Welcome to the Stafford Sew Along. Today we are going to discuss the materials you will need for this project, as well as cutting, marking and some of our signature techniques. Let's get sewing!
Our new Stafford Jacket was inspired by that most classic of garments, the jean jacket. Who doesn't have a jean jacket (even I have one and I don't own any actual jeans!). There is just something so right about the slouchy denim jacket. It is comfortable, functional and always looks good. Thinking about the Stafford, we combined the archetypal jean jacket with a cropped swing shape. The most unique feature of a jean jacket is the wonderful topstitching featured on the front, a detail we incorporated into the Stafford. Good topstitching is the hallmark of a professional looking garment, but can be tricky to perfect. Read on for some suggestions on making your topstitching clean and professional.
Welcome back to the Frankie Sew Along. In our last post we constructed the back of the garment and started attaching the back to the Front/Side. Today we will finish connecting the two pieces and attach the Collar.
Today we start sewing the Frankie Shirt! If you are just joining in on the Sew Along, check out our previous post with cutting, marking and technique tips for the project. If you have already read through the post, let's get started by making the front of the shirt.
Welcome back to the Frankie Sew Along. Today we are going to create the pleat in the back of the garment and attach the Back to the Side/Front pieces. Let's get started!
Before you cut into your pattern, it is important to determine your correct size, and make any needed adjustments. In this post you will learn how to measure, how to make a narrow shoulder adjustment, and how to lengthen and shorten the sleeve.
Overlapping seams are a wonderful finishing technique to use on fabrics that won't fray. Many of you were introduced to the technique with our Chateau Coat, where we integrated overlapping seams into the construction method. In this month's Sew Confident! Linda creates a variation on the Chateau Coat, using wool jersey. Today we want to share with you her tips for creating overlapping seams with wool jersey, as well as give you a peak at the Chateau Popover tutorial. Enjoy!
With the release of our newest pattern, the Frankie Shirt, we felt like it was a perfect time to start another sew-along. Join us here on the blog starting November 12th for a series of posts that will take you through the Frankie construction process step-by-step. I will also share with you our favorite tips and techniques that aren't included in the pattern! We hope you join us on our sewing journey as we work our way through this fun shirt.
If you can't sew-along with us right now, no worries. The posts will live on the blog forever, so you can always come back to them when you are ready to make the Frankie. We have created a special Sew-Along Facebook Group which I hope you will join, where you can share questions and project pictures as we work together. It is a perfect place to share your progress and get to know one another. Join the Facebook group here.
We've created limited edition Boulder Duffle kits in luxe gold and silver metallic fabric. And while we are all in agreement that the bags are fabulous (who doesn't want bling-y bag?), we are also in agreement that sewing fabrics that have a coating on them such as faux leather, oilcloth, and laminated fabrics can be tricky. Sometimes the fabric doesn't move through the sewing machine well because the fabric is sticky so the stitch lengths are uneven and skipped. Most times, they are almost impossible to press without melting or crinkling the surface. And if you make a mistake and need to remove stitches, holes appear, so you want to try to get it right the first time. Because we want you to have your kit and make it too, we've pulled some of our fabric sewing tricks from our Sewing Faux Fashion Leather Sew Confident! tutorial to help you create your own metallic Boulder Duffle.
Welcome to the Frankie Sew Along! Today we are going to cover all the prep work you need to do before you can start sewing. Cutting, marking, gathering your notions, and perfecting your finishing techniques. Taking a little time up front to start your project the right way will pay off in the end. Let's get sewing!
We would like you to meet our newest pattern, Frankie – we think you two are really going to hit it off. Whether you are going to the office or out for the night, Frankie will make sure that you are dressed just right. Her simple style will make sure you are seen in the most flattering light, and her uncomplicated construction process makes it easy to add to your wardrobe in no time!
During my first weekend in London, I was able to attend the Balenciaga exhibit at the legendary Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibit runs through mid-February and is an incredible showcase of the designer's exquisite taste, design, style and legacy. Here, I give you an inside look at some of my personal highlights of the exhibit.
