cadence bishop sleeve

Saving Cadence: Round Back Adjustment

Aug 23, 2019 | Cadence Top & Dress, Fitting, Resources | 4 comments


Saving Cadence: Round Back Adjustment

Aug 23, 2019

Noreen Mays is making her Love Notions Blog debut with a super helpful round back adjustment as well as some helpful tips and inspo for sewing up the Cadence Dress and Top. Be SURE to snag thia Feature Friday pattern, the Cadence Dress and Top, for just $5 today. As Noreen shows, it is a beautiful shift dress and top that can be used for all different seasons, styles AND bodies!

SAVING CADENCE: Adjustments for a perfect fit

I love a good underdog story! Rocky, Rudy, Iron Will, and Sea Biscuit are a few of my favorites.  They are inspiring! They make me cheer (out loud…my kids are like “calm down!” lol) and cry (why yes, I do need a dozen napkins and they are not all for the popcorn!).


Enter The Cadence Dress and Top.

(Spoiler alert! It’s the Feature Friday pattern and it’s just $5.00 for today only.)

 cadence feature friday

First of all, this pattern IS a winner, simply because of its seasonal versatility and how it works for a huge variety of body types. Look, I’ve got one here for every type of climate, event and mood! 

cadence seasons

Cadence: My Fit Issues

I made my first Cadence almost exactly 2 years ago. I still have my original top in my closet and it has been worn A LOT. As you can see, it is an amazingly versatile top and dress that is perfect for all seasons and is flattering on many body types — so, no, I do not think Cadence is an underdog. I will admit though, I need it to fit me better. The biggest issue I have with it is that the neck shifts on me.  Sometimes, it falls off my shoulders and I’m usually trying to set it straight without looking too awkward. (Did I really just spend half the evening with my bra strap showing? Sheesh!)  

Anyway, it was my version that was the underdog. I just knew she could be the gem she was meant to be on my body. 

In the movie Sea Biscuit, Charles Howard says “The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I’m too dumb to know the difference.”  With what I have learned about my self in the last two years, and inspired by Charles Howard (“My shoulders are too narrow, my back is too round, my waist is too big and I’m no longer too dumb to know the difference!”), I’m ready to tackle her again!  

Cadence dress and top

My adjustments for a perfect fit

First things first.  Who else has narrow shoulders? I had been doing a narrow shoulder adjustment on almost all my patterns for awhile and while it may have gotten the shoulder seam in the proper place I was often still having other issues with the neckline.  Then it was “do this adjustment,” and “put this dart here” and let’s face it, it was frustrating!  

Then I made a groundbreaking discovery. I was making the wrong size!  When I choose my pattern based (honestly) on my upper bust, I start with a large. I know, I know, it’s scary!  I haven’t worn a large in clothes since the last century! So trust Tami when she says to start with your upper bust measurement. It’s a real game changer.  Here you can see the difference between a large and the XL.

cadence narrow shoulder adjustment

Here you can see the difference between a large and the XL. 

cadence narrow shoulder adjustment

It’s exactly the amount I was taking off. Why is this so different then? Because the whole neckline will be different now, not just the shoulder.  The rest of me fits in an XL Full Bust so I just blend.

Round Back Adjustment

So now that my shoulders and neckline are correct, why does my Cadence keep wanting to shift backwards?  The first and most common thought would be that I need a forward shoulder adjustment and I sometimes do but in this case, it didn’t solve my problem.  Plus, my clothes often feel tight across the back. Having narrow shoulders and a broad back seem counterintuitive to me. Well I don’t have a broad back, I have a rounded one!  It seems that this is becoming more of a problem sooner (oh iPad you have betrayed me!) rather than later. Doing this alteration is not only easy, it’s miraculous!

I determined I needed to add an entire inch to my back so I made a line from the center back about mid armhole and cut it to, but not through, the armhole leaving a hinge.  Earlier I had drawn a line on a piece of paper and then a line ½” above and below it. I slid the paper under the pattern lining up the CB with the edge of the paper and the middle line with my cut line. Then I just spread out the pattern to the new lines and taped it down. That’s all there is to it! And since you aren’t changing the original neckline, the facings still work perfectly! 

round back adjustment

Here are the steps for a round back adjustment and a picture of my finished seam.


A Miraculous Adjustment

The fact that Cadence has a center back seam makes this the perfect pattern to try this on. (Backs that are cut on the fold require more steps and include darts.)  When you sew it you can really see the curve but when it’s on, it’s magic! No more pulling across the back and no more slipping! You can really see the difference between my original top and my new ones both at the center and in the fit across the back.  

cadence round back adjustment

The power of a round back adjustment!

Waist Adjustments

My last fitting dilemma in this tale is my waist.  It’s definitely “too big”. Often completely outside the size range.  This is when needing an FBA –which I haven’t needed to address because it’s already included in the pattern — is a good thing!   It adds a bit of ease in that area and with the easy fit of the Cadence I don’t need to adjust for my waist at all! Make sure to always check out the finished garment measurements so you can save some time. ( I use that extra time to eat ice cream. Don’t judge. ) 

cadence bishop sleeve 

A perfectly altered pattern

Whew we did it!  We have a perfectly altered pattern and now we can have fun!   Did you know that Cadence comes in Top, Dress and Maxi length! It has 5… yes, FIVE sleeve options and two neckline finishes!  Depending on what type of fabric you use, the looks are endless. My original one is a Rayon Challis so I had to make another one with my new super power pattern!  

cadence flair sleeve

This is the 3/4 sleeve with additional flare.

cadence shirt tail hem

 I thought adding a bit of a high/low hem with a shirttail back would add a bit of fun.  Just borrow the curve from another pattern like the Rhapsody.  

