Drea’s first ever bespoke undies. She and I discovered that a lot of organic cotton tshirts are chocolate brown… :)
Do you have a pretty predictable fit challenge? Like you can pretty much count on something usually being too long, too short, too anything? For my client Drea, there was one fit challenge with underwear in particular that she could absolutely count on (until she met me :)). Let’s actually start at the end, with her delighted testimonial:
I am a very picky customer. Kori worked with me tirelessly and very graciously to create a set of undies that are absolutely perfect for me. They fit me perfectly and are perfectly comfortable. And I do mean PERFECT!
I have dealt with the pain of Vulvodynia for many years and up until I found Kori, I had never worn a pair of underwear that did not cause me pain. Those days are over. It’s Kori and her bespoke undies forevermore!
Can I tell you what an honor it has been to work with her? After back-and-forthing for months and several iterations of “this works, let’s tweak that,” I couldn’t have been more tickled to hear that we finally got her perfect pair of underwear right!
Before Drea messaged me through Etsy, I hadn’t heard of Vulvodynia. I learned quickly. It’s a condition of chronic pain in Ladytown with no known cause. Degrees of pain vary among women who suffer from the condition, but wearing underwear poses a serious challenge. Like Drea said, she had never worn a pair of underwear before that did not cause her pain. Never! It totally hurts my heart.
So, cautiously optimistic, we embarked together on a journey to craft the perfect pair of underwear. She was excited about mine because the boy-cut’s center panel was fully lined to the waist (no uncomfortable ridges where the lining ended in a sensitive area).
We talked about fabrics, and I found some soft organic cotton tshirts (best to avoid anything that might have been treated with a harsh or unnatural pesticide). I emailed her photosof some different options, and moved forward with the one she chose. I made a pair with a little higher rise, per her specifications, and sent them her way.
I waited anxiously.
She got back to me after a few wears. They were good, but she needed to cut the lining out, and the elastic bunched uncomfortably around the front part of the legholes. Did I have any ideas?
Drea bought another pair. This time, no lining, and with extra care paid to how the elastic was put in.
Better. But something was still off. And then! (I always have my best ideas while running or in the shower. Never running in the shower, but one or the other. :)) I realized we could pre-shrink the elastic and then sew it in so that it didn’t bunch around the front half of the leg hole.
Drea loved the idea, so she bought another pair. And could I cut the waist a little bit lower on these? Of course. And maybe shave off a little bit of the fullness from the buns? Definitely. And guess what? They were perfect! Finally! Eureka!
Working on so many pairs, Drea and I developed some new prints for the shop, like this bumblebee!
Shortly thereafter, she mailed me back the previous pairs. This week I’m taking them apart to put the elastic back in and take the waist down just a tad.
And with that, Drea will have a drawerful of undies that fit her perfectly and don’t cause her pain. Glorious.
This has meant so much more to both Drea and I than than just a few pairs of underwear. For her, I know, it’s something she’s never had. For me it’s this incredible opportunity to be a part of that joy and gratitude. To craft something special for one woman and her specific needs (no lining, higher waist, less curvaceous bottom and all). I feel honored by her having shared such an intimate part of her life with me.
And the more I learn about other fit challenges— wide hips, narrow hips, extreme petiteness, plus sized-ness, big booty, no booty, front pouch, strong thighs— the more committed I am to providing a super high quality product, and a safe space to explore what works best for a woman’s unique and beautiful-in-every-shape body. I love the process, the relationships, and the opportunity to create underwear as unique and cheeky as the women who wear them. For more about what I do and why, check out my malleable manifesto. :)
So. If you’ve ever had a pair (or a drawer full) of undies that haven’t fit you the way you would like, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below with a horror (or less horrific) story. Or send an email my way if you’re curious about embarking on your own bespoke underwear journey :) koriel.jock [at] gmail.com
Dear readers! Week 8 and the Summer Sewing Tutorial Series is wrapping up! Thanks so much for being a part of it! I’m looking forward to sharing more about the day to days of business owning and growing and funning and sillying as summer turns to fall, but I’m excited for one last tutorial today (well, part 1 of 2… :)). About how to fix the holes that magically (or not so magically) appear in our favorite garments.
