Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along – Week 1

PatternImage 500 Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along    Week 1Now that summer has finally arrived, at least in the northern hemisphere, I’m sure cool and easy to wear garments are what you are longing for. The Summer Breeze Top from Hot Patterns is perfect for just about any summer occasion. The top is fairly easy to make. It has a soft asymmetrical drape that is the perfect feminine touch.  The top is perfect on its own paired with a skirt, pants or even a pair of shorts, and it will look lovely under a jacket.

But what about taking the top to another level? During the sew along, we will talk about other options for this top, like adding a sleeve and lengthening the top into a dress. I have designed a sleeve for the sew along that I think pairs beautifully with the top and I also have a few embellishment ideas that you might like to add to your top or dress.

When purchasing your fabric for this top, keep in mind that it must be a very light weight fabric.

photo 1 Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along    Week 1 In order to achieve the fold which forms the drape, a lot of fabric is gathered into a very small space at the waistline. If your fabric has any bulk, you will not be able to gather your fabric and achieve the desired look of the blouse. A silk charmeuse will work beautifully, but if silk is totally off the budget charts, a lovely rayon or polyester will also work well and look beautiful. My top that is pictured is polyester. Light weight knits will also work well as would a light weight cotton, like a lawn.

Once you have your pattern, be sure to check your measurements and I would also recommend making a muslin. A muslin will be especially important if you would like to add a sleeve to this top. Take a look at the pattern and you will see that the shoulder extends a little over the arm. We will talk about how to alter the shoulder so that the armhole seam sits perfectly at the shoulder.

The instructions of this top are not on a separate sheet of paper, but are printed across the top of the pattern sheet. For many, this could be a little fidgety, especially since most of us are sewing in rather small spaces. In the video, I show you how I folded the instructions so that I could easily flip through them as I sewed.

If you have not purchased your pattern, you can order one directly from Hot Patterns HERE.  I was very pleased with how quickly my pattern arrived.

We would also love to watch your progress and see your fabric choices. You can find the Summer Breeze Flickr Group HERE.

The gathering detail that forms the drape of this top can be a little tricky, but we will work through it step by step so that you are successful in making a beautiful top. If you are like me, once you’ve figured out the gathering detail, you’ll be whipping up a number of these tops for summer.

I’m looking forward to sewing along with you and be sure to check out our video segment!

Rhonda Buss

hot patterns finished w500 Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along    Week 1







Posted in Sew Along - Summer Breeze Top | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Free Stuff Friday – 1-2-3 Quilt

123 quilt  Free Stuff Friday   1 2 3 QuiltNotice how Friday’s are always good days. Hard to have a bad Friday, especially with Free Stuff Friday.

In the latest issue of Sew News Jun/July issue Beth Bradley wrote a review on 1-2-3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker. Ellen is the blogger for The Long Thread and 1-2-3 Quilt is the follow up to 1-2-3 Sew. In her latest book there are 24 projects for a new or beginner quilter. The projects are easy and fun and won’t overwhelm a beginner. Advanced sewists or quilters will love the cute and thoughtful projects that will sew up quick for gifts. Check out Beth’s review in the print edition for more details and other fun books for sewists, crafters and quilters of all levels.

Answer the question below to be entered to win today’s book 1-2-3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker.

Are you a quilter? What’s your favorite quilt magazine? What do you love about quilting?

I really enjoyed reading the comments from the Meet The Designer post. Most of you have the same problems that I do, we buy too much fabric and too many patterns. But, really is there such a thing as too many? And the winner of the Meet the Designer post is Jayne, she buys too many Vogue patterns!  I will be in touch with you shortly to tell you how to claim you prize. Thanks for commenting everyone.


Posted in Free Stuff Friday | Tagged , | 107 Comments

Meet the Designer Dawn Anderson Schons & a Giveaway!

Dawn Anderson 500 Meet the Designer Dawn Anderson Schons & a Giveaway!Dawn Anderson Schons is a frequent contributor to Sew News and we’re all so lucky for it! She has a MFA in Costume Design and has a passion for fashion history and traditional tailoring technqiues. She runs sewing workshops and classes and has a line of wonderful patterns. Please read our Meet The Designer post today to learn more about Dawn and her work.

