Wide Legged Cropped Pants: McCall's 7786

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I made something kinda different for me! I feel like fashion trends have made a greater shift this past year than they have for the past few years. It seems like flowier things are back in, jeans trends are changing (It seriously took me forever to get on board with skinny jeans. I remember thinking surely they wouldn’t stick around, but boy did they! Now that I love them, I feel the trend shifting away, of course. As long as low rise stays in the past, I’m good).

Anyway, I originally only bought McCalls 7786 because Natalie, my 14-year-old tried on a similar pair at American Eagle and you know I wasn’t about to spend $35 on rayon pants I could make so easily. I never dreamed I’d make this look for myself, but I had this rayon that was singing pants to me so I just had to try out the look and I LOVE IT.

McCall’s 7786 Wide Legged Pants

My two favorite things about these pants are the pockets (duh) and that they have a flat waistband in the front, but elastic in the back. Brilliant, I wish jeans were made the same way. I made the plain, long version, but cropped the length. As you can see, mine are boring compared to the other options on this pattern. I wasn’t ready to get too crazy, though, haha.

McCall’s 7786

I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of these this Summer! Rayon is such a cool, breathable fabric, it’s pretty much my favorite. I don’t think that will surprise anyone who’s been following me for any length of time. This fabric came from Colorado Fabrics during my last trip to Denver, but here are some at good prices that I think would be beautiful in this pattern (I dare you to make flamingo pants):

Rayon Pants, McCall’s 7786

To complete this outfit, my shoes are White Mountain (similar here) and my shirt is from Target, which you can still buy. It’s a lightweight rayon jersey. I have it in two colors and find them very versatile.

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Harry Potter Sewing Roundup

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.

Any Harry Potter fans at your house? Have you taken the Pottermore quizzes? Any other Ravenclaws??

We are big fans. I stumble on Harry Potter sewing ideas, fabrics, patterns and tutorials pretty often, so I think it’s high time I compile my favorites of those for you! If I were still teaching sewing, I’d for sure be having a Harry Potter sewing camp this summer. If you use that idea, I want to hear all about it!

Let’s get started.

Free Harry Potter Sewing Tutorials

Let’s start with the free patterns! I like to point out that the photos in this section all belong to their respective bloggers, I did not take them :)

Hooded Harry Potter towel. From Making Things is Awesome

Harry Potter sewing roundup

Harry Potter Baby Activity Cube from Bugaboo City

Harry Potter Sewing roundup

This is an epic pattern for a Harry Potter themed quilt! I’ll link you to the first post of the quiltalong, then you can follow the links for the rest. From Sew Fresh Quilts

Harry Potter Sewing roundup

Harry Potter Hats from ikatbag

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

And the Sorting Hat! Also from ikatbag

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

Quidditch Robes from Polkadot Chair. This tutorial uses a robe sewing pattern as a base, so it’s technically not free unless you have a pattern that will work, but a good robe pattern is a handy thing to have on hand anyway!

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

Hogwarts house crest ornaments from Hey Let’s Make Stuff

Harry Potter ornaments

Free Harry Potter embroidery patterns from Flamingo Toes

Harry Potter embroidery pattern

Harry Potter Patterns for Purchase

Let’s move on to the patterns for purchase. There are a LOT of amazing Harry Potter patterns out there, but I have done the footwork and chosen my absolute favorites!

To start, Simplicity has a great Harry Potter costume pattern. I used it for Layla’s Halloween costume last year (she was Hermione).

Here’s Layla in her costume. It was awesome! We got the tie at Target, they had them in the Halloween section for $4 and I couldn’t have made one for that price. You can even get some awesome house crest iron on patches here.

Hermione costume by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Simplicity also recently came out with a doll clothes pattern for Harry Potter! How fun.

Harry Potter doll clothes pattern

There are some very talented makers on Etsy that also have great patterns for Harry Potter!

