Amy Butler Rainy Days Hooded Raincoat and Runabout Jacket pattern review

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I once heard someone say that she believed sewing was a "summer sport" because she couldn't think of anything she wanted to sew for winter. She had been sewing beach wraps, skirts, and cute summer dresses and couldn't think of anything she wanted to sew for winter.  Well, I believe this coat is the perfect answer for something you could sew in January and February when the weather is cold, the days are short, and we just can't wait for spring.

12 Days of Christmas Deals and Giveaways!

Monday, December 10, 2012

We are so thankful to have such amazing customers and students. It's been a great year with tons of new students and happy sewers (most of the time :-/). To help you all complete your Christmas lists with something hand-made, we're hosting our first 12 days of Christmas sale! The 12 days of Christmas starts TODAY (December 10th) We will be sending out daily reminders of each sale (and possible bonus offers!!), but you can also keep this Calendar close by for easy reference.

This is the biggest sale we've ever had and are so excited to kick it off. Remember you can purchase all of these great deals online and pick them up in the store.

Happy Shopping!

Review: Built by Wendy: Dresses book

Thursday, November 29, 2012

At Five Eighth Seams we pride ourselves on having a vast selection of patterns and pattern books. On our bookshelf, we keep everything from One Yard Wonders to books just for little boys. A lot of these books, like the beloved Sew What You Love that Laura tackled this summer, are project orientated. Meaning, they come with a variety of projects from clothes, to bags, to home decor. Built By Wendy is NOT one of those books.

Win a Pattern Book of your Choice!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Five Eighth Seams recently launched our very own Instagram account! Instagram is a very popular photo sharing app and is a great way to show off all the wonderful sewing projects you're making in addition to what they call #foodporn (photos of delicious looking meals), photos of your pets/kids,

20 Patterns in 10 Weeks

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Many of our customers may remember when Laura took on a sewers dream challenge this summer. She set a goal of completing 20 sewing patterns in the 10 week break she had from teaching high schoolers.

Sew Easy Elastic Skirt

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I love quick projects and this one you can do in an hour no problem, with just a yard (or less) of fabric, and is custom fit to any body size. So, let's get started!

Step 1: Measure and Cut

Measure around the waist to get your waist measurement. To get your length measurement, measure from your belly button down to where you want the skirt to end. Usually, I can make this skirt for kids with just a half a yard or less  for adults you might  need one yard.

Cut the following piece of fabric and elastic:

Width =  Waist measurement X 2
(If you want a more gathered look multiply it by 3 or more if you want a less gathered look multiply it by 1.5)
Length = Length of skirt + 1 inch.
Elastic = waist measurement - 1 inch (so it is not too tight).

For example, I am using Braelyn's measurements. She wears a size 12 month snuggly and measures 20" around the waist. I want her skirt to be 9" long. So...
Width: 20" x 2 = 40"
Length: 9" + 1 = 10"
Elastic: 20" - 1 = 19"

If are using a chevron or an ombre that run the opposite way on the fabric you will need to cut two pieces and sew them together. If you using any other fabric you can just cut one long piece. If you are making a gathered adult skirt you may need 2 pieces.

Step 2: Sew ends together to make one large loop with a .5" seam allowance.
Because I am using the ombre dots I going to have cut 2 pieces and sew them together.

Step 3: Serge or Zig Zag all raw edges, including top and bottom. 

Step 4: Hem the bottom.

Fold it over twice about 1/4". Honestly, you can just do whatever hem length you are comfortable with (pattern allows for up to 1/2") just make sure you sew the hem near the top of the fold in the back so you catch the underneath. For a smooth finish turn your stitch length up a notch, a 3 or 3.5 on brother machines.

Step 5: Baste the top edge all the way around. 
Using the longest stitch on your machine go around the top edge of the fabric using 1/4" seam allowance. Do this again at .5" seam allowance. If you are doing a small skirt you only need to go around once. The larger your skirt the more likely it is that you will break the thread while gathering. Two gathering lines will save you a headache so go ahead and do two. DO NOT BACKSTITCH! Also if you mark the spot where the gathering stitiches start and stop, you can regather if you pull out too much.

Step 6: Change thread color...try to match your elastic as closely as possible.

Step 7: Sew elastic together by first zigzagging  the raw edge and sewing a straight stitch next to it. It is not a good idea to serge the elastic. You can but it is not good for your machine and the thread color might not match.

