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

You can stabilize woven fabric with Gelatin!? 5 easy steps + Ballad Blouse

A Sewing Game Changer:
Stabilizing lightweight woven fabric with gelatin

with Katie Kennedy

Why, hello there, friends! Spring is in the air and what do we want? Lightweight, breezy blouses to add to our wardrobes! When do we want them? Right after we figure out how to tame slippery, wicked woven fabrics!

A Lightweight Woven Blouse Sewing Pattern

The Ballad Blouse screams to be worn in warming weather, does it not? Pretty gathered or shirred features are beyond beautiful in a suitably lightweight woven fabric, and that light, whispery fabric feels so amazing in the sunshine.  I, for one, am welcoming the departure of chilly weather and I’m ready to bare some skin! Elbow length sleeves are so spring-tastic, are they not? I’m sewing a gathered Ballad and removing six inches from the sleeve length for a fun forearm-exposing style. In rayon challis, no less!

Get yourself a copy of the Ballad Blouse pattern right here! 

Slippery Fabric? Here’s my technique to make it easier to work with

I’ve been wanting to share a simple technique I’ve used for many years in order to make sewing slippery lighter-weight woven a heck of a lot easier. You know what I mean, all the shifty challis, shreddy chiffon and problematic silk that you want to wear, but have a swear-inducing time cutting and sewing. I’ve been there, gritting my teeth in frustration at beautiful and obnoxiously uncooperative fabric.

Fabrics to use with this technique

I’ve used this method across the scope of woven fabrics, ranging from challis, chiffon, silks, rayon, poly, viscose, just really anything lightweight (but not knit). The added body and crispness really makes cutting and print/stripe matching far, far easier to manage. I even find that the fabric frays less at cut edges; the fibers are all rather stuck together.

How to prep your fabric

When I’m preparing initially, I pre-wash my fabric on the warm/cool setting as usual, but skip the drying and head directly to the soaking station. (The kitchen… the soaking station is just my kitchen.) Or if I just need one or two new cuts to sew, I wash, dry, and store the others like usual to be stabilized another day. (BUT also, I have stored gelatin-treated fabrics in my plastic bins long term without any issue.)

Supply List

Next, gather your supplies. You’re going to need just a few items:

  1. Unflavored gelatin. (I get the cheap bulk box of store brand.)
  2. Large bowl or stock pot, bucket, sink, etc. Pick your favorite vessel to hold water.
  3. Water: some hot, some less hot.
  4. Optional whisk for fanciness.

But I’m rambling…

Step One: Dissolve the Gelatin Powder

Dissolve a packet of plain gelatin powder (mine measure 1/4 ounce, which appears to be a scant tablespoon or approximately 21 grams) into a cup of hot water to make sure it completely dissolves. Add to the larger pot of quite warm water and stir (here’s where the optional whisk comes in handy). Or you can just add an inch of hot water to the bowl, stir in gelatin powder and then dilute with more warm water. Of course, you can experiment with adjusting measurements, but—fair warning—I did once practically turn silk into paper because it dried so crunchtastically.

I use my tallest stock pot which is around 8 quarts  and probably fill it about 2/3 full, and that easily fits 2 or 3 yards/meters at a time. Honestly, I leave the whole pot in the kitchen sink to catch spills so I’m free to get splashy.

Step Two: Combine Fabric + Gelatin

Add fabric and gently agitate and turn over a few times. If your gelatin solution got all foamy, never fear, adding the fabric will pop all those bubbles. Make sure your fabric is completely unfurled and unfolded so all sides are exposed. I give it some loving underwater squeezes to ensure there are no secret air pockets. I soak for around 30 minutes and make sure I’ve given the yardage some stirring and movement a few times during the duration to get the fabric all evenly coated.

