The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible Embroidered Dress

The Tunic Bible recently went to #1 on Amazon, here’s how you can embroider your own tunic dress!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

I recently ordered a copy of The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr of Goodbye Valentino. If you haven’t seen their sewing blog, it’s full of beautiful classic styles, perfect for us midlife ladies. The book recently exploded on Amazon with the trending Instagram hashtags #sewover50 and #sew50visible. The idea of this challenge is to make a pattern that has a woman over 50 on the cover. Silly me, I thought this was going to be easy, but there are very few of them in the 4 big pattern companies. This led me to the Tunic Bible, and I am hooked!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The book has a basic pattern and pages upon pages of ways you can customize your look. One of the styles I loved the most had an embroidered neckline, and I was thrilled to be able to try out my embroidery functions on my new “old” Huskavarna Viking sewing machine. After a bit of research I discovered that I needed embroidery files with HUS capability for my machine. Refer to your manual to find out what kind of file you need as it is different for each machine.

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This floral design was purchased from Urban Threads. It’s a one color design, but looks different with dark blue thread on my blue and white stripe fabric. Because embroidery is completely new to me, I wasn’t willing to spend a lot of money for this project. I used an old Ralph Lauren bed sheet from the thrift store! My purchase was $1.50, plus the embroidery file which was $4.99. Not bad for an entire dress!

The embroidery file was easy to download to my computer, transfer to a USB memory stick and plugin to my sewing machine. I traced the pattern of the bib design on the fabric with a heat soluble marking pen instead of cutting it out. I stabilized the fabric with embroidery stabilizer in the hoop before embroidering.

The design took about 15 minutes to stitch and I had a lot of fun watching it come together, it is rather mesmerizing!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The sleeves were even easier to embroider. Instead of purchasing a new design, I used two rows of heirloom vine stitches that came with my Huskavarna Designer SE sewing machine. Be sure to put a scrap of embroidery backing behind the rows of stitching for best result. After the embroidery was finished, it was time to assemble the pattern and finish the sleeve hem.

This design is very simple, but I love how it turned out!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

With a simple dress such as this, the embroidery takes center stage. It was very easy to make and fits wonderfully! This is the first pattern I haven’t had to do major alterations on in a long time. I’m so ready to wear it!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I’ve got another tunic dress in the works that I will share with you soon! Meanwhile, head over to Amazon and purchase your copy of the Tunic Bible. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for more on the current hashtag challenges!

More Inspiration

If you loved this project, here are a few others you will also enjoy!

Wool Pleated Skirt : 7 Secrets to Sewing it Correctly

Neapolitan Quilt with Riley Blake

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Embroidered Tunic Bible Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt: 7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt: 7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt:

7 Secrets to Sewing it Right

 

A classic wool pleated skirt like this one is not hard to sew. Here are my 7 secrets to sewing it right for a professional look!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt

It’s been a long time since I had a pleated skirt like this one as part of my wardrobe. There was a time when I owned 5 or 6 of these classic skirts, one for every occasion! I am determined to wear more classics, as I find that they suit my “over 50” figure better than most modern designs. I found this beautiful embroidered wool at a thrift shop while on vacation in Florida. The wool works so well with pleats, it makes nice crisp corners and holds the shape so easily. If you’ve been wanting a pleated wool skirt like this one, my 7 secrets will guarantee sewing success!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

7 Secrets to a Pleated Skirt

  1. Pleats are very easy to make. Simply fold the fabric edges together and baste along the top edge. Most patterns have the folds marked with arrows either left or right.
  2. It only takes a few pleats to make a statement. This skirt (view B) has 3 pleats, an inverted pleat at center front plus one on the left and right. The back is the same, but you could easily have gathers in the back if you wish.
  3. Use only crisp woven fabric for pleats, most knits do not work unless they are pleated by the manufacturer. Fabrics like wool, linen, cotton or poly/cotton blends work well.
  4. When using wool, place strips of paper (I use brown craft paper) under each of the pleats when pressing to keep the wool from “marking”. Wool marks easily, and once it’s marked you cannot get those marks to go away.
  5. Always use a press cloth and lots of steam when pressing wool.  (Speaking of irons…I’ve heard so many good things about this iron. They’re on super sale at the moment if you’re needing a new iron!)
  6. You can make any gathered skirt into a pleated skirt. Simply replace the gathers with folded fabric pleats. Baste in place along the top edge, then check the fit.
  7. You can easily alter pleats by making them larger or smaller to fit your shape. A good size is a 1″ pleat, this skirt has pleats that are 2″ wide and 2″ apart.

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The bottom of this skirt has the embroidery. I love this touch as it adds the perfect amount of flair to this classic piece. The border conceals a 2″ hand stitched hem. The wool doesn’t require a lot of finishing, instead of serging the seams I just used pinking shears.

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I must apologize, I don’t know what’s going on with my camera lately but all my photos seem to be grainy looking. Technology, arrrrgh! I added pockets to the skirt, definitely a plus!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I paired the skirt with a cashmere sweater, also from the thrift store. A narrow black patent leather belt and some Mary Jane shoes were the perfect accessories for this look.

