Tips and Clips

Do you keep a Sewing Diary, sew your muslins with one-inch seams, or keep a pad of post-it notes beside your machine? The 2014 RTW Fasters are rocking the sewing scene with some fabulous frocks and I asked them to share some of their secrets to successful sewing.

Following are 48 of their Favorite Tips from techniques to practical and even philosophical advice.

The first clip, from a Singer Sewing Manual was offered more for amusement, but I find it could be quite helpful if re-written for the 21st century!  Does anyone want  to give it a try? ;) While I don’t want to be in my pajamas when the FedEx guy rings the doorbell, being fearful that my husband will come home and see me without makeup has got to go!

Sewing Tip from Singer

Now …… on to the present!

Roxanne - How to match stripes when cutting pockets. ‪…/tip-perfectly…

Linda –  Take the time to baste. It seems silly, but especially when I felt intimidated by the better fabrics, basting them together before machine sewing gives you time to see the construction and appreciate the mechanics of sewing. It forces you to slow down and not rush. You can use basting to dry run a fit, to hold layers together that want to slip and slide, and it is better than pins when holding an awkward bit of sewing.

Rachel – Forcing myself to “sleep on it” before I do the last step (which is usually hemming). This stops me from rushing to get the garment finished and hurtling through the steps; which ultimately means that I end up with a better result.

Judy Walker –  Measure twice, cut once .

Kathleen –  Don’t assume that just because you’ve made several of the same pattern, that you can cut to finish without trying it on! Of course, I learned the hard way, that even though everything is cut Exactly The Same: different 3″ elastics & different double knits mean “Different Fit”. Of course they do!

Denise -Mine’s not so much style or technique, but… ORGANIZE YOUR SPACE. However big or small it may be, sewing is *vastly* easier when you’re not rummaging around muttering, “Where did I put my stupid seam ripper?”

Nancy - Sew fusible interfacing to your facings with the non-glue side to the right side of the fabric, then trim, turn and fuse. It makes the edges look so nice, I no longer omit the interfacing (my old lazy habit)

Lorraine –  Place a pad of Post It notes to the right of your sewing needle, at the distance you want your seam width to be. Make sure you take the backing of the Post It notes off, so you can stick the pad to your machine. When you sew, you can then butt your fabric up against the Post It notes and get a great, even seam. When you are done, just remove the pad! This is great for bulky fabrics and for when you need quite a wide width!

Patti – My number one tip for new sewers is to be sure your take-up lever is always”up” when you get to the end of a seam. This keeps you from losing the thread out of the needle when you start again which is very frustrating. Some newer machines do this automatically.

    Melissa ‪…/mask-paint.html… This is a great way to paint fabric without buying really expensive fabric specific paint.

Tee –  Two tips:

  • Make a muslin!!!!!!!!! Allow for 1-inch seams not 5/8 makes fitting easier. Make all adjustments on the muslin. You should then be able to successfully sew up the garment in you fashion fabric with ease.
  • Read the pattern instructions entirely before you cut or sew.

Nancy – Insert your zipper as early in the construction process as possible. For instance, on a simple sheath, sew the center back seam and add the zipper while you still have a fairly flat garment section to work with. A lot of pattern instructions tell you to complete the basic garment and then work down inside the neckline to stitch the zipper.

Diane - When sewing with silk, use silk thread…it melts into the seam, whereas poly thread sits on top. You will never have to rip out a baste when you do this, as it won’t ever show. I love silk thread, yum yum yum!

Julie - “Good enough” isn’t my sewing vocabulary any longer. If a mistake is made, stop and take the time to correct it. It will inevitably show up again later and affect something else.

Sandra – I sew a muslin for everything I make, I also cut it with one inch seam allowances so that I have room to let it out if needed during the fitting process. I also like the fact that it gives me a practice run of sewing up the garment before cutting into my fashion fabric.

