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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



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Where to Shop for Fabric Online

If you are like me, you might think shopping for fabric is one of the most fun parts of sewing. I think a lot of us feel this way! However, with all of the options for fabric shopping out there, I’ve noticed that we often hear some version of this question: “Where should I shop for fabric online?” So this post is for anyone new to fabric shopping and includes tons of recommendations from our Ambassador team, who are expert fabric shoppers!

Fabric for Allegro

Tencel, linen, double-brushed poly, challis. If you are looking for some fabric options for your Allegros, you are in luck! Tami is here with lots of options for fabric (and she has thrown in a TON of different ways to style them. Don’t miss that faux romper look and be sure to RSVP for the Allegro Sew Along.


Allegro fabric

Fabric for Allegro

I’m excited to be back here on the Love Notions blog today talking about one of my favorite things to wear and sew.  When Tami mentioned the Allegro pattern (affiliate link) getting a reboot I almost squealed when I heard a jogger option would be added.  The pattern was already so full of options, two skirt lengths, two shorts lengths and a cropped pant but now it’s even better with the addition of full length pants and cuffed joggers too.  I have lived in these pants the last few summers and I’m thrilled to be able to recreate them!

Fabric makes a huge difference

For this post, I’m going to dive into how fabric makes such a difference in the look of this pattern.  I sewed up four different pairs of pants in a variety of fabric types to show just how versatile this pattern can look and how fabric plays such an important role in the final product.  The recommended fabrics for this pattern are light to medium weight wovens such as rayon, linen, chambray, gauze, or poplin.  You can also use knits but may need to adjust sizing.  I stuck with the full length pant option and added elastic to the cuffs for two of the versions.  I wanted to do them as close as possible to each other but still add a little diversity to my wardrobe.  I sewed up a size 6 and graded out for my calves according to the size chart.  My waist put me in a size 8 but I chose not to grade out and adjusted my elastic to fit.  One tip- I used two different elastic types, non-roll woven and soft waistband, and I had to cut my soft waistband elastic much shorter than the recommended length because it is so stretchy!

First up….

TENCEL Fabric for Allegro

allegro tencel allegro tencel allegro tencel


The first pair I’m going to show you is one I’ve had envisioned since I tried on this pair of joggers last year.  They were unfortunately out of my size and I walked away empty handed.  I grabbed this amazing Lyocell denim from Jo-Ann’s and knew I needed to recreate them.  Like every good sewist, my project list is about three times longer than my actual time to sew so this fabric has sat waiting for this project for way too long.  This Lyocell has amazing drape and is very comfortable.  It’s heavier than the challis but still much lighter than the linen.  It’s a fantastic year round weight.


allegro tencel

How to Style Tencel Allegros

I styled these joggers with my Game Day Jersey for a fun casual look that works for these long days at home.   These are a great alternative to jeans and will be just as versatile.  I can’t wait to pair them with my favorite Rhapsody top if we can ever sneak away for a date night out.

The rest of my fabrics were all sponsored by Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  I had such a hard time picking just what fabrics to use because there were so many that would work great.  Did I want to go safe with a pretty solid challis?  Or would a bold stripe linen be more exciting?  In the end I went with three very different weight substrates to really highlight the variety of styles you can achieve with this pattern.

CHALLIS Allegros

Allegro Fabric challis


This rayon challis caught my eye when it first released and I’ve been trying to figure out how to work it into my closet.   This is the lightest weight fabric at 3.6 oz that I used and I love how breezy these are.  These will be perfect for those super hot summer days.  It’s got gorgeous drape and I think it’s the most forgiving of the substrates I used.  It really flows over the body and is so dreamy to wear!


Allegro Fabric challis Allegro Fabric challis Allegro Fabric challis

How to Style Challis Allegros

I paired these with a simple Classic Tee in white double brushed poly (this is such a wardrobe staple!).  With cute sandals, this is an outfit that I can wear all summer long.  Just looking at this outfit has me longing for summer barbecues and beach vacations.