What is your sewing pet peeve? Any tasks that you find annoying?  Alterations can be tough but not much rattles me, it’s just a matter of how long it will take to fix the problem.

What were your early days of learning to sew like? What was it that made you want to continue? I started sewing when I was four years old. My first projects were “embroideries” sewn with crewel wool yarn and a very large round end needle. My Mom sewed everything and she gave me her yarn scraps from her needle point projects and fabric scraps from her bridal alterations business. I made clothes and hats for my dolls when I was in Elementary school and made clothes for myself in Junior High. In High School I made costumes for Drama productions and I designed and sewed dance costumes for my Ballet School. I made three prom gowns my senior year, one for myself and two for friends who wanted custom designs. I went on to major in Costume Design in college. Sewing is in my blood, it is a part of me. No matter how much other work I do during the day, I never feel like I accomplished anything unless it was in my sewing room.

What do you do when you are not sewing? I think about sewing! Ha! I chase my three small children around the house, cook, and clean, and allow myself at least an hour a day to sew, sketch, and dream about the perfect wardrobe.

What is your favorite thing to embellish your projects with? Beads. I love to sew with prints and a few beads highlight the centers of flowers or add interest to the dominant motif in a geometric print.

Who taught you how to sew? My Mom in my younger years and then some great professors in undergrad, grad school, and my exchange program in England.

What’s the oldest piece of fabric in your stash? Do you keep your fabric stash in control or are you less disciplined in your fabric collection. My oldest pieces of fabric are remnants of early 1960s metallic brocades that I found in a thrift store years ago. My fabric stash is fairly organized. I have lots of big storage bins labeled by fabric type, cotton print, wool boucle, silk, etc. I have two big shelves of fabric bolts which are less organized.

Do you have a favorite item or project to make? I like to sew clothing. I sew shirts and jackets for my husband, costumes and dresses for my daughter, pants for my boys, and tailored jackets, pants, and skirts for myself. I love sewing silk blouses too; they are so expensive to buy ready to wear!

Do you find the change of seasons inspires you to sew and do you have a favorite season? The change of season is always exciting for me. Everything seems new and fresh. I look forward to making skirts and sundresses in the spring. Fall is my favorite though. I love tailored jackets, plaid, wool, and hats.

When shopping for sewing supplies is there something you always buy too much of. Patterns! I can’t resist the pattern sales at the local fabric stores and I usually buy at least 5 or more at a time. I have several boxes of patterns organized my garment type.

Are there any sewing techniques you are trying to perfect? Hand tailoring details. I love bound buttonholes and tailored pockets. I have been designing new shapes for welts and incorporating pockets into seams and darts in a new way. I made a green wool crepe jacket inspired by nature with tear drop shaped welt pockets sewn into a curved seam and bound buttonholes in the shape of leaves. I wanted to have some fun with my tailoring skills.

What future projects/plans are in store for you? I just finished my custom pants sloper (after fitting and altering three muslins) and I can’t wait to make a pair of menswear plaid pants for fall. I have 5 lengths of fabric just waiting to be cut out for my perfect fitting semi-straight leg pants.

Any tips you would like to share with the Sew News sewing community? Press your seams really well as you are sewing and your finished garment will look polished.

Thanks so much to Dawn Anderson Schons! I really love her work and can’t wait to see those plaid pants!  If you would like to learn more about Dawn please visit her website at

So, for all our Sew News readers what do you buy way to much of when you go to the fabric store? Answer below and you’ll be entered to win the gift pack below. One winner will be announced next Friday, June 20th.

SEWP 1406 26093 Meet the Designer Dawn Anderson Schons & a Giveaway!I would also like to announce the winners of the Hot Patterns  Flickr Contest and that is Michelle of mfarmer and Life is Sew Sew Good. Both winners have been sent an email.

