Five Things to Sew This Weekend

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

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

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

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The Costa Tote by Helen’s Closet

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

Magnetic Bookmark and Pen Holder

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

DIY Leather Belt Bag

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

Folding Magazine Rack

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

Easy Rectangle Top

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

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

Hel

lo, World!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers and Happy Sewing! :)


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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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Five Things to Sew This Weekend: Travel Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Drawstring Pouch Sewing Tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supplies:

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

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

  • Fray Check.

That’s it! Let’s get started.

Instructions:

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

Drawstring Bag tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio.

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

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

How to make a drawstring bag, a tutorial

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

Pouch sewing tutorial

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

Drawstring pouch tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to sew drawstring pouches, a sewing tutorial by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew Studio
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Harry Potter Sewing Roundup

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

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

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

Let’s get started.

Free Harry Potter Sewing Tutorials

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

Hooded Harry Potter towel. From Making Things is Awesome

Harry Potter sewing roundup

Harry Potter Baby Activity Cube from Bugaboo City

Harry Potter Sewing roundup

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

Harry Potter Sewing roundup

Harry Potter Hats from ikatbag

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

And the Sorting Hat! Also from ikatbag

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

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

Harry Potter sewing tutorials

Hogwarts house crest ornaments from Hey Let’s Make Stuff

Harry Potter ornaments

Free Harry Potter embroidery patterns from Flamingo Toes

Harry Potter embroidery pattern

Harry Potter Patterns for Purchase

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

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

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

Hermione costume by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

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

Harry Potter doll clothes pattern

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

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

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

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

Harry Potter Fabrics

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

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

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

I also really love this Hedwig one.

Etsy also has some great Harry Potter ribbons.

Project Ideas

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

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

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

Harry Potter Sewing

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

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Why I started making a muslin every single time

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

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

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

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

How to make a muslin for sewing patterns

1.Your muslin doesn’t have to be muslin

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

2. Cut only the necessary pattern pieces for your muslin

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

3. Use a basting stitch

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

4. Nip and Tuck

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

5. Transfer your changes

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

How to make a muslin

Proceed with confidence!

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

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How to make a dress sleeveless

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

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

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

How to remove sleeves sewing tutorial

This method is super easy! So without further ado:

How to make a dress sleeveless

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

DSC_0150.jpg

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

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

How to make a shirt or dress sleeveless

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

How to take the sleeves off a dress

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

DSC_0157.jpg

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

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

Dress into skirt hack

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

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Pin, Cut, Sew Tutorials

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

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

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How to Sew A Pencil-Shaped Pencil Pouch

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

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

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

Free pattern and video tutorial

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

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

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

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

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My 4 Best Tips for Sewing With Kids

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

I've been teaching kids to sew for a couple years now, have had well around 80 children come through my studio and finish projects successfully, so it's about time I share some tips with you, whether you're wanting to sew with your own children, or teach others. And if you desire to help your own kids learn to sew, but don't have sewing skills yourself, this post is just as much for you as it is for the pros! 

After teaching over 80 kids to sew at my studio, I’ve picked up some tips along the way! Come read my best tips for sewing with kids. | Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewingwithkids #kidssewing #sewingtips #kidscansew

I'm going to jump right in! 

FIRST, gather quality tools.

I get asked very often by the mothers of my students and others for my recommendation on a beginner sewing machine. My advice is and has always been, DO NOT buy the cheapest machine of any brand. You will only be frustrated. If you've made this mistake and have had lots of problems, let me reassure you, it's not you, it's the machine! That said, a good machine doesn't need to break the bank. I use this one in my studio. I have six of them and they've been dreamy. Here is more on why I like them and why I upgraded from the ones I used to teach on. 

After teaching over 80 kids to sew at my studio, I’ve picked up some tips along the way! Come read my best tips for sewing with kids. | Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewingwithkids #kidssewing #sewingtips #kidscansew

Your machine isn't the only tool you don't want to cheap out on! I know the little packaged sewing kits you can pick up for $10 are cheap and sometimes even cute, but you're not doing anyone any favors, as they tend to include the flimsiest of supplies. Here are the basic tools you should have and my recommendations on good ones: 

1. Scissors. I've used many kinds in my classes, but realized the kids were always scrambling for dibs on the regular orange Fiskers scissors. For some reason, they just don't dull or get out of whack like all my other brands did. So now I have six pair of the Fiskers and also the Fiskers sharpener. This eliminated our scissor woes. I also noticed that my younger students sometimes have trouble with cutting and ordered a pair of the Fiskars for small hands. That solved the issue for most littler ones! 

