The Secret to Sewing a Gape-Free Neckline

I have said before that I don’t use very many Indie patterns, but there are exceptions to that and I have a great one to share with you today! It’s interesting to watch the pattern industry change. The higher prices of the pattern sales at JoAnn has spurred a ton of discussion lately in the sewing community. I’m not necessarily surprised at the price change, and I also think maybe buying fewer patterns at a time could be a good exercise in restraint and planning for many of us.

I have long refused to plan my life around the JoAnn sales, so I often order patterns directly from the company during the online sales, when the Big 4 puts them on sale for $3.99. Now that JoAnn is raising the prices and lessening the frequency of pattern sales, I may be more willing to purchase more good Indie patterns. I’ve become somewhat of a pattern minimalist anyway, so paying more for well-done patterns doesn’t bother me.

That said, it’s risky trying new Indie patterns! I have not had good experiences with a few of the most popular Indie designs out there, so I’m gun shy about the whole thing. BUT, my girls are dancing in the Nutcracker and the Grinch in November and I really wanted to make a new dress for these events out of a nice rayon crepe my mom recently gave me. I didn’t have a pattern in my stash that sung to me, so when I saw this pattern on Instagram, my heart was set on it pretty much immediately (I bought it that very day, very impulsive for me).

This dress is called the Pleiades 2 and it’s by Blandine of French Poetry Patterns. For some reason my Mac does not want to open the French website, so I can’t link it, but my phone opens it no problem, so I purchased it that way. She does have the instructions and everything in English, so I didn’t have any issues with that.

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.

The Pleiades II Dress sewing pattern by French Poetry patterns. This pattern is perfect! I love the lantern sleeves and I learned a new technique for a gape free neckline! || PIn, Cut Sew Studio #frenchpoetrypatterns #howtosewadress #dress #sewing #diyfashion

I did make a muslin before cutting into my fabric, but the dress fit perfectly, I didn’t have to make any fit alterations. She calls this sleeve a “lantern sleeve” and I think it’s such a beautiful touch! The other option is a tied sleeve, which is also great, I look forward to trying those next time. The neckline is slightly low for say, a church dress, but for the Nutcracker, it’s fine. I do think she has since raised the neckline on the pattern slightly after listening to feedback, so make a note of that it you purchase this pattern.

Not only did my dress turn out perfectly, I learned a new technique for gape-free necklines! If you’re like me you always worry about gaping necklines when your neckline is cut on the bias. Of course we always stay stitch, but oftentimes this isn’t enough. This pattern calls for a strip on interfacing along the neckline instead. I tried this technique and it really did increase the stability a ton more than stay stitching! I know this because I lined my bodice and while I used the interfacing on the outside piece, I only stay stitched the lining. The lining was still stretched quite a bit more than the interfaced piece and I had to ease it onto the front piece!

The Pleiades II Dress sewing pattern by French Poetry patterns. This pattern is perfect! I love the lantern sleeves and I learned a new technique for a gape free neckline! || PIn, Cut Sew Studio #frenchpoetrypatterns #howtosewadress #dress #sewing #diyfashion

I will use the interfacing technique to prevent my bias necklines from gaping from now on. Did you already know about this technique??

The Pleiades II Dress sewing pattern by French Poetry patterns. This pattern is perfect! I love the lantern sleeves and I learned a new technique for a gape free neckline! || PIn, Cut Sew Studio #frenchpoetrypatterns #howtosewadress #dress #sewing #diyfashion

Another thing I loved about sewing this pattern is that the skirt has shaping. I think the reason many empire waist dresses look maternity is because the skirt seams are all straight, without any contouring. These skirt pieces, however, are all individually curved in certain ways to give a nice shape to the lower half of the body. There is a front and back seam as well, which aides in this shaping.

I will definitely be making this dress again. I’m very excited to wear it to the Nutcracker with black tights and boots, but I think it will be great in all seasons. I have my eye on a few other patterns from this company too, since I had such a great experience!

Are there any Indie pattern companies you really love that I may not have heard of? Please do tell!

Pin Me for Later!

The Pleiades II Dress sewing pattern by French Poetry patterns. This pattern is perfect! I love the lantern sleeves and I learned a new technique for a gape free neckline! I’ve finally learned to sew necklines so that they don’t gape! || PIn, Cut Sew Studio #frenchpoetrypatterns #howtosewadress #dress #sewing #diyfashion
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Sewing Athleisure: Simplicity 8790

At the end of this post, I’m going to ask you for help with something! Please read, I need your tips!