Now, I’ve definitely reused the gelatin-infused water for a second soak, but be sure to start with your lighter colored fabric because sometimes there’s dye residue left behind, especially with pinks and reds like you’d expect. My personal rule is soaking from lightest to darkest if I’m preparing multiple cuts. This particular green and white challis left my water a dark indigo, if you can believe that! There are all sorts of exciting surprises to be found in fabric dyes, I’ve learned. I’m sure there are some marvelous scientific explanations for these, but today we’re here for the art of stabilization, so we must focus.

Step Three: Hand-squeeze Water Out

When your timer goes off, gently hand-squeeze the excess water out of your fabric, fold it in half with right sides together, smooth out wrinkles, and hang it to drip and air dry over a towel on an outside door. I recommend limiting this to 2 yard cuts because of the wet hanging weight and you don’t want any stretching or warping to occur. My other drying practice is to lay out some beach towels on my boys’ trampoline and then lay the fabric on top to dry flat.

Step Four: Dry Fabric

Warning: Resist the urge to tumble dry since that removes the crispness we’re going for—don’t let all this prep be for naught! 

I’ve found that the fabric treated in this way will dry quite smooth and flat, but if you need to iron, use low or no steam so things don’t get sticky. I really haven’t come across any issues with ironing these treated fabrics, but also check and clean off your iron plate afterward to be sure!

Step Five: Stable Fabric Achieved!

The gelatin won’t exactly turn your challis into quilting cotton, but there is quite a bit of body and stability added. There’s just so much less shifting and wiggling that the garments I sew in this manner undoubtedly turn out better. I won’t even sew these types without preparing them first.

Here is a comparison picture to show the difference. Left is untreated, right is soaked and then air dried. 

Hooray, your fabric is prepped and dry, and you are ready to get started! Lay out your now-stabilized fabric and proceed to cut and sew as per the instructions. Do handle your lightweight woven gently as usual. Don’t permit any fabric to hang off your cutting table and keep your cut pieces on a flat surface.

After your garment is finished, give it a quick handwash to remove the gelatin and then a final press. Maximum flutteriness and drape restored, voila!

I hope this stabilizing technique helps you tame the beast, this tactic utterly changed the game of sewing lightweight wovens for me. Wearing these fabrics is a delight, and now sewing them can be too!

Please feel free to join me over on Instagram for more sewing projects! 

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More sewing patterns to use with this technique

How to work creatively with fabric shortages + Tessa Sheath Dress

A Fabric Shortage Conundrum

We’ve all been there. You pick out the perfect fabric from your stash, you grab your favorite pattern, and then when you start laying everything out — it hits you. You don’t have enough fabric. What to do?! Keep reading for 6 tips to work creatively with the fabric you have to get a finished make that brings you joy!

Happy Friday, Love Notions family! Rachel here again, and for this week’s Feature Friday, we’re celebrating all things Tessa – the dress, that is. (We celebrate the real, live Tessa all the time, and appreciate how much she does to help bring this content your way!)

I tend to be a Willow gal when it comes to my go-to dress, but Tessa is a classic sheath dress drafted for stable knits – think ponte, velvet, or even cotton lycra – that has no closures or darts and is a super quick, flattering sew.

Because of its shape, the Tessa pattern doesn’t require a lot of fabric, and I find myself tempted to use up some short cuts that I have on hand. Sometimes when I’m using remnants, or just trying to squeeze a dress out of a shirt-sized piece of fabric, I need to get a little creative.

Sometimes when I’m using remnants, or just trying to squeeze a dress out of a shirt-sized piece of fabric, I need to get a little creative.

Here are some of the ways I have found that help make it work.

6 Ways to Work Creatively with a Fabric Shortage

1. Shorten – or skip – the sleeves!

I’m a size large or xl in most patterns, and I can often fit the body of a pattern like Tessa across the width of a yard of knit fabric, but sleeves require quite a bit more. This pattern includes multiple sleeve lengths, but you can skip the sleeves altogether (a pattern piece for armscye binding is included in the pattern) or even shorten the short sleeve to a cap sleeve like I did for my grey and black dress. (Don’t love a sleeveless dress? The Metra blazer is a great topper for the simple shape of a sheath dress.)

