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Quick Tip Thursday l How to Repair a Tear in a Pair of Pants

Hey Everyone… I had to take a shorts break and fix pants for my neighbor.  Let’s be honest… I hate fixing things… But my neighbor has a super cute puppy :)  (So I said “yes, I’ll fix the tear in your pants” :)  Btw… If you’re new to sewing and things just seem to “happen” while you’re sewing…and you don’t know how to fix them, I have a new class on Craftsy called “Sewing Mistakes: What can go Wrong and how to Make it Right.   If it sounds interesting, I think Craftsy is having a big sale over the holiday weekend! (I’m not new to sewing, and I experience mishaps all the time :) That’s where I got the idea for the class!

FullSizeRender(2)So let’s talk about fixing tears in garments.   If you’re lucky and the tear is near a seam, you can sew in deeper to hid it in the seam allowance.  But, if it’s straight down the middle of your butt… not so lucky (and your options are limited)

I decided to use black interfacing to support the torn fabric, add some Fray Check to protect raw edges, then finish it up with a triple zig-zag.  In this case stitching did not make the tear more noticeable… but in some cases, I may opt not to stitch.  (Of course if the tear is in a stress area, stitching it closed will prevent if from popping back open.)    The trick is to pick a thread color that disappears into the fabric.  Luckily, these pants were gray…with a lot of variety in the weave of the fabric, so I was able to pick a thread color that blended pretty nicely.  So, check it out and let me know what you think!   Plus, if you have a tear that you fixed (successfully or not), send it to me and I’ll share it with everyone!  I think we all need fix it inspiration :)

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Quick Tip Tuesday l How Denim Details Can Make Shorts Construction Really Easy

Hey Everyone…I’m sitting here in my studio listening to the very loud droning and buzz of chainsaws and wood chippers :(  I was so excited to shoot my QT today, but it’s just too noisy outside.  I went out to inquire how long it would take them to chop the trees down… They are planning to do the whole street…  So I decided to do a slide show instead.  (sorry about that).

I finished my shorts, and I love them… I wore them all day yesterday… After I wash them, I think I may have to take them apart and take them in a  little bit… They are comfy, but slightly too loose. (I was going for not squeezing me, and I think I was a little too generous with the ease)   Anyway, let me know if you have questions.  Hoping to shoot something fun on Thursday… Keep your fingers crossed!

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Quick Tip Thursday… How to use all the good parts of jeans to make new shorts

Hey everyone.   I don’t have a lot of time for chatting today because my daughter is circling (It’s dinner time and I haven’t figured that out yet :)   Today’s quick tip is an update on the denim shorts I started yesterday.  I had a really easy time cutting out the front of my shorts so I could use the existing front fly and pockets.  …But when I started working on the back pieces, I had to walk away and think about it a  little bit.  I didn’t like the way my back shorts pattern piece fit across the existing butt section of the back of the jeans.  The yoke and position of the back pockets would have been very weird… But I did come up with a solution… Check it out and let me know what you think!


Quick Tip Tuesday… How to Transform Jeans into Jean Shorts (No Front Fly Construction Needed!)

Hey Everyone… Sorry about the delay getting Tuesday’s Quick Tip to you!  … It was all about finding the Energy Star Fridge and a few  other things for Anna’s dorm room yesterday.  Plus, Abby needed new shoes for school… Happily we found everything :)

I’m so excited that Beyond the Boat Neck…New Necklines for The Tee is completely finished.  It should be up and available on within a week!  (Yay, I love checking big projects off my list)… Now I’m onto finishing the shorts pattern…at the end of August :( …  Maybe we’ll have a warm fall!

If found a pair of jeans at the Salvation Army.  They have a really cool front fly.  My first thought was to pick the pieces apart and cut out the front and back legs out of the legs of the jeans…Then use the fly pieces when I construct the fly of my shorts.  But then, I got a better idea :)   I decided that I would try using the front as is…no fly construction needed.   Here’s how it’s going so far….

Step 1:  Pick apart the waistband and the bottom ends of the belt loops.  Then pick apart the side and inseams.

buffalo1Check out the front fly… isn’t is cool?  I love the details, especially the topstitching and the bound edge of the button fly.   Plus the button and buttonholes are really neat too. buffalo2The waistband is too long for my because these jeans are a men’s size 44.   So, I’m going to take the extra length out of the CB so I can take advantage of the existing button and button hole…

Buffalo3Step 2:  Prepare the front pattern piece so I can trace it onto the left and right front leg of the jeans.  I cut off the seam allowances along the center front of my fitted shorts pattern.

Buffalo4Step 3:  Then I laid the pattern piece on top of the jean leg, carefully aligning the center front edge of the pattern with the center front edge (Front crotch seam) of the jeans.

buffalo5Step 4:  Trace around the pattern piece.  In this case, my pattern piece had a very similar rise to the jeans.  I had to fold the hem allowance up because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut it out…So I added and extra 1/2″ along the bottom of the leg so I can sew a facing to the bottom of the leg to hem it later.

buffalo6buffalo7Step 5:  Repeat for the opposite leg and cut it out.  Because I’m not 100% sure how the front width will translate by aligning the center front edge of the pattern up with the fly on the jeans, I’m going to add 1/2″ extra along the side seams just in case I need a little more room.

buffalo8Viola!  The front of my shorts are all done!  Front Fly and Front pockets …check!    Here’s what the inside of the front of the shorts look like.

buffalo9Super excited about this project…and I can’t wait to try them on to see if it worked out.  I’m feeling pretty confident :)  Stay tuned for Quick Tip Thursday… I’ll show you what I did in the back and how I put these shorts together.




