Tag: beginner sewing

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
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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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How to Make a Quilted Potholder from Scraps

How to Make a Quilted Potholder from Scraps

You can make good use of your fabric scraps when you re-purpose them into something new. Here’s how to make a quilted fabric potholder with your quilting leftovers.

Scrappy Quilted Potholder|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Quilted Potholders are easy to make from your fabric scraps!

 

 

I’ve been trying to re-use and up-cycle more of my fabric scraps for projects. I used to throw them away, but fabric is sooo expensive. Recently, I learned that fabric doesn’t decompose in the landfill and fabric waste is a growing global problem. Rest assured, I no longer want to waste anything that can be sewn into something useful! These adorable potholders are made from my most recent quilt project leftovers. You can learn about how I made the quilt blocks that I used here. It doesn’t matter what fabric scraps you use, pretty much any fabric will do for this project. Here are some recycling ideas:

Recycled Fabric Sources

left over quilting cotton

old t-shirts

men’s dress shirts

worn out jeans

kids shirts

old table cloths

thrifted fabrics or clothes with pretty patterns

flannel sheets or pillowcases

Worn out blankets

quilt batting pieces or leftover fiberfill stuffing from craft projects

There are lots of options for fabrics! I like to use a couple of left over quilt blocks and some quilting cotton scraps for this project. You will need fabric and batting about 9″ square. In addition, if your pieces are smaller, simply stitch them together until you have a 9″ square. This is a great way to learn to sew or quilt!

Woven pieces of fabric can be single needled stitched together until you have a large enough piece. You can even sew small pieces of quilt batting together with a zig-zag stitch (overlapping the pieces) to get a 9″ squares needed for this project.

Sew a Scrappy Potholder|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Leftover cotton quilting scraps

Potholder Supplies Needed:

•Two 9″ fabric squares for front and back of potholder (any fabric or pattern)

•10″ square of quilt batting

•Strip of binding fabric, 2 1/2″ by 44″ (can be pieces of other fabrics sewn together)

•Straight pins, safety pins

•fabric basting adhesive (optional)

•Sewing Machine, free motion quilting foot (optional)

Sew a Scrappy Potholder|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Sew fabric loops at the end for easy hanging.

Potholder Sewing Directions:

1. Layer backing fabric, quilt batting or a thin layer of fiberfill stuffing, and top fabrics together. You can use a spray basting adhesive to hold them in place or use a few safety pins to secure.

2. Using a free motion quilt foot, quilt as desired in a random pattern. You can quilt with straight rows stitches every few inches across the fabrics if you do not have a free motion foot. The quilting holds all of the layers together and makes the pot holder more durable.

3. Trim edges even.

4. Fold binding in half lengthwise, apply to front of potholder matching raw edges, folding the binding at corners to fit. Finally, pin in place with straight pins. Stitch around all sides with a 3.0 single needle stitch, leaving a 3″ tail of binding at the last corner.

5. Trim seams to 1/4″. Turn folded binding edge to back side of potholder, pin fold over first seam. Fold under excess fabric at corner to get a “almost” mitered fit. Top stitch 1/8″ away from inside edge, sewing all the way to the end of the fabric loop piece (encasing raw edges).

6. Finally, to make the hanging loop, fold back extra fabric and secure with 3-4 back and forth stitches.

Need help? Watch this video tutorial!

Scrappy Potholder|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
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Here are some more fun relevant recycled projects:

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

Make an Upcycled Denim Hat from Old Jeans

How to Make a Recycled Denim Ruffled Purse with Cricut and Simplicity

Sew a Pocket Square in 3 Easy Steps

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

 

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Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review

Every little girl wants matching Mom and me outfits. Some of us wait a long time to get them! This easy apron is a great project for a beginner sewer, make one for you and your child in a single day!

Mom and Me Aprons

I love aprons. I have at least 6 of them that I use all the time for cooking, crafting, or cleaning. Some of them have pockets, some don’t. A few of my aprons are for specific holidays or making Sunday dinner. I don’t have many that are prints, and I was smitten with these lovely fabrics from Cross Cut Sewing Company the minute I saw them.

This pattern is very easy, requires only a yard of each fabric and is reverse-able. I love the contrasting bit of fabric at the hem that gives you a hint of what’s on the other side. The pattern, fabric and trims come as a complete kit and are customize-able for children or adults. It’s easy to make a mother child combo, or you can make two adult size aprons as I did. You can choose your fabrics too, and I loved this combination of floral and chambray. Chambray is my favorite thing you know…..

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|ChambrayBluesblog|chambrayblues.com

The Cross Cut Sewing Company pattern directions were easy to follow. I didn’t change any of the construction, but I did add top stitching 1/4″ from the edge of the apron around the perimeter. Also, I applied Fray-Check to seal the raw edges of the twill tape after cutting. The twill tape is used for the neck band and waist ties. You could also melt the edges with a cigarette lighter to seal them, but this method will slightly discolor the edges where the Fray-Check is completely clear.

I also added a stitch in the ditch seam at the hem where the contrasting fabric band begins. To do this, just top stitch over the seam line, it will appear on both sides. This stitching helps keep the layered fabrics together and keeps things from shifting during washing.

 

The great thing about the pattern is the reverse-able nature of it. The apron is fast to cut out by layering the two fabric pieces before you cut with a rotary cutter. Just be sure the edges and folds match so you don’t end up with one piece that’s larger than the other.

The pattern kit came with D-rings for the neck band which were easy to stitch in place on the twill tape.

