Sew it All TV 13 Days of Giveaways: Win a skirt sewing book!

Hello sewing people! Sew it All TV season 7 begins airing on PBS at the end of March, and we’re really excited to bring you new guests, sewing projects, tips and techniques! So, to celebrate, we’re giving away a prize a day for the next 13 days, plus a sneak peek into the new season! Every day you enter for the next 13 days, you’ll be entered to win the Grand Prize, a copy of Sew it All TV season 6 on DVD!

Check for your local station schedule. If your local PBS doesn’t carry Sew it All, email or call them to request it! On each episode, host Ellen March brings you a guest from the sewing world and a great project that can be completed in an afternoon. Don’t you love quick and easy?

This season we bring you Elizabeth & Liz Evans of Simple Simon & CO., who teach you to make an adorable bubble skirt for a girl of any size! No pattern required!

 Sew it All TV 13 Days of Giveaways: Win a skirt sewing book!

Speaking of skirts, today’s prize is Skirt-A-Day Sewing by Nicole Smith. This great book contains 28 skirt tutorials, plus sewing and patternmaking basics.

4276351712400340735 1 286x300 Sew it All TV 13 Days of Giveaways: Win a skirt sewing book! Sew it All TV 13 Days of Giveaways: Win a skirt sewing book!

You may remember Nicole from last season’s episode, “That’s A Wrap,” where Nicole showed you how to alter a basic skirt to a wrap skirt silhouette. Find full instructions for Nicole’s episode, and all past episodes, at

To win this book, all you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section below. Just answer this simple question: Who do you make skirts for?

Check on March 1st for a sneak peek at all 13 episodes, including full instructions and free patterns! And check back tomorrow to hear the winner of today’s prize, plus another great prize and a sneak peek into another new episode!

Good luck!

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Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew-Along! Week 2

Welcome back to the Sew News Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew-Along! We are so excited to see all the beautiful fabric choices you have made on our Flickr Belle Handbag Sew-Along Page. If you haven’t checked them out please do so.

For Week 2 portion of the sew-along we’ll be discussing marking & interfacing the bag and pattern pieces.

 Have you visited the Sew News Flickr page? If not, be sure to take a look as I think you’ll be very inspired by the fabric combinations that have been posted for the Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew Along. Remember, the bag is great for gifts as well. It’s a great bag for the new mom, wonderful for the teen who enjoys attending sleepovers. The bag would also be a great gift for a graduating senior, and there are plenty of pockets to stash a little monetary gift as well!!

Now that you’ve chosen your fabrics, it’s time to cut out the bag. When cutting out the pattern, take note that there are 2 pieces to the exterior panel and they will need to be taped together. It is clearly marked as the Exterior Extension Panel. Simply line up the dots on the 2 pattern pieces and tape them together.

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2


Please remember to fold over the lining panel to create the pattern piece for the pocket panels.  Be sure to measure your cell phone if it is a large size or if you would like to include a battery pack etc in the pocket. Just enlarge the pocket pieces accordingly.  Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

For this bag, you will need to cut:

2 Exterior Panels

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

2 Lining Panels

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

4 pockets Panels

2 Handles and 1 Cell Phone Pocket piece

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

I am making my bag out of a piece of vintage Barkcloth. It is a heavy weight fabric, similar to a home dec fabric, so I will not interface this fabric. If you are using a lighter weight cotton for the exterior of your bag, you will need to interface the exterior as well. The cell phone pocket as well as the pocket panels call for interfacing, but once again, I have chosen to cut these from the Barkcloth, so they will not need to be interfaced.

The pieces that I will be interfacing will be the handles and the lining panels.

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2Please note that if you have chosen to cut your handle out of leather or a leather like fabric, you will not want to interface the handles. Below are the handles that I will use, but I have interfaced them.


Included in the pattern is a stabilizer pattern. We will talk about this piece when we begin sewing the bag together.

Once all of the pieces of the bag have been cut, a few markings will need to be made.
There are 2 dots on the Exterior Panel. I like to poke through the dots and use a marking pen to mark the dots. There are many marking utensils available at your local fabric store or online. I like use a pen that is water soluble.

There are also 2 dots on the lining panel. It is VERY important that the dots on the exterior panel and the dots on the lining panel are marked. This will ensure that your bag will go together smoothly. Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 2

If you haven’t posted a picture of your fabric to the Flickr page, be sure and do so. Between now and next week, get your pattern pieces cut if you haven’t already.