Linda –  It is the details that transforms a homemade garment to that special piece of clothing that people ask about. Master top stitching, pattern matching, adding lace, ribbon, nice buttons, etc…

Michelle –  Match and pin based on seamlines (not necessary matching cut edges), especially for shaped seams like princess seams or set-in sleeves.

Winifred –  A well drafted pattern saves many tears.

Sharon –  When putting in set in sleeves, a trick I learned is to do a base stitch ALL the way around the sleeve, 1/8″ from the cut edge. This will help to spread the ease better and will allow your sleeve to fit it perfectly. No bunching or gathering. I have used this technique with all kinds of fabric and it hasn’t failed me once.

Erin – When putting my sewing patterns away I fold each piece individually with the letter or number facing out and then stack them numerically/alphabetically before placing them back in the envelope. This ensures I get all the pieces back in the envelope and helps me the next time I go to pull out pieces to make the pattern again.

Rebecca – Prep first- baste fabric before washing so it doesn’t fray and iron before cutting. And 1″ seam allowance for muslins.

Margaret –  I keep a sewing “diary” — a bound notebook where I date each garment I make and write the pattern number, tape on a piece of the fabric, and give details about the changes I’ve made to the pattern, where I got the fabric from (if I remember!) and even the stitch if on the serger. It’s really helpful if and when I decide to make it again, to know all of those little things.

Roxanne –  I make notes on the pages of my overlock/serger/coverstitch manuals. I make a note of the fabric type and the setting if it differs from the suggested settings written in the manual.

Kathleen – Don’t forget your iron is your best friend! I try to sew as many seams as possible (without crossing seams) and then make sure they are all press well – I find pressing makes a great difference between “sewn at home” and “great” Good pressing includes a light hand, point turner, seam roll, ham and clapper

Lauren – I never do the hem for skirts and dresses suggested by the pattern. I always hem for my body shape. Having the hem fall at the right spot can make the garment (or break a garment).

Ingrid - When sewing in a zipper, it’s WAY easier to sew the entire seam on which the zipper will be sewn, match the zipper teeth with the center of the seam, sew in the tape all around, and then rip out the seam from the top to the bottom of the zipper. Perfect zipper seam every single time, no puckering or wrinkling!

Nancy – To help organize fabrics, I keep the packing slips of the fabric I order and staple a 1″ x 2″ snip of fabric by its description on the invoice. That way if I need more, I can quickly know from where it came and also I keep up with garment costs. This is especially helpful if ordering swatches!

Denise - Fusible stay tape is great for stabilizing necklines and shoulder seams, but it made a big difference in the look of my invisible zippers. Press it along both sides the seam line, before inserting the zipper. I have to credit Sunni Standing’s free Craftsy class for this.

Chris –  A tip I read in vogue magazine some time ago has been useful for keeping track of sewing machine needle sizes and which size you currently have in your machine. You take one of those old fashion pin cushions; the red ones that look like a tomato with sections. Use a permanent marker to label each section with a different needle size, and when you change needles, place it in the correct section. The best art of the suggestion is to put a glass head pin in the section that tells you the needle size you currently have in the machine.

Timea – My best friend is the iron!!! The not so perfect piece can be helped with good pressing, steaming and forming. But no matter how well you cut, sew and fit, if you don’t iron every seam every step of the way it won’t look finished.

Ma - I love understitching. European Patterns don’t use this technique, but it think it is an essential one. Also: keep your sewing space neat and organized – it makes sewing so much easier and so much more fun! A last one would be: don’t build up a fabric stash, when you are a beginner – learn something about fabric, which you like, which you don’t like, what’s easy to sew and so on and than start a stash.

Lynn – Two comments, one on style and one on techniques:

  •      When deciding on style, look at the things you already own and love whether those items are things you made or RTW. Then look at the pattern you are considering. Is it drastically different in style or fit? If so, think twice. If it is an effort to move away from your comfort zone, fine. If not, it may not be for you.
  •      The best technique is really not a specific technical item; it is an attitude. Take the time to think about what you are doing when you sew. It does not matter if you sew fast or sew slow just as long as you understand what you are doing and why. It is always faster to think on something before doing it than to rip it out and redo it!