Allegro Fabric challis


LINEN Allegros


allegro linen allegro linen allegro linen


This pattern looks amazing in linen and I knew I had to give it a try too!  I picked this striped Robert Kaufman linen and had a little fun playing with the stripes with my pattern pieces.  This linen is heavier weight at 5.3 oz.  You can see that it doesn’t have the drape of the others but it also hides things a bit more too.  This fabric gives these pants a straighter fit.  I think the structure would work especially well for the shorts or short skirt version of this pattern.


allegro linen

Styling Linen Allegros

This outfit makes me feel so happy!  I paired these pants with a Harmony Top in rayon and love how bright and cheerful it feels.

DOUBLE-BRUSHED POLY Allegros — a knit!


allegro dbp allegro dbp allegro dbp


For my final pair, I switched things up and used a knit!  What?!  I used this amazingly soft double brushed polyester for a pair of pants perfect for lounging.  I love the feel of double brushed poly and wear it year round.  It has the drape of a rayon but also flows nicely over lumps and bumps.  It’s lightweight and the stretch makes them so comfortable.  I didn’t adjust my sizing at all and love the fit of them.  You may find that you want to size down when using knits with this pattern but I am super happy with these.


allegro dbp


I did make one little adjustment to these.  I added a band to the pocket to keep it from stretching out.  I cut a piece of fabric 1.5″x the length of the pocket opening minus about an 1″.  You’ll want to slightly stretch this piece as you sew it between the pocket lining and main pant front to bring the pocket in a touch.


allegro dbp


Styling the Double-Brushed Poly Allegros

The Allegros are the perfect base to create a faux jumpsuit or dress and I knew I needed to include one in my looks.  These are paired with another Classic Tee for a casual jumpsuit look without the inconvenience of getting undressed to use the restroom.  This is the ultimate in stay-at-home comfort!  Head to toe brushed poly- yes please! 

For more faux jumpsuit or dress outfits, I think you can pair so many Love Notions tops with this pattern.  The Melody Top would look adorable paired with the shorts option or a Summer Basic Tank with either skirt would be summer perfection!

(Psst… speaking of one-piece garments like rompers and jumpsuits, I heard Love Notions is going to be releasing one soon!)

Allegro Sewalong

If you are looking for some more support as you sew up your Allegros, be sure to join the upcoming Allegro Sew Along with Kelly. She will walk you through all the steps from fabric, to sizing, to sewing, to hacks! Click here to access the Sew Along content. The event will happen live May 18-23, 2020, but will be available permanently on the Love Notions blog and youtube account.

allegro sewalong


It’s been so fun sewing up and sharing my Allegros and now I have a great start on a versatile and comfortable wardrobe for this season.  Make sure you grab your copy today!

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Fabric for Forte Top and Dress

A Fabric for Every Forte

forte fabric

Today’s post is all about knit fabric choice and the Forte Top! For many sewists, one of the hardest parts of sewing is picking out the fabric. Wouldn’t it be great to see the exact pattern made up in a bunch of fabric types to help you make up your mind? Today, Sequoia is sewing up the same Forte top in 4 different knit fabrics (Liverpool, Cotton Spandex, ITY and Double-Brushed Poly) so you can visualize your makes and learn all about sewing with different knit fabrics. Happy Feature Friday for Forte!