There are a few different categories of holes that I’ve recognized (though this list certainly isn’t comprehensive):
Holes in woven fabrics having nothing to do with a seam
Holes in knit fabrics having nothing to do with a seam
So I thought I’d walk us through fixing some of the easier ones this week, and save some of the others for Part 2… :)
Holes in Seams
This is just where some stitching broke or came out, but the integrity of the garment and fabric aren’t compromised. All you’ve gotta do is turn the garment inside out, pin the two pieces of fabric together where they used to join, and sew it up (using a sewing machine, or by hand) following the old stitch line where the garment used to be joined. Good as new! If you’re working on a knit fabric (remember the difference between woven and knit?), you’ll get extra credit for using a very narrow zig-zag stitch, so that the seam line will stretch with the fabric. :)
1) Sad armpit hole… 2)Turned inside out and pinned. 3)In the sewing machine I follow the garment’s original stitch line and seam allowances. 4)Ta da!
Holes Right Next to Seams
So here, there’s a stress point on the garmentike on these tights), and the fabric has worn out. I can fix it, but it’s going to change the size of the garment slightly (which may or may not jive for your garment’s style), and the hole(s) will likely come back. But it’ll last a little while longer :)
Just like above, turn the garment inside out
Pin the two pieces of fabric together just to the inside of the holes
Use chalk (if you want, or you can eyeball it) to draw where your new stitch lines will be. Try to make a gradual line from where the fabric is currently stitched together out towards where the holes live. You’ll want to stay as close to the holes as you can without sewing over weakened fabric. I’ll go about 1/4″ from the holes.
Stitch along the line you drew and turn right side out. I did a super narrow zig zag so that it would stretch with the tights’ fabric. You did it!
1)Hole. Boo. 2)Turned inside out, pinned, and the stitch line re-drawn with chalk 3)Sewing! 4)Ta da!
Holes in knit fabrics having nothing to do with a seam
These ones can sometimes be hideable, depending on where and what type of fabric. Here’s a little cardigan with a mini-hole I’ll patch from the back using a little piece of tshirt.
Cut out a little patch and put it behind the hole. Try to choose fabric of similar type/weight. I’m not folding the edges of my patch under here- it would add bulk and my tshirt patch won’t ravel anyway, so I’m just going to leave it like you see in the photo (and trim it down a little bit when I’m finished).
Put a knot in your threaded needle and start from the inside of your garment. I always sew around the little hole like the petals on a flower- from the outside to the center. Check it out in the photos below.
After I’ve gone around the hole, I come back to the inside of the garment and knot my thread off just like I did when we were sewing a button.
Row 1: The hole and our materials! Row 2: My patch and flower petal stitching Row 3: The finished product, inside and out :)
If it’s a casual garment, or has a print like this one, it may not be noticeable at all!
Well, what do you think? Do you have any clothing you’ll be patching soon? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment below :) And see you next week!
Hello and happy Thursday :) The warm weather has finally come to Seattle (I know most of the U.S. has been sweltering for weeks, but I cannot tell you how happy I am to have 3 days in a row sunny and 80 degrees. I love the sun waaaay too much to be in the Pacific Northwest. :) How’s a girl supposed to photosynthesize? :)
Today we conquer the button! Shank buttons, sew-through buttons (the kind with 2 or 4 holes)- you name it, it’s getting put somewhere! So, without further ado, I invite you to join me, my trench coat and some pretty fabulous pink sparkly buttons. We’re sewing these puppies on!
And the finished product!
I am ready for whatever the world sends my way with these sassy pink buttons!
Where are you putting your buttons? Please comment below!
You made it! Week 6 of our Summer Sewing Tutorial Series- Making our shopping bag! We’ve waited so long to get here, let’s just dive in! :) Husbie Zac will be our guinea pig and model again this week. So, without further ado…
Zac with his cut out pattern pieces! What do yours look like?
You’ll also need:
Thread that matches your project
A colored pencil, pen or sewing chalk
A safety pin
Your threaded sewing machine, bobbin and all (for a how to, check out last week’s post)
An hour or two :)
First things first: Seams and seam allowances. A seam is where two or more pattern pieces join with a row of stitching (you might’ve heard of side seams before? On a skirt, this is where a skirt front and skirt back fabric pieces join together on the side of your body). This pattern calls for 5/8″ seam allowances (which are pretty standard for home sewing). What is a seam allowance? It is the amount of fabric you leave between the row of stitching that you make with the sewing machine, and the edge of the fabric pieces. If it doesn’t already, it’ll all make sense in a minute.
