Want to go to Italy?

Imagine this: You wake up in Italy with a full itinerary that you didn’t have to plan yourself.

After getting dressed, you have breakfast with other sewists, discuss the plan for the day and get on a bus to travel and see the sights.

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Your day is full of sewing-related activities, like touring a thread factory and leather studio, with plenty of shopping, eating and socializing along the way. You make new friends and visit new places all with a tour guide who speaks the language.

Cinque Terra BS 859355314 Want to go to Italy?

Getty Image: Cinque Terra

This is what happens when you sign up for the BurdaStyle Italy tour through Craftours! Plus, BurdaStyle editor Meg Healy and yours truly, Sew News editor Ellen March, get to come along, too. Meg and I are planning some extra activities for the bus rides as we travel to and from each destination. And we can’t wait to get to know you!

Pisa BS 510132551 Want to go to Italy?

Getty Image: Pisa

If you’ve ever wanted to travel to Europe but have been scared at the prospect of not knowing the language, not being able to navigate from city to city, or if something else has been holding you back–this is the tour for you.

DUOMO Milan BS 890686656 Want to go to Italy?

Getty Image: Duomo di Firenze in Florence


I can’t wait to get a leather bag (and maybe some shoes) in Florence. The quality is astounding, plus the prices are super affordable. And then there’s the cooking lesson at a vineyard! We will be making our own pasta and drinking wine while we do it. (I’m allergic to wine, but I’ve been assured it’s still fun!) Not to mention the fabric shopping…

Tuscany BS 664817870 Want to go to Italy?

Getty Image: Old Village In Tuscany



I hope you’ll come along!


 Want to go to Italy?
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Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 2: Assembly Tips

Thanks for joining us for week two of the Emerson Crop Pants sew along! This week, we’re tackling the major construction steps for the pants. Review last week for tips on construction the pockets and pleats. And join us next week for all things waistband (spoiler: it’s so clever!) and finishing. Take it away, Kelli!

Twitter 2EMerson Pant sew along copy Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 2: Assembly Tips

Pin one of the front shorts / pants to its coordinating back, right sides touching, along the outside and inner legs. Stitch.

Finish seam allowance in desired manner. I serged the seam allowances. Repeat for other leg. Press seam allowances open for inner leg (or to one side if you serged like I did) and to the back for the outer leg. Continue reading

 Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 2: Assembly Tips
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6 Spring Trends to Sew

Love them or hate the, fashion trends can infuse and inspire your sewing with new colors, silhouettes and accessories you might not otherwise explore. Spring is a great time to try new things, experiment and have fun with fashion. Here are our top trends to try this spring.spring trends 2018 1 6 Spring Trends to SewFirst, a word about color: all the colors are in, so do you. From pastels and bold pops to sheers and prints to sequin and fringe trim…now is your chance to embrace your inner extra!

If spring is long where you live, consider a classic trench coat in a feminine pastel or a bold hue. We particularly love the Luzerne Trench by Deer & Doe – a nod to the classic trench with plenty of modern upgrades and details. You can find more inspiring looks here.

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Wide-leg pants are here to stay…and we’re not sad about it! We’ve gathered styling ideas for a balanced silhouette. And perfect timing: join the Emerson Crop Pants sew along this month and make a pair with us!

Layer on the sheers with a spring kimono. Read our latest round up for info on our top kimono pattern picks, find the perfect sheer in your stash (it’s not going to sew itself!) and sew one up for a bit of instant drama.

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Fun mules, clogs and sandals might be the best thing about warmer weather. Hack a high-end look by adding pompoms to basic black mules or flats. A couture look that doesn’t cost a fortune!

Another nod to a classic silhouette, pencil skirts are back. This wardrobe staple is perfect for spring soirees and super easy to dress up or down with the right top and accessories. Wear it to the rehearsal dinner AND the wedding, friends! Here at SN headquarters, we’ve got more than a few pencil skirts on the spring sewing docket.

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Change up your standard bag situation this spring with a fanny pack. This one took a while to wrap my head around and it might not be for you, but there’s no denying it: these bags are everywhere this spring! From leather to sporty canvas to embroidery-embellished, fanny packs  are stylish and practical for warm weather adventuring.

When in doubt, just add ruffles. Unless you’re team flounce…then add flounces!