Forte Fabric Comparison

Hi Everyone! I am Sequoia, from SequoiaLynn Sews and this is my first time writing for the Love Notions blog. A few months ago, I was invited to become a Love Notions Ambassador and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity. I work hard as a tester/blogger and was super excited to be noticed for that. One of the awesome perks that come with being on the BA team is guest blogging! I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to do a fabric comparison for the Forte Top View A

Forte View A + Learning about Fabrics

Forte was rereleased last year with sizing from XS-5X and I had sewn a Forte View A recently and adored it. When I first started sewing, I didn’t know my fabrics at all! I am hoping this comparison will help someone out. Let’s face it, I still ask questions. I have learned that not all fabric is created equal and it is best to find a reputable source for your fabrics! Now, let’s get started and I do hope you enjoy my first blog post here at Love Notions.


forte cotten lycra

 Same Pattern, Different Fabric

My goal was to create the exact same top in 4 fabric bases to give sewists an even comparison. I wanted to note breath ability, drape, and ease of sewing to help folks get a better understanding of what they are working with. The bases I selected were Liverpool, ITY, Double Brushed Poly, and Cotton Lycra. I was lucky enough to have 2 fabric sponsors who provided me with all these amazing fabrics! Stitchin’ Pretties and Surge Fabric Shop were both super generous with their sponsorships and I am very grateful. If you haven’t shopped with them yet, please check them out.


forte ITY

Forte in Liverpool Fabric

Let’s start with Liverpool. Liverpool, sometimes referred to as LP, is considered a structured knit fabric which means that it will hold a bit of its shape instead of having a flowy drape to it. It is slightly thick with a noticeable surface texture. Liverpool tends to have nice stretch and recovery which makes it comfortable to wear. 

Sewing with Liverpool Fabric

Liverpool sews up very neatly. I used both my serger and my sewing machine for construction. While serging my bodice to my skirt, the fabric became slightly wavy, but with just a little bit of steam pressing, it looks beautiful! Had I noticed this during construction, I could have adjusted my differential feed for a smoother seam. 

In the US, Liverpool is readily available. This beautiful print is from Surge Fabric Shop. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. The minty background is perfect for spring. I love Liverpool for peplum tops like the Forte or Cigarette style pants like Sabrina Slims! Some people feel that Liverpool doesn’t “breathe” well, meaning they become hot or (yikes) even sweaty while wearing it. I personally wear Liverpool all year long in Ohio, where the heat index can sometimes cross the 100*F mark, without overheating. 


forte liverpool

forte liverpool

 Forte in ITY Fabric

Next up is ITY or Interlock Twist Yarn. The name ITY comes from the process of twisting the thread fibers to create a wonderful stretch and a cool/soft feeling on both sides of the fabric. I love ITY fabric because of the “cool to the touch” feeling! ITY is typically a poly/lycra blend so the stretch and recovery are both excellent. 

Sewing with ITY Fabric

The texture is smooth on both sides, but also slippery which can make it a little tricky to sew. I use extra clips to keep my layers from shifting while I sew. ITY runs smoothly through my serger, but sometimes my sewing machine gets a little hungry and tries to “eat it” by poking in through the needle plate and into my bobbin case. To prevent this, I just lay a piece of tissue paper under my fabric and sew away. The tissue paper peels off easily when finished. The drape of ITY is excellent because it is thin and lightweight and it is widely available in prints and solids. Love Notions newest pattern, Vivace would be absolutely dreamy in ITY. This beautiful print is from Surge Fabric Shop


forte ITY

forte ITY

Forte and Cotton Lyrcra

My third fabric today is Cotton Lycra. Most people know cotton is a natural fiber and lycra isn’t. Together, they become a super comfy fabric that washes well, wears well, and breathes well! This adorable CL print is a 10 oz. weight which is a mid- weight of cotton lycra. Because of the weight, it doesn’t have a fluid drape like some fabrics do, but it still makes lovely shirts. As you can see this has a bit of structure, but I can tell you it is still super comfy! Some cotton lyrca, say a 7 oz., is lighter in weight and would have slightly more drape.  Cotton Lycra has great stretch and recovery. It is always readily available in a huge variety of colors and prints. Most custom shops offer CL as an option. The Tabitha top would also be an excellent choice for cotton lycra fabrics! 