The next one I made looks completely different! There are so many options with this pattern. This time the fabric was a more structured polyester that I inherited in my MIL’s stash a few years ago, so I chose the v neck and Bishop sleeves.

cadence finishing

First, I decided to serge all the edges first and then sew it on my regular machine so I could iron all the seam allowances open. Now there’s less bulk, especially at the shoulders, with the facing, and under the arms.  

cadence bishop sleeve cadence bishop sleeve

Stitching in the ditch

Here’s another helpful tip! Do you ever have trouble with facings laying nicely? I finished all my necklines stitching the facing down with a technique I learned as “stitching in the ditch”.  After I’ve finished my neckline and pressed it, I take it to the machine where I set it at a longer than normal straight stitch.  Center the shoulder seam directly under the needle and sew slowly, slightly pulling the seam from both sides so the stitches go right in the seam allowance.  I do it at the center back seam as well. It sure beats hand tacking the facing down. (Hey! That’s more time for ice cream! Score!)

stitch in the ditch

Underdog to Champion

So in true underdog story fashion, my Cadence pattern is now a hero, a champion for all those Pinterest inspiration tops I’ve been saving!  Which one will I make next? The bigger question is which one will YOU make next? With it being the feature Friday pattern and just $5.00, now is the perfect chance to try and make your own Cadence story. (And can you do it quickly please? I get impatient waiting for opening night!)

cadence all seasons



More on the blog

Save Fabric! How to cut smart + Sewing Presto Tunic

Sewing School – Options and Ideas for Economy of Fabric Cutting

Hello fellow sewing enthusiasts! I’m happy to pop into the LN blog again, this time with some tips and suggestions for how to cut your fabric and make the best use of your yardage. I’m using the Presto Tunic to show you a bunch of different ways to arrange your pattern pieces and prep for cutting. 

A little bit about Today’s Feature Pattern

Presto is a woven tunic sewing pattern – perfect for quilting cottons, flannel, linen, and all sorts of common light to medium weight woven fabrics. It has crisp details and lines – and that button front is so professional looking! You can learn to make mitered corners here and there’s lots of other Presto sewing inspo (you can even make it a dress or add these glorious pintucks.

A quick FYI that I chose to shorten the bodice by one inch on my Presto version, plus I shortened the back hem to match with the front hem. I’m using the ¾ sleeves because those feel like breezy autumn to me. 

Now let’s talk about cutting prep

Okay troops, your pattern alterations are completed, you’ve prewashed fabric the same way you plan to launder your garment, you’ve lightly ironed (maybe), and you’re ready to cut your pattern pieces!

Sidebar: if after washing, your beautiful rectangle of fabric ends up as some sort of random parallelogram, you can help restore the original shape. Get a pal and you each grab a hold of opposite corners and gently pull before swapping and pulling on the other two opposing corners. This is called squaring up and can cajole the weave back into its original form, or at least improve correcting the grainline.

Second sidebar: a heads up that I’m using denim for example pics since it has a distinctive right and wrong side, unlike the linen that I’m actually sewing for my Presto. Likewise, I am using not-to-scale pattern pieces AND a general A-line dress shape in some cases just to easily show some layout options. Fabric comes in a huge variety of widths and wee pattern pieces are easier to photograph, so this is just to give some examples and get your creative juices flowing. Your own experience with any particular pattern size and fabric width will vary, I guarantee.

Start off on the right foot

Sometimes you need to release the yardage from tight or shrunken selvages before laying out your pattern pieces. This seems to happen the most with knits like rayon spandex or even polyester rib knits, but even woven are not immune. I like to use my big long quilting ruler and just slice off the inch or so edge right along the selvage on either side. Now your fabric will cooperate and lie flat across the yardage, which is important for print matching and keeping fabric straight on the grain so it’s less likely to get twisty after being sewn. 

I’ll go ahead and confess that I also tend to run my rotary blade along the cut edges of my woven fabric to remove all those long tangled threads that frayed in the wash before moving on to cutting actual pattern pieces. They look scruffy and they bother me! We don’t need that kind of unkempt nonsense here.

I personally am low on any designated sewing space, so I use my dining room table for cutting. First clear the space if necessary, and then put down your cutting mat(s) if you use them. For me, rotary cutters are the only way to go, so I usually pair a 24″ x 18″ mat next to a bigger 24″ x 36″ mat for most projects. I like a nice and thick healing mat, Alvin and Calibre Art are my favorite brands from Amazon. Another bonus of using a cutting mat is the grid ruler underneath. I always ensure my fabric’s folded edge is lined up exactly with one of the rows on the mat. This is particularly great for ensuring lighter-weight fabrics are evenly folded and another check that you are cutting on the grain. 

Check your grainline

The straight grain runs parallel to the selvage. Be sure to double check the grainline (check this post for more on that topic) on your pattern piece to ensure you are cutting correctly, lest your piece warp when sewn. When the piece is large or I’m unsure of how well I’m lining up my pattern piece grainline with the actual fabric grainline, I like to grab a big ruler and measure along the pattern grainline from the folded edge. Line up one ruler line on the fold, and the other on the piece’s grainline arrow. This technique was especially helpful for me when cutting out the larger pieces for the Legato Jeans.

When you’ve cut away the selvage and have no edge to refer to for a straight fold, or you’re working with big leftover pieces, take a good look at your fabric along the folded edge and find the pattern repeat, if your fabric features a design. Then adjust the fold so that the amount of a particular flower or other design element is evenly showing all along the folded edge. You can be reasonably sure that your fold is now along the grainline. This is wonderfully easy with a fabric like a rib knit, simply adjust along the fold until it’s evenly folded all along the same rib line from top to bottom. 

Pattern weights are an absolute must for me, and while I used to rely on tuna cans and silverware, I have graduated to using oversized metal washers that I purchased from Home Depot. They’re cheap, heavy and very flat so that I can whiz my blade right next to them if they are holding back curling fabric edges or pressing down a tight pattern corner for better precision.

Fabric Requirements (a suggestion?)

I generally take on a pattern’s fabric requirement as just a suggestion because with proper pattern piece Tetris, you can usually (not always, usually) cut it out of less. Not so much with directional prints, but solids? Challenge accepted. Now, my goal is generally to optimize fabric usage and minimize waste. Barring stripe matching or fussy-cutting for avoiding or planning certain print placement, I don’t like ending up with lots of unusable scraps. 