Looking for a sampling of these trends to try? We’re loving the Sew the Trends kit  from BurdaStyle (also available in Plus Size).

 6 Spring Trends to Sew
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Trading Spaces is Back Episode 1 Recap

Trading Spaces S9, E1 Recap: Not Our First Rodeo

It’s season 9 of Trading Spaces, back after a 10-year hiatus, and I just had to watch the first episode and report!

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images courtesy of TLC.com.

I loved Trading Spaces back in the day. In fact, I had the pleasure of interviewing several Trading Spaces designers for Sew News, including Frank Bielec who is back this season. I was always fascinated by the amount of work that went into teach room transformation in only two days–knowing that reality TV isn’t always what it seems. I always looked for the sewists–sometimes they were the homeowners, who needed a little tutorial on the machine or sewed by hand to get the pillows done in time. So when TLC announced they were bringing back the show, I had to watch and hope that we would see much more sewing this time around.

As usual, we don’t get to witness much of the process from the designers. They have their design all mapped out before we even begin to learn about the homeowners. I want to see the sketches, the color swatches, the fabric shopping, the thrift store bargains…but I guess there’s not much time for that. Instead, we learn about the homeowners–they are sisters who live next door to each other. One couple needs their master bedroom updated. The other needs a guest room that people will actually want to stay in. Here we go.

Couple #1 are working with Doug Wilson. Doug was always one to push the envelope, but surprise everyone in the end with the result. He didn’t disappoint. His couple wanted an oasis–a tropical retreat–for their relatives, expressing that the existing room was too dark. Doug responds first by having them paint the ceiling dark brown. Then he turns up with yards of burlap and has them start stapling it to the walls. Hilarity. The couple is totally against this and even said “No. We’re not doing that.” But end up doing it anyway.

Couple #2 are working with Hildi Santo Tomas. If you remember the show, you remember Hildi. She was notorious for doing the most outlandish things–just to get a rise out of the homeowners and the audience. Furniture glued to the ceiling, straw glued to walls, flowers stapled to walls, sand on the floor (the entire floor)…need I go on? Obviously I was on the edge of my seat to see what she would do in the first episode of the series reboot. First, she found a cool fabric print, but then she decided to mimic it on every wall and the ceiling. Too much of a good thing really is just that. Couple #2 are completely against this, stating that they would just paint too slowly and the ceiling would be spared. Not so much. They flaked on their homework, left the ceiling alone, and Hildi made them all do it the next morning, swapping time and space in the room with Ty Pennington, who had to install an entirely fabricated Murphy bed.

In the end, Couple #1 finished their burlap-covered walls and the homeowners…liked it? They said they did, but I couldn’t really tell. They did get a cool handmade platform bed and matching dresser out of the deal, courtesy of Carter Oosterhouse, which was probably worth the $2,000 investment alone.

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Couple #2 finished the ceiling, Hildi brought in even more of the fabric print with custom Roman shades and they managed to finish .25 over budget.

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Yes, that pattern was on each wall and on the ceiling. The Murphy bed was a nice touch, but even Ty stated that they would need an army to help them lift it back to the wall. Hope they don’t have frequent house guests, because they will have nowhere to keep those club chairs (notice they are up against the door in the above photo).

Screen Shot 2018 04 09 at 2.58.08 PM Trading Spaces is Back Episode 1 RecapAnd, yes, those are hollowed-out egg shells acting as a “statue,” as Paige Davis calls it. I guarantee the homeowners repaint and throw away those egg shells immediately. They opened their eyes for the reveal and the woman starts crying. Paige questions whether they are tears of joy. I guarantee, they aren’t. She hates it but keeps complimenting the “amount of work that went into it.” The husband is visibly disappointed.

Did these people not watch ten years ago? Very few homeowners were pleased, if I’m remembering correctly. Plus, the designers almost always do the exact opposite of what is requested. So if you’re going to be on this show, you should just ask for shag carpeting, a naked statue of yourself and pillows made of human hair if you want to get anything you’ll actually want and use. Just sayin.

Prove me wrong, Trading Spaces! Let’s see some actual designs we could use in our own lives rather than creating drama for the sake of drama and a ridiculous design that causes the homeowners to spend twice as much money to fix. (Maybe a more interesting show would be “Trading Spaces: After the Crew Leaves. Wouldn’t you love to see the first thing that happens once the cameras are off?)