Sewing with Cotton Lycra

CL sews easily in both the serger and sewing machine. When pulled or stretched, the edges tend to curl. If you like this look, you won’t even need to hem your top. This super fun print I am wearing, was sponsored by Stitchin’ Pretties. Meow!


forte cotton lycra

forte cotton lyrcra


Forte and Double Brushed Poly

My final Forte of the day is a Double Brushed Poly base. DBP, for short, is a polyester spandex blend that has been brushed during the manufacturing process on both sides of the fabric. It is very soft to the touch and often feels “suede like.”  Double Brushed poly has excellent drape, recovery, and stretch. It washes very well and as a bonus, it rarely needs ironing. Double brushed poly is comfortable to wear, has great 4-way stretch and is typically light to mid weight. Since this is a synthetic fabric, it also doesn’t breathe well. Folks in hotter climates may avoid it during the warmer months. Again, I wear this year round in Ohio without issues.  

Sewing with Double Brushed Poly

Double brushed poly goes through my serger like butter. Sometimes, on the lighter weights, I will use the tissue paper trick I mentioned in the ITY section on brushed polys. DBP is probably my most used fabric, I can find it in most online shops and it comes in an unlimited range of colors and prints. There is also a single brushed poly fabric that is only “suede-like” on one side and can be slightly cooler. Need another pattern option? I have seen some stylish Game Day Jersey tops made from brushed poly! This beautiful floral print I am wearing was sponsored by Stitchin’ Pretties.


forte dbp

forte dbp


Here’s a collage of all 4 fabric bases together. Which look do you prefer?

forte fabric


Some Sources for your Forte Fabric

I want to give one more shout out to my amazing fabric sponsors for making this blog post possible. 

Surge Fabrics is located in Missouri and carries an array of fabrics. I received responses within one day of sending questions and my fabric shipped the day after my order was placed. 

Stitchin’ Pretties is located in Maine and is a one woman show! There is a one day turn around on orders placed and they frequently have great sales. Stitchin’ Pretties has a huge selection of knit fabrics with a few lovely wovens thrown in the mix.

Thank you both for sponsoring exceptional fabrics for my blog post.    


forte liverpool

My Forte Fit Tweaks

For my personal fit, I added 2 inches to the bodice length and 1 inch to the peplum. I prefer more of a tunic length in my tops and this worked out perfectly. I used the included full bust adjustment and did a 1.5 inch bicep adjustment. 

Forte Pattern Info

As a reminder here is the rundown of all the info from the website on the Forte Top…

“The Forte top and dress is a great transitional piece to add to your wardrobe. Included are four body styles, two dresses and several sleeve options to mix and match. Mix and match the sleeve flounces or leave them off entirely. The Forte is meant for light to medium weight knits. Views B & D can even be made as dresses! Sizes XS-5X.”

This pattern is rated for confident beginners.


Drapey top pdf pattern

 The pattern includes:

  •         Four top views:
  •         A- gathered skirt peplum style with scoop neck
  •         B- waterfall skirt with v-neck
  •         C- classic tee with scoop neck
  •         D- gathered inverted with v-neck
  •         Two dress views: B & D
  •         Six sleeve options to mix and match:
  •         short with flounce
  •         bell
  •         gathered
  •         plain short
  •         plain mid-length
  •         plain long
  •         A full bust piece is also included for ladies with a 4-6″ high bust to full bust difference– no need to do a FBA! The Forte is fitted at the bust with plenty of ease in the waist and hips.
  •         In addition to the print-at-home file is a large format file for copy shop printing. This file will print on five A0 (33″ x 46″) size sheets. Be sure to instruct your printer to print actual size in black and white on their cheapest paper.
  •         A projector file is also included for those using projector technology to cut their fabric


And remember, now you know there’s…

…a Forte for every fabric and a fabric for every Forte!

Thanks for sticking with me and reading through the whole post. If you love the Forte pattern as much as I do, please use my affiliate link to check it out.

