Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Uptown/Downtown Dress, Sewing Knits Without a Walking Foot, and a Little Known Tip from a Facebook Friend

I never sew anything that doesn't present an opportunity to learn something new! I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a pattern testing call from a wonderful designer, Terri Olson of TerriLin Collections. She just made her first pattern, the sweet little Uptown/Downtown dress! 

I felt this was a perfect dress to help me try out knits. I didn't get it perfect, but I think the dress still turned out great. Read to the end for some little known tips I learned in sewing groups that I will employ next time. 

So here is what I did!

First of all, I laid out my fabric. Her fabric layout requires that you fold both selvedges in toward the center. I am a grainline freak because I have worn lots of twisty clothes and refuse to sew any! So I painstakingly measured from the fold to the selvedge in several places to make sure that they were parallel. And laid out my pattern to cut. Then I was frustrated so I left the rest for the next day. 

So.... The next day...

I started pinning to sew. I practiced lots on my scraps. I tried running the fabric through the machine all willy nilly. It didn't work. The seam curled. I put tissue paper beneath, but I had bunching in front of the presser foot and that caused stretching and puckers. All bad!! 

So, I lined up my fabric evenly with as little stretching as possible. 

I cut a piece of tissue paper big enough to cover the seam. 

I put tissue paper on top and bottom of each seam. I sandwiched my fabric right between two pieces of tissue paper. 

I trimmed the tissue paper to the edge of the fabric so I had a nice even edge to line up with the lines on my sewing machine.  (Notice I pushed the pins down.)

After finishing all the shoulder seams (these are shoulder seams), I took the fabric (and tissue paper) to the sewing machine and sewed. The fabric didn't bunch up or pucker at all! And without a concerted effort and exerted strength (that would have probably broken my needle), that fabric wasn't stretching while I sewed!!

Et voila!!

I took off the tissue paper. 

Perfect seams, no walking foot!

Just in an effort to be honest, it is simple but time consuming. Check out the neckline! Looks like a medieval instrument of torture!! But I did the exact same thing. I laid the tissue over and under the fabric flat. I cut the tissue to the curve. 

But it turned out fairly nicely. It could have been better, but more on that later. 

The dress is nearly done. I am glad that I didn't hem it as my niece is quite tall and I will be adding a panel to the bottom of this dress to make it longer. It will be something like View A of this McCall's pattern I have been wanting to make forever!

Anyway, here is the almost finished dress!

It hit the knee on my niece unhemmed, but my sister wants it longer so I will be doing a brown contrast band at the bottom. 

Next time, I will let my fabric rest between the folding and pinning, and between the pinning and cutting. This is like working with bias fabric because it stretches. Handle it as little as possible. 

I had some issues in my cutting. So I pleated out the extra.

I have lots of bulk in the shoulders. Any tips on reducing it will be greatly appreciated!

Stay tuned for how I go about adding the contrast panel at the bottom and how I go about hemming. 

If you love the TerriLinn Collections Uptown/Downtown Dress, you can buy the pattern here in her Etsy Store:

The pattern is available in sizes 2T through 10. This pattern can go from play dress to formal dress by simply changing the fabric! I will be making many more of these in my future!! 

I thought I should mention that I tested this pattern and so it was free for me, but my opinions are still my own. I really do think this dress is cute!!

Update: Here are some more tips on sewing knit fabric.

Second Update (7/24/14): The name and link to the Etsy shop have changed. Here is the new link:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

E+M Patterns Givaway Winner

Natasha Bailey is the winner of 20,000 member giveaway in the Sewing Inspiration and Tutorials Facebook Group, sponsored by E+M Patterns. She has won E+M Patterns Children's Pants No. 2 Pattern. (

This pattern is a versatile straight-legged pant pattern that includes many options. The most basic of the customization options is the pant leg length, which allows for pants or shorts. The pattern also includes inset hip yoke pockets, which can be sewn with or without ruffles. Finally, the back pockets can be pleated or ruffled. (In my opinion, they can be added on the side of the pants too for a cargo pants look!)

All E+M Patterns include a clear, step-by-step instructions with color photos that use two sided fabric (so we can tell which side we are viewing).  She also includes appropriate seam finishes, which help the user create a garment that is as beautifully constructed on the inside as it is on the outside, whether  using a standard domestic machine or serger to finish edges. The patterns also include sizing and finished garment measurement charts. Finally, the actual patterns are nested and fully computer drafted. 

