May is T-Shirt Month!
What’s your go-to garment? For most people, it’s a T-shirt. You can’t beat the comfort and forgiving fit of everyday T-shirts, and they’re super simple to sew. Continue reading
What’s your go-to garment? For most people, it’s a T-shirt. You can’t beat the comfort and forgiving fit of everyday T-shirts, and they’re super simple to sew. Continue reading
I never thought a cropped pant would make it to my TNT (tried and true) list, but the Emerson Crop Pants by True Bias have firmly cemented their place there. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made them – 8? The pattern was my first foray into wide-leg pants, and I haven’t turned back! I love that the pants are comfortable and stylish – and that waistband is genius. I love it so much I’ve hacked it into a skirt!
I’ve made four pairs of pants – one a muslin, one in Robert Kaufman Brussels washer linen (highly recommend!) and two pairs for my mom. Even she’s a fan! Continue reading
Welcome back to week three of the Emerson Crop Pants sew along, the final installment – let’s get these pants done, friends!!! Today, we’re going to construct the waistband, which is, in my opinion, quite genius! With a flat front band and an elasticized back, the waistband provides style and comfort. Special thanks to Kelli of True Bias for creating such a lovely pattern and for partnering with us for the sew along. Take it away, Kelli! Continue reading
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
I hope you’ll come along!
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!
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
Love them or hate them, 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.First, 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! Continue reading
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.
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.
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).
And, 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.
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.
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
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.
Stanley went with an “all-American” collection, featuring a sportswear take on red, white and blue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you geared up for the Emerson Crop Pants sew along with Kelli Ward of True Bias? If you’re a devotee of skinny jeans and slim-profile pants, wide leg pants can seem like a whole new world, especially when it comes to pairing it with tops. With wide leg pants, and cropped varieties in particular, it’s all about creating balance – and you’ve got lots of options for doing that. Today, we’re talking top patterns but join us later for an in-depth discussion on shoes!
Generally speaking, because the leg is fuller, consider tops that are either cropped or slim-fitting. Consider these options:
A camisole in a silky fabric:
Ogden Cami by True Bias
For the ultimate spring statement, consider pairing your Emersons with a matching blazer or cropped jacket or with a top in matching fabric for the ultimate setacular – a jumpsuit with bathroom options!
These are simply guidelines – you really can’t go wrong with a comfortable, chic pant like the Emerson Crop Pants! Join us next week for the first installment of the sew along.
It’s taken me a minute to post this recap because there was just so much to process. First, Alyssa meets the designers at the Smithsonian in Washington DC and tells the designers that they are (surprise) in fact the final four and will be creating a six-piece collection with a $2,000 budget and one-week timeframe. The fab four are ecstatic and head back to NYC and off to the Mood warehouse to choose fabrics and notions.
Once back in the workroom, Alyssa appears again to notify them that one more elimination challenge is ahead of them. They in fact aren’t the final four–one more designer will be eliminated the next day. The designers have to choose one design from their six sketches to execute fully for a runway show to decipher the final three. This design must tell the story of their entire collection and leave the judges wanting more. So, off we go in a mad rush to the finish.
Fabio wants to incorporate nods of his grandmother, who apparently loved smocking. So he created a smocked skirt using a striped fabric, which actually started looking pretty cool. Then he paired it with a strange top using a bird print and textured white fabric. I wasn’t sure about the combo, but he always does something a bit unexpected and it seems to work in his favor.
Stanley was inspired by the Smithsonian exhibits of the First Ladies, Military Uniforms and African American Innovators. He combined that inspiration to come up with a full skirt and top with leather accents (yes, the skirt has tulle and black layers underneath). The collar was a bit much for me, and the judges preferred it without–luckily he made it detachable.
Anthony went with a gown (no surprise), though he mentioned wanting to include a jumpsuit and pants into his collection. I wish he would have gone with one of those looks because that would have been so out of character for him and, as such, more interesting. The judges seemed to like it with differing opinions on his fabric choice, which was a velvet-faced neoprene of all things.
Ken chose to make a pant with a structured bodice and strange flourish. His original design included poofy detachable sleeves and a cape (or sash, I guess he called it). He should have stuck with the original sketch, perhaps editing the cape. His color choice of fabrics was also out of character and underwhelming, IMO. The judges hated the flourish but loved the pant choice. Isaac mentioned that the pant had smile lines as the model walked.
After the critique, Alyssa hit the designers with yet another twist. She walked them to the backstage control room, behind which a sewing studio and bins of leftover fabric scraps sat. They were then challenged with making a look using the fabrics from past challenges of the season using eliminated designer’s leftovers. Oh, and they ONLY HAD AN HOUR TO DO IT.
The designers surprisingly came up with some pretty good looks for only having an hour. Sure, there were unfinished hems and some pressing that was clearly needed. But overall the designs were interesting and finished!
The judges were instructed to weigh the first runway more heavily than the second. (I’m not really sure why they even needed the second challenge, but it sure was the most interesting thing to happen on this episode. So maybe we just needed some more heightened drama?) Stanley was for sure moving forward to next week, followed by Fabio. So it was between Anthony and Ken for the final spot.