Leslie – I like to put the needle in the fabric manually before I hit the presser foot. This seems to start things off right.

Relynn -  My tip is something I’ve learned from experience… Never sew when tired. I tend to be a night sewer, after the kids are in bed, and I have to stop myself by a certain time or else I will become tired enough that mistakes are guaranteed to happen. I turn back into a pumpkin (like in Cinderella) around midnight, so that is my cutoff time for sewing. Whatever I’m doing I just walk away at that time and go back to it the next day. Doing that has seriously cut down on my number of mistakes.

Nikki Brooks When needing to ensure a proper fit, I baste everything first. which saves a lot of time

Linda - Trim to reduce bulk as much as possible and understitch because it is a magical sewing technique.

 Barbara – My favorite sewing tip is something I learned from someone else through the sewing community blogosphere. Before you sew the sleeve seam, press under the bottom of the sleeve as if you were going to sew it, but skip that part. Gently unfold the pressed edge when you sew the sleeve seam. Now you don’t have to try to turn and press the edge of the small opening for sewing, It’s all ready to go!

Terry - Press as you go.

Teri - To get a nice crisp, straight edge stitch on lapels, necklines and cuffs I use my blind hem foot and move my needle over one or two clicks.  Then you just place the edge of the fabric against the guide on the foot and stitch away.

Winifried- Favourite sewing tip = Measure thrice, cut once.

Deby –  My favorite right now is the twin needle. ‪ 
How to use a twin needle – So Sew Easy Video tutorial for how to use a twin needle to get an excellent result on the hem

Sherry - I take a piece of tape and tape it on it’s self and then stick it next to my machines. When I’m sewing and cutting away threads I stick it to the tape. Keeps me from vacuuming up a lot of thread and clean it out of my vacuum.

Anna – One awesome tip I have learned is to tuck the leftover serger thread into the seam with a needle.

Virginia – Remember to change the sewing needle often and to pop off the sewing plate and pull out the bobbin case, in order to give the machine a good cleaning after each project. I use a small, soft paint brush. It is amazing what can collect in that space. It is also surprising how many stitching problems will be corrected with a fresh needle.


In other news, I’m attaching a clip from the Spartanburg Magazine featuring an article abou my blog. The magazine was published this week, and can be read online here or on the PDF link below.  I’m quite flattered and very grateful for the exposure!

Spartanburg Magazine Article Spring 2014

Until soon :)


Posted in Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014, sewing bloggers, Sewing Secrets, Sewing Tips, Spartanburg Magazine, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 52 Comments


I’ll take the beach just about any way I can get it. We packed the car in the snow and skidded out of town the moment the travel advisory was lifted.

Greetings from Edisto Island where the blue water and glistening sun erase the memory of a foot of snow back home.
LOL – it’s freezing here too ;)

IMG_4223I wish I could say I knitted the sweater and wove the scarf, but my garment making skills are limited to the sewing machine.

Toward the end of December I was itching to rush out and buy everything I thought I “needed” before starting the 2014 RTW Fast, which included leggings – especially the Hue leggings advertised in every color. I took a close look at the $40 leggings and passed even though the colors were enticing.


Instead I returned to a pattern I made nearly two years ago that I intended to sew again much sooner than now.
Style Arc’s “Elle” was my introduction to this wonderful Australian pattern company in 2012 (blogged here). While not officially a legging, the slim line pant fit me perfectly.

ELLE-PANTNot only did I make the pattern again but I chose the same high quality woven/knit hybrid fabric – this time in a chocolate brown.

 Since I made this pair of pants specifically to go with my heavy cable knit
sweater, I eliminated any excess fabric that might create bulk by sewing ¾” outer seams rather than Style Arc’s recommended 3/8”. I also shortened the back length by trimming ½” from the pant before attaching the waistband.


