Recently added to my Etsy shop is a new sewing pattern I designed for a fabric wallet. I actually began making these wallets a couple of years ago and finally got around to writing up the pattern and adding it to my shop. The recent Pandemic has given me more time for sewing and working on new patterns.
The wallet is full size and has a zipper coin area, paper money area and many slots for credit cards. There is a larger rear pocket behind the coin pocket that may be big enough for some sizes of cellphones. This is really a wallet though – not a something for holding your phone. The wallet stays closed with a strip of velcro.
This pattern would be for an intermediate level sewer. You need to be familiar with working with zippers and applying binding. Also required is a sewing machine that is capable of sewing through multiple layers as some parts are quite thick with the layers of the wallet fabric and the interfacing.
You can read more about the pattern or purchase it on Etsy. Click on highlighted text to take you to the pattern.
I recently finished sewing this red polka dot bathing suit. This is one of the many sewing projects I wanted to complete this summer.
The pattern I used to make this bathing suit is a vintage pattern that I bought last summer from an Etsy seller. If you go on Etsy and type in the search “bathing suit pattern” you can find lots of sellers that have patterns. It seems like it is hard to find a pattern in the store these days – I guess it is not popular to sew your own bathing suit anymore. I actually prefer to sew my own bathing suit as I can get the fit the way I want it. I will admit sometimes you have to make the pattern a couple of times before it is exactly how you want it but the result is worth it – a good fit and a bathing suit that will last for several years, most likely.
The pattern was made back in 1973 according to the pattern information. As you can see it was only a dollar back then. I think I paid around $6 or $8 for it on Etsy. I have made version 2, in the right hand corner, three times now. I made one last summer and had to make a few adjustments to it and I made two this summer. I recently finished a turquoise bathing suit in addition to the red polka dot bathing suit.
The fabric I bought for this bathing suit was from Spandex World. I also bought it last year at the end of summer so it was on clearance. The fabric I used for the lining was panty spandex from Sew Sassy. I think it only cost me about $15 to $20 to make this red polka dot bathing suit and that includes the elastic and back closure.
Some tips for sewing your own bathing suit:
Use decent quality swimwear fabric and purchase a little extra in case you need to make another top or bottom with adjustments to your pattern
Be familiar with sewing on stretchy fabrics that have spandex or lycra in them
Line the top and the bottom for best results – you can use swimwear lining or panty spandex
Use a stretch sewing machine needle size 75/11
Use a narrow zigzag stitch for topstitching the elastic as it will stretch more
Places to order supplies for making your own bathing suit:
Spandex World – lots of swimwear fabric at reasonable prices
Etsy – for swimwear fabric and bathing suit patterns, also the back closures
Sew Sassy – good quality elastic that is reasonably priced, plastic back closures, swimwear lining and thin foam cup inserts for the top
What sewing projects have you been working on lately? Let me know in the comments.
I have been kind of absent from posting lately. One of the reasons is my new sewing obsession – I have learned how to sew my own bras. I have spent half my summer sewing bras (when not doing other things) and having a lot of fun learning something new as I make each one.
I actually got interested in making my own undergarments last summer. I started making my own underwear after getting so fed up with the ones you buy either not fitting well or falling apart after six months of use or just wearing out quickly. I don’t care if I bought expensive, high quality underwear or the less expensive kind that come in a package it seemed they did not hold up well. Anyhow – I got a couple of patterns last year from some Etsy sellers – one for a Stretch and Sew underwear set and the other a Kwik Sew pattern – which I believe the Kwik Sew one I got at Hancocks as it is still a current pattern – or was a year ago.
Well, I am happy to say that after a year ago of making my own underwear they are still in good shape after repeated washing. I also bought a bra pattern that was from Kwik Sew, #3594, and decided I would make my own bras as well. I guess I got cold feet on actually sewing them after cutting out the pattern last summer and set it aside. I then noticed Craftsy had a class on bra sewing and construction and decided to take it. Craftsy has great online classes that you can watch at your convenience and watch over and over once you buy them. Anyhow – after taking the bra class then watching some of it I got brave enough to sew the bra and it actually turned out okay. Not great but okay for the first one. It is slightly too large in the cup but I can wear it for working out in or walking or doing yoga so at least I am able to use it. Below is a photo of my first bra.