2. Shorten the bodice

You could even make it a mini or a tunic if you need to! I’m on the shorter side so I measure the pattern pieces to compare to a dress from my closet that’s a good length for me. You can also take a smaller hem to save a little bit there as well. 

Jess shows how cute the mini or tunic version is! Check out her creations here.

3. Include the yoke – and lengthen it if needed.

The Tessa pattern includes an optional yoke, and I find that I can cut the lower bodice pieces for the front and back from one yard. If my yard comes up a little short, I can extend the yoke by another inch or two. Just make sure to remember to lengthen both front and back yoke pieces! I only had a yard of this teal sweater knit, and it was plenty to cut the front and back of this dress, since I used the grey for the yoke and sleeves.

4. Mix and match!

Did you know that Tessa can be cut at the waistline and will match up with any of the views of the Sybil skirt pattern?? If you don’t have enough fabric to cut a full length Tessa, consider cutting the pattern at the waistline (which is clearly marked on the front and back pattern pieces) and using a coordinating print or solid for a Sybil skirt – I love the swing or a-line skirts, but any of the views would look fantastic with Tessa for the bodice. 

Related posts:

5. Arrange your pattern pieces to make the most efficient use of the fabric you have.

I’m not great at this, I admit, but using printed or traced pattern pieces and actually laying them onto the fabric before cutting is a great way to make sure you’ll have as little waste as possible. Depending on the stretch of your fabric, you might be able to rotate pattern pieces to be cut on the bias or even perpendicular to the grainline. For my ponte and velvet dress, the velvet pieces on the back of the dress are actually cut with the nap going in the wrong direction since I was working with a remnant from another project.

6. Colorblock

Last but not least, add some visual flair and use what you have by color-blocking the pattern. A simple shape like Tessa is a great base for breaking into smaller blocks and then piecing it back together. As I mentioned with the sleeves, just make sure to add seam allowance to every new seam you make, or your finished garment will be smaller than intended. I tend to take screenshots of inspiration I find online, and refer back to those pics when I am deciding how I’m going to colorblock a pattern. We’ve got a few other blog posts that address this topic.

A fabric shortage FREEBIE for you

We’ve also got a little treat for you and Tessa has created a printable worksheet that you can download, too!

I love to sketch out what I’m planning to see how it might look before I cut, and it also helps me visualize how different colors or textures might work together.

I definitely recommend using fabrics that are a similar weight and drape. For my grey ponte and black velvet dress, I was working with a remnant of the velvet so I couldn’t make proper princess seams (which generally pass through the apex of the bustline, either from the shoulder or the armscye), but I still got some of the visual interest I was looking for. 

I use a projector for my patterns now, so I just trace the pattern pieces onto Swedish tracing paper and then use a ruler and a french curve (and just freehand too, if I’m being honest) to place my lines for where I’ll be cutting my new pattern pieces for colorblocking. I also mark my pieces to remind myself where to add seam allowance when I go to cut my fabric. And once you’ve cut, if you end up with pieces that look similar in shape, clip or pin them along the edges where they’ll be sewn so you don’t seam the wrong edges together accidentally.

Upload pics of your worksheets and your finished Tessa dress and make sure to share in our Facebook group – we love to see what you’re working on!

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How to Digitally Organize your Fabric Stash + Fraser Cardigan

Dear Love Notions sewists, it’s Chloe @no.idle.hands here on the blog today to talk about digitally organizing your fabric stash with a simple App. After all, most of us here have a second hobby besides sewing, which is collecting fabrics, am I right? 😉 Whether your treasured fabric stash is physically organized or not (I’m more of the latter), today’s blog can help you virtually access them from anywhere with ease. Intrigued? Read on!

Whether your treasured fabric stash is physically organized or not, today’s blog can help you virtually access it from anywhere, with ease.

