Saturday, October 30, 2010

Make your own t-shirt

If you haven't tried it yet, you might be surprised at how easy it is to sew up a t-shirt. Knit fabrics can be tricky to understand and it can be challenging to learn how to manipulate them. Once you learn that part, you can take off in garment sewing!

I am teaching a T-Shirt Class on Sunday, November 7th at Modern Domestic. Class meets 10am-2:30pm with a 30 minute break for lunch.Because there isn't usually homework between the sessions of the t-shirt class, I am able to offer this as a one-session class.

In class, you will learn how to handle knit fabrics so they lie smoothly during cutting, how to manage those pesky curling edges, how much to hem to prevent the hem from rolling up, as well as countless other tips for making drapey, silky smooth t-shirts. Many of the things you learn will also apply to heavier weight knit garments such as sweatshirts or yoga pants.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blind Hem Tutorial

I have a new tutorial up at the Bolt Blog. It's about BLIND HEMS! Woot!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Emaline Skirt Class

I'm teaching an a-line skirt class at Aloha Vac and Sew (SW 185th and TV Hwy). It's the Emaline Skirt - very cute, a little sassy, and a flattering fit! Learn to put in a zipper and make a quick and easy skirt that could be your Fall staple!
Call Aloha Vac and Sew to sign up: 503-649-6050
Class meets Mondays, September 20th and 27th, 6pm-8pm. $40. Machines provided.
And folks, you don't have to make it in the clown-ish prints that they show on the front pattern. I'm thinking a nice gray or dark brown linen would look fantastic and hang beautifully. Pair it with some tall boots and you've got it made.

Emaline Skirt

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Upcoming class:
Jeans at Modern Domestic
Sundays, September 12, 19, 26
$115 plus supplies

Make jeans that fit you just right!
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Friday, July 02, 2010

Kimono Dress

I made the Kimono Dress in the Heather Ross Weekend Sewing Book. I wanted to make it out of knit fabric, and I scored some inexpensive, yet stable interlock knit at my nearest mega-store, so I was willing to consider this dress a muslin.

Yes, I bought the fabric to match my shoes.

The sash fabric is silk from a different mega-store. I got it on clearance in the bridal section and could only get the 1/4 yard that you see there. It is nearly 44" wide and I simply cut it in half lengthwise and sewed it together. I finished the edges with a rolled hem on my serger, using wolly nylon in the upper looper.

The dress itself only vaguely follows the pattern. I made the bodice and then wrapped it around me until I had adequate coverage and a less plunging neckline. Then I took in the side seams of the skirt until it matched the circumference of the bodice. After I sewed the bodice to the skirt I tried the dress on and it was still way too big. So I took inches more off the waist, tapering from under the kimono sleeves to the hip. I got a little carried away and would like it to be a little less snug through my low-waist, but it's soft and comfy and stretchy! I'll be making many more!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finishing touches

If you haven't been over to Sew, Mama, Sew lately, be sure to check them out.

This month is Make It, Wear It!, a collection of inspiration, hints, and tips about garment sewing.

I have a post today about Finishing Touches.

In other news, there are some new classes to check out over at Modern Domestic, including jeans and a bias cut slip! There is also a knit skirt class if you are looking to leap into knits as well as Twist on a Tee, a class where you can design your own t-shirt. I will also be offering an ongoing class called Sewing With Sally where you can bring in any project of your choice (preferably something you've done in a class or private lesson with me) and get the help you need.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I'm still working on my Jalie jeans, but they are slow going.
Most of my sewing projects get done in small bits of time, 20 minutes stolen here and there, maybe 45 minutes during nap time. I've found that the jeans really require a lot more concentration.

The fly is done now and I'm feeling good about it.
I was worried that I didn't have the right size zipper, which freaked me out because I finally had carved out a good hour to work on it and then was disappointed that I hadn't bought a jeans zipper. I often don't buy all the supplies that a pattern calls for because I have such a huge amount of hand-me-down supplies and materials and random stuff.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried.
I had THIRTEEN metal zippers in my stash.
At least four were the right color and had the right size teeth.

So the zipper is in and the next step is to sew on the waistband, which includes cutting off the excess zipper at the top. I would have assumed that I could cut the excess off the bottom, but the pattern has you place the bottom zipper stop in just the right place so that the zipper stop takes all the stress, not the topstitching. Smart. And looking at my store-bought jeans now, I see they are done the same way.

Today I got a nice mention from Amy Karol on her blog Angry Chicken.
If you haven't seen it, I have a post over on the Bolt Blog regarding double needles.
And a post at Sew, Mama, Sew about tools for garment sewing.

