One Pattern, Three Looks: New Look 6644

Happy Monday, folks! Did you do any sewing this weekend? I haven’t so far, but today after the Bronco game I hope to … or during the game if they start losing really bad, hahaha.

Last week I got on a roll with one knit top pattern and made three different versions. It’s one of the Fall New Look releases, 6644, and I liked it for the pants initially, but once I looked at the top, I was even more excited about that!

I have three versions to show you, so 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.

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I made New Look 6644 three different times! Each look is so different and I know I’ll be using this basic knit top pattern a lot in the future. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #newlookpatterns #sewingpattern #diyfashion #sewingclothes

The first version was intended to be a muslin and thus, is made from a thrifted jersey sheet. Once I knew I liked the pattern, I went ahead and finished this top as a pajama shirt. Of course, I needed some shorts to go with it, so I pulled out McCall's 7610 and whipped up a pair with the remaining fabric. It was my first time using this pattern for shorts and I really like it!

I made New Look 6644 three different times! Each look is so different and I know I’ll be using this basic knit top pattern a lot in the future. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #newlookpatterns #sewingpattern #diyfashion #sewingclothes

The second version and the one I love the most is from a rayon baby rib knit I got on my last trip to Colorado. It's a beautiful deep sea green color and so soft. There wasn't quite enough of it to make a cardigan, which was my original intention, so this pattern was the perfect solution. It's absolutely perfect to throw over pretty much any outfit and it's a perfect transitional piece for Fall. I've already worn it quite a bit this week and I'm sad when it's in the wash. (My shoes below are a pair I thrifted and they were like new! They’re Puma, you can find them here in several colors, and SO SO bendy and comfy). Also, the jeans are from Target, find similar here.

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 so excited about this pattern, I went ahead and pulled a few other fabrics to see if I could squeeze out one or two more. This pattern doesn't take very much fabric, so it's perfect for the smaller knit pieces in my drawer just waiting for the right project to come along.

I had thrifted this striped double knit several months ago. For this version I got fancy and used some stretch lace to make a small front pocket and sleeve bands. I cropped the sleeves on this one and also two inches off the bottom before adding the band. I love this one too! It's perfect over my plainer dresses. I also think it would be cute over a solid white button down. (My booties are also thrifted, but they are Nine West.)

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 not done with this pattern by a long shot. I didn't even put it back in the envelope when I worked on something else this week. I've pulled a pretty green rayon sweater knit out of the drawer and am crossing my fingers that I'll have enough for a fourth version.

I will also be making those pants at some point!

What is your favorite tried and true pattern? Also, are you creeped out by thrifted shoes?? Haha!!

Cheers!

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Vest to Jacket Pattern Hack (my almost-sewing-fail)

This jacket story is more like a saga. I found this amazing pink and red wool flannel at my thrift store and neeeeeded to see my jacket vision through immediately. This must-have-it-now attitude sort of backfired on me this time! Long story short, after putting in a lot of pattern hunting time, then pattern hacking time into it, the jacket was just slightly too small for me.

BUT, there is a happy ending! The jacket is perfect for my daughter. Meet Natalie's new coziest-ever-super-cute-really-well-made jacket.

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 I used to Hero Vest pattern to make a jacket by adding sleeves (and all with thrifted fabrics!) || PIn Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #teensewing #jacketpattern #sewing

It's SO cute and seriously, the wool flannel is the coziest ever. The dark navy sweatshirt fleece I used for the sleeves, lining and hood lining is also thrifted. It was originally a very nice quality sweatshirt fleece blanket! (I've blogged about thrifting for fabrics here.) The inside of the lining is sewn so that the soft side is against her body, like a sweatshirt would be.

I could not for the life of me find a pattern for the jacket I knew I wanted to make with these two things, so I ended up using a vest pattern and adapting it to include sleeves. The Hero Vest pattern by Make It Perfect was the closest I could find (I wanted both pockets and a hood). My fatal mistake was not making a muslin! I've even blogged about why I started making a muslin every time! Ugh, Nikki. I didn't take my own advice and it backfired on me, for sure. Lesson learned, though!

How I used to Hero Vest pattern to make a jacket by adding sleeves (and all with thrifted fabrics!) || PIn Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #teensewing #jacketpattern #sewing

If I had made a muslin, I would have realized how small the sizing runs. I did make my size according to the chart, but I should have cut the front and back out of muslin fabric, just to make sure it would fit. I even added four inches to the front opening in attempt to make it work (see the navy bands down the front) and it was still a little snug. But again, the silver lining here is that it's perfect for Natalie and she really loves it. She’s worn it to dance a couple times and has gotten lots of compliments, which is always a good feeling.

