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April 17, 2020

The official sewalong starts next week, but I wanted to pop on here and talk about fabric and notions you may need or want for the Rio if you are going to be sewing along with me.



Let’s talk notions first. You will definitely want a special sewing machine needle to handle the knit fabric so you don’t damage it. Look for a needle that has stretch or jersey in the description. When sewing the bindings and hems you have a choice of how to finish them. I prefer a good old zigzag stitch which is the preferred method in the Rio instructions. If you go this route you will only need the one stretch needle for all of the construction. I will also go over the option to use a twin sewing machine needle for some steps. If you prefer this method you will want to buy a twin stretch needle.


You will need some all purpose thread for your Rio as well. If you are doing contrast binding as I am, you will need thread that matches both your main fabric and your binding fabric.


This gem is not in the instructions and is completely optional, but it is one of my favorite notions. I use it whenever I sew a stretch knit. I will talk more about it in the sewalong, but in a nutshell it stabilizes knit seams so they do not stretch out during sewing while also acting as a bonding agent instead of pins. It is a lifesaver when it comes to the bindings and hem seams. It comes in lite and ultra. I use them both depending on the thickness of my fabric.



Now let’s talk fabric. The main body of the t-shirt or dress should be made with a knit fabric which at least 40% widthwise stretch. More stretch than this doesn’t make much of a difference except a slightly more giving fit. Using a fabric with less stretch than this may result in a garment that is too tight, especially in the sleeves and chest. If the fabric is slightly less you can probably get away with going up a size, but be careful. You can test the stretch percentage by using the chart in your instructions.

Simply cut a 4 inch piece of your fabric. Hold it against the stretch chart and pull the right end towards the arrows to determine what the stretch percentage is.

As for types of fabric, look for cotton jersey, t-shirt knits, cotton interlock, merino wool jersey, and even rib knit. Here are a few I found around the web that you may like:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9


For the neck and sleeve bindings you will want knit fabric with at least 75% stretch. If your fabric has less stretch than this you will have a hard time getting it over your head and may find the sleeves too tight at the hem. If the fabric has just a bit less stretch you may get away with lengthening the bindings slightly, but be careful.

As for types of fabric, I mostly recommend rib knit fabric. I prefer cotton ribbing because it presses well. If you buy a ribbing that has a lot of polyester in it you may find that it has a really hard time keeping it’s press and give you a headache. I would also try to avoid knits that roll a lot. This will also cause you all sorts of frustration when you are trying to create those crisp even bindings. Here are a few you may like:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Let me know if you have any questions about fabric and notions. I can’t wait to get started on Monday with the Rio sewalong.



March 25, 2020

I sewed up a fun summer Roscoe blouse hack this week and wanted to share a step by step tutorial for those who wanted to do the same. It’s an easy hack and a great way to bring the spring / fall vibe of the Roscoe into the warmer summer months.

As for sizing, the Roscoe is quite oversized so you may want to think about sizing down for this hack since it is cropped. Totally up to you, but I did size down two whole sizes for the one shown in the pictures and it worked well.

Go ahead and cut out the pattern pieces for the neck ties, neck facing, and neck binding as usual according to the original pattern. Next, cut your sleeves out, but shorten them by about 4 inches. You can always shorten them more down the road. Make sure that you are following the curve of the hemline since the outside of the arm towards the elbow needs more length than the inside. The dotted red line is the new cut line.

Next, do the same for the front and back blouse. Trim about 10 inches off of the blouse length of the Roscoe. Note that the front is curved to allow extra length for your chest, so make sure to follow the same approximate curve of the hemline for your new cut line. If you think you may want the top a bit longer (mine is quite cropped) cut off less. We can always trim off more later.

Lastly, find the front and back ruffle pieces. You are going to keep the original widths, but only make the length of each 6 1/2″ long. If you prefer a longer top, simply add length. You can always trim off more at the end.

Now start sewing. Go ahead and sew up your Roscoe according to the instructions for steps 1 – 18. Now you should have a finished Roscoe from the chest up with a cropped bottom and raw sleeves.

Prepare your ruffle according to the instructions of steps 27 – 28.

