Five Things to Sew This Weekend: Fall Edition

Of all the seasons, I think Fall invokes the most feelings. When you imagine Fall, vivid pictures enter your mind; colors, foods, objects, the smell in the air, the feel of the chilly breezes. Everything just seems so rusty and burnt orange, so soft and cozy, like we can relate to the hibernating animals, innately knowing it's time to wrap up the outside life and prepare for the season of being indoors with our blankets, slippers and hot tea.

That Fall scent is in the air here in Northern Utah and it give me all the feels. I wish it could last a big longer before Winter hits and the true hibernation begins, but in the mean time, I will start some Fall sewing projects and share my top five Fall weekend sewing ideas here with you, in case you feel the need to sew something cozy too.

Five thing to sew for Fall that you can sew up this weekend! Click over for my top favorite sewing tutorial and patterns for Fall. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewing #fall #diy #pumkincrafts

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.


One:

How to sew a fleece blanket by Sugar Bee Crafts. Ok, I know, fleece blankets are everywhere, but I really love this one because it’s actually sewn together with a front and a back, not just tied or finished with a zig-zag, AND has those fabulous big pom-poms. I think these would make great gifts, especially if you use nice anti-pill fleece.

Two:

Chenille Fabric Pumpkins by Flamingo Toes. I adore these! I’ve made some fabric pumpkins, but the texture of these ones is so great, and the raffia adds a special touch, plus the vintage baby spoons for stems!? C’mon. So cute. I love the colors she chose too, unconventional colors always add something unique to traditional projects. Find some chenille options here.

Three:

Arm warmer tutorial on the Califabrics blog. I like arm warners because my other hobby is photography and I use them to keep my hands kinda warm while keeping the necessary fingers free. This project is super cute and could really use up some knit scraps! And they’d be way faster than the knitted pair I made several years ago, ha! (For real, knitting takes forever … or I’m just really slow at it).

Four:

Hey June released the Evans Blazer today and I’m dying. She makes the BEST patterns for people like me, who dress casually most of the time. I like how she styled each different blazer she made for the post too. Just love it and definitely plan to buy the pattern and make one (or three). I just need to find the right fabrics. Maybe this for my first one.

Five:

Pumpkin Sky Pillow by Carried Away Quilting. I really like this quilt block, especially the white pumpkin idea. It’s a pillow here, but I’m thinking of making it as a mini quilt. It will be fun to go through my scraps to find some fabrics to sew this up this weekend. Seems like a relaxing little project for me!



That’s five! I definitely want to fit in some serious sewing time this weekend! It’s been pretty busy around here this week, so I’m going to try to carve out time to sew on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of five things to sew this weekend. Here’s a link to all the previous editions.

Cheers : )



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DIY Cutting Table From a Secondhand Dresser

We have less than a year left in our current home until the Army moves us onward, and one of the things I’m already mourning is my giant sewing room. I’ve sewn in all kinds of spaces over the years, including a corner of the living room, a dingy basement and a tiny hallway. But our current house has a large bonus room in the daylight basement and I’ve had it all to myself for two years.

I will survive the loss of space, but knowing that my amazing, but huge cutting table will likely not fit in whatever sewing space I have in our next house is the saddest part! We DIYed this cutting table for the sewing studio out of a second-hand dresser and I just have to share it with you because it’s been an amazing solution to the typical sewing room storage mess/problems.

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

This table came about almost accidentally. My husband’s dresser fell apart during our last move and he needed a new one. He found one on the for-sale page in our area, huge and hand built out of solid wood. It was part of a set, however, so he had to buy both. I already have a dresser I like and this one was way too big for our room anyway, but I knew right away it would be perfect for my sewing room!

I painted it a pretty dark blue color and bought new drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby (these ones). Casey put it on castors both to make it taller and easier to move. Then he replaced the dresser’s top with a 4x8 piece of pre-finished plywood from Home Depot. I wanted it larger than the original top so that it overhangs on both sides and on the back, almost like a kitchen island would.

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

The best part about this cutting table is that it stores my entire fabric stash, patterns and notions. I do not like a visually busy home in general and that’s just as true in my sewing room. I prefer everything to be put away and enclosed. Also, a tidy home tip for you: when you limit your storage space for certain items, it encourages you to use what you have, buy less in general and just be more mindful of how much you’re accumulating. This is true for every area of the home! I’ve had a couple of very small kitchens, my current one included, and they have been my most organized kitchens because everything needs to have a home. There’s simply no space for extras, so I think long and hard before adding something new to the mix.

This is my fabric stash, housed on one side of my cutting table (the other side holds one drawer of fleece and felt):

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

The center section has a door that opens and three sliding drawers that pull out. This is where I keep certain notions, other craft supplies like embroidery floss and beads, my button box and a bin of laces and trims.

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

The top left drawer holds all my patterns. This is all of them and when it's overfull, I go through and get rid of some. I talk more about the concept of having less of a fabric and pattern stash in this post.

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

This concept will work with any size dresser. The key to a great cutting table is to give it enough height and a large top. It’s a budget friendly idea too, as you can obtain an inexpensive secondhand dresser pretty easily these days. The 4x8 prefab top we put on mine was $50. Another option to use an old flat door or find a tabletop for a good price that will work. Frugality requires creativity! We’re often surprised by how we can repurpose items we already have on hand.

How to make a DIY crafting or cutting table from any old dresser! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingroom #diyfurniture #craftroom

Someday soon I’ll show you the other side of my sewing room (the side with the sewing machines!) I’d love to see your sewing space too! Link me in the comments :)

Cheers!




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My National Thrift Store Day Haul (and how sewing has made me a better thrifter)

I’d say about 30% of my wardrobe is handmade and another 60% comes from my local thrift shop. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I’m a frugal gal, so it will be no surprise that my go-to store is of the secondhand variety. I have always been a thrifter, my mom raised me right! Haha. My kids love the thrift shop too, especially now that they’re often shopping with their own money rather than mine, making them more aware of how much bang they’re getting for their buck. So imagine our delight when we found out this past Saturday was National Thrift Shopping Day! Woot, woot! Our favorite thrift store here where we live is Savers and they marked all their t-shirts down to .99 that day to mark the occasion. We are also very lucky that our particular Savers offers a military discount of 20% off every single day. As an Army family, we are very thankful for your support, Savers!

I got to thinking about how sewing and thrifting go hand in hand, so I’m going to show you my haul from that day, but while I’m at it, I’m going to share with you how I think being a sewer has made me so much better at shopping in general, and specifically at shopping secondhand.

PIN ME!

Come read the ways I think being able to sew has made me a better thrift shopper! | Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How Sewing Makes Us Better Thrifters:

We know fabrics.

Fabric content makes a massive difference in how your clothes will wear and wash, so knowing fabric content just by how it feels is a huge bonus when thrift shopping. And feeling fabrics is something sewists are pros at! Also, looking at the tag and seeing words like “viscose”, “nylon” or “linen” is Greek to many shoppers, but people who sew see those words on a regular basis, we know the cost difference between those fabrics and cheaper fabrics, we know which ones are breathable and which are sweaty, and we can tell which clothes are going to wash and wear well, and feel good when we put them on.

This is a viscose dress I thrifted on Saturday (with the tags still on!) The added bonus to knowing fabrics is knowing how to wash them. There are no washing instructions on the tag, but I know better than to put this one in the dryer!

Thrift store haul! Dress #1. Come see how I think sewing has made me a better thrifter. | PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

We know fit

Sewing clothing for ourselves gives us a sense of fit that the average shopper does not have. We all know sewists become quite particular about the fit of things over time, judging the fit of every garment that others are wearing, ha! Knowing how clothing is supposed to fit and being able to tell by looking at something whether or not it’s going to work is a skill that sewing develops in a person, for sure.