 

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this skirt tutorial, here are a few more posts you will love!

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

Dinner Date Dress Sew Along

Easy Cut & Sew Sweater

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Classic Wool Pleated Skirt | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Every woman needs a LBD (little black dress) in her closet. My latest dress make is this Simplicity pattern that is perfect for a night out on the town!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Every girl needs a LBD in their closet. Some of us even have several (Me!) to chose from for different occasions. Since it seems that I am always scrambling at the last minute to find something appropriate to wear, I have decided to make a bunch of dresses to have on hand. Black is always my go-to color. It’s elegant, dressy and I feel comfortable in it. Perhaps a bit too comfortable at times. Some of my comfort comes from being a plus size gal, I’m a ready to wear size 20. The dark black color is more flattering to my round figure, as are matte fabrics. I tend to avoid anything shiny because it emphasizes my bumps and rolls. In this Simplicity design, I used contrasting satin for the trim to dress things up and still keep it as flattering as possible.

This Simplicity pattern is not an easy sew. It has a lot of bad reviews on the sewing pattern review site, Pattern Review. However, I decided to try it because I really like the style and I am not intimidated by bad reviews. It’s always my mission to discover the problem with the pattern and let you know how to fix it!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Simplicity #8534 Pattern Review

1. The biggest problem with this pattern is the facings. There are TONS of them, even for the sleeve cuff! I dislike facings as I feel they never stay in place and are not used much in ready to wear. Facings are confusing for most sewers, especially beginners. Instead of the facings I used homemade bias binding in contrasting black satin. Bias binding is easy to make, if you add a bit of starch to the satin as you go along it becomes crisp and easy to sew. Problem solved!

2. Fitted styles like this one require lots of fitting! (That seems self-explanatory.) Since this dress is very fitted, I recommend you make a muslin first before cutting it out of your fashion fabric. My fabric came from the thrift store and was a bargain at only $.60 so I wasn’t worried about messing it up. I made my pattern adjustments, cut and fitted the dress on the form first. I then made more adjustments, and basted it together for a second and third fitting. This design is not typically suited to someone with a thick waist but I love it anyway and I think it turned out quite well despite all of the fitting work.

3. Many of the negative comments on Pattern Review had to do with the front jabot or ruffle. This piece is actually circular and cascades down the front in ruffles when it’s hung from the waist. My soft satin fabric worked well for this, but I can see if you had a more rigid material it might not sit the way you like. My advice is to cut it and play with it a bit, but don’t stress about this unique design feature. It’s not a perfect rigid type of thing, it will move and cascade as you wear the dress which is the beauty of this style.

4. The overlapping bodice can be tricky to fit. The bodice has bias edge that will stretch over the bust. I had to take mine in twice in this area. A stay stitch will help to control the bias, but you will need to take it in if it stretches too much.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

5. Shoulder seams in this dress are very different, with yet more facings. I simplified the shoulders by removing the facings and using only bias binding to finish. This made the process so much easier and less confusing to overlap the seams! The satin binding adds a design detail to the matte fabric. I prefer a lower neckline as it is more flattering to my figure than a high neck like the original pattern design, so I angled the shoulder seam a bit at the top of the neck for a vintage look and dropped the front neck a few inches.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The back is easier to sew than the front of the dress. I keep forgetting to do an adjustment for a sway back, but this one came out better than my last attempt and I am happy with it.  Be sure to baste your zipper in place before you stitch, or use a bit of fusible seam tape to secure it before stitching. Long zippers are hard to work with so just do the best you can.

I wasn’t sure I would like the open back of this dress, but I think its nice. It’s not too low or revealing for someone like me (#sewover50) and I don’t own anything else with an open back. Unfortunately, the back neck has more facings to deal with, this time I left them in place. You really do need the facing here to support the button and buttonhole. I found a lovely rhinestone button to finish off the back of the dress with some simple bling!

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this pattern review, here are a few others you will love!

Sewing Pattern Hoarding: They Don’t Want You to Stop

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Sewing Pattern Sleeves the Right Way

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

Fashion Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes: What You Always Wanted to Know

 

Recently I was asked to style a fashion photo shoot for a local photographer, here’s what you always wanted to know about working behind the scenes!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Behind the Scenes Collaborations

One of the things I have been working on behind the scenes is collaborating with other local businesses. Last summer I worked with local photographer, Alyssa Eidness, on a photo shoot with my Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress. You can read more about it in this post. 

Recently, Alyssa (who specializes in Senior photography), asked me to help style these lovely young professional models for a senior photo shoot at a local hotel. I have never styled models before and it was a new experience for me. It was so much fun! For a long time I have been collecting a number of vintage clothing items and accessories for my own photography, and I was happy to share what I had with them for these photos.

