Category: pattern review

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

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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

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Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

The sew along is over, and I have so much to share on this project! This pattern is just stunning and you need to make one for your wardrobe ASAP!

Red Dinner Date Dress Sew Along|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The neckline of this dress is stunning!

 

Red Dinner Date Dress

The red dinner date dress is finally done! I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. This is princess seam dress is Vogue #V1542. If you follow my Facebook page, you will know that we had a sew along during the month of December for this dress. The designer Vogue pattern has good sewing directions and is overall easy to sew. Don’t let the fancy neckline intimidate you, it’s actually quite simple. I think it’s the neckline that draws everyone to this particular style! It is so delicate and feminine looking, with the handmade details it almost looks like a couture dress. This style would be great for date night, Valentine’s Day, weddings, evening dinner parties or other evening events. Add a shawl and a pretty clutch bag to make a complete look!

Red Dinner Date Dress|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The floral motif and draped cording is easy to make.

 

Red Dinner Dress Supplies Needed

• 4 yards 45″ wide red sueded polyester fabric (affiliate link)

• 3 static free polyester lining fabric, 45″ wide (affiliate link)

• 20″ invisible zipper

•Matching thread

•Sewing machine, pins, scissors

 

My choice for fabric for this project was a sueded polyester. If I made this dress again I think I would choose a crepe or a velvet instead. The polyester unraveled a lot and showed water spots from pressing. Polyester is not very forgiving, and was hard to shape and mold into the close fit that I wanted for this dress. The dress on the pattern envelope was made from Linen which would also be a good choice for this pattern.

 

Red dinner date dress reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
My sloping shoulders make me feel like the straps won’t stay up on this dress.

Other than the fabric issue, I should have made a few more alterations before I started. I added 5″ to the body length of the dress as it was rather short for my tall 5’8″ frame. I prefer a longer, knee length dress.

Red Dinner dress|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Getting the Dress to Fit Proper

This photo is so embarrassing! I spent a lot of time fitting the front of my dress, however I neglected to fit the back. How could I not even think of that?? See all those wrinkles at the waist? Those shouldn’t be there! I need to make a sway back adjustment next time with this dress. Also, the armholes are a bit snug for me and I would make it about 1/2″ lower next time around. I have since purchased a full length mirror for my sewing room so I will not make the same mistake again!

The skirt is a bias ruffle, which has a lovely drape and adds to the flattery of the dress. However, it’s not an easy pattern piece to alter. For this reason, be sure to make any needed alterations to the body of the dress and not the ruffle part. I have decided that I will wear a shall with this dress to cover my mistakes in the back of it, if I decide to wear it at all. It’s not my best work and I just don’t feel that comfortable in it. Did I mention I also cut a small hole in the fabric when doing my zipper installation???? Yikes!

Vogue Fit Options

Vogue patterns have a fitting guide on them to help you decide which styles will look the best on your body type. According to the Vogue website, this dress is suitable for the following body types:

Inverted TriangeTHE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips.

TriangleTHE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs.

RectangleTHE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.

HourglassTHE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist.

Part of the reason I chose to make this dress was because I was confident that it would look on my apple or rectangular shaped figure. I am not so sure I agree with Vogue that this is a flattering cut for me. It may have been more flattering if I didn’t have large sloping shoulders. I feel like the dress is snug under the arms, and sliding down at the shoulders. I may need to add some elastic underneath the shoulders pieces to make it more secure. This suggestion came from someone on our Chambray Blues Facebook page. It’s a very good idea and I must say I would have never thought of it myself. I love the power of community, we are stronger together than we are on our own! Be sure to stop by and like our page, share a project or ask for advice!

Red Dinner Date Dress Reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Don’t forget to Pin this post!

The next dress we are sewing is a cut and sew sweater dress. Read this post to learn about cut and sew sweater knits, then find a pretty knit dress pattern and fabric to join along! I will post more updates on Facebook, you won’t want to miss it!

Don’t forget to pin this post!

Try some of these other posts for more inspiration!