Step 8: Gather the skirt and pin to the elastic.
Holding the bobbin string, gather the skirt. I like to over gather then slowly pull it out while I match the skirt to the elastic. When pinning to the elastic it is good to match up a skirt seam with the elastic seam. If you've got two seams in your skirt like me, just choose one of them. I like to pin the skirt about 2/3 of the way down from the top edge of the elastic. You are pinning the right side of the skirt to the wrong side of the elastic with the gathers (wrong side of skirt) facing up.

Step 9: Sew the elastic on.

If you are using elastic thread in your bobbin (ideal) see below.
You want to sew about 1/4" away from the bottom of the elastic. Feel the elastic and line it up with the left edge of your foot. Use something (like a magnet (pictured above) or a piece of masking tape) to mark where the top of the elastic lines up. Use this as your seam allowance. You want your seam to look even on the right side. You will use a zig zag to sew on the elastic. This will help the elastic stretch. I like the number 3 zigzag on the Brother machines. If you think you will be stretching the elastic a lot, put two rows of zigzag.

NOTE: If you are using ELASTIC THREAD in your bobbin now is the time to change your bobbin. You will also have to sew on the right side of the skirt. So make sure you flip it out so the gathers are facing down. If you are using elastic thread you can use a straight stitch. Elastic thread is great because you get a clean look on the outside and a lot of stretch on the inside. Brother machines do not handle elastic thread very well. If you need help call or stop the store and we can help.

Step : 10 Cut your threads and take out any basting stitches that you can see.

That's it :) It's so simple, I went ahead and whipped up this one for our family's Thanksgiving festivities using Riley Blake's Brown Chevron and 1.5" orange elastic.

Quilt Sashing, Border, and Backing

Friday, November 09, 2012

We're getting there! It seems like forever ago that I started this project but it's finally all starting to come together. Just take a quick look...

DIY Baby Growth Chart Quilt aka Lines Quilt

Monday, November 05, 2012

Follow on BloglovinNow that I am half way through this pregnancy reality has hit, I need to start planning and creating! We are excited to announce that the new baby is a GIRL, Mackenzie !!!  Of course I want to make as much as possible, but where to start? I need to make curtains, a crib skirt, a quilt, a blanket, and a mobile!  Reading Lindsey quilt updates has really got me interested in making another quilt so I guess I should start there. The other good thing about starting with a quilt is that it will bring all of the colors and fabric together.

Quilting: Hand vs Machine

Saturday, November 03, 2012

So this week is the lesson that our teacher had told us to be wary of since the very beginning. For those of us who were dreading hand applique, she said for sure we would not like this. It's hand quilting. And, she was right. One woman in class even just abandoned the lesson all together and went with her own technique for quilting with a needle in thread.

You'd think you just go up and down with the and out, in and out. Oh, no. Of course not. Quilters have figured out a way to make even this seemingly simple task difficult. Quilters use a rock and roll hand quilting technique that allows them to get more stitches done faster. The problem for beginners is that it's very difficult to get them all spaced perfectly each and every time.

Here's how I did with it...

Hand quilting over a stencil.
See the stitches on the "wings" at the top?? Yea. That took me an hour. No bueno.

Wanna see what it looks like when it's done right??

Hand quilting by Andi Perejda.
Freaking stunning, right?

So, all in all I'd say that learning (and perfecting) and hand quilting technique would be worth it if you have the time and patience. This girl (pointing at myself) does not!

Thankfully, next week we'll be tackling machine quilting which is much more my speed (pun intended).

Stay tuned for next week's blog, too, as I'll have my entire quilt top completely done! Eek! I've got a lot of measuring and cutting to do, but I can't wait to see it all done. Oh, and I also changed my sashing...again. But, this time I'm truly in love!

Hope Chest Floral. $10.90/yard

This is the Hope Chest Floral by Blend Fabrics. It's hard to tell on it's on but you have to trust me that it looks amazing as a back drop for the rest of my blocks. You'll just have to check back next week to see it all together.

Need to catch up on the whole series? Check out previous posts by clicking on the titles below.

Week One: Beginner Quilting
Week Two: Stripping and Half-square Triangles
Week Three: Hand Applique

Week Four: Final Two Blocks

Chloe Dress Violette Field Threads [Part One]

Friday, November 02, 2012

To see part two, the finished dress, click here. 
We started carrying Violette Field Threads patterns this year. I instantly fell in love with them and think they are just adorable. Misty found them by stumbling across the Audrey dress online. I love this dress by downloading a pattern is not my favorite thing. There's just something about holding the full pattern pieces with a book of directions.