2. A good seam ripper! Unsewing is a necessary skill, so get a good sharp unsewer and replace it when it start to slack off on the job. 

3. Pins. You don't have to be too picky about these, I like quilting pins because they're longer, but any pins will do. Along these lines, Wonder Clips are wonderful to have on hand, although totally optional, because they are sometimes easier for kids to use and they don't get poked as often. 

4. Pin magnets. I use plenty of pin cushions on my classes, but have a pin magnet next to each machine and they're nice because they make it so easier to pick up the piles of pins left on the table and even on the floor! Plus, the kids just think they're fun. 

5. Fabric! Ok, I know this is obvious, but what I want to say about it is that kids will take to sewing much more gleefully if you have some cool fabrics in trendy prints.  Think, cactus, llamas and unicorns! The hand-me-down quilting fabrics from the 80's or that box of polyester suiting you were "gifted" from a well-meaning person who found out you sew ... these won't go over quite as well. Let your kids pick out some fun prints, have lots of felt on hand and see what they can do! 

6. Stuffing. When told they can sew whatever they want, kids will sew a pillow or a stuffed something 99.9% of the time. Ha! Have stuffing. I keep the big box of polyester fiber-fill on hand. I use a coupon from Hobby Lobby or get it at Wal-Mart (for some reason, it costs a ton more at JoAnn's). 

After teaching over 80 kids to sew at my studio, I’ve picked up some tips along the way! Come read my best tips for sewing with kids. | Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewingwithkids #kidssewing #sewingtips #kidscansew

SECOND, don't teach them everything at once. 

Others may have another method than me, obviously, but I don't teach the kids to thread the machines when they're brand new. I teach them to use the machine by going around a sheet of paper, learning to backstitch, stop and pivot, etc ... and then we get down to our first projects. I have found that the older girls pick up the threading as they watch me thread and before long, they learn how to do it naturally. Choose projects that build skills incrementally and let them come up with their own ideas too. Before long, they'll start to understand more and more about construction. 

Kids can sew

THIRD, try not to micromanage. 

Many moms have a tendency to hover, overcorrect and criticize when their kids are learning to sew. Please don't worry so much about "wasting supplies" or not having a perfect outcome. The reason I teach kids and not adults as much is because kids are always just so proud of what they've made! They don't see the flaws, they are just thrilled that they produced something. And when something's a total disaster, they're always willing to try it again, having just learned how not to do it. Relax, moms! ;) Keep your cool. Teaching children a skill like this requires a lot of patience and positivity. 

After teaching over 80 kids to sew at my studio, I’ve picked up some tips along the way! Come read my best tips for sewing with kids. | Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewingwithkids #kidssewing #sewingtips #kidscansew

FOURTH, provide them with inspiration! 

This is the fun part. There are so many great projects out there that kids can attempt to make on their own, once they know the sewing basics. I know I've mentioned several of my favorite kids' sewing books in various posts, but a few of my favorites are Sewing for Children (perfect for brand new beginners, younger learners or hand sewers), and the We Love to Sew series. There's so much good stuff on YouTube too, including my channel, Pin, Cut, Sew, which I try to keep very beginner friendly! Pinterest is a well spring of ideas, of course. You can follow my "Kids Can Sew" board and find plenty of ideas. In class recently, we made hoop art (check out their creations in the photo below!) and had Pinterest open browsing for hoop art inspiration. So I even use Pinterest in my classes! 

After teaching over 80 kids to sew at my studio, I’ve picked up some tips along the way! Come read my best tips for sewing with kids. | Pin Cut Sew Studio #sewingwithkids #kidssewing #sewingtips #kidscansew

I hope this has helped some of you and given you courage to give sewing with children a try. I know there's a lot of logistics about what classes actually look like that you may have questions about, so I'd be happy to help answer those the best I can if you'll ask me! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

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How to make an emoji sleep mask. Free pattern!

We have a some long flights and accompanying jet lag in our near future and Kelby and I wanted some sleep masks. We thought emoji sleep masks would be super funny! Everyone needs a chuckle on a long flight, amiright?? Enjoy our video tutorial and you can print the free pattern below the video for both sizes of sleep masks! 

Here's your pattern! Just click to save and print :) 

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How to Sew a Scarf Shirt! A Video Tutorial

I'm so excited to have our next YouTube video tutorial up and running! Learn to make a cool shirt or cover-up out of a scarf. We plan to go to our thrift store for more scarves to play with because these are so fun and easy. 

Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial

We hope you enjoy! We are having so much fun making these videos and I hope you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. If you make a scarf shirt, please show me, somehow! Maybe tag me on Instagram?? I'd love it :) 

Here's the tutorial! Enjoy

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Soft Headband Tutorial

Our newest video tutorial is up! Layla and I are going to show you how to make soft headbands in any size.