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

Sewing for the Renassiance Faire

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Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater

Anyone can make a cut and sew sweater, you will be amazed at how easy it is! Look for sweater fabric and make one today!

 

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 a Cut and Sew Sweater

The holidays are over and I am back at work in my sewing studio. I am excited to share this project with you, it is super easy and one of my favorite makes! This Cut and Sew Sweater is made from sweater fabric that you can purchase at the fabric store. It’s heavier than regular knit fabric and there are many styles and colors to choose from. Sweaters that are made in garment production can be made in one of two ways. With a cut and sew yardage fabric or knitted into sweater shape by machines. We all know how much work knitting by hand is, and very few people own knitting machines. By purchasing sweater fabric by the yard you can make a sweater in a very short period of time.

Cut and Sew sweaters were first introduced to me when I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC many years ago. At that time, it was nearly impossible to find sweater fabric in the fabric stores and I recall roaming the garment district of NYC looking for the perfect knit to make a sweater. I don’t think I ever found what I was looking for! So much has changed since then! I purchased my cut and sew sweater fabric at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, but you can find it on Amazon (affiliate link) and other places.

The Sweater Fabric

Sweater fabric is usually 60″ wide, and comes in different fiber contents such as acrylic, rayon, cotton and wool. Much of it is only dry cleanable, so be sure to read the care label before you purchase. My navy blue “eyelash” fabric has bits of yellow, blue, red and white and is hand washable. I plan to wash it on the gentle cycle and dry it flat. Sweater knits stretch out easily when hung and don’t recover their stretch well, treat it a bit carefully when washing and drying. I was so excited to make this sweater I forgot to pre-wash my fabric (that never happens!), hopefully it will not shrink much in the wash!

The great thing about these sweater knits is that there are so many unique designs available. Cable knits, ribbed knits, argyle, boucle, and chenille all will give you lots of different design options. I recommend using a simple pattern like this Simplicity Pattern #S8738 for your first attempt. It has an oversized vintage look that I completely adore, and it’s easy to follow the directions.

The Sweater Details

There are only 3 seams in this sweater: the shoulders, the side seams, and neck. I serged the seams and added a piece of 1″ wide fusible interfacing in the shoulder seam as a stay to keep the shoulder from stretching. Threads magazine recently had an article about this technique and it worked perfectly! The only pattern fit adjustments needed was in the turtle neck length. I have a short neck, so I reduced the turtle by half to make a mock neck style. It fits my short neck perfectly and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Sorry for the blurry photos, my camera is on the fritz lately!

I added a little bit of length to the sleeves as well, but I shouldn’t have. The sleeves are plenty long and I end up rolling them up most of the time. It is so refreshing to have sleeves that fit my long arms, almost everything I own is short in this area! I can’t wait to make some more sweaters, this one went together in less than an hour from start to finish!

The sleeve and bottom hem are finished with a simple zig zag stitch. You could use this stitch to sew the entire sweater if you don’t have a serger. The sweater fabric really hides a lot of things and makes this a great beginner project. I use an old Elna serger that I have had for more than 25 years. It works great with just about any fabric and I love how easily it sewed this heavy knit.

Anyone Can Make a Cut and Sew Sweater|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Pin this Post!

For more inspiration try these posts!

Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

 

 

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Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Sew a 3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Sew a Buffalo Check Cardigan in just 3 easy steps! It’s warm and cozy, great for those chilly winter days!

Easy Buffalo Cardigan

We recently went on a road trip to the mountains of North Carolina. It was colder than I expected, and I didn’t bring a coat. My buffalo check cardigan was plenty warm despite the freezing temps and I have been wearing it ever since! It was an easy item to sew with McCalls Pattern #7262. This pattern is great for sweater knits, wool or fleece. I used inexpensive buffalo fleece from JoAnn Fabrics for this project and a few simple pattern matching tricks.

Buffalo Check Cardigan in 3 Easy Steps
Simple details make this item easy to sew! Photo from McCalls website.

 

There are many things I love about this cardigan. The flowing design is comfortable and easy to wear over a t-shirt or turtleneck top. The long length covers any multitude of figure flaws and is very flattering. I decided to simplify this project into 3 easy steps to sew for a very beginner to make!