But, online worries aside, the Audrey dress is great. It is fast to make and uses minimal fabric. They do have some adorable PDF patterns that I suggest using if you do not mind downloading, printing, and putting together puzzles. :)

After falling in love with the Audrey pattern I ordered the seven paper patterns they offer. They just released another six patterns that we will have in the store soon. I am absolutely obsessed with the Whitney pants and will make them the day they arrive at the store.

Daniela's daughter Fabiana modeling the Emmaline dress!

In the store Misty has made the Emmaline and the Molly jacket and in class Linda made the Vivienne skirt. I love all of them so when the Chloe pattern came in I was very excited to make my daughter's birthday dresses out of it.

When the pattern came in, though, I was a little confused by the fabric requirements. It called for Nylon Chiffon. You know it from your granny's old fashioned slips. It also called for Netting (itchy and yuck) or Poly-blend lining which is not my favorite to sew on.

Can't I just use cotton and tulle?

It says in a note that the nylon chiffon layer is for comfort against the skin. I agree that would feel good but let's be real...this dress if for a one year old. Comfort and ease of sewing prevail. Sorry, Braelyn. I still love you! I like the idea of using Hang Free 6000 Anti-static Lining, because they recommend the nylon chiffon I might try the polyester lining. Oh decisions, decisions! I love the idea of a full skirt but without buying netting I think an extra layer of tulle will work. For the lining (which is optional) it recommends Poly-blend lining. I am not going to add the additional lining.

Princess or Cupcakes? Why not both?!

I know I sound crazy but I cannot decide between a princess print dress or a cupcake print dress.  These novelty prints by Michael Miller are both so adorable and because she is so young I think a novelty print is perfect for a birthday party. If she were older I would get a satin sold or a floral print but for a one year old birthday party I think novelty is fun. All that said, I am going to make two dresses for her this year. (See? I told you I loved her!) She'll wear a princess dress for her party in Ohio with my relatives and a cupcake dress for her party in Charleston with Matt's family and her friends. Going through the pattern it looks fairly simple. We will find out soon enough:)

Stay tuned to see how they turned included, of course!

Want to make your own Violette Field Threads garment? Misty is teaching a class on the Molly jacket! It is scheduled for November 9th from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The class costs $40 and includes the $13 pattern. As usual, space is very limited, so call us today to reserve your space!

Children's Corner Louise pattern to make a Minnie Mouse Halloween Costume

Monday, October 29, 2012

Doesn't this face say it all?

I've sort of always been a Halloween person. I love dressing up and seeing everyone else's costumes. So, when I had my first child, I just knew this would quickly become one of my favorite holiday's. Instead of crafting a costume for myself I got my wiggles out by making an absolutely adorable costume for Braelyn. I mean, those store-bought, generic costumes never fit right, anyway.

Beginner Quilting Series: Final Two Blocks

I can hardly believe it but I'm halfway through my eight-week quilting class. Last night we started on the final two blocks! They are somewhat intricate which excites me because I love seeing all the pieces together.

The first is the Maple Leaf block.

Sample Quilt's Maple Leaf
As you can see it consists of a series of half-quare triangles and one funky one in the bottom, right corner. This is called a stem. We sewed our stems into the seam, but you can also hand applique the stem into the solid square.

Speaking of hand applique, here's how mine ended up turning out.

As badly as I spoke about hand applique last week, I really did learn to appreciate it. Note that I did not say love it. It was a great thing to keep my hands busy while watching TV, but I don't know if I'd be able to commit to it, or enjoy it any other time. I am mostly pleased with how mine turned out especially considering this was my first go at it.

But, back to last night. The next block we worked on is called the Spinning Star. This one might be my favorite.

Sampler Quilt's Spinning Star block
This one uses a combo of half-square triangles (green) and something called quarter-square triangles (purple). The block that make up the star's outer points are actually pretty tricky and without the guidance of my instructor I can easily see how I'd get them mixed up. The key is making sure your star "spins" the same way all the way around. If you swap a purple for a yellow, you're in big trouble. Well, maybe not...but you will be seam ripping and no one likes that.

You can see that my star point blocks are a little wonky.

See how the bottom curves up ever so slightly? That's on my nerves, but the teacher swears that it will blend when I attach the rest of the blocks to it. We'll see about that.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog when I show off my six completed blocks and discuss hand quilting vs machine quilting.