How I used to Hero Vest pattern to make a jacket by adding sleeves (and all with thrifted fabrics!) || PIn Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #teensewing #jacketpattern #sewing

As for my changes, I added sleeves by using the sleeve piece from a hoodie pattern I had in my drawer. Then, since the vest pieces have lower armholes than a garment with sleeves would, I altered that line using the front and back pieces of the hoodie pattern as a guide.

Also, there are instructions on the designer’s website for how to encase the zipper into the lining, which I used and that worked awesome. This way, the zipper tape doesn't show if you wear the jacket unzipped.

SO, despite my troubles, I actually would recommend this pattern! It turned out so cute and I might reprint, figure out the correct size and try again. Just beware the size chart!

While I was hunting for a pattern for this project, I came across several amazing vest patterns, which I recently compiled into a blog post here. So check that out, if you’re inspired to try a vest this cold season!

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Let the Fall Sewing Commence! Burda Style Blanket Cardigan

Ok, first off, I am still in full-on Summer gear with my wardrobe. It’s still in the 90s where I live and I’m hoping maybe if I embrace Summer for as long as it wants to hang on, Winter will seem less long! But, I also want to be prepared for cold weather. They’re predicting epic snowfall in my county this winter and I don’t feel like my cold-weather wardrobe has been doing it’s job effectively these past two years. To be fair, after living in Hawaii for the three years prior, I was completely de-acclimated, ha!

But still, I’m determined to make some stylish warm clothes before the cold months hit this year. Starting with this fab blanket cardigan. It’s soooooo cozy, guys.

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.

Burda Style Swingy Cardigan. I made a warm blanket cardigan before the cold weather hits! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewing #wintersewing #winterfashion #cardigan

This was one of those times the fabric sort of just told me what to make from it. I scored this thick, soft sweater knit at JoAnn on serious clearance, it ended up being $3.20 a yard! I bought all that was left and went home to look for some kind of blanket-style cardigan pattern.

I landed on the Burda Style Swingy Cardigan and the result fits my vision perfectly.

Burda Style Swingy Cardigan pattern || Pin Cut Sew Studio #cardigan #sewingpattern #winterfashion

This was my first time using a BurdaStyle pdf pattern, though I’ve used paper Burda patterns in the past. There are some great things about them! I love that I can find pretty much anything I’m wanting to make on the BurdaStyle website. There are often photos of the members’ makes, which is nice. They also have so many unique and interesting details to many of their patterns.

The down side is that they do not come with seam allowances, which adds some time to the pattern prep process. I did find this post on The Last Stitch with some tool recommendations for making it easier and faster to add seam allowances. I already have a small metal seam guage, but I’ll add one of these bendy rulers to my list for next time. Added to that, the instructions are very sparse and it’s assumed you know basic to intermediate garment construction. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner (though we live in the Internet age, where you can easily find sewing help when you need it!)

I made a cozy blanket cardigan with the Burda Style swingy cardigan pattern! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewing #wintersewing #winterfashion #cardiganpattern

Let’s talk about sweater knits. I happen to know a lot of sewists are afraid of knits in general and wouldn’t touch a sweater knit with a ten foot poll. I’m here to tell you, sweater knits aren’t scary! This fabric was not hard to sew at all. I used a stretch needle (as always with knits) and with my walking foot (mine is built in, but you can buy one for any machine), it sewed up perfectly. Also, because of the high pile, it hides the stitches anyway, so mistakes won’t show at all. The only thing is, using a seam ripper is risky, you’ll likely get holes in your sweater, so sew slowly and carefully! Those are my best tips for sewing with sweater knits.

Here are some beautiful sweater knit fabric choices for you:

A few final notes. I took the sleeves and underarm seams in about an inch and half because I just prefer a slimmer sleeve. I also omitted the pockets, I didn’t want the extra bulk in the hips, but in hindsight, I think they would have been fine. Next time, maybe!

Lastly, the top I’m wearing in these photos is self drafted and I have a tutorial here for how to sew a super easy rectangle top. My jeans are from Old Navy (I’m loving their new fits and fabrics!) and my booties are thrifted, but are Nine West.