We are so excited to welcome back an old friend, the Bells & Whistles pattern, to our collection. Over the years, we have had many requests to bring this style back. Finally, this summer after seeing a customer wear her Bells Shirt at a Sew Kansas event, we realized that the design is timeless. Bells & Whistles is not just a duo of boring old button-down shirts. For this pattern we have taken classic designs and redefined them with a twist. Both shirts feature unusual closure bands that add an avant garde look to a archetypal shape. The architectural elements add sophistication to the design. Dress them up with silk or go casual with cotton. Either way, Bells & Whistles will become a staple in your closet and your pattern collection.
Not every button has to be the same on a garment. After looking at the over-the-top mixed looks this season of Etro, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana, I decided to shake it up a little bit on my "Burberry" silk charmeuse and pebble textured knit Liberty/MixIt Shirt. You can find the tutorial to combine these two patterns in our August 2017 Sew Confident! tutorial, The Liberty MixIt Fusion. In this tutorial Linda combined the general shape of the Liberty with the neckline of the MixIt. She also teaches you how to shorten the sleeves, create a new self-facing, and create perfect mitered corners.
When you love a fabric, but it's not quite the right weight for the piece that you want to make, what do you do? This is what happened to me recently. I fell in love with this printed handkerchief linen fabric and couldn't get past the idea of making pants. But the fabric was too sheer for a bottom weight.
I've been seeing a new trend in t-shirts popping up recently. Stores like Anthropologie and Modcloth are updating the classic top by combining different prints and fabrics. This isn't a totally new concept, but it can be tricky to sew a woven and a knit together. Luckily, Linda has us covered. She created a tutorial for this very trend last year - she is so on top of it! Check out some of the ready-made shirts I've seen in stores below, as well as the Eureka tutorial. I'm re-publishing the original post so you can make your own combination top with the Eureka pattern!
This summer we hosted our very first Sew-Along for our newest pattern, the Zayn Top. Our goal was to break down the instructions with step-by-step photographs to make sewing the Zayn even easier. We also wanted to include some of our favorite techniques – things that we can't fit in our regular pattern instructions. The best part, by far, has been our Sew-Along Facebook Group where everyone who is making a Zayn can ask questions and share their projects. We have had a few finished Zayn's pop-up on Facebook so far, which we wanted to share with you. We hope you keep the pictures coming. We want to see your finished projects!
For some, July in Kansas may not be something to look forward too – after all, it tends to be quite warm. However, we always look forward to July, because that is summer Sew Kansas time! This year we hosted two groups of sewists who traveled to Topeka from near and far to join us for three days of stitching, pattern fitting, learning new techniques, and well, playing with fabric, prints, buttons and everything that makes sewing fun. Let's face it, this is just summer camp for people who love to sew.
One of the great things about our Sew-Along Facebook Group is that we are able to hear your questions about the pattern. We noticed that many of you wanted to adjust the dropped shoulder that we have designed into the Zayn, and were unsure of how to go about it. So before we attach the sleeve, we are going to share with you our technique for armscye adjustment to use on your next Zayn – or any other pattern! Then we will go through the process of actually attaching the sleeve and you will have a finished top. So let's get started!
The barn jacket is a classic style whose relaxed lines and comfortable shape have made it a favorite for decades. Our Chicago Jacket has a similar stylistic feel though we have incorporated a number of refined details, including a curved waist seam and diagonal darted seams that continue into the pockets. The minutiae of design elements work together to create a truly sophisticated style.
We love the look of our Florence Shirt. It combines all the classic elements of a button-down shirt with unexpected twists like a draped front tuck and a back band with button details. Though not hard to make, a garment pattern this detailed does take some time. And sometimes, you just want to knock out a new project. Something simple that you can cut, sew and wear in just a day. With that in mind, Erin came up with a variation on the Florence. It has the same great look, but made from a knit and it goes together in no time!