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The Edgewater Hotel has undergone a massive renovation the last few years. It sits right on the shore of the lake, which gives it a beautiful view of the ice covered water. This hotel is a popular spot for weddings and other special events in Madison. I haven’t been there in years, and I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived on shoot day at how elegant and beautiful it is since the renovation!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Styling Logistics

We were able to take over an entire room for hair, makeup, and wardrobe needs. The models had a few of their own things with them and we tried on a number of different outfits and combinations to find what worked the best for everyone. We were able to have two different ensembles for each of the three girls which gave us lots of photo options. The models hair and make up was done by Ultimate Hair and Makeup, a local stylist and makeup artist. She did an amazing job!

I never realized how much preparation goes into fashion shoots like this one. The girls were either in makeup, wardrobe, or in front of the camera all day long. (Don’t forget to mention this when finding models for your next shoot.) I can only imagine how exhausted they were at the end of the day! In addition, they were inside, out in the cold, and running around in high heels from one location to the next. Definitely not an easy job, but they looked fantastic on camera despite it all!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Networking for Common Goals

A local jewelry designer generously supplied all of the jewelry used for the photo shoot. Melissa was so sweet. We got along famously and I am now completely smitten with her work! Melissa Jenkins Designs has some incredible jewelry, you can order here through her website. 

One of my future goals is to work with more locals businesses on some plus-size photo shoots, hopefully featuring my own designs for us ladies over 5o! More to come in the near future.

It was so much fun meeting new people at this event, stepping out of my comfort zone, and working together towards a common business goal. We are all part of a local business networking organization called Tuesdays Together which helps businesses connect with others in their area and build real relationships with people to further our business needs. Each month they have a free meeting and workshop. It’s been a great way to meet other small business owners, learn different things about creative business and marketing. Hopefully, we will have another opportunity to work together again soon! To learn more about Tuesdays Together in your area, see this website.

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Sharing the Common Result

The gentleman in this photo is Wesley, another team member from this fun project. He is a videographer from Spoken Frame Media who put together this video of the entire photo shoot for our photographer Alyssa Eidness.The video is so impressive. I would love to do more video work with him someday soon! Together we were able to create an impressive and professional result that none of us could have achieved on our own. It’s amazing what you can achieve as a team. This experience was a great place to start and made me realize that I need to do more in the community, and build more local business relationships.

 

Are you interested in seeing how the entire Senior photo shoot project came together? Check out the full video that was made for social media below!

Behind the scenes | seniors

It's finally here!!!!video by Spoken Frame Media

Posted by Alyssa Eidsness Photography on Friday, February 15, 2019

 

If you live in the Madison, WI area and are interested in my styling services or other collaboration, contact me at jessica@chambrayblues.com. I’d love to hear from you!

More Inspiration

If you liked this post, here are some others you will enjoy:

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Behind the Scenes at a Fashion Photo Shoot|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

This Paper Butterfly Dress was part of a local fashion show to raise money for books for children. It was a lot of fun and an entirely new adventure in sewing!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

 

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Each year a local charity, Madison Reading Project, has a fashion show to raise money for books for underprivileged children. I decided to make a paper dress for the challenge, meet new people and step out of my comfort zone a bit. It was a lot of work, but a fun project!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The first step in creating this look was a tulle underskirt. The skirt has 10 yards of gathered tulle that is gathered around a simple 2″ elastic waistband, then zig-zagged in place. The underskirt has a total of 3 layers of material and nearly reaches the floor. It’s easy to shorten this underskirt if needed, as it is not hemmed. (I had also considered using tissue paper for this portion of the dress but decided that the dress would have more structural integrity with a tulle underskirt.)

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The bodice of the dress is next. I used a roll of 24″ wide medical paper, and interfaced the pieces with Pellon mid-weight fusible interfacing to give it some structure. The bodice design is simple with just a waistline dart and a round neckline. The skirt is made with the same paper and interfacing, just gathered at the waist with a simple 1″ grosgrain ribbon for the waistband. Bodice and skirt are separate pieces to make it easier to put on.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The first fitting went surprisingly well! It was finally time to decorate the dress with the butterflies!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Making the Butterflies

 

The paper butterflies were cut on the Cricut Maker. It cut 108 of them so quickly! Each easy butterfly reminded me yet again why I am in love with this handy tool.  You can find the butterfly design that I used here. I was tempted to leave the butterflies white, but I thought a bit of color might make them standout even more and add a whimsical feel to the finished product.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I spread 108 butterflies out on a piece of canvas in our attic for colorizing. Our attic is big, open and has plenty of room to work. Using the layout with an ombre coloration in mind, I began to spray the ink on the butterflies.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I created the ombre effect by working with light, medium and darker inks from left to right on the butterflies. After they were completely dry, I used a hot glue gun to attach them to the finished dress.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

My paper dress turned out even better than I could’ve hoped! It’s always exhilarating when a vision for a project comes to life and the final result exceeds your expectations.

My friend Kathy and her daughter Abby helped me make this vision come to life on the runway.
They had a team of people doing hair and makeup for the fashion show.

Professional hair and makeup artists were on hand to make the models even more beautiful for the fashion show!

A very impressive catwalk set up made the show come to life!
The dress really came to life on Abby, runway ready!