How to Sew a Soft Headband

We hope you're enjoying these tutorials and if so, that you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. Part of the reason we started the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel is because there just isn't a whole lot out there specifically directed at kids who want to sew. I know many of my local sewing students have been watching our videos and trying the ideas, so that alone makes the effort worth it! But these tutorials are also good for adults, I really try to span the ages :) 

Enjoy! 

My girls are really loving these and they're sooo easy. I hope if you make some, you'll show me by commenting here or on YouTube or tagging me on Instagram! I would truly love to see. 

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DIY t-shirt tassel tutorial

A new tutorial is up on the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel and this one contains plenty of family antics as I teach my girls to make cute tassels with their old t-shirts. Tune in and please subscribe to our channel!! I'm discovering there is a whole world of sewing vloggers out there that I didn't even know about! I plan to create a blog post about some of my favorites in the near future. Until then, enjoy making some t-shirt tassels and then tell me, which kinds of sewing projects would you like to see a video tutorial of? 

Cheers and happy sewing! :)

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Textured t-shirt Technique and YouTube announcement!

Pin, Cut, Sew is on YouTube, you guys!!! I'm so excited, making videos is suuuuper fun. I had so many ideas when I was trying to get started and I found it helpful to write down a few purpose sentences to help myself focus. Here's what I came up with: 

At Pin, Cut, Sew Studio, we believe:

  • Anyone can sew! Kids included. 
  • Any age is a good age to start.
  • Anyone can sew with basic equipment. 
  • Sewing is cool again! 

Please subscribe to our channel and tune in for weekly how-tos, tutorials, tips and general sewing news! My first video is a fun tutorial on making textured DIY scrappy t-shirt fabric. Enjoy! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

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Pig Neck Pillow * Free Templates

I finished a great month of sewing classes today. This month's theme was softies! Our first week's projects was these awesome pig neck pillows. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but it didn't link to a tutorial or anything related to the neck pillow, actually, so I drew the pieces myself and thought I'd share them here for you. 

This isn't really a tutorial because I didn't have the foresight to take photos as I was making the sample (bad blogger, I'm sorry!) but basically, this is what you do: 
 

  1. Go over to The Crafter Gemini Creates and snag her fab neck pillow pattern and watch the tutorial if you need to. I tried several kids neck pillow patterns and this one is the best! Once you have the pattern, cut it out of your pink prints. 
  2. Print my free pig part template below (just right click and save, then you can print) and cut those out of the right colors of fleece (or felt works too, but is not as soft on the neck as fleece). 
  3. Stitch the face pieces in place on one neck pillow piece. Assemble the ears and baste those onto the top where you want them (facing down so that they'll poke up when you turn it right side out. 
  4. Stitch the front and back together, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Clip inner curves to stitching.
  5. Turn, stuff and hand sew your opening closed. 

There are my super lame-o picture-less instructions. Note to self, always photograph the process ;) 

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

My students really enjoyed making these pillows! I think they would make great gifts and you could really get creative with different animals or funny monsters. 

I hope you can make use of this idea! If you do, I'd love to see it, especially if you make some with the kiddos in your life. 

Cheers and happy sewing!

Nikki

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Beginner/Kid Friendly Sewing Tutorial: Name Banner Bunting

This month in my local kids sewing classes, our theme is sewing for your room, and Tuesday's project was these fun triangle name banners! The kids had fun with these and my favorite part is seeing what fabrics they each choose and how they got creative with their words, using nicknames, meaningful words, adding hearts before and after their names, etc... 

A name banner makes a great gift too, I’ve even made them when hosting baby showers, with the coming baby’s name on it. It’s the perfect personal touch and the new mom can use it to decorate baby’s room.

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

How to sew a name banner bunting! | Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

There are plenty of these kinds of buntings out there, but this one is set apart, since it’s lined and all the edges are enclosed, so it won’t fray. It’s meant to be a decoration that will last a long time! And of course I wanted to make a tutorial simple enough for beginner parents and kids to follow so my sewing students can make more at home!

What You'll Need:

A triangle template: I cut mine from a file folder and it measures 9.5" across the top and 10" down the center. You can make it any size as long as it fits the letter stencils you have. 

Letter stencils. Mine are from my old scrapbooking stash. You can get them in scrapbook sections in craft stores OR you can print out your own font to cut out and trace. This could be a really fun way to go! 