This is a good time to try on your Roscoe and see if you need to adjust lengths. Holding or pinning the ruffle up to the cut line of your Roscoe, accounting for 1/2″ seam allowance on both the ruffle and main Roscoe as well as 1/2″ for the hem, and shorten if necessary. This is completely subjective. I kept mine quite short because I wanted that cropped look to wear with high waisted jeans, but feel free to leave it longer if you prefer it.

Once you are happy with the length and adjusted it as necessary, sew the gathered ruffle to the bottom of the main Roscoe as in steps 29 – 30 of the instructions. Also, hem the ruffle as in step 31 of the instructions.

Now to address the sleeves. Try it on and see what you think about the length. Shorten if necessary, keeping the hem in mind. If you prefer to leave it without the puffed look you can simply fold / press the hem 1/4″ twice and sew it.

If you want to sew the puffed look as shown above you will need some 3/8″ elastic. Measure around your bicep so that the elastic fits without any tightness and add 1/2″ for overlap. Cut two pieces of elastic that are this length and set aside.

Fold the bottom of your sleeve up by 1/4″ and press. Fold again at 1/2″ and press. Stitch the 1/2″ hem leaving a 1″ opening to insert the elastic. Insert your elastic. Overlap by 1/2″ and stitch to secure. Stitch the elastic opening closed.

Give everything a good press and you should be good to go.

That is it! I love how mine turned out. This version was sewn up in some lightweight cotton / silk from The Fabric Store, and I think I need another one in some drapey crepe next.

If you need the Roscoe pattern you can get it in my shop in either a pdf or paper format. Please let me know if something in the tutorial is not clear. I’d be happy to clarify.



February 27, 2020

I have made so many Hudson pants over the years that I could sew them in my sleep. I have found that every year I need to make a few new pairs for me or my kids and I often batch sew them so I can cut and sew multiple pairs in a fraction of the time. I will say, don’t batch sew them until you have made a couple pairs first and checked the fit, but once you have that dialed in, batch sewing is a great option.

I often share my batch sewed Hudsons on instagram and get requests for the process so I thought it would fun to sew up three pairs of Mini Hudson pants for my kids to show you. You can definitely use the womens and mens patterns as well when batch sewing since the instructions are identical for all three, I just happened to need mini versions this time around.

For fabric I used three beautiful colors of french terry and matching ribbing from I See Fabric. They offered to gift me the fabric to try out and I thought this would be the perfect pairing. I am very impressed with the fabric. Gorgeous, on trend colors that are hard to find and the fabric is super soft and feels like great quality. I’ve already put in another order on my own dime.

OK, let’s get sewing. Because I am batch sewing them I forgo coordinating thread for my serger. I put gray in and used it for all three pairs. If you are using your sewing machine you will want to do the same thing for your thread. You still need matching thread for the buttonholes and topstitching, but we will wait til the end to switch those out.

Next we sew all of the pockets. Start by ironing the pocket bands and then following all steps for pockets. At the end, line your fronts up like so to make sure all is good and you have a right and left for each .

Now, take each back leg and sew up the outer and inside seams and line them all up again.

Take each right and left leg and sew up the crotch seams as the instructions say.. Then line them up.

Let’s finish everything else we can before we need to use our coordinating thread. Start by sewing up the cuffs.

Turn them right side out and fold them in half. Give them a press. While at the iron, go ahead and apply the interfacing to the waistband to prepare for the buttonholes.

Put the waistband aside and sew each cuff on.

Now it’s time to switch to your matching thread. I only put it in the top (not the bobbin) to make it easier, but that is up to you. You are going to finish each pair of pant at this point, switch out the thread, and finish the next. I am going to do my pink pair first by sewing on the buttonholes.

Next I sew the waistband on, insert the elastic,

and then finish by sewing the drawstring topstitching on the waistband and adding in the drawstring.

Finish up your other pairs and that is it. Much faster than sewing them each up individually.



February 6, 2020

The Lander Pant and Short is the perfect blank canvas to create a very 70’s inspired patch pocket pant or short. Whether using the original button fly pattern or the zipper expansion, with just a few changes and the free patch pocket download (below), you will be all set.

The first thing I recommend doing is leaving off both the original front and back pockets. You will be replacing the front pockets with the patch pocket pattern pieces and I would just leave off the back pockets all together. This really adds to the 70’s look of the pant.