The bra above is made from nylon tricot fabric, lingerie spandex, bra elastic, bra slides and rings which were all bought from Sew Sassy. Sew Sassy is an online store that specializes in lingerie and swimwear supplies and they have great prices and fast shipping. You can also purchase bra patterns there. I bought an Elan bra pattern there that I have also made and really like the fit.
The bra above is my second or third try at sewing the Kwik Sew pattern and this time I made it with a lace overlay. I had bought the lace last year so I had it available. I also made some matching panties but I didn’t get a good photo of them – you can see a little bit of them in the lower left of the photo. The lace is a stretch lace which is sewn over the tricot fabric.
The navy blue bra above is made with the Elan bra pattern #645. This was my second attempt with this pattern. I had to make a couple of minor fit adjustments from the first one I made and now I am happy with the fit and the style of this pattern. The navy bra is made with navy power net fabric for a lining in the band and with a navy tricot fabric over the top and for the cups. The lace trim was an elastic type of trim I bought last year for my underwear making and decided to trim the upper cup with it and it worked out well. The power net fabric, rings and slides from this bra were bought from an Etsy seller called Tailor Made Shoppe. She has lots of bra making supplies and ships quickly. I have ordered from her two or three times now.
The bra in the above photo is made from the Jalie bra pattern. They are an online store and the pattern can be downloaded. I like this pattern more for a T-shirt style bra. I have made about 3 of them in different colors. The one above is my second attempt and it fits well. I will say that when you try a new pattern there will be some fitting issues to deal with. That is why it is best to kind of do a rough draft with the first one and not really be too concerned with you best sewing – just on getting one made to see how it fits and where you need to adjust it. In the Craftsy class there are lots of tips and instruction for how to adjust fitting issues which helped me in using all three of the patterns.
So, I am sure some are wondering why make your own bra? Well, one thing for me is I wanted and now have bras that fit well and fit right. I think for years I have been wearing ill fitting bras. The other is I am trying to get away from underwire bras and the patterns I have shown you above do not have to be made with an underwire. Also, the last one is cost. The materials you buy to make a bra are considerably less than going to buy one. I can also cut out and sew one in about 3 hours or less and it would probably take that long to drive to a store, try many on and then buy them and drive back home.
Here are some photos of some of the other bras I have been making this summer:
The above purple lace bra is one of my favorites. I had to dye the bra closure as I could not find a purple one that matched to buy. You can dye some of the fabrics and elastics to match if you use the vinegar dye bath method and Rit Dye. I have had fun learning to dye things as well during this sewing project.
The above photo is my most recently sewn bra project. I learned a lot more about sewing the lace bras in the second Craftsy class called Sewing Bras – Foam, Lace and Beyond. I am currently enrolled in that class and watching it when I have time to learn new things about bra making. I have not tried the foam cups yet but that is next on my list of bra patterns to try. Currently I am obsessed with lace.
To learn more about Craftsy and the bra class or other classes they offer you can click on the link in the sidebar to the right to take you to Craftsy.com or click on the highlighted text. So far this bra making class is one of the better ones I have taken there – along with the jeans sewing class I took a couple of years ago.
What have you been working on lately? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Last week I bought some new Kwik Sew patterns during the Presidents Day sale at Hancock Fabrics. Kwik Sew patterns are one of my favorite pattern companies. The patterns are well designed and they have excellent instructions with them. They also offer a lot of beginning type of sewing patterns for the new seamstress that have easy to follow directions.
The Kwik Sew patterns are a bit more expensive than other pattern companies which is one of the reasons I buy them on sale when Hancocks has them for $6.99. In my opinion they are worth it though. They come with a slightly heavier pattern paper and you can easily trace it using pattern drafting paper or interfacing so you can use multiple sizes in the one pattern. This is great if you sew for others and need more than one size.
I am looking forward to making the tops, as seen in the top photo above, for spring and summer. The jacket pattern in the second photo is something I hope to complete in the next couple of weeks. I found a nice french terry fabric in a beige heather color to use for that pattern. There are two versions of the pattern – one with a hood and one without. I think I am going to make the hooded version.
