winner for this challenge.

She won : $100 gift certificate to The Fabric Store, $100 gift certificate to Stone Mountain & Daughter, $75 gift certificate to Oak Fabrics,  a bundle of 3 naturally dyed silks from A Verb for Keeping Warm, 3 meters of vegan bamboo silk from Ray Stitch

 

Oona Ballona Award: Katie (@katiekortmanart)

Just like the amazing Oona, Katie rocks the color. She is also a fine artist which really brought her project to the next level. Not only is this dress fabulous on it’s own, but she hand painted the fabric! I love her confidence and how it shines in this dress.

She won : $100 gift certificate to The Fabric Store, $100 gift certificate to Imagine Gnats, $75 gift certificate to Fancy Tiger Crafts,$50 gift certificate to The Confident Stitch, 3 meters of vegan bamboo silk from Ray Stitch,  3 yards of this gorgeous botanical silk print from Bolt in Portland

 

Couture Award : Elora (@eloraroseledger)

Elora really brought out her couture skills with this gorgeous rose ball gown. Not only is it gorgeous from the outside, but the structure of the dress is is amazing too. One day I want the skills (and patience) of Elora.

She won : $100 gift certificate to The Fabric Store, $100 gift certificate to Blackbird Fabrics, $75 gift certificate to Style Maker Fabrics, 3 patterns of your choice from By Hand London, 3 meters of vegan bamboo silk from Ray Stitch

 

We also had three prize packs by random choice. The winners of those are:

Community Prize Pack #1: @vreed8657

A collection of gorgeous notions and supplies from Stitch Sew Shop, £30 gift certificate to The Fabric Godmother, $100 gift certificate to the True Bias shop, 3 meters of vegan bamboo silk from Ray Stitch

Community Prize Pack #2: @sewhotmommi

£30 gift certificate to Backstitch Fabrics, $100 gift certificate to Coset Case Patterns shop, 3 meters of vegan bamboo silk from Ray Stitch, $50 gift certificate for Drygoods Design

Community Prize Pack #3: @mydiscowardrobe

3 yards of holiday fabric from La Mercerie, $50 gift certificate for Drygoods Design, $75 gift certificate to Promenade Fabrics, $50 gift certificate and Japanese hand sewing needles from Josephine’s Drygoods

 

Thank you so much for all the excitement and participation in this contest. I hope you are as inspired by the winners as we are.

OTHER SEWALONG SEWING

INTRODUCING THE SALIDA SKIRT SEWING PATTERN

November 19, 2018

I am so excited to show you guys what has been consuming my life over the past few months – the Salida skirt. This pattern was designed specifically as a fall / winter companion to the Nikko top (my goto this time of year). It has a high waist, front zipper, V-shaped front and back yokes, and contoured shaping through the hips and legs. It comes in two views. View A tapers to the knee and has a back slit for easy walking, while view B is flared and midcalf length.

I know that zippers can feel a little intimidating to beginner sewists, but don’t worry, I have you covered. I have filmed a video that will walk you step by step through the zipper portion of the instructions. You can access that video here. There will also be a full photographed sewalong on the blog the week of December 3rd if you would like to follow along with that.

 

Another thing that I am excited about with the Salida Skirt pattern is that I have introduced layers PDF files in case you would like to only print the size or sizes that you will be sewing. The instructions will help guide you through using the layers if you choose to do so.

 

 

You can get the Salida skirt as both a paper and pdf pattern through my shop here. You can also get 25% off both of these options through this Wednesday with the code SALIDALAUNCH.

I hope you love this pattern as much as I do. Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

OTHER

LANDER SEWALONG DAY 2 – COMMON ADJUSTMENTS

September 19, 2017

We are going to spend today doing all of the prep work so that we can start on our final Lander pants and shorts tomorrow. Before continuing though, I want to make a plea. If you are using precious fabric, or if you are making a lot of fit adjustments, PLEASE make a muslin first. Pants (especially crotches) are one of those things that are a bit trickier to fit. And a muslin just allows you to take more risks and get the fit right. OK, I warned you. Now we can continue.

First we are going to talk about the most common fit adjustments you might want to make. It will not cover everything so if you want to go deeper I recommend the book Pants for Real People from Palmer and Pletsch. It’s a great one for your sewing library and it covers a lot fitting issues and how to solve them. Or, if you happen to be in the NYC area, I know that Workroom Social offers pants fitting classes using the methods from this book.

Choosing Your Size

Waist

There are three measurements that you need to know when choosing which size to cut. You want your waist at the thinnest part which is usually the belly button. Because this is where the waistband of the pant/short actually hits (it’s a true high waisted fit) this is a very important measurement. The waistband is cut as one folded piece that is then stabilized so it’s very difficult to change this later. If you are unsure about the waistband and think you might want to adjust it, I recommend not cutting out your waistband until after you fit the remainder of your pants in step 20 of your instructions.