Shockingly, Ken was eliminated. His second salvaged gown was liked by the judges, but too “ready-to-wear” for their tastes. I thought for sure they would choose Anthony to go home for his pageant-style gowns. But thankfully he lives to sew another day–or several days, as he will have one week to create the rest of his collection along with the other two designers. I just love Anthony–he is so sweet and has the best one-liners!
I think Anthony was more upset than Ken, who actually teared up after the judges praised his work upon exiting. He gave a nice goodbye to his fellow teammates and left the building.
See you on Thursday for the finale! I’m going to pick Fabio FTW for a twist. Typically the one you THINK will win doesn’t (Stanley), so I’m going to go with Fabio, secretly wishing Anthony will win for the sheer delight he will express.
Dana Willard is an author, designer, photographer and the bright personality behind the MADE Everyday blog and YouTube channel. Her latest fabric collection, Day Trip for Art Gallery Fabrics, takes you on a colorful adventure through fields of cacti, bluebonnets and everything she and her family love about their home Austin, TX, including a taco or two.
Visit Dana’s amazing site: www.MadeEveryday.com
1. Describe your perfect day.
Sunshine, 80°, playing at the beach with family and friends, chips and salsa, mint chip ice cream, Diet Coke and a dance party. In no particular order.
2. What’s the last hobby you picked up?
Embroidery! Though I can’t say I stuck with it. Guess I need to pick it up again. I love projects I can work on in the car, on a flight, on the couch — things that don’t require a machine. And I guess my second new hobby is listening to podcasts — can I call that a hobby? They’ve really brought an enriching aspect to my day-to-day life. It’s like reading a book while designing fabric and working. I love it!
3. What’s your spirit animal?
I’m not a real animal or pet person, so I’m going to go outside the box and say the sun. When I wake up and can see that it’s a sunny day, I feel so much energy to be productive and have a smile on my face. Sunshine just makes me happy and makes me want to share things with others. That sounds cheesy, but there you go!
4. What’s your best way to decompress?
I love eating out with my family where we can sit outside and chat and enjoy the warm Austin weather. Or I like to swing on the porch swing with my kids, in our backyard in the evening. I’m definitely someone who feels the need to be really productive during the day.
5. Which talent do you most want to have?
I wish I were a better artist, someone who paints and illustrates with ease. I recognize that I’m an artist in other ways. But I definitely have artist envy for those who create beautiful florals on canvas, or have sketchbooks bursting with doodles. I’m more of a geometric/digital shapes kind of gal, which is totally great. But I have admiration for other genres.
6. What’s your greatest extravagance?
Food and travel. My husband and I are pretty sensible when it comes to our everyday spending, but a unique food experience or a cool trip somewhere feels priceless. We love to travel internationally and within the States. And we love tacos, sushi, Indian food, and of course donuts and gelato. We will often buy every donut flavor in the store, just so we can try a bite of each and decide which is the best.
7. What’s your most treasured possession?
I would have to say my kids. They’re not a “possession,” but they’re among the most important things to my husband and me. They just get more and more fun as they grow up and develop into their own people.
8. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m pretty happy with the business that I’ve grown from the bottom up. It started as a hobby and a way to feel creative with little kids in the house. And now it’s grown to a full income with a part-time employee.
9. Who’s your dream client and what would you want to create for them?
I’d love to create a line of products for Target or be a DIY expert on a TV show. I’d love to take my YouTube channel (also called MADE Everyday) to the next level. My degree is in TV and film, so TV/entertainment is always an aspiration for my business and brand.
10. What’s your must-have tool in your studio?
Bias tape maker. It’s such a cheap, simple tool, but I LOVE BIAS TAPE! It’s almost therapeutic to make. If you’ve never made it, I have a simple video for you on my YouTube channel. You’ll be hooked too.
12. Where do you find inspiration?
Store products, Pinterest, childhood memories, childhood photos of our clothing and styles, wall art, my kids’ artwork, color combinations.
14. When did you learn to sew?
My grandma and my mom both taught me to sew when I was about 10. They taught me to use big-box patterns, and I liked to make my own elastic-waistband pants, simple dresses and a barrage of scrunchies. In fact, that was my first business! My best friend and I sold custom-order scrunchies to our friends in middle school. We even had a fabric swatch book they could pick from. $1 a scrunchie.
15. What is your motto?
Make it work. I know, that’s Tim Gunn’s motto. But I love it. It works for all aspects of life.
If you’re new to serging or looking to expand your serging skills, a basic understanding of serger threads is a must. From shimmer to stretch, each thread type serves a particular purpose based on its content, strength, decorative qualities and other properties. Check out our 10 great threads for sergers
Acrylic: Acrylic thread is finely twisted and works great for decorative serged edges.
Fine Rayon: This thread can be very economical but won’t hold up as well as regular
rayon or polyester. It’s mainly used in the upper looper for flatlocking.
Heavyweight Decorative Thread: This thread is best used for flatlocking. It gives a striking finished look and is great for a high sheen decorative stitch. It’s fragile but serger-friendly and doesn’t fray.