A quick note about needles. Be sure that the needle you choose for your sewing machine is appropriate for the weight  of your fabric. I noticed that a few of you will be using leather or a leather like fabric for your handles. Be sure to purchase a leather needle for your sewing machine. It will make a world of difference when sewing the leather.

If you have any questions you can always post here and or on Flickr.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of your bags as they begin to take shape. Let the fun begin!!!!!
Rhonda Buss




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Free Stuff Friday – Sew gifts for friends and family

Screen Shot 2014 02 07 at 9.27.57 AM Free Stuff Friday   Sew gifts for friends and familyIf you are ever at a loss as to what to make for friends and family, the book Sew Gifts: 25 Handmade Gift Ideas From Top Designers will give you all the inspiration you need. Packed with all sorts of sew-y goodness that anyone would be thrilled to receive. There are 25 projects all presented with a modern, fresh twist.

Answer the question below to be entered to win today’s giveaway.

What was the most memorable gift you made for a friend or family member. Or what was the most disastrous gift you made or possibly received.  Do give all the gory details on that one, please!

Plus, I  must announce the winners from last weeks FREE Stuff Friday plus, the Meet the Designer post featuring Jennifer Beeman!

For FREE Stuff Friday the winner is Debra J! She won the Amy Butler journal!

And for the Meet the Designer post the winner is Sandi G! And, she won the Mona Luna pattern, fabric and Scissor Buddy!

I will be in touch with you two ladies shortly so that you can send me your mailing addresses.

Happy Sewing!


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Crib Skirt Tutorial

Making a crib skirt is the perfect opportunity to add some handmade touches to a nursery.

A crib skirt can be as complex or simple as you want. It’s really just four rectangles of fabric. I added box pleats to the front panel. Here’s a photo of the finished result:

2014 01 14 20.08.47 300x225 Crib Skirt Tutorial


2 1/2 yards of print cotton fabric

5 yards of 1/2″-wide trim

Muslin rectangle (according to crib dimensions; lining)

(I bought more fabric than necessary, planning on doing box pleats on the side panels as well, but I changed the design as I was stitching to incorporate straight side panels instead. But it’s good to have extra fabric anyway!)

Measure the crib width and length where the mattress sits. (This is the DaVinci Kalani crib, the interior measuring about 52″x28″, which is pretty standard.)

Cut a lining rectangle according to the width and (length + 1″). Once the front rectangle is attached, you’ll need a seam allowance for the side rectangles.

2014 01 14 18.43.02 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial

et voila










Cut two side rectangles 1″ longer than the side measurement by the crib drop (from the crib mattress position to the floor).

Double-fold the side short edges 1/4″ and zigzag stitch the first fold. I like to zigzag rather than straight stitch because if your stitches are crooked it’ll be harder to see (not that anyone would notice anyway).

2014 01 14 19.12.53 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial

With right sides together, align the trim with the lower edge; pin. Straight stitch 1/4″ from the edge. Or double-fold the lower edge, add rickrack or whatever type of trim matches your nursery decor!

2014 01 14 17.38.55 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial

Press the seam allowance toward the fabric, and then edgestitch the fabric close to the seam.

2014 01 14 17.51.46 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial 2014 01 14 18.00.04 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial

I added three 3″ inverted box pleats to the front panel, which requires 6″ of extra fabric for each pleat. 6″x3 pleats = 18″. Add 18″ to the crib length and cut one rectangle according to that measurement (+1″ for seam allowances) by the drop measurement.

Hem and add trim to the rectangle per the previous instructions, then divide the length into quarters; pin-mark along the upper edge. Measure and mark 3″ from each pin-mark. Fold the fabric with wrong sides together along each mark and bring the fold to align with the corresponding pin.

Baste the pleats along the upper edge to secure. Align the long raw edge with one lining long edge with right sides together, centering the front panel along the lining edge; stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

2014 01 14 20.05.19 300x225 Crib Skirt Tutorial

Repeat to add each side panel. I left the remaining lining edge unfinished, as it’s going to sit under a mattress, but you can serge- or zigzag-finish it if you like.

Here’s how it looks from above. If your lining panel is a little short on the width, it’s fine. You’ll want to roll the panels up onto the top a bit anyway so the lining seam won’t show from the front.

2014 01 14 20.05.30 300x225 Crib Skirt Tutorial

2014 01 14 20.08.59 225x300 Crib Skirt Tutorial

side panel without box pleats

Making your own crib skirt is a great way to customize the fabrics, prints and colors in your nursery. Plus it’s super easy and satisfying!