 

The dress looked beautiful on Abby, posing on the runway! Photo credit jondercin.com photography
Photo credit jondercin.com photography

You can see the entire process, including the dress on the runway coming soon to video!

 

 

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this project, here are a few others from the blog that you will love: 

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Top Nine Makes of 2018

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress

Sewing a Clutch with Cricut Maker

Easy Cut and Sew Sweater

 

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

Self drafting a sequin skirt for a special event isn’t as hard as you may think. Here is my step-by-step process for sewing with sequins.

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

 

Sequins are always a popular choice, especially in the Winter season. I made this simple skirt in just a few steps using basic body measurements. The matching t-shirt was also incredibly easy to make with the help of my Cricut Maker. This beautiful gold sequined fabric was even on clearance after the holidays at Hobby Lobby! Although this was my first time sewing with sequins, it certainly won’t be my last. They aren’t nearly as hard to sew as you may think. (I think a sequin pencil skirt would be a fun addition to my closet!)

In order to self draft the skirt pattern, you will need waist and hip measurements, as well as the total length from your waist to the floor.

 

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Sequin Skirt Drafting Directions:

  1. Fold a large piece of craft paper in half lengthwise. Place the paper on a table so that the fold is closest to you. Be sure the paper is both longer and wider than your basic measurements, but not larger than your piece of sequin fabric. My fabric was 48″ wide so my pattern could not exceed that width.
  2. Divide your waist measurement in half. If your waist is 40″ divided by 2 = 20″.  Jot this down on a piece of paper. Next, mark this measurement with a straight line using a pencil across the top edge of the paper. This will be your skirt front, we will also use the same piece for the skirt back.
  3. Decide how many gathers you’d like in your skirt. My skirt has 6″ of gathers in the center. To calculate the gathered amount of fabric, multiply this measurement x 2. So 6″ x 2″ =12″ of fabric needed for the gathers. Because you are working on the fold, you will be making half the pattern. Draw a vertical line near the left edge of the paper, starting at the fold and going toward the other edge for the waistline. Mark the 6″ point for the gathers on the line measuring from the fold up the line. Continue the line adding the additional amount needed for the rest of the waistline, 20″ as in step 2. The total length of the line would be 26″ for the waistline.
  4. Next, draw the side seam making the line as long as you need for the skirt to reach the floor. The hem and seam allowance will be included in the skirt measurements.
  5. Make another line for the hem along the bottom edge, the same length as the waist measurement. Your rectangle is now complete!
  6. Using another piece of paper, make another rectangle for the waistband. My waistband is 4″ wide, with a total circumference of 41″ (including seam allowance). Make your waistband 4″ wide x total waist circumference +1″ for seam allowance. You will cut 2 of the waistband, one of the sequin fabric, and one of a lining fabric.

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Sewing Directions:

  1. Lay out your fabric. Cut the front and back pieces of skirt with a rotary cutter. Cutting the sequins is so much easier with a rotary tool. Be prepared, it’s a messy process! Also cut the front and back lining with the same pattern pieces.
  2. Layer the front lining and sequin skirt front together. Baste along outside edge. You will also need to gather two rows of stitches between marks at front and back waistband with basting stitch length of 5.0mm. Repeat for the back of skirt.
  3. Sew side seams using a walking foot and 3.0mm stitch length. You can remove sequins at the side seam if you need to so it’s easier to sew. My machine had no problem sewing through them, but I have seen others cut them off by hand.
  4. Bind side seam edges with either purchased 1/2″ quilt binding or homemade seam binding to keep sequins from unraveling.
  5. Sew the sequin waistband to the waistband lining at the top edge. Stitch ends together so that they make a circle. Cut 2″ elastic to a comfortable size for your waist (waist measurement – 4″ should be about right). Pin ends of elastic together, then insert elastic into waistband. Baste along bottom edge.
  6. Pin waistband to skirt adjusting gathers as needed while lining up the seam of the waistband at the center back or side seam of the skirt. Baste together. Put skirt on and check for fit. Make any needed adjustments and stitch.
  7. Bind the waistband seam with more binding.
  8. Lastly, mark the hem, mine was 1 1/2″. Sew seam binding or lace hem tape to hem. Turn hem up, stitch in place with a catch stitch. Press.

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

T-Shirt Directions:

The t-shirt is really easy to make using the rose gold HTV Cricut vinyl. You can find the t-shirt SVG file here. I used an XL shirt from the Walmart clearance rack for this project. Follow this simple tutorial for Cricut t-shirts.

 

More Inspiration

If you love simple projects like this one, then I promise you will like these posts as well:

Sew a Clutch with Cricut

Easy Cut & Sew Sweater

Make Your Jeans Fit : Easy Denim Hack

Cricut Yoga Shirt Collection

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

 

Remember to Pin this post for later!

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


This beautiful Neapolitan Quilt is made with Riley Blake fabrics and the Cricut Maker! Quilting is so much more fun when all you have to do is sew it together!