But first,

I get a catalog from Athleta in the mail every month or so and I always LOVE the clothes in there. I’ve gotten a few pieces on clearance in the past, but on the whole, it’s out of my budget to order from them. But I love getting the catalog still, because I often find something I’d like to copy!

One of those items is an athleisure style dress, that can be worn with or without leggings, goes with casual sneakers or even snow boots when the weather warrants them, and is just a casual piece for the colder weather. When I scored the perfect clearance fabric at Joann a few months ago, I knew I’d be making a similar dress to those in my Athleta catalog.

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 sewed an athleisure sweatshirt hoodie dress with Simpiicity 8790! Click over for the details. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #simplicitypattern #athleisuresewing

I didn’t need to spend much time searching for a pattern because I had Simplicity 8790 in my stash already. It had only been waiting for the right fabric. I made view C because I wanted the hood without the cowl and I like the raglan style sleeves, not the dropped shoulders.

Simplicity Pattern 8790 || PIn Cut Sew Studio #simplicitypattern #athleisuresewing

I did make a couple of changes. The pocket design on this pattern is pretty cool; it’s a kangaroo pocket, but it looks like two side pockets. The pattern included a facing for the pocket, but I thought that was silly. I cut a strip and bound the pocket like you would most other patterns for knits. I bound the hood in the same way, as I feel it’s more of a professional looking finish than the simple hem the pattern called for.

I sewed an athleisure sweatshirt hoodie dress with Simpiicity 8790! Click over for the details. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #simplicitypattern #athleisuresewing

The other change I made was to add cuffs and a hem band, rather than hemming the bottom and sleeves the traditional way. I love how that ended up looking! It feels more substantial, somehow, maybe because it adds weight to the hem.

I’d like to make this pattern again, for sure! Next time I will do a full bust adjustment, as I should have done on this one. This version fits well, but I can tell it would be just perfect with the FBA. Now that I know how to do them, I’m not as afraid of them!

I sewed an athleisure sweatshirt hoodie dress with Simpiicity 8790! Click over for the details. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #simplicitypattern #athleisuresewing

(Find my favorite sneakers here).

I’m on the hunt for a sweatshirt fleece to make the shirt version next, so I’ve been looking at my thrift store for sweatshirt fleece blankets. I have super hard time buying fabrics online and I always have! Do any of you feel this way?? As much as I’d like to, I just never quite know what I’m getting! And paying for shipping and having returns be challenging and often costly, it feels so risky! One company I ordered from sent my fabric to an old address and I never received the fabric, nor would they give me my money back. It was super disheartening and I’m even more timid about online fabric ordering now. I’m on a pretty tight budget, so I’d rather not order swatches and spend even more money. How can I get over this?? Advice about ensuring success when fabric shopping online would be very welcome!

And if this dress inspired you, feel free to pin this image to save for later!

Cheers :)

How I made an athleisure dress with Simplicity pattern # 8790. Click over for the details! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #athleisuresewing #sewadress #diyfashion
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Fall Sewing Plans

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

I have a couple of very specific things on my Fall closet wish list! Northern Utah transitions pretty swiftly from Fall to Winter weather, so I better get on it! Hopefully these items will be useful through the Winter too.

The first is a long blush pink cardigan. I have several dresses and outfits that I think this item would be the perfect topper for, and I’ve seen many pretty examples on Amazon and Pinterest. I know the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan pattern is perfect, since I’ve made it so many times, and I’ll have to order a good sweater knit (maybe this one) and I think I can make myself one of these pretty inexpensively.

Fall sewing plans! Long blush pink cardigan using the Blackwood Cardigan pattern. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #fallsewing #cardigan #diyfashion

The second item I’d like in my Fall wardrobe is a sherpa vest! This is one of those things took a season for me to come around to, but right now I’m loving this look. I’ve pinned some pretty cute sherpa vest outfits to my style board and Hobby Lobby has the sherpa fabrics right now, in three colors and for a great price too. I’m thinking this pattern is perfect, although there are plenty of good ones. I’m pretty excited about this one!

Fall sewing plans! I’d like to make a sherpa vest and Hobby Lobby has the perfect fabric right now. || Pin Cut Sew Studio #vest #diyfashion #fallsewing

Lastly, I don’t have patterns and fabrics picked out for this one yet, but I’d like some tunic length tops. I have a pair a really nice rayon ponte leggings/pants that I got from my last thrift store haul and I’d like some longer shirts to go over them (maybe even with my sherpa vest, like this!) I have plans for a long flannel shirt and I”d like to make a few like this too. Pattern suggestions are welcome!

