this week on the heavenly tour February 09 2014, 3 Comments
What an amazing week Figgy's tour is heading into!
Abby from Things for BoysKnitter, crafter, seamster and she offers a ton of amazing recipes!
Alexia from Lexi MadeDesigner, photographer, seamster and you'll find some wonderful tutorials too!
Cherie from You and MieI have followed and admired Cherie for so many years now and am so proud to have her on the tour. One of my most favorite series is on her blog Japanese Sewing Series.
Laura from Behind the Hedgerow
Sewing: girls, boys, women, men, toys and accessories. The mastermind behind this blog has sewn it all! My favorite is to read her sewing conversations and thoughts as much as I admire her other talents.
Kelley from Casa Crafty
She has DIY, a shop & 365 days of makes all lined up.
Not to mention Kelley cracks me up!!! Talent and funny..great combo!
Abby from Sew Much Ado
First I can't help but state that she is one of the sweetest gals you'll ever know!!
Pattern designer, blogger, tutorial writer of so many great projects and almost mommy of 4!
I'd say thats a pretty good line up for this week! Be sure to stop at each blog this week because I think some are hosting a giveaway! Enter below all month to win the grand prize too!
Happy Sewing - Shelly
i seam stressed February 07 2014, 3 Comments
Happy Sewing - Shelly
imagine gnats February 06 2014, 1 Comment
Just recently Rachael informed me she is hosting a Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to print her pattern line and I couldn't be more happy to see her patterns in print! Here is some more information from Rachel herself!
imagine gnats started as a little etsy shop, selling small sewn items to help support my family and also to give me a creative outlet in a corporate world. it's come a long way in just five years... from a hobby to a full-time job. my love of sewing and design has grown as well, and now my own sewing patterns help and inspire others to create. i am proud to have created patterns for garments that are easy to sew and easy to wear. imagine gnats patterns feature classic silhouettes with a modern twist that incorporate clever details and practical techniques currently, my patterns are all offered as printable pdfs. the money raised on indiegogo will help cover the costs of an initial run of paper patterns, which means sharing my designs with even more sewists and inspiring more people. for the cost of one pattern, you can help me reach my goal AND be one of the first to get the printed pattern of your choice. for a little bit more, you can get a full set of imagine gnats printed patterns. plus, early bird specials offer even better deals for the first contributors! my initial print run will include 500 each of my existing five garment patterns. all of the money raised will go directly to that effort. once patterns are printed, i begin the selling and distribution phase. i would love for you to tweet, share on facebook, email your friends and family... anything that will get the word out. every share helps and is so appreciated.
Tomorrow we'll be stopping by I Seam Stressed to see what Figgy fun she has in store for us!
Happy Sewing - Shelly
and so it begins!! February 04 2014, 94 Comments
26 talented bloggers & designers during the entire month of February are sewing a pattern from the Heavenly Collection! First up is the super creative and fun Sew Chibi! She's a local Portland gal with the biggest heart and two adorable little girls (and one on the way). Most recently you'll find her work in STYLO magazine featuring a tutorial on how to make a "Bumble Pocket Scarf". Thank you so much Kataryna!!
Each day stop at the next blog (just click on the blog name above) for a chance to win a Figgy's pattern!!
Here on the Figgy's Blog you can enter to win a grand prize!
A special thanks to the following prize donors!
So what's the big prize you ask?
Here's the list!
Fiskars Fabric Shears, Detail Scissors, Rotary Cutter and Extra Blades
Bernina Rolled Hem Foot & Buttonhole Cutter
$25 Gift Certifcate from Girl Charlee
A stack of gorgeous Fat Quarters from Alison Glass
Beautiful Eyelet yardage from Michael Miller
A lovely stack of Fat Quarters from Art Gallery Fabric
Susan Beal's new book "Easy Embellishment"
The Heavenly Bundle Collection from Figgy's
Well, what are you waiting for...ENTER TO WIN NOW!!
Winner will be announced March 3rd, 2014
Happy Sewing - shelly
tomorrow a feature from All Buttoned Up...a gal I adore and highly respect as a doer, giver & friend.
the heavenly tour begins February 03 2014, 2 Comments
I'm happy to announce the heavenly tour blogger list today and I can't wait to see what everyone has been making beginning tomorrow! During the tour they'll be giveaways on most if not all of the blogs and here at the Figgy's blog you can enter to win starting tomorrow for a big grand prize!!
thank you! November 17 2013, 2 Comments
For the first time ever Figgy's opened testing to the public and I'm so happy I did! I wanted to take the time to thank these wonderful gals for taking their personal time away from kids and family to help Figgy's.
The pattern line would not be as lovely without you and I truly appreciate you and all that you do.
A special thanks to:
Kataryna Borders / Sew Chibi
Bridget Clough / Et Tutu
Tara Faul / Girl Like the Sea
Anna Graham / Noodlehead
Autumn Gross / Cottingtons So Crafty
Kelly Knoll / Kish and Caboodle
Molly Martin / Rose and Odin
Nicole Morganthau / Finch Sewing Studio
Happy Sewing- Shelly
the happenings January 10 2013, 2 Comments
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Better late than never right?!
I've been receiving a lot of emails asking about future Figgy patterns. To be honest I have been so in love (busy too) with teaching sewing to kids of all ages that patterns have been pushed to the side. Am I going to stop making patterns? I'm not sure just yet.