Burda Style swindy cardigan pattern. || Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewing #winterfashion #fallsewing #cardiganpattern
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Green Shirt Dress: Simplicity 8014

I really love green! I always have. Do you guys remember the “Color Me Beautiful” quiz from the 80’s (I think) that categorized you into a season and told you what colors to wear? I’m pretty sure I was a Spring, and most greens are probably Fall colors, but I don’t care, I like to wear it anyway. It does need to be a certain shade to look good on me, though. If it has too much yellow, it’s a no go.

I’d been pinning several green shirt dresses to my style board on Pinterest, where there are no shortage of styling ideas for a piece like I had in mind. A quick search on Gap’s website alone comes up with three fabulous green shirt dresses, like this green denim one, this maxi version and this one (my favorite!).

When I spotted a pretty green cotton fabric with great texture at Hobby Lobby, mixed in with the Halloween and pumpkin prints, I immediately bought some. It was just such a perfect weight for garment sewing, so I thought it would make a great green shirt dress for Fall.

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.

Green shirt dress with Simplicity pattern 8014 || Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewing #shirtdress #diyfashion #simplicitypatterns

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I already had a couple shirt dress patterns on hand, but since one of my favorite sewing bloggers, Emily Hallman, has said good things about this one, I went with Simplicity 8014. I made a muslin and to my amazement, it needed zero alterations! That never happens to me, but I wasn’t going to argue with it.

I did have a bit of drama with the buttons. To make a long story short, the snaps I bought at Hobby Lobby don’t function and need to be taken off the shelves. I didn’t read reviews on them first, but if I had, I could have saved myself the trouble. Since I had already purchased them (AND the corresponding snap pliers), I didn’t want to spend more money on different snaps. I also didn’t want to go all the way to Joann. I really was set on the look of snaps, though, ugh! I was being so picky!

Green shirt dress, Simplicity 8104 || Pin Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #shirtdress #simplicitypatterns

I slept on it and it occurred to me I don’t actually need the buttons to function. It’s not like I’d be wearing it unbuttoned! I had managed to figure out how to attach the snap fronts, just not the backs, so I went ahead and installed them on the front placket and then … I sewed the front shut from the top snap to the bottom one, right along the top stitching on the placket. I can get the dress on over my head just fine and no one will be the wiser (except for you, because I just told you ;) It has the added bonus of not being at risk of gaping open between the buttons!

Problem solved.

I find there’s a lot in sewing that requires problem solving skills (wait until you hear about my latest jacket adventure!) and that’s actually one of the things I really like about this hobby. Don’t you feel like sometimes having to make do, or come up with a creative solution, ends up being what you like best about a project? Happy accidents abound in sewing.

Cheers!

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The 6 Best Vest Patterns to Sew for Fall

I acquired a piece of plaid wool flannel from my thrift store last weekend and got a bee in my bonnet to make a jacket sort of like this one. Let me tell ya, I had a really hard time finding a pattern! I did find a few for men, one Simplicity and one McCall’s, but none for women.

I decided a pattern mash-up was in order. I found plenty of great vest patterns, so I would need to choose which pieces I’d add to one of them to get the look I wanted. I definitely wanted a hood and pockets and I wanted it lined, so I found a pattern that had those elements, to which I could easily add sleeves. I’ll reveal which pattern I purchased later, but I also want to share with you the six fabulous vest patterns I now want to sew up, thanks to my frantic searching for the perfect jacket pattern!

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I’ve found my six favorite Fall vest sewing patterns and put them in one handy place! come see the six vests you should sew for Fall and get fabric suggestions to go with them! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #fallsewing #vestpatterns #outerwear #diyfashion

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.

  1. First up, from our trusty Big 4 company, McCall’s 7695

Someone on Instagram who was watching my pattern hunt on stories, alerted me to McCall’s 7695. Ultimately I didn’t go with this one because it didn’t fit my vision for this particular project, but I promptly put in on my list for the next McCall’s sale. I’m seeing similar jackets on boutique sites (like here) also, which helps me see the many ways I could style a vest like this.

But, if sewing outerwear isn’t your thing, you can try this one:

2. Second, Burda Style Puffy Vest Pattern

I just found out today my city is expecting epic snowfall this year (facepalm), and I have frozen my way through my two winters in Utah (Hawaii living really killed my cold tolerance, ha!) I think adding a couple of warm layers might be the ticket and help me stay warm. I’ve never owned a puffy vest, but this might be the year I finally make one! This pattern seems to be basic enough and would do the trick.