The winners of the SIA magazine contest (held June 12) are: Lydia, Gertrude and ME Pendelton. Please check your email and you will be notified as to how to get your prize!

Posted in Meet the Designer | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

Baby Lock Common Threads 2014 Recap!

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending the first-ever Common Threads event hosted by Baby Lock. Baby Lock invited a group of educators, designers, bloggers, writers and editors from the sewing and quilting community to spend three days at their headquarters near St. Louis to sew, connect, brainstorm and learn.

commonthreads 300x233 Baby Lock Common Threads 2014 Recap!

photo from Baby Lock Sewing Instagram:

Baby Lock is famous for its motto “For the Love of Sewing,” and that sentiment ruled the event. To say that I came away inspired would be a huge understatement, as it was a truly amazing experience to be in the presence of such an enthusiastic and creative group of people who all really share that love of sewing.

Here’s a little photo recap of Common Threads since I wish you all could have joined us there!

One of the coolest parts was the great goodie bag that we received as soon as we arrived. Each attendee provided something that they work on for the bag, including patterns, fabric lines, magazines, books and much more. It was awesome to get to see an example of what everyone does and how each person contributes to the sewing and quilting world. I couldn’t wait to see old sewing friends, many of whom have contributed to Sew News and Sew it All, and make new ones!

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Chock-Full of Sewing Goodness

To kick off the event, we all made our way to the Tacony Achievement Center, which is where Baby Lock dealers from around the country come to learn about Baby Lock’s new machines and products. I was excited to get to meet Amber Eden, editor of our sister publications Stitch magazine and

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Sewing editors!

We started by getting a great introduction to the history of Tacony Corporation (parent company of Baby Lock) from Ken Tacony, whose dad started the company in 1946.

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Baby Lock president Steve Jeffery also gave us an overview of Baby Lock, from the very first Baby Lock sergers up through the innovative sewing and embroidery machines and sergers of today. We also heard about the great outreach that Baby Lock does to encourage designers and young sewers, including the awesome elementary school program that our friend Connie Tkach heads up in Puyallup, WA.

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Mr. Tacony also gave us a behind-the-scenes tour through Tacony Headquarters, including the offices and warehouse. It was really fun to check out the inner workings of the company and see where Baby Lock sewing machines come from!

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Ellisimo embroidery machines as far as the eye can see!

After the tour, Baby Lock had a super-fun activity where everyone got to be creative and mix and mingle: a cookie quilt created by St. Louis Sweets for us to decorate!

IMAG3636 300x169 Baby Lock Common Threads 2014 Recap!

We all got hard to work decorating our individual cookie “blocks” to combine into one big, beautiful quilt. After seeing so many awesome machines, I decided to pay homage on my cookie block:

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It was so much fun seeing everyone’s personality and style reflected in such a sweet way! A cookie quilt would actually be a great get-to-know you activity for a sewing or quilt guild. Our completed quilt turned out gorgeous and ALMOST too pretty to eat.

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What a fun evening! I couldn’t wait to get started sewing with everyone the next day. We started by getting to take the 8-thread Baby Lock Ovation serger for a spin. We tried different specialty settings on the Ovation and made pages for a lovely sample book that the Baby Lock staff had prepared for us.

IMAG3666 300x169 Baby Lock Common Threads 2014 Recap!

Trying out the exclusive Ovation wave stitch

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Eleanor Burns stitching pintucks on the Ovation
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Pretty wavy pintucks–made super speedy on a serger! 

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Fun coverstitching effects

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Free-motion chainstitching

As you can see, the Ovation is extremely versatile and has many very smart features and lots of room to serge. You can find out more and see it in action here.

In the afternoon, we got to play on the Baby Lock Unity to try out its sewing, quilting and embroidery features. I got to be machine buddies with the lovely Joi Mahon (Dress Forms Design), who has appeared in both Sew News and Sew it All. It’s always a pleasure to see her and even more fun to sew with her. Plus, we shared a sewing station with the delightful Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side!

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My sewing buddy Joi!