Go ahead and sew up your Landers through the creation of the fly. I recommend adding the patch pockets at the step where you baste the side seams of your Landers. This means pausing after step 19 in the original instructions and after step 26 in the zipper expansion instructions. Once you get to this step, set your pants or shorts aside and create your pockets.

A few things about the patch pocket pattern pieces. They come in sizes small, medium and large and recommended size ranges for each one. These are just suggestions though. You could use any of these pattern pieces on any size of Lander depending on how big you want to your pocket to be. This is your own personal preference. For reference, both of my samples were sewn with the small pocket sizes on a size 6 pant. I think next time I will try the medium size.

Another thing to note is that there are two different shapes to choose from. The angled pocket and the rounded pocket. The construction is very similar, although I would say that the angled pocket is a bit easier, so keep that in mind when choosing.

Click on the link below to access the pdf file. Print your pattern pieces off making sure you are using no scaling and printing at 100%. Cut out two coordinating pockets from your main fabric and make sure to mark your notches.

Unless stated the following instructions apply to both the angled and rounded patch pocket patterns.

Step 1 – With wrong sides touching, press in the top edge by 1/4″.

Step 2 – Take this folded edge and press it back at the notches, right sides touching. Pin in place on each side.

Step 3

Angled Pocket Only – Starting at the upper right hand corner, stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance down the right side, around the bottom, and up the left side, pivoting at each corner and backstitching at the beginning and end.

Rounded Pocket Only – Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance on the upper left and right sides for the distance of the folded down band backstitching to secure.

Rounded Pocket Only – Starting and stopping below the band and using a basting or gather stitch length, stitch around the sides and bottom of the rounded pocket in 1/2″ seam allowance. Slightly pull on the top thread to “gather” the bottom rounded section of the pocket. This will help turn in the seam allowance smoothly.

Step 4 – Clip the top corners and turn the folded edge right side out. Fold in the seam allowance at the stitching line. Give it a good press.

Step 5 – Topstitch along the bottom folded edge of the band to secure as shown in the picture.

Step 6 – Now it is time the attach the pockets to the front of your Landers. Like I mentioned before, the best time to do this is when you are basting the side seams for fit. I recommend pinning them on where you think they should go first. This is personal preference and takes some trial and error, but just to give you a ball park, mine were about 3 inches from center front and 2 inches from the top raw edge of my Lander fronts. Once they are pinned on, baste the sides seams of your Landers and try them on. Adjust the position of your pockets as necessary.

Step 7 – Once you are happy with the placement, pin them to secure. Pay extra attention to measuring their placement so they are equal from center front and the top. The fly can make them look unbalanced so you really have to trust your ruler for this step. Rip out the basting on the sides seams of your Landers and topstitch the sides and bottom of the patch pockets on. Do this before you sew up your sides in it’s final stitch length.

That is it! Sew up your Landers according to the normal instructions and you are good to go.



August 7, 2019

I am back today with another pretty simple hack for the Shelby pattern. This time I wanted to try out a Shelby blouse. This is a look I have been seeing a lot in ready to wear and thought it would be the perfect match for the Shelby pattern.

To create this hack I only had to make a few simple changes. The first thing that I changed was to lengthen the ties by about 10 inches each so that I could cross them in the back and wrap them around to the front for a bow. I thought it would be a fun was to add a bit more waist definition to the blouse. It almost gives it a peplum look. It would work fine without the wrap around too, I just wanted to give it a try.

The next change I made was obviously to shorten the pattern significantly. To accomplish this I measured down from the lengthen / shorten line by about 6 inches on each seamline. This gives you a bit of a cropped look so if you want an longer blouse just add more inches.

Then I made a line about an inch long that is perpendicular to each side.

Next create a curved cut line to join the two sides.

Make sure you shorten all front and back pieces in the same manner as well as the front facing.

The last thing that I changed was the button placement. I decided this at the very end once it was hemmed and I could visually figure out what would look balanced. I ended up going with 5 buttons / buttonholes that are a bit closer together than the dress or romper simply because it was my personal preference.

And that is it. I sewed up the rest according to the directions for the Shelby dress and it all came together quite smoothly. I love the way it turned out and I think it will look great with high waisted jeans or Landers. You can find the Shelby pattern in my shop here is you would like to give it a try.