Instead of typing away at the computer and testing garment after garment these last 6 months I've spent time with my young boys and husband. I've allowed life not to get away from me and wow what a gorgeous world I live in. Before pattern designing 7 years ago I had dreamed of opening a little shop/sewing studio and it seems that was once just a dream may actually become reality. In the meantime you'll continue to find Figgy's Happenings going on around town or online:
During the next two weeks Mad Mim and One Little Minute are hosting "Stretch Yourself" a learn to sew knits blogarama. On Thursday, January 17th there will be a Figgy’s Banyan Tee Review at One Little Minute + Mad Mim // Guest Projects at Anu*Miki + Paunnet. So if you have felt intimidated by knits then this next week is perfect for you~
Love blog posts and helpful information online but feel like you need just a little more hand holding? Lucky for you my class "Kid's Romper Revamp" on Craftsy may be just what you need. The classes teaches you how to pick proper fabric, take proper measurements, work with knit fabrics and their is a bonus free pattern too! Craftsy has a terrific interactive platform so if you have questions during class you just stop the lesson and type in your question. It's my job to check in a few times a week to answer those questions. Seeing some of the finished rompers & dresses has been so fun.
Love online classes but need just a little more hand holding than through the internets? Do you live near Seattle? GREAT! Join me for a workshop at Dry Goods Design (make * do * mend) on February 16th from 10am - 4pm (lunch will be served, yum)! I hope to see you there soon!
And for my fellow Portlanders, I have a new website where you'll find all the classes I'm currently teaching HERE!
The girl's got attitude - Figgy's winner tutorial September 28 2012, 3 Comments
Whow, this girl knows how to pose! And another 'whow' - it’s been a while but sometimes, good things just need their time! And this is a very special blog post: As you might know, the charming and talented Celina (mom of the cutie up there) of the blog petitapetitandfamily won our Figgy’s circle skirt design contest in July and with her cascade dress design. And with this win didn’t only come awesome prices – but also a feature tutorial for her winning design right here on our Figgy’s blog!
So, who is Celina? She's half British and half Moroccan, living, playing, working and raising two kids in Montreal, Quebec. She’s a childrenswear designer by trade (which certainly explains her exquisite aesthetic) who has worked in the industry before having her own kid’s label - Laila B. and her own children’s boutique – MossPink. Whow! As committed as she was to her business when she didn’t have kids, so committed she now is raising her two young children, designing, creating and blogging about her inspirations, life and projects. Hop on over to her blog and check out what she’s been up to lately. Click at the pattern sheet below to download instructions how to re-create this fashionable high-low dress.
Of course, we had a couple of questions to get to know her a little bit better:
Figgys: How long have you been sewing?
Celina: I took my first sewing class when I was 13... that was ummm 23 years ago and I've been sewing ever since!!!! But I graduated from Fashion Design in 2001 and really learned how to sew and make patterns then.
Figgy's: What are your favorite things to sew?
Celina: Anything I can upcycle is my favorite, it's always a brand new challenge getting all the pattern pieces to fit in.
Figgy's: Would you consider yourself an experimental sewer or perfectionist? And why?
Celina: Definitely a perfectionist, I think that the difference between a good piece and an amazing piece is all in the details, I pay a lot of attention to the little things and I usually spend a lot time on the finishing details.
Figgy's: What's your favorite fabric to sew with? Maybe a designer or Fabric line?
Celina: Usually I'm attracted to the color or the pattern first, then I usual go for natural fibers, whether it's woven or knit really depends on what the project is. Although, knit is always quicker and easier, I have no real preference.
Figgy's: Do you have a favorite tool that you don't want to sew without?
Celina: The seam ripper is by far my favorite tool, I guess it goes with being a perfectionist! Funny thing is I always seem to be looking for it. However, sharp scissors and an iron are a must.
Figgy's: And because we all need inspiration at the pots too - do you have a favorite go-to recipe you'd like to share?
Celina: Oh boy! Cooking is not my thing, it's not that I'm not good at it, it's just that I don't enjoy it. The one meal my whole family enjoys is my spinach quiche. Yes my kids eat spinach!
Daniela & Shelly
Sarah Jane goes Out To Sea September 18 2012, 1 Comment
Does the fabric choose the design or does design choose the fabric?
For this garment in particular there was no doubt, the fabric choose the design.
I was thrilled to have the chance to work with Sarah Jane's new line "Out to Sea" not only because I fell in love with the prints themselves but because of the wonderful fabric hand. The fabric arrived just in time for me to create something special for a very special girl "K". K's family was having a lifestyle photo shoot taken by the ever so talented local artist/photographer Tracey Freeman, so I jumped at the chance to have a few photos taken of K in her new dress.
I try not to recommend quilters cotton fabric for garments because they are "quilters" cotton and the drape can be a bit "stiff" for some garments but, in this case I say "Go For It"! The weight is light with lovely drape and the texture is so soft and perfect for little ones' delicate skin. For this dress I used the "Deep Sea Jewel" navy anchor fabric as the main fabric, the navy and white "Ahoy There" stripe for the bodice lining/skirt panels and a red ric rac under the front pleat. It is DARLING! I've been getting a lot of requests to start making ready made garments again and this is perfect line to start making again!
Happy Sewing! - Shelly
*all photos taken by Tracey Freeman of Tracey Freeman Photography
Only 2 more days left to support the Figgy's Kids Foundation. Please consider sharing the project, donating financially or donating goods. Thank you!
CRAFTSY! July 03 2012, 2 Comments
I am so very excited to announce the news about my course for Craftsy "Kids Romper Revamp". It was such a fun experience and I was able to work with some amazing and talented people. If you haven't heard about Craftsy yet then I have to say I'm a little shocked but also excited to be the one who gets to share this terrific site with you. My most favorite part about this site is that it offers all sewists who would love to take a class the chance to do so no matter where they live and also it's interactive. I get to chat with you as you take the class, I love that!
Here is a bit about my course.
During childhood, play is paramount. So whether it’s a hot summer day or a chilly winter afternoon, kid’s need to be comfy in their clothes. Like adults, kids should enjoy the way their clothes look, as well as how they fit and feel.