First, Lay it All Out

Before I cut anything out, I like to lay out all my pieces for a given garment for some arranging and rearranging for both print placement and economy of cutting. I get a little cheaty with smaller bits, like facings, especially if they are to be interfaced and/or no one but me will see them. No harm done by cutting those on the opposite grain in most cases. (Also, you didn’t hear it from me, but sometimes my bias tape is not precisely at a 45 degree angle either.) Pattern pieces on a solid colored or non-directional fabric can face toward the bottom or top, so use this to your advantage to squeeze them close and personal!

Don’t Fold your Fabric in Half

Unless I have a very wide pattern, like a sweeping A-line skirt that needs all the width available for the hem, I rarely fold my fabric in half. Instead, I fold over the selvage edge toward the center *just enough* to allow my piece to fit. (Yep, sometimes my seam allowances have secret selvages in them.) 

I would first try fitting my front and back bodices on the folds created by folding each selvage in toward the center just enough to fit my piece, and then check to see if I can fit a sleeve or other large piece in the center between those two. In the instance of directional print fabric, you’d just flip over your front bodice pattern piece to keep the fabric direction the same as the back bodice as shown. 

Nestle Pattern Pieces

If the fabric is non-directional, I then take the opposite bodice piece and nestle it facing the other direction, basically shoulder to hip to make the best use of space. This is the most frugal use of fabric when you have a solid front bodice and a back that’s made from two pieces. Suspend your notion of reality for a moment and pretend this back piece is actually supposed to be cut at the center back seam, ala the Harmony Blouse. 

Another method I employ is to basically fold my fabric into thirds with selvages meeting in the center. I like to mark the halfway point for easy, even folding by putting a clip at the halfway fold first. Depending on how wide your fabric is, you can overlap the selvages too, so that the widest part of the pieces, say the hems, can take advantage of the triangular negative space left by the waist and shoulder area. This is a little hard to explain, and better shown in a picture. See below! This is my favorite plan of attack for cutting out shapes like the Ravinia Skirt, or Cadence or Olympia Dresses, for example. 

Work with the shapes you have

You also want to work with the natural curves and straight lines of the pattern pieces themselves. Back bodice and yoke of the Sloane Sweater? Line those up so they share the same straight line, arranging the bottom of the yoke to top of the bodice. Similarly for cuffs and bands or neckbands; place them together so they can share the straight cuts and you’ll lose nothing to scrap around at least one of their edges. You can often fit the curved neckline facings very near the front neckline of a bodice to use that leftover curved portion that’s otherwise cut away.

Double Your Fun, Double Your Pattern Pieces

One more method worth mentioning is to double your pattern piece so that you can cut it in one layer rather than on the fold. This comes in handy when you have an odd-shaped remnant and need to see what you can squeeze in. (Not to mention this is great for when you’re stripe-matching or cutting on the bias.) Obviously, you would just need to cut one layer for the front bodice here, but you are assured that it will indeed fit before cutting out the rest. 

So you can see how I cut out my new Presto Tunic, here is the actual layout I used. I folded my fabric into thirds and had all my pattern pieces, save for the sleeves, arranged to fit (note that the collar pieces to be double are not pictured, but I checked for space before cutting the rest). After cutting these as shown, I scooched down my fabric from left to right as shown, and folded one side over just enough to cut a set of sleeves. 

And my finished product, using as little fabric as possible!

Some Presto Details

I’d love to hear your thoughts or favorite cutting methods! Visit me on Instagram over at @kak513

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5 Ways to Sew Your Resolution Bottoms + Fabric!

Hi Love Notions Family! Gosh, It’s been so long but I’m back on the Love Notions blog! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Koe from koetiquemade and I’m here to talk about fabric for the Resolution pattern! This pattern (as well as the Sabrinas) could very much be the only pants pattern you need! It has SEW many options! If you have ever wondered what type of fabric to sew the Resolutions in then you are in the right place. I’m going to show you all 5 views (w/pockets) in 5 different fabrics! Plus, I will have links to where I got each fabric in case you want to make all 5 Resolutions views too! As a side note, this pattern pairs perfectly with the La Bella Donna shirt!

resolutions fabric

Let me tell you a little about the Resolution Bottoms Sewing Pattern.

Some of you may not be familiar with this awesome pattern so here’s a little information about the Resolution Bottoms.

Resolution Bottoms Features:

  • Meant for knit fabrics
  • Five styles included: plain leggings, moto leggings, bootcut yoga pants, straight cut yoga pants, and joggers
  • All styles feature a shaped back yoke
  • Front slash pockets for the yoga pants & joggers
  • Hidden waistband pocket for the leggings

Sizes: XS-5X (See Size Charts here)

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Fabric Requirements: Depending on your size and what view you chose to make, you will need anywhere from 1 ¾ – 2 ¼ yards of knit fabric.

Joggers & Yoga Bottoms: light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least 25%, 2-way stretch such as french terry, ponte, cotton/lyrca, jersey blends and double brushed poly.

Leggings: medium weight knit fabrics with at least 50%, 4-way stretch such as ponte, spandex & supplex.

First Up, French Terry knit!

French terry is a versatile knit fabric with soft loops on the inside and a smooth surface on the outside. This knit has a soft, warm texture you’ll recognize from your comfiest sweatshirts to athleisure joggers as well as loungewear. French terry can be medium to heavy weight; lighter than cold-weather sweatpants but heavier than your typical t-shirt.

A lot of people like French terry because they say it gets better with age. However, this is the first thing I have made for myself with French terry so I can’t confirm. I’ve always just assumed it would be too hot of a fabric to wear here in the desert where I live so I avoided it until recently. My assumptions may have been wrong though as these are plenty cool for me. Girl Charlee is all out of this exact French terry but they have some similar striped fabric here. 

I made the jogger view without the band around the ankle. I have mixed feelings about ankle bands on my pants so I opted to lengthen the legs by 2 ½ inches and do a 1 inch hem instead. If you know me at all you will recognize that I rarely sew a pattern exactly as directed. I tend to stray just a smidge. 

It also has the yoga waistband (my favorite) in some contrasting gray cotton jersey knit and POCKETS! I absolutely love the front slash pockets!  What’s the point in making your own clothes if you don’t add pockets, right!?