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

Mom was more concerned about eating her breakfast before it got cold and putting her lipstick on before the photos. But, she likes her new apron. I caught her with it on while she was doing dishes this morning! Finally, we have a Mom and Me outfit. I always wanted one as a kid! You are never too old for this sort of thing, Mom is 87 and still going strong!

Thanks to Cross Cut Sewing Company for sponsoring this post!

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Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Try some of these other great ideas:

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

5 Step Easy Headband

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

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How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Learning how to read a sewing pattern envelope is the first step in sewing a garment. Learn these tips for success!

Learn to read a pattern envelope|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
Learning to read the pattern envelope is important for sewing success.

 

My first experience with sewing involved picking out patterns and proper fabric at our local fabric store when I was 7 years old. The woman who ran the small store was very experienced and she could answer any questions that you might have and steer you on the right path. Today, things are are very different. So many people are learning to sew for the very first time and have no one to ask for help. Even the employees in the fabric store (if you can find one!) don’t always know how to answer your questions.

Learn to read the pattern envelope before you choose your pattern and you will feel much more comfortable with the process. This post will help you know how difficult the pattern is, what fabric and notions to buy, what size pattern you need and give you an idea of what the garment will cost to make.

Reading a Sewing Pattern Envelope

1) Choose your style in the pattern style book. Pull out the desired pattern from the storage drawer in the store and view the back of the envelope. Not sure how to do this? Watch this FB Live video.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2016768785029847&id=1912224668817593&_rdr

How to read a sewing pattern envelope|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
Most sewing patterns have the body measurements listed on the envelope flap.

2) Find the envelope flap. Most patterns have the body measurements listed here for each size. Compare your body measurements to find the size that is closest to your measurements. Ready to wear sizes are not the same as pattern sizes, so don’t buy a pattern based on your ready to wear size. It won’t work!

How to Read a Pattern Envelope|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Back of McCalls 7100 pattern

The Pattern Size Chart

3) Look at the description of the garment on the top of the rectangular chart on the envelope. This description tells you how many pattern pieces are included in this particular style. Easy patterns have fewer pieces, you can sew an entire dress with as little as 4 or 5 pattern pieces. More advanced patterns such as coats have lots of pieces, some coats have as many as 28! Different pattern companies have the sewing level clearly marked in the description as beginner, intermediate, advanced etc. Make note of what notions are required. Do you have the skill to sew them? Items like buttons and zippers require more skill to sew. If you are a beginner sewer, you may want to look for a pattern with draw string or elastic closures instead until you have more experience.

4) Recommended fabrics are included on the envelope for each style. Restrict your fabric purchases to only these fabric choices for that style. This is important for beginning sewers who often get misled when purchasing fabric for the first time. Woven fabrics and knits for example, require very different construction methods so they are not interchangeable. If you want your garment to turn out, you must choose the proper fabric for that style.

How to read a pattern envelope|ChambrayBluesBlog|www.chambrayblues.com
Some pattern envelopes have a knit fabric stretch chart.

5) Knit styles sometimes have stretch measurements on the back of the pattern envelope. Place your fabric on the fold over the black rectangle marking on the top of the envelope. Stretch the fabric across the chart to see if it will work for that style.

5) Choose which style view you want to make from the front of the envelope. You may want to circle view A, B, C on the envelope so it’s easy to remember.

6) Look at the “size” column, calculate how much fabric you will need by reading down the chart. Fabric comes in widths of 45″ (cottons or specialty fabrics generally) or 60″ (knits, wool, lace, rayon, fleece, crepe, satin). You will need to purchase extra fabric if you plan to make alterations. I routinely purchase 1/4-1/2 yard extra fabric for each style to be sure I have enough yardage. When I forget to do this, I usually end up having to run back to the store and sometimes the fabric isn’t there any more, or it won’t be off the same bolt which can be a slightly different color. Be sure to buy enough fabric for your project all at once, you can always make something else from the scraps!

The Yardage Chart

7) Extra fabric will be required for matching one way prints or fabrics that have a nap. Buy at least 1 extra yard per style to match plaids. In the photo above, separate yardages are given for fabrics with nap. Fabrics with nap include corduroy or velvet, use these yardages if you are sewing with those items.

8) Don’t forget to purchase interfacing, and lining if your pattern requires it. These are listed separately, below the other fabric and notion requirements. Also, be sure you have a selection of fresh sharp sewing machine needles at home in case one breaks while you are sewing! (Hint, buy needles that are designed for the type of fabric you choose. Different fabrics such as knits, satin or denim require special sewing machine needles.)

What if I make a mistake buying my Pattern?

What happens if you do your best to read the pattern envelope and make a mistake in your purchase? If you get home and realize you purchased the wrong type of fabric for your pattern, most stores will return it. The fabric must be uncut and unwashed. You must have your receipt, including the cutting slip to get proper credit. Sewing patterns can be returned only if they are unopened. Usually, I keep patterns and fabric if I decide not to use them right away. I prefer to have a stash of things in my closet for reference even if I haven’t sewn them. You will quickly become a collector if you aren’t already!

I like to keep track of what I spend on each garment for my own enjoyment. My custom designs are akin to designer brands, they are good quality and custom made to fit me perfectly. Do not compare your custom sewn clothing to things you would buy at a discount or department store, those garments are poor quality and not custom made.

Every time you make a new project you learn something else. Think of this sewing journey as one that will be on going. The time to start is now!

 

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Check out some of these other tutorials:

Sew Along 2018, the Year of the Blues!

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

 

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