I’m loving the fit as there is no ease along the outer lines but lots of comfort throughout.


What I’m not loving is that I made the pants to wear to an Oyster Roast yesterday, however, it was so cold and windy I had to change directions by bundling up in my warmest clothes.

Today the weather is purrfect………


… and I suppose it is the purrrfect consolation.

Until soon :)


Posted in Easy Sewing, Edisto Beach, sewing with knits, Style Arc Patterns | Tagged , , , | 66 Comments

Snow White

Each snowflake that falls in the South sells a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread or a package of batteries. Panic sets in around here as it did with me, but fortunately it was just what I needed to get out of my sewing slump. My mojo was suffering and I decided to take my own advice – make a pencil skirt.

After stocking the fridge and loading the flashlights with fresh batteries I raced to JoAnn’s for a zipper, but stayed in the store nearly two hours looking at Burda patterns. I bought eight along with a bolt of muslin. Suddenly, the thought of being snowed in for a few days filled me with utter delight!

I was even excited about sewing a pencil skirt :)


Could the anticipation of snow have influenced my decision to make a winter white skirt? ;)

I paired the Italian wool crepe  (view here) ordered from the Mood Fabrics website with my tried ‘n true Katie Spade pattern.

With the mojo inching its way back into my life, I gave the skirt some pop by cutting off 4 inches of length to make way for a black border.


To make the border I cut one 6 ½ inch piece of black wool 1 ¼ inch wider than the skirt width. After stitching the two short sides of the border together, the fabric was folded in half and pressed.  One 5/8 “ seam allowance was turned under and pressed, the other is stitched to the skirt and the pressed edge is slipstitched to the inside of the skirt.

The new skirt fits right in with the many black and/or white clothes in my closet,


but I must say my black sweater set never looked better!


I’m sticking with my advice of sewing a pencil skirt or one’s favorite tried n’ true pattern to refuel the sewing energy! I often find the smallest activity can provide the same motivation as one’s greatest accomplishment!


Lastly, Sonny, my fourteen-year-old Cairn Terrier, joins me in wishing you a splendid Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love :)

Best wishes for a good one!


Posted in Mood Fabrics, Sewing Skirts, skirt pattern, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 132 Comments

Marfy + Mood = Love

Have you made your Marfy yet?

Thanks to Leisa Stanton of A Challenging Sew, I had no more excuses to avoid the chic Italian patterns without instructions. Not only are three free patterns available for downloads on the Marfy website, but Leisa is providing sew-a-longs for the patterns on her blog and just completed the top sew-a-long.

How do you like it?


 The pattern is Marfy 1913, and after two muslins I was ready to cut my Thakoon silk crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics. When the silk arrived in July, I was tempted to make my 5th sleeveless ruffled top.

No! No! No!” exclaimed the sewing angels :)

 I contemplated a shirt dress and the next thing I knew it was November…….

I fell hard for this pattern with its cut-in shoulders and soft drape.


I knew the style was suitable for everyday or special occasion dressing, plus I could wear it tucked in or left out.

IMG_4045 Leisa’s sew-a-long removes the mystery from the Marfy. She allows two weeks to complete a Marfy pattern, and her virtual patience set me in to a slower than normal sewing pace. I forbade myself from rushing through any aspect of constructing the top.

The top is easy to sew, but understanding what to do took some time.


  • I printed the pattern on 13 sheets of paper and experienced a disaster. The pattern did not print to scale and my adjustments were incorrect. Muslin #1 resembled a child’s garment, but after regrouping and reprinting I was back on track.
  • From my second muslin I quickly made a shell to check for fit using an inexpensive polyester.
  • While some sewing details are noted on the paper pattern, others are completely missing. For instance, there was no marking to indicate where to place the back opening. Leisa suggested different options and provided a detailed tutorial for one method carefully gauging the appropriate opening size. The slash is finished with a small dart – a completely new technique for me.