Do you plan ahead for seasonal sewing? Or do you sew for the season you’re in. I think I kinda do both, but I’d like to plan ahead a little better. Problem is, I often don’t see holes in my wardrobe until we’re already into the season at hand. How about you?

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DIY Infinity Scarf

I use infinity scarves constantly in the Fall and Winter! I like them better than traditional scarves because I think they’re easier to wear, there’s no fancy tying involved and I never have a long tail accidentally working it’s way loose and getting dragged on the ground. Plus, a circle scarf can be pulled up over my head as a makeshift hood if I need it, to protect my ears from wind, etc ...

I have a few favorites, one light weight and one warmer, but when I saw this black and white double sided fabric at Hobby Lobby, I thought it would be fun to make an infinity scarf, in a medium weight that fits right in between my two others. The fabric is a cotton double gauze and it’s buffalo checks on one side and gingham on the other. I mean, it was speaking my language.

I have a simple how-to for you today. This is one of those things most people could figure out, of course, but it’s also nice to have someone just spell it out and save you some math and thinking, ha!

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.

Click over to learn to make an easy DIY infinity scarf! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #infinityscarf #diyscarf #circlescarft

How to make an easy DIY infinity scarf:

You’ll need two yards of fabric, give or take a few inches (it’s not rocket science). You want to choose fabric that is the same on both sides or has two fronts. Basically, two right sides, so it doesn’t matter which side is showing.

DIY-INFINITY-SCARF.jpg

I’ve found when making a circle scarf, it’s hard to know what width you’ll want it until you’ve sewn it into a circle. This is because different fabrics are obviously bulkier, so the width of my lightest weight one is much greater than the width of my thick sweater knit one.

Therefore, I recommend sewing the ends together first, creating your circle. Straighten those edges and sew them together in a French seam — first sew the seam wrong sides together in a 1/4” seam. Trim to 1/8”, press to one side, then press the seam right sides together so that the seam is sandwiched. Then sew the seam again, right sides together in a 3/8” seam encasing the raw edge inside. You want this seam to sort of disappear, so after it’s sewn, I flat fell it, by pressing it to one side and top stitching it down near the flappy edge. See what I mean in the photo:

Click over to learn to make an easy DIY infinity scarf! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #infinityscarf #diyscarf #circlescarft

Now you’ll need to decide on the width, so try on the scarf and wrap it around twice as you would if you were wearing it. If it’s too bulky, try folding it inward to a certain width and try it on again. Play with it until you get it right. I hemmed mine to 29” wide this time. Trim off the excess and then simply hem the long edges with a narrow hem (turn under 1/4”, then again 3/8” and top stitch down near the folded edge).

Click over to learn to make an easy DIY infinity scarf! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #infinityscarf #diyscarf #circlescarft

You’re done! I hope this made the process easy for some of you! Circle scarves make great gifts, since it’s so easy to personalize. They’re also a fun thing to make with fabrics you love but aren’t really sure what to do with.

Click over to learn to make an easy DIY infinity scarf! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #infinityscarf #diyscarf #circlescarft
Click over to learn to make an easy DIY infinity scarf! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #infinityscarf #diyscarf #circlescarft
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September Thrift Store Haul

I am not even a tiny bit ashamed to tell you that I am a thrift store lover (as if you didn’t know that already). I had fun conversing with you all about my my recent post on why I think sewing makes me better at thrift shopping, so I thought it would be fun to build on that and share with you my recent haul from my favorite thrift store!

Full the record, I do not just go thrifting once a month, I visit my Savers probably once a week. Not just to aimlessly wander and shop for stuff we don’t need, but if anyone in my family does need something, I always check there first. And with growing teen/tween children, it seems like they’re always needing something! Often, I’m only going to look for that one thing and I always go with a budget in mind. I’m not above buying pretty much anything secondhand. Shoes, sleepwear, outerwear, sheets, it’s all great.

The weather has really turned here this last week and I was short on long sleeved items for myself and I wanted to look for some warmer running clothes, since I started running a few mornings a week back in the Spring. Let me show you what I found on my last trip to Saver’s!

What I found at my thrift store in September! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #thrifting #diyfashion

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.

