Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew?

Happy National Sewing Month! Did you know that this is a month set aside by Ronald Regan back in the 80′s to recognize the importance of the home sewer in America? We love this time of year for obvious reasons. We find there is nothing more devine then talking about sewing!

old sewing machine 558300429 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew?

Getty Images: Veronica Torres

This year we’d love to hear from you and why sewing matters to you. How did you learn, who did you learn to sew from? What do you like to sew? What would you like to learn? Every month is sewing month around here, in fact many of us can’t go a day without sewing something. Anything! Find out why sewing means so much to the editors here at Sew News. And, be sure to tell us your story in the comments section below.

Kates headshot 150x150 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew? Kate – I sew because I can. Sewing didn’t come easily to me, so now that I am not just proficient, but skilled, I find great satisfaction in taking a flat piece of fabric and making it into something three-dimensional that looks good and I am proud to wear or use. And because I am lucky enough to work in a place where I am constantly learning new skills, tricks and techniques, I am able to watch my ability grow with every project I make. I love learning about sewing, and I love that I am a strong enough sewist to play around with whatever I’m working on, tweaking it until it’s exactly what I want it to be.

JILL HS CROPPED 150x150 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew? Jill – Why do I sew? Why do I love to sew? I can remember the first time I made a skirt for myself. It was floral printed corduroy, and the fit was wonky of course. But, finishing that up and trying it on I felt like I just created the most important thing in my life. I felt so good about creating something that I could wear. It’s kind of indescribable.  I get the same feeling when I make pillowcases. or embroider a tea towel set for my mom. It’s thrilling to me to make something. I love fabric, color, fashion, I love the process of sewing from start to finish. It’s something I’ve done forever and I don’t imagine I’ll ever stop. So, in short I sew because it gives me joy.

2015 03 06 02.35.33 11 150x150 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew? Amanda - My creative outlets have taken a number of forms over the years – ceramics, stained glass, quilting, crochet – but sewing was my first love…as well as my current obsession. I remember (fondly!) working on sewing projects with my mom at the kitchen table as a young kid. I made my first dress from a pattern in 10th grade and have been sewing off and on since. Today, sewing takes up a very special, almost sacred, place in my life. With three young children and a full-time job, people often ask me how I have time to sew. I don’t have time, I make time… and I drink a lot of coffee (!). Sewing is my way to de-stress, to be in the present moment, and to use my hands creatively. And rather than taking energy, I’ve found that sewing gives me energy! It’s also been an amazing way to connect with like-minded folks on Instagram.

Jessica Z Head Shot Cropped 200 150x150 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew? Jessica -




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 Happy National Sewing Month! Why Do You Love To Sew?
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Sewing Plans For Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend’s almost here (for us in the USA and Canada at least)!

I always look forward to this particular weekend not because of the extra day off (though that’s great, don’t get me wrong), but because every year I volunteer at our local anime convention, Nan Desu Kan, which has taken place on Labor Day weekend the past few years. I work at registration, which is super busy for the first day and a half. On Saturday afternoon, though, it calms down and I have the chance to sit and watch the cosplay go by. I always see some amazing technical work, but I also love to see beginners just starting out who may not have all the skills mastered yet, but are so proud of and excited by their first handmade costume.

The one downside to the con is that I’ll be tied up most of the weekend and probably won’t have a chance to do any sewing myself. If I do get some time, though, I have a project from Sew It All Volume 11, now officially on newsstands, that I want to make. It’s this fabric checkerboard:

CheckersandBalances 600x600 Sewing Plans For Labor Day Weekend

Checkers & Balances

Cute, right? I love how the checkers are covered buttons. I’m not sure why, but that really speaks to me.

Sew It All projects are designed to be sewn in a short time — ideally in an afternoon — so our new issue and our back catalog are great places to find sewing projects that you can start and finish over the weekend. And since this weekend has an extra day, you have time for an extra project (or two). Here are a few of my favorites from past volumes:

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Cactus Cuties

I love these cactus pincushions from Volume 10. Adorable and useful — what more could you ask for?

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Gone Knitting

I crochet and knit as well as sew, so I can’t help but love this cute needle organizer from Volume 6.

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Fireside Fluff

This faux-fur pouf from Volume 5 is just plain fun.

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Cozy Container

I love this clever idea from Volume 4 — turn an old sweater sleeve into a vase cozy. What great winter décor!

SIA11 2017 Cover 200 Sewing Plans For Labor Day Weekend You can find all the issues of Sew It All in digital form at shopsewitall.com, including Volume 11, which you can also find on newsstands now.