Hubby and I visited the Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina.

Buffalo Cardigan Supplies Needed:

•3 yards buffalo check fleece fabric

•McCalls Pattern #7262

•Marking pen and ruler for marking patterns

•Straight pins

•Serger or regular sewing machine with a narrow Zig-zag stitch

 

Buffalo Check Pattern Matching and Cutting Directions:

  1. Cut out front, back and sleeve pattern pieces and make any needed length adjustments. The pattern pieces are large because the collar is in one with the body of the sweater so they may look a bit odd!
  2. Lay out your fabric on the cutting table, pinning selvedges together to match the print every few inches. Be sure that the black squares match and the red squares match EXACTLY on both layers.
  3. Lay your front pattern piece on top of the fabric. Line up the underarm area of the front pattern piece with the top of a black or red square. Pin in place, checking to see that the fabric design also matches on the bottom layer of fabric. Mark your position of the print (red square top or black square top) on the pattern piece front and back with a ruler and pen. Pin entire front pattern in place.
  4. Repeat for the back pattern piece, matching the print at the underarm seam as before. If you pinned your front underarm at the top of a red square, pin the back piece on the same position in the print at the same underarm point. Pin entire back pattern in place once you are sure the pattern will line up. Do not worry about matching other points in the print. If the prints match under the arms, they will match everywhere else (shoulders and side seams) automatically.
  5. Lay out sleeve pattern, matching the same point in the print that you used before at the front and back underarm seams. Hint: It helps to visually line up the pattern piece to see how the print will match. Mark with a marking pen on the tissue paper pattern so there is no mistake where the prints will line up before laying out the pattern.
  6. Cut all pieces out after re-checking how the fabric will match a second time.

Easy 3 step buffalo cardigan|Chambray Blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan Sewing Directions:

  1. Sewing the center back collar seams together.
  2. Sew the front and back shoulder seams together.
  3. Stitch the side seams.

That’s it! Crazy simple right? So, why are patterns always so complicated? Much of it has to do with the type of fabric that is used for sewing. When using fleece fabric you do not need to finish the seam edges. This fabric saves a lot of steps! You can finish the seams if you wish, however, fleece will never unravel and is very stable even after multiple washings. By eliminating the buttons and buttonholes, there is no need for interfacing or facings. I did not hem my cardigan because it was already the perfect length and will not unravel. This cardigan would also make a great gift to sew for someone.

You can see in the photo that the print matches well at the side seam. By taking the time to match the print when cutting there is no need to fuss when sewing the seams together. It’s a great way to learn how to match prints, without a lot of stress! Fleece is easy to sew because it has some give to it. If you make a mistake and the print isn’t matching the way you want it to, you can pull the fabric a bit as you stitch to fix it. Easy peasy!

Let me know how your project turns out! Tag me on Instagram post in our Facebook Group!

 

More easy tutorials can be found below:

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

Tees to Undies, Refashion Your Shirts to Underwear

Men’s Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

 

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Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Renaissance costumes are fun to make, I made these costumes recently with my Cricut Maker. Choose fabrics such as cotton, linen or wool for a great result.

Sewing Renaissance Costumes|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Men’s Renaissance Costume

Our son Ted was thrilled with the costume I made for him. Overall, it only took a couple days to put this entire look together. This is an historic costume by Simplicity Pattern #S4059. I really enjoyed making this men’s pattern. It is simple to follow and fits really well. I didn’t need to make any size adjustments which is so encouraging! The white shirt was an easy sew using an old queen size sheet for fabric. The Renaissance time period calls for simple fabrics and colors, such as cotton, wool or linen. All of these are great choices and easy to find in stores. This outfit is cotton and linen. The sheet worked well for the white undershirt as the pattern is just HUGE. I used an entire queen size sheet to cut it from. Those big billowy sleeves require A LOT of fabric, but I love how it looks and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I did use interfacing in the collar and elastic in the cuffs, but you could easily do without them as they didn’t have that sort of thing back in the 13th century. As a costume, no one really expects things to be that accurate and I am all for modern inventions that still look fitting for the time period.