First, I did find a couple of running tops. The light gray jacket is very similar to one I was thinking of buying on Amazon if I couldn’t find one secondhand. It not only has thumb holes, the cuffs flip all the way over my hands to keep them warm, which is something I really wanted in a running jacket. My hands get cold, but the cheap soft gloves aren’t great for a sweaty activity. The brand is Mondetta, there’s a similar jacket here. The purple jacket is originally from Gapfit (similar here) and I like how it has the kind of hood that covers my neck and will stay on when running. The leggings pictured are an Old Navy pair I thrifted several months ago (similar here).

One Pattern, Two Hacks (1).png

Next, I found a great rayon Old Navy dress and this is where the sewing thing comes in handy! I’ve tried on a similar style to this dress at Old Navy before and I remember the facing having issues. On this dress, it appears someone had been frustrated with the facing popping out and had tried to just cut it off. When this didn’t solve the problem, they donated the dress.

I was able to serge the raw edge of the facing and top stitch it down. If Old Navy would learn to properly understitch a facing, they might avoid this problem ;)

Sewing comes in handy for thrift shopping! I mended this hacked off facing and now I have a new rayon dress :) || PIn Cut Sew Studio #thrifting #diyfashion

It’s a pretty Summery dress, but I thought I could style it for Fall and Winter so I put some outfits together for all seasons. Both jackets pictures are from the thrift store too, the white linen moto jacket is Athleta (couldn’t believe that lucky find!) and the brown one is A.N.A. brand. Unfortunately my son put that one in the dryer once when he was helpfully changing the laundry and it’s not quite the same. Any suggestions on reshaping it would be great! It’s not leather, but not polyurethane either, it’s viscose. Help, please!

One thrifted dress, mended and styled for all seasons. || Pin Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #thrifting #fallstyle

It will probably not surprise you that the gray sweater leggings are part of my thrift store haul also, ha! The grey booties are ones you’ve seen before and yep, you guessed it, they’re thrifted as well. They’re Nine West brand and you can find similar ones here. The brown boots are NOT thrifted (can you believe it!?) but they are Merrells and I cannot recommend them enough!! Solid arch support, real leather, completely waterproof. The ore you wear them in, the better they get. Total workhorse pair of boots if you live somewhere that gets a lot of wet and snowy weather. Great for wide calves too. Yep, they’re pricey, but you will not regret it.

Okay, next, I scored another Old Navy dress, this one a basic black rayon jersey dress. Everyone needs a piece like this in their closet and my previous one is several years old now and looking threadbare. I wear this kind of dress in all seasons. It’s so easy to dress up or down, throw a sweater and leggings on with it, or wear it over your swimsuit in the Summer. I was glad to find this piece.

Thrifted Old Navy dress. How to dress thrift store finds up or down and for the seasons. || PIn Cut Sew Studio #diyfashion #thrifting

Next, I found and American Eagle sweater and it’s so soft and I like the dark gray color. I’ve already worn this a few days this week, just to throw over what I was already wearing, since we’re in that season when it’s goes from 50-70 and back again several times per day. The jeans I’m wearing here are my favorite Old Navy pair and the shoes are Puma (scored in new condition at the thrift store!) and I talked about them here.

September thrift store haul || Pin Cut Sew Studio

Lastly, I found a super nice cotton button down shirt! The brand is Dip, which I haven’t heard of before, but it’s a pink and white pin stripe and fits me absolutely perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I want to alter my go-to button down pattern to more closely resemble how this shirt fits. I got some good feedback on Instagram about how to go about copying ready-to-wear clothes, other than waiting until they wear out and cutting them apart. The shoes here White Mountain and not thrifted. It always feels a little fancy when I buy new shoes from an actual new shoes store, hahaha!

September thrift store haul! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #thrifting #thrifthaul #diyfashion

I did get one last thing I didn’t get any photos of, but I was super excited to find. I got a pair of black rayon ponte leggings/pants that I think are going to be SO useful this Winter. I’m still working on making and adding pieces to my wardrobe to wear with them, so I’m sure they’ll make an appearance here soon!

That’s it for this particular trip! In total, I spent $51. That included a jersey sheet to use for making muslins. Earlier this month I went looking for some coats for my girls and scored big time! I got them both like-new down puffer coats in their preferred colors. One is Gap and one is Express and I paid $20 for both. Like I said, I always check the thrift store first and it very often pays off.

Truth time, is there anything you would NEVER buy secondhand? I’m a little weird about water bottles and thermoses that have the straw-style or flip up spouts. It’s kinda funny that that’s where I draw the line.

Cheers!