We know quality

There’s often a reason expensive brands are expensive, and quality has a lot to do with it. Sewers not only know quality fabrics, we know quality techniques and finishes. We study the construction of garments as a hobby, after all, so no one can spot shoddy workmanship quite like us!

This is an Eddie Bauer dress I got as part of my haul. Knowing quality brands when thrifting can really help you avoid purchasing cheap clothes that fall apart after a few wears. This dress is super soft and even the drawstring is high quality. It just feels really good to wear because of how well it’s made, the great fit and the nice, expensive-feeling fabric. (My shoes are White Mountain, similar here).

Thrift store haul! Dress #1. Come see how I think sewing has made me a better thrifter. | PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

We know what we like

When you spend your free time sewing your own clothing, you know what looks good and what doesn’t. Part of what people find frustrating or annoying about thrift shopping is that it’s such a hunt, you have to see everything to find the gems. However, when you shop with filters like quality fabrics, favorite brands, and styles you know look good on you, it’s easy to quickly pass over the junk to find the treasures. If I spot a high quality, nice brand sweater, but it has dolman sleeves that I know I don’t look good in, I move right along and remind myself someone else is going to get a real nice sweater because I passed it up.

Denim skirts and t-shirts seem like basics, but not all are created equal and not every jean skirt and not every t-shirt is going to flatter every body. I’m always on the lookout for a perfectly-shaped (for me) skirt and I scored this denim Gap skirt and Nike tee (new with tags and only .99 because of the sale!) as part of my haul on Saturday. (Find similar to my cute pink Nikes slides here).

Thrift store haul!  Come see how I think sewing has made me a better thrifter. | PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

We can alter and mend

This might be one of the best perks about being a sewing thrift shopper! So many people just give up on their nice clothes when they lose a button or rip a seam. Because we who sew can easily repair those minor flaws, we can score some great clothes for good deals. Also, simple alterations are easy for us to do and we can envision those needed alterations when trying on thrifted clothes. A too-long dress is not problem! Easy fix.

I got this top as part of my haul and it’s from Hollister. Not a store I would walk into to shop without my teen daughters (or with probably, if I’m being honest, haha), but I do love me some embroidery! It’s a little too swingy on me, I think, but I can just take hose side seams in if I decide to.

Thrift store haul! Come see how I think sewing has made me a better thrifter. | PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

We know what we’ll actually wear.

I had a friend once assume I have a huge wardrobe and was surprised when I told her I take up the least amount of closet space of anyone in our family. The difference is that I wear absolutely everything I keep, where most women have a closet full of clothes, but wear the same 10 things over and over. Because we spend valuable time making garments, it’s much more of a bummer when you find you never reach for some of them.

When I thrift shop, just like when I plan sewing projects, I consider what I actually wear on a daily basis. That’s why I always look in the tees, pants, hoodies, jackets and activewear sections of my thrift store. I was happy to find these Roxy joggers the other day. They’re nice quality fabric and I wore them all day on Sunday with no stretching out. I have a pair of black linen handmade joggers, but they’re definitely a lightweight Summer fabric. These will fill that hole for Fall!

Thrift store haul!  Come see how I think sewing has made me a better thrifter. | PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

I could probably write a dozen articles about ways sewing makes me a better fill-in-the-blank. What a great skill we have! Can you think of any other ways that you’re better at shopping because of your sewing life? I would love to hear what you would add to the list!

As for thrifting, I could write a dozen articles on that too. In recent months, we’ve found an Athleta linen jacket, these exact Adidas in like-new condition, Madewell jeans, a Victoria’s Secret swim suit with the tags still on and plenty more. Once you go thrifty, you’ll never go back! Lol, I just made that up, but it’s true.

Cheers!

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How to take the boring out of denim ... with bleach!

I did something so fun yesterday! Ever since the free Costa Tote pattern was released a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to find some cool denims to make one. It’s hard to find cool denim though, and since I’m on a tight sewing budget, I had to get creative.

I had four pieces of boring denim in my fabric drawer that used to be part of my daughter’s curtains. The denim is from Hobby Lobby, a medium weight, but not a color I really loved. I was remembering how I’d used bleach to tie dye a solid blue dress once and it occurred to me I could use that technique to make this denim something special!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to five boring denim a makeover with bleach! Learn how I tie dyed denim at Pin Cut Sew Studio

I looked up some advice online before I started, but there’s not really a whole lot of skill involved here. Some paint the bleach on, others dunk, some use a timer and others just wing it.

I wanted to try a few different designs, since I had four pieces. The first piece I tied rubber bands in random places and got a circular effect. The second I tied in more strategic large concentric circles, more like traditional tie-dye. The third I pinched together lengthwise and tied a few inches apart to get stripes, and the fourth I folded shibori style. Basically, fan fold the piece lengthwise, then fan fold it in a triangular pattern (not folded in on itself life you’d fold a flag, but folding like you would a paper worm.)

How to tie dye fabric with bleach || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

If you’re wanting a play-by-play, I documented the entire process on Instagram Stories and saved it to a highlight, so you can watch that here. But for a general run-down, here’s what I did:

I poured the bottle of bleach into my bucket, then added an equal amount of water. I submerged each piece for about 15 minutes, then rinsed it out and hung it up. Afterward, I washed and dried them all and they turned out SO soft and pretty! I definitely advise you do this outside or in a well-ventilated area AND wear a mask. I couldn’t find one, so I used a tea towel because the fumes were really getting to me! Also wear kitchen gloves and an apron to protect your clothes.

How to tie dye fabric with bleach || PIn Cut Sew Studio

The shibori style definitely turned out to be my favorite! I have it hanging up in my sewing room still because it’s just so pretty to look at! I already made my Costa tote out of two others, and I’ll post that result very soon.

Now I’m thinking of so many things I could do with these and I think I have the fabric dying bug. In my research for this project, I came across several other dye methods I want to try, so i’ll be sure to take you all along for the ride!

Reverse tie dye on denim using bleach, Shibori style! || Pin Cut Sew Studio

You can create a similar look by using white fabric and Rit Dye. They actually have a whole line of dyes for this purpose, which is pretty cool! They have great tutorials for this one their site, which you can check out here.

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5 Things to Sew This Weekend

It’s that time again! Every couple of weeks, I compile the five best quick weekend sewing ideas I’ve saved over the last several days.

Let’s jump right in!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Five things you can sew up in a weekend! | Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Large Hot Pad

First up, I’ve been wanting to make a large, casserole-sized hot pad ever since my husband refinished our dining table and I’m afraid of putting heat on it. Deb’s Days has a great tutorial for one!

Pillow Case PJ

I love this idea! I immediately saved it to my “Sewing for Teens” board on Pinterest, because my girls would be so into making PJ shorts out of a vintage pillow case! Go grab the free pattern from The Sewing Revival.

String Bag

Carolyn Friedlander used her own gorgeous fabric line to make a stunning drawstring backpack with a front zipper. She used the String Bag pattern from Green Pepper Patterns. I think the zipper pocket really sets this apart from other similar bags.

Wide Legged Pants

So-Sew-Easy will walk you through how to sew a pair of wide leg pants using a pattern from Craftsy. This style is everywhere currently and they are super easy to sew!

Name Banner Bunting

In this tutorial, I walk you through how to make a name banner bunting for the little ones in your life. I’ve also made them for baby showers with the baby’s name on them, and I taught a class of kids how to make their own!

That’s five things! I hope you all have a great weekend and that you squeeze in some time for sewing!

Cheers :)

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Scrap Busting for Garment Fabrics

If you were to type “scrap busting ideas” into Google or Pinterest, you’d likely get plenty of great ideas for quilting fabrics and cottons. But what are you supposed to do with those leftover bits of rayons, linens and knits? If you do a lot of garment sewing, you may find those scraps harder to find uses for, but I have a list of good ideas for you today and they’re all about stash busting those fashion fabric scraps!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to use up clothing fabric scraps in lots of different ways! || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Scrap busting ideas for clothing fabrics:

Search for patterns that use very little fabric.