Neapolitan Quilt with Cricut Maker

 

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

 

My latest quilt was a fun project! All the pieces are cut on the Cricut Maker, which makes things go along so much faster than they do with traditional quilting! It’s been awhile since I made a quilt, you may remember that the last one I made was also a Cricut Maker project.

There is nothing more satisfying than settling down with a cozy quilt on your bed during these long snowstorms we have in Wisconsin. Every bed in our house has a quilt on it. These fabrics from Riley Blake are so festive and fun, I couldn’t wait to use them!

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

This post is sponsored by Cricut, any opinions given are completely my own. For a complete list of disclosure rules, see the disclosures page.

 

The pink, red, white and black color combination is a lot like Neapolitan ice cream, don’t you think? This Neapolitan quilt design is available on the Cricut website. I adore all the fun Valentine-themed prints from Riley Blake Designs. Riley Blake always makes it so easy to put a quilt together because the fabric comes in a pre-made set, taking out all the guess work of quilt designs. This particular quilt is great for intermediate to advanced sewers since matching all these little pieces takes a bit of skill.

This quilt design is different than most because it is mostly prints. The only solids are in the sashing and the back of the quilt. The overall look is busy, fun and so colorful!

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Both using a pre-designed quilt from Cricut with coordinating prints as well as cutting the pieces on my Cricut Maker made this quilting project so much fun! Cricut also has a great set of quilting and sewing tools which include everything you need to get the job done, I’m so thankful I had these on hand.

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Supplies Needed:

  • Cricut Maker with Rotary cutting blade and fabric cutting mat
  • 2/3 yard cuts of 3 light colored Cricut cotton quilt prints
  • 2/3 yard cuts of 3 dark colored Cricut cotton quilt prints
  • 1/3 yard cut of ivory Cricut cotton for sashing
  • 2 2/3 yard cut of cotton Cricut quilt fabric for backing (mine was black)
  • 1/2 yard of pink Cricut cotton for quilt binding
  • Coordinating quilt thread
  • Embroidery thread in pink, red, black, white
  • Polyester Quilt batting

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Cricut Neapolitian Quilt Cutting Directions:

  1. Download the Neapolitian Quilt pattern from the Cricut website here. Print the pdf sewing directions to keep by your sewing machine. Read all the directions before you continue.
  2. Press your fabric pieces, plan out which pieces will be octagons and which will be squares and sashing.
  3. Using a Cricut fabric cutting mat and Cricut rotary cutting blade, cut each piece as directed by your Cricut Maker. Count all pieces to be sure you have all of them, you will need 15 octagons and 60 squares for the 4-square blocks. (I find it very helpful to keep similar size pieces in piles.)

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Sewing with Cricut Directions:

1. Lay the square pieces out with the sashing in between them as pictured above. Be sure that you are using the sashing pieces that are 5.75″ long. There are also longer 12″ and 7″ sashing pieces but we will use those later. Do not get them mixed up! Stitch the blocks together with the shorter sashing in the middle using a 1/4″ seam allowance and a stitch length of 2.5mm.

2. Press the seam allowances toward the blocks. Sew the 12″ sashing to the bottom of each 1/2 block. Press. Assemble the block with the other pieces in the same method.

3. Add the sashing to the octagon pieces. Use the shorter pieces and stitch them to the top, sides and bottom first. Press seam allowances to the darkest color as shown in the photo below.

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

4. Sew the sashing on to the sides of the octagon using the 7″ sashing strips. Overlay the strips on the right side as you sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

5. Press from right side.

6. Lay out corner pieces. Be sure the prints are going the right direction, then stitch in place. Press again, then trim all blocks to 11″ square.

I have made several videos with tips on sewing these blocks step by step. You can see them here on my YouTube Channel.

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Cricut Sewing and Finishing Details:

1. Lay out the blocks in order according to the sewing directions. Vary the octagon and 4 square blocks and light vs. dark colors in each row. Sew the blocks together row by row, then in vertical rows until the entire quilt top is put together.

2. Make a “sandwich” of the quilt backing, polyester quilt batting, and quilt top. Pin in place.

3. Chanel quilt down each row and across each seam with black quilt thread as shown.

4. Finally, cut the pink sashing pieces 2 1/2″ wide the width of the fabric with a rotary cutter and ruler. Sew two pieces together at the narrow end for each side of the quilt. Press seams. Stitch to the right side of quilt around the entire boarder through all thicknesses leaving 2″ extra fabric at each corner for mitering. Miter corners, then turn to the back of the quilt and fold under 1/2″ seam allowance. Hand-sew in place with a slip stitch using heavy quilt thread.

 

Embroidery Details:

After I quilted the quilt, I decided to add some fun embroidery to the center of each octagon. I used pink, red, black and white embroidery thread to make cute Valentine phrases on each hexagon block. Words like hugs, love ya, cutie, amore, be mine, I’m yours and sweetheart decorate the center of the blocks and make the quilt even more fun! The embroidery is completely optional. I machine-embroidered them through all layers with a small 100 x 100mm size embroidery hoop. Each block is a different font and color that coordinates with the fun colored prints in the quilt. You could also hand embroider these phrases if you don’t have a machine that does embroidery.

