cadence bishop sleeve

Saving Cadence: Round Back Adjustment

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

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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

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

Cutting

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.

Marking

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).

Underlining

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.  

TRIPLE STITCH

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.

ZIG-ZAG STITCH

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.

LIGHTNING STITCH

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!

Xxx

Annick


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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!)

FIT

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.

LENGTH

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. 

SIDE SEAMS

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’.

SIZING

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.


FABRIC

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

Sonata is now available XS-5X

Sonata Dress Update

Great news Love Notions Friends! The Sonata Dress has now joined many other exceptional patterns on the new size chart. This pattern is now inclusive through size 5x with 4 cup sizes to help you get your perfect fit. I was really happy when this pattern came to the top of the list. Let me also mention that it is today’s $5 Feature Friday pattern!! So a pattern update and save 7 bucks!!!

sonata

Woven Fabric Friendly Pattern

For the last several months, I have been working on adding to my collection of patterns designed for woven fabrics. It all started when I fell in love with the Rhapsody and now I am not looking back. Today I am sharing a few different Sonatas and discussing how they look, feel, and sew up using three different types of fabrics. Please keep in mind that this pattern is drafted for lightweight wovens or stable knits so I did stay within those guidelines. I assembled these garments with my home sewing machine and finished all the edges with my serger.

A Sizing Update and more Cool Weather Ideas

I was lucky enough to be able to pretest the new size chart for the Sonata dress. We worked hard on getting a nice fit and now I have a few lovely versions to share with you. Anytime I am planning to make a pattern that has been previously released, I always browse the maker gallery. I look for color combos that pop, body shapes like mine, and what options I like and even those I don’t. As I looked through the original pattern listing, it was pretty clear it was released during much nicer weather than what I am currently experiencing. The gallery was loaded with sleeveless or short sleeved versions, green grass and sunshine. (I was totally jealous.) All I wanted was a long sleeved version for myself because it is cold here. I actually had to break up my photo session because my fingers were going numb from the freezing temps! The maker gallery absolutely confirmed that I wanted to add contrast fabrics for the neckline facing as I LOVED that detail. An interesting neckline is always a hit with me especially when I can colorblock a bit. Have you seen the neckline on the Vivace? That V-neck style is at the top of my ‘Love It’ list.

sonata

Today I am sharing three different Sonatas

Two of them are made per the pattern directions and the other, the magenta version, I made a few changes. I shortened the skirt length by 7 inches and added 3 inches to the sleeve length. I knew I wanted to try a tunic length to wear over my black and white ponte Sabrina Slims I made last year. I was really tempted to make myself a sleeveless one dress and pair it with the Ladies Boyfriend Cardigan as it would look really fashionable and I could still be warm. If you enjoy pattern hacking like I do, you may want to give my cropped Sloane hack a try as it too would work very well over a sleeveless Sonata. You can read that blog post here. I love coming up with creative ways to wear my clothing year around!  

Fabric Affects Look!

My main reason to make this pattern using different weights of fabric was to show how much fabric choice really affects the look. I used a range of fabrics including a thrifted bed sheet which is a light slippery polyester, a poly cotton blend and a solid stretch poplin. While they all ok, they had some differences and some worked better than others. 

 1. Quilting Cotton + Light Polyester

The light teal print had the best drape and was the lightest in weight of the three. It sewed fairly easily, frayed a good bit especially when removing stitches, and it is cool to the touch which I like. I used quilter’s cotton for the neckline contrast facing. The first time I made this, I used a lightweight interfacing between the layers of the facing. This ended up being a little too bulky. For this example, I used no interfacing. I think if I had used my main fabric for the facing I would have certainly needed the interfacing layer to provide some stability there. I found this version was a bit more clingy than the others, but it feels so nice against my skin. I used a lengthened straight stitch to hem the bottom hem.

2. Poly Cotton Blend

The black printed version is a poly cotton blend. This fabric sewed so nicely with very little fraying even when unpicking was needed. This version turned out to be my absolute favorite. I love this print and the vivid colors. It has enough drape to hang nicely, but I don’t feel like the wind would blow it upwards. I like that it has enough structure to ‘smooth’ over my body and isn’t clingy at all. I finished my sleeves with a rolled hem so the finish wouldn’t change the flutter look of the sleeves. I used a blind hem stitch to finish the bottom hem. 

3. Solid Stretch Poplin

The solid magenta version has the least amount of drape between the three fabrics and has some stretch across the grain only. I wanted to see if the stretch would change the feel at all. Do keep in mind this pattern will work with stable knits. While the fabric feels nice to wear and is wearable, the drape is a little bit too stiff for my preference in a dress. I am glad I had planned this as a tunic length because this as a dress would have  been too structured. The extra weight of this fabric was very evident in the elastic casing in the back which looks and feels bulky. I used a lengthened straight stitch to hem both the sleeves and bottom hem. When you make your own Sonata dress, I suggest that you look for fabrics with a lovely drape as you will be most happy with the look and feel. 

If you want to give the Sonata Dress a try, now is the perfect time to pick up this pattern. Today it is the $5 Feature Friday pattern! This deal will only last today, so feel free to shop my afflink here. This doesn’t change the pricing for you at all, but I earn a small commission on any purchases made through my link. So I thank you. I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful Sonata dresses. 


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Thomas Track Pants + Minky Fabric

From track to lounge: a guide to working with fluffy double-sided minky fabric.