And speaking of fabrics, don’t forget to check out today’s $5 feature pattern – the Fraser Cardigan – which can be made in so many fabric variants with equally amazing results. I have 4 Frasers in my wardrobe made in 4 very different knit fabrics, from French Terry to waffle knit. I love them all and wear them in heavy rotation. The cocoon shape and those roomy pockets are simply addictive! Which one is your favorite?

My Fraser Cardigan Collection

1. Viscose blend sweater knit

This is the first Fraser I made during the pattern testing and love at first sight! It’s the hooded version, super warm, and gets a ton of wear as the light grey color goes with everything!

2. Poly sweater knit

Isn’t this Palm Canopy print Minerva Exclusive sweater knit fabric just perfect for an autumnal Fraser? Smooth and drapey yet stable, I love this one over a simple tee and jeans. 

3. Cashmere waffle

This is the amazing combo my lovely secret sewist Amii picked out for me and I can’t have asked for any better! The cashmere waffle from Mily Mae is so lush and soft, I can’t stop wearing it! (Btw, here is the 2022 secret sewists reveal for some holiday sewing inspo.) 

4. Marbled French Terry

I whipped up this one right before our Florida vacation and the viscose blend French Terry is great as a light layer in warmer weather. The roomy pockets hold all my essentials so I don’t need to carry a purse around!

Do you have a go-to fabric for cozy cardigans? If you need to dig through your stash for that perfect Fraser, today’s sewing school topic – Digital Stash Organization might help you.

Let’s tackle the What, Why and How! 

What is Digital Fabric Stash Organization?

Simply put, It’s the record keeping of your stash using a computer program or app, with information such as type, content, quality, origin, etc. that might be helpful to you, all easily accessible. Think of it as your personal fabric catalog on your device.

Why do I need Digital Fabric Stash Organization?

If you’ve ever had scenarios like the ones below happen to you, then Digital Stash Organization is for you:

  • You love that new maxi dress pattern, but you’re not sure which viscose cuts in your stash have enough yardage.
  • You found a deal on solid linen fabrics while out shopping and immediately want all the colors! But which ones do you already have at home? Hmm…
  • Your pattern requires 4-way stretch of at least 20%. The idea of going through all your knits one by one, stretching and measuring them all, feels like a huge sewjo killer.
  • You’re picking up matching threads at store and realize you didn’t bring swatches for all the fabrics you are working on. How will you pick the right thread?

Or this one (no judgement!)

  • Your Black Friday purchases arrived, and you want to make plans for them before stashing them away so they don’t get forgotten…

You get the idea! A good Digital Fabric Stash Organization system gives you an easy-to-access catalog of your stash at your fingertip on your phone, tablet, or computer so whenever the inspiration or need strikes, you can browse and pick out fabrics without digging through your stash! Plus, with the right tool it can look as lovely as a fabric shop website – just with everything FREE because they are already in your stash! Excited yet? Let’s get started! 

How to build your Organized Digital Fabric Stash?

You can use a variety of software/websites/apps to build and manage a digital stash, as long as it can catalog information in a way that makes sense to you. Some people love Excel spreadsheets or Evernote, and that’s all great. If you already know your way around a particular program, think of creative ways to catalog your stash in there and go for it. But today I’m going to show you how to use a free and easy-to-learn website/app called Trello to build a digital stash that looks like this:

fabric organization

What you see above is a Trello “Board” with these vertical “Lists” of fabrics all grouped by types. Each image on the list there is a “Card”, which has all the information of a particular fabric such as yardage and contents, etc. Doesn’t it look like your very own online fabric shop, aka candy store?

Here are some simple steps to achieve this organization:

1. Create Account and Workspace

First all, you need a Trello account. Trello is actually a powerful project management tool with lots of professional upgrades, but for our purpose you only need to sign up for the free account here. You can also download the app for your phone and tablet here to use Trello on the go. I will be showing you all the steps on a computer today, but you can do everything on a personal device too:

fabric organization
Sign Up for Trello – it’s free

Inside your new account, let’s create a Workspace for all that lovely stash! It’s a virtual space to place boards like the one you saw above. I’m going to call this new workspace simply “Stash”! 

