Remember those vests I was talking about recently? Well, I finished one! It was a very quick and simple one, but I made a few adjustments to it. I made View C (the floral one) from McCalls 8940, a 1997 pattern. 

I chose this view because I liked the short cropped style of it. To get this look, I had to shorten it even more -- my torso is short like the rest of me, and I wanted this to end just at the waist like the image, which meant taking 1.5" out of the length. 

I made it out of some leftover linen; I had just enough for it with the length I chose to cut the vest and all the facings. This is an unlined vest so I did go the extra step of french seaming my shoulder and side seams to have a clean finish for this fray-prone linen.

There are front facings and also armhole facings. I followed the pattern but on completion I wish I'd used bias facings for the... [read more]


David Attenborough joined Instagram last week. And he got to 1m followers in 45 minutes, beating the record for the fastest rise. But more important is the reason why he chose to engage with the platform: because he is trying to reach younger audiences and raise the awareness on just how dire the climate situation is. He was also on BBC Breakfast on Monday talking about how if there is one small sliver of hope to save the natural world, we need to keep fighting. This prompted me to think about the topic of today’s post and how, in the…


As it turns out, PDF print-at-home patterns are a hot and steamy topic! So much so, I felt it was only proper to gather more of everyone’s hints, tips, rants, and observations in one place. A giant Thank You goes out to everyone who commented here on the blog, on Instagram, and sent messages with additional info! ❤

But before I get into the list, I’d like to address something else that grew out of the pdf pattern conversation. Reviews.

So many people mentioned wanting the ability to leave reviews on pattern company websites. It’s easy to blame yourself when a pattern doesn’t work out right, and of course there are a lot of factors to consider when a pattern is essentially a template to make your own product: fabric, construction difficulty level, and human error. However, if an issue is called out again and again, chances are... [read more]


Rebecca Burgess & Courtney White
White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, c2019
281 p.

I picked up this book at my library and read it over one day. It was fascinating! Written by the founder of the Fibershed movement, it explains what a Fibershed is, and how it works, explaining along the way about sustainable agriculture, the false promise of synthetic fibres, and how a regional system of production helps fight fast fashion, climate change and precarious industries. 

So what is a Fibershed? It's a place-based textile system, as she says in the introduction:

Similar to a local watershed or a foodshed, a fibershed is focused on the source of the raw material, the transparency with which it is converted into clothing, and the connectivity among all parts, from soil to skin and back to soil... It is place-based textile sovereignty, which... [read more]

 This week's hubbub on the interweb: the Zadie jumpsuit by paper theory.

Did someone buy a copy and then make versions of it for sale?

As soon as the flap emerged, it disappeared. 

That's 2013. May 2013.

But wait! There's more.
There is just nothing new under the sun, kids.

I'm sewing. Work is hard. House has issues.
Or: I can sew, I have a job and a place to live.
I'm also starting a class this week, so I promise there will be actual content soon.

This is my first pattern from Tessuti, I downloaded the PDF soon after it appeared in April. It is priced at 14 Aus dollars, which is around £7.50.

The pattern is described as ‘a relaxed pull-on top with stylish design features including a wide, gathered neckline’.

This is a lovely pattern to showcase prints. The blue is Nano Iro Fuccra print in tencel, and the sort sleeve version is Atelier Brunette Shade viscose, squeezed from a metre of fabric.

The gathers are formed by elastic. I used 6mm Prym elastic as it is soft and resists folding over.

The facing is attached and the bottom edge folded and sewn in place. After the first version I made a change to simplify and add some definition to the folds

I added light interfacing and overlocked the edges of the facing after joining the shoulder seams.

I also added some embroidery to the back... [read more]

I don't usually buy fabric unless I have a specific plan for it, which minimizes stockpiling. I can visit favourites for a loooong time at my local fabric store without them disappearing--I think of it as outsourcing my storage! But occasionally I grab something on clearance I won't find again. It took me awhile to figure out what style would suit this pink and black print. Since I didn't have my glasses on in the fabric store, I didn't notice the tiny hearts until I got it home.

The Fabric

This is a very slithery polyester with a tight weave. My first attempt at the yoke ended up with snags, so I started over with a fresh size 70 Microtex needle, which mostly worked. The yoke is backed with broadcloth, and I definitely wouldn't want to use this fabric for a structured shirt. It just doesn't want to be told what shape to take! And as I found when wearing the finished... [read more]

It's the first week of our Literary Sewing Circle featuring The Night Watchman! Have you found a copy yet? Have you started reading? If so, how are you finding the opening chapters?

It's time for our first inspiration post of this round, and this book has a lot to work with! Erdrich describes clothing and outfits often in her work, and there are many moments with all the characters in this story that could be used as direct inspiration -- here are a few of them to consider. 