Pajama shorts are a great way to use up scraps. I made a pair of PJ shorts for Natalie with only about half a yard to work with. I used the Lexi Chick Boxers pattern (adding a waistband per her preference). I’ve made myself several pair of pajama shorts using this pattern because it’s so great for scraps! Large enough scraps can also be turned into camisoles or tank tops. This easy rectangle top is a great option if your scrap is around a yard. Alternatively, those scraps that aren’t quite big enough to make yourself something out of may be just large enough to sew something for the kids in your life. I sewed my daughter a bunch of Jalie tanks out of leftover knits one year when she was younger and they really filled a gap in her Summer wardrobe that year.

Sew Pajama Shorts with leftover fabrics!

Sew Undergarments

Scraps are so perfect for sewing bras and underwear. I’ve made lounge bras with this pattern out of all kinds of knit scraps, even a piece of soft stretch lace. For truly beautiful underwear patterns, check out Evie La Luve she has such gorgeous designs and most require very little fabric. If you’ve never sewn delicates before, those silky or knit scraps offer a great opportunity to try something new!

Use scraps for linings or facings, or other small bits

I love to add a contrasting facing or binding to my handmade garments. There have been times when I haven’t had quite enough fabric to cut certain pieces and have had to sub in some scraps. That was the case with the cami pictured below and the contrasting binding and straps ended up being what I love most about this little top! Other uses for your scraps are pocket bags, Hong Kong seam finishes, cuffs, neckbands, waistband or neckband facings, patch pockets, casings, tie belts, lining pieces, straps, button plackets, hem bands or embellishments such as ruffles or bias strips.

Ideas for using up those clothing fabrics scraps! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Plan garments with mixed fabrics.

I once made a raglan woven top pattern using a lace for the sleeves and a solid rayon for the front and back pieces. It was so much prettier than it would have been with just the solid! Raglan sleeves are the perfect opportunity to use two different fabrics. Using contrasting panels in a dress with interesting lines is another option. Often, running short of fabric forces some creative thinking, so those scraps might come in handy!

Use scraps for bags and other small projects.

We tend to gravitate toward cottons for most small sewing projects like bags, wallets, or sleep masks, but your garment fabric scraps can add so much interest and texture to these ideas! Silky sleep masks, rayon bag linings, denim wallets, linen clutch purses, the possibilities are endless if you think outside the box. Those knit scraps are perfect for a batch of baby hats!

Use garment scraps for quilting fabrics!

I made a baby quilt to gift a friend several months ago and included some garment scraps mixed in with my cute cottons. Can you spot both the fabric from the shorts and the fabric from the camisole binding?? The results were beautiful, the shirtings, cotton voiles, and linens added so much texture and made for a more modern finished product!

Quilting with unexpected fabrics! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to use up those fashion fabric scraps! If you have any ideas to add, I’d love to hear them :)

Cheers!




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Five Things to Sew This Weekend

I keep an editorial calendar of posts I plan to write and I when I checked it see what today’s post would be, I got excited! I love writing these Five Things to Sew posts! I keep a collection on Blog Lovin’ called “Sewspiration” and many of those things end up here in these posts, as well as new sewing tutorials I’ve spotted on Pinterest and around the web. The only hard part is picking my five favorites!

I’ve narrowed it down to just five things you can sew up this weekend. Let’s get started!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

5 things (2).png

The Costa Tote by Helen’s Closet

First up, Helen’s Closet revealed a free new tote bag pattern this week and I am dying. I love a good tote bag, but there’s something about this asymmetrical pocket that sings to me. AND it’s reversible!? I’m thinking of all kinds of family members who would love a version of this for Christmas. If you hop over to grab it, be sure and check out her other patterns. I’m the Blackwood Cardigan’s #1 fan.

Magnetic Bookmark and Pen Holder

This is a great little idea and tutorial by Lorelei Jayne that I know my girls would love. In fact, I’m teaching a creative writing class at our homeschool co op this year and all my students happen to be Middle School girls! I’d love to make them each one as a gift.

DIY Leather Belt Bag

Are fanny packs back?? I’m not sure about those 80’s kind, but I do know this belt bag by Closet Case Patterns is something I can get behind! I’ve also been wanting to try more sewing on leather, so this would be a great project to start with!

Folding Magazine Rack

I’m an avid reader AND and homeschool mom and I have a vintage folding magazine rack that I use constantly. I’ve often thought I could use another. This is a very simple wood and fabric tutorial by Man Made that I’m going to try! I bet my husband already has the wood pieces I’ll need and the sewing part is very simple.

Easy Rectangle Top

If you missed it last week, this is my own tutorial for a very simple top based off of Mexican embroidered top I thrifted and fell in love with. It is seriously the easiest top you’ll ever make and the possibilities for embellishment are plentiful! The best part is, you only need a yard of fabric. If you make one, I’d love to see your version!

I hope you have some time to sew this weekend! We have a new couch coming and a baby shower to go to, but I’m still putting some sewing on my to-do list. I tend to post about the things I’m sewing in my Instagram Stories, so you can follow along there if you want. And if you enjoyed this post, check out Five Things to Sew: Travel Edition!

Hel

lo, World!

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How to Sew a Baby Hat, 3 Ways! A Beginner-Friendly Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links, at no additional cost to you. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Part of my purpose here at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio is to make building sewing skills accessible for anyone who wants to learn, from the total beginner (kids included!) to the seasoned sewist, there’s always more sewing skills and techniques to try. So when I try new things in sewing, I pass what I’m learning along to you and I try to make beginners feel like they can tackle new things too.

Learn to sew baby hats, three different ways. This is a beginner friendly video tutorial, anyone can do it! Be sure and subscribe to Pin Cut Sew on YouTube for more sewing tutorials.

This video is one of those totally beginner-friendly projects! Because my baby bib video tutorial is by far my most popular on YouTube, I decided to make another baby item tutorial: baby hats! I’m sure you’ve all seen these adorable baby hats with the bear ears or the tie knots at the top. They’re so cute and seriously super easy to make. So next time you’re invited to a baby shower, sew a few baby hats!

I’ll post the video first and underneath that, you’ll find the form for the free pattern, which you’ll need to download and print out before you get started.

For this project you’ll need some cute knit fabrics, your scissors (I use basic Fiskars), pins (I like these kind), your iron (I love my Shark!) and a turning tool (I use a chopstick!) And don’t forget to download the pattern by submitting your email below. I also mentioned in the video that if you’re having trouble sewing knit fabrics, try a ball point needle and a walking foot for your machine.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Be sure and subscribe to my channel, I have fun making these videos and if there’s something specific you’d like to learn, a project or a technique, please speak up in the comments! I’m always looking for new ideas.

Cheers and Happy Sewing! :)


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5 Surprising Tools Every Sewing Room Should Have

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links, at no additional cost to you. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

We all know about the basic tools, of course. Your scissors, pins, seam ripper, etc … But there are a few tools that have lived in my sewing room for years that I will never again go without! I’m here to share five of those unlikely, but oh-so-useful tools with you.

Unlikely sewing tools you should keep handy in your sewing room!

Unlikely sewing tool #1: Hemostats.

Yes, hemostats. The kind doctors use. Mine actually came from a medic my husband was friends with in his early days in the Army. I asked if he could score me a pair and they’ve been within arms reach in my sewing room ever since! They’re so useful for so many things, like turning tiny things right side out, getting stuffing into hard to reach places and reaching in to grab the elastic end you accidentally let slide inside its casing.

Unlikely sewing tool #2: Washi Tape

I love washi tape! If you’re unfamiliar, this is a decorative tape that you can find in the craft department of any store and in lots of cute prints, to boot. It’s different from regular tape in that it comes off very easily, without ripping paper or distorting fabric. I keep a roll of this handy in my sewing room for a few reasons. It’s very handy for taping the changes into pattern pieces I’m only temporarily altering, since it’s not permanent like other tape. I also use it to mark lines on my sewing machine when I’m sewing a deep hem or just need a line where my sewing machine doesn’t include one (on my serger too!). I also use a small piece of it to stick to the front pieces of something I’ve cut out, if the front and back look very similar, so I can tell them apart.