How cute are these Harry Potter pocket dolls? By Wal Artesanal

Harry Potter themed Quiet Book pattern by Felting Nerdy and More. Amazing!!

I was looking real hard for a good Harry Potter doll pattern, but came up empty! There are plenty for crochet, but not much for sewing. Not to worry, though, it started my gears turning and I think I can remedy that problem soon! Stay tuned ;)

Harry Potter Fabrics

There are lots of great Harry Potter fabrics out there. I’ll link to my absolute favorites.

First, Here are my Amazon picks. Just click on the photos to shop.

This might be my favorite I’ve seen! So cute.

I also really love this Hedwig one.

Etsy also has some great Harry Potter ribbons.

Project Ideas

If you do order some of that amazing fabric, but aren’t sure what to do with it, consider a pillow case (this is my favorite method). Or some baby bibs, or zipper pouches. Ooh, or an apron. What great gifts all those things would make for the Harry Potter enthusiasts in your life.

Ok, one more thing and this is clearly not sewing related, but it IS what sparked this roundup idea, so I have to include it because my 12-year-old Layla and I LOVE this Harry Potter board game! She got it for Christmas and we think it’s so much fun. It’s a cooperative deck building game so it takes a long time to play through all 7 rounds, but that’s kind of what we like about it! Seriously so, so fun.

If you’d like to save this roundup for later, I’d be happy for you to use this image:

Harry Potter Sewing

I think that’s it! Well, I mean, I could go on and on, the Harry Potter inspo is endless, but I have tried to choose the best of the best for this roundup. If you enjoyed this, check out my Star Wars Sewing Roundup!

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Why I started making a muslin every single time

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.

Before we start, if you don’t know what a “muslin” is in garment sewing, it’s basically a mock up of the pattern in an inexpensive fabric called muslin. I didn’t used to bother with muslins at all. When I got really into garment sewing about 10 years ago, I lived in a place where nice fabric was readily available to me at a good cost. That is no longer the case. The industry has changed quite a bit, I no longer live somewhere conveniently located to good fabric stores other than JoAnn (don’t get me started), and sewing definitely isn’t a cheap hobby these days!

Several months ago, I got really tired of making things that didn’t turn out and having to toss out my nice fabrics and decided to muslin my next project. I had such good results that I have made a muslin of every single garment since then and have only had one wadder due to poor fabric choice (rookie mistake.)

Whether you’re just starting out with garment sewing or are an old pro, I thought I’d give you some tips for making muslins here today.

How to make a muslin for sewing patterns

1.Your muslin doesn’t have to be muslin

You can of course buy muslin fabric by the yard or by the bolt for just this purpose, and if you’re the kind who really needs your practice clothes to be uniform in color, this may be the way to go. However, you can use anything to make a muslin. When your well-meaning neighbor gives you a box of ugly fabric, keep the biggest pieces to use as muslins rather than throwing them out. I’ve taken to buying sheets at the thrift store to use as muslins and it’s been working awesome for me! Be strategic, though. Sheets come in all kinds of fabrics these days. I use the microfiber kind to sub for my drapier fabrics, 100% cotton sheets to use as heavier fabrics and jersey sheets to mock up patterns for knits. Sheets at my thrift store are around $4 each and I can get three or more garments out of one.

2. Cut only the necessary pattern pieces for your muslin

You don’t need to construct the entire garment. You’re making a muslin to check and perfect the fit, so only cut the pieces you need to do so. Omit collars, facings, pockets, and often even sleeves or skirt portions of dresses. No need to insert the zipper either.

3. Use a basting stitch

Use a long stitch length and go ahead and sew your pieces together. I so still back stitch at the beginning and ends of seams so that when I try them on they don’t just come apart. Assume you’ll need to take some of those stitches out as you adjust. A basting stitch will make this much easier.

