Tag Archives: One Thimble

Stitchidori DIY tutorial

Tutorial – DIY Stitchidori

It’s tutorial time! Imagine planning your life and creative endeavors all in one neat notebook. With a Midori style notebook like this Stitchidori you can. It starts out as a fabric cover with elastic straps – then you to add your own notebooks, diaries, sketchbooks etc. for instant personalisation. Visit YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram for a mountain of inspiration and tips.

The Stitchidori tutorial here can hold up to five notebooks or combination of folders, zip pouches and diaries. It can be used for keeping track of your online spending, handmade orders, children’s keepsake journals or as a diary – the possibilities are endless.

The trick is to use heavy weight Vilene on the cover and light weight Vilene on the lining. You’ll also need some round elastic which is available in most fabric stores.

Cut a pattern template 23cm x 27cm. Using this template cut

  • 1 main fabric
  • 1 heavy weight Vilene
  • 1 lining fabric
  • 1 light weight Vilene

Also cut binding

  • 100cm x 3cm (can be joined if using fat quarters)

Inner pockets

  • 1 @ 7cm x 23cm fabric and light weight Vilene
  • 1 @ 9cm x 23cm fabric and light weight Vilene


  • 2mm elastic – 2 @ 4cm (inner elastic loops)
  • 2mm elastic – 1 @ 48cm (inner elastics to hold inserts)
  • 3mm elastic – 1 @ 27cm (outer elastic closure)
  • 20mm elastic – 1 @ 4cm (pen holder)

Stitchidori tutorial

Fuse heavy weight Vilene to main fabric OR match up sew-in Vilene to main fabric

Fuse light weight Vilene to lining and matching pocket pieces.

Double neaten one long edge of each pocket. Press with iron. Double neaten pocket edge

Sew narrow pocket to other pocket down the centre. attach small pocket to larger pocket

Stay stitch elastic pieces as shown. 6Elastic placement 5elastic loop placement

Sew the two pockets onto the lining along the outside edges. Left hand side.

With wrong sides together, sew the lining to the main piece around all 4 edges.

7Stay stitch lining to outer Inner elastic placement

Starting on the inside, along the bottom edge, sew the binding with a 6mm seam.  attach binding to inside

Stop and back tack 6mm before the corner. stop and backtack 6mm from corner

Fold the binding as show to create mitred corner.
Fold binding at right angle

Fold binding back onto intself forming the mitreBegin sewing with a back tack 6mm in from the corner and continue around remaining 3 corners. Backtack and sew 6mm in from cornerContinue remaining 3 corners.

Mark where the binding needs to join and add 12mm seam. Cut excess off. mark where the binding will joinAdd 12mm seam and trim excessJoin binding with 6mm seam

Fold the Stitchidori so you can sew the binding ends with the 6mm seam. Fold Stitchidori to sew bindingjoin binding

Finish sewing the binding.

Turn the binding to the outside and fold under twice. When you get to the corners fold as shown. Fold binding under twice to form neat edgeTurn corners to form mitre

Thread the last length of elastic through the loops and tie. Thread elastic as shown

Add your inserts and start planning! Slide the inserts under the elasticFold insert to one side and add another


If you want to make your own inserts, search Etsy or Pinterest for “Midori inserts” and find lots of DIY print at home versions.

You are more than welcome to make and sell Stitchidori’s using this tutorial – but only in quantities less than 20 (ie NOT mass production) and please continue calling them Stitchidori’s. Thanks and good-luck!


Sewing to sell How to be better than store bought

Sewing to Sell – How to Be Better Than Store Bought

Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.Sew to sell   excess threads
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.Sew to sell correct grain
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.Sew to sell pocket facings
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.Sew to sell twisted hems
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.Sew to sell matching stripes
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.Sew to Sell centering
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.Sew to Sell  coverstitch
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.

This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)

how to line a skirt

How to Line a Skirt

There are a few reasons why you might like to line a skirt – for modesty if the main fabric is a bit see through, to help the fabric sit smoothly and not cling to your legs when wearing stockings/leggings, or perhaps to make the skirt feel thicker if the main fabric is too light. The type of lining you choose needs to complement the main fabric so it doesn’t interfere with the main fabric and because you are going to be washing them together.
The most common fabric labelled as lining is thin, plain coloured and has a slippery/slinky feel. It can be made from polyester, acetate or silk and would be suitable for lining most garments. If you wanted a cotton lining – say for breath-ability – you could use cotton voile or any other light weight plain weave cotton.
The two simplest ways to line a skirt is to either sew the lining with the main fabric as one, or to sew the lining separately and joined only at the waist. Here I’m going to show you how to use a separate lining attached at the waist and around the zip.
Firstly cut your skirt pieces from the main fabric. For the lining you’ll use the same pattern piece but shorten the length by 2.5cm.
Sew the main fabric side seams, centre back and zip as normal.
Sew the lining side seams and centre back the same way.
Press all seams flat – do not press the opening for the zip on the lining.