Though, if I were going to buy a puffy vest instead, I'd go with this pink one (the yellow is a close second!)

3. Next up, the Envigado Vest by Itch to Stitch

I love this vest and see similar ones styled up in all kinds of ways all over the Internet. I didn’t pick this pattern for this project because I wasn’t sure how I’d figure out the sizing if I’m planning to line my jacket with a thicker fabric. I think is a great utility vest pattern, though and I’m excited to track down some twill and make one up. I have a great Fall flannel I could line the hood with, too.


Here is a similar vest for purchase (I love the burgundy color too!)

4. Burda Style Waistcoat

This pattern is so cute! I almost ditched my whole plan and made this instead, but I think it will be more useful in a solid color. I can see it being a good addition to my wardrobe in a neutral, but probably not in the pink and red plaid I’m using for this project. The peplum and the side buttons are my favorites details.

5. The runner up, Waffle Patterns Hooded Vest

I almost went with this pattern, I truly love it. But using an Indie pattern company for the first time, knowing you’re going to make alterations is always risky and in the end, again, I wasn’t sure of the sizing with the thicker lining I was wanting to use. This pattern is fabulous, though, especially because you can purchase a sleeve add-on to make it into a jacket instead of a vest, which is pretty convenient.

Since we’re vest shopping (ha!) I really like this Carhartt vest in light blue. I don’t know if it fits my life. Maybe if I still had chickens, I wouldn’t feel like a poser wearing Carhartt, hahaha! Is this something I could wear in my city-girl life??

6. The winner: Women’s Hero Vest by make it perfect

I went with this pattern for my jacket! The pattern calls for sherpa lining, so I know it will work with the sweatshirt fleece lining I’m planning to use. The hood is also lined, which I wanted. It has pockets, I like the style and it should be easy to add sleeves. I already cut out my pieces with my sleeve alteration, so I’ll keep you posted on my finished product later. Fingers crossed it works out how I want it!

Hero Vest pattern by make it perfect. Come see why I chose this pattern among 5 others, plus fabric links for sewing Fall vests! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewing #fallsewing #vestpattern

Fabric Suggestions:

Like it said, I got my wool flannel at the thrift store, but I didn’t mention that I also found my lining there. I always shop the entire linens section for fabric options! I found a sweatshirt fleece blanket of great quality that I cut up to line my jacket with.

Finding the proper fabrics for projects like outerwear can be confusing, I know. Hobby Lobby’s Fall fashion line has some seriously amazing choices for these styles of vests right now! Yesterday I spotted several sherpa options, including a sherpa-lined buffalo plaid. They also have some great quilted fabrics, including a dusty pink one I think I might use for McCall’s 7695. When I first saw these fabrics arriving at my Hobby Lobby, I had no idea what to do with them, but this vest saga has given me plenty of ideas!

And of course there are also plenty of great options on Amazon!

I’m excited to sew up some outerwear this Fall and Winter! I’ve been pinning all my favorite ideas here, and I’d love for you to follow along and point me in the direction of any other great outerwear ideas you come across! Tips for how to keep my feet warm this winter are also welcome ;)

Cheers!

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I made a dress for $4.00!

I made a dress, thought I didn’t like it, got rid of the pattern, salvaged the dress, regretted tossing the pattern, then couldn’t find the pattern number anywhere!!

Ugh, sometimes my minimalistic tendencies backfire and this is one of those times! But the bright side is, I made a dress, I love it, and it only cost me $4!

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.

Sewing doesnt’t have to break the bank! If you’re sewing on a budget like me, I have tips for you! | Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I got this fabric at my local thrift store for $3.99. It actually cost less than that because my thrift store has a 20% military discount! It’s a nice rayon i a gorgeous color and there were about 2 yards. The pattern was given to me by a friend who wasn’t really sewing clothing any more and needed to offload her pattern stash, so it was free. I wish I could tell you the pattern number, but alas, I cannot find it! I got rid of the pattern because I actually made this dress months ago and just felt like it was kinda frumpy. I got rid of the pattern! Dumb, because last weekend, I tried this dress on and decided all it really needed was to be two inches shorter. I made the alteration and ended up LOVING this dress, I felt great in it all day and my husband even commented on how much he likes this one. (I also like sleeveless dresses better when I have a tan, which I didn’t have when I first made it, haha).