You can’t stitch right on the edge of the fabric, it’s always got to be just a little bit off. And your sewing machine will have marks like the ones pictured below that act as a guide to help you keep your stitch line straight (for more practice/help sewing a straight line and how to use these guides, check out the video tutorial here). To help Zac keep his line of stitching straight, I put some blue painter’s tape on my sewing machine to extend the 5/8″ guide.
Check out these seam allowance guides next to the presser foot- you’ll notice Zac pointing to 5/8″, but there are also other measurements labeled too.
Step 1: Prep Bag Bottom
Alright! So to get started, you’ll want to take your bag bottom (piece #1 from the pattern download), and fold it in half right sides together*, matching your notches. You’ll notice that if you fold it in one direction, the notches won’t match, but if you fold it in the other direction, they do. That’s how notches work- they help you make sure you’re putting things together in the right direction! :)
*Rights sides together is a super basic sewing concept that will all make sense in a moment. So most fabrics have a “right” side and a “wrong” side. The right side is the side you want the world to see, while the wrong side is the side that doesn’t have the print, or looks funny, or is whatever you want on the inside of the garment. So when you’re sewing, you typically don’t want your seam allowances (described above) on the outside of your garment or shopping bag. (It would be like wearing your clothing inside out). The way that you get the seam allowances on the inside of your bag or garment is by sewing with right sides together. It meanssewing on the wrong side of the fabric, with the right sides of your fabric pattern pieces folded together (if there’s folding involved, like in this step), or laid together so that they face one another (like we’ll do in the next step). This means too that you’ll always usually have to turn the garment (or bag) right side out at some point during the process. Which is super fun! :)
Zac has his bag bottom folded in half- yours should appear in similar proportions :)
You’ll want to pin the sides together to hold them in place. Too many pins and it’ll slow you down a ton while sewing, too few and your fabric will be slip sliding allover while you’re trying to sew. Check out the video below to see where/how Zac pinned his fabric. He left the pin heads off the edge of the fabric so that they’d be easier to pull out as he was sewing, and so that if he accidentally sewed over a pin, it wouldn’t cause problems. Not a bad idea! :)
If you measured your own pattern pieces rather than using the download (and so don’t have notches), you’ll want to fold the bag bottom so that the fold is in the side that’s 11.625″ wide. You want a long skinny piece after you make the fold, like the photo above.
Alright! So now you’re going to sew along the two short edges of this bag bottom piece. Watch Zac do his second in the video below. Remember, if you need some guidance taking that first stitch, this video will be a big help!
Hooray! You did it! Now iron those two seams open (you don’t want to iron the seam like how you sewed it- flat- you want to iron it open so that it’s one layer thick. Make sense?), and move on to step two! :)
Step one is done! We also used a serger to stitch in white on the edges of our fabric to finish them so they wouldn’t fray. You can achieve a similar effect by doing another row of stitching with your sewing machine (zig-zag is good for this- refer to your manual for getting into zig-zag mode) right on the edge of the fabric. It’ll keep it from fraying when you throw your bag in the washing machine.
On to Step 2! Bag Bottom Corners
Next you’re going to fold your bag bottom so that it lays flat like a triangle on one side- see the image below, or check out this video where Zac walks you through it.
Take a ruler and find the spot on the hypotenuse/longest leg of the triangle (hello 10th grade geometry :)) that is 4.5″ long.
Draw a line directly on the fabric here with chalk or colored pencil. This will be your stitch line!
Pin along the stitch line (either across like in the last example, or along, like below. Either way, be careful not to sew over your pins).
(Left) See how we folded the bag bottom to make a triangle? (Right) Find the spot on the triangle that is 4.5″ long, and mark with a line to make it easier to sew. Then pin.
Sew along your 4.5″ long line.
Repeat the above steps with the other side of your bag bottom.
Check Zac out! You could have also put your pins in going perpendicular to the stitch line. Just be careful not to stitch over them either way :)
Step 3 – Attaching the bag bottom to our tshirt/bag middle. We’re working our way up!