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Unrelated: Vol. 2

Happy Sunday! Sundays are my favorite days. Church, Mod Pizza, then Broncos, or sewing, or reading, or book store wandering, or just generally relaxing. I try to do all my school planning and other must-do-by-Monday things (like writing this post, for example, haha) before Sunday so none of that is weighing on me, which can make for full Saturdays, but it’s worth it when Sunday comes!

Anyway, I’m back with the second edition of “Unrelated”, where I share with you, my tribe, five things I’m loving that aren’t related to sewing. I’m really loving sharing these tid-bits with you and it’s been fun to keep a mental list of the things I just have to put in the next edition of Unrelated.

First, though, we did make the wreath idea I included in last week’s edition! It was fun to make this with the kids and we smile every time we pull into the driveway :)

I made a DIY Fall pinecone wreath!. Click over for the link to the great tutorial! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #falldecor #wreath #diy

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.

Let’s get to this week’s five favorite things!

One:

Thriftbooks! Oh my goodness, my friend told me about thrift books a few months ago and I cannot get enough. Every time I place an order, it almost feels too good to be true. Thriftbooks is pretty much what you’d imagine, an online store store for used books. The best part is that you get free shipping for orders over $10 and you earn a free book every now and then when you get enough points from your purchases. Most titles cost $3.99 and many I’ve bought have been in new condition. I’ve found all genres of books on my to-read list, including homeschool books. BEST PART, you can get a 15% discount on your first order by clicking over through this link!

Two:

Grain Free Granola recipe by Iowa Girl Eats. I can’t eat gluten, it gives me awful headaches. Most store-bought granolas contain wheat, so I was buying this Grain Free granola from Target. It’s pricey for a pretty small bag, though, so I sought out a recipe and this one delivered, big time! It’s soooooo good, I’ve made it twice now and it lasts for about a week, even with my kids snacking on it. I put it on my cheerios, my yogurt, or just eat as a snack on it’s own.

Three:

Besides sewing, photography is a favorite hobby of mine. I go to Barnes & Noble to peruse the magazines sometimes and the other day I grabbed the newest edition of Shutter Magazine. The black and white theme is what caught my eye. I browsed through it at home and it’s really inspiring! It’s what led to my challenging myself to post a black and white photo every day on my personal Instagram account, which has been really fun so far. If there are any photographers in your life, a subscription to Shutter magazine would be a good gift idea. If you’re a photographer yourself, It looks like you can access the digital editions for free, which is pretty cool!

Here is a photo I took of Layla the very day I bought the magazine. I always have a willing subject at hand when inspiration strikes ;)

Black and White photography || Pin Cut Sew Studio

Four:

I bought this pair of olive and rose gold Puma sneakers at my thrift store last month. They were in like new condition, so I really lucked out and I ended up LOVING these shoes. They are so, so comfy and bendy. I like them so much, I’m thinking of ordering this similar pair in the elderberry color, because you know, a girl’s gotta have options. I do however, use inserts in all my shoes. I have one good pair with nice arch support that I just switch from shoes to shoes. So when I get new shoes, I rip the original inserts out and use my good ones. Even in my running shoes. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s opened up a whole new world of shoe options for me! I have scoliosis and my body would just start to hurt if I wore shoes that didn’t have the right support. So, if you have knee, ankle, hip or back pain, might I suggest the first thing you try should be good inserts for your shoes? I recommend Vionics or similar brand, NOT the gel or memory foam kind and not the cheapo kinds you can get at Walmart. Lecture over, ha!

Five:

I was at Hobby Lobby today and they carry the oh-so-popular CC hats. We have a few of the hats and they are pretty great. The range of CC products has expanded though and now they have gloves too! AND, they’re “smart tips” gloves, so they claim you can use your thumb and finger to access your phone while wearing them. I was skeptical because I have tried on gloves that make these claims in the past and they really didn’t work at all. But, I tried them on and played with my phone there in Hobby Lobby and they worked! I didn’t buy them, but I want to and Amazon has lots more color choices than they had at Hobby Lobby, so I think I’m gonna go with the oatmeal confetti color.

Here’s a photo I took of Natalie in her CC hat last year. She’s had this hat a few years now and it’s still in great shape.

Pin Cut Sew Studio #fallphotography #ccbeanie

That’s five things! Please tell me what unrelated things you’ve been loving lately! Be sure and come back tomorrow to see my September thrift store haul, it’s a fun one.

Cheers!

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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.

PIN ME!

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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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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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!

PIn Me!

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

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

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

PIN ME!