So, I’m pretty sure I remember it being a Vogue pattern, but I looked at all 338 dress patterns on Vogue’s website and cannot find it. It’s probable that it’s out of print, since I have no idea how long my friend had it before giving it to me. If you have this pattern and can help me out with the pattern number, I will update this post!

But anyway …

If you’re sewing on a budget like me and get frustrated that it seems like an expensive hobby, be encouraged by this post, because a little creativity in how you acquire your materials can go a long way in keeping you in the sewing room. I’ve written a tip-filled article about frugal sewing, which you can read here, or by clicking on the photo below.

What are your best money saving tips for sewing? And what’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten on a piece of fabric?? We want to hear about it in the comments!

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Third time’s the charm: How I FINALLY found the perfect cami pattern.

Why am I always surprised that the most basic of garments are the ones that are often the hardest to get right? I guess the upside is that the hunt for the perfect tried-and-true pattern for these kinds of clothes makes it that much sweeter when you finally land on that perfect design!

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 tried three different patterns before finally finding the one that worked for me! || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Such was the case with my cami pattern saga. Ever since the Ogden Cami pattern came out, I’d been wanting to try to make some similar tops to add to my wardrobe. I mean, what’s hard about a basic v-neck camisole? Should be easy to find or adapt a pattern, right?? Wrong! I don’t but a lot of Indie patterns both because of the cost and the unpredictability, so I grabbed a vintage pattern from my drawer with similar lines and gave it a try. It’s beautiful! But, the fit is all wrong. The neckline is too wide and too low (I probably made a size too big; this was before my always-make-a-muslin days) and the back had a ton of extra fabric, even after I added French darts. I used Liberty fabric for it, though, so I’m still not ready to toss it in the bin. I still think I can make it better, so it’s currently sitting on my sewing desk awaiting a light bulb moment. You might remember this cami from this recent post. I love how the fabric scraps add interest to the binding and straps!

Sewing camis || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

After that disheartening experience, I waited a few months and then decided to go ahead and buy the Ogden Cami pattern. I mean, sewists everywhere are OBSESSED with this pattern. And with good reason, it’s beautiful! It seems to work for everyone and the pattern hacking potential is endless. I whipped up my first version using the fabric from a thrifted full skirt my daughters outgrew. I made a muslin, made a full bust adjustment adding darts (when will I learn?) and went ahead and cut my fabric.

Sewing Camis || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

I ended up taking the side seams in and giving them shape, giving more of a curve to the center back seam AND eliminating the half-length facing, as it just got hung up on my bust every time I moved my arms. I cut it into a normal facing and top stitched it 2” from the top. In the end, I do wear this cami, but only under a cardigan, because even after all that, the arm holes are too big and show my bra. (This is not a rant against the Ogden Cami pattern, it’s clearly a wonderful pattern. It’s not you, it’s me, Ogden Cami).

I’d spent money on that darn pattern though, so I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I made a second go of it a few months later, altering the arm holes and drafting a new front facing for it. This version is just ok too. The pattern is just not right for me and after all those alterations, it’s a different design than the Ogden Cami altogether.

Sewing Camis

I am not a quitter, though! I had made a dress several months ago that just hadn’t worked out, but I’d kept it in the drawer hoping I could use the fabric somehow. The skirt part was just big enough for another try at a cami. Digging through my drawer, I came up with McCall’s 2219, one I’d thrifted years ago and made the cut when I cleaned out my patterns last year. I think it’s out of print, but not super old, so not at all hard to find on Amazon or Etsy.

The perfect cami pattern || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

The reason I’d overlooked it before was because it’s a bias cut design and I’ve been using small bits of fabrics for these camis, nothing big enough to cut pieces out on the bias. BUT, since I’d made those other camis, I had learned that if the pattern has bust darts (this one includes them!), then a cami will fit fine cut on the straight of grain. I cut it out, barely having enough and wouldn’t you know it …

The perfect cami pattern || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

This pattern fit, FIRST TRY!!! No alterations required. I love the V neckline, and notice how much coverage the straps give me. The facing is exactly the style I had drafted for my Ogden Cami and the length is perfect. Now that I have a basic pattern to go to, I can hack this into other designs. A straight across neckline will be first, I think, then maybe a dress!