You could make the panels ruffled, add rows of ruffles, knife pleats or have just straight panels in a cute fabric. The options are plentiful and they’re all yours. Have fun!

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Meet The Designer Jennifer Beeman

Jennifer Beeman Meet The Designer Jennifer BeemanJennifer Beeman is our featured contributor this month. Many may know her from her wonderful website and blog Grainline Studio. There you will find informative blog posts, free patterns, tutorials, how-tos and all sorts of great advice and musings on sewing, fashion,  pattern making, textiles and more. Plus, be sure to check out and join the  Grainline Flickr Group too.

Let’s get on with meeting Jennifer Beeman and learning a bit more about her and what she loves to do (it has something to do with sewing!). Don’t forget to make a comment below to be entered to win a prize.

What is your sewing pet peeve? (a task that you find annoying)

My least favorite part of any project has to be cutting it out. I swear that part usually takes as long as the sewing but it’s way less fun!

What were the early days of learning to sew like? What was it that made you want to continue?

My mom taught me to sew when I was around 12 so it’s hard to remember exactly but I’m sure they were filled with frustrating points for both my mom and I. Actually I think she was probably more frustrated than I was since I was really interested in making things like fabric cheeseburgers and mini-quilts for a doll I’d made out of a wooden spool. What made me want to continue was never being able to find exactly what I was looking for in stores. That and the fact that I just really like making things.

What do you do when you are not sewing?

When I’m not sewing I work as a patternmaker, which is really just prepping for more sewing.

What is your favorite thing to embellish your projects with?

I’m not a big embellisher so maybe topstitching? Ha, I’m so boring!

Who taught you how to sew?

My mom, she’s a pretty amazing sewer.

What’s the oldest piece of fabric in your stash?

I have 3 – 2 meter lengths of fabric I bought in London in 2003, I was always afraid to cut into them and now they’re not really something I would wear anymore. They’re still nice to have as a reminder of the trip though!

Do you have a favorite item or project to make?

I’ve sewn a lot of Archer Button Ups this year, so that may be my current go to. I really love making outerwear though, specifically wool coats. So fun!

Do you find the change of seasons inspires you to sew and do you have a favorite season?

My favorite season is definitely fall, cooler weather makes for layering which means you can wear more handmade garments at once! I do feel less inspired to sew during summer probably because bending over an iron is not appealing when it’s 90+ outside. Fall and Spring are definitely the most inspiring sewing seasons for me though.

When shopping for sewing supplies, I always buy too much _______.

Fabric. You do not want to see how much fabric I have under my pattern table right now. My eyes are infinitely bigger than my stomach when it comes to how many projects I think I can get done and need fabric for.

Are there any sewing techniques you are trying to perfect?

None specifically but I’m always trying to make my sewing faster, more efficient, and more beautiful. I like every garment to be more beautifully sewn than the last.

What future projects/plans are in store for Jennifer Beeman?

I taught my first class this winter and will be teaching a college level pattern grading course this spring semester so more teaching is in the cards for me. Future plans for Grainline Studio include releasing more sewing patterns, more tutorials, more posts, etc.

Any tips you would like to share with the Sew News sewing community?

I’m sure you all know this already but it took me way too long to learn. Make a mistake, take a break. When I make a mistake I just walk away, go sit on the porch or check my email, anything else for about 10 or 15 minutes, then when I come back to the problem, I’m no longer fuming and it seems much easier to handle and fix.

Thanks so much for reading and being a part of the Meet The Designer. Let me know in the comments section below what are your future plans are for sewing and creating. Or just leave me a comment about what you find alike with Jennifer and her creative process.

One lucky person will win a Scissor Buddy, spring-inspired fabric from Monaluna and a Monaluna On the Go dress pattern!  And be sure to check out Monaluna’s adorable fabric and pattern selection for inspiration in you sewing endeavors.

gift pack  Meet The Designer Jennifer Beeman



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Check out the School of Art Fashion, where Heirloom Techniques Meet Modern Sewing!

Do you want to expand your sewing repertoire in 2014? Here’s a wonderful place to start! Today we have a great guest blog post from Beth Mauro about an exciting sewing event this coming up this week, the School of Art Fashion in Huntsville, Alabama. Read on to find out all about SoAF and how you can attend!

9802 SOAF FB high res 2 Check out the School of Art Fashion, where Heirloom Techniques Meet Modern Sewing!

Many of us turned to sewing because quality, detail, fit and fabric are important to us. That desire coupled with the popularity of historical shows like Downton Abbey is fueling a renewed interest in Heirloom Sewing. We dare you not to find inspiration in the dreamy and detail-rich fashion harking back to the days when a talented dressmaker was revered for her special talents.