  • I secured the closure with two buttons and loop buttonholes using a chain stitch. Leisa used a small leather buckle, but a zipper can be inserted as well. I guess this is part of the beauty of sewing Marfy patterns.
  • In addition to Leisa’s excellent instructions, links to many fine tutorials are provided throughout the six part sew-a-long, and no detail is overlooked.
  • I opted out of the elastic band on the lower edge of the top,  and removed one inch of ease from the side seams allowing the blouse to easily tuck in fitted clothes.

IMG_4110 (1)

It’s nice to be finished and even better to have a permanent muslin and pattern for this top!


Using such little fabric I can justify splurging next time around. I can just see it in these Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta prints, not to mention luxury silk solids or cotton voile!

Many thanks to Leisa for getting me out of my comfort zone and a huge thank you to Mood for carrying such an array of enticing fabrics!

Until soon :)

Posted in Marfy Patterns, Mood Fabrics, Online Fabric Orders, sewing bloggers, sewing blogs, Sewing Tops, silk, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 79 Comments

Houndstooth Jersey Dress

I thought I owned one of everything in black and white houndstooth, and then I saw this sweaterknit/jersey on the Mood Fabrics website.

IMG_3878 I realized I owned nothing in a houndstooth jersey, and remedied the void by placing a quick order on the Mood website (see lots of great sweater knits from Mood HERE). Continuing my January theme of simple sewing, I selected Butterick’s See & Sew 5873 one more time and made the dress in a day.


While my first dress was a warm weather dress, sewn from Mood’s beach/camo jersey, this beefy knit should carry me through South Carolina’s winter if the Polar Vortex will leave us alone.

The faux wrap dress is my solution to easy daytime dressing!  A shapely design combined with no wrinkle fabric and a snappy houndstooth print has truly produced a go-to dress.


I omitted the side zipper which I omitted in the first dress too. The elastic casing in the sleeve is also absent due to my haste. Instructions called to stitch the lower portion of the sleeve seam allowance together to form a  vertical casing for the elastic –  shown below in View A:

B5873 sketch

Oops…….. I missed that step and ran the seam through the serger.


Hate it when that happens, but obsessing about my unadorned sleeves is not an option and neither is re-doing the sleeves. During my years in music I learned how important it is to keep on going after a mistake…… the show must go on!

Well, so must the sewing.

IMG_3903 2

Besides, I really like my new dress :)

Posted in Butterick Patterns, Easy Sewing, Mood Fabrics, Sewing Dresses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 106 Comments

My Much Improved Sewing Room

While hosting a party is just the incentive I need to deep clean and organize my house, preparing for a magazine photo shoot made me get in gear and (almost) finish my sewing room.  The Spring issue of our local magazine, a beautiful and glossy publication, is including an article about my blog. The article will feature ‘action shots’ from my sewing room, motivating me to quit talking about finishing the room and just do it. It’s 90% complete.

I’ve always been fortunate enough to have some place to sew. In this home, I took over the old play/computer/date room shortly after I started Goodbye Valentino. It was a big open space for everyone to see!

But when you entered the house from the garage you were greeted with this view…..

sewing room 3and when you turned the corner from the bottom of the staircase you saw this.

sewing room 1

To reach the guest bedroom, garage or half bathroom one had to walk through my sewing room. I was constantly apologizing for the mess even when the room was clean.


I had choices to make along with a budget to follow, and ultimately let the aesthetics guide my decisions. Functionality is important as long as it looks good ;)

In order to shield my mess, the wall from the bottom of the stairs was extended 15 feet to the guest bedroom and features a 42” open doorway. Now when you enter the house from the garage you see this.


And when you turn the corner at the bottom of the staircase you see this.


Come on in!


  •  Above is the original long wall.
  • Below is a view of the top end of the room…


  • …followed by a pic of the lower end of the room…


… and the short niche wall.


The space is smaller but far more organized. As a confessed Scrabble addict, I couldn’t pass on the giant Scrabble tiles. The lamps mimic the geometric design in the carpet.