My volunteer work at the con actually starts today, so I’m heading out shortly. I’ll try to grab some great cosplay pictures to share with you.

Enjoy your long weekend and happy sewing!

Screen Shot 2016 08 16 at 3.36.45 PM Sewing Plans For Labor Day Weekend

 Sewing Plans For Labor Day Weekend
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Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 3: Installing the Neckband

6x9 env linden front 200x300 Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 3: Installing the NeckbandWelcome to week 3 of the Linden Sew Along. If you’ve already cut your fabric and sewn the sleeve edges and the side seams, you are just a few simple steps from the finish line, friends! Today we’re discussing bands: neckbands, sleeve bands and hem bands. Let’s get started!

Rather than go through the neckband step by step, I’ll cover the basic process and share my notes. First things first: do not fear the neckband! It was a major source of stress when I first started when knits, but now I kind of like them. The basic are this: join the neckband short ends, right sides together, and fold the neckband in half with wrong sides together. Quarter-mark the neckband and the neck hole with pins. Pin the neckband to the neck hole at the quarter marks, with right sides together. Stitch in place, stretching the neckband between the pins to it attaches smoothly to the neck hole. Turn the neckband in and topstitch in place. Simple as that! And if that doesn’t sound simple, I have tips!

Screen Shot 2017 08 29 at 9.59.51 AM 300x265 Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 3: Installing the NeckbandKnit Neckband Tips
>Do not stitch the neckband short ends together. Fold the neckband in half, wrong sides together, and starting at the center front, pin the neckband in place around the neck hole, gauging the amount of stretch you need as you go and positioning the bulk of the stretch to the back of the neck hole. Leave the start and end of the neckband unpinned. Once you’ve pinned around the neck hole, stitch the neckband short ends together. Then pin and stitch the neckband in place, as above. This feels a bit more like binding to me, and less stressful than quarter marking. Continue reading

 Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 3: Installing the Neckband
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Sew it All, Volume 11 is here!

SIA11 2017 Cover 200 Sew it All, Volume 11 is here!

It’s time to finally let the cat out of the (cute handmade) bag: Sew it All Volume 11 has landed!

Hardworking wardrobe basics, plus all kinds of bags, accessories, simple gifts, home decor and more to fill out your fall sewing! This issue covers all the sewing basics you need to know to sew the projects, plus:

  • An easy figure-friendly weekend dress that’s the perfect seasonal transition piece (on the cover!)
  • A pretty tote with loads of romantic ruffles
  • A set of sweet animal-themed washcloths
  • A trio of sewing-themed holders for giftcards or business cards
  • A perfect pair of easy-sew linen shorts
  • And sew much more.

We’ll be giving you peaks throughout the month of September, but take a look at these great fall garment basics – that went straight to the top of my fall sewing list! We hand-picked them to make sure they were quick to make, easy to fit and perfect for layering through the transitional season. And we hope you love them as much as we do! Continue reading

 Sew it All, Volume 11 is here!
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Project Runway Recap, S 16, E2

Project Runway: Week in Review

An Unconventional Recycling

Turning trash into treasure!

Screen Shot 2017 08 25 at 10.21.49 AM Project Runway Recap, S 16, E2all photos courtesy of Lifetime.

Wow! What a cool runway experience on this episode. I could have done without the “twin drama,” but maybe that’s because I have twins?

The challenge this week was to take unconventional materials from a recycling plant and create a cohesive 5-piece collection. It was the first team challenge of the season, and coming so soon after the premiere!


I had high hopes for this team from the start. It’s always nice to see a team working together and ready to rock without the clashing of ideas and attitudes. I was pretty convinced they were going to win even before they made anything. But alas, they were “safe” and got no critique. Kudzani’s look was my favorite of the group.

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The winners! I also liked how this team worked together from the start. But I thought some of their looks weren’t as strong as Wabi-Sabi.

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Ayana’s fringe overlay and dress with bottle cap covered buttons won the night. I wanted her to win last week, so YOU GO GIRL.

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Samantha had a great look, and would have done well if she was on a different team. She is super positive and I’m looking forward to her doing well throughout the season. I kinda want to be her new BFF.

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I just knew they would be on the bottom the moment the twin drama unfolded. Shawn kept making excuses and was so afraid of losing that she couldn’t pull it together. She should have gone home–if only because of her comments and attitude. But Sentell’s garbage bag dress couldn’t be ignored. He went home, so we’ll see what drama the twins cook up next week!

Screen Shot 2017 08 25 at 10.23.35 AM Project Runway Recap, S 16, E2

Who was your favorite this week?