Fabrics: With my size triangle, we could cut four flags out of one fat quarter. So I'd say for an eight letter word, you need at least a half yard total of fabric. But, it's super fun to do each letter different too, so you can use scraps you have on hand. We backed our flags with solid colors, but you could use anything and you could even make your banner reversible! Just make sure you use fabrics that you can't see through. 

Double Fold bias tape. This comes in little packages by the zippers and rick-rack, but you can also make your own, there are several tutorials out there for that. 

Fusible Web: This comes either on a bolt, in a roll or in sheets. Steam A' Seam is a brand name for the kind you'll find in sheets, but any kind will work. 

Let's Get Started! 

Cut out your flags, as many as you have letters and cut out your backing flags too. Then sew each one together, right sides together (pretty side to pretty side!), leaving the tops open. Snip the bottom tip straight across, close to your stitching. This helps you get a nice point when you turn it right side out. 

Turn each flag right side out, use a chopstick to gently poke the corner out and press them nice and flat. 

Before we put the binding on, you'll want to trim off all these little dog ears:

Time to add your bias tape! Open up your bias tape and fit the first flag inside it's fold, starting about an inch from the end. (You can turn the end under, or not. I didn't have the kids do it this way and since bias tape doesn't ravel, it will be fine. Put it under your machine and use a zig zag stitch to sew down the length of it, adding flags as you go. I don't usually pin them, I just open it up and wedge them in as I go, but you can pin if you want! 

The sewing part is done! Time to add the letters. Whether you're using stencils like mine or printed letters, you want to trace each letter backwards onto one side of your fusible web. Don't cut them out! You can cut loosely around each letter, or if you traced them close enough together for it not to be wasteful, you can just iron the whole piece onto your fabric. Following the manufacturer's instructions if you need to, remove the paper backing (the side you didn't trace on) and iron your letters onto the wrong side of your letter fabric.

Now you can cut your letters out. Once you've cut them out, remove the paper backing and place each letter where you want them on each flag and press them on one at a time. Make sure you spell it right! haha. 

That's it! You're done! You can easily hang these up with thumb tacks. My students were all so proud of their banners! 

The kids thought of all kinds of banners they can make. Natalie suggested a football one to hang during Bronco games (Broncos season is coming!!!!!!) A few girls talked about making them for gifts. Like I mentioned already, I've made these for baby shower decorations/presents. Seasonal banners would be fun too! 

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery!

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery!

And my favorite banner of all, the birthday banner I made when all my kids were tiny that I still hang up for every single birthday, even my own :) I can see many memories in all the fabrics I made it out of! 

How to sew a birthday banner! | Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I’m sure there are lots of was to used these banners that I haven’t even thought of, so if you think of some, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Cheers and happy sewing :)

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Super Easy Doll Tote Bag Tutorial

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

I was brainstorming simple doll sewing in case we had extra time today at sewing camp. I knew that tote bags for dolls would be super easy, so I showed the girls how to make this simple version. I didn't have a pattern and I hadn't made these before, but it was no problem to just wing it. They turned out great, they were really fast and most of the girls made more than one, they loved these! Then Natalie made a bunch after camp was over and our neighbor came over this afternoon and they made even more! 

Doll Tote Bag free tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Doll Tote Bag free tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I made a very simple tutorial here for you, and you don't even have to print a pattern :) 

How to sew a doll tote bag:

For the pattern, take a piece of regular ol' printer paper and cut it (or just fold it) in half, hamburger style. Place this on your fabric, just one layer, and cut it out. 

Next, hem one of the long edges. For the kids, I didn't have them turn the raw edge under twice, I wanted to keep this super simple for them, but here you can see, I did hide that raw edge. 

Next, cut some ribbon for your straps. I cut mine 7", but anywhere between 7 and 9" would be great. Pin them onto the wrong side of your top edge where you'll want your handles to be when it's folded in half. It may help to fold it in half widthwise just to see where you want them and make sure they match up. 

Then sew them in place right over your previous hem stitching. Now an adult or advanced sewer could totally do the hem and sew the ribbons on in one step, but for kids, it's easier for them to do this in two steps and it doesn't bother them that there are two lines of stitching showing if it's not perfect. It might bother you, moms, but it won't bother them and that's what matters! ;) I let the kids try zig-zagging this step and they thought that was fun and looked cool. 

Okay, last step, fold your tote in half, pretty sides together and sew down the side and across the bottom. 

You're done already! You can trim those raw seams with pinking shears, or not, whatever you want. Clip that corner and turn it right side out. You may also want to add some Fray Check or clear nail polish to your ribbon ends to keep them from fraying. 

These are some the girls made!

Natalie and her friend Hailey can't stop making tote bags for their dolls! As you can see, Victoria and Samantha are very happy to wear them all. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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