In Kid’s Romper Revamp, we’ll explore all kinds of useful sewing techniques, like how to properly measure a child, and adjust the pattern for a perfect custom fit. We’ll choose high-quality fabrics that are seasonally appropriate and fashionably fun, and cover the ins and outs of interfacing and how to apply it to the romper. I’ll go step-by-step through constructing the romper’s braided straps, gathering and assembling the yoke, sewing knit and woven fabrics together, and more. Then, we’ll move on to making the shorts, adding pockets, hem ties, and attaching the top and bottom to finish it off. Finally, I’ll discuss extending the romper into pants for the colder season, creating separates and making the romper into a sundress! Create 4 patterns from just 1.
In sewing for kids, I use comfortable fabrics as a platform to build from. For this class, I wanted a platform that’s as comfortable for teaching as the romper is for wearing. That’s why I chose Craftsy. With Craftsy, you have unlimited access to your classes so you can learn at your own pace, and you have the added comfort of being able to watch the lessons in brilliant high definition, rewind, make notes, ask questions, and get answers from me and your classmates. Plus, you can browse other people’s projects for inspiration, and upload pictures of your projects to get feedback and insight.
daniela June 18 2012, 12 Comments
or as I like to call her, "Tang" (short for her website name tangerinesamurai.com )
I "met" Daniela on flickr in 2009 while I was still living in Ohio. I believe it was these photos that drew me in.
Who wouldn't be drawn to that beauty of a fabric! After I moved to Oregon I was teaching private sewing lessons and during one of my lessons I kept talking about "Tangerine Samurai" and how enamored I was with her work. I knew she lived in Portland but I hadn't had the chance to connect with her. One of the gals I was teaching happened to know her and secretly surprised me by having her come to her home during one of the lessons. She introduced herself as "Daniela" and I just kind of stood there for a second and then she said "Tangerine Samurai" and let out a tiny scream and jumped for joy, I was a little star struck.
Luckily for me, we became and stayed friends.
Her work as a designer is a true gift for us all. In the 90's she worked as a Designer in the Global Sport Apparel Industry. Throughout those years, she held leadership positions at Adidas, Nike and Columbia Sportswear. She created financially successful performance apparel designs that you may actually have hanging in your closet. She has her own design company The Gestalter. She had her own successful yoga line called "Seek" and currently freelance designs for the company RYU. She is also a wife, mother, knitter, quilter and fabric designer! She designed 90% of the fabrics used in the Sewing For Boys book and a few projects for Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal. My goodness woman!
I'm writing about Daniela today because she is first, a wonderful human being, soft spoken, honest and patient. I was floored when she said she would like to work with me and I jumped at the chance to have her as a partner. She is an amazing co-owner & partner. I feel very blessed to know her and work with her.
Since I've been around longer and my name is attached to Figgy's I get a lot of credit for what should be hers. When we talk about credit she simply says that it's not her or me it's Figgy's as a team. I would call that selfless on her part for sure. 75% of the time it will be me you'll see hanging around the Internets and answering emails because I love to do that, but please remember Figgy's is a team of two.
Thank you Daniela for being you and teaming up with me. Figgy's is evolving into the wonderful small business that it is today because of you.
Happy Sewing- Shelly
elsie marley kcwc April 29 2012, 4 Comments
Have you been following along Elsie Marley's KCWC this week? I know we did! If you aren't familiar with KCWC, it is a week of committing to one hour a day of sewing just for your kiddos. I believe today was the last day but I think Meg will do this again in the Fall. It's really quite fun. The best part about KCWC for Daniela and myself was seeing all the little Figgy's garments pop up. Here are a few of our favorites:
I was able to participate a little this week and created a little Zephyr sun dress. For who else but Ofeliam of course. She was quite camera shy yesterday but she really loved it. My mom made her some purple linen bloomers (she calls them her spanx) to match. Super Cute! Fabric is a cotton lawn: London Calling by Vanessa Sorbet distributed by Robert Kaufman.
It was the perfect weight for a Spring sun dress.
Although KWCW is over for now we hope you will keep sewing a little bit everyday to create gorgeous garments for your little ones, and very soon with the new patterns too! Happy sewing!
spring & summer 2012 April 15 2012, 22 Comments
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to our Figgy's Spring and Summer line.
Sizes: 18mo - 8/9yr
A Royal Navy term for a short period of rest and relaxation.
You have asked for boys and knit patterns and we delivered! This pattern
package is chock full of handsome and stylish staples that will easily take
you through any season and will work equally well for boys and girls!
What more could you ask for?
The pants are a modern design with a pleated flat front and our signature adjustable
back. You choose between a long leg length or a severely cute pair of
shorts. The pant is tapered through the legs and ends with a fold up that
just takes this style up a couple of notches! Pair it with this easy to make
tee or choose between a girls slim fit handkerchief hem or tunic length tee.
We promise to help elevate your sewing ability while we guide you step
by step through a professional fly zip installation and plenty of sewing
tips for wovens and knits!
The constellation of winds blowing hot air from Sahara into Europe.
As a child, growing up in Germany, Scirocco meant hot summer days and
nights. The scent of sunscreen, swimming pools, ice cream and barbecues.
It meant swimming in cool waters and hanging out with friends
along the waters edge. An incredible sense of self, freedom and a terribly
Celebrate your summer by sewing your girl(s) this beautiful airy summer
dress - with a fun and funky twist which surely will make your little one
feel extra special. We are sure she will always remember the summer
when she got this favorite dress! Opt for light weight fabrics and try it
in sophisticated solids with pretty lace accents along the front or play it
up with beautiful prints. The results will make you wish for hot summer
Mild winds blowing from the Pacific.
