Appleton Dress Sew Along, Week 1: How to Cut Knits

If there is one garment that deserves a spot in your spring wardrobe, it’s a wrap dress. We love a great wrap around here: there’s nothing better to transition from winter to summer months and nothing more figure-friendly.

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 Appleton Dress Sew Along, Week 1: How to Cut Knits
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Weekend Sewing: The Linden Edition

IMG 20170203 095052 1024x1024 Weekend Sewing: The Linden Edition

You know it’s love when you find a pattern that you want to make a bazillion times. The Linden Sweatershirt from Grainline Studio is one of those patterns. I knew it was going to be good: when I bought the pattern, I also bought fabric for four versions – a shirt tail hem (see the black and white stripes above), a dress version (also above; tutorial here), a basic blue peplum (in the works) and a gray french terry with a high-low hem (waiting to be cut). Come to think of it, I haven’t yet made the pattern as it comes, with a hem band. Might have to try it!

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 Weekend Sewing: The Linden Edition
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National Wear Red Day Is Today! + A Heart Healthy Giveaway!

This coming National Wear Red Day, Feb. 3, 2017, will mark 15 years since the initial National Wear Red Day, which was first observed to bring national attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, and to raise awareness of women’s heart health.   National Wear Red Day Is Today! + A Heart Healthy Giveaway!

Here’s a look back on all that they’ve accomplished:

  • Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third of women has lost weight.
  • More than 50% of women have increased their exercise.
  • 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets.
  • More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels.
  • One third of women has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
  • Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day.
  • Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

But despite their progress, more work is crucial. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. But what’s more powerful? Millions of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends making a change.

Awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women has nearly doubled in the last 12 years. However, most women fail to make the connection between heart disease risk factors and their personal risk of developing the disease. The Heart Truth is a national program for women about heart disease and is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Through the program, launched in 2002, the NHLBI leads the nation in a landmark heart health awareness-to-action movement that is being embraced by millions who share the common goal of better heart health for all women.

The centerpiece of The Heart Truth is the Red Dress®, which was created by the NHLBI and introduced as the national symbol for women. and heart disease awareness in 2002. The Red Dress® is a powerful red alert that inspires women to learn more about their personal risk for heart disease and take action to protect their heart health.

For more information about women and heart disease, including materials about women and heart disease, please visit or call the NHLBI Health Information Center at 301-592-8573.

How has heart disease affected your life? Do you participate in the National Wear Red Day? Leave a comment and two winners will be picked to win Sew Red: Sewing & Quilting For Women’s Heart Health book!

 National Wear Red Day Is Today! + A Heart Healthy Giveaway!

 National Wear Red Day Is Today! + A Heart Healthy Giveaway!
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Perfect Fit: Bonus Info with Joi Mahon

T6854 227x300 Perfect Fit: Bonus Info with Joi MahonNot everyone encounters a gapping neckline, but when you have one, you know it. In my February/March 2017 Sew News column I addressed why this occurs and how easy it is to fix. Read on to learn how I discovered this solution when I was 16 years old.

For any garment, you should always make a fitting sample so you can pin out any fit issues prior to sewing in the fashion fabric. Fit issues can only be eliminated in the fitting stage. Once a garment is sewn, you can address fit issues from a garment alteration approach like you would if you had purchased it off the rack, but you can’t eliminate them since you are past the pattern-making and pattern-fitting stages. The joy of sewing for yourself or others is that you can prevent having to settle for alterations and make things correctly from the beginning.

knit neckline 700 Perfect Fit: Bonus Info with Joi MahonI actually taught myself how to make the gapping neckline adjustment over 25 years ago, while I was working in a tailor’s shop during high school. When you’re altering a ready-to-wear garment with a gapping neckline, the goal is to pull the neckline closer to the body. Since you are not sewing the garment from the beginning, you need to rely on alterations. Some alterations may look seamless and conceal what was done — which was always our goal in the shop — but alterations cannot always completely eliminate a fit issue, since you are fitting a standard-sized ready-to-wear garment to a unique body shape. Some alteration options for a gapping neckline include making a dart, tuck or seam line down the CF in order to remove the excess; making multiple creative darts to absorb the excess and hug the neckline; or sewing elastic to the underside, causing the fabric to hug the body.

