Tag: patterns

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

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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


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

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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

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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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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.


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!


Don’t forget to Pin this post!

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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