Forte Top and Dress Pattern

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knit fabric guide

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Canyon Cardigan Sew Along Day One

Canyon Cardigan Sew Along: Day One

We’re back for another sew along! This time we will be sewing the Canyon Cardigan. Perfect for any season, the Canyon Cardigan takes a basic cardigan to the next level with style and detail, but is still a pretty quick sew! Join me this week, as I walk you through the steps for sewing up your new favorite cardigan. I’ll be talking about the best fabrics to use, tricks for tackling drapey sweater knits, and a few pattern hacks, too!

Whistler Sew Along: Day One

Whistler Sew Along: Day One

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are wrapped up and now is the perfect time to sew a cozy Whistler Sweater. This week we are going to have a Sew Along! I’ll take you through each step of sewing the Whistler sharing tips and tricks, and share some hacks along the way!

Secret Sewist Exchange and Sewing Gift Guide, PART ONE


Welcome to the Secret Sewist 2019 Reveal (part one) AND a little sewing gift guide to get you ready for the holidays. Love Notions has had a fantastic 2019 and a huge part of that success has been due to the support of our ambassador team. They help to perfect the patterns, take incredible pictures, spread the news about Love Notions throughout the sewing community — and they are just all around super people.



So this year, Tami decided to say ‘thank you’ with a little gift: fabric from their favorite shops. First though, we decided to make it even more fun and create a little gift exchange or Secret Santa event out of it — we called it the “Secret Sewist” exchange. The ambassadors names were secretly matched, and then they selected the fabric AND patterns for each other. It was so fun to see all of their unboxing videos — check Tami’s instagram highlights to see! In fact, they won’t know who selected their fabric for them until they read this post.

fabric sponsors

Thank you to the Secret Sewist blog and fabric sponsors!



What follows is part one of the reveal of each ambassador’s “Secret Sewist” with pictures of their Love Notions makes using their gifted fabric. (Part Two is up now and you can read that here.) Each of the ambassadors has affiliate links for the patterns they used, so be sure to click on those to support them. They also recommended their favorite sewing tool (which Tami added to her Amazon store front) and those make great additions to your wishlists this year, too!



Many fabric stores were excited to be involved in the Love Notions Secret Sewist Event, either by offering Tami a small discount as she shopped or by offering our readers a coupon code. The coupon codes for you are at the bottom of the post. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post– you could win a $50 Love Notions store credit as well as your choice of the custom enamel pins designed from scratch by Tami and her husband (US and Canada shipping included!).  Be sure to enter with just an email and a few clicks at the end of the post.

Enjoy the Secret Sewist reveal and happy holidays to you and yours!


from Seamly Behaviour

Pat’s Secret Sewist was… Alex Radu!

Pat says:

You can tell a lot about a company by how they treat their customers.  Concern and care for the people who buy their product shows how much attention to detail you can expect to find in their creations.  It was, therefore, quite in keeping with how Tami values her customers when she and Tessa proposed a Secret Sewist event to the Love Notions Ambassadors group.  I was so excited to receive my package from l’oiseau fabrics!  Inside the package was luscious bordeaux bamboo jersey knit and a length of pretty black cotton lace which my Secret Sewist had chosen especially for me.  The note from the person who had drawn my name asked me to sew a Forte, view B and to accent the top with the lace.  The result is a top that I will cherish for so many reasons – for Tami’s generosity and Tessa’s hard work and for my Secret Sewist who chose such beautiful fabric and trim just for me.  This Forte will always have deep special meaning to me.

forte trim

forte trim

Pat’s favorite sewing tool: “I am quite attached to the pressing clapper my husband made me…Gives you sharp pressing for hems and any seam that you want really flat. “


from Sewjourns

Chris’s Secret Sewist was… Rachel Ring!