Unlikely sewing tool #3: An Awl

Many sewists have probably overlooked this notion, although they are sold in the fabric store. An awl has many uses, including helping to feed fabric through your machine if it’s stuck, without getting your fingers involved. It can also be used to turn seams the right direction as they go under the machine. An awl punches holes for snap setting or animal eyes and can get you started when you’re cutting button holes open.

Unlikely Sewing Tool #4: Tweezers

I didn’t know how dependent I was on my sewing room tweezers until they went missing one time. Threading my serger is a huge pain without them! While similar to the hemostats, tweezers can reach things the larger hemostats can’t. They’re also useful when putting your buttons in place if you sew buttons on with a button foot. Mine have an edge on that that I use to tighten or loosen the screw that holds my needle in place (though a set of micro screwdrivers lives in my sewing room as well).

Unlikely Sewing tool #5: Scotch Tape and Paper

Okay, I know this is two things, but they almost always go together. When making pattern alterations (and I almost always need to after making a muslin), I use plain ole’ printer paper and scotch tape. It’s irritating to have to go upstairs and get some, so I make sure to keep a stack in my sewing room at all times, right on my desk. Scotch tape on a dispenser is indispensable (see what I did there?) for making alterations and of course, for taping together your indie patterns. Mine has a permanent place on my cutting table and I keep refill rolls in my desk. Like my sewing scissors, my family knows better than to remove my tape dispenser from the sewing room!

That’s five! But I can’t end it there. There are some just-for-fun-totally-optional things in my sewing room that I LOVE and count among my favorite things.

Sewing room essentials! Click over for my list of unlikely sewing tools AND some just-for-fun items to have in your sewing room. || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

First is my Spotify Premium Family account!

I procrastinated on going premium for way too long, but now that we have it, we’ll never go back. They don’t even have an affiliate program, so this is not an ad, ha! I just like it that much. Each family member can have their own account and we have any music imaginable at our fingertips. It pretty much feels to good to be true. You can even play your podcasts on it and we all know podcasts and sewing go together like PB&J.

Second is my Bose Colorlink Speaker.

My husband got this for me for Christmas one year and it was a huge suprise, we don’t usually do more than stocking suffers for each other to keep the Christmas budget under control. But it’s seriously one of my favorite things and I use it in the sewing room and all over the house constantly.

Third is my Bluetooth Noise Reducing Headphones.

I hesitated big time on buying these because the price was so much less than what’s mostly marketed these days, but they’ve been awesome. They do a good job of blocking out the Fortnite noise that I partially share a room with, so I can hear my podcast, so that’s a win in my book.

Your turn!

What items do you love having in your sewing room? I’d love to hear about them! Maybe you have a tool I didn’t even know was out there. Lemme know in the comments!

Cheers :)



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Five Things to Sew This Weekend: Travel Edition

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

We’re still traveling and visiting family until Monday, so no sewing is happening here, but I have been gathering inspo all the same! Here are five things you can sew up this weekend, and this time they’re all travel related. Enjoy!

Five travel-related sewing tutorials you can sew up this weekend. || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Packing cubes! Yes! I so wish I had some of these. Sometimes my husband and I share a giant suitcase and I feel like it gets so jumbled up. I almost went out and bought some the day before our trip, but I didn’t. Now I can just make some!

Triangle Zipper Pouches. This is a video tutorial on my YouTube channel and I use these pouches to contain hair accessories during trips. Super useful! These are my favorite zippers for this project (and many other projects, for that matter!)

Cord Keepers. Very useful and easy to personalize. These would make great stocking stuffers at Christmastime. I think I’d use my snap pliers and snaps to make them even easier.

Travel Wrap. This is brilliant. If you’ve ever been cold on a flight, you know how miserable that is. This knit wrap can be worn as a scarf, shawl, nursing cover, cardigan, or blanket. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me! She doesn’t link to any specific fabrics, but I think rayon jersey like this or this would be my first choice for this wrap.

Sleep mask. I have a template you can download for free. Obviously, you can leave off the emojis, if you want. I also just remembered, I have a cute pig neck pillow tutorial in the archives also! Find that here.

Ok, that was technically six things, not five, so I’ll go ahead and add another. I wanted to bring a sock money to a little friend we were going to be seeing while in Colorado, so I brought that along as a hand sewing project (see, it IS travel-related ;)

I have a full video sock monkey tutorial on my YouTube channel. I went ahead and machine sewed the monkey body parts before we left home, then brought them along and stuffed and hand sewed him while on our trip. Our little friend really loves his sock monkey, which does my heart good :)

That’s all for now! Happy Sewing! I’m living vicariously through you all, haha! Can’t wait to get back to my machines next week :)

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Five things to sew this weekend

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Five things you can sew up in a weekend || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Are you planning any sewing this weekend? If so, I’ll live vicariously through you, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to sew until Monday! It’s recital week for my girls and my mom is flying in and there’s Costco and church and movie night, etc …

But, if I were going to sew this weekend, there are five things I’ve stumbled on this week that would be fabulous choices.

  1. These fabulous little fruit zip pouches out of colorful leather scraps.

  2. This star quilt block. Out of bold solids, I’d make and bind just one block and put in on my dining table. So pretty.

  3. Zola Pen Case. My daughter is super into bullet journaling and has quite a collection of pens. This would be so useful for her.

  4. Flower Child Journal Covers. So pretty.

  5. Lucern Blouse by Hey June. I just listened to the Love to Sew podcast episode where they interviewed Adrianna Appl, the pattern designer. I’ve followed her on Instagram for a long time and have a couple of her patterns. I recommend both Hey June patterns and the Love to Sew podcast, which I listen to on Spotify.

One last thing, although it’s not a sewing projects, these DIY design-a-quilt magnets are perfect!! I want to make some with my kids. I’m kinda picky about what goes on my fridge, but I think these would be fun and pretty.

There you have it! What are you sewing this weekend? And do you find you have more sewing time on weekends or weekdays?

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Frugal Sewing

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Even just a couple decades ago, sewing was still considered a less expensive way of meeting one’s wardrobe and household needs. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is just no longer the case. There are all kinds of reasons people sew, but I don’t think “because it saves me money” is often on anyone’s list anymore.

I don’t sew just because it’s cheap, but I would argue that it does save me money in certain instances, and I have some tried-and-true practices that allow me to keep at my favorite hobby in a frugal way. I hope this can help some of you!

My five tips on how to make sewing cost less money!  ||  Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Frugal Fabric Shopping

Use your thrift stores.

When my family needs something, I always try to thrift it first, before moving on to retail stores (you’d be shocked to see the like-new name brand shoes I find there on a regular basis!) Fabric is no exception and it’s super fun to think outside the box when sourcing fabrics at thrift stores. Here are my tips on what to look for:

  • Shop the entire linens section. Not only is this where they keep fabric yardage people have donated, there are other gems also. I’ve made pajamas out of vintage cotton sheets. I also buy large sheets to use as muslins, and since I don’t care what they look like, I find the colored tag that’s half off that week. I’ve found vintage tablecloths to turn into aprons and sweatshirt fleece blankets to make hoodies out of. Last month I found a giant piece of nice activewear fabric to make my daughter some leotards (my next project!)

  • Look for notions. I never pass up a bag of zippers at the thrift store! Often they will package notions together in bags and hang them on an end cap.

  • Look for the potential of ready-to-wear clothes. I was making a dress and didn’t have enough of my rayon fabric to line it. I wanted the lining to be rayon, so I went to my thrift store and found a white rayon skirt with plenty of yardage to line my bodice AND to make a slip for myself out of the skirt’s own lining and elastic waistband.