The Unity has a lot of excellent tools and features, including a guidebeam that you can follow instead of having to mark straight lines on your fabric. We stitched cute little snowball blocks, and then embroidered them with a pretty birdcage design. Fun!

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Next up, I made sure to get my photo taken in front of this gorgeous wall of words. Baby Lock asked all of the attendees to send in their favorite words of wisdom, which they combined into a super advice wall! The result is funny, touching and hilarious. And you gotta love the fabulous vintage fainting couch!

IMAG3684 169x300 Baby Lock Common Threads 2014 Recap!

We also got to see a very heartwarming video about Enchanted Makeovers, a community service project that Baby Lock has partnered with this year to make over and outfit women’s shelters with brand new sewing rooms. Stay tuned for my blog post about that to find out how you can help!

The next morning we also got to try out the Baby Lock Sashiko 2. If you haven’t gotten to try this machine, I definitely recommend it! It’s really fun and inspiring to be able to produce the look of hand stitching so quickly and easily. I wrote a guide to Sashiko in Sew it All, Vol. 7, so it’s one of my current sewing passions. It was also quite a treat because Evy Hawkins, Baby Lock’s Sashiko educator, was on hand to help and inspire us with all the fun things the Sashiko can do, like adding trim or decorative thread or beads. I was able to stitch up this design in less than 10 minutes!

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The Sashiko machine also works great for applique:

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Last but not least, we played a very funny Rob-Your-Neighbor game with all of the awesome sewing supplies and notions that you can find on Nancy’s Notions and Sewing & Craft Club from Creative Notions, Madeira Thread and more. It worked kind of like a white elephant exchange, where everyone picked a bag and then you could “rob” people if you liked what they received. This would be a fun game for a sewing group too! Of any sewing tool, I LOVE scissors the most, so I was thrilled to wind up with these Gingher Shears!

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After such a whirlwind, it was suddenly time to say goodbye! There were so many wonderful things I learned and so much to take away from the event, but more than anything, I was overwhelmed with the very real sense of sharing, friendship and love that exists in the sewing community. Common Threads really was the perfect name for the event. 

Here are two of the lovely and talented sewing bloggers I got to meet (check out See Kate Sew and Melly Sews):

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Kate Blocher of SeeKateSew and Melissa Mora of MellySews

And I just couldn’t leave without a photo with the one and only Nancy Zieman!

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Nancy is just as kind, gracious and funny in person as she is on TV!

Getting to make things together and share that with others is such a gift. I’m sure you’ve experienced this feeling in your sewing and quilting groups or when you’ve taught a new sewer, or when you’ve been able to make someone a special gift. I love sharing that with you, too! Stay tuned for a blog roll of all of the Common Threads attendees, as well as a post next week about Enchanted Makeovers!

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Enter to win a copy of SIA Vol. 8 + Learn about the contributors from this issue!

SIA8 Cover 500px Enter to win a copy of SIA Vol. 8 + Learn about the contributors from this issue! We’re all very excited for the latest Sew It All hitting newsstands June 17, or for a few lucky people it’s already at their favorite fabric shop or grocery newsstand and you’re all ready making the fun projects.

This issue has some fantastic contributors, so let’s give a shout out to all of them! You can also find more information on these lovely ladies on our website, the articles from this issue and past issues. Please click on to their links below to find out more on all the awesome things they do for the creative community.

Many of these ladies have Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts, blogs, websites, Etsy shops(whew!) and some hold full time jobs in addition! And, yes they would love to hear from you! Be sure to check them out when you pick up a copy of Sew It All Volume 8.

Susan Beck  has loved creating with fabric, a needle and thread for most of her life. Susan is an educator, writer and editor for Bernina of America. Visit to see what she’s up to.