  • Since the room receives little natural light I chose a light neutral color for the walls. The neutral color also serves as a compatible background for colorful and large pattern projects.
  • I kept the L- shaped laminate countertops which are perfect for almost all sewing endeavors.IMG_3834
  • I made new linen panels to keep the room tidy.


  • Behind the panels are sewing essentials such as tracing paper along with the machine cover, muslins etc…


  • I’ve never had a huge stash so most of my fabric fits on the 12  shelves.


  • Fabric that needs more protection goes in here.


  • The ladder-style shelves provide plenty of storage space for notions and books.


  •  I use Sterilite plastic bins for storing notions since they are sold everywhere. Fortunately, plenty of storage space is still available.


  • Rulers here……


  • Trash here….. I chose a large canvas laundry basket due to its large size and light weight.


  • Mood Samples and favorite remnants here….


  • Linings and interfacing here….


  • Removable plastic wall hooks are the best!


  • Patterns here…..


  • The table-top ironing board is stored here.


  • I sacrificed space for a permanent cutting table when I chose to close in the room, but it’s easy to set up the portable table as needed.


Left to do:

  • Custom mirror here.IMG_3843
  • New under counter lights and bulletin board here.


  • Paint  acoustical ceiling tile for a checkerboard effect (in my spare time :) ), and I’m sure other ideas will surface.

With our children grown and living elsewhere, Hubby and I decided to convert the downstairs guest bedroom into a home office. We replaced the bed with a new sleeper sofa and added built-ins with filing cabinets along with a new tube. Now I’m a step away from a sitting area with lots of natural light for handwork.


So while there is nothing fancy about my space in terms of customized features, I’ve got a pleasant environment with a place for everything.

What do you think? …….. I think it’s time for some sewing!

Until soon :)

Posted in Sewing Room, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 192 Comments

Style Arc Amy & More

If you are a driven person like me, you are constantly challenging yourself to do better and accomplish more. Who wants to cruise on the bunny slope when you’re comfortable skiing moguls?  Due to recent time constraints, I was forced to rediscover the joy of simple sewing or not sew at all.

Goodbye Valentino -  Style Arc Amy -  Mood Fabrics' Abstract Olive KnitNot only did I realize I should do more easy sewing, but my latest project reminded me of why I started sewing again in the first place.

My adventurous side led me to order this Olive Abstract Knit from Mood Fabrics without ordering a sample. Fortunately I loved it upon opening the package! The fabric is a sweater-knit jersey blend with a soft and slightly fuzzy hand, similar to a cozy sweater, although it is lightweight. (Available both online and at Mood NYC. )

olive abstract knit

I paired the warm sweater knit with Style Arc’s Amy Knit Top, a free pattern I received from Style Arc over a year ago.

AMY-KNIT-TOPGenerally I avoid wearing oversized tops because they appear disproportionate on me although they look great on my taller friends. Since Style Arc had never disappointed me before, I gave the pattern a try and made the top in three short hours. I made no alterations to the pattern.

IMG_3786 It’s oversized but not too big! The shoulders fit perfectly and I find the neckline flattering.  The length is just right, and wearing the top with skinny pants gives it a good proportion.


I truly love being proven wrong on this one!

Goodbye Valentino -  Mood Fabrics' Abstract Olive Knit My effortless sewing experience reminded me that one cannot overlook the importance of simplicity driven garments…especially during eventful circumstances!


Would you believe 277 women have joined the 2014 Ready-to-Wear Fast? That is correct, and they are making some fabulous clothing! Check out their blogs and photo albums on the RTW Fasters page and stay tuned as I plan to feature pieces during the year.


Leisa from A Challenging Sew is leading a free pattern Marfy Sew-A-Long. Have you made a Marfy? I haven’t and truly look forward to learning to sew these chic patterns. Monday (January 13) featured Part 1, so it’s not too late to join!