Need to catch up on the whole series? Check out previous posts by clicking on the titles below.

Week One: Beginner Quilting
Week Two: Stripping and Half-square Triangles
Week Three: Hand Applique

Hand applique: Friend or Foe?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

There's no more messing around. No more playing games. No more laughs and giggles.

Ok. I lie. There was still a lot of laughing...mostly at everyone slipping out curse words while learning a few new techniques. This weeks quilting class was seriously no joke.

We didn't even turn on our machines. Instead we fiddled around with needles and thread. Yup. Real life hand sewing. What have I gotten myself into?

First things first, we learned to threading a needle. How hard can it be, right? Just stick the end of the thread through the eye of the needle and you're done. Well, it should be that simple, anyway. But, for hand sewing we needed these super small, super thin needles specifically for applique. I think they were number 10. Anyway, we all used those plastic or metal needle threaders. All of them broke. We tried a table-top threader that was a waste of money and didn't work. One student had a super-duper threader that got us through the night, thankfully.

Now that the needles were threaded, we needed to tie off the end. Twist it over your fingers and pull through the middle? Oh, I think not. Or should it be "knot"? Get it? Anyway, quilters don't mess around with that little knot because it's not cool enough or complicated enough or, most likely, permanent enough. I guess those slip through the fabric. Who knew? So, instead we learned a quilter's knot. It's a series of pinching and wrapping thread around the needle and pulling through and hoping for the best. Admittedly so, it's pretty magic.

Finally, we got our hands on some fabric, but just scraps because our instructor must have known how bad we'd all be at it and didn't want us to waste our good fabrics. We used the freezer paper technique. It's simple enough in concept, but being as I haven't touched a needle and thread since that last cross-stitch project I started (and never finished), I found myself fumbling around pulling my thread out of the needle accidentally, wearing a thimble on the wrong finger, and endlessly poking myself. It's gotta be some small form of torture, I'm convinced.

There are tons of tips, tricks, shortcuts, and sneaky ways of getting this done without all the tedious nipping, tucking, pinching, poking, and tugging, but it's not truly applique and you'll end up with a different looking quilt.

All six students struggled with the idea of hand applique. Is it worth all the aggravation? Does it get easier? Would anyone really be able to tell if I just glued these suckers on? But, our instructor insisted that it was her favorite part of quilting and that once we got the hang of it, we'd really start to like it. So, for the sake of this blog and to really give this quilt my all, I promised her I'd hand applique all of the leaves. All. Twelve. Leaves.

Our block with hand applique leaves.
In the example quilt, there's a mini nine-patch block within a nine-patch block. In each of the corners, there's three hand-applique leaves. So, that's like two blocks sewn into one with applique added to the party.

Needless to say, I'll be busy this weekend.

**Are these posts piquing your interest in quilting? We are excited to announce we will be hosting our very first Quilting Class this January. Classes will take place on Saturday's in January from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Space is incredibly limited (to six spaces only) so if you are interested, please call us ASAP!**

Week One: Beginner Quilting

The importance of sharpening your sewing scissors

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

For seamstresses, having a nice, sharp pair of scissors is almost as important as having a sewing machine. Our scissors, when functioning properly, allow us to cut our clean, straight lines for quilts as well as navigate even the smallest curve for patterns. There's nothing worse than clipping away only to snag an edge and fray the raw edges of our fabric and there's nothing more frustrating than only having half of a good blade on our scissors forcing us to chomp, chomp, chomp away every couple of inches.

Beginner Quilting: Let's Strip and Make Half-Square Triangles

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week two of my Adventures in Quilting is underway. After so much success in the first class, I was eager to see what was next.

Turns out it was stripping...not that kind of stripping, obviously. You have a dirty mind! We are just a bunch of quilters, after all. Rather, it's piecing together long strips of fabric and then cutting them down to your square size. You didn't think we actually cut those teeny strips and sewed them together individually, did you?! Silly girl (or guy...I don't judge)!

We also learned to make half-square triangles, which take a careful and patient person to get the corners just right. I'll tell you, the people who made up those quilting rulers are genius. Have you ever noticed the diagonal lines running through them? Yep, those are for Half-Square (and Quarter-Square, too, I suppose) Triangles. The ruler did help tremendously in ensuring I didn't end up with a wonky-square triangle.

So, ready to see what I left with??