The jerkin or vest features wide shoulders and a peplum hem. These were easy to make and attach with a few simple seams. The green cotton broad cloth vest is lined, I used a scrap of mystery lining fabric from the thrift store for this purpose. It works great in this style.

I didn’t need to make the trousers that were included with the pattern, we were fortunate enough to find a pair of black linen draw string pants at the thrift store in Ted’s size. We cut them off just under the knee and left the raw hem to add to the overall effect of the costume.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The leather details are my own design and were cut on the Cricut Maker. Read the complete leather post here. The leather pieces were attached to the jerkin with rivets and grommets. The leather placket gives authenticity and stability to the laced up front, and the grommets were easy to install through all layers with a hammer and a wooden cutting board surface to pound on.

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Grommets need to be pounded in place with a hammer.

I won’t kid you, it took a bit of muscle to pound them all in place. But, sometimes it’s very gratifying to hammer away at something that has such a cool manly look. The vest is not washable, but could be sponged clean or dry cleaned with the leather trim. I am not concerned with longevity, I think it will hold up just fine. The front lacing is a faux suede cord I purchased at the craft store.

 

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

Women’s Renaissance Costume

This costume was much more time consuming to make. This pattern is Simplicity pattern #3809. I have made this costume before, several years ago so I was already familiar with it’s construction. Overall this is not hard to construct, but the bodice is time consuming. This time I used different fabrics that required more special care. The corset and over skirt are cut from wool crepe that I found at the thrift store. Wool cannot be ironed directly, you must use a press cloth when pressing all seams. Without a press cloth, the material will have an un-natural permanent shine left from the heat of the iron on the surface. In addition, the seam allowance can leave marks on the right side if it is over pressed. Ideally you should use a pressing ham for pressing the seams to avoid this problem. I used a rolled up towel instead, I haven’t invested in a ham to date but hope to get one soon.

Women’s Fitting Adjustments

As usual, I had to make a large number of fitting changes for the bodice and skirt pattern. The corset was lengthened for my long torso and widened to fit through the waist. The skirt was widened and lengthened as well. I am not very happy with the over all fit of either piece, there are too many puckers for my liking, especially on the corset. Most of the problem is due to the interlining and fabric that I used to line the bodice.

Sewing renassiance costumes|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
1/2″ wide plastic boning is stitched to the lining fabric.

The Simplicity pattern calls for the bodice fabric, interlining, and lining. It has three layers. When I made this style in the past, I used a tapestry for the corset, with muslin interlining and muslin lining. That garment fits me well and is very comfortable to wear. This time, I tried a stiffer interlining thinking it would work better for a more structured garment. I used drapery bastiste as the interlining, which is a thin cotton but very stiff and rigid. It was recommended for making corsets on another blog, and I don’t care for it at all. The purple wool crepe is wonderfully form fitting and shapes easily, but paired with the stiff interlining, it doesn’t shape at all the way it should. The combination of the two incompatible fabrics creates all sorts of puckering that wasn’t there before when I sewed this pattern from different materials.

Also, the lining is too thin and doesn’t offer any additional support. It would work better to have the boning attached to a thicker fabric (you can see it warping in the wrong direction above) such as muslin which is what I used in my first attempt at this garment. The thin lining, stiff boning and even stiffer interlining just don’t seem to work together the way they should, but rather cause rippling and puckering when they pull against each other. The casings for the boning were made from pieces of bias tape stitched on either side, then the 1/2″ wide plastic boning was inserted. Boning supplies can be ordered online from Vogue Fabrics Store.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I would not use a drapery product again for this style, I can actually feel it against my skin through the lining. It’s very scratchy and uncomfortable. I am not sure if I want to rip it all apart and remove it, but I might do that eventually. The bodice has several rows of plastic boning stitched into the lining, which is just a scrap of grey satin from the thrift store. Ideally, I would like a lot more boning for support as I don’t think this design provides enough for my large figure. The gold leaf embroidery detail was added around the neck and center front using a varrigated embroidery thread, before the grommets and leather details were installed.

