Knit Hemming Hacks!

Working with knit can be hard. It can stretch and ripple when sewing. That can especially make it hard when it comes to hemming. It would be devastating to finish a garment, then go to hem and then you get ripples. I have 2 easy hacks for you. While a serger isn’t necessary, it certainly makes it easier and faster.

Hack #1~ Faux Hem Band

I love adding bands because they are easy and eliminate hemming. Are you catching on to the fact that I don’t like to hem? I even made an entire post about adding bands instead of hemming here. Well this takes easy to an entirely different level. Now you don’t even have to cut bands!

Here I am working on sleeves. I want a 1/2″ cuff and I will be stitching with a 1/4″ seam allowance, so I am marking 3/4″ from the raw edge.  Note: depending on your pattern and the seam allowance in the pattern, you may need to add length while cutting.

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Now fold your hem wrong sides together and press.

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Keeping the original fold wrong sides together, fold it back another 3/4″ right sides together. My original fold line is now at the top. You will now stitch the edge all around at 1/4″. If using your serger, stitch with the fabric against the blade but not cutting any off.

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Fold the seam allowance up and the cuff down and press.

Voila! Pretty faux hem bands!

Hack #2~ Circle Skirts Made Easy

The nice thing about circle skirts is that they are already easy. You don’t have to gather or pleat to get them to fit your bodice, they are made to be the same width. The hems though can be pesky. I have seen tips that state to sew a basting stitch at the desired hem allowance and use that as a guide to fold, but that still leaves you with too much fabric on the raw edge when you press it up and you also have to go back and remove the basting stitch. This can be done with a serger as I have shown, or even a basting stitch 1/4″ from the raw edge. (If using a basting stitch, you will have to lightly pull the bobbin thread to gather until your raw edge fits nicely.)

Working with my serger, I slightly increased the differential feed which caused the fabric to gather slightly behind the presser foot. You don’t want a lot of gather, just slight. It is also helpful to start with a long tail and end with one.

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Once I got all the way around my skirt, instead of sewing over the beginning thread, I veered off the fabric and left a long tail.

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Without doing any adjustments, this is what I had. It’s practically hemming itself! 😉  You may need to adjust the gather around the skirt. I find it easiest to start directly opposite my start and finish stitches.

I had my differential a tad too high, so I had to let out the gathers just a bit. I did this by holding my hem in place with my left hand and then gently letting out the gathers with my right hand. This is why it’s important to have the long tails at the start and finish. They allow you to adjust if needed.

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It’s so pretty already! No gathers or folds, just a nice flat hem!

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Once you get to the end, you may have a bit extra gathered. Again, just let it out with the tails that you left yourself.

Wonder clips are amazing for knits and sergers and super handy because they have measurement units on the underside.

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So pretty! I was tempted to show Miss A her dress like this, but she would probably love it and be disappointed that I couldn’t leave it!

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Now head to your sewing machine and stitch with a long straight stitch. I was at 3.5

Hit it with a little steam when you are done and you have yourself a beautifully hemmed circle skirt!

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You can grab the Gloria Party Dress Pattern and Circle Skirt Add-on that I used and head on over to Peekaboopages.com for my tutorial on adding this adorable bunny cutout, then come on back here to hem your creations!

Adventurer Raglan Sweatshirt – Made by Jack’s Mum

I always love when there is a chance to sew for R. Boys do tend to get the short of the stick when it comes to handmade clothing, but luckily, that is changing. PDF pattern designers have really started to make modern clothing for boys. That is not to say that there haven’t always been patterns for boys, just that there hasn’t always been so many looks to choose from.

This sweatshirt is a classic raglan style with a little spin. Really there are 4 options when making this top. You can stick with the classic, add a button placket along one sleeve seam, add button plackets along BOTH sleeve seams, or add a split collar. I love a pattern with options!

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I will be completely honest, I wasn’t too sure about the double button neckline that I was picked to test. At least on my guy. I feared it would be too girly. I was wrong!! He looks so handsome! I love this French Terry I picked up a few years ago at Modern Textiles and the cozy sweatshirt material. R loved it too.

I can not get over how big he is getting and what a fun little man this kid is growing up to be. This fit of this sweatshirt is perfect! I love that it can easily be more dressy as I have done, or with some fun fabric would be great for running around the yard.

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Like I said, this pattern comes with a few options for the neckline. Regular neckband, single or double button neck, or split collar button neck. It also comes in a nice size range: premie-12 years. A fun feature is the pocket! It is hard to see in my pictures, but there is a pouch like pocket on the front with cute pocket openings!