4. Nip and Tuck

Try on your muslin, pin up any openings or what have you, then see what adjustments needs made. You can get a lot of information about fit by pinching out excess or slicing open spots that pull. Is your top too small in the bust? Do you need a full bust adjustment? Do the edges not quite meet where the zipper will go? Try taking smaller side seams. I the back of the neckline gaping? Take some darts out of it. While I can’t go into a whole fitting series here, you’ll have no trouble finding tutorials for every issue only and below are some fitting books that could be very helpful for you.

5. Transfer your changes

Many people prefer to trace their pattern pieces and make their changes there, but I usually just make my changes on my pattern pieces with good ol’ scotch tape. If you changes were extensive, you may need to cut a new muslin of one or several pieces. I promise it’s worth it! When I posted a wrap dress I made recently, I made the comment that the pattern would not have worked out if I hadn’t taken the time to make a muslin. The front would have gaped wide open and I would have been so sad if I’d had to throw that project away! You can see below how I taped up that front bodice pattern piece and added printer paper to heighten the neckline! I posted Natalie’s Easter dress here, where you can see the taped up pattern piece.

How to make a muslin

Proceed with confidence!

Now that you have your pattern perfected, you can cut into your nice fabric with confidence! Just make sure your print isn’t upside down. A muslin can’t help you there ;)

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White Linen Jacket: New Look 6481

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’m so excited to share this project with you! It’s already gotten quite a lot of wear since I made it, which was what I was hoping for.

I was wanting to wear less cardigans and more tailored jackets. But the casual kind, I guess. I didn’t want anything big or bulky, just lightweight jackets to wear in place of cardigans, for a more put-together look, especially over dresses.

This white linen jacket really fits the bill perfectly!

White linen jacket, New Look Pattern 6481

(Read about that wrap dress here).

Surprisingly, this beautiful white linen came from Target in the form of a clearance tablecloth! I passed by it on an endcap of miscellaneous clearance items with a price tag of $17. It felt really soft and sure enough, the tag said 100% linen. And it was big, about 3 yards long, plus super wide. I didn’t buy it right away, but couldn’t stop thinking about making a linen jacket, so I went back that night and snagged it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get nice linen yardage like that for such a good price.

I got to work looking at patterns and landed on New Look 6481.

New Look 6481

I love New Look Patterns because they’re sort of always on sale. Their regular price is very inexpensive compared to the other main brands, and then Hobby Lobby has them 40% off of that. So when I have a vision and want a pattern right away without having to wait for a sale, I check New Look first.

This jacket has been a great addition to my wardrobe! I was so thrilled to have it, that I made a similar jacket in black (different patter, though), but I don’t have photos of that one yet, so you’ll have to stay tuned!

For now, enjoy this pic of my pretty pup :)

White linen jacket, New Look pattern 6481

So in the spirit of making clothes out of tablecloths, I thought I’d see what else I could find! Of course there are white linen ones all over the place, but how cute would a jacket be in this striped cotton linen blend?? There’s so much yardage too, there’s plenty of fabric for two projects, making the price a steal.

OH MY GOSH, this pineapple tablecloth is fabulous. As anything, really. Tablecloth, jacket, beach cover up, bag. I might have just put this in my cart, ha! Maybe I should stop browsing.

Have you ever sewn a garment from a fabric found in an unconventional way?

Cheers and Happy Sewing!

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How to make a dress sleeveless

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 found a dress at the thrift store the other day that was brand new (still had the tags) and was in a really nice rayon fabric in a beautiful color. I tried it on and it fit, but I wasn’t thrilled about the sleeves. It had some serious prairie vibes. I’ve gotten rid of sleeves before, though, so I went ahead and bought it.

I’ve used this technique for making a dress or shirt sleeveless many times in the past and it always works like a champ, so I thought I’d photograph the process and make a tutorial for you here.

How to remove sleeves sewing tutorial

This method is super easy! So without further ado:

How to make a dress sleeveless

First, roughly cut off the sleeve, leaving a couple of inches of fabric.