What is the one wardrobe staple that you should have hanging in your closet, right next to your little black dress? The little white t-shirt of course! Or might we suggest adding the little white eTee to your closet? Ever since Marlon Brando donned a fitted white t-shirt in The Wild One, this unassuming garment has become a mainstay in both men and women's wardrobes. As the heat of the summer kicks in, nothing feels or looks cooler than a simple tee paired with a flowing skirt or cropped jeans. This is why the eTee is our featured pattern kit for July.
The neck binding is really the only part of the Zayn instructions that are radically different for the woven and the knit versions. I'm going to show the woven steps first. If you are making a knit, scroll down to that section.
WOVEN Step 23: Press your Neck Binding piece lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Before you start pinning, we recommend you prepare your neck binding. Start by laying the folded strip in a curve (with the folded edge on the outside) on a pressing surface. Then, preshape the strip by steaming the curved bias. This reduces some of the extra fullness along the raw edges, and allows the bias to lie flatter.
Welcome back to the Zayn Sew-Along! Today we will be finishing the side and bottom of the drape and making mitered corners. That may sound intimidating to some of you newer sewists, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty simple. Let's get sewing...
Are you ready to start sewing your Zayn top? Hopefully you have already downloaded and assembled the pattern, and cut out the fabric. Now we are ready to breeze through steps 1-5 of the pattern! A few notes: I will be making the Zayn in both a woven and a knit version. Most of the instructions are applicable for both substrates so the bulk of my images will be using woven material. However, if there is a step that is knit-only or woven-only then I will show images of the knit. Look for Woven or Knit in front of specific instructions. Also, don't forget to join us on our Sew-Along Facebook Group. It is a great place to share your project, ask questions and keep up with what everyone else is working on.
Are you ready for the next phase of the Zayn Sew-Along? Remember, you can join any time – these posts won't be taken down, so even if you are just following along now, you can sew when it is over. Also, have you joined our Sew-Along Facebook Group? It is a great place to meet new online sewing friends and get help when you need it. And we would love to see photos of your Zayn progress, so don't be shy, post them on the group!
Welcome back to the Zayn Sew-Along! The last time we met I told you how to assemble your digital pattern. Now we need to talk about preparing your fabric, cutting out the pattern and marking. Now, for many this is the most dreaded part of any project. I must admit, it's not my favorite part but it can make or break a project. A well cut out pattern is key to a successful garment.
Welcome to our first ever Sewing Workshop Sew-Along – I'm so excited to sew with you! Through the next few weeks I'll be sharing our favorite tips and tricks for making both the woven and knit versions of our Zayn Shirt. Before we can start sewing, however, we need to make the actual pattern. For those of you who have never used a digital pattern before, read along for instructions on how to use a download pattern.
Last weekend Linda traveled to Mulberry Silks to teach a workshop. Mulberry Silks & Fine Fabrics is an independent fabric store and sewing studio in North Carolina. This beautiful store, which is located in an old mill in downtown Carrboro, has been in business for 35 years, which is certainly a milestone in this day and age. Linda spent two days there working with sewists on fitting and wardrobe inspiration, and came back with inspiration of her own. We love seeing how our customers make our patterns, it always gives us a fresh perspective on our designs. We want to share with you some of the gorgeous garments Linda saw during the workshop, in hopes that it will inspire you as well!
Since being introduced by Coco Chanel in her 1917 Nautical Collection, the Breton striped shirt – originally designed as a French naval uniform – has held a firm place in fashion's favor. The jaunty stripe is casual yet chic and gives its wearer a splash of insta-cool. You can find the Breton in shirts, dresses, scarfs and sweaters. This ubiquitous stripe has found itself made into every garment under the sun, though it is most popular in a classic t-shirt.
As the days are getting warmer, I've been thinking about easy summer clothes that take no time to make, but are stylish enough to wear for work or play. Inspired by some dresses I saw online, I decided to make myself a Breton stripe t-shirt dress. Luckily, I had our classic eTee pattern at hand...