A pattern combo that surely fits the famous California lifestyle. Just think about your family strolling down the beach promenade in Venice Beach, your little girl skipping ahead, wearing this adorable romper or breezy sundress. Picking up a sea shell or twenty along the way. The sundress is a quick and simple sew, perfect for a beginning seamstress.
The romper however is a little more advanced as it is a little more time consuming especially using the recommended knit body/woven yoke combo. Yet with many trips and tricks sprinkled throughout the instructions, we are sure to help elevate your sewing experience.
(Please drag your mouse to the number 360p to enlarge to 720p HP, thank you)
I hope you enjoyed the little peak at our Spring & Summer line and please come back tomorrow as we begin our PRE-SALE event. Our pre-sale event includes 10% off any purchased pattern. We are scheduled to ship all patterns by May 10, 2012!!
Daniela & Shelly
binding ofelia and a giveaway! March 24 2012, 27 Comments
I promised Jen would be back with another wonderful tutorial for all of us and this time she's teaching us a wonderful way to add a gorgeous binding to the Ofelia. Pair this with her adorable tie and you have the perfect brother sister set!
The Ofelia pattern is my all time favorite little girl dress pattern. Its FOUR pieces, easy to sew, only takes a yard of fabric, is stylish and well, Amelia my daughter loves it. Which means she already has four hanging in her closest. But they are getting small and are ready to pass down. Since I've already made them with the cute ribbon down the front, I thought I’d try something new!
Digging into my scrap bins, I found the answer. Below I’ll show you how to create this super cute patchwork binding as well as how to attach it three different ways. This is also a great way to add length to a dress if you have a tall lanky girl like I do.
By no means am I the expert in binding the hem of a dress. I've learned by trial and error. The point of this tutorial and showing you three different ways is to get you motivated! To get you to sew! To look at these, and think “Hey that’s not so hard-I can do that!” Because really, that’s what it takes, a little motivation, a little confidence and a desire to try.
So do it.
Try something new today.
Make a cute dress for your little one and then make it your own with special little touches!
- An almost complete Ofelia Dress (You can win a PDF download of this!)
- Scraps of fabric measuring 1-4 inches by 5 inches
- Regular sewing materials (machine, thread, cutting mat, rotary cuter, ruler, etc)
The first method is what I most commonly see in today’s patterns. It’s great to use if you want the inside seam to be completely hidden and if you don’t have a serger.
Step One: Making the binding
- Measure the bottom of your dress to determine how long your binding should be and add ½ inch.
- With your scraps sew them together to make one long strip that equals the width of the dress (mine was around 40 inches)
Step Two: Press and Square Up
- Press your seams, which ever way suits you. (I press mine to the side-I like the texture it gives)
- Square up the binding using a ruler and a rotary cutter. I found that five inches wide on all of these worked best. I made the 6/7 size dress-adjust the binding according to the dress size and preference.
Step Three: Attach
- Press one side up a ¼ inch
- Pin the binding to the bottom of the dress raw edges together and right sides to right sides.
- Join the ends of the binding by sewing a ¼ inch seam and creating a circle. Press.
- Attach to the hem using a ¼ inch seam
Step Four: Finishing
- Press your seam down towards the binding
- Fold the biding in half so the pre pressed ¼ inch seam just covers your stitch line (photo 2)
- Pin in place and top stitch using a 1/8th inch seam allowance
This next method is my favorite and the one I call the “down and dirty”. It’s quick, easy and still looks neat and professional. I also totally thought I made it up-yeah I know, total dork…
Follow steps 1 and 2 above to make your binding.
Step One: Attaching the binding
- Create a circle by sewing your end seams together with a ¼ inch seam (do this by measuring your dress hem width and adding ½ inch)
- Fold the binding in half with wrong sides together. Press.
- Pin to the hem and stitch a ¼ seam
Step Two: Finishing
- Press the seam towards the bottom/binding
- Top stitch using an 1/8th inch seam
(Note: Some people press up and stitch above binding-do what you like best just make sure to catch the serged seam allowance in your stitch)
The last method is probably the most traditional. It’s a double fold and adds weight and some thickness to the hem. It would be good on a heavy weight fabric such as wool. It also creates a narrower hem.
Follow steps 1 and 2 in the first set of directions to create your binding.
Step One: Create the double fold and attach
- Fold the binding in half wrong sides together. Press
- Open the binding and fold one side all of the way to the center line. Press.
- Fold the other side towards the center but leave a ¼ inch gap.
- Fold in half and press. One side will be slightly wider than the other
Step Two: Attaching
- Open the binding. Pin the narrower side to the hem of the dress with right sides together matching the raw edges
- When you get to the ends, turn one end up a ¼ inch (photo 1 below)
- Place the other end on top to over lap (photo 2 below)
- Stitch in the fold line (photo 3 below)
Note: You can also create a circle by sewing the end seams together as shown in method 1 and 2
Step Three: Press and Pin
- Press the seam towards the bottom
- Fold up at center seam; this should naturally fall above the stitch line
- Press and pin in place
Step Four: Finishing
- Top stitch 1/8th inch on top of the binding on the right side of the dress
TIP: Increasing the stitch length to create a longer stitch will give the garment a more professional look
Bonus Head Band!
Remember the tie tutorial from the other day? Well, all you have to do is slip it on a headband and your little girl has a super cute bow headband. Depending on how thick the headband is, you might need to make the center tighter by sewing a ½ inch seam allowance instead of a ¼ inch.
You could also attach it to various clips! I would add a touch of hot glue to the top of the clip to secure it. Amelia only wanted them on the headband, so I just fed the clip through to demonstrate; which actually worked just fine in my hair!
Hopefully this tutorial has inspired you to sew something pretty for your little one! To get you started, Shelly & Daniela will be giving away a free PDF pattern of the Ofelia dress to one lucky winner!!! Perfect timing for this Holiday season.