So, here’s what I learned. Once again, just because a pattern seems to be great on everyone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be great on me. I knew better than to buy a pattern without bust darts and with such floaty lines, when what I wanted was something completely different and more fitted. And I knew better than to try that first vintage pattern without making a muslin.

Lessons. Learned.

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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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Dancewear Patterns: They DO Exist!

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.

It’s no secret around here that I’ve accomplished a huge goal recently of learning to sew activewear, and more specifically dancewear! Both my tween/teen daughters are ballerinas and let me tell you, dance leotards are not cheap! They tend to run at least $60 per leotard and they each need two or three at a time, since they both dance four days a week. To have their black leotards in pretty designs is preferred, of course, but the price goes up with every cute detail, it seems!

The dancewear patterns may seem hard to find at first, but there are more out there than you might think! So I’m here to complie a list today of dancewear patterns. If you’re still new at sewing, don’t let this intimidate you like I did for so many years! You can sew activewear with the most basic sewing equipment, you don’t even need a serger and it’s a great way to build skills. So if you have a dancer in your life, no matter how long you’ve been sewing, this post is for you!

You can sew dancewear! Click over to see my big roundup of sewing patterns for leotards, skirts, leggings and even Irish dancing and character skirts. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Before we start, know that this list is of in-print patterns only. Though I’m sure there’re tons of out-of-print dancewear patterns, both our selection of sewing notions and our access to professional techniques for unique genres of sewing has come a long way in the last decade, so I can’t vouch for those oldest patterns as far as the techniques and finishes they may recommend. So, without further ado,

The Big List of Dancewear Sewing Patterns.

Jalie.

This will be no surprise to you at all. Jalie runs the market and you will learn so much using one of their patterns. If you do not have a serger, that’s ok, the instructions include techniques without a serger. Visit their website to see all the dance patterns they have available. I choose the PDF format because I find assembling the pages much easier than tracing the lines! The leotard I most recently made for Natalie is the Jade pattern. I’ve also made the dance skirts more times than I can count! Jalie also includes boys and mens patterns in their dancewear offerings and they are actually the only company I found that does so.

Sewing dancewear. I made my daughter leggings with Simpicity 8424 and a skirt with Jalie’s ballet skirts pattern. I even altered a basic leotard to add lace and interesting straps! Visit my big list of dance sewing patterns. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Big 4 Pattern Companies.

Yep, the Big 4 (McCall’s, Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue, plus their other brands) does have a decent selection of dancewear patterns. I have made every single piece of Simplicity 8424 and love the sizing on it because dancers tend to be tiny sometimes. The extra small is perfect for my girls. Other Big 4 dancewear patterns include:

Simplicity 1444. This one pretty much has it all! Would be a good place to start your collection.

Burda 9629. This pattern has everything you’ll need for your littlest dancers.

Simplicity 8561. My girls are allowed to wear active leggings to jazz and modern and we like this pattern for those.

Kwik Sew 3661. I think this neckline is so pretty and the skirt too. Great basic pattern! Kwik Sew can be pricey, but they go on sale occasionally online and at JoAnn.

Indie & Misc.

If you have girls in need of character skirts, here is a pattern for those. Once you know how, you’ll regret never trying them before, they’re pretty simple!

Mountain Ash Designs. This company is new to me, but they appear to have a well-established line of dancewear patterns!

Atira’s Fashions has patterns for various ethnic dance, including belly dancing. If you have a character dancer, you may want to check them out.

Guna Rince makes sewing patterns for Irish Dance.

My Childhood Treasures has a nice selection of dance patterns from younger girls up through the ages.

That’s all I can find, folks! I’m sure that’s not all, though. If you know of others, will you let us all know in the comments? Now that I have the dancewear sewing bug, I’m on the lookout for more unique designs. My girls may end up with more than they really need this year, ha!

Cheers :)










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A Handmade Ballet Leotard: Jalie Jade Pattern

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.

This is one of those things I still can’t quite believe I successfully made. I’m not sure why it intimidated me so much, I have actually hacked some basic leotards into fancier ones before, but learning to add the elastic for some reason had me nervous about making them from scratch.

BUT, I have conquered the ballet leotard! Let me say right off the bat, there is no question when it comes to activewear patterns, Jalie dominates the market with good reason. I am not an affiliate with Jalie, I just love them so much, I have to spread the word. More about why I love Jalie further down, but here is my 14-year-old ballerina’s finished leotard!