Think before you donate.

Sometimes I raid my giveaway bag to make sure I can’t remake something into something new. For a full list of ideas on refashioning clothes, see my post here. And if you can’t remake them as clothes, consider using them to sew doll clothes or zipper pouches or other craft items instead. I’m currently disassembling a full skirt out of cotton gingham that my daughter thrifted and outgrew, to make a summer top for myself!

Beware the “stash”.

This may not be a popular opinion in the sewing community, but if you’re tight on funds, don’t prioritize keeping a large fabric stash. I have found I waste less when I try to only buy what I have a plan for, with a pattern already in mind. I can only make one thing at a time, after all. Even when I do buy several fabrics at once, like when I visit Denver, I resist the urge to put them in a drawer and instead, try to use them over the next few months. This is because all too often, the longer we keep things, the less enamored we are with them. A year or two from now, you may not even like that fabric that you just had to have now. If you’ll trying to sew frugally, keep the stash small.

Shop at fabric stores and online wisely.

I don’t want to make this sound like I don’t shop for fabrics the regular way. I do! I love Hobby Lobby for their Spring and Fall fashion fabric lines and their prices are incredible for great quality fabrics. They go on sale very often, or you can use a 40% off coupon. I am NOT a fan of Joann and avoid going there. Occasionally I’ll find a gem in the clearance, but that rarely happens. Their fabric is vastly overpriced in my opinion and I absolutely hate trying to play their coupon games. I’ve been overcharged quite often there too and I know I’m not alone in that.

So I shop at Hobby Lobby or online instead. I know there are a myriad of amazing resources online for beautiful fabrics, but most of them are not in my budget. I’ve found Denver Fabrics and Fabric.com to be my best options for low cost, high quality fabrics. I subscribe to their emails so that I’m notified of sales on fabrics I’m looking for (but I only click over if I actually have fun money to spend!) These emails are how I landed on Natalie’s Easter dress fabric. Fabric.com partners with Amazon, with Prime shipping too, so that makes it even easier to shop with them.

Frugal Pattern Shopping

Wait for pattern sales.

If you’re new to garment sewing, you may not know that the “Big 4” patterns brands go on sale constantly, for as little as $1.99. If you don’t have a fabric store near you where you can shop those sales, subscribe to the emails from Simplicity and McCall’s so you’ll be notified when they put their brands on sale for $3.99. This is how I shopped for patterns when I lived in Hawaii. And even now, since Hobby Lobby doesn’t carry Butterick, I order Butterick during those sales online, as part of my strategy to avoid Joann, ha!

New Look patterns are always inexpensive. So if I have a fabric and am wanting to make something specific right away, I check New Look first.

My method is to keep a running list in the notes app on my phone of patterns I’d like. Every time new patterns are released, it feels a little like Christmas (am I the only one?) and I love to look through them and add the ones I like to my list. This way, I’m ready to run in and grab the patterns I need when there’s a sale.

So, it seems all this culminates into one big piece of advice: learn to think outside the box! Be resourceful, be creative and sewing doesn’t need to break the bank. I hope this has helped some of you. Please let me know if you have other frugal sewing tips for us!

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Drawstring Pouch Sewing Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I have such a fun little tutorial for you today! My girls’ dance recital is coming up and Natalie and her friends like to give “cast gifts” to each other. We came up with the idea to make small drawstring pouches to hold their hair pins and other hair accessories. (If you have a dancer in the house, you know how important these things are and how hard they are to corral!)

We based our little pouches on one I made probably 15 years ago to hold my jewelry when I travel. That one has pockets for necklaces and things inside, but we don’t need pockets for this purpose.

If you’d like to come back to this idea later, I’d be happy for you to pin this next image on Pinterest! And don’t forget you can follow me over there too, I’m always pinning the best of the best sewing inspiration.

How to sew a drawstring pouch, by Nikki Schreiner of PIn, Cut, Sew Studio.

This is a very easy project! We made 11 total and it really didn’t take very long at all.

Supplies:

  • Two coordinating fabrics in at least 1/2 yard cuts OR two coordinating fat quarters. Fat quarters come precut 18”x18” and often come in a set like this super cute one. If you go with 1/2 yard cuts, you can cut three pouches per fabric. If you like the fabrics we used in the photos, we got most of them at Hobby Lobby (like the cute strawberries!)

  • Cording or grosgrain ribbon. I recommend grosgrain over other options of ribbon because it’s strong enough to hold up to lots of use. Here is the cording we used, it’s only $1.99 per spool at Hobby Lobby (although it’s on sale this week for .99!) and it’s the perfect size.

  • Fray Check.

That’s it! Let’s get started.

Instructions:

First things first, you’ll need to create a pattern. I taped two sheets of printer paper together and used a protractor to create a half circle pattern, 13” in diameter. Then, cut out your two circles (one for the outside, one for the inside) by folding your fabric and placing the straight edge of your pattern on the fold.

Drawstring Bag tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio.

Next, place your circles right sides together and sew around the edge with a 1/4” seam, leaving a couple inches open for turning.

Turn your circle right side out through your opening and press the edges, using a chopstick or turning tool to get the edge perfect by running it along the inside of the circle. Press the opening edges in as if they’d been sewn.

How to make a drawstring bag, a tutorial

Now you’re going to make three rows of top stitching around your circle. The first will be edge stitching, 1/8” from the edge, which will sew shut your opening. The second will be 1” inside from the edge. The third will be 1/2” away from the second, or 1 1/2” from the outer edge. Your casing for the cord is between this second and third line.

Pouch sewing tutorial

You’re done with the sewing part! To cut the holes for your cord or ribbon, find opposite sides of the circle by folding it in half and pressing a line. You’re going to use sharp small scissors to cut slits in the 1/2” casing. You’ll have four slits total, one on each side of your pressed line and on both sides of the circle. Use Fray check to keep those slits sturdy and let it dry for a couple minutes.

Drawstring pouch tutorial

Now for the cords. You’ll need to cut two pieces of cording or ribbon, each one 24” long. This is the trickiest part if you’ve never made this kind of bag where the drawstring pulls from both ends. To thread the first cord through, tie a knot in one end and put a safety pin through the knot. Begin by inserting the safety pin in one slit and thread it all the way around to the other slit on the same side as you started. Remove the safety pin, tie the ends in a knot and trim. For the second cord, do the same thing, but use the slits on the other side of the circle. This will be a little harder since your first cord is already in place and the bag is gathered up, but you can do it!

How to make a drawstring pouch, a sewing tutorial by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

When you’re done, open and close the bag using the strings a few times to even out the strings and that’s it! Natalie’s ballet recital has a Candyland theme, so we chose fabrics with treats on them, super fun. I was browsing Amazon though and I think Art Gallery’s Summer Side line of fabrics is so cute (especially the little sunnies, oh my gosh) and would make great little bags!

Drawstring bag sewing tutorial by Nikki at PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Of course, you can use these little pouches for lots of things other than hair accessories. Use it for a first aid kit for your purse, maybe? Give them as gifts with little goodies inside? Or use it in your sewing room, so store little things like your Wonder Clips or your quilting safety pins.

What would you use yours for? I’d love to hear about it and if you make one, I’d love to see! Just tag me on Instagram :)

How to sew drawstring pouches, a sewing tutorial by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
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How to Sew A Pencil-Shaped Pencil Pouch

I have such a fun video tutorial to share with you! I like to call this a "literal pencil pouch”, haha. You can learn to sew a pencil-shaped pencil pouch with this beginner friendly tutorial. It’s fun to get creative with the fabrics and stitches. Not all pencils are yellow, after all, so think outside the box with your fabrics!

You can watch the video below and if you need to save this post for later, just pin this next photo to Pinterest and be sure and share with your friends! Under the video, you’ll find some links to the supplies that you’ll need, or that would be helpful for this project.