Just leave a comment on this post to enter. It would be great to hear what you are working on now or what you’d like to work on soon! For an extra entry follow us on Facebook or Pintrest! Please also make sure your email is in the comment or is linked to your comment! A winner will be chosen by random on Monday!
sewing with knits March 01 2012, 7 Comments
With thanks to and permission from the lovely Kelly Hogaboom I have decided to re-post this wonderful tutorial on sewing with knits. I have been getting many emails inquiring about this particular post and I don't like to disappoint our faithful sewists (seamstress, seamster, tailor). You may need to refer to this tutorial sooner than you think. (hmmmm, I wonder what that means?)
I promised a few people a little blog regarding sewing with knits; here goes. My daughter requested a shirt in “earthy” tones. I had just enough in my stash to make her one. The natural-colorway was from a piece of organic bamboo yardage given to me by a friend; the brown was from a 100% organic cotton t-shirt I thrift-ed (I used most of the shirt to make a headband for my mother). In both cases once I cut out the shirt pattern pieces I ended up with only a small portion scraps to compost. I love it that I use fabric so economically.
Kelly used the Tee for Two pattern available here: http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/sewing/Clothing/Tee-for-Two-Small-sizes/3910
Knits are tricky. So many sewists claim to “whip up a t-shirt on the serger” – but the truth is, for most of us it takes time to get proficient at knits, especially those with a high degree of stretch. Many home sewists don’t even own a serger (or they own one and don’t know how to use it). I hasten to add, a serger is not needed to make great knitwear. The following tutorial regards making a t-shirt on a sewing machine. It needs only a zig zag function to achieve good results (a width of 0.5 – 1.0 and a length of 3.0 was used for this shirt).
One of the best tricks I know to make t-shirt sewing go easier is to stabilize the seam allowances. This means “painting” a solution on the seam allowances and allowing them to dry. This solution ensures that the knit will not roll nor be sucked into the feed dogs of the machine. It’s not a necessary step to sewing with t-shirt knits, but one that makes things a lot easier. In addition to creating an easier sewing experience, I have found the stitch formed on stabilized knits “floats” on the fabric (instead of being pulled into it). Not all knits need this treatment (a sturdy or non-stretch knit may not), but for my slim-fit t-shirt with the very stretchy, soft bamboo it made the whole process easier.
To stabilize the seams you can either purchase a water soluble spray-on stabilizer or a stabilizer by the yard. If you choose the latter, you simply dissolve a small amount in water to create a solution then “paint” the edges of your pattern pieces (shown below in a moment). In this case, I am sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance so I stabilized about 3/8″ on each seam.
Which seams do you have to stabilize? Those that will be travelling across the feed dogs of the machines. For this pattern, this means all edges except the sleeve and shirt hems (which remain unfinished). I stabilized the short ends of the neckband as well, given as a last step in this pattern the neckband edges have to be top stitched closed in a little rectangle and I figured, “Why not?”. The neckband in general does not need to be stabilized as it is rarely against the machine (when you attach the band it will be the shirt bodice that travels across the machine surface) and it needs to stretch quite a bit to perform its function (which is to “snap back” after sewing and bring the shirt edge in to hug the neck).
Here’s a little photo-explanation of stabilizing (click each photo for more information):
After you've stabilized your seam allowances, you must let the pattern pieces dry. Give it overnight or, if you’re in a hurry, carefully put the pieces in front of a heat source (don’t burn your house down!). When the seams are dry, they will have a stiff edge to them. They may even be a bit waffle-y. Don’t worry about that, as on the machine they will sew up beautifully. Here is an example of the texture change resultant from the stabilizing process. It’s a bit difficult to see but it’s obvious to the touch (the green thread is the tailor’s tacks I use for pattern markings):
Now we’re all ready to sew!
In the Tee for Two pattern, the first seams sewn are those of the sleeves to the front and back bodice. I chose to do Option B. of the pattern – that is, a raw-edge, top stitched seam. This means first sewing the sleeve seams wrong sides together. The sleeve seams are curved – one generally a “convex” curve (the shirt bodice) and one generally a “concave” curve (the sleeve piece). The way you pin and sew these seams will make a difference in the ease of sewing. When pinning curves that have opposite lines (concave vs. convex), pin such that you’ll be sewing with the convex curve against the machine. To look at it another way, the curves will often look like they won’t match (don’t worry, if you cut accurately they will). Whichever seam looks like it has more fabric to be taken up during stitching, pin and place this piece against the machine. The natural action of the feed dogs will help subtly gather it (in the below photo, the brown is the sleeve, the natural-colorway the bodice. You can see the concave and convex curves):
When sewing – any time when sewing, but especially with a picky knit – hold the thread tails before you sew. This actually take a bit of practice. But if you don’t, your machine will often pull the thread tails into the machine’s throat plate. You’ll end up with a snarled-up bunch of thread and sometimes an ugly, bunchy seam. Observe the results when the thread tails were properly restrained:
After you sew each seam, you should steam press for best results. In general, it is always a good idea to “set the seam”, then press. “Setting the seam” is a technique I learned in a quilting class. It means pressing the seam just as sewn, before you turn it up and top stitch or whatever is next. Fabric is not two-dimensional but 3D – “setting the seam” helps integrate the seam into the structure of the garment (in this photo you can also see the nature of the zig zag that works well with stretchy knit sewing):
After you set the seam, go ahead and finger press it open and press with the iron again, this time in the formation you’ll want it in before proceeding. In this case, the seam allowances are pressed toward the bodice and then top stitched down for a deconstructed-look finish. Since the seams are curved, it makes sense to use a tailor’s ham (although this is rather optional):
The final touch in the raglan bodice/sleeve seams is the top stitching with the raw edge finish. I chose to do this from the inside of the shirt. This is because the stabilized portion of the pattern pieces would be travelling across the feed dogs. When I tried this from the outside of the shirt (as you typically do with top stitching) the seam process distorted the fabric and made a wonky seam, so I flipped the shirt. As long as you go slowly and make sure to gently pull the seam open, sewing from the backside of the garment lends a good result:
Since I made the “puff sleeve” version of the garment, the next steps in the pattern were to gather the raw edges of the sleeve hem into the two strips that will form the finished sleeve. This is done by a long basting stitch on the sleeve’s raw edge to gather the sleeve, then applying the two edge strips simultaneously. Again, the importance of securing the thread tails before you sew will result in a clean finish:
After attaching the sleeve strips, you press them together (hiding the raw edges of the sleeve end) and top stitch. Easy-peasy!