Sewing ballet leotards with Jalie patterns || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

At my girls’ dance studio, they wear black leotards to class, any design. Natalie likes things with a high neckline and she loves a pretty back design, so when Jalie released this new Jade Leotard pattern recently, it was a no brainer. It went together perfectly and she absolutely loves it. The fabric is nylon spandex from Hobby Lobby, part of their new activewear fabric line and it’s to-die-for. Use the 40% off coupon and you can get it for less than $8 a yard. I also used this lining from Spandex World.

Sewing ballet leotards with Jalie patterns || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Ok, here are the reasons why Jalie patterns can’t be beat.

  • Their sizing is spot on. When I was teaching sewing to kids, we made pajama shorts with this Jalie pattern and I took measurements of each student. Every pair of shorts fit perfectly. When you buy a pattern from Jalie, it comes with all the sizes, from children to adult and the sizing chart is right every time. I definitely cannot say that about most patterns, Big 4 or Indie. There’s usually some trial and error involved to find your size with other brands.

  • They teach professional techniques. I learned so much from using this pattern, especially about how to apply the elastic and finishes. They even include instructions for those who don’t have a serger!

  • They have great variety and modern designs. Jalie keeps up with the trends and goes beyond basic designs. I’m always excited to see what they’ll release next! They have patterns for all kinds of sports, including water sports, gymnastics and figure skating, plus designs for everyday clothing.

Now that I’ve learned these skills, we’re excited to design and make more leotards! I also have the basic leotard pattern, which will be easy to hack into other designs. I saved the following photo from Dancewear Solutions’ Instagram stories this morning. I love the twisted back, so clever with the two colors! They are allowed to wear colorful leotards to jazz and modern, so maybe I’ll some in colors too. (I should add, Dancewear Solutions is my favorite for ordering leotards if I’m not making them. They have the best prices I’ve found.)

Sewing for ballet, inspiration

I think one of the biggest hurdles to breaking out and trying other genres of sewing are gathering the supplies. Once I had the right fabric, some lining, the right elastic, the right needles, and the pattern, I was good to jump in. Half the battle is sourcing the more unique materials.

Next on my “learning new things” list, is a coat! But one thing at a time, ha!

I’d be happy to have you follow along with my sewing adventures on Instagram!

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Black Rayon Linen Jacket: New Look 6351

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 currently on vacation in Colorado, seeing family since my husband recently returned from deployment. We’ve spent some time in Denver with my family and seeing friends (we both grew up here, met and married here) and today we’re heading down to Pueblo where his family lives. Every day has been so full, but in a good way!

So I’m just popping in to share a jacket with you that I made a few months ago, actually, but that’s gotten more wear than possibly anything else in this season’s handmade wardrobe.

This is the final piece made from my black rayon linen score, following the joggers and the dress.

New Look 6351 out of rayon linen || PIn, Cut, Sew

The pattern is New Look 6351 and I absolutely love the easy shape of it. I have said before, I was wanting to have a few jackets to wear instead of wearing mostly cardigans and this has proven a good strategy. It’s gotten a ton of wear, casual and dressy. It adds class to nicer outfits, where a cardigan just wouldn’t do the same.

I only made a couple changes. I did make a muslin, even though it’s just a jacket and decided to take some vertical wedges out of the back pattern piece from the hem to the middle back so that the bottom of the back fits closer to my body. This was the perfect decision, the back fit is my favorite! I also chose not to interface the collar piece because I wanted a more loose look than a crisp one.

Black linen jacket: New Look 6351 || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

There are some great rayon linen fabrics on Amazon if you’re considering trying this kind of fabric! Like this one, this one and this one ( my favorite!) I think I’ve proven how versatile it is and if I had to choose a favorite fabric, rayon linen might be my choice, especially for summer!

In other news, I finally began a new Instagram account just for sewing! I will get around to changing the links here in the sidebar, etc … in the next week, but for now, please follow me @PinCutSew. You can also just click on the linked photo below. Cheers!

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How to mark buttonholes (the easy way).

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 mark and sew buttonholes the easy way with just pins! A sewing tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I am lazy when it comes to marking, ha! I mark almost everything with pins and not with actual marking tools. I mark all my darts with pins and I mark buttonholes with pins too and I get perfect results every time, so I thought I’d share my secrets.