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Neapolitan Quilting with Riley Blake and Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

This project was a fun change from my regular garment sewing. Remember to check out my step-by-step video tutorial for the entire project over on my YouTube Channel.

I hope you will try it out! If you do decided to give this project (or any Cricut project) a try, follow this link for a discount on your Cricut purchases.

 

Thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this post!

 

More Inspiration

If you love to quilt or work with your Cricut, check out these other posts you will enjoy:

15 Cricut Maker FAQ’s

Spinning Wheels Quilt with Cricut

Sewing a Clutch with Cricut

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Neapolitan Quilt with Riley Blake & Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson from Life Sew Savory

Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson from Life Sew Savory

Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson in this week’s episode of the Style Blues Podcast!

Meet Emily Thompson, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Pin and share this post with a friend!

Life Sew Savory

 

I love interviewing people with successful sewing businesses. It’s very inspirational to find out how they got started and what has made them successful. I have known Emily for several years, and it’s been fun to see how her business has grown.

Emily Thompson is the owner and creator of Life Sew Savory.  Since 2010 Life Sew Savory has been bringing you sewing inspiration, recipes and free pdf patterns to make sewing fun. In addition to running her website, Emily also loves hanging out with her three kids and husband, enjoying biking, hiking, swimming and traveling. She loves to exercise, read and have coffee with friends when she has time. Emily had been featured on the PBS Television show It’s So Easy, and has her own weekly sewing Facebook Live show @Lifesewsavory every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Emily creates a lot of her own knitwear patterns for women and children, and is a brand ambassador for Brother Sewing Machines.

Show Notes and Questions;

  1. What made you want to learn to sew?
  2. Who taught you to sew?
  3. How did you learn to make your own patterns? Do you draft? Drape? Design in Adobe Illustrator?
  4. Which patterns have been your most successful?
  5. What patterns would you recommend for beginner sewers?
  6. Where do you get your fabric from? Sincerely Riley.com where you can purchase boxes of knit fabrics such as sweater knits for $3-4.00 per yard.
  7. What’s in the future for your sewing business?
  8. Is there a technique or sewing skill you have yet to master? See the Clear elastic serger hack on You Tube
  9. Where can people find you on social media? You can find Emily on Facebook and Instagram

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

If you like this post try some of these other posts:

7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

How to Have a Sewing Portfolio: Interview with Candice Ayala

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year

It’s time to look back at the first year here on the blog. It’s been a great journey! Here are my top Nine projects of the year according to Google Analytics!

Anyone Can make a cut and sew sweater|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Me in my new fuzzy sweater, I can’t wait to make more of them!

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year

Last year I had a dream, a dream to start a sewing blog. I had a vision for this business ten years ago when I started my home decor blog but at the time sewing just didn’t seem like the right fit. I was busy home schooling Mom of 4 boys and just didn’t have time to sew much of anything, I had little space or equipment for a sewing studio. Home decor and lifestyle topics were easier for me to write about because it was all things I was doing anyway in my day to day life. Since then our sons have grown up and left home. Now I can focus on sewing, not just for me but for the home too. Thanks for all your support this last year on the blog! It’s been amazing, the sewing community is very supportive and a joy to be a part of. The sewing niche is a much small group than the home decor niche, and I have already made a number of friends and contacts that are very special. Sewing is a world wide top, much more than the home decor niche which seems to revolve mainly around American style homes and interiors. My home decor blog is still active, and I have recently rebranded. You can check it out at Cozy Traditional Home.com.

I have lots of new things planned for the new year ahead here on Chambray Blues which I am not quite ready to announce, but here are my top projects to date. I am always amazed at which projects rise to the top, I can never accurately predict what will be the most successful.

Make Nine List

Restyled Mens shirt back|Chambraybluesblog|www.chambrayblues.com
This shirt is made from 3 different menswear shirts.

Men’s Thrifted Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps 

Upcycled Sewing Hacks

Upcycling is a big topic in sewing. There are several upcycyling projects that have made the list, I am so glad you all enjoy them! Being a good steward of what we have is very important to me, and I will continue to come up with new ways to use old clothes and fabrics!

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year|ChambrayBluesBlog|chambrayblues.com
Design your necklace on a form or on yourself while looking in the mirror.

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace

Upcycled Denim Hat|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Love this adorable denim hat made from old jeans!

How to make an upcycled hat from old jeans

Make Nine, Top Makes of the Year|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

Add style to your t-shirt with this easy pattern hack!3 Step Easy T-shirt Pattern Hack

Pattern Hacking Tips

Pattern Hacking is one of my specialties. When I worked as a designer in the apparel industry making the first pattern was my job. I love showing you my pattern hacking tips! I am making new videos for my You Tube Channel regularly with pattern making techniques. Be sure to subscribe for updates!

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat|Chambraybluesblog|www.chambrayblue.com
Yellow Raincoats never go out of style!

Sewing Pattern Reviews

Sewing patterns have changed a lot since I learned to sew 40 years ago. Not all have changed for the better! I am reviewing patterns from some of the Indie designers as well as the Big 4 Pattern companies here on the blog, much more to come!