For a more subtle finish, you could use a matching thread instead of the contrast I have done here.
The side seam is one of the last remaining aspects to shirt construction. I elected to do a typical finish – that is stitch it right-sides together, then finish the inside seam allowances for sturdiness. One nice thing with a knit is you usually only have to pin at the top and bottom of a seam. Go slowly and stretch to fit and you’ll have lovely results. I sewed at a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 1/4″), because I knew my skinny-minnie daughter would fit just fine, and I wanted to trim the seam down to a clean edge before finishing the seams:
After trimming, and then stitching along the seam allowances:
The neckline is probably the trickiest part of this particular pattern, but it is an ingenious little treatment that not only looks fabulous but is a lot less trouble than most self-finished necklines. Two strips are sewn, one at a time, first to the outside of the garment than the inside. Both strips are simply overlapped at each short end. The outside strip is sewn at a slightly wider seam allowance. Thus when you press up both strips the seam line will cover itself. The only thing that remains is to sew a tiny rectangle, anchoring the overlapped ends of the neckband at the back-left shoulder.
So first, pinning:
I always imagine the Beginner stitcher is alarmed at this point. The neckband of shirts is always so much smaller than the shirt opening! But, that’s the point. This strip, cut against the knit grain, will pull the shirt neckline in to lie flat on the body. Again, you sew with the strip facing up and the shirt neckline against the machine. Carefully pin at a few places and stretch and the whole thing comes together like a dream.
Although the pattern doesn't have this extra step, after attaching each neckline strip I prefer to trim the seam at 3/16″ from the innermost seam, then press up and top stitch:
Here’s the best trick I know regarding top stitching: go slow! Very few of us make “perfect” top stitching but the slower you go, and the more you practice, the better things will look.
Finally, stitch the little rectangle at the back-left shoulder seam where the strips overlapped. The best thing about this little square is it will look different every time. It’s like a signature:
Finally, either wash by hand or throw in the washing machine and dryer to rid the fabric of the crunchy stabilizer. Then present your client with their new shirt! After the cutting and stabilizing aspects of construction (which I typically do the night before and take about a half hour), the shirt takes less time to sew than it took me to write out this tutorial. It’s a quick and lovely creation.
Thanks again Kelly!
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Sewing!
ps. visit again on Monday for a little Liberty giveaway. ;)
just in time for valentine's day February 10 2012, 7 Comments
Today we have a special guest, a dear friend and very talented sewist Jen Carlton Bailly! Jen had stitched up some cuteness during the sew along and we are so pleased she's is sharing with all of us! I won't keep you waiting.....
It’s not a secret that I love sewing patterns from Figgy’s. They are simple, clean, modern and easy. The Ayashe was no exception. When I read this, “You love your little one and one way you express your love is by hand tailoring a beautiful wardrobe especially for her”, from the front of the Ayashe Pattern I was so inspired to make something beautiful for my daughter. Amelia has so many prints in her closet, so I thought using simple red linen that I had stashed away for something special would be perfect.
While sewing I was reminded of a little shop in Seattle that used to sell clothes from Europe. All of the hand stitching was so beautiful. Then it came to me, I’ll add a little hand stitching to the front of this to give it a little pop, and it would be perfect for Valentines Day! Below are instructions for how you can do this to your blouse too!
Embroidery floss- I used three strands of white DMC
Hand sewing needle
Water Soluble pen
Using a ruler and a water-soluble marking pen, make a straight line up the front of your blouse and in between the stitch lines. Carry the line gently to form the heart. I just free handed.
Thread your needle, and tie a knot. Starting about ½ inch from the start of your line, insert your needle in between the layers of the front and the back of the blouse. Pull your floss all the way through and gently tug on it to pop the knot in-between the layers of fabric.
Using a small running stitch (Pass the needle in and out of the fabric, making the surface stitches of equal length) follow the line that you marked. My stitching was about a ¼ inch.
Continue into the heart. At your last stitch tie a knot and pull it through the fabric the same way you began.
Repeat on other side. Spritz marks with water.
Give to a little one you love.
Thank you so much Jen, and thank you A for being so cute!
I hope you are all inspired to add special touches to your Ayashe blouse as I am.
ayashe sew along; the last day! February 10 2012, 4 Comments
Welcome to the last day of the Ayashe blouse sew along. It went too fast, that just shows us, that even with all of the wonderful details in this blouse, it is a simple pattern but still tastefully contemporary.
Today we will set in the sleeves and finish the hem.
I accidentally forgot to take photos of how I hemmed the sleeves. I got excited, and moved on to the next step. I am making the 18mo size and I found that turning the raw edge of the sleeve hem 1/8" twice was sufficient and left room for the sleeve to attach to the body. There is still room if you choose to turn the hem 1/4" twice, but I wanted extra room to set in the sleeves.