Quick Tip Thursday l Knit Fabric: Percentage of Stretch and Shape Retention

Hey Everyone,   Happy Thursday :)  Today I want to talk about knit fabric and how to tell how stretchy it is…and whether or not a garment sewn out of it will hold it’s shape or not.    Both fun topics that can really affect the quality and fit of a knit garment.  It’s important to know how much stretch there is because most knit patterns recommend fabrics with a specific amount…  If you have a fabric that doesn’t agree with the amount of stretch required by your pattern, you can make adjustments to the pieces so you can still use it (like making it larger if there is less stretch).  But, if you don’t know and you cut it out and sew it together, it’s likely to be too tight (or too loose if there’s more stretch than recommended).

Another important factor is whether the fabric will retain it’s shape… or will it keep growing.  Check out today’s quick tip for all the juicy details on that.

Another topic that I touched on this week is fit vs. bra  …I bought a new comfy bra and I was so excited to wear it will shooting my tee neckline class. I noticed, while editing the footage,  that one of my knit tops looked yucky on me because my new comfy bra caused my bust to be shaped differently…   I know that the fit of a bra is important to the fit of a top… especially a snug fitting top.  So this is a reminder to check the mirror before you get going :)

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions about these topics!  I hope everyone is enjoying the rest of Summer…I can’t believe it is almost over :(  School starts next week for Abby, and I’m dropping Anna off at college next weekend!


Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Stitch a Buttonhole that’s Fit for a Drawstring

Hey Everyone… It’s another hot one in Connecticut.  Happy I got up early and got the quick tip going :)  Today I want to share with you how to stitch a dense buttonhole on knit fabric.  Usually, I’ll stitch a knit buttonhole when I’m working on stretch fabric.  But, in this case, I want it to be durable because the buttonhole is being used as the opening for a drawstring.

So, I played with stitching a dense satin buttonhole using interfacing and wash away stabilizer.  I got happy results, but not before I also adjusted the density of the buttonhole on my sewing machine.

Let me know if you have questions.. Happy Day!


Quick Tip Thursday l How to use your Bra to Design a Open Back Neckline

Hey Everyone, sorry for the delay, I’m having so much fun with my new necklines, that I lost track of time.  Originally when I worked on my open back design, I just used the back pattern piece and scooped it out… Looked great on paper, but when I tried it on, my bra straps were showing like an Olympic sport in the back :(

So, I got one of my bras and laid it down on the table…Thinking I could measure how far down and how far across I could open up the back neckline (That was silly, there was only 3″ between the bra straps because it wasn’t stretched out on my bod :)  So I got the great idea to put it on my dressform and then take some measurements… That worked great.  I took measurements and I drafted a new back (and front).  Then I whipped up a new top…. LOVE it. (and I’m wearing it in the video… so check it out and let me know what you think!)

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Quick Tip Tuesday l How to Walk a Sleeve…

To see if there is a good amount of ease.   Hey Everyone, happy to be home, but I had an amazing weekend in Kansas City with the Kansas City Garment Group :)    We spent the entire second day working on fitting the sleeve.   One of the things that came up was how to walk the pieces properly… Check out why it’s important to use the stitch line when walking the sleeve in the armhole.  :)  Let me know if you have questions!


Quick Tip Thursday l Review of the Shark Professional Steam Iron

Hey everyone.  I finally decided on a new iron… Didn’t want to spend $100 bucks, so I opted for the Shark Professional Steam Iron (Model GI505).  It was an especially good deal because my husband used his elite member points at Best Buy and the $49.00 price tag ended up to be $21.00 :) (Plus, he bought it for me too <3) …Anyway, I want to share my initial thoughts about it.  Comparing it to my old burned up Rowenta, the first thing I really liked was the big water port…No spilling or dribbling when I filled it at full speed :).   It’s hefty, so if you’re not looking for a heavy iron, this one may not be for you, but I like it because I don’t have to press down with it, to  get the wrinkles out.

Check it out and let me know what you think…  (I’ll keep you updated as I go along… it’s only 2 days old)


Quick Tip Tuesday l To Serge or Not to Serge…

…When you’re finishing a V-Neckline.  Hey Everyone, Happy Tuesday :)  This is an exciting week for me, I’m getting ready to fly off to Kansas for a weekend of shirt fitting…and I’m having so much fun working on my neckline class.   The only challenge I’m having is coming up with a cool name for the class… I’m getting sick of hearing myself say “New Neckline Class” .. So not exciting!!!!  …Ideas anyone?

Today I want to share my experience using a serger vs. a sewing machine to finish a V-Neckline.  I’m working with a sheer gray knit.

Here are the Pros to using the serger:  First, it was very easy to stitch straight along the edge, creating a nice shape.  It was also very quick to do, I started at one shoulder and stitched in one direction, straight through the V and back up to the opposite shoulder.  The Cons include a V that’s not super defined (It’s really more of a soft point.  Stitching a sharp V shape can be a little tricky on a serger… A technique for another time….)  and the right side did not lay smooth, it was slightly stretched out.

The Pros of using the sewing machine and directionally sewing the V-neckline include a nicely shaped V shape, with a defined point at the base of it.   The Cons include the fact that it was hard for me to sew straight along the edge and the right side was also stretched out of shape (even though I directionally sewed!)

The good news is that both necklines ended up working well… When I pressed them, I was able to reshape the stretched out side in both cases.  Here’s a photo of the finished necklines.  The left was stitched with the serger and the right was stitched on the sewing machine.

FullSizeRenderAnyway, check out all the juicy details in Tuesday Quick Tip :)  Let me know what you think! Happy Day