Hip

You want to measure your hip at the fullest part which is generally about 8 inches down from your bellybutton. One of my favorite parts of this pattern is that it leaves a very wide (1″) seam allowances on the sideseams. This adds up to 2 inches of wiggle room in the side seams. I still recommend grading between sizes in the waist and hip (which we will go over below) but just know that you will have a chance to baste and then adjust the sideseams to get a perfect fit at the hip in step 20 of the instructions.

Height

My patterns are drafted for someone who is 5’5″. If you are shorter or taller than this, you will likely want to make some adjustments. Which adjustments to make is highly dependent on experience and knowing your own body. For instance, you may be 2 inches shorter than the model, but have longer legs, and a shorter torso so you don’t need to make any adjustments. Or you may have a really long crotch rise so you want to add some length there, but not to the rest of the pattern. These are decisions you have to make and the more do you them and try them, the more you will learn about your body and the adjustments that are most common to you.

A common mistake I see is that someone adjusts the length too much. So for instance, if you are 5’8″, you are 3 inches taller than my pattern is drafted for. You instincts may be to add 3 inches in length to the pattern. But really only 1.5-2″ of that extra length is located in the bottom half of your body so you would only need to add that much.

Lengthen / Shorten

Before deciding to add or subtract length from your pant / short, keep in mind that the pants each have a 3″ hem. This gives you a lot of wiggle room with length. If you have the fabric though, I always recommend erring on the side of extra length, you can always cut off some later.

There are two lengthen / shorten lines located on the pant pattern and one on the shorts. This first is a lengthen / shorten line at the hip location to adjust the rise. If you have a long or short rise you can easily adjust this. First decide how much you want to lengthen or shorten the rise. Cut the pattern along the lengthen / shorten line. If you want to increase the rise, add a piece of paper behind the pattern piece and tape so that the gap in the middle is the amount you want to increase. Smooth out any cutting lines that may have become a bit jagged in the process. Make sure you do the same adjustments for the front, back, left and right fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.

To shorten the rise it would be the same process but in reverse. Instead of putting paper behind it, you will simply overlap the two pattern pieces by half of the amount you want to decrease the rise by. So for instance, if you want to decrease the rise by 1/2″, overlap the pattern top and bottom by 1/4″ (the two sides adding up to 1/2″). Repeat the process for the front, back, right and left fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.

Lengthening and Shortening your pattern in just the leg is pretty simply. The lengthen shorten line is located at the knee, but honestly, since the pant is completely straight from the knee down, you can just adjust that at the bottom. I would always err on the side of too much length, knowing you can adjust that as your last step when hemming.

Grading Between Sizes

Since these pants / shorts are pretty fitted on the hips and waist, I highly recommend grading between sizes. This is a pretty simple process since all of the pattern pieces are nested. Simply take a pen or marker, draw in the seam allowance, and then gradually connect the two sizes. Here I am showing how you would grade between a size 10 waist and a size 14 hip. This is just the front, but you would need to do the same thing to the back and front pockets. Changes are marked in yellow.

Like I mentioned above, you do have a really large (1″) seam allowance on the side seams which gives you some wiggle room so don’t fret too much. Simply grading and adjusting the side seams should be enough for most people to get a great fit. If, after doing a muslin, you still have issues, you may want to play with increasing your back dart and angling your center back seam to help balance where the adjustments are being made.

Lengthen / Shorten Crotch Curve

Adjusting your crotch curve is a very common fitting adjustment on pants. If your crotch curve is too short you will get a little bit of pulling creating smile lines at the front and back like this (not to mention a bit of discomfort):

You would adjust the front like this. The yellow line being the new line. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch line.

If your crotch curve is too long your will get the opposite which will appear somewhat like frown lines or excess fabric at the bottom of the crotch. This one is a little easier to diagnose because you can pinch out some of the length and see if it fixes the problem:

You would adjust the front like this. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch curve. Since the front crotch is already pretty shallow, I’d be extra careful notch to shave too much off of it. If you need to get rid of more than 1/8″ I’d take more from the back.

In making adjustments, know that a little goes a long way, so probably start by adding or subtracting 1/8″ – 1/4″ only. For most people, this will solve your problem. If it doesn’t you can still play around with the actual shape of your crotch curve (some ladies are flatter while others more round) until you get something that you are happy with. If you have a fit issue that I did not cover, feel free to comment below. If I get enough interest in a certain adjustment I can cover it a future date.

Now that we have made all of the adjustments necessary, go ahead and layout your fabric according to the fabric layout recommendations in your instructions. These are just recommendations. You may find that you can conserve fabric by being a bit creative with your placement. Make sure that you transfer all markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric as well. Once you have finished this you will be ready for sewing your Landers tomorrow!