Turn your tshirt section inside out- this’ll make it easier to put right sides together.
With right sides together, match the side seams of the tshirt to the side seams of your bag bottom.
See how he matched the side seams, and pinned them right away? Then he moved to the rest of the shirt and pinned the two pieces together all around.
Pin the two pieces together all around. If piece is a little bit bigger than the other, you can lightly stretch the pieces to work together (this is called easing the two pieces together).
Pin the bag bottom to the tshirt loop all the way around and then sew them! Our bag is getting bigger!
After pinning the two pieces together, sew them. It doesn’t matter where in the circle you start (I usually go for a side seam). Check out the video of Zac sewing here.
Next, iron the seam open. Zac chose to iron on the right side of the fabric, but I usually go for the wrong side- that way if the iron is too hot any marks might be kept to the inside…
Iron the seam open so that where the middle and bottom section of the bag meet is crisp. Lots of sewing blunders can be covered up with a good ironing :)
Step 4 – The bag’s top band!
Grab your top band piece and start by folding it in half along the long edge (wrong sides together this time…) and ironing a crease in the middle.
Next, unfold the band, and this time with right sides together, sewing the band along the short edge to create a circle of fabric.
Iron the bag’s top band in half, wrong sides together, then with the right sides together and the band folded in half in the opposite direction, sew it up, making a loop.
Next, iron the seam open, and then fold the circle back in half longways along your ironing line. Re-iron your original crease here. So pretty!
Iron your band’s seam open, then fold it back in half longways and re-crease. Getting closer!
Next we’re going to attach the top band to the rest of the bag. It’ll seem like this piece doesn’t have a wrong side, folded in half the way it is, and that’s kind of true. What we need to do is line up the band’s seam with either of the bag’s side seams, then pin the raw edges of the band (doubled like they are since it’s folded in half) to the raw edge of the right side of the bag:
Zac has attached the raw edges of the top band (doubled) to the top edge of the bag, on the right side, with pins, all the way around. The folded side of the band is to the left.
Sew, then iron open. Now your bag has a beautious top band! :)
Step 5 – Strappy straps!
Fold each strap in half long ways and pin.
Then sew along the long edge of each of the strap pieces.
The raw edges of the strap are on the right, and the fold on the left.
Next, turn your bag straps right side out using a safety pin:
Next, iron them flat, and now we’ll attach the straps to the bag! Left photo: On our bag, we measured 4″ from the side seam on either side and pinned each end of the strap to the bag (strap end on the inside of the bag so that it’s hidden from the outside). Right photo: We also folded under the bottom edge of the strap, towards the inside of the bag so that the raw edges of the strap were hidden.
Left: Check out where we pinned our straps- 4″ from either side of the side seams (on both sides). You can pin yours wherever your want, just make sure to measure it so that they’re even :) Right: See how we folded under the bottom edge of the strap?
Now we’ll sew the straps onto the bag!
First you’ll sew a box, then put a check in it. Watch Zac sew it in the video below.
And there you have it! You just finished your shopping bag! Kick butt! Please take a photo and post it over on my facebook page- I’d love to see what you did! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post below!
Oh man! The weeks march on and now here we are- how to thread your machine! Are you ready? I know you can do it!
So just like in last week’s diagram about the parts of a sewing machine, although each machine will be threaded in a slightly different way, they are all fairly similar. Your sewing machine’s manual should have a diagram (and you’ll likely be able to find the manual for your sewing machine by googling), but I’ll show you how mine works below both in photos and with a video.
Let’s start with the bobbin!
The bobbin lives under the needle and feed dogs and all the glory that happens under the fabric. I happen to have two machines whose bobbins load very differently, so I’ll show you both.
But first things first- we need to wind the bobbin. Though you can wrap your bobbins by hand (just be sure not to wind it so tight that you stretch the thread or do it so loosely that you have saggy thread), most machines will wind your bobbins for you. Side note: There are a few different size bobbins; your machine will have bobbins that fit it specifically. My two machines have two different size bobbins. See if you notice a difference in the videos below. :)
Let’s check out how my newer machine works:
Yours will probably be pretty similar. Check your manual for any quirks- I know on my older machine, you have to turn a knob inside the handwheel for the bobbin to wind. Quirks! :)
So now we have a threaded bobbin. Where to put it? Check out the videos below for two common, yet very different, bobbin casings. Which one does yours look like?