While working in this shop, I had an ah-ha moment. I discovered that when you place a garment on the torso and pin out fabric down the center front, it does not affect anything else. Try it and you’ll see. Watch the garment on the body as you pin, and you’ll notice that the only area that moves or changes is the gapping neckline being removed by the pinning. No other area on the garment is affected, shifted or anything. This proved to me that the grain of the overall garment does not change when you modify the center front — you still have a straight line down the center front. I have done this thousands of times now and it has never failed. It has also given me a greater understanding and realistic view of grain and working with patterns on the body.

knit necklines wf Perfect Fit: Bonus Info with Joi MahonIn alterations your solutions are limited because the garment is already sewn, but when sewing and designing for yourself, you can remove the gapping neckline prior to sewing your fashion fabric and still have a seamless custom look.

Voila the Joy of Sewing!

—Designer Joi

To learn the details of Joi’s gapping-neckline fitting solution, check out her “Joi of Fitting” column in the February/March 2017 issue of Sew News, available on newsstands now through March 13, 2017, and at indefinitely.

For more from Joi, visit or find her book Designer Joi’s Fashion Sewing Workshop and Create the Perfect Fit in

*** Read here for making a wrap dress neckline lay nice and flat, from Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette Patterns.

Long read: What Makes Sewing Joyous For You?

Read: 7 Reasons To Try Fashion Sewing

Read more on fitting here!

 Perfect Fit: Bonus Info with Joi Mahon
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Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 3: Bagging a Jacket Lining

Sew Along 2017 web image 300x193 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 3: Bagging a Jacket LiningOnce again, we welcome Heather Lou of Closet Case Files to the Sew News blog for the Clare Coat sew along! We’ve learned so much in the past three weeks: how to choose wool coating, how to sew welt pockets and, now, how to bag a lining. Let’s get started!

(Quick note: If you’re late to the party but still want the pattern, you can find it, and Heather’s other amazing patterns, at the Closet Case Files pattern shop. )

Traditionally, tailored coats are lined using a lot of hand stitching but who has time for that? Today we’ll be bagging the lining, a commercial technique which lets us machine stitch almost the entire thing. Bagging a lining feels like magic the first time you do it; it almost doesn’t make sense that it will work, but I promise you, it does!

You should have your coat shell and lining/facing completely assembled and ready to go. Before we sew anything together, fold up your coat hem up 2″ and press (there are notches along the hem indicating the fold line). You will notice that part of the hem is a little bit narrower; this is to reduce bulk. The hem at this narrower part should be 5/8″/16mm wide.

Clare Coat How to bag a lining 300x184 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 3: Bagging a Jacket Lining

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 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 3: Bagging a Jacket Lining
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Raglan Sweatshirt: Dress Hack

Screen Shot 2017 01 27 at 1.33.57 PM Raglan Sweatshirt: Dress Hack As I’ve shared in the past, I prefer to buy a pattern that I know I’ll sew at least three times. The Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio has been on my list for years. I bought the pattern over holiday break and purchased fabric for four hack versions (I’m a planner!), since I’m not keen on the hemband: a curved hem, high-low, peplum and a dress. I sewed a curved hem in striped french terry earlier this month to test the fit and was ready to tackle the dress version! Here are the basic steps for that process, which will work with any raglan pattern.

Working on the front pattern pieces, mark your natural waist.  You can also use another top you like to find the right placement for the ruffled skirt. For my dress, I measured down from the center front upper edge 12″. Cut or fold the pattern along the line.

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 Raglan Sweatshirt: Dress Hack
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Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 2: How to Sew Welt Pockets

Sew Along 2017 web image 300x193 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 2: How to Sew Welt PocketsOnce again, we welcome Heather Lou of Closet Case Files to the Sew News blog for the Clare Coat sew along! Love them or hate them, welt pockets give the Clare Coat a sleek and professional finish. Today we learn some pro tips for mastering welt pockets. Let’t get started.

View A of the Clare Coat has welt pockets, which can be a little intimidating if you’ve never sewn them before. Welt pockets are not hard, but do require a bit of precision and thoughtful prep work.

If you haven’t already, carefully mark the location of your welts by drawing a rectangle around the circle markings indicated on your pattern piece. Then draw a line down the centre of the rectangle. Each corner should end in a little triangle wedge around 3/4″ long. These center lines will be cut later to make room for our pocket opening. If you have some chalk carbon paper, the easiest way to transfer the markings is with a tracing wheel.

Time to assemble your pocket welts. They should both be interfaced. Fold them wrong sides together and then sew each short end at 5/8″/19mm.

HOW TO SEW WELT POCKETS1 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 2: How to Sew Welt Pockets

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 Clare Coat Sew Along, Week 2: How to Sew Welt Pockets
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