Strips (top), half-square triangle (middle), half-square triangle prep (bottom)
Ta-da! Aren't my fabrics coming together nicely? Everyone in class loves this Valorie Wells Cocoon- Butterfly cotton. It looks so cool when they are all cut up into little squares and triangles.

You can see I've still got a ton of work to do like cutting down the strips to size, making the last few half-square triangles (on the bottom), then actually placing all the pieces together into a block. But once I'm done with all my homework, I'll have what they call a Golden Gate block. It looks like this...

Golden Gate Quilting Block
Can you see the combo of the half-square triangles and the strips? I'm excited to play around with the squares a little. Your blocks can look very different just by rotating them around and flipping the backgrounds around.

See Last Week's Beginner Quilting Post where I talked about choosing fabrics.

Beginner Quilting

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Quilting is probably not a project you'd expect a modern sewer to take on. But, more and more, the 20 and 30-something's in our Sewing 101/102 classes are asking about it. Whether they used to see their Grandmother working on them when they were children or have no experience with them at all, quilting is piquing the interest of a new generation.

Although we do not offer quilting classes nor do we claim to have a deep understanding of quilting, we do love the idea of piecing together an heirloom and we fully support our customers while they take their sewing skills to another level. Thankfully, we have a great Community Education Center here in Charleston and they offer affordable classes for any sewing level.

Throughout the next eight weeks, we'll track my newbie experience with beginner quilting starting with today's post about picking fabrics.

Instructions for picking fabrics for the beginner quilt were to choose one main fabric for the border, four coordinating fabrics for the blocks, a neutral fabric for the background, another fabric for the sashing and binding, and a final fabric for the backing. Yea, that's a lot of fabric. Not to mention, what do all of those things really mean? How do they really all work together? Maybe, I'm a little OCD (ok, a lot OCD) but I like to plan, I like to visualize, I like to know what I'm getting myself into. So, needless to say I was immediately overwhelmed.

I started with the Down Under Gray Multi Chevron (bottom left above) and starting to pick out coordinating fabrics that matched. I had a dot, a diamond, and a houndstooth when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. Krista was there as were a couple of girls from her 201 class. Krista explained that in quilting (unlike clothes-making) you could mix bold patterns and, in fact, that is what makes a quilt truly special. Everything went back on the shelves.

I knew I wanted something sophisticated, modern, colorful, and fun, so when I saw the Spa Geo Multi by Michael Miller, I knew that would be a good starting border. Next, I saw Cocoon-Butterfly by Valorie Wells. They colors in the two fabrics are the same but the pattern itself is very different. I was coming out of my comfort zone...scary! Both the Spa Geo and the Butterfly shared similar colors like turquoise, yellow, and pink. So, next I grabbed up Essential Dots in turquoise and Down Under Gold Diamonds to balance them out. I needed one more accent fabric to support my border and I wanted something with a pop. This was the hardest one to find for me...the last one, go figure. I ended up stumbling across a great coral red/orange with accents of white and pink (not picutred, sorry) and was starting to get really excited.

Next on the list was a neutral for the background. Background? What's that? To figure it out, we had to call in the big guns...Krista's mom. She's quilted before and she still didn't know what the background was. But, she did some research and discovered that it was the fabric that filled in the "holes" of the block. The best way I can explain it is that the look of the block isn't the combination of fabrics and designs as a whole, but rather one bold pattern that stands out (a plus sign, an "x", a pinwheel, etc) and the background is what fills in the parts of the block that aren't included in that main pattern.

The yellow fabric in this quilt is the background.
So, I chose a solid grey for the background. In hindsight, I probably would have chosen something with a slight pattern to it...maybe tone on tone? Maybe this!

I couldn't get that great Chevron out of my head (I mean, it's a great Chevron!) and although a little muted, the colors did work with my more elaborate scheme. So, I threw the Chevron back in the mix, but as the backing (the flip side of the quilt is one whole piece of fabric). The binding needed to match both sides because it folds over the edges of the quilt to hold it all together. I couldn't imagine choosing yet another fabric for this small portion of the quilt and the grey solid I chose worked with the Chevron, so I added on to my measurement for it. Viola, grey binding.

Now, here's where I messed up. You had to know this wouldn't go perfectly right out of the gate, right? I don't have that kind of beginner's luck. The sashing and binding in the example quilt are the same. So, I thought that's what I had to do. I got even more of the grey solid for the sashing. It felt like a lot of grey when I was buying it. I should have gone with my gut. Now, my sashing, binding, and background are all the same. That's a problem for the many areas where the background and the sashing butt up against each other. That's not going to fly. Wah, wah!