Currently I am finishing sewing another pair of jeans using the Kwik Sew jeans pattern I have had for many years. This is one of the greatest patterns for jeans and I love the fit and the easy to follow directions. I think this is the fifth or sixth pair of jeans I have made in the last five years. I prefer to sew my own jeans that way I can get the fit the way I want them. The process of sewing jeans really isn’t that hard if you do a little here and a little there. I can usually get a pair made in about a week just sewing an hour or two a day on them.
I don’t think Kwik Sew sells the jeans pattern anymore in their current line of patterns but you can find sellers on etsy that sell vintage or out of print patterns for reasonable prices. I also recommend the Craftsy class Sewing Designer Jeans with Angela Wolf. I took this class a couple of years ago through Craftsy and loved it. It really teaches you how to make your jeans look professional and lots of tips for getting the fit right.
What kinds of projects are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments.
Recently I have taken a little break from blogging. One of the reasons being that I was gone for 10 days in July on a family vacation. I have also been focusing on some other things during my break from blogging and one of them is sewing some new things for summer. This summer I have made a couple of bathing suits, some lingerie (posts to come on that later) and some new summer tops. In addition to sewing I have been doing a lot of crocheting and developing some new patterns.
One of the reasons I love to sew is that I enjoy being able to make something the way I want it to fit. Another reason I prefer to sew my own clothing over buying it is because I can make something that will last a lot longer and wear better than many things you buy at the store. I have some shirts in my wardrobe that I made probably 8 or 10 years ago that are classic styles that I still wear and they are still in good condition. I don’t know if I have many articles of clothing that I have bought that I can say that about.
The above top is one I made about a month ago and have already wore it several times. It is perfect for our hot Texas weather in July and August. This top is made from a pattern I have had since 2010. The pattern is New Look 6965 and it has four or five different tops in the same pattern. I have made a couple of the other versions in the pattern in the past. This particular top features a tie shoulder strap that was suppose to be made with ribbon. I decided to use my crochet skills and crochet the straps since I had the perfect color of navy blue cotton yarn to match the fabric.
The next top I made after the navy one was this light blue floral print button down shirt with a collar. It is hard to see the tiny floral print on the fabric in the lighting I was in in the above photos. I think I have had the fabric for four or five years and the pattern is very old – a classic from my pattern stash McCalls 2094 from 1999. I like the style of this top with the front and back darts and the button front. I have a couple of pairs of shorts and a couple of skirts it will go with so lots of options for wearing this shirt. I even discovered a crochet headband I made years ago that is the same color blue.
The third top I made was this purple print one. This is another fabric I have had in my stash for years. This top was made using a newer pattern that I purchased on sale at Hancocks a few weeks ago. The pattern is McCalls 6967 and included in the pattern with this cute little top is a couple of dresses and a skirt. This was a really simple pattern to sew and I will probably go through my stash and make another one – it only takes one yard of fabric and a couple of hours to make this top.
The last top I recently finished sewing was this simple knit twisted shoulder top. This pattern was actually my own creation using a pattern from My Label pattern software and figuring out how to do the twisted shoulder. The whole top is made with a serger and super simple. In my etsy shop I offer a tutorial on how to make a top like this using an old t shirt. This particular one I actually used fabric and a pattern drafted to my measurements.
The other thing I finished in the past week was this crochet shrug – which I thought looked good with my twisted tank top and a skirt that I made a few years ago. The shrug is one I started a year ago and put it aside to work on other things. I decided it was time to get it finished and completed it. I love the way it turned out and wonder why I waited to long to get it done. This shrug is crocheted using Patons Glam yarn and is black and glitter sliver. The pattern features a ripple and pretty scalloped sleeve. I will be offering the pattern in my etsy shop very soon as well as on craftsy and ravelry.
School is starting here soon for my boys and we have been busy with the back to school yearly things that go with that. Even though there is another month or more left of summer it kind of feels like summer is ending once the kids start school – I am hoping that means the heat will end as well but I have a feeling it will be another month or more before that happens.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool.