2. Create a Board

Now let’s create that Board to hang up all the pretty fabrics on! Give it a name and choose a background – be creative! (Trello even lets you search for free images to use as backgrounds.) Make sure to select the workspace you just created in the previous step. 

A workspace can house up to 10 boards for free, so you not only can have a board for fabric stash, but maybe also one each for notions, patterns and even projects! I am a knitter so there’s always the yarn stash too 😉

3. Create Lists of Fabric Types

Click to open your brand-new Fabric board and let the fun begin! We are going to “hang” some vertical lists of fabrics on this board. You can group your fabrics however you’d like, by fabric type, fiber contents, yardage, purpose etc., and name the lists accordingly. I like to group mine by fabric type (viscose challis, linen woven, sweater knits, etc.):

They look a little bare now but wait till we add those fabric cards! You can re-order the lists by simply dragging them across the board. 

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4. Add each cut of fabric to a Card: Info + Pictures

Each fabric is added to the list it belongs to as a card. For example, I’m adding my cashmere waffle to the Sweater Knits / French Terry list here:

Click and expand the card to fill in the descriptions for your fabric. I like to write down these types of info but you decide what’s important to you:

– yardage & width

– fiber contents / weight

– origin / brand / web link 

– stretch percentage if applicable

For fabrics purchased online, you can often find all these info from the product listing and just copy/paste them. Fabric stores retire their stock constantly so make a habit to do it right after your purchase.

Now onto the visual part – uploading images of your lovely fabric. You add them as attachments to the card and I usually do it in these 2 ways:

  • Take some quick snaps using my phone and just upload them on the App. A quick tip -Try to include the reverse side of the fabric in your photos. This comes in handy often.

  • To add images from your computer, you can often just grab the product list images from the online store (Most of the examples here are from Mily Mae Fabrics or Minerva). Just make sure you keep these “borrowed” images for private use only:

You can add multiple images to each card and choose one of them as a Cover photo, which will be displayed on the list to represent that card.

Isn’t it pretty? But there’s more! You can move a card between lists by either drag-and-drop or the move action on the card. In the example below, I created a new list for French Terry and moved the Marbled FT card from the Sweater Knits list to the new FT list:

6. Get more functionality with Checklists, Comments and Search

Once you are comfortable with your boards, lists and cards, it’s time to try a few extra functionalities to enhance your digital stash. 

If you have multiple colorways / pieces of the same fabric, you can add them all to the same card by creating a Checklist and calling it, say, “Colors”. For example, my Cashmere Waffle card here contains a checklist of both the Gingerbread and Black colors, each of 2 yards:

This is great when you love a base fabric and continue to collect colorways over time. When you have used up a piece, you can simply check that item off the list or adjust the yardage:

I also like to record additional notes and thoughts in the Comments section of the card when applicable. This can include past projects, future inspirations, care instructions and sewing tips. Everything in comments is searchable so it’s a great place to write down things that will help you find this fabric later. If your actual stash is organized/labeled, you can also note the physical location of the fabric here. 

Last but not the least, use the Search function to reap the full benefit of your digital stash in addition to just browsing it. You can search by any term you have previously recorded in the fabric lists and cards. For example, I can search for all my 2 yard pieces, or the fabrics I have used / earmarked for the Fraser cardi:

The possibilities are endless and yours to explore! I hope you enjoyed reading along and found it helpful for your sewing journey. If you have any questions and suggestions, feel free to leave a comment here, or find me on Instagram @no.idle.hands. Meanwhile, grab the Fraser pattern for $5 today, find that perfect fabric from your stash, and enjoy sewing!

Digital Fabric Stash Organization in Action

Shop more topper sewing patterns.

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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  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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