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Next, IF you have a serger, use it to serge off the excess sleeve about 5/8” from the seam line. If you do NOT have a serger, carefully measure and trim off the excess, measuring 5/8” from the seam line. Then, use a zig zag stitch to finish that edge (if your fabric is a knit, you don’t need to zig zag it because it won’t fray).

I use the left side of my serger’s presser foot as a guide and run the sleeve’s seam line right along it.

How to make a shirt or dress sleeveless

So now you have this. You’re going to use that little piece of sleeve as a facing by turning it to the inside right on the seam line and top stitch it into place, 3/8” from the edge.

How to take the sleeves off a dress

That’s it! Give it a good press and you’re done.

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I still didn’t feel this dress was super flattering on me (pro tip: if you wonder if something looks good on you, try getting good pictures of yourself in it. If it’s super hard to get a good angle, there’s your answer, ha!) I’m slightly too busty for this style and the ruched waistline was hitting me more like a babydoll dress, making me look pregnant from every angle. Second, it came with a polyester knit lining and I will never understand why brands choose to put a completely unbreathable lining into a beautifully breathable garment. It felt stuffy.

But, it’s okay because I had a plan B all along. I went ahead and cut the bodice off the skirt just over the ruching, finished the top edge above the elastic, ditched the lining altogether and now I have a perfect summer skirt!

Dress into skirt hack

(My shoes are White Mountain footbeds). I love this much more as a skirt, but I still thought it was worth sharing the sleeve tutorial. I hope it’s helpful for some of you!

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Pin, Cut, Sew Tutorials

I took some time yesterday to update my tutorials page! Now you can see all my tutorials, video and written, in one convenient place, there at the very top of the blog. I try to create sewing tutorials that are beginner friendly!

Here is a bit of what you’ll find there now, but I’ll be sure to keep that page updated as I create more tutorials. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to learn to sew, I’d love to hear them!

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Easter Parade Part II: Natalie's Dress

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 was thrilled that both my girls wanted me to make their Easter dress this year! I was even more thrilled that they were both wanting vintage 60’s style dresses. We’ve been very into old movies this year and they are so inspired by all the amazing dresses (and simultaneously thankful that we no longer wear corsets). I have long wanted to sew a vintage inspired dress, but not necessarily for myself, so this was the perfect opportunity.

We hopped onto Butterick’s website during a sale and ordered some patterns from the retro collection.

Natalie chose B5708. She wanted an Audrey Hepburn vibe, especially after seeing this photo of her pink dress.

Retro Butterick

We are in love with how this dress turned out!!

Retro Butterick 5708
Retro Butterick 5708

Now for the details! I altered the pattern quite a bit, mostly because Natalie is very slender. I made a muslin of the bodice and used that to fit it to her body. By pinning darts into the muslin, I could transfer my changes to the pattern piece itself. I ended up taking a lot of width out of the neckline (several inches, in fact), and raising the waistline up about in inch. I also raised the neckline one inch to a place she felt comfortable with.

You can see that my front bodice pattern piece took quite a beating by the time I was done altering it, haha, but maybe this will also help you see my fitting process. I made similar changes to the back piece, but didn’t change the skirt at all, since it’s just a rectangle.

Altering patterns

This beautiful rayon fabric is from fabric.com and you can get some by clicking below. It’s a great price for super nice rayon challis!

This pattern has some great little details. I love how the waistband pieces allowed me to showcase the stripes in the fabric. And I’m mighty proud of how perfectly my invisible zipper went in. Everyone should find a good invisible zipper so satisfying.

Retro Butterick 5708
Retro Butterick 5708

I still have Layla’s dress to show you! I’ll have that up next week sometime. Spoiler, there’s a petticoat involved! Just for fun, here’s a recent photo I took of Natalie looking an awful lot like Audrey during a vintage inspired photo shoot we threw together just for fun. Did you know Audrey Hepburn was a ballerina before she was an actress? Now ya know :)

Vintage photo shoot
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70's Wrap Skirt

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.

