Friday, August 19, 2016

Getting the Scoop on Simplicity 8167

Designing Simplicity 8167

I know, I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and longer yet since you’ve seen a new release from me for Simplicity, but here it is, #8167!

My favorite photo of Simplicity 8167
 Having been in the pattern business since 1927, a household name like Simplicity doesn't build up a corporate empire by blindly investing in just anyone! So, with that first design (Simplicity 1061) we all waited through the seasons to see how it was received. Thanks to you, my wonderful supporters, it was a hit (thank you!) and from here on out you can expect a fairly regular stream of designs in the Simplicity catalog! You can also always find my latest and newest designs on my website.


It seems that this newest style for Simplicity  (a June release they call early autumn), # 8167, didn’t need much of a push from me. Three weeks into the release I went to my local JoAnn Fabric Store to find my top rack was completely sold out and the drawer space nearly empty. Simplicity has also put this design on their front page! Of all the new designs for this season, they chose mine!! What a thrill!

Since the release, some of you eagle eyes out there have asked me about the similarity to an earlier design I call Southern Belle. I am honored that there are some of you who know my pattern line that well…and the answer is YES! This design was actually Simplicity's first choice. I have been selling it for a very long time, so it was time to give it new life with Simplicity. As a result, Southern Belle has been removed from my line and will be an exclusive with them.

 Simplicity 8167 is a variation of this third pattern I designed for my company back in 2008. There are only a few differences, the main one being sizing. All the patterns I design for Simplicity are built to match their size chart, not my Sew Chic chart. Also, the neckline is square in front, the skirt is slightly less full, and the decoration is a rose and ribbon pin you make (or buy), not a ribbon belt like Southern Belle.

This dress for Simplicity is made of eyelash lace (google it!) which is basically a fancy lace stripe.  It must be matched like you would match any stripe or plaid. Eyelash lace is usually printed with the stripe parallel to the selvage, so you will need a bit more fabric and may need to turn your pattern to the cross grain for layout. Need more tips for making this dress? Shall we make a Holiday dress together?

 I have offered to do a 4-week Sew Along for this pattern from September 19 - October 12. But in order for me to divert my attention from my long To-Do list, I want to make sure there is enough interest. If there are at least 200 sewing enthusiasts that sign up between now and September 5, I will do another video/blog post style sew along. It will be free, so if you'd like to make this dress with me, sign up now by entering your email address and name here.

Get your pattern at your local Joann Fabric or on the Simplicity website. And whether you join me in the Sew Along or just make one on your own, don't forget to send me a picture!

UPDATE: 8/21/16
I forgot to mention something everyone can look forward to- next season (winter 2016/17) Simplicity will be expanding the size range, and with the Summer Catalog (2017) I will be adding plus to the size range!

Happy Sewing,


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sewing the Tia Dress, Sew Chic 1312

The Tia Dress by Sew Chic Patterns
Can you stand one more post about the Tia Dress?

I found a detailed  instructional handout I did (probably for Craftsy students) showing how to attach the trim on this dress and thought I should get it out there into the web-o-sphere. You may print off this one page image (with attribution) to keep with your Tia pattern for easy reference. I hope some of you find it useful.

May your seams be straight and your pressing constant!

Have a great sewing day,

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pattern Hack Tutorial:The Ehlen Blouse

Next month is "Indie Pattern Month" over at The Monthly Stitch. This will be my second year participating in the June month long Indie Celebration. This year I'm sponsoring TWO contests-
  • One Pattern Two Ways
  • Hack It 
Prizes are many, sales are huge, and we've all pitched in a pattern or two for a PDF bundle sale that is listed as " up to 40% off" but in actuality, much more than that. HUGE discounts.

 Get the details about Indie Pattern Month here:

 With the sponsorship I was inspired to share a tutorial on this Ehlen blouse variation. I made this outfit for the IPCA fashion show for the International Textile Expo, an industry buyers event. The point of the fashion show is to use vendor fabrics and provide buyers with ideas and inspiration. I think it turned out nice.

  As written, the pattern recommends a  medium weight fabric and is entirely lined and trimmed with lace or piping.

In my hack,  I used lining and chiffon layered together, each piece basted inside the seam allowance and treated together as one and trimmed with binding. It's very light weight, and using the methods I will show you, it's much quicker to assemble too. I enjoyed playing with the contrast of the shiny lining and the dullness of the chiffon. The bow can be wrapped and tied in the front or back depending on where you want the drama!

1.Cut one layout each of lining and chiffon. Additionally, cut about a yard of 2 1/4" wide bias from the lining fabric. Fold in half lengthwise, with wrong sides and raw edges together, press. The ties are two 6" strips the full width of the fabric (45" -60"), or as long as you want them.