Hooray! We have just put the bobbin in! Now to thread the machine. My newer machine has some quirks, so I’ll show you how to thread on my older machine. Check out the YouTube video for a step by step walk through (your manual will have a diagram that might be helpful as you walk through your own machine).
How is your machine similar or different?
So, did you do it? Any snafus? I hope this was super helpful and that you you learned a ton.
One last little side note: Often when my machine is giving me troubles, all I need to do is re-thread it and it’s happy as a clam. Keep that in mind as you work on different projects. Sometimes the only thing that’s wrong is that it needs to be re-threaded… :) And if you need a little refresher on how to change a needle, check out this video.
Thanks for swinging by dear friends! I hope you feel excited about working on our shopping bag next week. In the meantime, if you want some practice sewing a straight line, check out this great tutorial (my first) that I made last year. You’ll get lots of practice and make a cute note card to send to a friend. My husband used it to learn how to turn corners! And then he taught a friend :)
Sign up on the homepage for an email every time I make a post- you’ll get next week’s sewing instructions straight to your inbox :)
This sewing machine served me for nearly 30 years! (and my mom for 10+ years before I was even around :))
Hello hello! How do you feel? We’ve done a lot in the last few weeks- learned about what the marks on home sewing patterns mean, picked up some fabric basics including the ever illusive grainline, and just last week cut out pattern pieces for a supercute upcycled shopping bag with my husbie Zac.
This week off we’re headed to the sewing machine! We won’t sew yet- but we’ll spend a couple of weeks getting to know our machines (thanks for sticking with me through this delayed gratification). This week we’ll figure out how a sewing machine works (for reals) and then next week we’ll thread our machine, bobbin and all!
All sewing machines have the same basic parts and pieces. Your sewing machine probably won’t look like mine (pictured above). This is my momma’s sewing machine from college. I burned the motor out on it earlier this year making undies (I’m still planning on getting it fixed), but it has served her since
the 70s for all sorts of amazing and ridiculous outfits,
the outfits she made my brother and I in the 80s and the Barbie clothes I churned out. Oh, and the scrunchees. Thousands. Probably. :)
the 90s when I started sewing more than her and busted out lots of purses, homecoming dresses and body pillow cases for the entire senior class (only 55 of us),
and the 2000s- through college: a fashion degree and countless fashion shows, three wedding dresses (eye candy on the portfolio page :)), and then starting my own business. I flipping love this machine.
I’m not sure that was worth a bulleted list, but four decades of sewing? I wanted to show this machine some serious respect. :)
But how does it work? So super basic- every sewing machine has two threads: one that comes from the top and goes through the needle into the fabric, and a second thread, wound on a bobbin that lives below the needle, feed dogs, and throat plate (we’ll get there, I promise!). This diagram shows the dance that happens between the needle and bobbin threads. It’s very much based on one in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, an awesome reference book that I turn to time and again.
So this shows how the needle and bobbin thread intertwine to make a stitch. Click on the image to check it out full size.
Make sense? The upper thread kind of loops around the lower thread and is pulled tight to make the stitch creating awesomeness. :)
You’ll see below a photo of my Momma’s machine with all the parts labeled. Every machine is a little bit different, but works in essentially the same way. Hopefully you’ll be able to guess which parts of your machine correspond with which parts of mine! :)
The bits and pieces, in all their glory! Click to enlarge the image.
When sewing, you’ll be most concerned with the stitch length and width regulators and the back stitch control. You’ll have seen the hand wheel, presser foot, feed dogs (I love feed dogs!) and back stitch control all in action in our tutorial: How to Sew a Straight Line.
Next week we’ll get to know many of these parts a lot better when we thread the machine and then away we go! :) Nothing’s holding us back in our quest to make an upcycled shopping bag :)
See you then! Comment below if you have any questions, and subscribe on the homepage to get an email about future posts :)
This week, the grand unveiling of our summer sewing project! Drumroll please!
Before and after! :)
A supersweet upcycled shopping bag!