Lucy Blaire  owns East Camp Home for which she is a designer, blogger and seamstress. In addition to running her shop, she writes for magazines and books. She lives in Catskill, NY, with her husband and daughter. Check out her designs at

Nicole Blumis pursuing a life filled with making things. She is the co-author of Improv Sewing. Read about her sewing adventures at

Ashley Briggs  is a former Sew News editor and Alaskan weather girl who now spends her time sewing and crocheting in a small town in Colorado. When not stitching, she can be found working out, walking her dog and blogging at

Joylyn Buckingham  retired from a career in teaching to enjoy her favorite pastime: sewing. No longer a necessity to clothe her children, she now sews and blogs at

Rhonda Buss  is a woman of many talents. She’s a pilot, writer, artist, dog lover and sewist. She lives in Chicago, where she drafts patterns and sews for her blog at Rhonda’s Creative Life.

Jennifer Davey  works as a freelance designer for iLoveToCreate. She lives in Clovis, CA, with her husband and three children, and loves sharing her joy for creating with others. Vist to learn more.

Carol Ingram  is a sewing educator and textile artist residing in Florida. She loves learning new techniques to express her artistic vision.

Sharon Madsen  is a Midwestern gal who loves dogs, shoes and chocolate. She began sewing when she was 8 years old and hasn’t stopped since. She blogs about her sewing adventures at

Kim Saba  holds a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She loves to sew, play with her two dogs and collect everything vintage. Take a peek at to see her latest finds.

Stacy Schlyer  is a self-proclaimed fabric junkie and strives to keep her stash fully stocked. She blogs about her sewing adventures at

Sunni Standing  is an avid home sewing enthusiast. She blogs about her passion at

Kate Van Fleet has been sewing for more than 40 years. She’s the former owner of Kreations by Kate, a business supplying handmade pillows to nine stores in five states.

Katrina Walker  specializes in working with silk and wool. She enjoys designing projects for home sewists and playing with her flock of sheep. Learn more about her at

Lynn Weglarz started sewing at a very early age, making clothes for her dolls. She went on to graduate with a degree in Home Economics. Currently she teaches sewing classes to children, teens and adults.

Vanessa Wilson lives on a five-acre farm in central Florida where she grows an organic garden and sews as much as possible. She tries to live a simple organic life with her husband and two children. Check out her blog at for more than 140 tutorials.

Tell me who your favorite contributor is or one you would like to see in the future.

Three Winners will be announced on Friday!!

Posted in Events | 44 Comments

How To Join the Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along

PatternImage 500 How To Join the Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along

Hello! We are getting ready for the Hot Patterns Summer Breeze Sew Along, starting on June 23rd!

If you are new to sew alongs let me explain a few things and then I hope to see and hear from you on this super fun sew-along!

First you DO NOT need to sign up on Flickr. We have that as an option for those that want to share their creations, their fabric choices, meet other online sewists, ask questions etc. But no one is obligated to join Flickr.

Flickr is a photo sharing site and is a lot of fun to use. You post photos of your progress each week, or you can ask for help. If you would like to learn more about how to join Flickr you can find a tutorial from Sew News HERE.

Each week of the tutorial will be posted here on the blog and on the Flickr Sew News Summer Breeze Group page. You can ask for help here on the blog as well as on the Flickr site.

So, really there are two places where you can get all the information you need for the sew-along. On the blog we will also have a video component to help you with the making of the pattern. The sew alongs are conducted by Rhonda Buss of Rhonda’s Creative Life. You can find past sew alongs here on the blog as well as on Flickr.

To purchase the Summer Breeze pattern please go to

And, be sure to pick up a copy of the latest Sew News June/July issue where there is  information on the sew along. You can pick up a copy HERE.

The schedule for the sew along is as follows:

Week 1: Week of June 23 –Pattern Prep & Fabric Choices

Week 2: Week of July 30 –French Seams

Week 3: Week of July 07 –Ties, Pleats, Gatherings & Notches

Week 4: Week of July 14 –Binding & Facing Options

Week 5: Week of July 21 –Finishing Touches

The pattern is sized from 6-26. The fabric called for is lighweight, like silk, silkys rayon crepes or lightweight knits.

If you have any questions please leave a comment here and I will get back to you on it.


Posted in Sew Along - Summer Breeze Top | 12 Comments

Stitch a Cute & Simple Sundress in Ten Steps + Download a Free Pattern from Sew News!