I also hemmed the sleeves before I set them. The reason why is because I find it easier to do this first rather than last for toddler size patterns. The reason why most don't instruct sewists to do this is if you look at the photos above you'll see that I hemmed and pressed my seam open, but it won't stay flat permanently. To fix this I tacked the seam allowance. It won't show and it fixes the issue.
To set in the sleeve you will first turn the garment wrong side out. Insert the sleeves right side facing the right side of the blouse. Align the markings and underarm seam with the side seam and pin. You'll see that it fits perfectly, ahhh.
The trick to setting a sleeve in little sizes is not trying to wrap the sleeve around the machine bar but place the presser foot into the sleeve itself. As you can see above I am sewing on the wrong side of the sleeve inside the sleeve cap. The machine will take me full circle without any drama.
Pink and press.
I chose the elastic hem because Ofelia is still young enough to pull the drawstring out of the casing over and over again just for fun. My sister would have to re thread it over and over again, not for fun. Also, I am an awesome sister by thinking of her. ;)
First, turn the bottom hem 1/4" and press. Turn again 1", press and pin. Leave a 1" opening to feed the elastic through the casing. I left my opening at the side seam where stitches will be less obvious. I am without a bodkin so I used a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. Make sure not to twist the elastic and don't let the tail get swallowed or you'll have to re thread. Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch together. Sew the opening closed.
How much elastic should you use? Good question. My neice's waist is 20" so I cut 15" of elastic that has a good amount of stretch. It stretched to 30". I would go by your child's waist measurement and deduct the amount necessary for the amount of elasticity the elastic has.
For the Draw String method:
On the wrong sides of the shirt hem fuse a 3" piece of interfacing to the blouse on the center bottom front hem. Sew buttonholes 1/4" to the left and right of the center front. Refer to day 2 on how to prepare the bias tape. Once you've press the tape in half, stitch down both edges. Knot the ends of the tape. Feed the tape/string into one buttonhole, around the hem line and out the other.
All Done! Nice work.
Want to see mine?
Back Detail. My wooden hangers are curved which is causing the back to look a bit "hump back". I need to purchase some flat hangers.
I don't know about you but I LOVE IT!
I hope you find this sew along to be helpful as you sew your adorable blouse. Please come back again tomorrow because we have a very special guest hosting a tutorial on how to make the perfect Ayashe blouse just in time for Valentines Day!
ayashe sew along; day two February 09 2012, 4 Comments
Welcome back to Day 2!
It is nice and bright this morning in Portland and perfect for sew along photos.
We left off yesterday with all of the pattern pieces cut, the upper collar interfaced and we gathered the front shoulders and back panel. I think we're ready, let's sew!
For a larger view please click on the photo.
Before sewing the center front seam it is best to measure the 1 1/4" seam allowance rather than hope for the best. This will ensure a nice straight line.
Sew the center front seam from the bottom hem up. Once you reach the slit marking do a back stitch and then adjust the stitch lenth to the longest length.
Press the seam open and fold the raw edge 1/4" under on both sides of the seam. The Ezy-Hem helper is a great way to measure this long seam so it will be nice and even. Press flat once more.
Top stitch along both folded edges. Top stitch again centered between the seam alowance and the stitch line. Now you may notice I am not perfectly centered between the two. Why? Honestly? I was being lazy. I decided that if I aligned the presser foot with the center line it would give me a nice straight line all the way down. You should measure between the two lines, chalk and topstitch.
Align the markings, distribute the gathers evenly and pin. Sew the seam.
Remove the gathers. I like to press the seam up on the wrong side and then press again on the right side for a nice clean pressed look.
Repeat with the front shoulder panels.
The shoulder panels are now sewn, pressed and ready for the facing. Using a seam gauge fold the seam allowances 1/2" towards the wrong side and press. As you may already know I have an obsession with "Wondertape". Karen and I used to buy it by the box. I use it for so many things. In this case, I'm using it to hold the shoulder panel facing in place on the wrong side when I top stitch on the right side.
If you don't know what "Wondertape" is (for some reason whenever I say the word I want to shout it out like Oprah when she would shout out the name of her guest.) then I'll quickly tell you. It is wash away double sided tape. Place the tape on top of the seam allowance, then place the shoulder panel facing on top of the seam allowance. Other options are to baste the panel in place or use pins. On the right side of the garment top stitch in the seam (stitch in the ditch) or next to the seam. I aligned my 1/8" marker on the presser foot along the seam and top stitched. Remove any baste stitches if used.
Repeat on the back.
Begin by stay-stitching the neck opening.
We have two collar options: Mandarin Collar or Tie String. I'm going to take you through both.
Press the bottom raw edge of the outer collar (upper) 3/8" towards the wrong side. Align the raw edges of the inner and outer collar and stitch along the short and long edges. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and clip along the curve. This will help reduce bulk and give you a nice smooth finish.
Align the collar raw edges with the neck opening and markings. Pin and stitch. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4". Turn the collar towards the wrong side of the garment and smooth the edges. I used a dull pencil to do this but you can use a turning tool or a knitting needle, just don't use anything pointy and sharp.
Once again, I found another use for my "wondertape" (no they don't pay us to advertise, but they should). Included in each pattern you purchase is a lovely woven label. These labels will give the garment that professional touch and they can also serve as hooks to hang the garment (like the Nituna Jacket). I placed the tape along the seam and then placed the label on top. Sandwich the Figgy's label between the blouse and the collar and be sure the seam allowance is tucked inside.
Pin and top stitch. Done, unless your hosting a sew along and you need to show the alternative collar option. A little seam ripping and then we'll be ready.
TIE STRING COLLAR
Yesterday I shared a wonderful "how to" link for making bias tape and if you read it you'll notice in my photo I cheated a little today. For good reason though! I love selvedge on Japanese fabric. Some of them are really unique and I really wanted to use this for the tie string, so I did. Press the bias tape in 1/2. Fold both sides in toward the center crease and press. I also folded and pressed mine once more to ensure a nice clean crease.