And lastly, my sewing room is 90% complete – sewing room post coming very soon :)

sewing room

Best wishes to all!

Posted in Mood Fabrics, Sewing Tops, sewing with knits, Style Arc Patterns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 63 Comments

Inspiration Defined

According to the Oxford dictionary the word inspiration is defined as:

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

An example is “Helen had one of her flashes of inspiration”


I have received many comments from readers who said they were inspired to sew after reading my blog, and I am always inspired (mentally stimulated) upon reading such comments.

As a matter of fact, I believe living a creative life is the only way to live.

 Recently, Cathy Rogers, a reader talented in her own right illustrated the epitome of flashes of inspiration by taking the Ribbon Skirt Tutorial (blogged here and here) to another level.

Cathy applied Julie Starr’s instructions and made a wedding dress.

Is this not beautiful?

Savage coco wedding dress

She not only turned a cute skirt into a stunning dress, but brilliantly demonstrated the results of building upon our best efforts. Now I’m inspired all over again :)

Cathy gave me permission to share her Pattern Review as well as her Flickr photo album showing  the construction of the dress.

I devoted a post to Cathy’s dress not only because of its beauty, but to remind all of us of the important role we can play in another person’s life just by being ourselves.


 Best wishes to all and Congratulations to Cathy !

Posted in Ribbon, Ribbon Skirt, Ribbon Skirt | Tagged , , | 73 Comments

So Faux Futuristic Vest

When hubby left for work this morning the fur was flying. The metallic faux-leather with faux-fur backing spattered like confetti once cut and even stuck to the walls, my clothes and my hair.  Having just finished vacuuming the Christmas tree needles, I was not amused to watch the expensive fabric behave so poorly, but I was on a mission ….. and I had a vision to realize.

 I selected the fabric from many faux-leather, faux-fur backed fabrics in the Garment District in October (2013).  More reasonably priced than most, I bought one yard to try out. I a pictured fur-trimmed vest, so here it is.


 The pattern is Butterick 5683 and I began with View C.

B5683 view C

The front, back and front yoke seams are sewn by lapping one piece over the other, matching the 5/8” seam allowances and stitching on the top. Afterwards the seam is trimmed to ¼”.  The pattern instructions state to leave the edges unfinished.

 After sewing the front and back vertical seams as instructed, I knew I wanted the fur accent to be more substantial so I did my own thing.


Being so distracted by the flying fur I forgot to take construction photos, but here’s the scoop.

For the yoke I pressed the seam allowance upwards and topstitched the fur in place. The stitches disappeared into the fur.


 For the neck, front edge, arms and hem I simply turned the fur to the outside and stitched with a narrow zig-zag.


Turning the fur on the lower edge resulted in a garment that was too short for the separating zipper so I inserted large hooks and eyes to the inside, which in this instance, I prefer to the big separating zipper.

 Hubby returned home to a clean house and me wearing my first 2014 garment. He said I look like someone from Star Trek.

IMG_3745 “…Second star to the right — and straight on ’til morning,” said I.

“…… and bring on the Polar Vortex too.”


Posted in Butterick Patterns, Sewing Tops | Tagged , , , | 109 Comments

One More Day

Dear Readers,

The positive response to the 2014 RTW Fast invitation is all things good in addition to a little overwhelming! I’ve had many requests from readers who want to join the 2014 RTW Fasters since yesterday’s post.

If you are interested in joining –  and did not shop for RTW yesterday –  and will send me ALL of the information today –  I will be delighted to add you to the list. Please send

1. Name

2. Online photo album or blog address

3. Photo – preferably a headshot

4. Send to

I’m happy to extend the RSVP through today, January 2 and would love to add anyone who plans to sew her own clothes, save thousands of dollars and look like a million bucks  instead of shop during 2014!

Just a few 2014 Ready-to-Wear Fasters!

Deadline – January 2, 11:00 PM (EST)

Posted in Ready-to-Wear Fast 2014 | Tagged , | 31 Comments