I’m also pleased to introduce my husband Zac who wants to learn to sew (he’s got big dreams of making his own camping gear). He offered to be my guinea pig and model for this project, and he’s just as excited as you are! :) So here we go!
a tshirt (any size will do; ours was a child’s large)
2/3 yard of fabric (either 45″ or 60″ wide) if your tshirt is less than 18″ wide. If your tshirt is wider than 18″, you’ll want 3/4 yard. We’re using two different pieces, since we had some scraps lying about.
You could also use clothing, but part of today’s lesson will be cutting on grain.
Some newspaper if you’re making your own pattern (I explain the measurements you’ll need below), or you can download the pattern I used here- you’ll need to tape it together and adjust it for the width of your tshirt. Don’t worry, it explains how to. :)
A measuring tape or ruler or both
A marker or pen
Fabric/sharp scissors (nothing dulls scissors faster than paper, so my fabric scissors are used for nothing but fabric. It’s one of our house’s cardinal rules. Seriously. Don’t cut paper with my fabric scissors. You will pay. :))
Step 1: Measure the width of your tshirt. Ours is 15.75″ wide, and the pattern download is made for a shirt that’s 15.75″ wide.
Measuring the width of our tshirt!
Step 2: Next, let’s dive in to prepping our paper pattern pieces! You have two options here-
You can either make your own newspaper patterns like I did, or print out a copy of my pattern, and follow the instructions therein to make the adjustments you’ll need. Either way, you’ll rock it: if you have a straight edge ruler and a calculator (or super fast arithmetic brain :)) I say go for making them yourself. Otherwise, kick butt on taping those 8.5″x11s” together, and then follow the instructions to make adjustments for whatever size shirt you have. One note: if you use the pattern download, it has notches and you’ll have a chance to practice matching them. :) When you cut your pattern pieces out, go around them. Make little triangles sticking out of the fabric, just like they look like :)
If you’re making the pattern yourself, cut out 3 rectangles of newspaper, and don’t forget to label them! Check out the grainline on the download- make your’s parallel to one of your pattern edges- it doesn’t matter where your’s is, as long as it is in the correct direction.
1 for straps (or maybe you could use an old belt?)
We liked 24″ long by 3.5″ wide
1 for the bottom band (that gray houndstooth on the photo above)
Take the width of your tshirt in inches, add 1.25″, and make a rectangle that length by 11.625″ (.625″ = 5/8″ if you’re reading your ruler)
1 for the top band
This rectangle should be the width of your tshirt + .625″ long x 3.5″ wide
Step 3:Pre-wash, dry and iron your fabric (if you haven’t already). It’s best to always iron your fabric before cutting something out. Exceptions are if you are using fabric that can’t be pre-washed (like if the care instructions are dry clean only); then you might not need to.
Step 4:Cut the hem off your tshirt! Here we go (top 2 photos)!
Next cut off the torso of the tshirt just below the armpits. Use your straight edge and draw a line from armpit to armpit right on the shirt if you don’t have nice lines to follow like we did :) You’ve got your bag middle!
Getting the tshirt ready to be a bag!
Step 5: Lay your fabric out folded in half with the selvages together. Try to get the selvages perfectly match for the entire length of your fabric. Smooth the fabric out so that it’s not lumpy. If your fabric is lumpy near the fold, it might’ve been cut off grain, and you can check out the video from last week for tips on how to straighten it out.
Remember what the selvage looks like? It's the edge that's a bit more tightly woven, and perpendicular to where they cut the fabric at the fabric store.
Step 6: Now we’ll start positioning pattern pieces on the fabric; we’ll mimic the diagram provided in the pattern (also below. Note that two different sizes are shown in the layout diagram below, click to enlarge.) For part of the cutting you’ll have the fabric folded in half, and for the last piece, you’ll have the fabric laid out so that it’s only one layer thick. Remember that the grainline on each of your pattern pieces should be parallel to the selvage. Whew! It’s not as complicated as it sounds, I promise!
Cutting Layouts A & B
Step 7: (The next couple steps are interchangeable- I’m just going to pick a pattern piece and start with it :))
Put the edge of the bag top band piece (pattern piece number 2) on the fold. Pin each corner down, and smooth the pattern piece to the other two corners. Pin those corners down, then go back and pin the middle of the piece. Use pins every couple of inches- you want to make sure that the fabric doesn’t slip around while you’re cutting the piece out. But don’t cut yet- let’s get the other pattern piece pinned down first.