I’ll watch again, but I can’t commit to the entire season…yet.




 Trading Spaces is Back Episode 1 Recap
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Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 1: Pattern Prep, Pleats & Pockets

Thanks for joining us for the Emerson Crop Pants sew along!

These wide-legged crop pants are the perfect blend of style and comfort (via an elastic waist at the pant back). Seriously, you’re going to love the waistband! The recommended fabrics include linen, cotton, rayon challis, chambray and lightweight denim. Depending on the fabric chosen, these pants are perfect for the heat of summer and in transitional seasons as well. emerson1 4 1024x1024 Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 1: Pattern Prep, Pleats & Pockets

Pair them with the perfect top, shoes and accessories…and you can get a ton of mileage from one garment – date night, casual wedding, everyday! Today we’re joined by designer Kelli Ward/True Bias to get started with the pant prep and construction steps. And there’s still time to join: grab the digital pattern  and sew a pair with us! Take it away, Kelli! Continue reading

 Emerson Crop Pants Sew Along, Week 1: Pattern Prep, Pleats & Pockets
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Project Runway All Stars S6, E13: Finale Recap

Project Runway All Stars Season 6, Episode 13: History in the Making

It’s the FINALE!

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photos courtesy of mylifetime.com.

In this episode, the three remaining designers had to finish seven-piece collections to show on the runway for a few hundred people. Past-eliminated designers were on hand to help with the final sewing, as everyone was only given five days to complete their looks. Candace helped Anthony, Amanda helped Stanley and Helen helped Fabio. It was a love fest. I’ve never actually seen more actual sewing, pressing, fiddling and overall process on this show and it was such a welcomed change. No drama–just a bird’s eye view on their process. It was fascinating.

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Stanley went with an “all-American” collection, featuring a sportswear take on red, white and blue.

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Fabio went with an oversized collection, including his smocked look from last week and hinting at it in other garments in the collection. He edited his fabric print and swapped it with a bright yellow that really made things pop.

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Anthony did his “Audrey Hepburn turned Rihanna” collection, and it didn’t disappoint. He included velvet, mesh, paint and an interesting print to tie it all together. He was the most concerned with construction technique, falling behind to make sure everything was sewn impeccably. Candace was continually worried for him, but she managed to help him achieve his goals.

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After a very long deliberation, it wasn’t clear who was the winner. All of the judges liked each collection for different reasons, with Alyssa favoring Fabio, guest judge Catherine Zeta Jones favoring Anthony and Isaac favoring Stanley. I still secretly wanted Anthony to win for his sheer delight and enthusiasm alone. Enthusiasm goes a long way in my book.

I thought Stanley’s designs were too basic. The red dress, which Isaac fawned over, looked so simple to me. I thought Fabio’s looks were interesting but not wearable and, to Zeta Jones’ point, looked too “strange,” as if someone on the street might wonder who you were and what you were trying to be. Anthony really went with his vision, stating it several times. It showed. His attention to detail and editing eye all played a part in his sleek collection.

And… to everyone’s surprise. ANTHONY WINS! I honestly couldn’t believe the judges trusted him with this win. I thought for sure they would choose safe, polished Stanley. Even Fabio had a leg up because of his artistic point of view. I’ve never been more happy and in more agreement of a Project Runway winner. His squeal was everything.

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 Project Runway All Stars S6, E13: Finale Recap
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Sketch to Sew: Using a Bullet Journal with Ho Mei of Arrow Mountain

This month, we’ve been exploring fashion sketching and how to utilize it effectively as part of your sewing practice. For our next Sketch to Sew feature, we chatted with Ho Mei of @arrowmountain and Arrow Mountain on Etsy (the most amazing buttons!) about how she uses a bullet journal to plan her sewing.

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I like to draw in my dotted bullet journal using a ballpoint pen. A dotted journal is really great for guiding proportions when sketching. The photos are taken by my phone and often edited with Instagram filters.

I find [sketching] most useful for planning what to sew next and capturing ideas in my head, as it can get quite overwhelming with the number of patterns and designs I want to try. I see it as a dumping ground for all the ideas floating in my head. I also find it great for planning a capsule wardrobe: to sketch entire outfits for a season and see how each different garment can go together and what are the key pieces to sew.

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 Sketch to Sew: Using a Bullet Journal with Ho Mei of Arrow Mountain
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