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

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

How Sewing Makes Us Better Thrifters:

We know fabrics.

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

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

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

We know fit

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

We know quality

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

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

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

We know what we like

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

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

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

We can alter and mend

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

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

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

We know what we’ll actually wear.

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

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Bleach Dyed Denim Costa Tote

Does anyone else have to curb your enthusiasm for tote bag sewing? I love me a good tote bag pattern, but a gal can only use some many bags, right? I keep just a couple of favorite bags around, but when the free Costa Tote pattern showed up in my email from Helen’s Closet, I knew I had to make one soon.

I loved the cool denims that were used for the samples on the pattern, but I was having a hard time finding some and I wasn’t willing to spend much money to buy fancy denim. And that’s what spawned my recent bleach dying denim adventures! Kinda cool how projects roll into each other and new ideas are hatched when seeking creative sewing solutions.

I put two of those denim pieces to use to make a Costa Tote and I think I’m in love.

Costa Tote bag pattern from bleach dyed denim. || Pin Cut Sew Studio

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

I know this bag is pretty simple, but there are elements that make it just perfect. I absolutely love the deep pockets on both sides and the slanted shape of the pocket top adds interest. It’s also reversible, so those pockets can be inside if you want.

Costa Tote Bag pattern with bleach dyed denim. || PIn Cut Sew Studio

I really like the deeper hems at the top and on the pocket piece, I think the top stitching there looks really nice. You can see that I used straps purchased by the yard from Hobby Lobby for this version. I also shortened the top by 2”, just due to personal preference. This was easy to do, since sewing the top seam is the final step, so you can try it on for size before deciding to shorten it or now.

One more thing to note, it’s a big bag, so it takes more fabric than you might imagine. Keep that in mind when shopping around!

All in all, this bag is PERFECTION. Grab the pattern from Helen’s closet and go make yourself one! I’ve taken it to the pool and the library more than once already and I can definitely see it going on trips with me in the future, plus being put to use for my homeschool co op, where I’ll be teaching drama and creative writing this year. I also think I’ll sew a few for Christmas gifts, I know the ladies in my family would love these. If I were going to purchase some denim to make another, it would definitely be this one!

Do you have a favorite bag pattern? Please share!

I tie-dyed denim with bleach and used it to make a Costa Tote bag! Come see the details :) || Pin Cut Sew Studio
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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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Before you throw that sewing project in the trash ...

Every now and then, despite my careful muslin making, I sew a project that just flops. Either the fit is all wrong, it’s just the wrong shape on me, or the fabric was the wrong choice for the pattern.

Recently I made a dress that I came really close to throwing in the trash.

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 came so close to throwing this dress in the trash before I ever finished it! Come read how I salvaged it and what I learned. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I’m always excited when Jalie releases new patterns and I bought the Michele Tank and Dress pattern almost right away and made a muslin of the bodice only. I knew this look wouldn’t be flattering on me without some shaping, so I took my time adding a full bust adjustment and even French darts in the front and back bodice.

Once I had it right, I cut out the dress from a rayon fabric I had. I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the lining, though! So I went to the thrift store and found a white rayon skirt full enough to do the job.

I got the dress sewn and it just looked awful on me. I’m short waisted and broad through the ribcage, so this floaty, almost babydoll design did not flatter, despite all my fitting work (though that bodice fit darn perfect, haha). I decided to try adding elastic to the inside waist seam allowance, but you know how braided elastic can stretch out when you try zig zagging it on … womp, womp.

I was bummed, but instead of tossing in the trash like I wanted to, I put it in my fabric drawer thinking I could salvage the skirt portion to sew something else in the future.

Fast forward a couple months and I dug the dress out of my drawer and on a whim, tried it on. You guys, it was sooo NOT as bad as I had thought! LOL! If the waistband could be more fitted, I’d totally wear this dress and the perfectly fitted bodice wouldn’t have to go to waste! I recently learned a new technique for attaching elastic to the seam allowance in a way that will hold it’s form, so I unpicked the zig zag, shortened the elastic by a few inches and resewed it using my serger.

Jalie Michele tanks and dress pattern. || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Perfect.

I hemmed the dress and wore it the next day. I learned a few things from this experience:

  1. First, never toss a project when you’re mad at it! Put away and come back to it later. Even if it’s still awful, you can use that fabric for something else!

  2. Don’t trust your initial feelings! In my defeat, I remembered that dress looking horrible, but when I tried it on again, it was not bad at all. Sometimes putting things aside and looking at them with new eyes can make a huge difference.