I was concerned that the pockets might be too bulky if I made them entirely out of French terry so for the pocket bag, I used the same gray cotton jersey knit I used for the waistband

Have you tried Scuba…….knit?

Scuba fabric is a type of double knit made from polyester and spandex, with a very fine gauge thread. This wonderful fabric has a soft grainy “crepe” texture on its surface with a smooth scuba-like texture on the backside of the fabric.. It’s a little springy, very smooth and has a nice drape to it. Fabric Wholesale Direct has so many different color options for scuba knit. That’s where I usually get mine. 

If you’re like me, when you hear the word “Scuba” you immediately think of wetsuits. However, scuba knit is not used to make wetsuits for scuba divers. Instead, it is mostly used to make dancewear, skirts, and dresses. Or in my case, straight leg yoga pants! 

resolutions fabric

Although scuba isn’t directly mentioned by name for this pattern it is a great option for someone wanting a more structured pant. The Resolution pattern made in this fabric would be perfect office attire but still be comfy as sweat pants. This straight leg view has the yoga waistband and of course the front slash pockets. 

You can throw this on with a Metra Blazer and no one knows it’s secret pajamas.

resolutions fabric

Everyone needs some Velvet!

Stretch velvet fabric is a soft and stretchy fabric that features short, raised fibers on its face, and a smooth back. Velvet fabric usually has a nap. A nap appears to be lighter or darker shades of color from different angles. If your fabric has a nap, all of the pattern pieces must be laid in the same direction. Otherwise your pant legs may look different colors.

This velvet fabric is incredibly soft and lush. It has a great stretch and recovery and is absolutely perfect for the bootcut cut yoga view! I feel like these are perfect for hanging out around the house or a date night out to my favorite taco shop.  

Mily Mae Fabrics  has the perfect French velvet so you can make some bootcut yoga pants too! These have the contoured waistband (made from velvet) and of course, front slash pockets.

A quick tip if you plan to make some velvet pants too! 

I highly recommend doing the pocket bag in a different fabric. You can do the liner in the velvet since it will be seen but I highly suggest NOT doing the bag in velvet. A knit fabric that has a little slip to it would be much better. Using a different fabric will make getting your hand in and out of your pocket much easier. I did mine in a red ITY knit I had on hand because it’s a silky, stretchy knit that wouldn’t stick to the velvet. 

Speaking of ITY……

I would like to add that ITY knit is one of my favorite knits to sew and wear. Any of the previously mentioned Resolution views would be amazing in it.  Fabric Wholesale Direct has a lot of color options too. What is ITY? ITY stands for: Interlock Twist Yarn, often referred to as “slinky knit.”  The best part is that the twist feature helps this fabric be cool, elastic and feel soft to the touch. This fabric is easy to work with and does a great job when used for dresses, blouses, skirts, athletic wear, and flowy pants. Just to name a few. Also, it hardly wrinkles. It’s a game changer. I have yet to sew the Resolution pattern in ITY knit, but I have sewn very similar patterns in ITY knit and it was perfect! 

It’s Poly, but double brushed!

Double Brushed Poly or DBP is a 4 way stretch fashion apparel fabric made from a polyester and spandex blend. This buttery soft fabric has been treated to give it the appearance of suede by brushing the surface of the fabric.  DBP is stable and doesn’t stretch out as it is being worn which some knits are prone to do. This fabric is used a lot for leggings because it has good recovery and doesn’t stretch out as it is worn. 

DBP is another favorite fabric of mine. I think it gets a bad rap a lot of the time due to its synthetic nature and its tendency to be not very breathable. For some strange reason that doesn’t bother me though. It’s just so buttery soft and comfy. Plus, it comes in great colors and tends to not be too expensive.

resolutions fabric

DBP is another favorite fabric of mine. I think it gets a bad rap a lot of the time due to its synthetic nature and its tendency to be not very breathable. For some strange reason that doesn’t bother me though. It’s just so buttery soft and comfy. Plus, it comes in great colors and tends to not be too expensive.

Since the fabric is so amazing I made the plain legging view with a hidden waistband pocket for my cell phone. I did the yoga waistband for a little more coverage and support. This fabric was actually on clearance at Joann so it may be hard to find. CaliFabrics has some great snake skin DBP that would be perfect if you want to make a pair for yourself. That’s where I usually get my DBP.

Last but not least, Cotton lycra jersey!

Cotton lycra jersey knit is medium weight stretch knit fabric with a smooth hand and a 4-way stretch making it a comfortable and versatile fabric. The edges will curl towards the right side of the fabric when cut and stretched. It is perfect for making t-shirts, loungewear, yoga pants, leggings and more. Both sides of the fabric do look very similar, but I can assure you there is a right and wrong side. So make sure you have a well lit area when you sew with this fabric so you can differentiate. I try to always have this particular Raspberry Creek charcoal gray fabric on hand at all times.

resolutions fabric

For this gray cotton lycra knit I made the Moto legging view. This is probably my favorite view of the whole pattern. I have been wanting to make a charcoal gray pair of moto leggings since this pattern came out! Now that I finally have them they do not disappoint. 

These have the contoured waistband instead of the yoga one. Rather than do a hidden waistband pocket I did my own spin on this and hacked a front slash pocket! 

For this hack I skipped the pocket bag and just attached the liner right to the pants with a twin needle. I like how the decorative twin needle seam around the pockets completes the moto legging look. If you want more details on how to do this kind of pocket you can click here for a hack like this I did with the Sybil Skirt. It’s the same concept.

Honorable Mentions….

There’s so many great fabric and pattern view combinations you can do with the Resolutions. Ponte and Liverpool are two fabrics I plan on using to make future Resolution bottoms. Let us know in the comments what Fabric and view you want to make your Resolution bottoms in!

Let’s be friends!

If you are on the fence about this pattern, hopefully this post helps you figure out what will work best with your wardrobe needs. Let’s be friends on all the socials! Come follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook so we can chat about all our Love Notions sewing projects!