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Free pattern and video tutorial

Here’s your tutorial! I try to make these videos as beginner friendly as I can. If you have ideas for other back-to-school sewing projects, let me know in the comments! And be sure and check out my back-to-school sewing ideas here. Enjoy!

Other than some cute fabrics, you’ll need a good zipper for this project. I love these zippers best and always keep a stash of them in my sewing room. And for interfacing, this kind is what I almost always use. And as always, Wonder Clips are always handy, along with a rotary cutter and mat.

And of course, you’ll also need the pattern! Complete the form below to receive the free printable pattern in your inbox.

As always, if you use this tutorial, I'd love to see! Find me on Instagram and share your creation with me! Feel free to tag me on Instagram @pincutsew

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Sewing updates, life updates

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I have SO many ideas on my Evernote list of possible blog posts. So many ideas, so little time. To give you a short life update: my husband deployed, we have started our homeschool year, the extracurriculars have started back up after Summer break and I myself am in charge of the yard work and house fixes and other various things that usually the man of the house takes care of. We're doing well, but sheesh, I'm tired at the end of every day! It also took running out of clean kitchen towels to realize it's Casey who stays on top of the laundry situation better than I do, ha! 

ACS_0111.JPG

A few months ago, I had the foresight to know that teaching sewing this year was off the table and have decided that it's probably off the table until my homeschooling years are over. I will miss teaching and miss seeing my students regularly, but I am also very relieved, now that we're in the thick of things, that I made this decision! Luckily, I still have my blog and YouTube channel as outlets to create sewing tutorials and teach others. 

Despite the busyness, I still squeeze in time for sewing therapy! Right now I'm working on a quilt for Natalie. The one I made her when she was five (!!) is still beautiful, but she has outgrown the young style of it. Still, that quilt will always be special to her, and to me, as it's the only one I ever hand quilted! The pattern is from this book, one of my favorites ever. Here's a photo of it when it was still unfinished: 

quilt by Nikki Schreiner of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio from the book, Material Obsession

The pattern I'm using for her new one is the Warrior quilt pattern by Suzy Williams and it's free! We chose all the fabrics together. I've had this quilt on my Pinterest board for quite awhile, so I was thrilled she chose it. It seems like today's modern quilting consist of many solid colors and less prints. 

Warrior Quilt Pattern, free on fabricworm

I've also made a couple of baby quilts, they just need batting and backing. I made them without anyone in mind to gift them to, I just had a free weekend and the itch to quilt. I thought about selling them, but I actually think I know who to gift them to now that they've been made. I absolutely love the boy one! For the girl one, I used this free pattern

baby quilts by Nikki of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I've had adventures in dancewear sewing recently too. More on that in it's own separate post coming soon. Sewing dancewear was my sewing goal for this year and having two ballerinas in the house has made this more of a necessity for financial reasons (dance moms know, those leotards can be soooo expensive as they get older!) While I gather supplies, I started by altering and embellishing three plain solid leotards found in the $5 bin at the dance store, with stretch lace and mesh. They turned out amazing and Natalie is thrilled! 

Sewing Dancewear by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew studio

I almost forgot, I made a dress too! I'm not really sure I'm in love with it, though. I may shorten it an inch or two? I do love that neckline, but I feel like it's a bit dowdy. I kinda wish I'd made a lightweight cardigan with this fabric instead. It's from Hobby Lobby's Fall line and it's a beautiful rayon spandex, so I could get some more and make the cardigan happen. We'll see. 

McCall's 7591

Lastly, I do have a new YouTube tutorial in the works! I'm hoping to film that on Saturday, so stay tuned for that next week. Here's  a sneak peak! 

Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Oh, wait, I almost forgot! Since I'm not teaching sewing now, I turned half the sewing studio into a school space! I can't believe how much we love it. It's so nice to have a space where the dirty dishes are not staring me in the face while we do school, haha! I also really like it because it's a space for me to sit and write or take care of the administrative details of life and homeschool co op, etc ... But anyway, I needed some chairs for our school table. I didn't have a lot to spend and I wanted rolling chairs and chairs with cushions. I found a set of four of these 80's gems on a used site and recovered them with duck cloth from Hobby Lobby. They look completely different and we love them! 

80's chair makeover 

I took them apart, which was pretty straightforward, recovered the seats with a staple gun, then made a pattern to simply slipcover the backs. It worked great, and the whole thing cost me about $80, definitely cheaper than the cheapest chairs I could have afforded at Ikea! Now the problem is that the kids are lazy and just roll over to get a drink or a pencil instead of using their legs ;)

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How to sew a cover for any size Bible or book

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

It's been awhile since I've made a YouTube video, so I'm so excited to share a new one with you today! Natalie got a new Bible recently and wanted a cover for it with handles. This ain't your Grandma's bible cover, I promise, it's simple and modern! I based this off of the one I'd made for my own Bible years ago out of some Kazakh embroidery my mom had given me from Mongolia. 

Here's the tutorial! I'd love it if you'd subscribe and share! I feel so honored to have almost 5,000 subscribers, YouTube is pretty fun. Below the video, I'll link up to the products I mentioned. Enjoy!

Here is the exact Bible we are covering.

Here are the magnetic snaps. I keep these on hand in my sewing room, they’ve been useful for many things.

Here is the rotary cutter and mat.

And here are those Wonder Clips.

Holler at me if you enjoyed this video and if you made a Bible or book cover, I’d love to see! Just tag me on Instagram @pincutsew.

Cheers!

Bible or book cover video tutorial by Nikki Schreiner
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How to make time for hobbies

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to make time for hobbies by Nikki Schreiner

One of the things I have been most often asked throughout my entire adult life, is, "How do you have time for all that sewing?" I usually kind of shrug and laugh it off, feeling a little bit like maybe a grown woman with kids who home schools ought to be too busy for hobbies, or worried that people think I neglect my home and family and sit in front of the TV with knitting needles all day (I was literally accused of that once), but I actually do strategically fit my hobbies into my life on purpose and I'm going to share some of the ways I do that here today. 

First, though, let me just say that there is a season for everything and while I do have a busy life as a home school mom, I am home quite a bit and I do not work outside of my home. You may truly be in a season of life that is just too full to squeeze in one more thing, even if it's something you enjoy, so if that's you, please don't read this and find any guilt for not getting the watercolors out with your kids in the evenings or not reading more theology books, okay? No guilt! Second, we all must find a balance between using hobbies as self-care as we can fit them in and idolizing that "me-time" that hobbies can provide. If I'm yelling at my children to leave me alone because I'm immersed in a sewing project, my priorities are out of whack.

So now that we have those caveats out of the way, these are simply ways I have managed to squeeze in things I love to do and that keep me sane throughout various seasons and life changes.

1. Make your hobbies convenient.  

I had a neighbor growing up who kept a sewing machine in her hall closet way up high and would get it out to fix a hem or something. Because my mom had a designated sewing space, I thought this was totally weird, ha! If your sewing machine is up in a closet somewhere and all your tools put away, you'll probably never get it out to sew. Making your hobbies easily accessible will go a long way in how much you get to enjoy them. At our house, I keep a pretty vintage magazine holder next to my favorite chair full of the books I'm currently reading, so they're easy to grab when I have a minute to sit. I have a mug of paint brushes on a shelf over my dining room table and the bin of watercolor supplies nearby so it's easy for us to get out and paint without searching for supplies. My sewing space has migrated as my seasons of childrearing have changed. When the kids were younger, I made space in our various living rooms, so I could sew while also being where the kids were. Right now I have a large space to sew in, but in Hawaii, I only had a hallway desk. When we go out and I take my big camera, I don't even bring it in a case, I just sling it over my shoulder so it's easily accessible to me, knowing that if I had it in a backpack with several choices of lenses, it would feel like a chore to even get it out. 

how to make time for hobbies

2. Find small pockets of time to work on your hobbies

I sometimes sit down to play the piano while dinner is in the oven, or while waiting on friends to arrive. I read in between dance drop off/pick ups. I know many sewists who complete projects one seam at a time, in ten minute increments. This is another perk to having your hobbies out and accessible to you. Especially if you have small children at home, using those 10 or 20 minutes to enjoy your hobby is a good strategy. 