You can never have too many dresses when summer rolls around. They’re easy, cute and keep you cool when it’s hot! So in honor of summer, learn how to stitch a cute and simple sundress in just ten steps. Plus, learn how to use a shirring technique to create an instant bodice on the dress.

Sundress 221x300 Stitch a Cute & Simple Sundress in Ten Steps + Download a Free Pattern from Sew News!

Take the following measurements to determine how much fabric you need.

  1. Front of neck (where collarbones meet) over the bust and down to the desired finished length + 1 1/2″ (for seam allowance)
  2. Hips at the widest circumference + 8″ (for ease) +1″ (seam allowance). If your bust measurement is bigger than your hip measurement, use your bust measurement instead.

Purchase a few extra inches of fabric because the fabric will likely shrink after prewashing.  For example, the finished length of the dress shown above is 32″, and the total hip measurement (hip circumference + ease + seam allowance) is 50″. Total fabric purchased for the dress was 1 3/4 yards.


1 1/2 to 2 yards of 45” wide fabric (try an airy cotton or seersucker)

black or white elastic thread

matching all purpose thread

1 3/4 yards coordinating ribbon


1. Cut a fabric rectangle to the desired dimensions (A). Serge- or zigzag-finish the edges.

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2. With right sides together, fold tube in half widthwise. Stitch the short edges tougher using a 1/2” seam allowance to form a tube (B). Press the seam open.

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3. Turn under the upper edge 1/4″ to the wrong side and press. Turn under an additional 1/4″ and press. Topstitch 1/8” from the fold.

4. Turn up the lower edge 1” to the wrong side and press. Topstitch 1/2″ from the fold.

5. Hand-wind a bobbin with elastic thread, slightly stretching the thread as you wind (be sure not to over-stretch the elastic). Place the bobbin in the machine and thread the needle with all-purpose thread that matches your fabric. Set the machine to a 3.5mm stitch length.

6. Begin stitching at the seamline 1” below the upper edge hem. Stitch around the tube circumference (the fabric should gather slightly as you sew).

7. When you get near the beginning stitching point, angle the stitching slightly below the first stitching line and continue around the tube (C). Evenly space the stitching rows (about 1/2″ to 1”).

C 300x274 Stitch a Cute & Simple Sundress in Ten Steps + Download a Free Pattern from Sew News!

8. Stitch enough of the tube to fit it comfortably over your chest. If the bobbin runs out, or when you begin and end stitching, use the elastic thread end in the fabric to gently pull the top thread to the wrong side (D). Knot the elastic and thread together to secure. Trim close to the knot.

D 300x274 Stitch a Cute & Simple Sundress in Ten Steps + Download a Free Pattern from Sew News!

9. Try on the dress with the seamline centered on your back. If the stitched area is too loose around your chest, remove the dress and place it on a flat surface. To shrink the fabric, hold a steam iron directly above the stitching and steam for approximately 10 seconds. Allow the steamed area to cool, then turn the dress over and repeat on the opposite side.

10. To make straps, try on the dress and measure from the dress front to back over one shoulder; add 2”. Cut two piece of ribbon that length. Turn under each ribbon cut end 1/2″, then turn under each end 1/2″ again. With the dress still on, pin the straps in place. Take off the dress and hand stitch the straps to secure. (If you want a strapless dress, skip this step. You’re done!).

That’s it!  Ten steps and you’ve got an easy summer dress. This would also make a great swimsuit cover up for the pool or beach.

Want more dress ideas? Download this great lace dress freebie from the latest issue of Sew News.  And don’t forget to check out the final week of our Clara Dress Sew Along here!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details

14296132681 264fdc7ca3 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details

We are down to the final steps in completing our Sew Liberated Clara Dress. At this point, all that is left to do is finish the hem, sew in the buttonholes and attach the buttons.

