Friday, December 18, 2015

Sewing STYLE for Women this holiday

So Excited to have Emily from My Crafty Little Self here to join us on the blog today with a STYLE feature!!!! 
AND she made the Jenny in STRETCH poplin! 

Do you have a favourite colour to wear around the holidays ? 
Don;t forget to leave a comment on this post, we would love to hear from you!


Every year, Christmas sewing for myself always winds up at the very bottom of my to-do list. As I'm feverishly finishing a quilt binding for a gift late into the night on Christmas Eve or still sewing buttons on Christmas outfits for my family 30 minutes before the party starts, I realize once's not going to happen.  

But not this year!  I made sewing a new Christmas dress for myself a priority and I'm so glad I did.  This red stretch poplin and the Jenny dress pattern have been sitting in my stash for too long and it was time to use them both. This piece of fabric has moved with us to 3 different US states.  Either our family needs to stop moving so much, or I need to sew with woven fabrics more often!   I added a cropped blazer for style and function--it was 20 degrees Farenheit outside when these pictures were taken.  

The Jenny dress adds a level of customization that I've rarely seen in any sewing pattern. Once your general size is determined, you choose a cup size for your bodice and a waistband height and length based on your torso measurements.  The dimensions for a range of skirt lengths is given, from shirt length to maxi length.  

The finished result is a precise, flattering fit in the bodice and the perfect piece for layering.  This dress will be worn on its own in the summer heat and will be in my rotation year-round.  

I've been reading a book about my great-grandmother's family and was pleased to find out I come from a long line of tailors and seamstresses.  Struggling to make it as farmers in southeastern Idaho, they were as resourceful as could be with fabric.  Coats were taken apart the following year and sewn inside out to make them "new" again, any scraps were immediately pieced into a quilt, and hem facings were often used to leave as much growing room in garments as possible.  

In the spirit of resourcefulness, I used a hem facing (a technique also used in the Judy's Fancy Pants pattern) since I had just enough fabric to keep this dress maxi length but still wanted the wide hem specified in the pattern directions.  

I am headed to a Christmas concert tonight in my new dress and will wear it again on Sunday to sing in the church choir.  What a good reminder that the seamstress in the family deserves a new Christmas outfit every year too.  Happy holidays to everyone!  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Betsey Apron with a Ruffle

Looking for a quick and pretty sew for a hostess gift ? to pair with a cookie in a jar mix ? To pair with a kitchen gift ? For the annual 20$ gift exchange ? Work buddy gift ? 

Today the lovely Rachel is here and this one pattern, the Betsey Apron she is showing off goes from kids to plus sizes all in ONE pattern!!!!!!! Yep, ALL the sizes in one pattern!  

Please take a moment to leave Rachel a comment  at the end of the post telling her something you love about her post or pics!


Hello, my name is Rachel, and I am currently a stay-at-home mom. Whenever I have a spare minute, I love to sew, work on my first (and hopefully not last) novel, and write in my blog,

I’m a big fan of the Betsey apron, with its classic 1950s styling and easy to follow directions. Last Christmas, I followed the directions precisely and made matching aprons for a dear friend and her daughter. They were thrilled with their gifts and love to wear them when baking together.

This Christmas, I wanted to make a couple of aprons for myself and my own daughter, Zoë, age 3 1/2. Zoë loves all things pink and purple. The flouncier, the better. I had some Sis Boom, Caravelle Arcade fabric that I was dying to use, and had enough pink and purple to please even my discriminatory daughter.

I didn’t end up having time to make one for myself, but I made a very special one for my daughter, and added a ruffle.

How to add a ruffle :

I cut a 4” X 100” strip of fabric, folded it in half, pressed it, and gathered it. I did not use the bias tape trim. Instead, I sewed the ruffle between the two sides of the reversible apron in exactly the same way one would attach a ruffle to a pillow, except that I tapered the ruffle until it disappeared at the top of the apron. I turned it inside out, and finished the rest of the apron exactly according to directions.

Zoë, in a fit of stubbornness, admired the apron, but refused to try it on for several hours. She truly believes clothing is optional, even in December. I finally persuaded her to put on some clothes and the apron, and she was absolutely delighted with it. She wanted to start baking cookies then and there!

I love the way the ruffle makes the Betsey apron even more feminine, and look forward to making one for myself soon!

Looking to make this a full body apron ? Check out THIS post

Friday, December 11, 2015

Full Apron Betsey Tutorial

Thanks so very much for this great tutorial!!!! We hope you all leave Michelle some holiday cheer in the comments section!


Hi there, Michelle here from SewJourners. I'm here to show you how to add a bodice to the Betsey Apron. This apron is perfect for holiday entertaining, gift-giving and cookie prep!

Ever since my daughter was 18 months old our favorite pastime has been baking muffins together. She started out by simply tipping the measuring cups into the mixing bowl, and sprinkling the streusel...well everywhere. Now at a whopping two and a half years old she is a true boss in the kitchen. She gets out all the supplies and wants to do as much as possible by herself. Enter much-needed aprons!