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resolutions fabric

How to Create Distinctive Looks Quickly: Arlington Sweater

A Pattern with Options: Create a Variety of Looks Quickly with Love Notions Arlington

Are you ready to add a sewing pattern to your collection that will give you a wardrobe full of options? Want to save some time while you sew? You’re in the right place!

Hello friends! It has been a long time! I’m so happy to be back with you to talk about the Feature Friday pattern, Arlington. This is a pattern I have adored since I first saw the testing call – I love a pattern with options (see also my abiding love for Sybil). But life kept getting in the way and I wasn’t able to sew it until now. I am DELIGHTED with this fabulous, versatile pattern! Today I’m sharing how you can create distinctive looks in a short amount of time by batch sewing with different fabrics.

The Power of Batch Sewing with Different Fabrics

This is surely old news to many of you, but for me, batch sewing was a revelation. I tend to work on one project all the way through. It’s just how my brain works. But I needed a different method to complete these garments while employed full-time, doing advocacy work, raising children, homeschooling, and just generally being exhausted. Now there are probably some “rules” around how to do this, but I march to the beat of my own drum, so I batch sewed the same way! 😉 

Why Batch Sewing was Right for Me

We moved semi-recently and had to renovate, so we’re still living amidst a lot of unfinished projects. As a result, my fabric is currently being stored in the basement, my sewing area is upstairs in our bedroom, and my cutting table is yet to be unpacked. Also, my ironing board broke in the move, so I’ve been using an ironing pad on my kitchen counter. Batch sewing allowed me to work around the chaos and complete 2 (almost 3) fantastic wardrobe pieces for Fall.

My Process for Batch Sewing

I sewed these garments following this process:

  • Cut fabric for each garment (if I had the space to have multiple pieces of fabric out, I would have cut by pattern piece, ex. Cut the front bodice from fabric A and then from fabric B.)
  • Serged shoulder seams and sleeves onto each bodice (and serged together the back piece for the dress)
  • Serged together all cuffs and bands
  • Put all pieces for each garment together in separate piles
“All the pieces ready for pressing!”

  • Took all pieces downstairs to the kitchen to press the seams, crease hem lines, and press bands/cuffs
  • Finished serging the dress, and set aside for hemming on the sewing machine (and decision about finishing)
  • Finished each top per the directions
  • Took all projects back downstairs for a final press

Sewing this way allowed me to work with the constraints of my current set up and get a lot accomplished in a short window of time. I am a SLOW sewist, but I completed these steps in windows of time across several days, totalling about 3-4 hours (including pattern assembly). Often with “help.” 

“She’s helping.”

My Arlington Pattern Options: Same Pattern, Fabric Makes a Huge Difference!

Both tops use the banded bodice and bishop sleeves. I kept the body the same to emphasize the different looks you can create with this pattern simply by changing fabric. 

To create my first Arlington top, I used waffle knit (from Amelia Lane Designs) and opted for the cowl neckline. I wanted a cozy fall top that wasn’t a hoodie. And of course, if you know me at all, you know it had to be mustard! I cut the bottom band a little longer than the pattern called for to accommodate for the lack of recovery in waffle knit. I probably didn’t have to, but I’m happy with the outcome. 

And look how perfect it is with my Oakley! Heart eyes.

I used bamboo lycra (from Rockerbye Destash) and selected the mock neck option for the second top. This Arlington was a vision that I couldn’t get out of my head, and it came together exactly as I hoped. I think it’s sassy with a touch of elegance. My husband says it’s “sporty.” Because it is bamboo lycra, it is SO comfortable. Just call me Sporty Spice in secret pajamas! 😉

The dress (not yet pictured – stay tuned!) is made of a lightweight french terry and uses the elbow length sleeves. I didn’t finish this piece because I need your help! I cut the neckline with the intent of doing a cowl. But as I was looking at the fabulous flow of this rainbow gradient fabric I changed my mind. So, I have set it aside to ask your ideas. 

Help me decide!

How do you think I should finish it? I am debating between a simple neckband or a hood hack. Let me know in the comments and I will be sure to share pictures in the Facebook group and/or on Instagram! (I have also begun a cardigan hack that I can’t wait to share with you!)

Three adult garments, each with a unique look, created with one pattern in a few hours by one overtired mom. All of which feel fashionably elevated – perhaps because I almost exclusively wear sweat pants and graphic tees. 😉 How many looks will you create with Arlington? I can’t wait to see yours!

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How to sew Broderie Anglaise or Eyelet Fabric

Sewing School: A Guide to Sewing Eyelet Fabric

Have you fallen in love with the gorgeous details of embroidered fabrics like broderie anglaise but you feel totally intimidated to sew them? Especially with all those scary little holes? This post is for you!

Hi sewing friends, Keira here, your favorite island girl! You may recognize me as Island Sewcialist from my Youtube Channel, my Blog or my colorful Instagram profile where I share all of my makes. Today I’ll be sharing three versions of the newly updated and re-released Cadence pattern all made up in beautiful broderie anglaise. For today’s sewing school lesson, we’ll be chatting all about tips and techniques to get a neat, nicely sewn garment with these very detailed fabrics that can seem tricky to work with.

The Cadence Pattern

The Cadence Pattern is designed for woven fabrics. There are three length options; shirt, knee length dress and maxi dress. There are no closures and all views feature a side slit with the maxi slit going up to the knee. For shaping, there are side bust darts and the back has a center seam. Five sleeve options are included: tank, short, 3/4, flare & bishop. Two neckline options are also included: scoop or notched scoop, both finished with facings. This is your classic shift top and dress pattern, a breeze to sew and wear. Grab the pattern on release sale for $5 today or $9 through the weekend!

What is Broderie Anglaise?

Broderie anglaise is characterized by patterns composed of round or oval holes, called eyelets, which are cut out of the fabric, then bound with overcast or buttonhole stitches. The design gives a delicate lacey effect and is often inspired by nature, such as flowers and leaves. Broderie anglaise or eyelet fabric is pretty much a summer staple. The lightweight, ‘holey’ nature of the fabric lends well to warm weather. It often features a decorative selvage commonly used for hems and sleeves. Broderie Anglaise came about in the 16th century and has stayed with us since. Who can resist such a romantic fabric?