Last summer Casey and I were in Canyon City, CO and went to the BEST thrift store ever. Does anyone else visit thrift shops everywhere they go? It was there I picked up a vintage 70’s pattern for a wrap skirt. Then, in Denver last month I bought a fabric I knew would be perfect for this pattern. I was so excited when the result matched my vision!

Wrap Skirt

Below is a photo of what the pattern looks like. Check out the price! Haha. Vintage patterns typically came in just one size per envelope, you can see this one is size 16, which is larger than I usually make, but being a wrap skirt, I thought it would be fine and it was. (Read my post about making sense of pattern sizing here). This skirt actually even fits my girls, so they want to borrow it, of course. They tend to look offended when I make myself something they like for themselves, ha!

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I feel like a wrap skirt is one of those things that has always been and always will be in style. Obviously you can’t go out and pick up this pattern unless you look for it on Etsy, of course. But there are other wrap skirt patterns you can use instead. Below is the most similar I could find and while it’s out of print, you can still get it on Amazon!

Ooh and here’s a current Burda pattern that is also similar.

bur6340_01.jpg

I think I may use this pattern again, I like the non-wrap version also, although I may have to grade down the sizing on that one. I have lots more summer sewing plans, I’ve actually made a handful of things already, I’m just behind on blogging them!

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Easter Parade {Dress #1}

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.

For the first time in several years, I made all three Easter dresses for myself and my girls! We are planning a photo shoot with theirs on Saturday, but since I had mine on, having just finished the last touches, Natalie took some pictures for me.

I actually had not intended to make a new dress, I was going to wear another one I made several months ago, but when this fabric and pattern turned up at just the right time, I finished the girls’ on time and decided to start and see how far I could get!

I used New Look 6600 I am in LOVE with this wrap dress!

New Look Pattern 6600

This is the first time I have successfully made a wrapped garment. I only recently started making muslins of everything and it has been soooo good for me to slow down and make alterations to the pattern so that I don’t waste good fabric on things that don’t turn out!

Here is what the bodice front pattern piece looked like after I’d made my alterations.

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This dress would NOT have worked out if I had just cut into my fabric without making a practice dress first and I would have been so sad because I love the fabric so much and wouldn’t have been able to obtain more.

A few changes I made: I took a wedge out of that front line to fix some gaping that was happening. A wrap dress should fit close against the body in that front V area, so that it doesn’t gape open. Then for modesty, I changed the line of the front to be higher and give me more coverage. This is a church dress, after all.

Then, since I had altered the shape, I didn’t want to draft a new facing. I also took a chunk out of the top of the armhole to cut in more on my shoulders, and the pattern includes sleeve facings also. Instead of recreating all those facings, I just lined the bodice, which turned out beautifully. With my French seams on the skirt, all my raw edges are hidden and it just feels luxurious.

Lastly, I included a hand sewn snap in the front where the V comes together. It will never show and it will just hold the bodice where it needs to be so I don’t have to worry about it.

New Look 6600 Wrap Dress

What I did NOT change is the length! I love the length of this dress and that we’re moving past the floor length in fashion these days.

It’s only supposed to be 58 degrees and rainy on Easter, so I’ll wear my recently made linen jacket over it. I’ll be talking about this jacket in an upcoming post, so stay tuned! I expect to get a lot of wear out of this piece.

New Look 6600 dress and New Look jacket

A few more notes. I got this beautiful rayon fabric at Colorado Fabrics. If you’re even in the Denver area, this is a must-go. I got many beautiful rayons that day because I just cannot find them where I live.

Here are some similar floral rayons on Amazon that would be beautiful for this pattern:

Also! If you haven’t seen Easter Parade and you’re into old movies, you should for sure put it on your to-watch list :) It’s one of Natalie’s favorites!