Turn the garment wrong side out, open the bias tape and align the right side of the bias tape raw edge and the wrong side of the blouse. Leave an equal amount of tie string hanging off each end of the neck slit. Pin and stitch. Use the same method as the mandarin collar mentioned above to attach the label.
Fold the tape in half wrong sides together, press and top stitch from one end to the other. Tie each tie string end in a small decorative knot.
The last thing I did was sew a little bar tack at the bottom of the neck slit. I did this for extra security. A backstitch should suffice but I wanted just a little more security for the times when Ofelia wants to pull her blouse on herself toddler style.
Look, it's almost a shirt!
It's beginning to rain now which is perfect timing because day two is complete. Well Done!
See you tomorrow to finish our Ayashe blouse!
ps. Did you happen to catch Daniela's comment yesterday? She's got something gorgeous to show us very soon and you will see she gave us a small piece of her design wisdom.
ayashe sew along; day one February 07 2012, 4 Comments
Welcome to the first day of the sew along! If you are just now joining us please feel free to jump in at any time! Who knows, maybe you'll learn something new by just reading along? Today we are just going to cut and prepare our work for tomorrow's sewing, but first if you don't mind, I'd like to start by answering one frequently asked question.
Why is the pattern printed on both sides?
1. We print our patterns on both sides using recycled newsprint to save paper waste. Less paper also means lighter shipping which means less shipping cost for you! You can trace the pattern using tracing paper, freezer paper or any paper that is translucent.
2. Tracing the pattern allows you to use the pattern over and over again as your daughters or granddaughters grow, and they do grow fast. If you were to cut the pattern you would only get one size out of the pattern and that's not good for anyone.
3. Personal preference. Tissue paper patterns tend to rip easily and the print fades with time.
I hope this answers your question, but if you have more, please feel free to email us.
Let's get started!
For a larger view please click on the photos.
The very first thing you should do before anything else (if possible) is measure your child. Every designer and label has their own unique sizing, which means your daughter may measure to be a Figgy's size 3, but for another pattern she may be a 2. You'll find the sizing chart on the back of the pattern cover.
When preparing this sew along I noticed a tiny typo in the sizing chart. The Chest measurement for size 2/3 should read 21 - 21.5. We apologize for any confusion.
For this blouse you'll want to take a chest and waist measurement. If you have decided to make the long sleeve version, I would also measure from the shoulder to the wrist. What happens if your daughter is between sizes? I always recommend going bigger before going smaller, because tomorrow they'll probably awake .5" taller, and of course their bellies grow after every meal.
Gosh, I love it! For this blouse I chose to use a Japanese Lawn cloth by Yuwa because it's one of my favorite fabrics to work with. It will drape well and the fabric hand is perfect for my niece's sensitive skin.
Tracing the pattern.
A little lesson I learned from Sarai & Caitlin at Colette patterns is using colored pencils to trace. They really are perfect for the job. I use one color to trace the outer main pattern piece and another color for my markings.
So here we have traced all the pieces we need for our Ayashe of choice. As you can see I've decided to make the Ayashe with the Mandarin Collar and short sleeves. I am still undecided as to whether or not I'd like the drawstring or elastic at the hem. If you have already chosen to use the bias tape draw string you will need to cut bias tape from the fabric 1.5" x 35". If you have chosen the bias tape tie string collar option you will need to also cut bias tape from the fabric that is 1.5" x 30". Sarai also has one of the best bias tape tutorials I've seen so if you need a little help with the process please visit HERE.
You can use weights or pins to keep the pattern from shifting. Normally, I would use weights and my rotary cutter, but the blade broke and I had to use pins and scissors. The reason why I suggest the rotary cutter is with this lightweight of a fabric the pattern pieces can slip easily and the scissors may leave chomp like markings.
Before I begin cutting I like to snip out the triangles on the paper. It is important the you never snip in towards the seam allowance when cutting out the fabric pattern pieces. You don't want to accidently snip in too far.
Prepare the details.
Interface one of the collar pieces, this will become the Upper collar. Remember, the "bumpy" side of the interfacing faces the wrong side of the fabric. I use the fabric pattern piece I cut and not the paper piece, because I feel it gives a more accurate cut.
All cut and interfaced. I'm ready to go!
Notice I put my pattern pieces in a zip lock bag?
This is a great way to store your patterns. Just remember to label the bag then file it away.
Last step, gathers.
Sew two rows of *gathering stitches between the notches on both the back and the front pieces.
To create *gathering stitches you simply increase the stitch length to the longest length.
*To gather simply pull both bobbin threads and slide the fabric towards the opposite direction.
That's it for today!
See you tomorrow when we will stitch up the front and attach the shoulder panels and collar! Happy Sewing!
sew along time! February 03 2012, 8 Comments
I love a fun sew along. My two favorite parts: all the visual details of the sewing process and the gorgeous results from the sewists. We decided that the "Ayashe" blouse will be the highlight of our first sew along because of all the little details it has to offer. We'll take you through learning how to gather, attach facings, adding elastic or a draw string to the hem and attaching a mandarin color.
Just a touch of Liberty, perfect!
Using Tula Pink, Prince Charming was a terrific fabric choice and her daughter couldn't be any cuter!
The sew along will begin on Wednesday, February 8th. Don't worry if you haven't purchased the pattern yet, you still have time! Order by Saturday the 4th and I'll post the pattern priority mail. Visit the Ayashe page for the supplies you'll need to purchase this weekend to get started.
Daniela has created two adorable buttons for you to choose from. Feel free to copy and paste this code onto your blog. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you're sewing along and we'll be sure to link your blog at the end of the sew along.
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