Chris says:

I have been an Ambassador for Love Notions for about 9 months.  Being part of this team continues to be a joy and highlight for me.  When Tami came up with the Secret Sewist idea I knew I wanted in! What a cute twist on Secret Santa!  As soon as I was randomly assigned my sewist to shop for I set out to identify her style and find something fabulous to surprise her and put a smile on her face.  I must say I felt the pressure to pick “just the right fabric” and pattern suggestion for her because she is so fabulous and fun I wanted her to be thrilled! I hope she loved it!! My Secret Sewist who shopped for me was so very thoughtful.  I have a strong feeling that she has read my blog and remembered that I had mentioned in a previous blog post I had wanted to try some Rayon Challis from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. Well, she made my wish come true because I found this beauty in my mailbox. Teal/Red/Coral/Orange and Green Watercolor Floral Rayon Challis.


Tucked inside was lovely complimentary note stating that she would like for me to choose whichever woven pattern by Love Notions that I would love because any one them would look lovely on me.  How sweet is she?!!! Here’s what I chose! The Rhapsody Blouse Pattern 

rhapsody blouse

The Rhapsody Blouse was one of the few Love Notions Patterns I had yet to sew up.  I chose this because of the feminine curve on the body, the soft front gathering at the shoulders and curved hemline and with eight sleeve options I feel this is an every season pattern.  The finished Rhapsody blouse boasts fully enclosed seams on the back yoke and utilizes French Seams on the side so this blouse is as beautiful on the inside as it is from the front. I am in love with this make! 

rhapsody blouse

The Watercolor Floral Rayon Challis was quite lovely to sew with.  I have to say I found the quality and weight to be substantial and it was not at all fiddley to work as some thinner Rayon Challis can be. I couldn’t be happier with the final result!  Every time I wear it I will be smiling remembering how much I love being part of the LN Ambassador team and thankful for the support and generosity of Tami and Tessa who are so lovely to work alongside.  Happy Holidays and I wish you and yours the joy of the season!!    

Chris’s favorite sewing tool: Alex Anderson’s 4-in-1 Essential Sewing Tool: Includes Seam Ripper, Stiletto, Presser, and Turner

sewing tool


Alex’s Secret Sewist was… Livia Yonker-Yamada!

Alex says:

As soon as Tessa and Tami brought the idea of a Secret Santa Sewist opportunity to the group, I knew I wanted to join in the fun! Getting to shop for fabric for friends AND be surprised with pretties too…how could I say “no”? I was so excited to see who I was shopping for because she is an extraordinary woman who has always been supporting and who I admire a lot. It was only normal that I treated her with some luscious bamboo 😉 

olympia dress

A few days after we signed up for this fun project I received my  goodies mail from So Sew English. My secret shopper sent me the most beautiful note with my fabric so I wanted to share that with you: 

Hi Alex,

I hope you enjoy the fabric! I’d love to see you sew up Olympia dress (Short Sleeves and Knee length) or Willow Wrap Dress (Dress, Short Sleeves). I think it’s so pretty and vibrant, it’s the vibe I get when I see your gorgeous makes and photos. I chose Olympia or Willow because I think you’d look AMAZING in either one of them. Well I’ve seen you in an Olympia and already know that it’s a stunning combination! I hope you like the choices I’ve made!

Happy Sewing!!


olympia dress

She bought me a gorgeous rayon spandex which is absolutely perfect for warm Florida winters and hot summers. I was so happy that she chose the Olympia or Willow dresses for me to make as they are some of my favorites. It was a hard choice picking between the two but I eventually decided to treat myself to an Olympia dress because the neckline is a little higher than the Willow Wrap dress so I love wearing it to school and to Church.  Of course I picked the short sleeve option as it’s pretty much year round attire in my neck of the woods. The gorgeous drape of the rayon spandex, the stunning colors and the amazing Olympia fit quickly made this new dress a “first to grab” in my closet. 

I cannot wait to find out who was my Secret Santa Sewist so I can also thank them for my gorgeous gift. 

Happy Holidays! 


Alex’s Favorite Sewing Tool: The Gingher Rotary Cutter gingher rotary


from Sewsophielynn

Tami’s Secret Sewist was… Pat English!