So, more shopping is in order so I can find a better sashing fabric. Maybe Michael Miller's Happy Houndstooth?! I have to alter the sashing and can't change the background because...

Nine Patch with Down Under Gold Diamond and Grey cotton solid.

I made my very first block! This is called Nine Patch (for obvious reasons). So, as you can see, so far so good. Next week we'll learn about half-square triangles and make some more blocks. I'll be back with another report on how it all went down and how my fabric choices are coming together. I'll get you an update on my new sashing fabric, too. In the mean time consider modern fabrics for your next/first quilting project and help bring quilting back to the trend reports.

Making it Maternity: How to Alter Patterns for Pregnancy

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


We all have our go-to patterns. For Laura, it's probably a great A-line skirt. For me, I've fallen in love with Colette's Iris -- a perfect-every-time-for-every-body short pattern. But, being pregnant for most of the past two years has changed the way I look at patterns and obviously how I sew them. So many of my shorts and skirts (purchased or hand-made) have wonderful stretch knit waistbands added to them. Today, I'm going to share how you can alter your skirts, pants, shorts, and other bottoms to allow for that wonderful belly expansion.

A Halloween outfit that'll charm even the evilest of the spirits

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There's something spooooky in the air and we just can't get enough. With the official start of fall, our minds immediately jump to the upcoming holiday season.

Making it with Minky

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Everyone loves Minky fabric because it is soft and great to cuddle with. With sites like Pinterest and Etsy, making homemade blankets, car seat covers, changing pad covers, taggies, pants, jackets, skirts, pillowcases, and even stuffed animals have become very popular. The holidays are right around the corner and making gifts with minky fabric is a great idea.

Recommendations to start checking off that Christmas List

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It is that time of year again whether you're ready for it or not. Truth is, Christmas is really just around the corner. And, as any crafter or seamstress will tell you, if you're making your own gifts this year, you need to start now.

Yes, it's daunting. It's overwhelming. It's freaking me out just writing this. Eeeeek! But, isn't it so much fun, too? Thinking about one particular person that you love and care about and imagining the perfect gift for them is one of the best parts of Christmas. Then, add tooling away at making their gift by hand to the mix and it can be a very joyous experience.

To help you on your journey of finding the perfect hand-made gift for your loved ones, we're suggesting two books. Each of them have lots of ideas to help you check off multiple people from those Good Boy and Good Girl lists.

The first of them we've talked about quite a bit on the blog already. It's Sew What You Love by Tanya Whelan.

Sew What You Love by Tanya Whelan
Laura raved about this book during her Summer Pattern Challenge and made a few items from it to help her reach her goal of completing the 20 patterns. Laura's "Everyday Tunic," "Apple Pie Ottoman," and "Easy Sling Bag," all came from this book and if you've read the posts, you'll know how simple and easy creating each of them was for her.

As Laura explained, the book is full of a variety of project options. From clothing and home dec, to bags and baby toys. The 30 patterns in this book really do run the gamut of project ideas and you're sure to find something perfect for the one you love.

Our second recommendation for your Christmas sewing is actually a series of books. It's the One Yard Wonders books by Patricia Hoskins and Rebecca Yaker .

One-yard Wonders by Hoskins and Yaker.
One-yard Wonders by Hoskins and Yaker.
Each of these books are packed with a whopping 101 sewing projects. As you can imagine you'll find projects for everyone in the family (including Fido) as well as home dec, clothing, seasonal items, and accessories. Anyone you know up for a custom umbrella? Or what about a gym bag? Who wouldn't want a new scarf? And market totes are the rage for the eco-friendly these days.

Seriously you can't go wrong with either of these books for this Christmas and every other gift-giving holiday you can think of. They are year-round go-to guides for every home sewer.

Be sure to check out all of our sewing books as these are just three of the many that would behold your loved one's perfect Christmas gift.

Get More Out Of Your Serger

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It always amazes us how many of our customers actually own a serger, but never really use it. Sure, they can be a little daunting with the blades and all that threading, but sergers are really a great investment for any sewer, espeically the ones who like to use special techniques like ruffles, piping, lace, and such.

That's right. Serging isn't just for finishing your seams. Don't get me wrong, it is great for that. It gives your clothes a great finished edge and makes sealing the raw edges stupid simple. But, sergers are great for so many other things, too.