Sew a Sunny Raincoat

Ruffled denim purse with Cricut|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
This tiny purse is perfect for kids or a casual night out.

Cricut Maker Projects

My relationship with Cricut sponsor has been a huge part of blog. They are a great company to work with and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with them. Sewing with my Cricut Maker is so much fun! I will continue to have more great projects here on the blog using my Cricut!

Sew a Recycled Denim Ruffled Purse with Cricut and Simplicity

Riley Blake Quilt Kit for the Cricut Maker|chambray blues blog|chambrayblues.com
The Finished Spinning Wheels Quilt

Riley Blake Throw Quilt Made with the Cricut maker

Undies to Tees Boxer Briefs|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Look how colorful these boxers are!

Tees Refashioned to Undies, Refashion Your Shirts to Underware

Sew a Clutch with Strap|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
You can make this cute bag with your Cricut Maker.

Sew a Clutch Bag with Zipper

 

That’s the Make Nine list! You can see more sewists top Make Nine on Instagram using the hashtag #Makenine. Thank you for your support, looking forward to even better things! If there is a particular project or technique you would like to see me sew here on the blog, please send an email with your suggestion to Jessica@chambrayblues.com. I would love to hear your suggestions, they are very important to me!

 

In case you haven’t been around, here are some of the other posts that are not to be missed:

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur

Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Sew Your Own DIY Christmas Decor with Cricut

Make a Chill’n Cricut T-Shirt Collection with #YogaLife

7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

In this Episode of the Style Blues Podcast, we are talking about Sewing Pattern Hoarding. Here’s why the Big 4 don’t want you to stop your hoarding habit!

Why they want you to keep hoarding patterns|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
How big is your sewing pattern stash?

Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Hoarding

We all love a good sewing pattern sale, I love them as much as anyone else. Here’s why pattern companies don’t want you to stop hoarding their sewing patterns.

 

Welcome back to the podcast! I have been sick for over a week, and I apologize in advance for my gravelly voice. But I am really passionate about today’s topic and I can’t wait to share my observations with you.

The question I want you to answer is “How many of the big 4 pattern company sewing patterns do you own?” Do you have a binder full? A Box full? A Room full? Maybe you don’t even know how many you have. Perhaps you have taken place in the pattern destashing I have been organizing my sewing room this month, and I recently went through all of my patterns. I have about 50 of them, almost all of them were purchased in the last year. I have used many of them, but there are just as many that are unused and I will probably never use.

 

Lately, I have noticed a trend in the sewing groups on Facebook, for pattern sale announcements. One person posts that the fabric store is having a .99 cent sale, and everyone else runs out and purchases a cart load of patterns. The next week it’s the craft store that’s having the sale so everyone does the same thing again. Then we all post pictures of our “pattern haul” online.

 

I came across a posting in Facebook marketplace recently from a lady who was selling a collection of 425 patterns spanning decades of about 30 years. It was a good deal for $75.00 and for a brief moment I actually considered purchasing it. Who in the world has room to store 425 patterns? How could you possibly keep them organized? Wouldn’t they get full of bugs and mildew??

 

Personally, I have purchased too many sewing patterns already and I don’t have that many. The madness has to stop.

 

But I will not do that anymore. This is real life. I have been thinking through why in the world the pattern companies would mark down their product so drastically that we all run out and buy boat loads of patterns we may never use. In this day and age when fewer women sew than ever before, why would they do such a thing? It seems as if we are slaves to the pattern companies in a massive unhealthy manner. Why?

 

Pattern companies don’t want you to stop your hoarding habit

1. They are creating a buying FRENZY by the excitement of the seasonal pattern launch: New patterns are released several times each year. By creating these super sales, manufacturers have us running into the store to buy their new designs. It is a buying FRENZY and they love it!

 

2. They are still making money, even if the patterns only cost $.99. Patterns are after all, just paper. By mass printing more and more the cost of each becomes less and less. By selling them as cheap as possible, they are selling more than ever. Obviously, the pattern company is still making a small profit with this technique or they wouldn’t be doing it.

3. McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue Need the Business: The Big 4 pattern companies as they are called, are actually two companies now. They have consolidated because the apparel sewing business isn’t a good as it used to be. I think mainly this is due to the entire sewing industry is shifting as we begin to purchase more and more pdf patterns from independent designers. For the first time they are up  against real competition that they haven’t ever had before. Bloggers with YouTube channels, Indie pattern designers have left the pattern companies scrambling to change with the times.

 

What They Don’t Want You to Know

4.They don’t want you to know that you are buying the same patterns over and over. Having worked in the apparel industry, I can tell you this secret. The patterns that you keep buying are actually the SAME PATTERN. How does this work? When I worked as an assistant designer for a lingerie company in Chicago, it was my job to make the first patterns. The designer would make a sketch of a garment, and it was my job to make the pattern for it so it could be cut out of fabric and sewn into the first sample garment for fitting. In design school they teach you to begin with a pattern sloper, that is a basic style which you then alter and create any additional styles. This is rather time consuming. But large companies don’t have to do that. They already have many years worth of patterns sitting in the back stockroom. So, all I had to do was find the style that was the closest to the one that the designer wanted and change it. I would go find pattern XYZ and copy it. Then I would change the neck or sleeve and we would have our new style, ABC. That’s how it works, you are essentially buying the same pattern with a different sleeve, neck or hem over and over again. The pattern companies don’t want you to know that it would be bad for business.

