September 5, 2019

Welcome back to day 4 of the Calvin sewalong. Today we will finish up the straps and create all of the things we need for the waist ties to be secure.

Step 12 – To prevent it from fraying, zigzag stitch the raw end at the back of the armhole. I like to do a small zigzag with a width of 2mm and a length of 1mm.

With right sides facing up, insert the bias binding through the ring.

Fold back the bias binding toward the inside of the garment. I like to cheat the strap inward a bit so that it does not show on the outside of the garment once sewn down.

Stitch securely in line with your topstitching along the back neck binding.

Step 13 – With the right side facing up, slip the slider onto the front strap and move to about halfway down the length of the strap.

Insert the free end of the strap through the ring at the back armhole edge. Make sure that nothing is twisted.

Insert the end of the strap through the inside of the slider, extending the end by 1″. The end will be sandwiched inside the loop you created. It helps to loosen the part of your strap that is already threaded through the slider to allow more room to work with.

With wrong sides up, stitch the end of the strap to the inner loop to secure it. You may want to baste this line of stitching first and try it on to check the length of your strap.

Once you have created a straight line of stitching, zigzag stitch over the raw end and through the inner loop to prevent fraying just like you did before.

It should look like this once you are done.

Step 14 – Stitch buttonhole at the right side seam (when worn) according to the marking. I like to add fray check to my buttonhole before I open it. Make sure the seam allowances are pressed toward the back, and that the buttonhole stitching goes through all layers.

Open buttonhole.

Step 15 – Sew a 1″ thread chain at the left side seam (when worn) according to marking. Use the following instructions to create your thread chain.

Cut two pieces of thread that are about 25 inches long and pass them through your hand sewing needle. Double them up for four strands of thickness. Tie a large knot in the end.

Anchor the threads by passing through the garment and seam allowances from the wrong side, and out onto the right side of the garment at one of the dots.

Make a small backstitch on the outside of the garment at the same dot marking. Pull thread through, creating a large loop.

Insert your left thumb and pointer finger through the loop, spreading it wide. Hold the thread tail with your right hand.

Pinch the thread tail with your left thumb and pointer finger, continuing to hold the tail taut with your opposing hand.

Pull the pinched thread tail through the loop you created, as pictured. Continue to hold the end of the thread tail with your right hand, allowing enough slack to pull through.

Tighten the loop into a knot at the base of the thread tail, close to the garment. Use your right and left hands to pull up the slack and close the loop.

Once again, insert your left thumb and forefinger through the new loop you just created. Repeat the previous steps until you have created a thread chain that measures 1″.

Pass the thread tail with hand sewing needle through the last loop to create a knot.

Pass needle and tail through to the wrong side of the garment and seam allowance at the second dot marking and knot securely on the inside.

It will look like this once you are all done.

And that is it for today. We are so close! Tomorrow we will just finish a few things up and we will be done.



September 4, 2019

It’s day 3 of the Calvin Sewalong. Today we are going to apply more bias binding and assemble the body of the top or dress.

Step 9 – With right sides touching, pin the assembled back to the front sections at the sides.

Stitch together at a normal 1/2″ seam allowance.

Finish the side seam allowances together with either a zigzag stitch or by serging. Do NOT trim. (The seam allowances will be used to stabilize the buttonhole and thread chain in later steps.)

Press the seam allowances toward the back

Step 10 – Apply the center front and tie bias binding (pattern piece 5) along the center front wrap edge in the same manner as the back. The top edge should be flush with the garment and the rest will extend pas the wrap opening to create the tie.

First pin along center front with the wrong side of the garment facing up.

Stitch to the center front using the first fold as a guide.

If you are going to grade the seams do so now.

Flip the garment over so that the right side is facing up. Pin the bias binding over the raw edge so that it covers the stitch line.

Edgestitch along the bias binding binding to secure. For the bias binding section that extends past the front edge, simply continue to sew the edges together to form the tie. Do not finish the end of the tie yet; you will do that at the end after you try it on.

Repeat for other front.

Step 11 – Apply the armhole strap bias binding (pattern piece 4) along the armhole edges in the same manner as the front and back. To form the straps, let 1 1/4″ of the binding extend past the back armhole edge, with the rest extending past the front armhole edge.

For the bias binding section that extends past the armhole edges, simply continue to sew the edges together to form the straps.