It's been busy around here!
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hooded Sweatshirt class!

Class starts next Tuesday (May 25th)
There is still space available!

Tuesday evenings, May 25th, June 1st and June 8th.

Learn to put together a raglan sleeve pattern, sew a zipper into stretchy fabric, sew on a hood, make kangaroo pockets, and have a ton of fun!

Hoodie class

Class starts next Tuesday (May 25th)
There is still space available

I made the raglan hooded sweatshirt from the Built by Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book and I'm a big fan. Because I wanted a snug fitting hoodie, I made a smaller size than normal and it's darling. You'll have to believe me that it fits fantastically - I missed my opportunity for Brian to take a photo of me wearing it. Now the sample is at Modern Domestic.

Because it's a class!

Tuesday evenings, May 25th, June 1st and June 8th.

Learn to put together a raglan sleeve pattern, sew a zipper into stretchy fabric, sew on a hood, make kangaroo pockets, and have a ton of fun!
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Friday, April 09, 2010

Learn To Sew: Farmer's Market Tote Bag Class

Have you been lurking, thinking that you might want to learn to sew? Do you have a machine sitting around, and you aren't even sure if it works? Join class on Sunday for the Learn To Sew: Farmer's Market Tote. I will look at your machine and make sure it works. If it doesn't, you will have time to get the machine serviced before the second week of class, which is when we start sewing!

In the first class we will work on cutting out the bag from the pattern and fusing the iron-on interfacing. Does interfacing fascinate and frighten you? Come learn the little tricks to make your interfacing look fantastic!

Class meets three times: Sundays April 11th, 18th, and 25th.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

Bias cut camisole and tap shorts

Sign up now for the Sumptuous Knit Top Class at Modern Domestic!
Class starts tomorrow, April 6th!
If you've finished any other sewing project, you are ready to sew knits!

And once you take the knit class, you can sew the knit camisole, which is taught in the same class as this bias cut camisole (the similarities between knits and bias cut wovens might surprise you!)

This camisole is made from a lovely cotton lawn that I got over at Fabric Depot last week. The trim is stretch lace.

The cami and the tap shorts are cut on the bias.

The back of both.

Soft enough to sleep in.
Pretty enough to wear under a light robe when you have coffee on the veranda with your sweetie.

Class starts May 16th.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Some thoughts on choosing knit fabrics

I get asked about knit fabrics a lot. I love working with knits, but they come with their own special challenges. Here are some thoughts that I have about choosing which knits you want to sew with, especially for t-shirts, knit dresses, and the camisole/panties sets.

When you purchase your fabric, buy at least 1/4 yard extra for shrinkage and practicing stretch stitches. Pre-wash your fabric as you intend to wash the finished garment. I wash and dry my fabric up to three times before cutting and sewing, just to be sure it won't shrink after I sew it!

Some thoughts on fabric:
There are many kinds of knit fabric on the market, including variances in content (cotton, poly, bamboo, hemp, wool, silk, lycra, etc.) and variances in how the fabric is made, which affects its stretch.

Knit patterns all have a stretch requirement. Fitted garments often require about 40% stretch. There is a line on the back of the pattern marked with a black box and white arrow. You can hold the fabric to the pattern, stretch it, and if it goes to the end of the black box/white arrow, it is stretchy enough to use. Don’t try to stretch the selvedge. Use the middle of the fabric and stretch away from (perpendicular to) the selvedge.

Interlock knits are knit in a special way so the fabric is double-sided, without right and wrong sides. It does not roll, is very easy to work with and I highly recommend it for your first t-shirt! It usually has a 30-40% stretch.

Jersey knits, also called single knits, are very common, fairly thin, and have a tendency to roll. They have an obvious right side and wrong side, just like hand knit items. The amount they roll can be a big challenge when you are cutting out and sewing the pattern. But the fabric has a lovely drape, with 25%-50% stretch. Those who are up for a challenge or who have a serger will find jersey knits very rewarding to sew.

Double knits aren’t just made from that awful polyester from the 70s. Now commonly found in 100% cotton or cotton blends, it is similar to interlock knits in that it doesn’t have a right or wrong side and does not roll. It is usually heavier weight than interlock and has minimal stretch. I wouldn’t recommend it for a t-shirt.

Rib knits are generally used for necklines and cuffs because they have 100% stretch – meaning 4” of ribbing will stretch to 8” and then rebound back to 4” when you let go of it. There are some rib knits that are very fine and delicate, making them good for a t-shirt. They do not have a right or wrong side and do not roll.