2. Pin lining to the chiffon and baste the perimeter of each piece just inside the seam allowance.

3. Follow instruction booklet, sewing back to front at shoulder as pictured.

 4. Sew a stay stitch around the neckline, at 1/2". Trim neckline seam to 3/8", or 1/4" from your stitching.

 5. With bias binding to wrong side of neckline, raw edges together, sew bias to neck edge. * Because this is a long seam to sew, I did it in two steps. The first row of stitching is 1/2", over stay stitching, and I'm not trying to be too precise. I just want to get it attached. The second  row of stitching is measured from the bias FOLD LINE. I want my binding to fold over to an exact width of 3/8", so I am going to sew 3/4" from the bias fold line to get that exact width.
 6. Trim again and clip in a "v" configuration. This allows the neckline to move and bend without puckering. Press binding to the inside.
 7. Fold bias to front, matching fold to seam. Top stitch close to fold. When I say, close, I mean a SCANT distance, which is to say it's next to almost nothing. Turn your computerized machine to slow if you need to.
 8. Trim the binding to match the front raw edges then sew the center front per instruction booklet.

9. This is the sleeve at the peek-a-boo opening. Following the same procedure for both the front and back sleeve, finish this opening with binding .Sew wrong sides to wrong sides.
Trim, press, and topstitch. 

Here's a helpful tip for sewing accurate curves on those sleeve bands. I make a template cut from my pattern and then trim the seam allowances off. put on my edge and with air erasable pen, draw in my stitching line. It helps to have something to follow!
10. For the ties, along one long edge, sew a clean finish (folded at 5/8" and inside the allowance again at 1/4" and sew close to fold) along one edge, fold up creating a diagonal as shown. Sew together at 5/8". Turn right sides out and press.

11. Clean finish the opposite side. Run that top stitching from the square end, to the point end.
Hummmm...why is this one upside down?? Well, you can see the whole tie here.
12. Sew two rows of basting on the short square end, gather it up, and pin to blouse front at waist, about 3" wide when finished.

13. Sew to side seam.

14. Finish up the garment as needed per instruction booklet, omitting the lining as a finish. I hemmed my blouse with a clean finish too. It's such a tidy sewing method!


Get your pattern here:

I hope this inspires you to join the sewing contests.

Happy Indie Pattern Month!

Monday, February 15, 2016

For the Love of Sewing

There really is no excitement that can equal the experience of being together with thousands of other people who all love sewing! We talk of sewing, we teach of sewing, we see and experience great products and in our head we conjure up images of our next grand project. We share our hopes, dreams, and desires with each other and so many times, bond new and wonderful friendships! 

  The Sewing and Stitchery Expo 

The Sewing and Stitchery Expo is a great opportunity for you and I to meet up and enjoy our craft together. You can meet me in class while I'm teaching of course, but when I'm not in class, you can find me at the Showplex, vendor space #935 (yeah, they changed that from #933). In actuality, you will find me in both booths because I am combining with my next door vendor, Susan Liane Kennedy of The Smuggler's Daughter.

She sells fine fabrics online, and together we hope to amp up your expo experience! This event is Feb 25-28, 2016 at the Washington Star Fair, 110 Ninth Avenue SW, Puyallup Washington, USA.  


Finding Your Way Around

Finding vendors and classes can sometimes be a problem, so I've tried to give you a quick guide through the showplex in this image.  The yellow highlights where my two classes are, with the exception of the Thursday afternoon Etsy class- that will be in room L, which I believe is a tent, and will be across from the Pavilion. The Pavilion is next to the showplex and houses more vendors as well as the fashion show area upstairs.




My favorite subject! I will be teaching a class on Vintage patterns called The Vintage Pattern Collection. We will discuss how the sizing and directions, competition, and technology played a huge role in how patterns were produced, marketed, and sewn. I'll be sharing examples so you can see for yourself how patterns have changed over a 50 year period, from 1930's to 1980's. If you're are at all itching to become a collector, or would like to start sewing with older patterns, this class will help you know what you are getting yourself into! We will both have to get up early for this one.  There are only a few spaces left in the Thursday class, but here are the links to sign up:
Thursday, 830am

Saturday, 8:30am

 The other class I'm teaching is on starting or building a business with Etsy called Success with Etsy. The show producers are continually asked for classes on Etsy, so it must be a popular topic! The first year I applied to attend this expo, I proposed an Etsy class, but they didn't accept it. This year they didn't accept my other proposed topics, but wanted me to teach this Etsy class instead. In this class I must tell you about the business side of my life, which does include an Etsy shop. I will share with you what I've learned about Etsy culture, preparing your business for start up, and how to gain and keep your customers, and the many ways that Etsy helps to automate a busy persons life. I don't talk about my business side much, so I hope you'll come and share this time with me. The Friday class is almost sold out with only 20 spaces left.
Thursday, 1:30pm
 Friday, 10:30am
 Sunday, 10:30am

The Smuggler's Daughter
 Susan Kennedy of the Smuggler's Daughter is also teaching a class called  The Wonderful World of Online Fabric Shopping on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 4:30 in the L tent if you would like to know how to better shop for fabrics on the internet. 