Near the beginning of the novel, Patrice's mother Zhaanat is sleeping, and Patrice is watching over her:

"Zhaanat's dress was made of midnight-green calico dotted with tiny golden leaves. The style was from the last century, but Patrice knew it was only a few months old. Her mother had sewed the old-time dress from over four yards of cloth. The sleeves were slim and ran down to... [read more]
Hello! I almost called this blog post ‘Who needs a Cricut?’ Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this year (thinking about it, I guess most of us have, in a way.. hmm), you’ll have noticed that several prominent sewing bloggers have acquired a Cricut machine and are using these to make envy-inducing t-shirts and […]
Black Makers Matter logo

After the murder of George Floyd, we noticed the lack of support from many of our beloved sewing and craft brands and businesses on #blackouttuesday in response to Black Lives Matter protests. Many of us had never heard silence quite this loud before. It was deafening and hurtful. Monica Tetteh (@thatssewmonica) blew the whistle and sent out a call-to-action to many of us in the sewing community. We hopped on a Zoom call to discuss our thoughts, and that’s how Black Makers Matter was formed. As a coalition, we are committed to giving a voice to Black makers.

In a small amount of time, we have accomplished a lot. Shortly after our inception, we immediately sent out surveys to take the pulse of our sewing community to see what changes regarding diversity and representation we all feel would benefit our maker community. And with much deliberation, our first... [read more]

In December 2019, when Love Sewing magazine were advertising the job of editor to replace Amy, I decided to apply for the job.  When Amy got the job five years previous, I was more than a little bit jealous!  What a great job!  I didn’t think I had much chance of even getting an interview, […]

 I have been sewing off and on the Melody Dolman shirt. It was as easy project to sew and the instructions are good. I am not always sure of my size with different indie pattern companies. With this pattern you select your high bust measurement to chose the size. Because of my measurement, it was suggested to use the full bust front pattern. I did this but did not trust the final bust measurement, because I found with the big 4, I always had to make a bust adjustment because of the cup size. 

So, baste on that, I did make an 1 inch bust adjustment.  Totally not necessary. I also used medium for upper chest area and large from bust down. I should have made a petite adjustment for reducing the length of the upper body. After basting the side seams, I knew I had made a top too large. But fixable. Next time I will use small upper area, tapering to medium from waist... [read more]

As mentioned previously, since the start of 2020, I’ve been preparing to launch an independent sewing pattern company. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help with pattern testing – the response has been far beyond what I hoped for.

I’m approaching the point of being able to release my first pattern (and will be in touch with testers very soon). It’s taken me much longer than I thought to get to this point (I was originally very optimistically aiming for around April!), but, despite being a project manager in my day job, I haven’t been too concerned about holding myself to deadlines. I knew that launching the company would need to fit around work – and other – commitments. Giving myself space to take as long as needed means I have been able to thoroughly test the patterns (I have more than one in the works), and to identify some great... [read more]

Ask the Sewialists: Sewing Dilemma logo

The Sewcialists’ year-long challenge to #SewThePrecious (that special fabric you’re apprehensive about cutting into) got me thinking about the fabric in my stash and how my attitude to it changes over time.

I’ve been garment sewing in earnest for nine years, but my fabric stash started before that; the very first additions to my fabric stash were made while I was at university, when I would tackle the occasional sewing project.

The oldest fabric in my stash is a remnant of the fabric I used for my first garment sewing project outside of textiles class at school. It’s a grey spotted cotton which I bought from either the local market or fabric shop, and one of these days I will (probably) get around to using it.

More recent fabric purchases will often sit in my stash for a few years,... [read more]

WordPress is home to millions of sites across countless topics. It’s a big and beautiful world, and we want to make it easier for you to discover new voices. Over the past few months, the mobile team has been working hard to improve the experience of your WordPress Reader on the mobile app. In particular, we’ve been exploring different ways for you to discover new blogs and find inspiration.

The new Discover tab on your Reader will recommend blogs and posts based on topics you follow. These changes give you more control over what you see, making it easier for you to find interesting voices, while also giving you and your site the opportunity to find a bigger audience. 

How it works

Add appropriate tags and categories when drafting your blog posts — this helps us recommend your posts to the right audience. 

The topics you now see... [read more]

I had a great fabric that I got from a remnant table, and liked it so much I put it on my #UseNine2020 list. But as often happens with fabric I really love, I was scared to use it in case the pattern wasn't right and I'd have wasted the fabric -- does this happen to you too?

In any case, now that the weather is turning toward fall, I started to feel in the mood for some warmer sewing, and got this cozy knit out again. I decided to repeat a pattern that I know worked for me before, the Mandy Boat Tee. I had just over a metre of this fabric so just enough for the 3/4 sleeve, which is my preference anyhow! 