We recently bought a new-used dining room table and china cabinet from a really great consignment store in Plano, Texas – B & B Furniture Consignment. The table and china cabinet were in good shape for their age but the chairs were another story. The wood on the chairs was fine but the seat covers not so good. They were pretty dirty and worn on the edges. The price on the whole set was less than $1200.00 so we decided to get it and I decided to learn to upholster chairs!
Below is a photo of one of the chairs before I recovered it and after I cleaned them twice. They were worse and I forgot to take a before photo of that.
The first thing I did was clean all six chairs twice – once by hand and second time with my Bissell using the furniture attachment and some Young Living Purification oil, blue dawn and vinegar in the machine. They were so bad I didn’t want them in the house without cleaning them – plus I knew I would have to work with them when I went to recover them.
The next thing I did was research pinerest to see how to recover dining room chairs. I found lots of great info on various blogs and websites and decided I could do this.
The next thing I did, the day after buying the set, was go to the fabric store and get some home dec fabric. I had to remove one of the seat covers and take it with me to find something to coordinate since two of the chairs have a fabric back and I did not want to try to tackle recovering that part – it looks kind of difficult.
Removing the old seat was really easy – you just find the four screws on the bottom that hold the seat on and remove them.
After finding the fabric I used the seat cover I had removed to make a template-pattern. I then measured the side gussets and calculated how to cut those. For my template I added 1/2 inch seam allowance and then cut the gusset strips 4 1/2 inches wide by the width of the fabric which was 54 inches. You need to sew two strips together to make the strip long enough to go around the seat part and cut some of the excess off. The existing gussets were less than 4 1/2 inches but I decided to make mine wider to wrap around to the bottom to have more of an edge to staple on. Also, I decided to line the top seat part with muslin so I cut muslin templates as well. The foam on the chairs was in good shape other than the discoloration so I didn’t have to replace that.
Sewing the covers was super easy and fast – probably took me about an hour. Removing all the old seat covers was another story – that took about an hour per chair. For that part I used a flat head screw driver, to pry the staples up, and some pliers, to pull the staples out. Basically I worked on one chair at a time so it took me about five days to do all six chairs – in between cooking, cleaning, laundry, carpool, band events in the evening and general life!
After removing all the old staples you can slide the old cover off. Then slip on the new sewn cover and get it fitted onto the the chair pad and then begin to staple with the staple gun. My one son even did a few staples on one chair – he thought it looked like fun for a few minutes. Actually stapling the new cover back on was a lot more fun and easier than getting that old one off. I did this on the floor with an old towel laid down – I also did a couple of them on my sewing table – basically you need a hard firm surface to be behind the chair pad as you drive the new staples in. As you can see on the corners you have to fold the fabric in to get it to be smooth on the sides and the top front piece.
Overall I am pleased with how they turned out and how our dining room now looks. The other table we had was over 20 years old. We bought it when we first got married and it was more of a kitchen type table not really for a formal dining room.
So, now that I have accomplished recovering dining room chairs I am contemplating reupholstering a chair and ottoman we have in our living room. If I decide to conquer it I will share it here on the blog so be sure to check back or follow me.
Sewing a quilt as you go table runner is a very easy project that can be made in just a few hours. I recently made this little table runner to go on our new-used dining room table that we bought a couple of weeks ago at B & B Consignment Store in Plano, TX.
This project was made using fabrics from my stash that I have probably had for at least five years (or more). At least I was able to use up some fabric, create something I like and I didn’t have to buy anything to make it since I had everything. The piece of batting I used for the quilt was actually a scrap piece I had laying around.
My runner measures 32 inches long by 18 inches wide but you can really customize a project like this to be whatever size you want. Basically you cut your base-backing fabric and your batting a little larger than your actual finished size and then you cut it once you are through sewing on the strips and before doing your binding.
To make this particular size you need about a yard of one cotton fabric and half a yard of a coordinating print for the contrasting strips and the binding. Basically what I did was cut the heart fabric I had 4 1/2 inches wide because I wanted the print, which was kind of large, to show up and then I cut the contrasting fabric 2 1/2 inches wide for the strips as well as the binding.