When you check the stretch of a fabric, don’t stretch the selvedge edge, but reach down a few inches and measure there. The selvedge will not stretch as much as the rest of the fabric. Stretch parallel to the selvedge and also perpendicular to the selvedge. One direction will stretch more than the other.

Bolt has a lot of very lovely knits. If you choose a stripe or a print, you might be surprised how easy it is to work with! Be sure to note the direction of the stripes! Imagine the selvedge edge running down the center of your shirt from neck to hem and make sure the stripes go the “right” direction for you!

That shirt on your back...

...did you make it yourself?
Well you CAN!

We've opened YET ANOTHER t-shirt class!!!

This is getting wild folks!

You can join the fun on Tuesday nights, April 6th and 13th,
7pm-9pm at Modern Domestic!

For those of you who want to make the Knit Dress

or the Camisole and Panties,
you need to have made a t-shirt first.

Call Modern Domestic at 503-808-9910 to sign up, or go to their website and you can sign up online!

Monday, March 22, 2010

T-shirt mania

The T-shirt class that I am teaching at Modern Domestic is almost full. So in addition to the April 11th class (noon-4pm) we are opening another session of the class on May 23rd (also noon-4pm). Come take the class and make a t-shirt in a day!

You have your choice of the Women's tee (nicely fitted, seen below) and the new Men's tee. Both patterns come with 27 sizes (children's sizes through adult sizes), so you can make any size t-shirt you want!

Note to self: get dress form. Our hangers are too wide.

Next note to self: make another sample for Modern Domestic, so this here shirt can be on my body, not on display!
I'm loving the mock v-neck that I did here. I wanted the stripes to line up, so I played with it a bit. Come to CLASS to find out how to do it!

Twin needles in action. Loving the stretch that I get at the hem when I use the twin needles.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Camisole and Pantie Set

So, with DIY going under-cover, so to speak, I figured it was high time to teach a class on making your own undergarments.

With stretch lace trim, this set is super pretty and still very comfy.

Learn to sew on picot edge elastic and stretch lace. Handle knit fabrics with ease!
Modern Domestic
Sunday, May 16th Noon-4pm

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Choose your own adventure

Knit dress. (I should have modeled it, it's way cuter on a person!)

Make your own at Modern Domestic! We will be using the Built by Wendy book, Sew U Home Stretch (at Amazon(dot)com for $10 right now!). I just finished reading through the whole book and it's really a good one. All you need to know about sewing on knit fabrics, without too many details to confuse. And it comes with a lot of basic patterns.

Class will be held Sundays, April 18th and 25th, 2pm-4pm.

We will spend the first day of class drafting the pattern for the dress you choose. You decide sleeve length, neckline (boat, scoop, v-neck), waistline (empire, regular, lowered), and skirt (gathered or not, flared or straight, long or short). And of course you get to choose your fabric and optional trim for a dress that is truly you. How lucky!

If you have successfully made something else out of knit fabric, come join us!
New to knits? Take the t-shirt class that is offered April 11th, 12pm-4pm.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going Green



I had a turtle neck with a very scratchy neck. It was some nylon/wool/angora/cashmere (ha!) blend. And everytime I put it on, it drove me nuts. But I needed something green for St. Patrick's Day, right? So I cut off the neck and cut down the center front. I applied some knit scraps that I had. I cut two inch wide strips on the straight of grain (so it wouldn't stretch much and get all wavy). I folded the strips in half lengthwise and with the raw edge of the sweater lined up with the raw edges of the knit, sewed it on. I folded it to the back and stitched it down.

So during nap time, I got a new cardigan. Yay!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Oooh, I want this bag to be mine. Found while trolling the internet, courtesy of Be*mused. Click the bag itself to see more like it. Navigating the website makes no sense to me. But think about the big stitches on that bag. For one who doesn't totally love handwork, I can totally imagine sitting (while perhaps watching the Olympics) and quilting those big and contrasting stitches!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Classes!

The new class list is now available over at the bolt neighborhood blog!

I am teaching:

Belle Skirt 1/31 and 2/7 (full)
Zippers I 2/14
Uptown Coat 2/21, 2/28, 3/7 (full)
Zippers II (invisible zippers) 3/14
Learn To Sew: Farmer's Market Tote Bag 3/21, 3/28, 4/4

All my classes are on Sundays, 4:30-6:30pm.
See you in class!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Welcome 2010, I am so excited to meet you and greet you. I feel your optimism and potential. I await the surprises you will bring.

I ushered in the New Year at a dear friend's wedding, standing next to another dear friend who flew all the way from Norway (with her 11 month old!) to be at the wedding! Such good friends and so much love, I can't imagine a better way to start the year.

May your 2010 be full of love and joy!