Sewing with Broderie Anglaise/Eyelet


It can be hard to tell the wrong side from the right side depending on the design and you’ll need to look carefully because there is a difference. The embroidery is more raised on the right side and just a little bit smoother. On the wrong side, the stitching looks rougher, there can be loose thread hanging, or the overcasting can look more like a zigzag stitch. Make sure you don’t mix up the sides when cutting! In these photos, the right side is on the left and wrong side on the right.

Eyelet fabrics often come in narrow widths and this is definitely something to take note of when shopping and planning for your make. Some fabrics will not even be wide enough to cut a knee length dress from. You may either need to add a waist seam or turn the fabric on the crosswise grain. But if you have a scalloped edge, you’ll lose that decorative hem if you turn the fabric. If there is a double border, that will affect your ‘usable’ part of the fabric as well. Definitely measure your fabric in store if you can.

Most people recommend cutting eyelet fabric on a single layer. I much prefer to cut mine on the fold especially when the fabric has a decorative edge such as scallops. I find it so much easier to line up everything when cutting on the fold. You can match up the scallop edges plus the holes. I find that sometimes the eyelets are skewed off grain a bit so pinning the fabric on the fold is really helpful to keep everything straight and aligned.

If your fabric has a decorative edge that you’d like to use for a hem, either choose a pattern that has a straight hemline or straighten the flared them. For my Cadence dresses, I straightened the hemline of both the front and back pieces. You can see the brown paper that I added in to make the hem straight. You can just line up your straight hem with the scalloped hem when cutting. (Major plus here is not having to hem the garment woohoo!) I also removed the side slits for all of my projects.

I cut my front on the fold first, then I cut one of my back pieces right next to that front outline to make sure the pattern would line up properly. For my next back piece, I actually used the cut piece of fabric instead of the pattern paper to make sure my pieces were exactly the same.

You may prefer to omit the center back seam to preserve the eyelet design. For my white dress, I removed the 3/8″ seam allowance at the center back, and cut on the fold instead as I really didn’t want to add a seam to ruin the gorgeous border. Bear in mind, this will obviously remove the back shaping and result in a looser waist area.

For some borders, you’ll be able to squeeze fun parts of the pattern such as sleeves. I wanted my short sleeves on my white dress to use the beautiful scalloped eyelet border. First I removed my sleeve’s 1″ hem allowance. Then I lined up my sleeve cap right at the beginning of the border to see what length sleeve I could squeeze. I only lost 1″ of sleeve length which was perfect for me as I typically shorten all my sleeves 1″ anyway.

While we’re on sleeves, it is important to note that bordered eyelet fabric isn’t suitable for any type of circle. Be it a circle skirt, a circle sleeve etc. Unless you are willing to sacrifice the border and do a regular hem of course. My favorite sleeve option in the Cadence pattern is the elbow length sleeve with flare. As you can see from the first photo below, it is impossible to keep that lovely border with this flare shape. So instead, I measured the edge of the elbow sleeve, multiplied by 1.5 and cut a rectangle to gather and create a ruffle.


It is strongly advised to stay away from colored marking tools when sewing with eyelet fabric. The colors can seep into the thick embroidered threads and be really difficult to remove. Avoid colored pens, markers and chalks. For fabrics with large holes, clips may be best and where possible, pins will be your best friend. I used pins for all 3 projects. I marked my darts on the lining fabrics instead of the eyelet. Depending on where notches fall, you may not be able to see the cuts like where they overlap a hole for example. Here are two different ways to pin notches so you don’t miss them. (These are double notches at the back of the sleeve piece).


If you aren’t planning on having a sheer garment, you will definitely want to line or underline. My white top is sheer but my dresses are both underlined. I prefer underlining to regular lining so that the seams will be mostly hidden all the way to the inside of the dress as opposed to being sandwiched between the lining and eyelet fabric. The seams could peek out through the holes if you do a regular lining. With the underlining method, you are essentially attaching a background cover to your eyelet fabric and treating them as one piece together. All you need to underline are duplicates of your pattern pieces but in lining fabric. I lined both dresses with cotton; cotton voile for the pink and 100% cotton for the white.

There are different ways to underline and I used 2 different methods for my dresses. For the pink dress, I hemmed the lining, turning 1/2″ twice to the wrong side. I then basted my lining to my eyelet pieces, right side of lining to wrong side of eyelet. This way, you’ll see the right sides of both the main and lining when the dress is on. This is important since you can see through the holes.

The white dress was a little different. I intended to use a facing for the pink dress but not the white since white fabrics tend to be translucent sometimes and I didn’t want to risk the facing showing through. I also wished to underline only up to the beginning of the border so that the border would remain sheer. Here’s what I did:

1. I laid my front and back pattern pieces on top of my lining pieces.

2. I used the first line of holes as my guide for where I wanted the lining to stop so I marked on my lining through the holes all the way across. See those little pink lines?

3. I finished the edge of my lining with my serger and turned up that serged edge once to the wrong side.

4. I sewed my eyelet front and back pieces right sides together at the shoulders. And wrong sides together for the lining.

5. I laid out my dress with the eyelet right side up. Then on top of that, I placed my lining right side up as well.

6. I then sewed around the neckline with 3/8″ seam allowance, carefully pivoting at the notch.

7. I clipped my curves and trimmed the seam allowance.

8. I understitched the seam allowance to the lining.

9. I turned it so that the eyelet would be right side out and lining wrong side out.

10. I basted my main and lining pieces together so they would function as one piece.

11. Remember that folded up serged edge on the hem lining? I stitched it to the border where the design forms a line right above the holes.

Sewing Darts

Darts can be unsightly on eyelet fabric. There are tutorials online for removing darts or you can avoid patterns with darts completely. For this shift style of pattern, I do like the darts for bust shaping. For my dresses, I sewed my darts through both layers together (eyelet & lining) resulting in the dart being hidden completely on the wrong side of the dress that touches your skin. You cannot see the dart allowance through the eyelet fabric at all. Remember how I only drew the dart on the lining fabric? Here are the steps I took to create a flat neat dart through both layers of fabric.