Until now we've been using basic aprons that were graciously gifted to us, mine for my wedding and hers at her baby shower. I decided it was time to make us some mommy-and-me matching aprons to add a sentimental touch to our special memories and get her even more excited to bake with me if that is at all possible.

Initially I began to draft my own pattern, but then I saw the Sis Boom Betsey Apron and it was exactly what I was hoping for and so much more. I mean really so much more. I would have never come up with these side bows that take this apron to the next level.

I used Happy Home fabrics by SewCaroline, available here. These prints are perfect for this fully reversible apron. There are so many combos that work, and the text is spot on for an apron.
The Betsy is a very fashionable half apron. However when my daughter and I are in the kitchen, things get messy! So we needed something with a front bodice. Today I'm going to show you how easy it is to add one without needing any additional pattern pieces. So grab for yourself the Betsey Apron pattern, some fabric, and lets get started! 

What you'll need:
  • The Betsey Apron pattern available here, and any supplies listed there.
  • About 2 fat quarters in coordinating fabric.
  • Additional bias tape. (length depends on your preferred closure method)

You will need to make one change to the cutting instructions on the pattern. Instead of cutting one belt center piece you will cut two in the following dimensions:
  • Child: 3 1/2" x 28"
  • Misses: 4" x 36"
  • Womens: 4" x 42"
Complete the following steps prior to the Apron Belts and Ties section of the pattern instructions.

Measure the distance between both sets of snip marks on your main apron fabric and add 1" to that measurement. That is the width of your bodice piece. You can then measure from your center waist, over the bust curve, up to the height you would like your bodice to go, then add another 1-2" to that measurement. 
For mine the child bodice was 13" x 9 1/2" and the misses was 18" x 13 1/2". (W x H)
Cut your two bodice pieces. 

Match up both bodice pieces with right sides facing and sew short sides with 1/2” seam allowance.

Turn right side out and press seams.
Sew gathering stitches along the top edge of the bodice.
Gather enough so that it becomes about half its original width.

Clip or pin your bias binding over the gathered edge of the top of the bodice. Now determine how long you want the bias tape, by trying it on. I chose to apply snaps to mine so I needed just enough to go around my neck. You will need more if you want to tie it in a bow. Trim bias tape 1/2" longer then your preferred length.
*Keep in mind strangulation safety when doing the child version. Velcro is another closure option.

Fold the short ends of the bias tape in 1/4" so there are no raw edges showing.

Using the same method explained in the pattern, sew 1/8" along the edge of of the bias tape, starting and ending at the short ends and securing it to the bodice. Add snaps to the ends now if you'd like.

When you get to the Apron Belt and Ties section on the pattern instructions, apply the instructions for figure C to both center belt pieces. 
Skip the instruction for figures D and E.

For figure F we will lay our two center belt pieces lined up together as pictured below. Unfold the upper and lower folds, but not the inside folds, and attach to the tie pieces as instructed. 

Follow along in the pattern and when instructed to attach the main apron to the center belt you will attach it to the lower edge of one of the belts. 
Then we will attach the bodice to the upper edge of that same belt in the same fashion.

Bring the other belt around to the front and place directly over the belt with the apron attached, wrong sides facing, making sure to cover all the seams. 

Pin, clip or wonder tape in place.

Topstitch as instructed in the pattern. (figure D)

And you're done! Well you really should add those side bows. They are so much fun!

Now for an idea of what my daughter was really thinking when we took these pictures:

And yes, she did get one:

or two...

Thanks for letting me share with you today! Remember to follow me at

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Decorating!

It's beginning of December and time to decorate for the winter holidays.  My decorations are a mix of Snowmen and Santa, but of course nothing is complete without reindeer.  If it weren't for the reindeer, Santa couldn't bring the toys!  SisBoom/Scientific Seamstress has released a FREE Rachel Reindeer pattern for your decorating pleasure.

A huge Welcome to Brianne showing us some ideas for fun holiday decorating! Leave her some holiday love in the comments section !

  reindeer header 

 There are so many ways to use Rachel Reindeer in your holiday decorating.
    1. Wreath
    2. On your tree, if you have one
    3. String several together to make a reindeer garland
    4. Sew up 9 and harness them to a sleigh
I made 3 little Rachels.  Their first stop was my mantel.  Combined with beads, a little tree that was handmade by my Italian friend, and a Germany advent calendar, I call it my European fireplace.

The fabric is a holiday cotton from Joann's last year.reindeer1

Second stop, the reindeer landed on the living room side table with a more modern flair of decoration.  Fear not, you can find the same items in the $1 bins at Target!  The Rachels were quite comfortable here, honestly.  I rather liked it too, but there was one more place for them to go.


 Third and final stop, each Rachel got a place with her own bow on the staircase.  This immediately became my favorite and where they have stayed.  They deserve to be front and center. reindeer5

Have you downloaded the Free Rachel Reindeer pattern?  How are you decorating with her?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Add FEET to the Easy Fits!

Let's all give a WARM welcome to Maria today who is going to help out toes stay warm this winter!

