Figgy's Blog

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

little boy bow tie tutorial March 20 2012, 2 Comments

I am excited to announce that our favorite guest blogger, Jen Carlton Bailly is back with 2 new really fun and rewarding projects and today she'll be sharing 1 of them.  With wedding season around the corner, along with Easter and Passover, I'm sure a few parties will be happening and Jen has designed the most adorable boy accessory for all of those special occasions or just for fun on a Friday night.  Today she is sharing the "Little Boy Bow Tie Tutorial".

From Jen Carlton Bailly of

One thing I love to see is a little boy in a bow tie with a rumpled shirt and jeans. It’s probably the love of all things from The Preppy Hand Book in me. But it’s also teaching our boys that dressing up and looking nice is cool and awesome!

Ready to create this simple tie?  It’s a little bit over-sized and oh so cute!


  • Scraps of fabric in varying widths at least 12 inches long
  • 1 piece of 4 by 4 inch solid fabric for the center of the tie
  • 1 piece of 4½ inch by your child’s neck measurements (shirt on) plus 1 ½ inches in solid for the neck strap
  • 1 piece of 1 inch Velcro
  • 1 piece of fusible interfacing cut to 6 by 7 inches (I used Pellon 906F)
  • 1 piece of card stock cut to 6 by 7 inches
  • Point turner or knitting needle to poke out corners
  • Liquid Stitch


Step One: Making a String Block (as it’s know in quilting)

  • After cutting your card stock and fabric strips, lay them out over the paper at a diagonal to determine your order. Most of my strips did not measure over 2 inches wide
  • Set your machine on a really tight stitch width. I usually sew at 2 for this I set mine at 1. This helps to perforate the paper and make it easy to tear off



Step Two: Sewing the fabric to the paper

  • Lay the middle strip down, then your next strip on top of it right sides together
  • Sew a ¼ inch seam
  • Fold over your strip and press flat with a dry iron
  • Continue this process on each side until you have covered the paper


Step Three: Squaring up your block

  • Turning your block upside down-paper facing up, use your ruler and rotary cutter to square it up trimming the fabric


Step Four: Taking of the paper

  • Since you used a nice small stitch, taking the paper off will be like tearing a perforated coupon out!
  • Stick your finger under the paper, and gently tug. The paper should come lose, bend it back and gently tear.
  • Continue until all the paper is off.

(FYI: If you are a garment sewer, you actually just became a quilter too! You did your first quilt string block!)



Step Five: Interfacing and Sewing

  • Following the manufactures guidelines for your fusible interfacing, attach it to the back of your block
  • Fold the block in half on the 7 inch side right sides together
  • Your block should measure 3 ½ by 6 inches
  • Make a 1 ½ inch mark in the middle at the raw edges (this will be were you will turn your tie inside out.
  • Stitch all the raw edges with exception to where you marked
  • Make sure your stitch length is back to where you normally have it
  • Clip the four corners on the diagonal being careful not to cut into the stitch line


Step Six: Turn out and Top Stitch

  • Turn your block inside out, take care to poke out the corners with a point turner (as pictured) or a knitting needle
  • Press flat (the flatter you get it the nicer it will look)
  • Top stitch using a 1/8th inch seam allowance

TIP! Increase your stitch length a bit when top stitching. You’ll get a nicer looking stitch.



Step Seven: Forming the Bow Tie

  • Pick the side of the tie that you like best
  • Find the middle and pinch in place
  • Stitch down the middle to hold it in place (I went back and forth a few times to ensure it was secure)


Step Eight: Making the Center and Neck Strap

  • Using the 4 by 4 inch piece of fabric, fold it in half and press
  • Open it up; fold the sides in to meet the center and press
  • Fold at the center and press
  • Top stitch
  • Fold in half and match raw edges
  • Stitch a ¼ inch to form a circle
  • Turn so the raw edges are facing in
  • Complete the same process for the neck strap
    • Measure the neck WITH the shirt on (add 1 ½ inches to this)
    • Cut out
    • Fold each end up by ¼ inch
    • Follow above directions with exception to the last three points
    • Top stitch along all edges

Step Nine: Finishing the Bow Tie

  • Slip the ring onto the tie by compressing it


Step Ten: Finishing the Strap

Note: I realize that not everyone is going to like to glue on their Velcro. This just happens to be my favorite product right now. It dries clear, is super strong and I don’t have to have stitch marks! Do what works best for you.

  • Taking your strap position the Velcro at the ends
  • Add a dap of Liquid Stitch and apply the Velcro to the fabric.
  • Take note of the 3rd photo below-one piece will go on the top side, the other on the bottom side
  • Let dry for recommended time


Step Eleven: Completing the tie

  • Fold your strap in half
  • Feed through the back of the tie


Step Twelve:

  • Try it on
  • Admire your work and enjoy creating a hand made wardrobe

 (Zeke calls it his “party boy tie”)


Here is the same tie using one fabric. Do what you love or better yet, what your little guy would love best. Involving him in the process will probably help encourage him to keep it on longer!