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Rayon Linen Joggers

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 don’t often have much luck at my local JoAnn store, but I recently hit the jackpot with one fabric on super clearance. It’s a black rayon linen and the drape is SO good. It’s super soft too. It had a clearance sticker, but the price wasn’t clear. Turns out it was 70% off. I bought the rest of the bolt, which got me an additional discount, so I ended up getting over 5 yards for the price of ONE yard!

I’ve made two things from it so far, the first being a pair of jogger style pants. It’s really hard to photograph black pants and have the details show, I’m sorry.

Hudson pants sewing pattern

I used the Hudson Pants Pattern by True Bias, but since it’s a pattern for knits and I’ve only made it out of knits, I made a mock-up with muslin first. I made adjustments to get the fit perfect and am glad I did that! I never used to make muslins, but lately I almost always do. I’m not sure what’s changed, but it’s probably a combination of things: the price of good fabric has gone up, my body is more difficult to fit as I age, I have less time to waste these days (haha).

I rounded up a few rayon linen choices on Amazon for you. Did you know you can shop Fabric.com on Amazon? All the same fabrics and you can use your amazon payment methods, so easy. I haven’t used these specific fabrics, but I chose trusted brands with good reviews! I love the striped one and could use some pink pants in my life too.

As for washing these fabrics, of course the bolt says to hand wash and line dry. I asked my mom, the linen expert, though and she said prewash on hot and dry, and do that a few times and you shouldn’t have a problem. That’s what I did and she was right, I’ve washed these pants several times and they haven’t shrunk any more. Which is good, because I do NOT have time for hand washing.

I hope to show you the classic dress I just made out the same fabric very soon! I have enough fabric to make one more project. Any ideas?

Cheers!

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Frugal sewing: dance skirts

I’ll admit, I lost my blogging mojo for a little while. I was still sewing! But I didn’t feel like sharing. Instead of apologizing and explaining, I’ll just jump back in here as if nothing happened and show you something I recently sewed, sound good?

I have two daughters who dance and since my other hobby is photography, we really love taking dance photos together. It’s sort of carried us through these ridiculously long winter months. They were wanting some flowy skirts to take photos in, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on yardage, so I dug through my drawer instead and found the costume I wore in a recital in Hawaii when I took an adult ballet class. I don’t have a before photo of it, but the skirt portion had both a lace overlay and a lining. I cut both layers off the bodice and made them into skirts!

Here are a couple shots we took:

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These are very easy to make and a very frugal way to turn dresses into skirts! I bought a package of wide black elastic and zig-zagged the raw edge onto it. If you’re unsure how to do this, here’s how:

  1. Cut the elastic to fit the waist

  2. Lap the ends of the elastic and zig-zig it together so it’s a circle.

  3. Mark the elastic in fourths and do the same with the skirt waist opening

  4. The skirt opening will be larger than your elastic. Pin the skirt to your elastic, matching your marks.

  5. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the skirt onto the elastic, about a half an inch from the bottom of the elastic (see photo below), stretching the elastic to fit. This edge will be on the inside. The outside will look nice and clean.

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This technique is also useful if you have girls whose dresses get too small or too short. Simply cut off the skirt and attach elastic and give it new life as a skirt!

I also went to the thrift store that same day to look for some frugal dance skirts and found this amazing Free People (ahem, expensive) skirt! I paid $5. I also thrifted this purple King size sheet to use as a backdrop. This is probably my favorite shot of the day.

dance photography

I’ve sewn some pretty great pieces lately for myself. Hopefully I can take some photos of those soon and show you!

Cheers :)

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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! 

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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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Sewing around the world: Huipil

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.

A few months ago I spotted a top at my thrift store and knew I'd buy it before even trying it on. Luckily it fit beautifully! It was just too pretty to pass up and right away I knew there was a story behind this garment. I could infer that it was handmade and that it was clearly Mexican or South American. It's made from a black rayon, there is no tag of any kind, the front and back are the same size and shape and the embroidery was definitely done after the garment was made. 