Recently Sew News and the Martha Pullen Company came under one roof (F+W Media), and we can’t think of a better place to learn the fine art of sewing than the School of Art Fashion in Huntsville, Alabama this week. The foundation of the school is 4-Day classes that let you delve into a particular sewing topic. But you’ll also find half-day and full-day classes on Wednesday, February 5 that let you give heirloom sewing a try in a very supportive setting.

Instructors such as Gloria McKinnon, Kari Mecca, Debbie Glenn, Gail Doane, Hope Yoder, Kathy McMakin and many others hail from across the U.S. and Australia. Sessions range from Beginning French Machine Sewing to Creative Monogram and Smocked Bishop Dress. Kits and new machines are provided. All you have to think about is how you will apply all of the great new things you learn to your future sewing!

Visit the School of Art Fashion website for complete details for this week’s event, February 5-9 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Or, mark your calendar for School of Art Fashion in Atlanta, July 30-August 3, where some of the schools open their doors to children and teens!

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Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew-Along! Week 1

Welcome to the Sew News Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew-Along. We are so excited here to make this wonderful bag and help you along the way in creating a gorgeous bag that you will use over and over.

Week 1 – Fabric Choice, Prep, Cutting

Belle Handbag Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 1

Pockets For Everything1 300x225 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 1

The Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag is the perfect everything bag. Whether you are a mom on the go, a student who goes from one event to the next, or your schedule takes you from work to the gym, you’ll love the flexibility of this bag. From the outside, the bag has the look of just an over sized bag, but inside you’ll find lots of pockets that can be customized to your needs. There’s even a special pocket for your cell phone! You can see a photo of me modelling the bag to get a sense of proportion.  Click HERE.

Cell Phone Pocket1  225x300 Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 1Your first step will be of course to get your pattern. The team at Sew News has made that especially easy as you can just click HERE  to order the pattern and it will quickly make its way right to your doorstep.

Fabric Choice
The fun part is picking your fabric! I chose to make the outside of my bag with a home dec fabric. It’s a little heavier in weight and I felt it would hold up to being used on a regular basis. The interior lining of my bag is a lighter weight cotton. If you decide to use a cotton for the exterior of your bag, you will need to interface the fabric prior to sewing. Keep in mind if you want to add length to the handles to add that into your final yardage.

The interior lining should be interfaced and the pockets should also be interfaced. My favorite interfacing for a project like this is a fusible woven cotton. Be sure to purchase a good quality interfacing.

When purchasing your fabric and notions, you may want to consider purchasing a magnetic closure. It is easy to install, you’ll see and keeps items your items inside.

Snap Closure Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 1

This is not included in the notions section of the pattern, but I like having the added security of a closure. They are very easy attach and will give your project that added professional touch. You should be able to easily find them at your local fabric store in the handbag hardware section.

Once you have assembled your fabric and notions, I would suggest pre-washing you fabrics. Since this is a bag that I know you will use quite often, you will want to be able to throw it in the washing machine from time to time. What a disappointment it would be to have your bag shrink after you have gone to all the work of constructing it, so be sure to take that little bit of extra time and pre-wash your fabric.


The instructions given in the pattern for cutting the bag are quite clear and easy to follow.

pattern pieces Sew News and the Belle Handbag Sew Along! Week 1Just pay attention to the fact that only one pattern piece has been given for the lining and pockets.

Begin by cutting the chosen lining fabric to line the bag. Cut 2 pieces for the lining. Once your lining pieces have been cut, simply fold over the top of the lining pattern piece and cut the pocket pieces. Also note that you will need to cut 4 pocket pieces.
Be sure to post your pictures to the Sew News Flickr page. I can’t wait to see your creative fabric choices!
Rhonda Buss
Rhonda’s Creative Life

Materials List

On the pattern envelope the following are listed.
44″-54″ wide fabric –  one yard of fabric for the exterior portion
4 3/8  yards of interfacing
1 3/4  yard if using 54″ home dec fabric

44″ wide fabric for the handles and lining -  2 1/4 yards of fabric for exterior
54″ wide fabric  for the handles and lining – 1 3/8 yard of fabric

4 3/8  yards of interfacing
1 3/4  yard if using 54″ home dec fabric

Plus coordinating thread

For interfacing it is recommended to get 20″ wide fusible woven interfacing.

Be sure to check out the video portion of the Belle Handbag Sew Along!