Pinning on the fold
Step 8: Let’s pin the bag straps, pattern piece number 3. Zac and I used a different fabric for this one, but your steps will be the same. Because it’s a scrap and the selvages were gone, we ripped the fabric along the grainline like I showed you in last week’s video and are pretending that that’s our selvage. Make sense?
Pin the pattern piece to the fabric right at the arrow on one end of the grainline.
Measure from the grainline to the selvage/edge of the fabric. Remember this measurement; in our photo, it’s 1.875″, so that’s the measurement I’ll use as I explain how to do this below :)
Now, smooth out the pattern piece down the grainline to the other arrow. At the other arrow, measure from the grainline to the fabric’s edge. If it’s not 1.875″ or whatever your measurement was, use the pin anchoring the other grainline arrow as a pivot point to slide your pattern piece closer to or further away from the edge of the fabric until the measurement matches- now you know that your pattern piece is perfectly on grain! Pin the pattern piece to the fabric when the measurement from the selvages match at top and bottom.
Now pin along the center of the grainline (you can check here too to make sure that it’s still the same measurement away from the selvage- this is especially important if you’re working with a super long pattern piece, or super slippery fabric).
Next, smooth out from the grainline to the four corners of your pattern piece. Pin the four corners down.
Now pin along the edges so that the fabric won’t slip as you cut it out.
Hooray! You did it!
Pinning the bag straps- pinning on grain
Step 9: Cut these suckers out!
It is time to cut! The last pattern piece will only be on one layer of fabric, so we’e gonna cut these two pieces out. On the straps, pattern piece number 3 (bird fabric above & below), cut along all 4 edges of the pattern, right next to the paper. On the top band, pattern piece number 2 (grey houndstooth above and below), cut along the three edges that aren’t the fold. DO NOT cut on the fold line! :)
Cutting double layers out- bag top band on fold and bag straps
Step 10: Lay out the bag bottom panel (pattern piece 1)
We only need one of this piece, so we can unfold our fabric, and although we might have just made the selvages disappear when we cut out the other fabric pieces, those pieces were cut on grain, right? And since the pattern pieces were straight lines, we can use them to measure the grainline from for this piece. Make sense?
Pin the pattern piece to the fabric right at the arrow on one end of the grainline.
Measure from the grainline to the edge of the fabric. Remember this measurement; in our photo, it’s 6.375″, so that’s the measurement I’ll use as I explain how to do this below :)
Now, same as before, smooth out the pattern piece down the grainline to the other arrow. At the other arrow, measure from the grainline to the fabric’s edge. If it’s not 6.375″ or whatever your measurement was, use the pin anchoring the first grainline arrow as a pivot point to slide your pattern piece closer to or further away from the edge of the fabric until the measurement matches- now you know that your pattern piece is perfectly on grain! Pin the pattern piece to the fabric when the measurement from the selvages match at top and bottom.
Now pin along the center of the grainline.
Next, smooth out from the grainline to the four corners of your pattern piece. Pin the four corners down.
Now pin along the edges so that the fabric won’t slip as you cut it out.
Hooray! You did it again! You’re an old pro by now! :)
Pinning on grain, one more time
Step 11: Cut this piece out! Since this one wasn’t on the fold, we’ll cut around all four sides.
Cutting the last piece - so close!
Boom. You just cut out the pieces to make a super sweet bag!
Zac with his cut out pattern pieces! What do yours look like?
Hang tight with those pieces- swing by next week for sewing machine basics, then again on June 28th for sewing instructions (or sign up to get updates emailed on the homepage :))! Can’t wait to hear how your bags will turn out!
Have any questions or thoughts? Please comment below!
It’s here! The Summer Sewing Tutorial is kicking off today with an exploration of basic pattern contents. And how! :)
Since you already know how to read the back of a pattern, I thought we’d just dive in to what you’ll find inside the pattern envelope, followed by a pictorial glossary of pattern markings. Please comment below to let me know what questions you have or if anything is unclear! I hope you leave this post feeling a little bit more confident about kicking butt on the project we’ll be working on over the next few weeks, as well as any projects you take on in your sewing nook. :)
Just in case you’re looking for more, one invaluable resource I love is the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. I had to buy it for college and have held on tight. An amazing resource I turn to time and again.