The pattern she chose is linked below the picture! I will be sewing these up without ruffle pockets when I get a chance!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Run Jump Hop Skip Shorts and Round 2 on These Patch Pockets

Just recently, I had the pleasure of testing the Run Jump Hop Skip pattern for Stitch It Now!  It's a cute little pattern with a faux fly, patch pockets, and elastic in the back. The pattern comes in two lengths so that you can make pants or shorts. 

I really had fun sewing these little shorts up!  I am always up for learning something new and I learned a lot of something news with this pattern. 

First, I decided to experiment with matching the horizontal stripes on plaid. Half the work occurs in the cutting and half occurs in the pinning. 

To cut, I laid my pattern out using one of the lines at the bottom as a base line. The bottom is a more prominent horizontal line than the waist is to me. So I lined the shorts up at the bottom. See how the pieces are lined up along that red line?

Then, when I pinned the shorts together, I was careful to match the horizontal stripes at least to the 1 cm seam allowance at each horizontal stripe.  I did this by pinning at each horizontal stripe. I pinned along the stripe, checking that it matched on the front and back. (Excuse the seam lines. I took all of the pictures after I finished.)

Here is the front where I pinned. 

Here is the other side. See how the pins are exactly on the line. 

I also had a chance to sew a faux fly. It can be confusing the first time if you overthink things the way that I do, but Amy has done a wonderful tutorial on her blog ( Here is my faux fly!

If you remember, I totally messed up the patch pockets on my last go round. The edgestitching left something to be desired. I was excited to try this pattern because of all the patch pockets! I had four chances to get it right this time! And I think I nailed it! Patch pockets:1 Me: 4! BOOM!!

I think that putting elastic in the back of the waistband only is super great. First, it makes the shorts look neater in the front. Second, it uses less of that old expensive elastic! 

Here is the front of the waistband. Neat, right?

And here is the back! 

Ok. So my topstitching needs work. But look at those stripes, baby!!!

But these shorts are super cute and anyone looking that close can buy the pattern and make their own! My son loves his Stitch It Now Run Jump Hop Skip shorts. 

And just in case you aren't absolutely sick of looking at this plaid, here are some action shots!

He picked the bib himself so he wouldn't mess up his clothes. Lol

And he's gone!!

If you like these shorts as much as my Mini Me and I do, head on over to the Stitch It Now blog to get more information about purchasing the pattern for the Run Jump Hop Skip pants/shorts. There is a giveaway over there too! 

UPDATE: The release of these shorts has been delayed indefinitely. 

I thought I should mention that I tested this pattern and so it was free for me, but my opinions are still my own. I really do think these shorts are cute!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Learning with Allison: E+M Shirt No. 7

I was lucky enough to be chosen to test a pattern for E+M Patterns! It is a cute little colorblocked t-shirt, but the kicker is that it is made of woven fabric! It is rare to find boys patterns at all, and if you find a shirt, it is almost always a t-shirt or polo made from stretch fabric. If you do find a shirt made of woven fabric, it is almost always your more classic, tailored, button down.

This pattern was cute and funky!! It buttons at the shoulders so big heads can get in, has a pocket "for little treasures," and is just full of adorableness!  The colorblocking gives options for all sorts of fun twists and shouts!

So here are the deets!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

E+M Patterns Shirt No. 7 Blog Tour and Giveaway

I am participating in a blog tour showing off the latest release from E+M Patterns!  The schedule is posted below. At each stop on the tour, you have a chance to check out the new pattern, funky variations and hacks, and reviews. Each blogger will also be giving away a pattern as well. So check out the itinerary below:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Drafting, Modifying, and Embellishing the Basic Tee

I was watching Sewing with Nancy few weeks ago, and I saw her doing some wonderful embellishments to a knit top. She did things like adding ruffles and flowers to just jazz it up a bit.  I thought a little about trying to figure out how to get a good fitting knit shirt pattern.

Then a few weeks later, I was watching It's Sew Easy, and she used a basic t-shirt pattern to make cardigan sets, cowl neck tops, tunics and so on!  I decided to immediately find out how to make a well fit knit pattern.  The best part is that knit fabric stretches and is rather forgiving as far as fit goes. 

So here, in this post, I am linking to the sloper drafting tutorial, the modifications for the various looks, and the embellishments!  I can't wait to try it!