 Come See Me!

Look for these promotions and many many more:
  • Enter the "Pick your Pattern" giveaway and win any pattern of your choosing.
  • The Tia pattern for Craftsy will be sold at $5 each 
  • Buy a pattern and get 10% off your fabric
  •  Need accurate measurements? Let me take your measurements and help you assess standard alterations you may need. We have measurement and alterations sheets ready to go and free for the asking!
  •  Look for our pairings of gorgeous fabrics and fun and feminine patterns to inspire your next creations! This photo above is only ONE example of the lovely fabric/pattern combos.
  • Notions and trims will be available to make my exact outfits.
We had hoped to do a fashion/trunk show on the free stage, but since that didn't work out, you'll just have to come to the booth to get the full affect!

As always, I look forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time. Please come introduce yourself and I promise to do my best to remember my manners and be charming!

Have a great Sewing Day!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sewing with a "Stay"

When sewing with woven fabrics there are times when a seam just wants to stretch out and won't stay keep that word "stay" in mind while I explain...
Today I am making the lovely and fashionable Fifth Avenue dress pattern
and  because the fabric is a bit thick, to keep down the bulk I decided to use organza in place of the traditional interfacing the pattern calls for.


 With Organza being an actual woven fabric, that little dip in the sweetheart neck was going to be prone to stretching, so I used a "stay" to stabilize that portion of the neck. This method can be used any place you want to prevent stretching on any seam, such as shoulders, waist line, necklines, pockets, and can even ease in a seam that has already stretched.

Grab some rayon hem tape to match your fabric. Mark your seam line on the pattern. (See our red line?)

 Pin your hem tape to match your seam line, yup, right down the middle, and cut to match.

At both ends of the tape I mark and X with pencil where the seam lines will cross,

Sewing with the tape toward you, and the garment to the feed dogs, stitch the tape down the middle  over your previously sewn seam, making sure the cross points match at the connecting edges. This is the only way to be sure that the garment matches the pattern sizing exactly. Clip, trim, and understitch as usual. Now your seam will "stay" where you want it!

"Stay" is a good name for it, don't you think?

Have a wonderful sewing day!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wardrobe Contest

 Who needs a new wardrobe?

 I DO!! You would think for all the sewing that gets done around here that I would never want for anything, but my personal wardrobe is not so very posh. If you are longing for an excuse (and an incentive!) to make yourself a coordinated wardrobe, look no farther than the Wardrobe Contest on Pattern Review.
I am gladly sponsoring this 2 month long contest requiring a 10 piece coordinated wardrobe of your own making. The contest started Feb 1 and will run until March 31. The first and second place winners will be chosen by member vote, with prizes of up to $100 and $50 in product of the winners choosing. If this sounds like something of interest, then read on (the rules!) and start planning out your wardrobe!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Looking Forward to 2016 and Printable Calendar

A Gift for You

Last year was a great year for me! Because I owe so much to you- your friendly communication, your unquenchable enthusiasm, and  endearing support- I have a gift for you!

Sew Chic 2016 Calendar
Click the photo above to download your 2016 calendar to hang in your sewing room, office, or where ever you want to think fashion.  Set your printer to duplex (or duplex manually) to print, fold, staple, and hang! A big "thank you" to my illustrator, Dori Stark, who worked really hard on every new illustration for this year. You can also download this calendar from the front page:

 Expo in February

 I'm really excited to be heading to Puyallup Washington to teach and vendor at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo. I took last year off, giving up my really great booth of three years (#928) but this time you can find me across the isle at #933! You will find my booth next door to, and mixed in with Susan Kennedy of the Smuggler's Daughter Fabrics  who will be attending/vending at this show for the very first time. Some of my newest creations (and old favorites) will be made from her fabrics, and we hope this will be an eye catching and inspiring combination for you! Be sure to sign up for my classes, expo producers thinks the Etsy class will be very popular. Either way, do stop by my booth to chat me up and suggest a topic for next year. Come show me what you are doing!

More Designs for Simplicity 

Are you surprised they haven't given up on me? Thanks to you, the dress I did for Simplicity last fall was a financial success for them, and this year I will have two more designs coming, but can't announce anything specific until the the patterns head for the stores (we can't alert the competition!). What I CAN say is that my samples for photography came out GORGEOUS. I spared no expense, spending about $800 on the fabrics (most when to one outfit). I have never spent that kind of money on a garment before!  Betcha can't wait to see that!

Would you spend that kind of money on a project?

Have a great new year! Cheers everyone!