Mexican Huipil. Sewing around the world

I've worn it often since I bought it and get comments on it every single time! Fast forward a few months and I spotted a blog post by Fabrickated talking about a traditional Mexican garment called a Huipil as part of her "Dress like Frida" series (she has such a fun blog, you should spend some time reading the series and her other content. Plus there is lots of Frida and huipil eye candy!) Thanks to her post, my thrifted shirt mystery is solved and I have had some fun researching this tradition this week so I can share it with you here. 

If you have time, I truly enjoyed this BBC video Fabrickated linked to, highlighting a modern day huipil artist. If you're short on time, start at the 15 minute mark where she starts the embroidery process, it's fascinating. It's almost more like crochet, it appears? 

As for making a huipil, the basic shape is so easy! Basically, it's a rectangle with a neck hole, sewn together at the sides leaving space for your arm holes (mine actually does have shoulder seams, but not all do).  It makes me smile because I have witnessed many children learning to sew doll clothes and making it up as they go, and the huipil style is usually what they come up with intuitively! 

While the main pattern may be simple, the embroidery and embellishment certainly is not. This is a skill that we can all appreciate and admire as textile artists, knowing how many hours go into each of these beautiful traditional garments. (The following image does not belong to me, but unfortunately was uncredited on Pinterest. Don't pin from google images, people!)

Mexican Huipil

You can see some of Frida's clothing and examples, plus an interesting take on her role as a fashion icon in this Forbes article. My daughter Natalie recently listened to the Who Was... audiobook about Frida Kahlo and enjoyed it. Her actual life has quite a bit of adult content, so this version is not for kids, but the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class did an excellent series on Frida if you're interested in that. 

And just for fun, here are some Frida-inspired fabrics! This first one is called Esperanza and you can find it in person or online at Joann stores in a couple of colorways. 

Esperanza fabric by Alexander Henry

And of course Spoonflower has plenty of good ones (people are SO CREATIVE!) including this adorable doll panel: 

By NicolePorter on Spoonflower

By NicolePorter on Spoonflower

I also like this one:

By andrea_lauren on Spoonflower

By andrea_lauren on Spoonflower

And this panel! So cute! 

By feralartist on Spoonflower

By feralartist on Spoonflower

Interestingly, my parents, who lived in Mongolia for several years have gifted me some Kazakh embroidery over the years and the technique is surprisingly similar. I have some pillow shams from India and those are very similar too! The world really is all linked together, no? 

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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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The things we made in May

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. 

The best part of sewing blogs is seeing what people have made, right!? I compiled all the things we made at Pin, Cut, Sew studio in May and boy, it's a lot. 

Monthly Makes, www.pincutsewstudio.com

I'll start with what my sewing students made over the last month. 

We made colored pencil rolls using the tutorial at Create in the Chaos. These were a hit with my students and they were all able to do the sewing with little help since it's just a lot of straight lines.

Kids sewing class, www.pincutsewstudio.com

My other class made their own pajama shorts using Simplicity #8401. You can visit my post about teaching kids to sew clothing right here

Teaching kids to sew at www.pincutsewstudio.com

That same class also wanted to make pineapple plushies on the last day of classes for the school year, so I came up with these cute little guys! They got to practice some embroidery and got creative with the faces. 

Kids sewing classes at www.pincutsewstudio.com

My other class, for the last day, chose to have a free sewing day, where they could come up with their own ideas and I could help bring them to life! These two siblings came up with some super cool ideas! John made a golden snitch with a zipper case for it and Alex made a pillow to give her parents on their anniversary.

Kids can sew, www.pincutsewstudio.com

My third student in that class made a doll skirt and shirt and a doll tote bag, but I forgot to get a photo (bad sewing teacher!) I do have a tutorial for that doll tote bag right here, though and tips for sewing doll clothes right here. Stay tuned for a tutorial on making skirts for any size doll! 