As a garment sewist, have you ever found yourself flipping through magazines, or walking through a retail store mentally constructing the garments you are seeing? I thought so. We do it, too. We see a shirt and think "I bet I could tweak the Florence Shirt pattern to make that top" or "That top is just like the Eureka Top pattern, if I made these changes". In fact, that is exactly what we did with this Sew Confident! Zona Jacket. We saw a designer jacket we loved and decided to make it using our own Zona Jacket pattern.
A good raincoat can go a long way to brightening a gloomy day. It has been raining cats and dogs here all month, but that doesn't bother me! I just gear up in my Soho raincoat and head out to weather the storm. We know we aren't the only ones getting drenched this month, and that is why the Soho is our featured pattern for April.
Here it is, the one you've been waiting for...The Zayn Shirt. This split personality top is perfect for those who want to be classic and modern, all in the same garment. The short sleeve garment drapes from its flattering high, curved neckline and plunges into a gorgeous drape on the left side. And, this is a garment you don't have to take sides on – it is suited for both wovens and knits!
Recently, while watching the utterly magnificent Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2017 Couture show (which you can see here, and which I highly recommend watching), I realized something – the models were wearing our West End Pants! Well, the Dior version anyway. Later that same day I received an email from Anthropologie and their models were also wearing our West End style. It was official: wide-leg cropped pants are the pant for this spring. Luckily, I have just the pattern to make them.
Years ago, my friend Susan asked me to accompany her to help select a mother-of-the-groom ensemble. We drove to Kansas City where she chose a vintage kimono fabric which was custom-made into a beautiful jacket.
She wore the jacket to her son's wedding and to other occasions as well. The custom house had used the wrong side of the kimono fabric for its striped effect, but these stripes had floating yarns which made the fabric more delicate. Eventually, the silk started to break down, fray and even shred in places. Susan didn't want to give up on the precious jacket so she asked us at The Sewing Workshop if we had any ideas about how to salvage the fabric.
Simple and elegant. A dash of Audrey Hepburn with a sprinkle of Jackie O. – that is the Chateau Coat. Whether you make it in a bold Missoni knit or classic black Scuba, this is the jacket that people will stop you on the street to ask about. "Where did you get that fabulous coat?" The answer? "Well, I made it of course!"
It seems like everyone in the sewing world is talking about scuba - and I don't mean the kind with the snorkel. Scuba fabric, a stretchy double knit that is similar to a ponte, has been making its way onto runways for years and now fashion sewers are starting to experiment with this fun fabric.
Velvet is the ultimate luxury fabric. For many, the deep, rich qualities of velvet bring to mind everything from sumptuous royal gowns to memories of special occasion holiday dresses worn as a child. As this holiday season approaches – and the holiday party invitations start trickling in – I have found myself thinking of creating new velvet pieces for my wardrobe. But I don't want these garments to be worn just for special occasion, I want to be able to bask in the luxury of velvet after the party season ends.
Erin is wearing our Stella top and Valencia pants. The dark purple velvet of the Stella top has a subtle print that makes the color even richer. The Stella top is a great choice for this fabric because it really shows off the drape of the velvet fabric. While the Stella on its own is a loose fitting garment, it isn't so blousy that you can't tuck it in. A trendy wide belt is the perfect accessory to pull the outfit together, while accentuating your waist line.
It's here! The first Sew Confident! tutorial of 2017, the San Diego Bomber. If you haven't used our Sew Confident! tutorials before, they are our monthly digital tutorials that can be subscribed to by the year, or bought individually as they are released (a first for 2017!). This year our theme is Variations With Verve and each month we will be sharing techniques for customizing patterns for your unique style, To kick off the year, Erin demonstrates how she transformed our San Diego pattern into this on-trend bomber jacket.