Making time for hobbies

3. Take your hobby with you

If you're anything like me, you have more than one thing you love to do and at least one of those things is portable. Hand sewing projects, crochet, knitting, photography, reading, embroidery; these are all things that I've brought along in the past. Use those hours sitting at basketball or dress rehearsals to your advantage!

How to make time for hobbies

4. Realize that hobbies can come and go

There were many years that I was a scrapbooker. I loved to do it, I loved to go to crop nights with friends and I found a lot of satisfaction in that. There came a time, though, when I just didn't have time to keep up with it and I did not need a hobby that made me feel behind in something! So I put it aside. When we were moving here to Utah from Hawaii, we didn't have our belongings for a few months and my hands were itching to create something, so I brought an Amigurumi crochet book, a hook and some yarn and it gave me something to put my hands to in that season, even though crochet isn't something I make time for ordinarily. Even in sewing, there were seasons I enjoyed quilting more and others when I preferred garment sewing. It's ok to pick up hobbies as you go and put others aside. There can be guilt in knowing how to do something or knowing you're good at something and not putting those skills to use, but that's just silly, isn't it? 

How to make time for hobbies

5. Find buddies to enjoy your hobbies with you

I love talking books with my mom and show-and-telling sewing projects over FaceTime. I enjoy teaching my friends to sew. I love sharing and commenting on sewing projects through social media. My girls and I have a blast coming up with photo shoot ideas, they are definitely my best photography buddies! There are tons of ways to find people who love the same things you love and that kind of community makes hobbies so much more fun. 

When dancers play baseball

When dancers play baseball

6. Think twice before offering up your skills to others

Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should do it for money, or even as a favor, to others. There have been many times I have taken on sewing work that I did not want to do and that I did not need the money for, just because a friend asked and I knew I could do it, so I said yes. Find a way to say no that is gracious and then SAY IT! I usually say something like, "I don't take on custom work, I just don't have time". I should add that there are times I am asked that I actually do want to take on projects, such as costumes for the Narnia play our home school co op put on last year, but I weigh those decisions carefully before volunteering. That's sewing, though. Photography I actually LOVE to do for my friends, but I cannot do it for money, it's just too much pressure and I don't have time to deal with the administrative part of trying to make a go of photography as a business. So I usually say I work for coffee, ha! My point it, as with all things in life, you have to figure out what your boundaries are and stick to them. If you don't, before you know it, the precious time you have to work on your hobby will be eaten up by projects you really didn't want to do in the first place. 

Mr. Tumnus 

Mr. Tumnus 

7. Last, but not least, stop wasting time

Dare I say it? Put down your phone!! While a few of us may really, truly not have moments to spare for enjoyment throughout the day, I'd be willing to bet the majority of people who say they don't have time to fit in hobbies are wasting large chunks of time on mindless activities that produce nothing. How do I have time for "all that sewing?" I do not watch TV in the middle of the day. It feels rude to say that to people when they ask me that questions, but it's what I really want to tell them! (When I do watch something in the evenings, I use that time for yet another hobby: I do the New York Times crossword every night, like a grandpa, ha!). Furthermore, around Christmastime last year, I decided I really wanted to read more. I have always loved to read and while I had a good excuse why I didn't get many books read in a year when my kids were little, I can't use that excuse now that they're preteens. I decided that if I had a few minutes, where I would almost always pick up my phone and fritter the time away, I'd pick up a book instead. You guys, I have read 32 books so far this year!! What!? Theology, history, biography, so many good books. That is a LOT of hours I was spending mindlessly on social media. Use your time wisely. 

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

If you have anything to add to these ideas, I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments. 

Cheers! 

 

 

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How to Read a Sewing Pattern Part 4: Reading the Instructions

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I'm back with part 4 of a series on how to read sewing patterns and today we're going to learn to decipher the instructions! If you haven't read the rest of the series yet, here are some links: 

Part 1: Choosing your pattern and reading the envelope

Part 2: Making sense of sizing

Part 3: Cutting out your pieces

How to sew with patterns

Did you ever take those quizzes in school, where the first instructions was to read all the instructions and the last instruction was to ignore every instruction after the first one? So you looked like a total idiot if you skipped reading the instructions? Yeah, well, when reading sewing patterns, I'm going to tell you NOT to read all the instructions before you start. If you're a beginner at using patterns, reading all that stuff with all those drawings is just going to overwhelm you. Thus, today's Pro Tip: Just take it one step at a time! 

We talked about the first page of instructions already when we learned to use the cutting diagrams in part 3, but there's some more important information on that sheet. In time, you won't need to refer to this page at all, but for starting out, if you're having a hard time knowing what the instructions mean by certain terms, go back to your "General Instructions" and chances are you'll find your answer. See below the glossary of terms on a pattern I cut out to make today. 

How to read sewing patterns 

I know, those are very short descriptions, but it's okay because we have the Internet, ha! I promise you'll find plenty of videos or more thorough explanations of any of these terms with a quick google search. 

Also on this page, you'll find your "seam allowance", which is how far from the raw edges you're going to be sewing unless otherwise instructed on certain steps. For garment sewing, seam allowances are almost always 5/8" (in the U.S., at least). If you have trouble knowing where that is on your machine, use your gauge to measure from the needle and stick a piece of washi tape there as a guide. I do this for my sewing students quite a bit to help them stay on their seam allowance! 

How to use a sewing pattern

You can also see in the above photo, along with the seam allowance, there's a fabric key. In the drawings throughout the instructions, you'll come across these textures to help you see which parts in the drawings are the right or wrong side of the fabric, for example. 

The last bit of good info on this sheet is about pattern markings. You may have noticed when you cut out your pieces, there are notches, circles, squares and/or triangles all over them. These markings are important! You'll find your own favorite methods of marking, but I'll share some of what I do after this next photo. 

How to sew with patterns

Most of your markings will be notches and these help you line up your pieces correctly when sewing them together. I cut a small snip (not too big, maybe 1/4" so it's well inside my seam allowance). For the circles, squares and triangles, different people have different preferred methods. A collection of marking pens and tailors chalk is a good thing to have on hand. I don't like marking with these things, so I almost always just mark with pins by picking up a couple threads with a pin in just the right spot. This works for me, but experiment with the tools available to you and decide what you like best. Megan Nielsen has written an excellent article on five ways to make your pattern markings. To make these markings, simply stick a pin through the circle on the pattern piece and then mark each fabric layer right on the pin. 

See that pin in my dart circle? 

See that pin in my dart circle? 

You're officially ready to start sewing! And remember, just take it one step at a time! 

Trying to write a post covering every new thing you'll encounter as you sew various patterns would be impossible, but here are my three pieces of advice as you work through the instructions: 

  1. Trust the process. Some steps may not make sense at first, but they're in there for a reason, so don't skip them. 
  2. Us the Internet! One of the best things about people who sew is that they love to help others learn to sew too and there is so much content online to help you with those steps you don't understand. 
  3. Press as you go. You can always tell when a handmade garment has not been properly pressed! Make friends with your iron, because it is an essential tool in sewing. When the instructions say press, you'd better press! I use Shark irons in my studio  and I love them. And remember, pressing is different that ironing

I hope this series has helped you feel prepared to tackle sewing with patterns! Part 5 will be about fitting garments as you go, so stay tuned for that next week. Cheers! 

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Sewing Inspo

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

My girls are ballet dancers and we are smack in the middle of recital week and since there has been zero time for actual sewing, I'm enjoying some virtual sewing instead! Here are some great ideas and inspiring projects I've spotted around the web recently. I hope you enjoy! 