I think that's it for my classes for May, so now let me show you some personal makes! I don't always sew this many garments in a month, but there were some holes in my Summer wardrobe so I got busy. I definitely sew more of my Summer Wardrobe than I do my Winter wardrobe. I guess I have no desire to make jeans or sweaters, ha! 

I'll start with the most recent make because it's a new favorite. I made yet another Blackwood Cardigan and it's my best one yet. Actually the next three photos include makes from this pattern, so you could say I'm obssessed. I don't buy a lot of indie sewing patterns, but it's safe to say I've gotten my money's worth from this one! 

Blackwood Cardigan made by Nikki at www.pincutsewstudio.com

This next one I made awhile back. I didn't have enough fabric to make sleeves, so I made it a vest instead. Both this fabric and the stripe above are from GirlCharlee.com, a great resource for knits of all kinds. I made this gray tank too, from a pattern I drafted from a ready-to-wear tank. Fabric is from Hobby Lobby. 

Blackwood Cardigan, www.pincutsewstudio.com

I liked that one so much, I pulled out another knit I didn't have a whole lot of (I actually bought it from a thrift store) and made another Blackwood vest. This knit is thicker and it turned out with kind of a utility vest vibe, which I dig! 

Blackwood cardigan vest by www.pincutsewstudio.com

Next up, this is my favorite top! This organic cotton double knit has been on the clearance table at Joann literally since I moved here a year ago, but it was still super pricey. It finally went down in price another notch and I bought a yard. I used a tried and true pattern, Very Easy Vogue 9109      and I love it so much. 

Vogue 9109 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

My next outift includes two handmade pieces. I wanted a higher waisted crisp denim skirt. I grabbed the perfect denim at a Joann sale and used a Cynthia Rowley pattern, Simplicity 1783. I almost always Cynthia Rowley's designs and this one turned out great! The yellow lace tie top was made with a mustard lace I'd had in my stash for a couple years and I used the new pattern, Simplicity 8601, eliminating the sleeves and lowering the neckline. I like this look and my fashionista daughter said it's her favorite, so I think it's a good one! 

Simplicity 1783 & 8601 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

I really needed some basic tanks, so I snatched one yard of this rayon jersey at Joann and used the free pattern by Hey June called the Durango Tank. I highly recommend, the cut is great and you can't beat free! Be sure and check out her other patterns too. 

Durango Tank pattern

This is another outfit with two handmade pieces. The skirt is a very basic pattern, New Look 6436, and I love the pockets! The top is McCall's 7603 and while this is not my first attempt at it, but it is the first version I've loved. It just took some time to get the fit right, because it runs large and I don't like the pleat in the back, so I'll now eliminate that altogether in the future. Now that I have it how I want it, I can see a few more versions! Both these fabrics are from Hobby Lobby's Spring Fashion fabric line. 

New Look 6436 and McCall's 7603 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

Lastly, I made a couple pair of rayon shorts using Kwik Sew 4181, which is really an activewear pattern. The shorts are super cute and comfy, but they're a bit too short for me to be comfortable wearing out. But the pattern is great and I'll definitely give it another try and lengthen it! For now, these shorts were awesome for the two days we spent outside building a chicken run for the ladies (by ladies, I mean hens. It occurs to me you wouldn't know that if you don't follow me on Instagram). This pair is a rayon denim from Joann (such dreamy fabric!) and the pair I didn't get a photo of is out of a textured black rayon also from Joann. 

Shorts from Kiwik Sew 4181 by Nikki of www.pincutsewstudio.com

Whew! I feel accomplished! Please don't start thinking I have this kind of output from the sewing room every month! We finished our homeschool year in April, so that probably explains my productivity in May, ha! Come September, I'll probably have one or two things to share if I'm lucky ;) 

One last thing, I remembered, we did make these cute unicorn headbands in May! Find our easy tutorial here. 

Cheers and happy sewing!! 

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