  3. I only just learned the elastic technique I needed to make this work. This goes to show once again, no matter how long you’ve been sewing, there are always new things to learn.

  4. Trust your gut with patterns. Just because it looks cute on everyone else doesn’t mean it will work for you (I’m lookin’ at you, Ogden Cami). I know what works on me and what doesn’t and I should have sought out a similar pattern with the right lines and the shaping I needed. In the end I made this one work, but that’s definitely not always the case!

I’m glad I didn’t toss this project in the heat of the moment and I hope I can remember these things when I feel like a project is a total failure in the future!

Side note: I’ve only just begun wearing bike shorts under my summer dresses. I know many people have done this their entire lives, but I am new to the bandwagon and I am loving it. I feel less fearful of every slight breeze, ha! They also just stay put under dresses better. I had one pair already, but needed another, so I ordered these and like them, so I thought I’d recommend them to you all and save you the trouble of wading through all the reviews!




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How Inspecting Store Bought Garments Can Improve Your Sewing Technique

I’ve been experimenting with some pattern mashing lately and so far most things have turned out pretty great! One example is this favorite garment and this dress I’m sharing today is another. I learned a few things from this project and I’m happy to share my light bulb moments with you!

I was really wanting a casual and easy summer dress. I’m set for church dresses, but more easy weekday dresses would fill a gap for me. I scored the rest of some beautiful brushed poly knit fabric at Hobby Lobby. It was being clearanced out so I got it super cheap and bought all that was left.

I thumbed through my pattern stash and couldn’t find any knit dress patterns that sung to me for this project, BUT, I did have a Burda knit top pattern I’d made before and like and thought I could hack it into a dress. Thankfully, it worked!

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 a mash up a Burda top pattern and an Old Navy dress and learned some new techniques along the way! Come see how inspecting your rtw clothes can improve your sewing skills. || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

A few notes on how I accomplished this mash-up. I have an Old Navy knit dress that I really like the fit of, so I measured the length of that bodice, using the measurement to fold my pattern pieces up to reflect that bodice length. I sewed the bodice as instructed, I only made a minor change in the neckline finish.

For the skirt, I used that Old Navy dress to draft the skirt by tracing it directly onto my fabric, pulling the waistline taught to get the correct measurement. (This is my favorite tracing tool of all time). I cut two, so the front and back skirt are the same. To my surprise, the skirt is more like a quarter circle skirt, not a gathered rectangle like I’d assumed and probably would have cut if I hadn’t bothered inspecting my Old Navy dress. I don’t think I would have been as happy with that result, so the lesson here is to inspect well-fitting RTW clothing more often!

The Old Navy dress also had an interesting technique for the waistline elastic that I copied and loved. Usually patterns for knits with elasticized waists will have you make a casing out of the seam allowance and draw the elastic through, but I always find that bulky and shifty. Other patterns will have you zig zag the elastic to the seam after it’s sewn, but I find the elastic stretches out too much and I often end up unpicking it to shorten the elastic and resewing. My Old Navy dress, however, had that elastic serged right into the seam. So once I’d pinned my skirt to my bodice, I cut elastic about 85% of the seam’s circumference (I used 1/4” braided). I marked it in quarters, pinned it to the waistline at those marks and serged the whole seam in one go. It worked awesome, I will always use that method from now on!

Burda 6428 meets Old Navy. Come see how I mashed a top pattern with an Old Navy dress and what I learned along the way! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

While we’re on the subject of serging, I cannot recommend my Juki serger enough. I’ve had it for over 6 years and it’s been a dream the entire time. I’ve never once needed to get it serviced! If you’re on the fence about getting a serger, take the leap, you will not regret it. And if they fancy ones are out of your budget, give Juki a try, it’s very budget friendly.

I’m sure I’m not the only sewist who takes a careful look at their own clothes or clothing at stores to see how they’re made. I scored an Athleta linen moto jacket at the thrift store a few weeks ago and I was wearing it at church and caught myself marveling over how they finished the cuff plackets on the sleeves, ha! (It had godets! So interesting!) Do you have stories of things you’ve learned from store bought items? Have you ever taken photos of clothes at the store to copy them at home? (guilty). Tell me about it in the comments :)

Cheers!

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The easiest top you'll ever sew!

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.

Awhile back I wrote a blog post about the Mexican Huipil that I scored at a thrift store. It’s still one of my favorite tops, though now that I know how much hand embroidery and care probably went into making it, I wear and wash it a bit less often, in the hopes it will last longer!