Thank you so much Jen for gifting us with another terrific tutorial!  Thank you Z for being SO DARN CUTE!  Look at those eyes.  Stay tuned because Jen has one more wonderful tutorial coming our way for the upcoming holiday.

Enjoy preparing for your future event and Happy Sewing!


Ayashe: How to lengthen the blouse to a tunic or dress length February 13 2012, 6 Comments

I have a very opinionated little girl.

Over the last years I have learned that with kids everything is a phase. Right now, my daughter is going through an intense phase of not wearing anything but dresses. Pink dresses I might add. I surrendered - getting her into separates is a fight not worth fighting.

I love the Ayashe blouse and how quickly it goes together. How lovely would it be as a tunic or dress? Have you wondered the same? Here a little tutorial on how to lengthen the style.

Here is what I used:

1. Swedish Tracing Paper - I love that stuff and it literally revolutionized my sewing - I am not kidding. It doesn't tear like regular paper or tracing paper, will cling to the fabric, so there is no need to pin the pattern to the fabric AND it totally eliminates the need to carefully cut the pattern pieces prior to cutting into the fabric! Besides that it folds/stores well and can be ironed. A total time saver and therefore a win in my book!

2. Vary Form Rulers - a set of curved rulers that helps strike beautiful curves and is indispensable for paper pattern making. Easier on the budget though is this styling ruler that's kind of all-in-one if you are just starting out to make pattern adjustments.

3. C-Thru Ruler - a straight ruler that is a little easier to handle then a quilting ruler. Yet the later would work the same and if you go with the aforementioned styling ruler, you'll be set anyways.

4. Pencil

5. Measuring tape (not shown - it hung around my neck while I took the picture :))

6. The Ayashe pattern, of course.

The pattern weights are optional and I only used them to accurately trace the blouse pattern from the pattern sheet.

Now let's get to it: Lengthening the main body parts of the Ayashe blouse.

Can you see my traced blouse pattern piece lying underneath my tracing paper? If you want to start out with the tunic length right away, make sure to start tracing you pattern towards the top edge of your tracing paper to leave enough space to lengthen the hem, at least 9" though.

First, elongate the Center Front (CF - that's the straight line, not the curved one) in a straight line.

Measure 6" (for size 2/3 and 4/5) down along the extended CF line, and mark with with the pencil.

Here what we recommend per size for a dress ending above the knee:
5" (18mos)
6" (2/3 and 4/5)
7" (6/7) and
7.5" (8/9).

Generally, if you want the outcome to be longer, add a bit more as it is so much easier to shorten, then to lengthen a garment.

At the marking, draw a line in a right angle towards the side seam. It's important that this line is at a right angle - otherwise you'll end up with a funky point or dip in your garment.

Now on to the side seam. With your Vari-form or Styling ruler, find a curve you feel will elongate the existing curve nicely. Cut the little corner like shown above to create a nice line. Don't worry too much, there is no single 'right' curve here. Yet, be careful as to let the curve swing out too much as it will be harder to hem a very dramatic shape at the end.

Now, measure along the new side seam beginning with the original hem, the same length you measured along the CF and mark on that line. In my case, it's again 6".

Then strike a short line in a right angle towards the CF and let it cross the straight hem line.  Again, drawing a right angle at the side seam will ensure your side seams will sew together without a weird angle poking out or dipping in.

Use your Vary-Form or French Curve and find a smooth curve connecting the new hem line with the right-angle-line we just drew.

Your new hem line is almost finished! Final steps is to measure 1" and 3/4" up from the new hem line. Mark both.

Lay your ruler parallel to the CF, intersecting the 1" mark - as shown above,  and transfer the 3/4" mark down to the new hem line.

Join this with the 1" marking. This little angle will help eliminate excess fabric when you hem the dress.
Repeat the same steps with the back piece of the Ayashe and....

Your new dress pattern is finished!
Well done!

Curious to see how mine turned out? Here's the final outcome of my pattern adjustment.
A happy camper in a pink floral dress made out of Liberty Art fabric.

Need any tips beyond the instruction booklet on how to put your dress together? Don't forget about Shelly's three part sew along Ayashe post here, here and here! Also did you see Jen's gorgeous hand embroidery for Valentine here? Now, we can't wait to see how your Ayashe turned out? Please share on our flickr group.


On a side note: Do you love Liberty Fabrics as much as we do? We are preparing a little surprise give away on this blog - so come back again soon!