Tami says:

I can’t believe the day is here! I’m so excited to be joining in the Love Notions Secret Sewist exchange. Love Notions patterns and the Love Notions team has such a special place in my heart. I think Tami and Tessa are just about the sweetest people on the planet and I’m so grateful to get to work with them as an Ambassador. This holiday Secret Sewist exchange has been so fun to watch behind the scenes and I’m so thankful for their generosity. I received a beautiful floral double brushed poly from Sly Fox fabrics from my Secret Sewist with the Willow Wrap Dress as the recommended pattern to sew up.

willow wrap dress olympia maxi

I love the colors in it and knew it’d be perfect for our upcoming tropical vacation. As our kids have grown, we have tried to make it a tradition to give them trips or experiences for Christmas instead of lots of presents that will soon be forgotten. This year, we’re headed to the islands (shhh! it’s still a secret until the big day!) and I can’t wait to wear my new dress. I really can’t get over how serendipitous it was that my Secret Sewist picked this fabric and pattern. The day I received my fabric package I had just finished sewing up another Willow Wrap dress using the Olympia maxi skirt. I was already dreaming of another maxi version and almost squealed when I saw her pattern recommendation. willow wrap olympia maxi

This time I used Katie’s tutorial from the blog for a nice flowy version that will work for sightseeing and nights out. I can’t help but picture throwing on this beauty after a long day at the beach and heading to dinner with the family. I want to give a huge shout-out thank you to my secret sewist and the Love Notions team. You guys are the best! [P.S. If you’d like to read more about this make on Tami’s blog, click here.]


Tami’s favorite sewing tool: SimFlex Sewing Gauge “I feel like I leveled up when I got one of these!”                  


Michele’s Secret Sewist was… Caroline Gaddy!

Michele says:

What a special little treat to participate in this years secret sewist for Love Notions! My secret sewist sent me a beautiful deep purple brushed waffle sweater knit from Surge Fabrics. I had lots of suggestions from my secret sewist and among them was one I really wanted to try. The Whistler (affiliate link) pullover and hoodie. Dreaming of the hoodie version. I also decided to do cuffs and hem band option. Talk about making something ideal for the season. Need to make several more since this would pair perfectly with everyday jeans and I can spice it up for a cute casual evening out.


Michele’s favorite sewing tool: Professional Pattern Weights “These are a must for your pattern making creation and for your samples cutting.”

pattern weights


From SewSewIlse

Ilse’s Secret Sewist was… Michele Matsumoto!

Ilse says:

Being part of the Love Notions Ambassador group is so fun! As the other ambassadors I feel so appreciated and together we build on the Love Notions dream.

To thank us for our work, Tami and Tessa surprised us with a Secret Santa project. Our names were exchanged and you don’t know how exciting this was choosing fabric for someone else! My Secret Santa did such a great job on choosing my fabrics! I mentioned I never sewed a Serenity sweater and I wanted so sew another Sabrina Slim and Willow top.

I still remember my package arrived on Friday and a few days later I got another package, how on earth was it possible! Another two fabrics! Because of the good conditions from Minerva Crafts, my Secret Santa could even order three fabrics with the given budget, wow! Thank you so much! 

serenity sweater

The Textured Knitted Stretch Jersey in Mocha for the Serenity Sweater was a great additional on my wardrobe and great to match with the rest and yes I need more solids in my wardrobe! I love the loose drape of it. What do you think to match it with the Classic Pants. Simple but so stylish!  cadence dress

The Floral Print Plaid Dress Fabric was so gorgeous and because it had just a tiny bit of stretch I decided to make a Cadence instead of Sabrina Slims. On the website I only saw so far summery versions so time to make a fall example! I think it’s a very female dress. The bust darts giving it the perfect shape and as you know me I’m a fan of ruffle sleeves!  

sabrina slims

The Black & White ponte plaid was ideal for the Sabrina Slim Pants. The slim fit and contoured waistband give me the suitable wearing comfort. Next time I have to match my print more precisely. I matched it with an rtw top but a black or red Forte would also be great with it.