If you have not added a ruffle as I did for the sew along dress, finishing the hem is quite easy. Cut a 2” bias strip. Sew the bias strip to the hem of the skirt with a ½” seam allowance. photo 110 Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing DetailsOnce the strip has been sewn around the entire hem of the skirt, press the bias strip over the seam allowance. On the back side of the bias strip, fold over ¼” to 3/8” and press in place.
14112848150 f3de38a296 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing DetailsFold the bias strip up over the seam allowance and pin in place. I pin mine on the right side of the garment.

On the right side of the garment, simply sew in the ditch to complete the hem. This is a great method to use especially if you would like a contrasting edge.

14297545072 18ff78289a o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details  You will have a stitching line on the back side of the skirt,
14299488605 8ec7f12994 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details  And a beautifully finished hem on the front with the stitches hidden in the seam line.
14112833888 85bbc31dd8 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details  If you would like to add a ruffle to the hem of the skirt, measure the circumference of the hem. Mine was approximately 104”. When adding a ruffle, the formula for how much you will need is 2 1/2 to 3 times the circumference. I was not able to get 3 times the circumference as I ran out of fabric, but I was close and I still had a fairly full ruffle.
14112938917 1cc6d0bd75 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details  I attached the ruffle to the lining of the skirt rather than the outer fabric. I finished the hem of my skirt with a strip of purchased ½” bias tape. Once the bias tape was sewn to the hem, it was pressed up and hand stitched in place.
14112848690 9db53dcfec o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details
The right side of the ruffle was sewn to the wrong side of the skirt lining. I finished the raw edge with a piece of purchased bias tape. Once the bias tape was sewn to the ruffle, I pressed it up and machine stitched the other edge to the lining.
14112939057 54fab678d0 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details  The final step in completing the dress is to sew in the buttonholes and attach the buttons. In last week’s video, I showed how I sew on my buttons. You can find the video here,

When choosing buttons, the first thing I do is go to my stash of buttons and sometimes I get lucky. I had vintage buttons that worked beautifully with the dress I made for the magazine article.
14276349356 e6a2331dea o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details
The buttons have a domed shape. If you are using a button like this, be sure to measure across the top of the button to determine the size of your buttonhole. If you only measure the back, or the flat side of the button, your buttonholes will be too small.
14112939357 f0ffc872e7 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Details
For my ruffle dress, I decided to cover buttons as I really liked the black stripes in the fern pattern.
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I find covered buttons to be a wonderful alternative to regular purchased buttons as they can be customized in so many ways. If you have never covered buttons, please give it a try. You can find lots of sizes at your local fabric store.

Be sure to check out the video portion of the last segment of the sew-along.

Now for a look at the three faces of the Clara Dress.
14297545972 bfec757475 o Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Detailsphoto 134 Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing Detailsphoto 143 Clara Dress Sew Along Final Week! Finishing DetailsThe Clara Dress is a lovely dress for hot summer days. It just seems to float around the body. I know I am going to truly enjoy wearing my Clara dresses this summer.

If you have made a Clara dress, be sure to post a picture on the Flickr page so we can ohhh and ahhhh over your success. You can find the Flickr page here, Clara Dress Flickr Group.

Thanks so much for following along! There’s a new sew long right on the heels of this one. Be sure to check it out as it is a must make for summer! News about the sew along will be posted soon.

Rhonda Buss

Rhonda’s Creative Life




Posted in Sew-Along - Clara Dress | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

Bags Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

Summertime is finally upon us! And after having snow on Mother’s Day here in Denver, we’re ready for it!  In honor of summer (and vacations!), read on to learn how to make quick and simple lightweight bags in various sizes. Whether you’re headed to an out of town wedding (like me) or going on a weekend getaway, these bags will organize all your travel essentials.


What You Need

  • 1 yard of 60” -wide lightweight woven fabric. Note: One yard is enough to make all six bags. You can use less if you’re only making one or a few bags.
  • Matching all-purpose thread
  • 4 1/2 yards of 1/8” diameter cording
  • Two 18” zippers (for cosmetics and jewelry bags)

Optional (for embroidery)

  • Contrasting machine embroidery thread
  • Machine embroidery bobbin thread
  • Tear-away stabilizer

Fabric Cutting

Cut fabric for each bag using the following dimensions. Make all or just one, it’s up to you.