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Check out more testers pictures here. This pattern can be quick and easy if doing the basic raglan, but even if you decide to go with the button neckline or the split collar, it doesn’t take too long and is probably advance beginner. The instructions are easy to follow and nice a clear.

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Catch it now while it’s still on sale through tomorrow (1/22) and check out her other great patterns while you are at it! Adventurer Raglan SweatshirtMade By Jack’s Mum

Grow With Me – The Fitted Crib Quilt by Rachel Rossi Designs

I’m still here! I have been soaking up the final weeks of my maternity leave before returning to work tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already been 12 weeks! Everly is growing by the day. Soon she will be moving into the crib, which is currently in toddler bed form for Miss 3, and handmade bedding was on my to-do list. Rachel Rossi Designs to the rescue! She has created a quilt pattern that is also a fitted crib cover. The design is truly ingenious!

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Safety of course was kept in mind when designing this pattern since loose blankets and quilts in the crib are not recommended. The top is pieced like a quilt, then layered with a middle and backing, then quilted just like any quilt. Then the corners are formed to wrap around the mattress and a casing is formed for the elastic. The finished quilt wraps nicely around the mattress and is a nice snug fit.  Surprisingly, this went together rather quickly. I mean, 8 hours for a quilt isn’t bad in my opinion (plus I’m a beginner.) The fact that there isn’t binding speeds things up.

Or if you don’t have a need for a crib quilt, you can quilt and bind just as you would any quilt. It is the perfect size to fit the top of a twin bed, or a nice lap quilt.

For a beginner quilter, I found this pattern so easy to follow! It goes together beautifully and looks amazing in the end!

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If you do make the fitted crib quilt version and your not so little anymore baby has now outgrown the crib, you can easily cut the edges off all around and bind and you have a wonderful keepsake!

Get the quilt for yourself while it’s on sale for only $3 (through 12/23/16) here.

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Glad to see I’m not the only one with bite marks on our crib!!

Quilt Specifics-

Level: Advanced Beginner—Intermediate

Fabric Requirements:

• Background (Pink): 2-3/4 yards

• Ribbon 1 (Navy): 1/4 yard

• Ribbon 2 (Navy Triangles): 1/4 yard

• Ribbon 3 (Navy Polka Dots): 1/4 yard • Ribbon 4 (Coral): 1/4 yard

• Back: 2 yards (45″ wide)

• Flannel (optional if you’d like to add some weight. Do not use batting for the fitted crib quilt): 2 yards

• Elastic: 60″ of 1/2″ wide elastic

 

Supplies:

Rotary Cutter | Rotary Mat | Quilting Ruler | Sewing Machine | Matching Thread | Pins | Iron | Scissors | Erasable Fabric Marker

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Teddy was my happy model, and I think he did a great job!

Noelle by Made for Mermaids

This dress is seriously stunning! Every single dress made by the ladies in testing turned out just stunning. And what’s better, it was quick! dsc_0733-recovered

This dress is part of Made for Mermaids Dreamy Collection. The Dreamy Collection was released last spring with the newest additions to it being part of the Dreamy Holiday Collection. These patterns are designed to be interchangeable, so you can swap for a different bodice or skirt for even more options!

Noelle features a hi-low circle skirt with peplum length and dress length with additional pettiskirt. I made the long sleeve dress with pettiskirt and peplum overlay, and now Miss 3 has a show stopping Christmas Dress! She doesn’t even have a Thanksgiving dress yet.

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Since this pattern is part of the Holiday Dreamy Collection, it deserved a dreamy holiday feel when it came time for pictures. There is a beautiful stone Heritage Center in town and it was perfect! It was cold out, but not snowing, so photoshop to the rescue! I had fun playing with these pictures and love the results.

Noelle features a folded cowl neckline with 3/4 or long sleeves. As mentions above, it can be made as a peplum top or a dress with optional pettiskirt added to either (or both!) Sizes included in the pattern are 1/2-14. Sleeves are cut on the fold and front and back bodice are the same reducing pattern pieces and paper, though the skirt does require quite a few pages due to the hi-low feature. The pattern is currently on sale for $7 and can be purchased here.

The Hooded Caplet is also by Made for Mermaids. It’s an older pattern from the Everyday Princess Collection. It comes in grouped sizes 1-10 and can be made reversible. I love that this pattern can be a beautiful addition to a fancy holiday dress and easily be an everyday play cape at the same time! The kids thought she was Little Red Riding Hood!