We are so excited about our new San Diego pattern. We love the flattering style - this loose-fitting tunic has a faced overlapping front placket that extends into a deep front pleat, forward shoulders, angled hem and elbow-length sleeves with deep stitched hems. This tunic is perfect for wearing with a slim pant and boots, or it can also be made as a hip-length top which would look incredibly elegant with a wide-leg trouser. This pattern also has a great backstory. It is a modern interpretation of a jacket style that we released in 1999. Because we are approaching our 25th anniversary (!!) we wanted to look back at some of our classic patterns and modernize our favorites as we embark on the next 25 years of The Sewing Workshop! As a nod to our past we are including the original San Diego jacket pattern with our new San Diego top and tunic. I think you'll find that the jacket is as stylish today as it was then. A classic look!
It took the entire 25th year to realize we had actually been in business that long. So here it is, the end of our anniversary year, and I am in a reflective mood.
When I bought the school, I assumed that entity alone would survive and grow. I soon realized that we needed a product to sell in order to lure people to the west coast to take classes. Thus, the pattern collection was born.
Now the pattern collection is our heart and soul. But sewing education is where we are enjoying most of our growth, this time in the form of online tutorials and classes. The stand-alone sewing school in the Richmond district of San Francisco is gone, but sewing education is our future.
Sometimes the simplest tools can be the best. Take the humble tweezer. Sure, it has been stereotyped as a bathroom-only apparatus used only for splinters and the stray eyebrow hair. But the tweezer is more than that, it is an apparatus that can be used in the most delicate of sewing situations.
Fall fashion trends come and go, but few have the staying power of leather. The leather motorcycle jacket became a classic look the instant Marlon Brando roared into movie theaters on his motorcycle in The Wild One in 1953. Nothing says sleek, sexy – and rebellious – like leather. Whether you are wearing a full jacket or just a pop of leather trim, leather can take your look to the next level.
The fashion world was saddened when legendary designer Sonia Rykiel passed away this week. Rykiel, who unknowingly got her start as a designer when she started sewing maternity clothing for herself, was known as The Queen of Knits for her fashion-forward work with knit design. As I thumbed through Pinterest, looking at Rykiel designs, I noticed that she not only loved knits, but also loved a knit stripe (though, who doesn't?). In honor of this great designer, I've put together a few Sonia Rykiel inspiration boards, pairing our knit stripes with her design inspiration.
We love pattern debuts around here at the Sewing Workshop! We finally get to spread the love about what we've been working on over recent weeks or months. The Barcelona Top has had many forms during it's design process. Through trial and tribulations, we're so happy with the result. A year round garment, depending on your fabric choice, the Barcelona looks great in lightweight knit gauze with short sleeves for spring and summer or try it in a medium-weight, stable knit for fall and winter, like this Houndstooth Print Pique. Here are a few of our favorite fabric choices.
French terry is a type of jersey knit fabric that has vertical ribs on one side of the fabric and fine loops on the other side, unlike terrycloth, which has loops on both sides. It has entered the fashion scene once again and is used by designers for all kinds of ready-to-wear including coats and toppers.
There's definitely something in the air. At the same time that I was producing the June Sew Confident! tutorial about using photos and magazine images as inspirations to build mood boards for wardrobe and sewing concepts, my daughter, Alex, was doing a similar thing in her fashion design class at ESMOD design school in Paris, France.
We love preparing for the Spring 2015 Tradeshows - starting with the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA. This year we had a big pattern debut the first day of the show - the Bristol Dress & Top. We love showing off our new designs in different fabric combinations so customers can really see how creative you can get with just one pattern!
The dust has settled and the new website has launched! Now we can really concentrate of the important things - our love of sewing.
We had our first Stitch Night at our Topeka studio last night. Our first gathering since returning from the Alabama Chanin studio. It was a great reminder of how much fun we had during our visit August 1-3.
This is the season for pants to be made in anything but a solid color. Every designer has some style of pants, skinny to flowing, in everything from botanicals, paisleys, travertine and stone patterns to animal prints. I have to say, some of them look and feel like pajama bottoms, but it is a serious trend and it's fun.