1. I marked the center line of the dart and stitched down this line. This keeps the two fabrics together so when you fold the dart, it is actually impossible for any shifting to occur.

2. I sewed the dart as normal along the marking.

3. I gave it a good press!

French Seaming a Dart

Since my top was going to remain sheer and unlined, I needed to keep the dart allowance neat and minimal, instead of an entire dart showing through the fabric. Here are the steps for french seaming a dart on eyelet fabric (so hard to see on white fabric, so sorry!).

1. Trace the darts for both sides.

2. Align the traced dart on top of the front piece and secure with pins.

3. Sew basting stitches on all the dart markings, through the tracing paper and fabric.

4. Carefully remove the tracing paper making sure to keep your basting stitches in tact.

5. Fold the dart along the center line with the fabric wrong sides together.

6. Stitch a line 1/4″ away from where the dart would be. (1/4″ away from the dart leg line)

7. Trim off the excess leaving 1/8″ allowance.

8. Now fold over the fabric right sides together, encasing that 1/8″ dart allowance.

9. Stitch on your dart leg marking. I should be 1/4″ from the edge and then tapering at the dart tip.

10. Remove your basting stitches.

11. Press your french seamed darts downward.

Finishings and Hems

Most sewists would opt for french seams for broderie anglaise fabric. And while I agree that french seams are ideal for fabric with holes, I do find them too bulky when using underlining. I prefer a stitched and serged seam with the thread tails threaded back up through the serge. As long as you choose matching thread, the serge seam will blend in nicely with the embroidered fabric. Especially considering that with underlining, you won’t be able to see through the holes too much.

French seams were perfect for my sheer top, however.

For the hem, a simple double turned hem is great. Bias binding will also give a very neat and clean finish. I turned up the hem on my top 1/2″ twice then topstitched. The neckline and armholes I finished with single fold bias binding.

I hope after reading this post, you were able to take with you a wealth of information on Broderie Anglaise fabrics and how to sew them. It may seem intimidating at first, but these tips and techniques will really make a difference in your final garment. So instead of stroking that gorgeous eyelet fabric and passing straight, next time grab the bolt! And if it’s your first time sewing with this type of fabric, I highly recommend Cadence as a nice beginner pattern. It’s such a good one to ease into sewing eyelets! Happy stitching!

*Links in this post are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your purchase!

How to sew knits with just a regular sewing machine

Hi everyone! I’m Annick, An Ca, from flaxfield_sewing and I’m so happy to share my excitement with you about the featured Friday pattern, The sunday romper pattern (aff). 


I have a confession…

As you may know, this pattern is intended for sewing with knit. I always prefer sewing with knit and I have to make a confession about this with you, I almost always sew my knit with my regular sewing machine.  Knits don’t usually fray, so you don’t have to finish the seams and that’s why a serger is not a must.  

I have a beautiful serger who is just gathering dust most of the time because, believe me, sewing knit with a regular sewing machine is really super simple.  You just have to observe a few things, and I would like to share them with you today.

Sewing knit with a regular sewing machine is

really super simple. 

Sunday Romper

Choosing the right needle

It all starts with choosing the right needle.  If you sew with knit fabrics you need a stretch needle.  Using a wrong needle can result in skipped stitches or even holes in your fabric.  The stretch needles have a smaller, rounded tip that pushes the fibers aside instead of making holes in the fabric.  They are usually called ballpoint, jersey or overlock needles.  I usually use the Schmetz brand, but I am sure that there are many very good brands on the market.

Also make sure that you change your needle regularly, otherwise you also have the chance that your machine will skip stitches.

knits with a regular sewing machine

Using a stretch stitch

A second tip I can give is that you should always use a stretch stitch with stretch fabric.  

Knit fabrics can stretch and then go back to their original shape and of course, your seam must follow this stretching movement because otherwise it will break.  To prevent this breaking, we can choose different stitches on our sewing machine.  I will give you the 3 stitches that I use a lot and that can be found on most common machines.  


I start with the one I use the most: the triple stitch.  This stitch is my favorite because it looks like a normal straight stitch, only each stitch is set 3 times (2 stitches forward, 1 backward), which makes the seam stretchable and very strong.  There is only 1 disadvantage to this stitch: it is very difficult to remove it, so you have to be very careful not to make a mistake when you use it otherwise you will spend an awfully long time with your seam ripper.


Another commonly used stitch is the triple zig-zag stitch.  A normal zig-zag stitch is also possible but it can produce a tunneling effect, especially with lighter weight fabrics.  With the triple zig-zag stitch you can prevent this. This stitch makes 3 small straight stitches diagonally from point to point, like a w shape.  This stitch is also often used along with fold over elastic.


The last stitch I use frequently is the lightning stitch.  It’s making a zig-zag stitch in an upward and downward motion and is therefore much narrower than an normal zig-zag stitch.  After sewing with the lightning stitch, the seam can also simply be ironed open.  

Customize your machine settings

To prevent the stretching of your fabric while sewing, it is important to lower the pressure of your presser foot.  I always lower my foot pressure from 3 to 1 when I sew stretch fabric. 

It is also advisable to set your stitch length a little longer, for example to 3.

knits with a regular sewing machine

An additional tool: the walking foot

Another way to prevent the stretching of your fabric is to use a walking foot.  The walking foot will transport your fabric along the top while the pressure foot will do the same along the bottom.  It really makes a difference, especially with thick or slippery thin knits.

Some sewing machines have a built-in walking foot.  If this is not the case, as with my machine, you can always buy this accessory separately. 

knits with a regular sewing machine

Prevent your fabric from being pulled down into the throat plate

The knit fabric can be pulled down into the throat plate when you start sewing.  You can easily prevent this by holding the two thread tails when you start sewing.  This will also prevent your thread from becoming entangled at the back of the fabric at the start.

knits with a regular sewing machine

Use a stretch twin needle for hemming

As mentioned above: knits do not fray like woven fabrics do, so you only need to turn the hem under once.   For a more professional-looking hem you can use a stretch twin needle.

knits with a regular sewing machine

Twin needles are two actual needles in one.  

They are very easy to use. You’ll only need a second spool pin (you can attach an extra one to your bobbin winder spindle) to attach your second bobbin of thread. 