A serged seam with four threads.
If you're only using your serger to finish your seams, you're really missing out.

Today, some women got together in the store to take our Serging Basics class. All of them owned their own machine but most had never done anything more than finishing a seam and some hadn't even done that. One machine came in the door this morning still in it's box. :)

Our serging classes and the serger in the store are all using the Brother 1034D. We love this machine because it's affordable (on sale now at for $190!) and portable, mostly. But, also because it's easy to use. No matter what brand of serger you buy though, get one with 4-threads. These are much more versatile and allow you to do more with your machine.

The Brother 1034D
In class, we discussed machine basics like using your blade (or not), changing needles, threading, using two needles, and thread tension. These are all tools that you can use to make your machine work better for you and get perfection out of your projects. It is important to remember that sergers (especially the threads) are very tempramental. Even the slightest change can make the biggest difference. In class, the students learned quickly that serging, like sewing, is going to take lots of practice.

We always recommend the book Successful Serging by Beth Baumgartel for our customers. It's a great go-to guide for getting to know your machine as well as a quick reference for more advanced projects. Serged rosettes, anyone?

Successfull Serging. $19.99

Our first task was a rolled hem. This finish doesn't use a special foot, but does require you to remove the finger which is located under the blade.

Scrap serged with a rolled hem on both sides.

It's not our favorite for clothes, but it is nice for napkins and to finish specialty items like holiday stuff. Consider buying specialty thread like silver to give them a fancier edging, but be sure to ask if it can be ironed before using it. Don't want your thread to melt, or worse, for you iron to get ruined. There is a rolled hem foot for your sewing machine but it only turns under the fabric. It doesn't actually finish the raw edge like the serger does, but if you're in a hurry and don't mind the rough look to it, give the rolled him a try on your next pattern.

Next, we practiced gathering with the serger. It's really simple to do and works best when you add the second needle. All of the gathers are perfectly even and they look very professional, but it's important to note that it's hard to change the length of the gather. If you're trying to gather for a waist hem, for example, you should probably do it on your sewing machine so you can adjust the gathers to fit the exact measurement of your waist.

But, wait! There's more! There's a special foot that will actually attach your gathered piece to your flat piece at the same time! I know! It's really cool! Look...

Ruffle (dots) serged to main piece (elephant).

Everyone in class loved how simple it was to do this and were impressed with how professional the gathers looked. But, like with anything with serging, it can be finicky. We all agreed that it will be so worth it when you get it down.

Lastly, we attached a piping foot (not provided with your machine) to see how much easier it is to pipe with your serger than with your sewing machine. It gets the fabric really close to the piping and it also finishes the interior of the seam with a serge. 

Right side of piping.

Wrong side of piping.

Too cool, right? The foot can be a little pricey, but after trying it out everyone agreed it was worth it especially for larger projects like pillows. 

So, if you have a serger, grab your user manual and/or Successful Serging and go for it. We will host more serging classes in 2013 after a whole new slew of eager serger owners (from Christmas) look for advice. Brooke is available for private lessons between now and then if you just can't wait. Just call the store for details. 

Football Field Table Cloth

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I absolutely love football season! 

The weather, the food, the excuse to hang out all weekend...I just love it. Every year we go to at least one Clemson University game and one Cincinnati Bengals game. I have seen so many cute tablecloths on Pinterest that I had wanted to make one of my own for a while. When my sister told me she wanted a football themed bridal shower, I knew this was the time to do it. The idea of a football field tablecloth had been floating around in my head and now I had two excuses to make one -- for my tailgating parties and my sister's shower!

Finishing seams: Just The Basics

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finishing your seams is an integral part of sewing any garment. It can be a little tedious but it's important to do to ensure your piece looks professional and will last through a lifetime of washing and wearing.

3: Scirocco Twisted Back Dress by Figgy

Monday, August 27, 2012


I am very impressed by this Figgy pattern. Figgy is known for being modern and contemporary, and this is what drew me to the pattern in the first place. I am so happy with my finished product, I wish Braelyn was old enough to wear it now. It is listed as an advanced beginner difficulty on the cover, and I would have to agree.  I think this is a great project for anyone who wants a little challenge with rewarding results.