Metallic: This thread has a polyester core that’s nylon-wrapped. It’s a nice accent to wooly nylon and while it’s tricky to use in a standard sewing machine, a serger handles metallic thread effortlessly.
Metallic Yarn: This rayon and polyester blend is easier to use than fine metallic thread and gives a touch of glamour to projects. It’s mainly used in the lower looper.
Monofilament: This thread is made from nylon and has high strength and low stretch. Its invisibility lends a decorative quality but it tends to melt easily.
Perle Cotton: This thread is available in both matte and shiny colors, along with solar reactive and glow-in- the-dark properties. It tends to be expensive but adds personality to projects.
Polyester: This thread is made for general purposes and works well for the high-speed sewing of a serger.
Rayon: This thread is made especially for sergers. It’s available in solid and variegated colors for decorative purposes. It can be used in both upper and lower loopers for a finished look.
Ribbon Thread: This is usually made from either rayon, nylon or polyester. It’s serger-friendly and lends a unique look to seams.
Silk: This is the strongest thread on the market. It won’t melt and can be used in the
needle for flatlocking.
Topstitching Thread: This thread is typically 100% cotton or silk. It’s an economical
option, however spools typically come with a small amount of yardage. It’s great for
Wooly Nylon: This heavyweight thread is very stretchy and works well on garments that have similar qualities, such as leggings and swimwear. It’s great as a decorative thread and on rolled hems but melts easily, so be careful when pressing.
If you’re new to using a serger, or want to try out a serger for yourself, be sure to visit a BabyLock dealer during the month of April. As part of National Serger Month, Baby Lock retailers are hosting Sip N Serge events. Bring your own soda, tea or other drink and you’ll be provided with everything else you need – including the serger, fabric, instructions to make an apron and more!
Springtime is kimono time, friends! Seriously, there is no better layering piece for this transitional season (except maybe my other favorite: cardigans!).
Kimonos provide coverage while also being feminine and stylish, they’re perfect for all the slippery fabrics in your stash you’ve been avoiding, they’re an easy way to wear tanks and camis off-season and they’re fairly easy to sew and fit, even if you new to garments.
Kochi Kimono by Papercut Patterns
The Kochi is a fan favorite and looks great in every fabric! Bonus, there are multiple design options to customize your look. The modern cropped length keeps the kimono shape manageable, so you won’t get swallowed by fabric. This might be my favorite, in terms of blending traditional and modern.
Breezy Blouse by Sew News
Slightly oversized, this kimono-style blouse includes buttons for a more secure closure option – but you could easily leave them off or use a single button instead. The fuller sleeve and split hem offer upscale design details, for coverage and style.
Lace Kimono 07/2011 #124 by BurdaStyle
Combine a traditional kimono shape with lace for a chic summer layer that pairs with jeans or trousers for a formal look, complete with satin trim. I’m thinking wedding kimono.
Kimono Jacket 02/2018 #105 by BurdaStyle
For a bit more coverage in the form of a nice lightweight jacket option, this classic kimono jacket is a great pick. Sewn up in a slightly more stable fabric, this design offers a unique balance of comfort and flow. (That’s it, I’m making one!)
Venus Kimono by SewThisPattern
For a different look more akin to a classic dolman, the Venus Kimono offers a curvy take on the classic kimono shape. With cut-on sleeves and simple shoulder darts, this design is a bit more cocoony, perfect for beach days.
Asaka Kimono by Named
Check out these sleeves!!! If you need a statement kimono in your life, you should check out the Asaka. It’s got the length and lines of a traditional robe (and we’re totally okay with that!), but the split sleeves make for a swooshy layer that’s high on drama.
Want to draft your own? We’ve got expert instructions in our April/May 2017 issue of Sew News (for only 5.99!) You’ll find instructions for how to draft a classic kimono plus how to draft for different types of fabric. And, tips and tricks for making this kimono super lux with French seams and more! Find the issue here!
For the past 14 years Denver talent has shown what it can do with paper and scissors. Making gorgeous, out-of-this-world creations, all using paper. The Paper Fashion Show in years past has coincided with the coming of spring. It’s an amazing show that will wow you and inspire you. Last year I had the opportunity to sit in the media section and get a close up view of every dress and design. You can check out last year’s event here.
This year promises to be even bigger and better than last. The One Club For Creativity (formally The Art Directors Club Denver) spotlights emerging talent in the fashion, art and music communities of Denver and surrounding areas.
The show is judged by local area designers, artists and celebrities. The Paper Fashion Show benefits Downtown Aurora Visual Arts organization,(www.davarts.org)
…a local community organization that provides after-school arts programs for at-risk youth. Combining art and technology, DAVA programs emphasize innovation, problem-solving, and connection to community. While arts education can connect to careers in the arts, at DAVA they do much more. Their unique approach results in students not only gaining skills in art, but also valuable education, job, and social skills in preparation for a wide range of life aspirations. By participating in the Paper Fashion Show, you are giving youth the opportunity to gain important social skills that directly transfer to positive youth development.
Partnering with The One Club for Creativity, in New York, this year’s show expects to reach people from all over the world and national media attention.
Tickets are still available for this year’s event. Please come by and support Denver, youth and the arts.