The first time I made this I noted that the sleeve was pretty tight. This knit isn't very stretchy, so with that in mind I added a pinch of extra space in the sleeve this time, but just barely enough, as they are quite snug -- comfortably so but I'm... [read more]


The A-line skirt continues to be a classic wardrobe staple. Yes, staple can mean boring, but not when there are so many possibilities to styling it into all kinds of outfits. For this instalment of my 3 Ways to Style series, I wanted to show you how I styled one of my favourite skirts, a simple, yet very interesting to wear and fun to sew pattern from Fibre Mood. It’s called Jutta and it’s from Issue 5 last year. I actually made it last summer, but it didn’t actually make it on the blog. However, it got loads of wear…


Following the massive Australian bushfires earlier this year, I was motivated to act within my role as a data scientist at Automattic to help fight anthropogenic climate change. Together with colleagues from across the company, we formed an employee resource group focused on sustainability. We are pleased to announce that as a result of our efforts, Automattic now offsets data center power emissions produced from non-renewable sources. This means that the servers running, WordPress VIP, Tumblr, and other Automattic services contribute net zero carbon emissions to our shared atmosphere.

Measuring and offsetting emissions is not a trivial task. In the interest of transparency, this post provides more details on the decisions we made and answers questions that readers may have on the topic. We hope that... [read more]

Last March Gillian asked the Sewcialist community how we sew for the changing seasons. In my quest to be more mindful with my sewing I decided to tackle this question. If I’m being totally honest this post will also somewhat act as sewing accountability for me because I truly have enough fabric to sew my own wardrobe. Here in the Southern United States fall is on the horizon… but it’s still the South, so that just means it won’t be in the upper 90s & 80s F (low to mid 30s C) anymore. Our fall is mild—cool mornings and warm sunshiny afternoons—which makes for perfect layering weather.

To start my planning I decided to do a closet audit. I was actually surprised to see how little clothing I currently have! Between my changing postpartum body, need to have nursing friendly clothes, and moving to a new home I purged pretty much anything that wouldn’t work or... [read more]

Double Gauze Named Inari Tee Dress

We’re currently in Cornwall for a few days holiday. I could have driven, but decided to get the train down so that I could use the time to knit. It was a very successful train journey as I read two magazines, finished knitting a scarf, and listened to an audiobook.

Double Gauze Named Inari Tee Dress

During our first full day on holiday, yesterday, I wore this new-ish Inari Tee Dress to go for a long walk and to sit on the beach (where I added tassels to my scarf, and made a start on the second knitting project I packed). Wearing it reminded me that I ought to blog about it before winter is here.

Double Gauze Named Inari Tee Dress

This fabric was one of three I purchased when we visited Japan in 2017. It’s a double gauze with a lion and tiger print made by Kokka and purchased in Tomato. I bought it with the intention of sewing this dress – Named’s Inari Tee Dress – and three years later... [read more]

The DESIGNIN’ DECEMBER Sewing Challenge is FIVE years old!  I wonder how much that is in cat years? 🙂  This will be the 5th year that I have been sizing up all the fashions in the stores, magazines, online or on the runway. All the while thinking … “Why buy when you can make it… Continue reading Designin’ December 2020!
This is an adorable video by Seamwork, and it beautifully illustrates working with scale model pattern pieces. 
image from Seamwork video

On the instruction sheets of most patterns, there's an image of pattern pieces laid out on the fabric, to show you potential pattern pieces laid out for cutting.
Why, there's an example in the video at the beginning.
image from seamwork video
I outlined in this image; you can scan and enlarge and print similar from any pattern instructions sheet. You can make them as big as you need to. They will not be exact, but they will be in proportion to each other, and that's what you need.

You can use those scale model pieces in other ways.

hemlock vintage clothing

I love the back covers of vintage patterns for the preview drawing of the pattern pieces, for the very same reasons.

I... [read more]


How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter:
Step-by-Step instructions for women who like to sew
by Adele Margolis
Garden City: Doubleday, c1969
296 p.

This week's review is another vintage sewing book but this one's a bit different. Rather than an overall guide to sewing, this book talks about fit and fit alterations. The title kinds of gives away the angle of the book, though -- that old question of "flattering", which in this case does indeed mean how to make yourself look thinner and taller, 

However, the fit information and the illustrations are top notch, and even if you aren't too keen on the obsession with thinness, you can use the techniques simply for fit purposes. The book opens with the statement that "fifty years ago, the fashionable American woman was size 16 going on size 18. Today she is size 12 going on size 10". Hmm. Fifty years... [read more]

Fall came quickly this year, and we are already getting frost at night sometimes! Luckily I remembered the Muna and Broad Mallee Jacket which was released a month or two back. It’s a winner!

I made two in one weekend, which tells you how quickly it comes together. The purple on is boiled wool, and the burgundy is double gauze. Both are new favourites!

I made size D with slightly shortened sleeves. I like a bit of wrist to balance out a boxy jacket! I love the length of this jacket and the high collar, which is my favourite shape and also practical for cold days. This version took 2m of double gauze, and it’s a perfect light layer for early fall.

I love the crinkly edges of washed double gauze, so I used the selvedge for the top of the pockets and the bottom of the sleeve.

I used some unwashed Nani Iro double gauze from my deep stash (ten... [read more]

« Previous Next » Showing 1–25 posts out of 1000