You can use a basic straight stitch and this gives you two perfect rows of stitching on the top side of your fabric and on the back side it weaves the two threads together with a zig-zag stitch and ensures more stretchability of your hem.  The longer your stitch length, the more stretch your hem will have. 

It is also useful to look at the distance between the needles of the twin needle when buying it.  The more apart they are, the more chance you have to get some kind of tunnel effect between the 2 rows of stitches.  Therefore I always buy a narrow twin needle.

Sunday Romper

I think that’s all you have to know about sewing knit with your regular machine, you 

can see it’s not so difficult after all and I hope I inspired you!  

And one last advice: if you’re still a little afraid to sew with knit, try sewing a sample first.  

See you soon!



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Sunday Romper

More Knit Sewing Patterns

Introducing Lincoln Top: all about fit and fabric!

Lincoln Top

Hi my sewing friends!

Tami here, and I want to introduce the newest Love Notions pattern- the Lincoln Top! This style of top is a little bit of a departure from the designs I typically do so I thought it would be a good idea to give some more info about why we love it!

You can grab your copy here (it’s on sale now!)


First you’ll notice that it’s a boxy, straight fit with no shaping. This style is totally on trend right now! The shoulders are meant to be the drop style so the seams shouldn’t sit right on your shoulder bone like normal. This gives it a more casual look.


The next thing I want to point out is the length. The Lincoln Top comes in two lengths- the standard length is meant to hit right between your high hip and full hip. There is also a more cropped length where only the front of the top is meant to hit at your high hip level. We’re seeing this style more and more lately, especially paired with the popular high waisted jeans. 


Next, you’ll notice the side seams. They’re diagonal! They feature a button placket so you can choose whether to keep them all buttoned or undo one or more buttons. If you don’t love sewing buttonholes, no worries- you can just sew your buttons directly through both plackets. If you choose to go this route you’ll need to decide ahead of time if you want to do all the buttons ‘buttoned’.


Now let’s talk about sizing. This is a unique top with some unique guidelines for choosing a size. Because it’s a straight, boxy fit and there is no shaping, you need to choose your size based on the largest measurement between your full bust, natural waist and high hip. This is so the straight fit will fit your largest measurement.

HOWEVER, If your hips are in greater proportion than the rest of you that might mean this top will fit bigger than intended at the shoulders. This is why I give you two options to choose your size. So you can also choose your size by your high bust to get that shoulder fit perfect and then just realize you’ll have to leave a button or two un-done at the side seam. This is such a cute look!

Keep in mind that everyone is shaped differently, so you should be sure to take a careful look at the finished measurements chart and think about what sizing you will feel most comfortable in.


Finally, let’s talk about fabric. Like with any pattern the look and fit of a garment can change drastically depending on fabric selection. I recommend light to medium weight fabrics with at least 25%, 4-way stretch.

Some good examples of these would be french terry, ponte, cotton/lyrca, modal, double brushed poly and even sweater knit.

  • Heavier, more structured fabrics will give the top a more pronounced boxy fit.
  • Lighter, more drapey fabrics will cling a bit more and flow around your curves more rather than standing out.

If you have any questions feel free to email or join our free FB pattern support group. If you make this top up share it with us! We love to see your makes.

Be sure to check out all of the *amazing* tester photos within the listing. Here are just a few that we are crazy about.

Get your copy here:

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Lincoln Top


  1. Sandy

    WOW, thanks Noreen for all the valuable information. I have seen many of your makes on facebook and you are an inspiration to all of us. This is a big help since I too have similar issues but I have been hesitant to attempt them.

  2. karilynpittman

    Excellent blog post, Noreen! So many helpful tips and your visual for the rounded back adjustment is spot on! When I finish my dish of ice cream, I’m going to cut out and see up another Cadence! Thanks for your efforts! Well done!

  3. Wyn

    Hi Noreen, so glad to see how to do the back adjustment. I know I need this. This’ll help me to get actually start sewing something knowing it’ll actually fit better!!! One question – I’m confused about your stitching the shoulder and Centre back – is it like top-stitching? Each side of the seam? Or are you stitching over the Centre stitch line? ie over the stitches? How does it help keep the seam allowances flat? I’m really confused about it. I’ve never tried it.

    • Keira Wood

      Hi Wyn! If you are referring to the facing, the method Noreen mentioned is commonly used to tack down the facings to the shoulder seams to keep them from slipping out of the top by accident. You stitch in the ditch from the right side to catch the facing underneath. This keeps the facing tacked to the shoulder seams without a visible stitch. Stitching in the ditch means stitching in the existing seamline, so in the seam where the shoulders are attached together in this case. Alternatively, you can hand tack the facing to the shoulder seams from the inside instead. ~K


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  1. Sandy

    WOW, thanks Noreen for all the valuable information. I have seen many of your makes on facebook and you are an inspiration to all of us. This is a big help since I too have similar issues but I have been hesitant to attempt them.

  2. karilynpittman

    Excellent blog post, Noreen! So many helpful tips and your visual for the rounded back adjustment is spot on! When I finish my dish of ice cream, I’m going to cut out and see up another Cadence! Thanks for your efforts! Well done!

  3. Wyn

    Hi Noreen, so glad to see how to do the back adjustment. I know I need this. This’ll help me to get actually start sewing something knowing it’ll actually fit better!!! One question – I’m confused about your stitching the shoulder and Centre back – is it like top-stitching? Each side of the seam? Or are you stitching over the Centre stitch line? ie over the stitches? How does it help keep the seam allowances flat? I’m really confused about it. I’ve never tried it.

    • Keira Wood

      Hi Wyn! If you are referring to the facing, the method Noreen mentioned is commonly used to tack down the facings to the shoulder seams to keep them from slipping out of the top by accident. You stitch in the ditch from the right side to catch the facing underneath. This keeps the facing tacked to the shoulder seams without a visible stitch. Stitching in the ditch means stitching in the existing seamline, so in the seam where the shoulders are attached together in this case. Alternatively, you can hand tack the facing to the shoulder seams from the inside instead. ~K


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