Are you also so pleased with these fabrics and sews? Click on the highlighted links and they bring you to the pattern/fabric.

When all posts are out I will finally know who picked my stuff! And I hope that the person I chose fabric for is satisfied with my fabric choice and chosen pattern.


Greetings and thanks for stopping by! Ilse from @sewsewilse

Are you curious for more photos and info about the three patterns, please visit my Minerva blogpost. Today it will be published especially because of this Santa Secret event.


Thank you, Tami & Tessa! <3 

Ilse’s Favorite Sewing Tool: Mini Steam Iron. “I don’t have this but this little iron is on my list. Love it because it’s compact and very useful to iron seams and little narrow places on your sewing project.”

mini steam iron



From Lifting Pins and Needles

Karina’s Secret Sewist was… Tami Peterson!

Karina says:

I have been an ambassador for Love Notions since the start of this year.  Before being an ambassador, I had been a member of the testing group since 2018.  The first pattern I made from Love Notions was the Sonata dress (that neckline is amazing!) and then fell in love with the style, drafting, and especially all the options offered in each pattern that offers an amazing way to customize to our own style.  This is very important to me… having a lot of options.  

Being part of the team is a blessing and I have been able to connect with other keen seamstresses, even though we are physically very far away.  Sewing can be a little isolating and being in a community is amazing for the sense of connection and to share our passion and love for sewing. 

The Secret Santa idea comes from Tami and it’s such a generous and fun project! I was randomly assigned to choose a pattern and fabric for another member of the ambassador team.  I spent time studying her style on her Instagram account and on the Love Notions Support group.  

The fabric I received was me to a “T”.  I’m sure she has me figured out because I would have totally chosen this fabric myself and paired it to the pattern she recommended I make: The Rhapsody blouse. When I received the fabric, I was totally enamored. It is a luxurious medium weight crepe with a crinkle texture and tropical print on black background.  The fabric was purchased in an online fabric shop in Brazil in order to have expedited shipping. 

I had 2 meters of fabric, so I decided to make the Rhapsody Blouse a dress by adding 13.5” to the hem, whilst keeping the original curved hemline design.  I hemmed the curved hem with bias binding to add structure and keep the shape smooth. 

rhapsody dress

Because the fabric was a little more structured, I drafted a facing for the front neckline and interfaced it.  This different finish at the neckline makes the little V be an amazing feature.

rhapsody dress

Considering that this fabric is a “winter” fabric, I chose the bishop sleeves, but instead of the elastic casing at the wrist, I drafted a little cuff. I measured my wrist and added some ease to pull in and out, without needed a closure on the cuff (ended up being 10” by 6”).  I gathered the sleeve excess into the cuffs. Fiddle galore but totally worth it. I had wanted this type of sleeve on a garment for a while and this was the chance. I love how the gathers look inside the slim cuff at my wrist.

I love my Rhapsody blouse “dress” and think it suits my style 100%.  I’m so happy to have received such a wonderful gift of fabric! Fabric is always the best gift isn’t it?  Happy sewing friends. If you want to hear more from me, you can visit my sewing channel Lifting Pins and Needles


Karina’s Favorite Sewing Tool: Bias Tape Maker Set. “I keep sewing super simple and many tools out there, I have no use for…This has been a life changer.”

bias tape maker



Just click this link to enter to win.


We hope you enjoyed getting a little glimpse into this holiday event for our ambassadors and hopefully you can take some inspiration from this post (look out for part two coming next week!).  Be sure to take advantage of those fabric coupon codes, enter the giveaway, and add those much-loved sewing items to your list. Happy holidays to the amazing Love Notions community!



Read part two of the reveal here!

sewing gift guide


coupon codes


  • gift-card

    Gift Card


  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!


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