The Belle Handbag Sew-Along Schedule

  • Week of February  3 – Fabric Choice, Prep, and Cutting
  • Week of February 10 – Marking & Interfacing
  • Week of February 17 – Construction & Customizing
  • Week of February 24 – Finishing

If you have any questions please leave them here or on the Flickr Sew News Belle Handbag Sew-Along Page.










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A trip of a lifetime with American Sewing Guild – Hong Kong 2014

asg hk tour 2013 A trip of a lifetime with American Sewing Guild   Hong Kong 2014

Members from last years tour 2013 – photo from ASG

Like to travel? Like to travel with other like minded sewists to amazing far off places? Well, then pack you bags and say “Nin hao” to the American Sewing Guild’s SEW MUCH FUN HONG KONG TOUR!

The American Sewing Guild’s SEW MUCH FUN HONG KONG tour will depart December
2, 2014.

The 8-day tour, departing from San Francisco, offers visits to the
city’s famous garment district of Sham Shui Po, a behind-the-scenes look at
costume shop that creates for Disney and the Chinese Opera (with remnants
for sale); stops at fabric markets, street markets and night markets; and
city sightseeing.

In addition, there’s a Tai Chi lesson and farewell dinner
cruise to see the spectacular laser light show that illuminates Victoria

Free days offer opportunities to visit mainland China, Macau or
Lantau on optional tours.

All sounds amazing right?  Registration deadline is October 1, 2014 so there is plenty of time. Cost is $3,599 for ASG members; $3,699 for non-members.

For more information, visit and click on Sew Much Fun Tours.

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TGIFree Stuff Friday! Keeping track of all your creative thoughts

amy butler journal TGIFree Stuff Friday! Keeping track of all your creative thoughts

all images  from amy butler

It’s Friday and we all know that means, Free Stuff Friday. Plus, there are a couple of winners that need to be announced.

First, for FSF and in celebration of the Amy Butler Sew-Along happening on Monday February 3rd today’s giveaway is a lovely Amy Butler Design journal. Made in her characteristic modern botanical inspired prints and lovely color schemes, this journal will have you writing down all your creative thoughts with ease. Every page has a geometric or floral print on it making the blank pages almost too pretty to write on. But, write on it you will! Plan you sewing year, jot down pattern numbers, all your amazing measurements! Plan – Do – Sew!

open npage TGIFree Stuff Friday! Keeping track of all your creative thoughts

all images from amy butler

And, with that we have the question of the day: In this high tech age do you still use a journal with old fashion pen and paper to jot down your sewing plans or other creative thoughts? Or do you favor the tablet or other electronic devices to keep you dreams and inspiration organized and at the ready.

Give me the details and I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

As for the winners of the last Free Stuff Friday held way back on January 10 it is Beth K! When asked how she stays/gets creative she said it best – hanging out with creative friends gives her a jump start to her creativity. Nice indeed! Beth K won the book Sew Charming by Derksema and Junor.

And, for the winner of our  Flickr giveaway it is Soul_Sister! Thank you all for joining the sew-along on Flickr and please stay tuned for more Sew News Sew-Along giveaways!

Ladies please stay tuned to your inbox, I will be sending you an email and directions on how to get your gifts!

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Belle Handbag Sew-Along Starts Next Week – Get The Schedule Now!

Beautiful Belle Handbag sewing pattern Amy Butler front1 Belle Handbag Sew Along Starts Next Week   Get The Schedule Now!We’re getting excited to launch our first sew-along and we hope you are too.  Here is a schedule of the sew-along and helpful links to get you started.

The Belle Handbag Sew-Along Schedule

  • Week of February  3 – Fabric Choice, Prep, and Cutting
  • Week of February 10 – Marking & Interfacing
  • Week of February 17 – Construction & Customizing
  • Week of February 24 – Finishing

Now and until February 3 purchase fabric and notions according to the pattern envelope. You can purchase the pattern at to make it even easier. Be sure to sign up for the Sew News Sew-Along Flickr Group. Think of Flickr as a way to share your progress or discuss a tricky area or get inspiration from other members.

Plus, we’ll have video clips from Rhonda Buss with tips, tricks and more to help you make the best bag of the season!

If you need a tutorial on how to navigate and sign up for Flickr please read my blog post that will walk you through every step. Click HERE for the Flickr Tutorial.

Be sure to come back during the sew-along here on the blog, and you can post questions or comments here as well as on our Flickr Belle Handbag Sew-Along page.

Thanks for sewing along and see you on Flickr!




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