Well the expression is Cold Hands, Warm Heart but in my house its cold toes season.  Oy!  Yep when your three year old climbs into bed and shocks you awake as he puts his cold toes right in the gap between your pj pants and your shirt- its definitely cold toe season!  For now the child problem is solved with socks.  His footed pjs are on the to-do list.

As I mentioned yesterday, this year I am starting with me!!!!!  I get cold feet- just ask my hubby about being shocked awake.  That might be why he has no sympathy for me on this matter.

Ahhh, but there is a simple solution.  Yesterday I mentioned my frustration with the kids' pattern for footed feet pjs.  Despite those frustrations I am thankful that I made those last year because it gave me a brainstorm of EPIC proportions.  Yep, I said it- EPIC.  You all may not believe but it is truly epic.

The problem with traditional footed pjs is two fold for me.  First, I actually use the bathroom while wearing my pjs.  Sometimes a couple of times during the night.  With full footed pjs, you have to zip off the top and sit there freezing.  Yeah not fun!  Second, while I am cold, I'm not fleece cold at night.  Fleece under the covers is too hot for me.    The kids' pajama pattern solved both issues- they were made of flannel and they were separates!  Of course, that was a kids' pattern and I didn't actually care for it.

Thats where my trusty Easy Fits pattern came to the rescue!  I use this pattern and the kids' version quite a bit.  More than I would have expected when I bought it.  These are really my go-to patterns for comfy pajama pants, mostly because, as the name suggests, they are easy to make.

After all the Christmas sewing was done I sat down and whipped up this pair last year.  They are the best!  I kid you not- I am pulling these out of the dryer before it stops these days.  Well I was two weeks ago, now I have 2 more pair added to my rotation.

I started by checking out this great tutorial from Melly Sews.   The foot of the pjs I made for the kids was done a little different and the feet on the Kwik Sew jammas that are my go-to for footed one-piece for the kids was very different.  I decided to do my feet more like my Kwik Sew patterns.  The pant on those extends all the way down to the toes in one piece.  Then the sole of the foot is the only part you sew on.  I liked that better- less seams.

Of course when I went to sew a new pair this year I couldn't find the pattern I'd made up last year anywhere.  Not really surprising if you took a look in my craft room.  Better for you all though, now I'll do a quickie tutorial on how to add feet to your Easy Fits.

Start by measuring your outseam to the floor.  I print my pattern out twice so I can cut my pieces two at a time instead of having to put them on the fold (plus I add rise to the back so my bum is covered better).  So here you can see my XL piece under my tracing paper.  For this you'll need to make a full pattern so you can either do what I do or trace one side then flip and trace the other so you have one large- yes LARGE- pattern piece.

Then you'll lengthen your pattern to your outseam measurement plus 2-3 inches for movement.  Draw line down the middle (where the fold would be) and a line across for the bottom (hem part).  Do not draw the inseam sides of the pants just yet.  

Now if you haven't adjusted the top of the pants, you'll need to mark you back rise and back leg part.  Next we'll add the foot.  Start by tracing around your foot, a shoe, or a template of some sort. 

Next comes the oh-so-accurate part of the process.  Mark the middle of the ankle bones on the sides of your foot and the middle of the top and heel if you want.  If you don't have a foot to measure, you'll need to approximate where the middle of the ankle bone would be and mark it on the sides.

Next you're going to cut out your foot and lay it down on the front side of your pattern match your ankle bone markings with the bottom of the pant.  Place the foot about 1-2 inches away from that center line you drew (on the front part of the pant).  Mark about 1-2 inches on the other side of the foot and then draw around the foot.  Measure the distance between the center line and the outer point at the bottom of the pant.  Thats the amount you'll measure out on the back side of the bottom.  

From your points on the foot side and the back side of the bottom of the pant you'll draw up to the crotch for your inseam.  This is what your final pattern should look like.  

And the easiest part, sewing it all up.  The first step is to sewing 1/4 inch elastic about 3 inches from the bottom of pant on the inside- from inseam to inseam.  You'll really need this elastic or you'll be tripping- believe me, I forgot to add it to the blue pair above and had to go back to add it after I tripped going up the stairs with the laundry!  

After that you can sew up the pants the way you would normally.  For the feet, I like a little cushiness so my feet are three layers.  The bottom (sole) layer is grippy fabric that I buy at JoAnns.  I always seem to get lucky and find it in the remnant bin, you really don't need much.  Its also sold various other places, including some cute ones that are feet shaped.  Next a layer of the thickest fleece I can find in my sewing room and last a layer of flannel or terry or whatever you want, maybe velour- my feet sweat next to fleece so I like that layer to keep the fleece off.   You can baste these together if you want- the grippy facing out, the fleece then the last layer with right side out as well.  

Sorry- I'm realizing I should have taken a picture of this next step.  You'll turn your pants inside out and pin the foot to the bottom with the grippy side facing in- right sides of the pants should be facing all in.  Sew around the foot- turn out it out and check that you caught all layers and try it on to make sure it fits.  Finish your pants as you desire and enjoy!

For a great matching top pattern check out the bowling shirt ! and see this post here on lengthening the sleeves.