Arrange the main skirt (right side out) with the lining inside (inside out) matching up the zip and zip opening in the lining.
Pin the lining to the zip tape on both sides.


Sew the fabrics together as close to the zip as you can get. You may need to use your zip foot/half foot to get close enough on the flap side.


Leave some room for the fabric to move around the end of the zip. Having the lining caught too close might cause your zip to become distorted.

Another option is to hand sew the lining around the zip. A slip stitch with matching thread will work best here.
Press the lining away from the zip teeth.
Hem the lining and the main skirt using the same hem allowance – remember you’ve already trimmed the lining so it will sit 2.5cm shorter than the main skirt.
Attach the waistband with the main skirt and lining as one.
And you’re done. A lined skirt does feel luxurious and is well worth the effort.
The skirt pattern used is the women’s A-line skirt available at Very Debra on Etsy.

This article first appeared in One Thimble Issue 4 .


Around the world blog hop button

Around the World Blog Hop

Last week I was nominated by Rachael from Sew Today, Clean Tomorrow (who is about to host her second  Beginner Quilt Along if you’re interested) to join the Around the World Blog Hop and was pretty excited as it’s my first. It’s a great way to discover new clever crafty people and learn more about why they write and what they do. I don’t think anyone knows where the hop originated – if you know please share!

So onto my responses to the questions –

1. What am I working on?  For the past 7 weeks I’ve been learning how to draft and grade sewing patterns in Adobe Illustrator with the Digital Pattern Drafting course with Burda Style. Taught by Lauren Dahl from Pattern Workshop, it shows how to use the Winifred Aldrich books to draft pattern blocks (slopers in the US) directly in Illustrator. Then you can manipulate the shapes to create any sewing pattern you like – it’s pretty fantastic and I’m learning a lot.

I’m also about to start my first quilting blog hop hosted by Linen from Vine Lines Quilting. Feeling a bit anxious about this project as I’ve only just decided to sew quilts, and so I’m expecting a HUGE learning curve coming my way.


Learning to grade my patterns with Illustrator is going to be a HUGE time saver!

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?  I’d like to think that Stitching Rules differs from other sewing blogs by showing beyond beginner level techniques. There are plenty of sites you can visit for learning to sew basics, but I noticed there wasn’t much on offer for beyond that – things you only learn while working in the sewing industry – particularly the fashion and soft furnishings industries. I know lately I’ve been playing with different challenges and collaborative projects, but my heart is with sharing knowledge to people who’d like to sell their creations. There are plans for writing about altering commercial and indie patterns so you can sell at the markets or online, and I’d love to write a series about planning a range from scratch ready to open your own online store.

creating a sewing plan for bulk sewing

3. Why do I write what I do? Because I’m passionate about sewing!  I’m of the opinion that if you’re planning on sewing something to sell, then you’d better be prepared to make it the best it can be – and better quality than mass produced items. I’d like to raise the standards of sewing to a level where “handmade” is no longer thought of as a quick, cheaper option.

I understand some people may not agree – that any effort to make for yourself should be celebrated. And that is true – but if you want to SELL those items – it needs to be better!

Martha Stewart 1

4. How does my creating process work? Ideas are percolating in my head most of the time, but once I’ve got an idea for a design, be it clothing, a bag or accessory, I sketch out the idea and start calculating measurements and dimensions. I have a hard cover notebook and write each new idea on a separate page – this enables me to stick samples of fabric and write pattern making  notes. If anything needs tweaking later I add those details too.

If I decide the design is a winner, I either write it up as a tutorial for the blog or develop it into a pattern to be sold as a PDF download for the Etsy shop. This brings us back to the reason for doing the digital pattern drafting course as I’ll be able to produce a more professional looking pattern.

Sketching - always sketching.

Sketching – always sketching.

So there you have it – I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about what I do and how I do it. Feel free to ask any further questions about my process because you can be sure that if you’re wondering, someone else will be too.

Next week I’d like you to visit two special sewing bloggers – Jen and Claire.

Claire Bear Quilts is going to share her responses to the blog hop questions and you’ll see the fabulous work she does with her quilting. Claire was one of the lovely people I met in the Aussie Handmade Birthday Club on Instagram and if you missed it you can see what she made in this post here.

Jen is the dedicated writer behind the One Thimble digital sewing magazine and is always creating new children’s patterns for her label Ainslee Fox Handmade. Click here to visit One Thimble.