You then begin by laying your fabric backing piece down with the wrong side facing up then lay the batting on top of that. Then find your center point and center one of the 4 1/2 inch strips there and lay a 2 1/2 inch strip on top of that and sew it with a 1/4 inch seam – I use a walking foot which I recommend so the pieces do not shift.
I just continued to alternate my 4 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 inch strips until I got to the one end then I did the same to the other end – ending with a 2 1/2 inch strip on each end. NOTE: After you sew each strip you will need to press them open so the right sides are facing up before sewing the next strip.
Then when both ends are done you will trim the excess batting and backing. It is best to do this with a rotary cutter and a quilt ruler.
After this step you are ready to bind the quilt. I used three 2 1/2 inch strips sewn together to make a very long strip – I then pressed it in half to be 1 1/4 inch with the wrong sides together. I like to sew my binding on to the wrong side and then wrap it around, press it and sew it to the right side but everyone has a different method for this it seems.
Mitering the corners when sewing on the binding is always a challenge for me. I have studied books on it and just try and do the best I can. I figure this is for me so I don’t have to have it totally perfect. Once the binding is sewn all the way around I then press it to the front side of the quilt, pin the corners and topstitch it down using my number 10 edge stitch foot and the needle in the far right position. You could also use a regular presser foot with possibly the inner toe of the foot as a guide.
I then press the quilt one more time and it is done.
This table runner is super easy to make and can be made with any type of fabric combination – not just Valentine’s Day like mine. It is also a great stash buster project if you have some fabrics laying around, like I did, that you want to use up.
I will be offering the pdf pattern with step by step instructions and photos on how to sew this in my etsy shop and on craftsy in the near future. I wanted to share it here first on my blog since I got it done a few days ago and today is Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentines Day!
P.S. I will also be doing a post in the next month on the new table we bought at the consignment store and how I recovered the chair seats so follow my blog to receive updates.
The new ruched front tops I recently made are so simple to sew and super comfortable to wear, too. I decided to make these after seeing some tops like this somewhere and I liked the look. I didn’t even have to go and buy another pattern, thankfully, since I have quite a few already.
The red top in the photo just above is the first one I made. I bought this fabric on clearance and I decided to use something that wasn’t real expensive in case the top didn’t turn out. Well, it did turn out and I have already wore it several times. I am glad the clearance fabric is soft and washes well.
After making the light red color one in a knit fabric I decided to make one in a cotton fabric. I love good quality cotton fabrics and I think some of the cottons I find at quilt shops make great fabrics for clothes and bags, too.
I have plenty of cotton fabric in my stash and I had this one in a pretty summer looking floral. I have had it for a couple of years as I remember I made a skirt with some of it and a bag, too, a couple of years ago – both of them I still have and wear-use. I really like how this one turned out bright and colorful and I have a couple of pairs of shorts to wear with it.
Both versions of this top turned out well. In my opinion though the knit one has a better drape and look to it for this type of design.
How To Make a Ruched Front:
To make a top like this you just need to know how to sew and to gather fabric. You will need a two piece pattern for a top with a front and back and a small cap sleeve or even a sleeveless top. Below are some photos on how to create the ruched front.
I used a pattern for a cap sleeve top that I have designed from the Bernina My Label program I own. I recommend using pattern drafting material – its kind of like interfacing – and tracing your top front pattern piece so you don’t ruin your actual pattern. (mine is kind of wrinkled in the photo from use and also from a cat who likes to sit on it) You will just need one side of the front traced. Then draw lines which start at the center front and extend almost to the side edge. You can see in my photo above I have 6 slash lines. Cut these lines and then spread them apart to open the center front – this is the part that will be gathered. I used some tape to hold the slashes about 1 to 2 inches apart. I then retraced the pattern piece.
Above is the photo of my cut out pattern piece and the marked areas for where I gathered the fabric. To do this I just ran two long basting stitches on each side of the front piece and then pulled them up to gather until the lower part of the top seemed straight. I then placed the fronts right sides together and sewed them. You may want to sew an extra row of stitching to hold the gathers in place. I then just finished the top according to the pattern. Super fun and simple to sew.
What projects are you currently working on? Click on Leave a Reply and tell me about them.