That is all for today. Excited to keep sewing tomorrow.



September 3, 2019

Welcome back for Day 2 of the Calvin wrap top and dress sewalong. I am super excited get started with the actual construction of the top / dress of the Calvin pattern.

Step 4 – Staystitch the neckline and armhole edges on the front bodice and back pieces at 1/4″ seam allowance from top to bottom. I know you may be tempted to skip this this step, but it is very important in keeping the pattern pieces from stretching out during handling especially along the front edge.

Step 5 – To sew the dart on the front bodice, fold the dart markings with right sides together, aligning the dart legs you have marked and ensuring the dart point (apex) is on the fold. Pin to secure. Stitch along dart leg to point, reducing stitch length to 1mm within 1/2″ of the point.

Do not backstitch, but leave long thread tails.

Tie thread tails in a secure knot. Trim threads.

Press dart down towards lower edge. I like to press the darts on a tailors ham or rolled up towel so you get a nice curve.

Step 6 – To finish the front opening edge of the front, fold and press the raw edge to the inside by 1/4″

and then another 3/8″.

Stitch along fold from top to bottom to secure.

Here is the right side.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for other front. You are finished with the front pieces for today so you can set these aside for now.

Step 7 – With right sides touching, pin the two back pieces together along the center back. (Pay extra attention to the notches to make sure you are matching up the center back and not the side seams as they look very similar.) Stitch the center back seam.

Trim seam allowances to 3/8″ and finish in your desired manner. I am serging them to keep it simple but you can also zigzag stitch the edges together, use pinking shears, or even sew a french seam.

Press seam allowances open or to one side.

Step 8 – Flip over the back piece so that the wrong side is facing up. To apply the bias binding to the curved back neck edge, first open up one side of the pre-pressed back neck binding (pattern piece 3). Working with the wrong side (inside) of the back facing up, align the raw edge of the bias binding with the raw edge of the back neck edge. Do not stretch the garment, but slightly pull on the bias binding so that it lays nicely along the curved edge. Pin. Note that the binding will be slightly longer than the center back edge.

Stitch using the fold as a guide.

If your fabric / binding is thick, you may want to grade the seam allowance before proceeding to reduce bulk. I decided to do this since my linen is a bit thick. This probably isn’t necessary if you are using something thinner like a crepe. To grade I trimmed one seam allowance to 1/4″ and the other to 1/8″. Remember that the seam allowance that is pressed towards the outside of your garment should be the longer one.

Flip over the back so that the right side is now facing up. Fold the bias binding toward the outside of the back so that it is sandwiching the raw edges. Adjust the bias binding so that it is just covering the line of stitching you just made. Press and pin the bias binding in place.

To secure the bias binding, edgestitch close to the fold with the right side of the garment facing up.

Trim off excess bias tape at ends, as needed. Press.

That is it for today. I hope you liked applying the bias binding because we have quite a bit more of that coming up and we will be applying it in the same manner.



September 2, 2019

Welcome to day 1 of the Calvin wrap top and dress sewalong. Today is mostly prep. We will do some markings, but mostly create our bias binding. These steps are super easy, but a little time consuming so I like to do them at the beginning to get them out of the way.

Please note that the following instructions depict View A (top), but all instructions are applicable to all views.

Step 1 – Before starting, make sure you have transferred all notches and symbols from your pattern pieces to your fabric. I like to make a small (about 1/4″ long) snip for any notches.

I also use my chalk or disappearing marker to mark any stitch lines such as the dart legs or the thread loop and buttonhole.

Step 2 – Take two of the four of your long bias strips (pattern piece 5) and place the ends one on top of the other, right sides touching, at a 90 degree angle. Pin.

Stitch from one side to the other as shown below.

You may find it helpful to draw a line first to make this stitching easier. I like to use my chacco wheel and then stitch on top of it.

Trim seam allowances to 1/8″ and press open.

Trim off any small bits of seam allowance that are not flush with the long sides of the bias strip.

Repeat all of Step 2 for the remaining two long bias pieces (pattern piece 5). In the end you will have two long strips. One for the right side and one for the left.

Step 3 – Prepare each strip of bias tape (patter pieces 3, 4, and 5) in the following ways.

If you want to use a bias tape maker, the 25mm double fold bias tape maker is your best bet.