Let the games begin!
So the contents of most pattern envelopes are pretty much the same. Inside you’ll find:
The pattern pieces themselves (usually multiple pieces are printed on the same sheet of tissue paper). They are numbered, and each is identified by name and style (if your pattern will make more than one garment style…). Often a garment is symmetrical, so one pattern piece will work for each half of the garment. The pattern piece will tell you whether to cut 2 pieces, or one on the fold, which we’ll get to in a couple of weeks. :)
A few pattern samples from different companies
Can you find the pattern company, pattern number, piece number, piece name, and how many pieces to cut on each of these? What other information do you see? Hint- click on the image to see a larger version :)
A diagram with the silhouettes of all the pattern pieces and their names/numbers. Awesome for figuring out which pattern pieces you need for your project
What can you learn from these diagrams? Click on the photo to see a larger image and explore!
A guide for laying out and cutting your pattern pieces with fabric. It’ll help you know which pieces need to be cut on the fold and which pieces need to be cut more than once. I lovelovelove trying to squish my pieces as close together as possible and use less fabric than the project calls for. But that’s me :)
Click on this image to blow it up and then explore. What do you see? Notice fabric widths, and right/wrong side of pattern/fabric.
Sewing instructions! I’m sure you won’t have any trouble figuring these out :)
And now, on to decoding some of the typical pattern marks you’ll find when you start looking!
Center front, center back
The center front and center back of a garment are always labeled, whether through the “place on fold line” (like that below), stitch line, or just labeled solid like like the one above.
Helpful guides for matching sections that join together. They might also indicate construction details like where a zipper ends. Note that these ones are marked according to size, but they might not all be.
A heavy outer line showing where to cut. This one has different cut lines for each of the sizes indicated. You might also see cut lines within a pattern, for example, if there’s an option for a lower neckline or shorter hem.
Two legs (sewing lines) that meet at a point somewhere towards the center of the garment, darts help your clothing hug your body. The circles are there to help you match the legs when you’re sewing.
It’s a straight line that has arrows on each end- you’ll align this line with the grain of the fabric, and we’ll learn more about what that means next week.
You’ll find the hemline at the bottom edge of the garment- if there’s no line that says “Hem,” you’ll find a marking like the one above that tells you how much fabric to fold up when you are sewing your hem.
Lengthen or shorten line
You typically find these near a waistline or hem of a garment. You can use them to make adjustments for petite or long sizes. Which of the pattern pieces above has a visible shorten or lengthen line?
Single and double notches are shown above. You might find these on any edges that join another edge- when you sew, you’ll match notches to accurately join pieces.
This grainline marking with arrows means that the edge of this pattern (the black line) should align perfectly with the fold in your fabric when you’re cutting it out (we’ll talk more about what that means when we layout our project to cut out). You’ll often find this marking on skirt fronts or shirt fronts- pieces that are mirrored. :)
This shows where your zipper will be on your seamline. The top and bottom markings show exactly how long the zipper should be (remember how your notions list on the back of the pattern will tell you what size to buy? You might have to shorten it, which is super easy :))
Whew! And that about does it for today. What do you think? Did you learn anything new, or did this reinforce what you already knew? I’d love to hear what you think- please comment below!
Can’t wait to see you next week when we dive into fabric basics via video :)
It’s that time: the summer sewing tutorial series is upon us!
This summer I am soooo looking forward to taking you through some sewing basics, hearing about what you’re working on and answering your questions. Hopefully I’ll get to share in some of your sewing triumphs too :)
For the next few months I’ll be presenting a new basic sewing skill each week, whether through print and photos or video. Are you ready?!? :)
Mark your calendars (or sign up for my weekly updates in the box to the right!) The tentative schedule goes a little something like this:
July: July 5 – Making our shopping bag (I know it’s delayed gratification to cut something out and then wait a bit to sew it up together- I hope you’ll bear with me!)
July 12 – Basic mending/finishing our bag – How to sew on a button
July 19 – Basic mending – Patching a hole
July 26- Wild card- this week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question posed during the other weeks!
Anything missing (I’d love to beef up the lineup :))? What are you looking forward to?