One of my recent sewing projects has been to replace the worn out elastic in some bathing suit bottoms. To be honest with you they were wore out last year but I neglected to fix them then. I decided I needed to get them done this year as I really like the bathing suit and the top was still in good shape – so are the bottoms except for the elastic.
The above photo is of the bottoms with 2/3 of the elastic removed. Let me tell you that removing the topstitching and then the serged edge that attaches the elastic is a lot of work! I think it probably took me 3 or 4 hours total time (I didn’t do it all at once, it was too boring) to rip all of it out.
Once I had the elastic all removed the process was a lot faster and only took about 20 or 30 minutes to put in the new elastic. I used a Kwik Sew pattern, pattern 3238 which is a bathing suit pattern I have made before, for the elastic length for the waistband and the legs. I knew that those bottoms fit me well and the elastic measurements would be right.
After cutting the elastic to the measurements I used my serger to attach it to the edges of the waistband and leg openings. I first divided the elastic in half and then divided the bottoms fabric in half and marked it so I would know where and how much to stretch the elastic as I sewed. I also used wooly nylon thread in the lower looper as that part will be next to my skin and the wooly nylon is a lot softer and provides a lot more coverage and stretch than a regular polyester or cotton thread.
After attaching the elastic with the serger I then took it to my regular sewing machine and turned the elastic over and stitched it down using a narrow zigzag stitch of a 2 width and a 2 length to topstitch the elastic in place. I also used a ballpoint needle as it sews knits and over elastic better than a universal needle.
The photo above is of the front and back of the bottoms after replacing the elastic. I even remembered to sew the tag back in the back – not that I couldn’t figure out which was the back but I was glad I remembered.
Well, here is my new-old bathing suit. I tried the bottoms on and they fit much better now and are not all loose. It took a while (like a few weeks) for me to complete this project as it was a real pain to rip out that old disintegrating elastic. It was so bad it would just crumble in some spots but I still had to rip out all of the old serging holding it in so I could replace it and not have all of the bulk. The top for some reason does not, and I hope won’t any time soon, have this same problem and as you can see the bathing suit is still in pretty good shape for being several years old. I am glad I was able to recycle it and not have to just get rid of it.
The weather here is still hot and will be for at least another month or more so I will be able to wear my “new” bathing suit when we swim in our pool. My advice to anyone attempting to do an elastic replacement in a bathing suit is to be patient and just keep at the ripping of the stitches and eventually when you get to the sewing part it is super fast and easy.
One of my favorite sewing pattern brands are Kwik Sew patterns. I realize they are a bit more expensive than some other pattern companies but I don’t mind paying extra for a stylish pattern that fits well and has excellent directions.
The other nice thing about their patterns is they are often classic styles. They also come printed on nice heavy paper, not that thin tissue paper that tears easily. All sizes are included in the pattern and I have found that if you want to sew something for yourself and then use the same pattern for someone that is a different size you can easily use this thin, see through, pattern tracing fabric – its kind of like interfacing and is usually sold near the interfacing – to trace multiple sizes. I have also used quilters grid before to trace patterns since you can see through it.
One of my favorite Kwik Sew patterns that I bought years ago and have made many times in various fabrics and prints is pattern number 3632. This pattern is for a top or dress that has an elastic casing at the neckline and sleeve cap to gather those areas in and create and cute and flattering top.
This white knit top above is one I made in the past month. It was super quick and easy to sew. There are only 2 pattern pieces and then you have to sew the casing for your elastic at the neck and arm area, hem the bottom and its finished.
The blue, yellow and white chevron print top above is also made using the same pattern but with a cotton fabric. The pattern is very versatile and I have used various types of fabrics for it. I love how easy it is to make one of these tops – like in a couple hours or less. I have also used stitches other than a straight stitch to sew the topstitched area – on these two tops I used a narrow zigzag stitch for the casings and the hems.
This particular pattern would be a great project for someone learning to sew. The pattern is really easy to read and to sew. I also noticed that Hobby Lobby is now carrying some of the Kwik Sew patterns as well as Joann and Hancocks. In the past in my area I could only buy them at Hancocks.