How to mark buttonholes

First of all, let me just let you in on the magic of this amazingly useful sewing tool! I put this on my Christmas wish list several years ago and Casey got it for me. It’s seriously so handy. It’s a button hole gauge and with it, you can have perfectly spaced button holes every single time.

So to mark buttonholes, first I try on my garment and find where a button needs to be placed to land right in the fullest part of my bust. I put a pin there and that’s my starting point for all the rest of my buttons (yes, I ignore the pattern piece’s markings of where the button holes should be because it makes the most sense to have a button at that fullest point.) Then I use my gauge. I spread it out so that the button holes are between two and three inches apart and wherever they need to be so that the top button is about half an inch from top edge.

How to mark and sew button holes, the easy way.

I prefer pins with flat heads for all my sewing, but especially for this because I don’t have to remove my pin until my presser foot is down and ready to sew, whereas a round headed pin would get in the way. Basically, I place pins where my bar tacks will go. So I’ve placed my guide on my placket with each prong the correct distance from the edge for the bar tacks to be perfectly centered. You may choose to use a chalk runner and ruler to mark the center instead. I only mark the first bar tack, the other doesn’t matter because your machine will make the size buttonhole needed for the button you place in the buttonhole foot.

Every machine is different, so you’ll have to experiment, but here’s how it works on mine. I put my placket under the machine so that the top pin is centered in the buttonhole foot’s little windo I put my presser foot down and remove the pin. (Most button holes are sewn from bottom to top, so keep that in mind when positioning your fabric.

Sewing button holes || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

To make sure the button hole sews straight, I just make sure the side of my placket is straight along the side of the presser foot or aligned with a mark on the machine (washi tape is good for this if you need a clear line). Then, the machine does its magic!

Now, let me introduce you to another awesome and handy sewing tool, the button hole cutter. You’ll need a mallet also, but one punch in each button hole and you’re done! If you don’t have one of these yet, of course you can use small sharp scissors to cut your button holes open (I have these and love them). I also always use Fray Check on my button holes and buttons so I don’t have any issues with unruly threads later on.

Marking Buttons

Next, to mark my buttons, I don’t use my gauge, I use my new button holes instead. I line up my placket and place pins through my button holes into the next placket. Then I can just “unbutton” them from my button placket and sew my buttons on with my button foot and a zig zag stitch with the length set at zero and the width however far apart the holes are. Yay, no hand sewing!

How to mark buttons and button holes with pins only. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
How to sew buttons and buttonholes || Pin, Cut, Sew, Studio

There ya have it, how to mark and sew buttons and buttonholes with pins only and no marking tools! For years, I actually didn’t have a machine that made button holes, so I learned to do it manually on that machine, but when I started teaching sewing to kids, I bought Brother machines similar to these and this is what I still use just for button holes and buttons, it performs beautifully. I’ve since inherited a very nice Pfaff from my mom, but I still use the Brother for buttonholes because I already know how, haha! I should probably get the Pfaff manual out and I give a try, though.

I hope this was helpful! Cheers :)

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Brushed Poly Dress: McCall's 7812

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Last Summer I made a dress out of a brushed poly fabric I got at Hobby Lobby. I’m usually somewhat anti polyester, but the print was so beautiful and the fabric SO soft, I gave it a try. That dress is one of my most-worn pieces of the last year! There’s something about brushed poly. It travels great because it doesn’t wrinkle, it holds its shape with wear, the print doesn’t fade even after many, many washes.

So when I visited Denver and went to Colorado fabrics, I chose another brushed poly fabric with McCall’s 7812 in mind. I love how it turned out.

Knit dress, McCall’s 7812

The only changes I made were to shorten the sleeves and to make my own ties out of my fabric, rather than use ribbon. It’s a very easy pattern and perfect for this brushed poly knit fabric.

I rounded up some great brushed poly prints for you, including the cactus print I almost bought instead (it was hard to choose! Here are a several I think are great:

We’ll see how much I like to wear it when it’s super hot outside. The first dress I made with this kind of fabric is very loose, so I stay cool in it, but the jury’s still out on a closer fitting poly dress. I’ll keep you posted.

double brushed poly dress, McCall’s 7812

Did you know I’m always pinning great content and ideas for sewing on Pinterest? Click the button below to follow me there!

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Wide Legged Cropped Pants: McCall's 7786

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 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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White Linen Jacket: New Look 6481

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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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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!

DSC_0074.jpg

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.

DSC_0120.jpg

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

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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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The things we made in May

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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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