Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Prom 2016

Prom is a major milestone for a young lady and having a dress made is usually in order.  Kandice commissioned  Barbara, a local "sewing engineer", to make her dream prom dress.  She got the dress she had envisioned!  She selected  Black Diamond Stretch Sequin for her fabric and received many compliments.   Thank you Barbara for sharing your tips on sewing with this fabric!

Kandice sent a picture of a dress she liked and we made some modifications to suit her.  I designed the pattern, a 7 panel fit and flair. She brought this gorgeous sequin fabric that formed diamonds, the backing was a knit, not a lot of stretch, but with the weight of the fabric it stretched 2 “ in length.  

Sewing was easy. I used a size 90 universal needle, a Teflon foot and 3.0 length straight stitch.  I wanted to keep a 1 piece top but had to have 3 panels for the front.  I took a tip from the past and cut over to the side at the dart point of the fisheye dart and divided the pattern where the side dart would be. This also allowed me to remove some extra fabric from the bat wing.  

Being that there was not a way to hold the sleeves up I put elastic in the shoulder seam of the lining just inside the shoulder point to make a loop for her arms to go through and hold in place, (she also used some fashion tape to help secure).  I used 1” elastic to make a ‘belt’ to hold the waist securely, attaching at the front either side of center panel and back.  For the hem I applied 1” horsehair braid using 3/8” seam allowance, then using a catch stitch to hold the opposite edge to the dress. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Burda Style 6/2016

 To purchase, go to
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All Styles at a Glance

Line Drawings

Destination Wedding
Maxi Halter Dress #106-Monet Print Jersey Burnout Knit
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Love the cutouts!
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Perfect for the hottest days of summer.
Top #107 Shorts #110A
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Comfortable but chic for weekend errands!
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Plus Size
Date Night
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Weekend Glam
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ponte Knit Jeans

Samina has embarked on a new sewing frontier-Ponte Knit Jeans! She used Midnight Black Ponte Knit and Ponte Knit Jeans Pattern by J. Stern Designs. Thanks Samina, for sharing your journey! You can follow Samina's sewing adventures at

Much as I love jeans, I had to discard the last one or two pairs I owned since they no longer fit me; besides they were ready to wear and their fate was written back in 2010, the year I decided to slowly change my wardrobe to 100 percent self-made. A small corner of my sewing and wardrobe psyche was in darkness.  Until now.

The Pattern: Jeans are nothing if not snug and good looking at the same time. Since my last ready to wear pairs were discarded, I had no jeans to wear.  Enter the Ponte Knit Jeans pattern by J. Stern Designs; it fit the bill. They’re the “boot-cut” style.  A size match got me tracing out a size 16. The guide sheet pages have a body size chart and a finished garment chart, including helpful front-rise and back-rise info. Some light shone in the dark place in my wardrobe! 

Alterations:  I reduced a LOT of length. My friends, you know that I’m under 5’4”, right?  I discovered that the knee line is an important point in jean making. I reduced the length above and below the knee point, as well as at the hem.  Other than that I made the size 16 but I wanted them snug – this is knit fabric, remember? So I took in the side seams and noted that the next pair should be a size 14. The pattern guide makes it clear that for a snug fit, one should choose the size smaller than the one that matches your body measurement.
Midnight Black Ponte Knit from Sew Much Fabric
Fabric: I have no idea what I was doing before ponte knit appeared on the sewing scene. Since I already had a navy pair of ponte pants, I went for black - at the risk of going blind at the end of the project. I think my eyeglass prescription changed a little with this project.

Top of the jeans: this area is what makes jeans, er, jean-like. It includes a cotton pocket lining which extends across the inside front, forming a stay across the abdomen and forming a smooth line at the top. There are all the classic jean details - the fly front jeans zipper, an optional coin pocket, waistband, belt loops, back pockets and topstitching.  I eliminated the belt loops and back pockets.

Topstitching:  Almost everything in the top area is top stitched, including the crotch seam.  What’s a pair of jeans without top stitching, anyway? I chose a mottled denim-like thread for top stitching. It was visible without being too much of a contrast. I’ll save the yellow/orange topstitching for denim jeans. On the other hand, I always wear longer tunic length tops these days so all that effort is going to be hidden anyway.  The instructions do not specify topstitching on the sides or inseams; no mention of the hem in the instructions. So – I did not topstitch the side seams or the inseam, but top stitched the hem. 

The stitch: The instructions do not specify any particular stitch to use with the knit so I just went with the straight stitch extended to 3.5, and stretched the fabric slightly as I sewed. It worked quite well but we’ll see if the stitching pops open with the strain of wearing.

Things I will do differently next time: Select a non-black fabric, eliminate the coin pocket, reconsider back pockets, top stitch the side seams, trace a size 14 pattern, and narrow the leg. Oh, and I’ll use a stretch stitch for stronger seams.  Also, I’ll select a cotton lining fabric that matches the ponte knit color (just in case, to prevent the contrast peeking through at the zipper area); I’ll definitely give some shape to the waistband so it curves and has “hugging” properties.  I will also serge finish the edges of the zipper fly shields; for some reason they are left as raw edges in the pattern guidesheet.

Conclusion: I love this first pair, and see a few more in my future. I can hardly wait for fabric manufacturers to create denim-like ponte knit.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

It's On Sale!

Head on over to and take advantage of  reduced prices and stock up on stylish fabrics for your summer sewing!