Personally I think you get a better result and have more control if you do it by hand so that is what I will be showing you. I do recommend using spray starch when pressing because it adds some stability to the bias binding that will wash away later.

Fold bias binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides touching, and press.

Open the bias binding up and fold the outside edges toward the center fold you just created. Press again.

Fold the bias binding in half again along the original fold and press.

And that is it for today. Put on a show and make all of your bias binding. You will be so happy that you did this now so the rest of your dress or top can be sewn together without interruption.



August 30, 2019

The sewalong for the Calvin wrap top and dress starts next week and I wanted to do a quick post in preparation to go over fabric and notions so that you can be ready to sew come Monday.


One of the things that I love about the Calvin is that it really works great with those beginner friendly, easy to sew fabrics that we all love to use. The pattern does not require a lot of drape (although drape is fine) so cottons, linens and rayons work great. The most important thing is that the fabric will press well so stick with those natural fibers and stay away from polyester blends or you will really regret it when you are making those yards and yards of bias binding. I decided to go with some medium weight linen in a beautiful vintage red from The Fabric Store that I have had in my stash for awhile. I love linen for this pattern because it’s breathable but still has some structure so it presses well and really shows the style lines.


This pattern has a lot of bias binding. The way that the yardage is calculated, you can use the same fabric for both the dress/top and binding or you can use a contrast binding. This is such a great way to use up scraps. I love the idea of mixing stripes with florals or different sized prints for some really fun affects. Making the binding will take you a bit of time, but it is super easy so try not to shy away from it. I do not recommend using the bias tape you buy in the packages at the big box store. They are cheap, stiff, and won’t feel nice against your skin. That being said, there are some resources for really nice bias tape that you can buy if you want to go that route. You will need 6 – 7 yards of bias tape and you want double fold bias tape with a finished measurement of about 3/8″. Here are a couple I have found:

The Fabric Store – They have bias in not only their Liberty fabrics but also their exclusive range of linens. This is such a great option for those who want matching binding and main fabric but don’t want to make the bias yourself. The width is perfect too. I’ve use this exact combo for some of my tester versions and it was perfection.

Imagine Gnats – I recently noticed that Imagine Gnats is now carrying Atelier Brunette bias tape by the yard in both viscose crepe and double gauze. It’s the perfect width and matches the very popular Atelier Brunette fabrics. The viscose crepe is on the light weight side so keep in mind that it may be a little more finicky to work with.

I am sure there are more out there. I know a lot of indie fabric stores carry bias tape by the yard so check around.


One of my favorite details of the Calvin are the adjustable straps made possible by the ring and sliders. It really helps for getting a good fit. I know that the 1/2″ sliders can be a little harder to find so I wanted to give you a few resources. First of all, the best place to look is in your drawer. If you have an old bra that you don’t wear or is worn through, save the rings and sliders before you discard it. If that is not an option here is where you can find them:

Tailor Made – This is such a great place for all things bra making, but also a great resource for rings and sliders for the Calvin. You can pick up a couple sets for just a few bucks which is great if you don’t want to buy in bulk.

The Bra Makery – There are quite a few shops selling rings and sliders on Etsy so you may want to poke around a bit for one closer to you, but the Bra Makery seems to have quite a good selection and at a good price. You can choose 3 sets or 12 sets at once and they even have these adorable heart shaped sliders if you want that novelty look.


OK, those were the trickier things to find, but you still need a few more notions. Make sure you have coordinating thread. There is a lot of topstitching on the bias binding so it really should match well unless you are purposefully trying to make it contrast.

You may want to add the optional modesty snap and if so you will want to source a 1/4″ sew on snap. A lot of people are tempted to skip this, but if you are C cup or bigger I highly recommend it. These are pretty easy to find and you should be able to pick up a pack of them at almost any sewing store.

You also need a hand sewing needle to attach the sew on snap and make the belt loop / thread chain.


One last thing you might want to consider getting is some spray starch. The more lightweight and slippery your fabric is the more this helps. When you are making your bias binding, applying spray starch really helps to keep the creases and reenforce the binding for easy stitching. It will disappear in the wash so it’s not permanent. It just makes your life easier.

OK, I think is all for today. We will not be going over printing your pattern or cutting out your pattern pieces so get that done before Monday. If you need a little help with that part, check out this blog post for printing and assembling your pattern.

See you Monday! If you still need to get your Calvin pattern you can do so here.