It is no secret that I love sewing for my boys. They have grown up in custom clothing and I have loved every second of it. As they become older their “mom, make me this shirt or these pants” are more scarce but they still pop up once in a while. Luckily Love Notions has plenty of patterns geared towards those “cool” older kiddos too. One of these patterns is the Thomas Track Pants. The pattern features a wide variety of sizes, from 2T to 14. It is drafted for woven and stable knit fabrics and features so many cool accents, like ankle zipper, piping and pockets. Guess what? The pattern is today’s Feature Friday, ON SALE today for only $5! Grab it here so you don’t forget!

Today on the blog I wanted to show you how easy, albeit a little messy 😉, can be to take the Thomas pants from track to lounge by using double sideD minky. What is double sided minky, you ask? It’s thicker minky fabric that is soft and plush on both sides, it has vertical and horizontal stretch and the perfect weight for blankets, loungewear and robes (ahem, Compose Robe) . Double sided minky is also know as fluff, plush, cush, they are all the same cuddly goodness. The image is printed on one side and the back is usually white. As opposed to regular minky, the back is soft and feels great when worn.

What do you need to sew with this fabric?

The first thing I recommend you grab is a lint roller. There will be fluffy goodness flying all over your sewing area, just accept it and embrace it! 😊 I use the lint roller after I cut all pattern pieces and then at the end of the sewing process. Speaking of cutting…I highly encourage you to cut double sided minky with a rotary cutter instead of scissors. I find it “contains” the excess lint a bit better. Since this kind of minky stretches both horizontally and vertically, a Ball Point Needle is recommended. I like 90/14 for my domestic sewing machine. Lots of people like sewing minky with a walking foot. This style foot feeds the fabrics at the same speed. I personally tend to skip it but that is not to say that you may not find it very useful.

Let’s make the Thomas pants using fluff

First and foremost, cut your fabric as instructed in the tutorial. I have not made any alterations or mods to the pattern. I opted for view B because I cannot miss a chance to add some piping…ever!

I cut all my pattern pieces using a projector and the projector file included
Cut, cut, cut….roll, roll, roll that lint roller.

MINKY SEWING TIP #1: Increase your stitch length

When sewing with double sided minky I like increasing my stitch length to 3.5 and lower the tension to 3.8. Play around with your machine settings and see what works for you. As a rule of thumb, the longer the stitch the easier it will sew. You don’t want it too long, though, you want to make sure it holds well when worn.

MINKY SEWING TIP #2: Use a Walking or Zipper Foot for Piping

If you add piping accents you will need to switch your walking foot to a zipper or piping foot. It will work fine because the stretchier fabric is on the needle plate.

TIP: When sewing two fabrics with different stretch levels, have the stretchier one down and the less stretchier one under the presser foot.

MINKY SEWING TIP #3: Press, but carefully

Do not skip pressing after each sewing step!! The difference between a “pressed throughout” pair of pants and one that was not is HUGE. Just look at the example I give you below. Minky is a polyester base so be very cautious of your iron settings. ToO high temperature and it will melt before your eyes. I recommend using a cotton pressing cloth if you want to increase the temperature. Don’t be afraid to use steam.

MINKY SEWING TIP #4: Use lots of Pins or Clips

My next tip for working with double sided minky is to use an abundance of clips or pins. This is definitely a case of more the better! Since the fabric has stretch and it’s pretty sleek, pinning in every 1″-1.5″ will help the stitching process go much, much smother.

MINKY SEWING TIP #6: Topstitching

While top stitching is most of the time optional, in the case of double sided minky it is highly recommended . This fabric is pretty thick so the seam allowances will be twice as thick. Top stitching will reduce that bulk considerably, especially in the area where there is piping too.

Just look how nice it looks with piping, totally worth adding it!

MINKY SEWING TIP #7: Use a Serger

Last but not least, use your serger when possible! I find that the serger can be easily utilized for the construction of the pants. The front/back crotch and the inseam can be stitched so fast with the serger. Plus, the overlock stitch encloses the raw edge and all the flyaway fluff. Since I added piping to my kids’s Thomas track pants, I had to use my sewing machine more but if you make the “plain” option or skip the piping you can use the serger for the other steps too.

Sewing with double sided minky can be so pleasant, especially when you wrap yourself in the fluffy softness afterwards. A cup of hot cocoa and a book and you will be lounging for hours. My little one has been wearing his newest Thomas pants daily. He said “they are so soft, mom, like my blanket”. Now if only I could convince him that matching socks is still a thing 🤣….

Now that you have some tips and tricks for sewing with fluff, feel free to use them when stitching minky, cuddle minky, luxe cuddle, ultra soft plush or any of the sort.

Some other Love Notions patterns that would work beautifully with this soft goodness are the Compose Robe, Oakley and Acorn Vest, Constellation , North Star and Navigator.

I can’t wait to see what you create! Don’t forget to share your beautiful Thomas Track pants in the Love Notions Facebook groups and on Instagram.

Alex


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Thomas Track Pants + Minky

Fabric Guide for Garment Sewists

You need two things to sew a garment successfully: a pattern plus some fabric. You know Love Notions has you covered when it comes to the pattern, but sometimes the trickiest part of the whole process is figuring out the fabric.

4 Comments

  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.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply

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4 Comments

  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.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply

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