Monthly Archives: March 2014

March 31 title

Etsy Finds

Welcome to the first Etsy Finds round up.  I thought I’d start off with some things that you just can’t do without – a good pattern, a bit of storage and an apron to keep yourself tidy. These three have been sitting in my Etsy favorites for a while and I’m sure you’ll like them too.Embonpoint Vintage patternEmbonpoint Vintage has the most amazing collection of vintage patterns! Check out this cowl back cocktail dress – would look amazing in a silk satin.

Flapperdoodle sewingkitIf you need to sew-on-the go this DIY sewing kit from Flapperdoodle is just the thing.  Cut and sew and you’ll have a unique sewing pouch.

Chill Bill Designs apron













I always work with an apron when sewing to hold my thread clippers, chalk and tape measure. If you don’t want to make your own, try this one from Chill Bill Designs.

Stay tuned for more Etsy finds next week.

Clothes Spy

Become a sewing spy

Here’s a trick I used in college and was always a source of inspiration.

When you’re out shopping – take note of how garments are constructed. Take them into the fitting room and turn them inside out. Take a photo or draw a quick sketch to help you remember.

Take notice of

  • how trims are attached
  • and how are the ends secured
  • what method have they used to finish the hems
  • what shape is the draped piece
  • what grain has each piece been cut on
  • how are the facings being held back
  • how is the lining attached
  • are these things you could learn to do?

If you wanted to take this a step further, how about finding something from the op shop? An item that’s only cost you a few dollars would be worth unpicking to learn how to do something new. A jacket collar or lining? A front fly zip perhaps?

It’s all problem solving so the more you learn about how things go together, the better you’ll become.

Happy clothes spying!


Top 5 Sewing Mistakes

Top 5 Sewing Mistakes

loose threads

Looking to improve your basic sewing techniques? Follow these top five sewing fixes and your work will improve instantly.

Loose threads – depending on how you prefer to work, threads can either be snipped off as you go or at the end. Whichever way you choose, take a moment to check over your work and ensure there are no stray threads hanging off your item. I do this as I’m doing the final press.

bunchy threadsThread bunches and incorrect back-tacking – nothing says homemade more than bunches of thread in your work. Practice back-tacking until you get it looking neat. Three stitches forward, back and forward once more is usually enough for an average seam ending or beginning.

stitch sizeWrong size stitches – stitching too small makes unpicking a nightmare and take longer to sew. Too large and the seam may pull apart, especially in open weave fabrics. A good setting would be between the mid size and largest size stitch length. The row of stitching on the left is too small and will be tricky and time consuming to unpick. The row on the right is too long and could lead to a weaker seam. The row in the center is just right.


uneven topstitching


Uneven topstitching – use your presser foot as the main guide for topstitching and go a bit slower if you need to. Practice, practice, practice is the only way to perfect your topstitching. If your topstitching is in a contrast colour, make sure your bobbin matches in case it shows through to the front of your work.

wonky buttonholes


Wonky/too large buttonholes – I know this may seem obvious, but nothing ruins the look of an item like a wonky buttonhole. Practice (see a pattern here?) to make sure the button is a snug fit – pin both ends to mark it or use a tailors chalk if you need to. And always trim off stray threads once you’ve cut the hole.

With practice these five tips will improve your sewing experience and give you a more professional look.