I’ve been wanting to copy the shape of this top for awhile and since I had a piece of rayon that was only about a yard, I thought it was a good time to try it.

Now I can truly say, this is the easiest top ever!! Anyone can draft a rectangle and that’s seriously all it is. A rectangle with a neckline. The back and front are the same.

Let me show you my finished top first and then I’ll show you how I did it and how easy it is, so you can try it too.

How to make a rectangle top. Super easy, anyone can do it! || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

The cool thing about this being the same on the front and back is that you can get creative about the hemline and the trim, if you decide to add some. I had a small length of lace leftover from this (my most-worn garment this summer!) So it was enough to trim the front hem, but not the back. But it turned out to be a cool design feature! I can reverse the top and do a front tuck so that lace is in the back. I can’t decide which way I like it better.

How to make a rectangle top. So easy anyone can do it! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio

Ok, here’s how you can draft a rectangle top for yourself. This isn’t so much of a full tutorial with step by step photos, but I think it’s enough info. And it’s just super easy, I think anyone could figure this out!

To cut the right size rectangle, you need to decide how long you want it. Mine is 27” in length (that includes 1” for seam allowance and hem. For the width, take your hip measurement and add 1”. Divide that number by four. My hips measure 39”, so after adding an inch and then dividing by 4, my rectangle’s width is 10”. Here’s my finished rectangle, for a visual.

How to draft a rectangle top. So easy, anyone can do it!

Ok, next draft your neckline. Measure 3” from the center front and 7” down from the top. Simply create a curve using the above photo as a guide.

You can see I have two notches on the side seam of my rectangle, one is 8.5” from the top and the other is 5” up from the bottom. When you sew your side seams, sew in between the notches, then narrow hem the sleeves and the slits. The slits help the top fit over your widest part (your hips) without making the top really wide everywhere else, so I wouldn’t leave them off unless you’re very narrow in the hips.

So here are the steps in order:

  1. Sew your shoulder seams.

  2. Stay stitch the neckline to prevent stretching.

  3. Finish the neckline with your preferred method. I made a bias binding and turned it to the inside and stitched.

  4. Sew your side seams between notches and press open.

  5. Narrow hem your arm holes and side slit openings.

  6. Hem the top and add trim if you want.

Done! If you have questions, I’d be happy to help further!

I’m a little baffled about why this basic rectangle top fits so well, when everything else seems to needs darts and adjustments up the wazoo for it to fit me right. But I guess I won’t question it ;)

I’d be thrilled if you pinned this graphic to come back to for later and for others to share too!

How to draft and sew a rectangle top. So easy, anyone can do it! || PIn, Cut, Sew Studio
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A Woven Cardigan and Hair Care Talk

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 am soooo happy with my latest make, you guys, I have literally worn it for the last three days in a row! I think I need a second one so I have one to wash and one to wear, ha!

Lemme just show you a photo, first thing.

Woven cardigan with Simplicity 8601 & 8707

(Find similar shoes here and my tank here — I highly recommend!)

I love this for so many reasons! I realized how great it can be to have a kimono style “topper” in the Summer, when you either want to protect against chill, sun, or just be more covered. I have worn my yellow chiffon kimono quite a bit, much more than I thought I would, but it’s honestly not the most flattering shape on me because of the drop shoulders and wide sleeves. I’m already pretty broad for my size through my upper body, so the kimono definitely adds more width.

I had the idea to make something similar, but with normal set in sleeves, when I was eyeing a woven cardigan my daughter has that she got at a thrift store. Hers has cute tie details on the sleeves and I had a light bulb moment! I remembered Simplicity 8601 has those tie details and that pattern was already in my stash and I’ve made it a couple times.

Woven Cardigan: Simplicity 8601 & Simplicity 8707 || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

So, I used the kimono pattern, Simplicity 8707 and mashed it up with Simplicity 8601 in order to make myself a version of this cardigan. My method was as you’d expect, I used the main pieces of 8601, adding length and then altering the front pieces by placing the front of Simplicity 8707 on top and tracing that front line onto my fabric. The sleeves I cut as normal, of course.

Some additional details: I flat felled the seams in order to have the insides look nice and I bound the back neckline with denim bias tape. Not only does it look nice, it’s much stronger that way. I left slits in the sides about six inches from the bottom and added a pretty lace from Hobby Lobby. Oh, and my fabric is a rayon from Colorado Fabrics in Denver.