 Project Runway Recap, S 16, E2
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Pattern Testing the Fringe Dress from Chalk And Notch

fringe dress image 300x300 Pattern Testing the Fringe Dress from Chalk And NotchIf you’re at all familiar with the online sewing community, you’re probably also familiar with the many independent pattern designers who inhabit that space. Independent designers offer a mix of PDF only and/or print patterns and proliferate Facebook and Instagram.

I’ll go ahead and make it clear: I love indie patterns. [And Big 4 patterns, too! If I love it, I will sew it!] I was curious about the development process many indie designers use called pattern testing: essentially, before a pattern is released to the general public, an indie designer will enlist volunteer makers in a variety of sizes to sew up the pattern and share their thoughts, fit notes, edits, grammatical suggestions and more. It always seemed like a lot of work for designers…and I was right!

When Chalk and Notch Pattern’s Gabriela Longfish shared her testing call for the new Fringe Dress, I applied and was accepted as one of 40+ testers. For this test, there were multiple rounds that took place over three long weekends. I was only available for round 3, which was the final tweaks phase. Each person was assigned a size, based on their measurements, with recommended adjustments (for height, bust adjustments, etc), and a version. For this dress, there is an A version, with a button front (which I made), and a version B with a keyhole-type opening – and both versions include a blouse option. To organize the process, a Facebook group was created and we each posted on our fabric selection (for muslins and some brave souls who skipped right on to beautiful yardage!!) and our progress. We were also asked to share fit pictures with the pattern designer, either within the group or via private message. The major area of fit for this dress is the bodice so I shared multiple images from multiple angles, including some “artistic” shots taken by my 5-year-old. As we each completed our samples, we tallied corrections, suggestions and trouble spots on a shared document and completed the process with a final questionnaire regarding fit and style and lots of other feedback.

As each round was completed, the design and instructions were tweaked to incorporate the needed changes. By round three, my work was easy – other than a few grammatical suggestions (well, I am an editor!), I had nothing to contribute and the dress sewed up perfectly. This experience exceeded my expectations on multiple fronts, including the immense organization and the sense of community within the testers. Bonus points: Gabriela was a gracious, kind and grateful host through the whole process. Also bonus points: I had the best excuse ever to make a dress in a weekend – it was homework!

 Pattern Testing the Fringe Dress from Chalk And NotchOn to the dress! I’ve been looking to add a few hard working dress patterns to my pattern library – and this one checks all my boxes. It’s a feminine yet modern take on the shirtdress, with a lovely shirttail hem and pockets. The bodice is slightly fitted, with optional ties for additional shaping and plenty of little details to make it feel special – I am in love with the cuffs! Plus it sews up quickly, so it’s a great go-to for a surprise upcoming date night or a weekend wedding, depending on fabric. The pattern calls for a variety of drapey fabrics but for my tester sample, I used a (thrifted!) shirting from my stash….and I kind of love it! The solid really shows the details, I think, and makes for a versatile dress (for $4!). The dress is amazing as is but offers  tons of hacking potential, perfect for sewing up the random drapey fabrics languishing in my stash. I will definitely be making more…and I have a newfound respect for the work that goes on behind the scenes in pattern development.



 Pattern Testing the Fringe Dress from Chalk And Notch
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Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 2: Cutting & Sewing the Sweatshirt Body

linden week 2 300x300 Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 2: Cutting & Sewing the Sweatshirt Body

Okay, friends – let the sweatshirt fun commence! Last week we covered knit fabrics & tools, this week we’re talking cutting and construction, starting with the sweatshirt body.

First things, first! If you’re new to raglan patterns, the body and sleeve pattern pieces may look a little funky. However, you will get used to that and then you’ll probably fall in love with the idea of never having to set-in a sleeve again – I know I did! You’ll also notice that the front bodice appears to be a little shorter than the back – this is because the front sits lower on the body than the back. Also note that the front of the sleeve is the shorter edge – I’ve totally sewn my sleeves on backwards before so using a pin to mark the front edge is a good idea. And if the neckband looks short, good: it should be! More on that later.

If you’re planning any kind of pattern hack, you’ve got some decisions to make before you get started! You can alter your paper pattern and/or use other patterns from your library and simply borrow the design lines. This works particularly well if you have a top with a curved hem you like – simply borrow the lower hem from it as you cut out your bodice back and front! Here are some other simple hacks to consider when customizing your sweatshirt to suit your needs: Continue reading

 Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along, week 2: Cutting & Sewing the Sweatshirt Body
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