Laundry Bag: 16”x 44”

Shoes: 11”x 30”

Cosmetics: 8 1/2”x 21”

Jewelry: 7 1/2”x 14”

Pharmacy: 7 1/2”x 14”

Fabric Money: 5 1/2”x 9”


All seam allowances 1/2” unless otherwise noted.

If you don’t plan on embroidering your bag, skip ahead to the Corded Bag Construction step.

  • Decide on placement for each bag label
  • Program lettering for each label (keep the size in proportion to the bag for a more uniform look)
  • Thread the machine with embroidery thread
  • Hoop and stabilize each fabric piece
  • Embroider each bag front with the appropriate word (or your initials, or whatever you want!). Make sure the label faces the proper direction.
  • Remove excess stabilizer and trim thread ends.

Corded Bag Construction

  • With right sides together, fold fabric in half widthwise and serge or sew the side seamsBags 1 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!
  • Measure down 3/4” from the finished edge and stitch a 1/2” buttonhole close to each sideseam. Avoid catching the seam allowances in the buttonhole (2).

Bags 2 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

Tip: If your fabric is very lightweight, apply stabilizer before stitching the buttonhole.

  • Fold the upper edge of the bag to the wrong side, creating a 5/8” casing for the cord. Stitch close to the casing lower edge.
  • Thread a cording piece at each buttonhole all the way through the bag casing and knot the cord ends (3).

Bags 3 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

Tip: Attach a safety pin to the end of your cording for easier threading through the casing.

  • To close the bag, gently pull the cords.

Zippered Bag Construction

  • Serge or clean-finish both long edges.
  • Cut the lower stop off the zipper, unzip, remove the pull and set aside.

Note: You’ll only use one side of the zipper.

  • Place one side of the zipper right side down along the clean finished edge and sew 1/8” from the zipper teeth (4).

Bags 4 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

  • Fold and bring the zipper teeth together and carefully work the pull back onto the zipper. Slide the pull to the opposite end and close the bag. Trim the zipper end if necessary.
  • Fold the bag right sides together with the zipper open. Stitch the side and lower bag (with 1/2″ seams).
  • Fold the lower bag seam (or side fold) directly on top of the bag side seam to box the bag corners. Stitch across the seam 1” from the triangle point (5).

Bags 5 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

  • To finish the zipper open end, fold the bag side seam on top of the zipper teeth and stitch across the seam 1/4” from the end (6).

Bags 6 Stitch Easy Travel Bags for Summer + Download a Free ePattern from the Latest Issue of Sew News!

That’s it! These are so simple to make, you can stitch up one (or more) in time for the long weekend.

Want more bag patterns?  Download this cute summer satchel ePattern from the latest issue of Sew News here.

What projects are you making this summer?  Tell us below!


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Free Summer Beach Bag Pattern & Instructions

beach bag 500 Free Summer Beach Bag Pattern & InstructionsWe’ve gotten so much positive feedback on the Sew News June/July cover project “Summer Satchel”. This tote is roomy for all those summer essentials, plus it has pockets that are well placed for phones, sunscreen other must have items.

You can find all the instructions and pattern for the Summer Satchel HERE. If you  make the pattern and post it on our Sew News Flickr group  you could win a prize!

You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to download PDF patterns, e-Patterns etc. Below is a link to the FREE Adobe Reader for those that may need it.

Plus a guide for downloading e-patterns.



Plus, I would like to announce the winner from Free Stuff Friday. There was such a huge response it leads me to believe that Sew News readers REALLY love to make bags! And, the winner is Renée her comment:

I got into making bags so that I could make one that was just the right size to carry what I needed… no bigger. I would love some inspiration to re-ignite my true sewing passion: bags! This book would surely do the trick!

Renee’s name was randomly picked using Renée, I will be in touch with you shortly to tell you how to claim your prize.

Thanks to all for reading the book, we hope that you check it out!



Posted in Free Projects | 6 Comments