Tracing and Prewashing: Preparing for Scirocco by Figgy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Prewashing:  A lot of people ask me about prewashing fabric. I must admit I personally have a very lazy approach because I do not dry the clothes I make for myself. Also, it is very convenient for me to pick out fabric at the shop and just start cutting.
I have learned with the few children's clothes patterns I have done that it is a good idea to prewash. I always dry her clothes and I've already had to tackle a few tough stains so I prewashed this fabric. A tip I can give you for prewashing is to serge (if you have a serger) or zig zag the raw edge before you wash your fabric. This will help with the unraveling and save you about an inch of fabric.

Tracing Patterns:  Another thing I always do with children's patterns is trace them. Brealyn grows so quickly I do not want to buy a new pattern every time I want to remake a project. Patterns for myself I have always just cut out with the hope I will never grow ;).  I have found just using freezer paper from your local grocer is the best way to trace patterns. It's cheap and you can even iron the pieces to the fabric which can make for a quick cut out. You can also "rub" the pattern onto the tracing paper, this works with most patterns. What I mean by "rub" is that with wax side down you can rub the freezer paper over the pattern with an eraser or the end of your seam ripper and the ink will transfer onto the wax side of the freezer paper. I do suggest writing the name of the pattern piece, the size, and any markings with a pen. Also, make sure to transfer the grain line or fold lines with a pen and a straight edge.

Too Cute to Boot

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I love this pattern!

I have used a lot of different bloomer patterns but this one is my favorite by far. Without the ruffles it is reversible and it fit almost perfectly. When I decided not to monogram the Mamie dress I decided to monogram her bloomers. My friend Heather's baby has the cutest monogrammed bloomers and I have been looking for a good pattern to use with a monogram.
The best part of this pattern is that it is lined so if you decide to monogram or applique them it will not rub on the diaper.
The pattern does come with 5 applique designs and directions on how to add ruffles. The bloomers are durable and a perfect fit. I do wish the pattern came in larger sizes. The pattern runs XS (newborn)-XL (18 months).
I feel a little weird posting a picture of my daughter's bottom but it's just too cute not to.

Please feel free to post pictures of your baby with these bloomers on! Mention the blog and get 10% off the pattern.

Mamie by Children's Corner

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is such a classic dress.  I have seen and helped so many people make it that I had to make it myself.  I made the 12 month size so my daughter could wear it for family photos.
I chose to use Art Gallery fabric. You will start to notice I am a sucker for Art Gallery fabric. I just love the way it feels and I love all of the bright exciting colors. I will say,  it is sometimes hard to coordinate Art Gallery fabric if you are a matchy matchy type of person. Luckily I am not, so Art Gallery is perfect for me!
Although it was hard to match I'm happy with the dress.  I went with a butter twill for the yoke and a blue piping. I also chose to use snaps instead of buttons. I don't mind making buttons or sewing them on I just hate getting the dress on and off my crawling daughter. Non of the colors are exact but I think they all complement each other well.


The dress was not hard itself but the instructions were a little hard to follow. The "little tips" throughout the instructions were helpful but they used a lot of sewing terminology that some people may not be familiar with.  I would This would not be a good project for a new sewer or someone who has not had formal instruction.

I love that patterned called for french seams. I think it makes it look much more professional Braelyn loves pulling her dress up so french seams look much better then a zig zag or a serge.

I do hate hand sewing and because I usually refuse to do it I am not very good at it. You are required to hand sew in the yoke lining, the bias strips under the arms, and the hem. I machine stitched the bias strips under the arm holes and the hem. I don't think anyone noticed:)  I did however hand sew on the yoke lining. In the future I will not use twill on such a small yoke. I have to iron it to make it lay flat (I'm sure my hand sewing did not help).

Also, the hem was very long. Brealyn is a long baby in the 95 percentile for length and it was still too long on her. I cut almost 2" off the bottom before a 1/2" double folded hem and she still had problems crawling in it (could be a good thing).

We attended my sister-in-law's MUSC graduation and had family pictures taken in the dress. Everyone loved it. Most people did not think it was hand-made. The piping gives it a very professional look and the classic silhouette looks great on any baby. I would love to make it for 4 or 5 year old to see if I still love it, I'm sure I would. 
If I were going to make it for an older child I would add ric rac to the sleeve seams (there are directions in the pattern) and sew up most of the back only putting in a few buttons at the top. I know when I was little I hated sitting on buttons.

Here are some of the family pictures we took.
 Please feel free to post pictures of your Mamie dress!

All professional pictures were taken by My Lily Rose Photography.
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