Sewing Inspiration Spring 2018

First up, I absolutely love these tote bag panels by Hawthorne Threads. All the choices are right on trend and easy for new or experienced sewists. What a great idea! I love this "Take a Hike" one, but they are all seriously cool. If you're not familiar with panel projects, this means that you purchase a panel and the pieces you need are printed directly onto the fabric. So you cut out the pieces and sew it together, no pattern needed! (See the photo on the left). 

Tote bag fabric panels

Next, Handmade Charlotte has this ADORABLE Ice Cream Necklace tutorial. My kids and their friends would absolutely love these and so would my sewing students. Sometimes I plan small craft projects for when we have extra time and these are perfect for that. 

Ice Cream Necklace craft

A Beautiful Mess has instructions for making a duvet cover out of flat sheets. I love this idea because my girls are both tired of their comforters and this is such an easy way to make them new! 

Make a duvet from flat sheets

Oh my goodness, these Tartan-inspired quilts on C&T Publishing are so beautiful! I've been wanting a new quilt project and love so many of the plaid ones I'm seeing. I may pull some fabrics out to start on one of these (after recital week, of course!)

Tartan Quilt

Here is a cute and easy knotted hair bow tutorial by makeit-loveit. Even if you don't make some, be sure and check out her cute post with hair styling ideas. 

Knotted Hair bow tutorial

I don't own a Cricut and wasn't really interested in them until I spotted this adorable kids backpack on SewMuchAdo and was surprised to read that it was a pattern by Simplicity for Cricut. Apparently the two have teamed up and I'm intrigued to look more into this partnership and all that they offer as far as sewing patterns. I sure can imagine the possibilities! 

Kids backpack: Cricut + Simplicity

I have a soft spot (pun intended) for sock animals and I cannot get over this amazing sock "Narwhal the Unicorn Whale" pattern by Craft Passion. 

Sock Narwhal

And if you're into sock animals, don't forget I made a video on how to make a sock monkey (it's really not hard at all!) and it's my second most popular video, so check it out! I recently made my husband a monkey out of some Star Wars socks he found. He's pretty awesome. 

Wish me luck for the rest of recital week and hopefully I can squeeze some sewing time in soon! In the meantime, I'll keep admiring and sharing the work of others. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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How to read a sewing pattern part 3: Cutting out your pieces

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I'm back today with the next steps in reading a sewing pattern! If you haven't read the first two posts, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Today's topic is getting to the fun stuff: how to cut out your pieces. 

How to read a sewing pattern part 3: cutting out your pieces, by www.pincutsewstudio.com

If you're looking at that first sheet of pattern instructions, it may look like Greek and you may feel completely overwhelmed. I'm going to try to explain what all of that stuff means, which of it is important and which of it you can just ignore. (Spoiler, most of it you can ignore.) 

For today's example, I'm not going to use the girls' shorts pattern I've used thus far in the series because it's almost two simple for this step! I think they've geared that pattern more toward beginners and children, which is great! But chances are, your first chosen pattern will be more complicated than that and will include more than the two pieces my shorts pattern has. So I'm going to choose a pattern I've made recently, Simplicity 8601.

Simplicity pattern 8601

The first page of instructions includes some basic terms and your seam allowance, we'll get to that in Part 4. For now, you need to find the pattern pieces of the view you're going to make. For my shirt pattern, I like View C. So you can see in the "Cutting Layouts" section, I've found "C Top" and it tells me I need pattern pieces 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, & 8. I'm going to open up my pattern tissue and find those pieces and cut around them roughly. You do NOT need to cut them out on the lines! Doing so is a waste of time. Your fabric scissors are fine on this tissue and you can just pin the piece to your fabric as-is, cutting on the lines as you cut your fabric. 

How to read sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Pro Tip: I usually don't even refer to these Cutting Layouts. I simply open the pattern tissues and find the pieces that say "C" or whatever view I'm making. Once you gain confidence, all of this will be intuitive, but for now, if you're a beginner, you will probably find these layouts helpful. 

You'll notice many pieces share pieces between views. The front piece may be the front for all views (like my front piece below). Also, some smaller pieces, like facings, may have a pattern piece for each size. Refer to my last post about choosing your size if you're unsure on that! 

Reading sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Once you've found all your pieces, you need to lay them out on your fabric. We almost always cut patterns out with the fabric folded selvedge to selvedge. The selvedge edge is that finished edge that doesn't ravel. So you fold the fabric in half lengthwise so those selvedges meet up and you get a nice folded edge. The cut edges may not match up when the selvedge does because the person who cut your fabric may not have cut it straight, but it's really only important that the selvedges match up because this is how you'll be sure and cut your pieces out "on grain", which basically means the fibers running through your fabric will be straight and not slanted, which matters in the way the finished garment hangs on the body. Below is a photo of what selvedge edges look like on a few different fabrics. 

Selvedge edge examples. Series on reading sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Another thing you'll notice is that fabrics have more stretch going one direction than they do the other. The stretch runs the opposite direction that the selvedge runs (almost always) and you always want the stretch going across your body, not up and down. There are exceptions to this, like swimsuit knits which stretch every which-way and fleece, which has no grain, to name a few, but the rule is still true of most fabrics. 

I hope I'm not bogging you down in details, but I have to add one thing! Just as we talked about how the back of the pattern has yardage requirements for either 45" or 60" widths of fabric, the cutting layouts cover those same bases. Choose the diagram that matches your width of fabric, obviously. 

Let's move on. Pay attention to which pattern pieces need cut on the fold and how many of each piece you need to cut. You can see in that first photo at the beginning of this post that my cutting diagram for view C places the front piece on the fold along with the sleeve front and facing and shows me how best to fit my pieces onto the amount of fabric the back of the envelope said it required. Interestingly, (or confusingly?) my front and sleeve pieces have seams and don't need cut on the fold. I assume they mean to cut that fold open after you cut your pieces, but that's dumb. I'd place them a bit away from the fold and cut them in two pieces. Most tops, however, will have the front cut on the fold! See below, the facing in the photo on the right does say to place on the fold, whereas my front piece on the left says "center front seam" on that straight edge and to cut two. (You're cutting two at once, because your fabric is folded, remember?) 

How to cut out sewing patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Pro Tip: I always order a bit more than the envelope says, because these diagrams have the pattern pieces squeezed into a pretty tight fit! Fabric often gets cut crooked when you buy it, which takes some inches away, and they also may shrink in the wash (always prewash and dry your fabric!) so I just like to have a buffer. Not to mention, I sometimes make cutting mistakes! 

Finally, pin your pattern pieces on (don't get crazy, just a pin in each corner, on curves, a couple on long edges) and cut out your correct size, that's all there is to it! I like these kind of pins best because they're long and sturdy, but another option is to use pattern weights like these. Also, I often cut patterns with a rotary cutter and mat to save time. (This works best when the pattern tissue has already been cut to size). I have several of this set for my classes. A rotary cutter and ruler is a good investment for anyone who sews! 

Some of your pattern pieces may say to also cut from interfacing. Interfacing is an iron on stabilizer often used in parts like facings, collars, button plackets, etc.... and the back of your pattern envelope tells you how much you need along with your fabric requirements. I like this knit kind best and you can buy yardage of it at your fabric store, although that blot from Amazon is a good deal. Here's an example on my facing piece where you can see below it that it tells you what to cut it from:

Tips for cutting out patterns by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Here is my finished top made from Simplicity 8601, although I decided to eliminate the sleeves and lower the neckline. I do sure love the tie waist tops this season! You can see all the things I've made recently in my last post if you missed it. It's always fun to see what others are making! 

Simplicity 8601 by Nikki Schreiner

Here's a list of the installments of this series I have so far!

Part 1: Choosing a pattern

Part 2: Making sense of sizing

Let me know if there are steps I'm missing or questions you have and I will address them in the last post of the series! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing 

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