5. Pattern companies want you to rely on them. They want you to think that you need more patterns. This is not true. If you have a small amount of basic styles to work with, you can sew just about anything. Look for a basic pattern sloper that you can make to your size. Then, you can change it into whatever style you are looking for. Way back when, women knew how to do this. Women were not pattern hoarders, even though the made all of their own clothes. They learned dress making techniques from their mothers and grandmothers. They didn’t need a lot of sewing patterns because they knew how to make their own.

I am not saying that if you have never sewn before in your life you won’t need a sewing pattern. This is not true. I am saying that if you already own 425 patterns in your stash you should take the time to learn how to alter the pattern to your needs and free yourself from the Pattern Hoarding mentality.

Some great fitting patterns to use are:

M7279 a basic dress pattern with darts

M7352 a basic princess seam dress

M6361 a basic pant and skirt

M2718 a basic dress to be used with gingham or plaids

M5894 Jeans

These are McCalls patterns that I own, each pattern company should have a similar basic fitting pattern. Choose the company that is closest to your body measurements and stick with it. I have some upcoming workshops to help you in this process, if you are interested just send me an email at Jessica@chambrayblues.com with the words “Fitting workshop” in the subject line and I will keep you posted on the upcoming event.

6. Runway looks yield big business with designer patterns. I love watching Vogue patterns on Instagram, they take runway looks created by professional designers and make similar knock off pattern styles that we run out and buy. Last year it was Meegan Markle and the Royal Wedding, we were all chasing after styles worn by the royals to the epic events. The thing is, you can make your own patterns, using what you already own without buying all the new patterns all the time. Depending on where you are with your sewing skill level, you can create these looks easier than you think.  Take the time to learn some basic fitting and pattern making techniques. Read some books, watch some YouTube videos, experiment and practice. I will help you with this journey. It’s not to say that you can’t go out and buy your favorite design inspired pattern once in a while because I do this too. I am just saying that you don’t need to buy every single new pattern that comes out each season. I happen to be partial to the Vogue patterns designed by Badgley Mischka. I have a number of these patterns, there is something different about the way they look and the way they are constructed. He designs things in a way I never would have thought to things. Every time there is a new pattern release of his, I am very tempted to run out and buy it. But, I know that since I don’t hoard patterns at any other time, a little indulgence now and then is okay.

7. Pattern companies want you to think that you need to buy more patterns to become a better sewer. This is a huge misconception. They start you out with easy and basic patterns, they the add the average construction and finally the advance or expert category. The expectation is that you will buy from each category as you become a more experienced sewist.

The Hoarding Solution

Not many of us follow all the rules all of the time. Once we have a taste for basic sewing and what we can accomplish, there should be no stopping us. Expertise comes from practice and patience, not from having dozens of patterns in your stash. You can do more than you think with less mental clutter. You can accomplish more sewing than you imagine but if you never try you will never really know. How many of us have bought a pattern we just love, only to open it up and read the complicated construction directions and then become completely deflated in defeat before we even begin sewing? I have done this myself. I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed mistakes and unnecessary steps in commercial sewing patterns.

When I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, on my first day of sewing class we were going to make a basic blouse. The pattern was button front with long sleeves, with a two piece collar and button cuffs. I had considerable sewing experience before I was a student, I had never sewn a complex tailored shirt before and I was a bit intimidated by the class on my first day. The first thing our professor asked us to do was to take out the pattern directions, write our name on them and hand them in.

After he collected the papers he announced:

“Now we can finally learn to sew.”

I was devastated. It felt like my security blanket was just ripped away from me. How was I supposed to learn to sew without the directions???? You know what? He was absolutely right. I learned to sew and have never forgotten. I am not confused or swayed by any pattern directions or techniques because I know how to put things together without them. It is LIBERATING. In apparel manufacturing, they don’t have sewing directions in the sweatshops. They pump out hundreds or thousands of garments a day. You can make professional looking garments without any help from the commercial pattern companies.

We would love to know your feedback on this episode! It may ruffle some feathers in the sewing community. Let me know how you are doing with your pattern hoarding or If you are interested in joining my fitting workshop, send me an email to Jessica@chambrayblues.com with FITTING WORKSHOP in the subject line and I will make you get notifications for future events.

As always please leave me a review on Itunes, it helps me get more guest to interview as well as sponsors so I can continue to help you fix your Style Blues!

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

If you like this post try some of these other posts:

Style Blues Podcast

Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

Basic Sewing Terminology, What You Need to Know to Start

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The Tale of the Seamstress

How to Have a Sewing Portfolio: Interview with Candice Ayala