She really makes it look like it was actually snowing!

Boho Tunic by Peach Patterns

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I know I probably say how much I love each pattern that I test, but this one is definitely a top contender!! I love how well this pattern is written and how beautifully it goes together. It is such a cute design and has options to keep me coming back to this pattern every season! I made 2 versions during testing. Not because there were problems or changes made that needed to be retested, but because I love it. I even have fabric ready for a Thanksgiving dress for Miss 3!

I think it is pretty clear how Austyn feels about it!

This was actually my second version. Version one is a cute pink and bicycle tunic that I just adore.

I am in love with this fabric! I bought a remnant at Joanns and have never found the right project for it. I let Little Miss pick the fabric she wanted and this was her choice. I was both excited and sad. Excited to see it become something and sad to use it and no longer have it. Unless you sew and buy fabric, you probably don’t get it. lol. I am so glad that she picked it! It is perfect for this pattern. It is playful and laid back.

The details on the bodice are well thought out and result in a beautiful finished garment.

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Before attaching my sleeves, I snapped a picture of inside the bodice. No raw edges around the neck or shoulders!

For my sewing readers, the details:

boho_tunic_largeboho_tunic_sze_chrt-_fin_meas-_yardage_largeThe pattern comes in 2 lengths (tunic and dress) and 4 sleeves (sleeveless, short, bell, and long). The pattern includes child measurements as well as finished measurements to help you pick the right size. It includes sizes 1-12 and has a longer back closure on sizes 1 & 2 to accomadate dressing small little girls. The bodice detail gives you plenty of opportunity to embelish and really make each Boho unique! Marina of Peach Patterns really has put together a great pattern and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

For the critics: The sleeves are not on the fold and asymmetrical. The front and back bodice are different with different curves. The pattern is layered to allow for printing just the size(s) you want. Bodice has raw edges at armscye and where skirt attaches. Pattern has clear illustrated imaged vs pictures. Seam allowance included is 3/8″ with 1/2″ side seams.

You can find more tester pictures in the Peach Patterns Sewing Group on Facebook as well as searching instagram for #peachpatterns and #bohotunic

The pattern can be purchased here on UpCraft Club now through Wednesday (11/23/16)  on  sale for $7.95. After that it will be full price of $9.95 and also available through Peach Patterns Etsy Shop here. You will not be disappointed.

Now, picture overload!

Janie by Mouse House Creations 

dsc_0616Can I start by saying how much I love this dress?! This is the Janie Dress by Mouse House Creations! I love the style and the fabric and how absolutely beautiful Miss Sassy Pants looks in it. I also love how these pictures turned out. Let me tell you, this is procrastination at work here. I had been watching all the other testers post their beautiful dresses and I just hadn’t found the time. I had my fabric, but needed the time to sit and sew. Friday I finally had the chance and it is such a quick sew, I easily could have fit them in earlier! It was too late for pictures on Friday, so plan was for Saturday. Saturday came and we cleaned house all day attempted to clean… but it was gorgeous out and we enjoyed a visit from my childhood friend and then just relaxing. SO with the sun setting fast and my child wanting to play with the neighbors, I threw it on her and we went to the end of the driveway and snapped away. And… I love them! She can be such a pistol!

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Seriously, how cute is this?! I love the long sleeves and cowl neck for the upcoming winter and it will be cute over knit tights when it actually starts to feel like November! But this pattern has so much more!

Sizes: 6 months – 12 years

Necklines: Basic Neckline, Ballet Scoop back, Peter Pan Collar, and Cowl Neck

Sleeves: Short, 3/4, and long

Skirt Length: Peplum and At the Knee

Skirt Style: Circle and Gathered Circle

Bonus: IT HAS POCKETS!! And… The gathered skirt can be made using woven (which I used) as well as the collar. This makes the number of combinations infinite!

For any sewing friends: I highly recommend it!! Check it out here! It is on sale for $7 until Friday (11/11/16), then it goes to full price at $9. <—-Still worth it!

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If I were a dress girl, they would all have pockets!

And the circle skirt gives this dress awesome twirl factor! What little girl doesn’t love to twirl in a beautiful dress?

The fabric I used went together so well! I actually didn’t buy them together or  intend for them to be used together, but I am glad I did. I bought both from Modern Textiles but I got the skirt fabric before Miss Evie was born. I dropped the kids at daycare and enjoyed a day all to myself. Manicure, pedicure, Beans Coffee, and quiet shopping all by myself! It was a remnant and too pretty to pass up, even if I didn’t have a project in mind. Then this project came along and I headed back to Modern Textiles in search of the perfect fabric (which they always have) and bought the mustard knit and a beautiful art gallery Aztec knit.