I have been studying corset fitting and drafting for some time, and I think it would be best for me to draft my own pattern next time around. I have too many fit issues to contend with and I think I would be happier with the result of a custom pattern. Also, I am going to invest in some french Coutil for my next corset, it is expensive fabric (about $25.00 a yard) but authentic for corset making and is perfect for shaping a good fitting garment.

 

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The chemise was one I originally made from the same Simplicity pattern a few years ago. Made from ivory cotton voile, is is thin and comfortable. It has three rows of elastic in the sleeves to create the full sleeve look. I love it and occasionally wear it out under a vest for special occasions.

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

 

The front of the corset has grommets and leather trim that was a design I cut on my Cricut Maker. You can read more about that tutorial here. The grommets were easy to apply to the wool, and the lacing is faux suede cord from the craft store. I was not prepared for how much the corset would change my figure. After lacing it up, my skirts were huge. A corset can easily change your waist measurement by several inches, I forgot this when I measured my waist for the skirt. I need to make skirt smaller so it will fit my shape after corseting. This is a good problem to have! The green underskirt was a silk skirt that I found at the thrift store for a few dollars. I should have added pockets to the over skirt, it didn’t occur to me at the time but next time around I will add them as well.

 

The only bad thing about the underskirt being silk is that it is very slippery against the purple wool fabric over skirt. I will need to tack the over skirt up in place so it doesn’t slip down over the bottom layer when wearing it to the Fair.

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I have so many fabulous things on my cutting table stop by again soon and see what’s happening!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

 

For more sewing ideas, try these posts:

Sewing for the Renassiance Faire

Renaissance Costumes for Halloween with Cricut

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

 

 

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Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

This blouse is my go to vintage pattern! Easy to sew and fits great, from Gertie’s Butterick collection.

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
This vintage style blouse is an easy sew!

This post is sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics, I was compensated in some way to make this post. For a complete list of disclosure rules see the disclosures page.

Vintage Blouse with Tulip Sleeves

I’ve been sewing vintage style lately, and I can’t say enough about how well this blouse turned out. This easy to make style is Butterick #b6217 from the Gertie pattern collection. It’s made with quilting cotton by Michael Miller Fabrics who sponsored this post. This lovely polkadot print is called Noir from Gertie’s new fabric collection.

The Butterick pattern is great, it has several options for sleeves, no sleeves, plus optional gathered details. It is generously sized and I love the simplicity of this style. I hacked the pattern a bit and added a solid color back to create a more slenderizing silhouette.

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
The tulip sleeves make this style unique.

Sewing Supplies Needed:

•Butterick pattern #b6217

• 2-3 yards of 45″ wide cotton fabric

•3/4 yard of black fabric, mine was a poly blend crepe

• 1/2 yard light fusible interfacing

•8 buttons, 1/2″ size

•Matching thread

 

 

Alterations and Fit Adjustments

This Butterick pattern doesn’t need a lot of fitting adjustments. The blouse has several long bodice darts and one bust dart, which is easy to let out or take in as needed for fit. I added some to width to the bodice, and I really didn’t need it. I should have made a muslin first, but I tend to just jump right into my projects head first. My only fit issue is around the neckline, I could have taken some of the fullness out, it gaps just a bit as you can see in the above photo. I am not sure if this is due to my neck interfacing being too stiff, but it seems like it’s over all a little too big. Recently, I have decided that I also have sloping shoulders, which could also be attributing to my neckline problem. Bodice length was also adjusted 2″ to compensate for my long torso. I will make more adjustments to this pattern the next time I sew this style.

 

Vintage Blouse with Tulip Sleeves|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
I found this knife pleated skirt in a thrift store, it’s a great piece to go with this vintage blouse.

 

The best part of this blouse is the tulip sleeves, such a pretty detail that makes any large arm look more slender and graceful. The sleeves are easy to sew with a narrow rolled hem at the bottom. The dark colored back gives me more of a shape, as the dark color automatically looks smaller than the front.

Thanks to Michael Miller for sponsoring this post!

 

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat

Re-cyled Jean Denim Vest

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

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