I still love these two together, but something about them didn’t work for this. Then I remembered I had the woven and it was just enough. Meant to be! Plus, now I have some beautiful knit in my stash for future Janies!

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I love this pattern, and better yet, I loved testing for Hayley of Mouse House Creations! She was very present in the testing group and very receptive of feedback! I certainly won’t hesitate to test for her again or to buy any of her other patterns! You can check out her website and blog here.

Now more pictures because I seriously loved them all!!

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See more tester versions on Hayley’s blog post here.

Also here: A Jennuine LifeAnna’s Heirloom Boutique, The College SeamstressAnne-Marie Sews

Disclaimer: I recieved this pattern free in the process of testing, but all opinions are my own! *Affiliate links in post

What’s a PDF pattern and what do I do with it?

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I have always been crafty and have sewn things, but I usually just winged it. I tried buying traditional patterns once and was completely at a loss of how to use it and never made anything. Then pinterest came around and the birth of my first daughter, and I became more interested in sewing. Through pinterest, I was introduced to the world of PDF patterns and the rest is history.

What is a PDF pattern? Well PDF is Portable Document Format, so a PDF pattern is basically a pattern that is downloaded and saved to your computer. This for me is great because I would never be able to keep the old tissue paper patterns in nice condition to use over and over again. Since I am working on a wardrobe for my son who starts preschool this fall and I thought I would show you a little bit about how it all works.


Etsy.com is about the easiest place to start. I mean, a simple search of pdf sewing patterns gave me 86,210 results! There are patterns for everything! Clothes, toys, car seat covers, underwear… Yes, underwear even. I also like that purchases through etsy are stored in your account and make it easy to find. Now the hard part… picking a pattern(s). I’ll warn you, they are addicting.

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Like the new watermark?! I think I’m starting to get this whole blogging thing!

So I have chosen a few patterns from my collection that I plan to sew up for Bud’s new adventure, preschool! Almost everything is from Peek-a-Boo pattern shop and a couple were even free! The next step is almost as important as picking the right pattern. Printing.

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I have always printed my patterns at home, but it can get quite expensive. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a brand new HP laser printer at goodwill for next to nothing. It was literally unopened with the sample cartridge still inside. This printer sells for $160 at most stores. A laser printer isn’t necessary, but if you get sucked into the addiction that is pdf sewing patterns like I have, then it kind of is. It will certainly pay for itself with the money you will save by not having to buy ink for the inkjet printers.

 

As I said above, printing a pattern properly is extremely important. Any good pattern will come with a test square or measurement of some sort so that you are able to check if the pattern was printed to scale. Some may think that being a 1/16th of an inch off is no big deal, but when your test square is one inch, that means that you pattern is going to be off 1/16th of an inch for every inch of the pattern. Even little Bitty has a chest measurement about 20″, so that is huge difference if not printed correctly.

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Clearly not the best angle, but always check you test square. Once you have done so, it’s time to prep you pattern. There are patterns that don’t have to be trimmed and can just be overlapped, but many need to be trimmed before you assemble the pages. Time to assemble your tools.

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The paper cutter isn’t necessary, but a huge time save and this one in particular is great for getting perfectly straight lines. As you can see, there is a tiny guide wire that makes it easy to line it up with the cut lines on the edge of the page. Another time saver that I use is only trimming 2 sides of each page. I typically trim the bottom and the left edge. This allows for me to overlap onto the untrimmed edge and then tape the pattern together.

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I promise I wasn’t drinking and taping. Honestly, I’m pregnant! I used invisible present wrapping tape and that stuff is so flimsy and sticky! I typically buy just plain ol’ scotch tape, but couldn’t find mine… didn’t seem to have any on hand, so I used what I had. It isn’t pretty, but it works. Once you have all the pattern pieces assemble according the the designers instructions, it’s time to cut out the pieces.

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I know this all seems like a long process, but it really doesn’t take all that long, and again the advantage of PDF patterns that if something happens to the pattern that you have printed and ready to go, you can reprint and you aren’t out the pattern!

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I save paper and ink by only printing that pattern pieces and then looking at the instructions on the computer, or phone, or kindle. Whatever I have in reach. Another advantage of PDF patterns, their portability. As you may recall, PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

Then it’s time to sew!