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Sewing Tips

  • All About Necklines

    Necklines_Graphic_Copy Variety and fashion go hand-in-hand, and that applies to necklines, too! Necklines are a great piece to play and experiment with for designing tops. You can go for function and practicality or focus on style and appearance--any everything in between! Necklines are one of the most defining features of a top, which is why they're so great to work with, and you can use them to make a huge statement for your ensemble.

    We've collected together some of the most popular and common necklines styles and drawn up examples to compare and contrast below. Take a look and share your thoughts on your favorite designs with us!

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    SCOOP2SCOOP NECKLINE

    A very common neckline, especially with store-brands. Circular in shape and has a flat collar that rests close to or on the clavicle. You could consider it one of the basic types of necklines, because it’s basically a neckline without a defined collar. This type of neckline can be great with almost any fabric, but is often found on knit shirts.          

    VNECK2V-NECK NECKLINE

    Another common neckline where the front half of the collar is angled down the center to form V-shape. It, too, is a common store-brand-type neckline and is usually a dressier design that the SCOOP NECKLINE. These can be made in many types of fabrics, but it’s especially good at keeping its shape in structured fabrics. The appearance is crisp and clean, making it very appealing and sharp!        

    UNECK2U-NECK NECKLINE

    A neckline that drops a little lower than a SCOOP or V-NECK NECKLINE and is basically a wider version of a SCOOP NECKLINE. It rests below the clavicle and is great for accentuating the chest. Because of the open space over the chest, these necklines are great for showing off necklaces as a statement piece!            

    SQUARE2SQUARE NECKLINE

    Like the V-NECK NECKLINE in that it has a strong, defined shape to it. A SQUARE NECKLINE dips down and has the sharp structured outline of a square. Goes well for stiff fabrics, designs, and garments.              

    HALTER2HALTER NECKLINE

    A neckline that is free at the shoulders and arms, is open at the back, and hangs from the neck alone. This is a common design in all kinds of garments from shirts and dresses to bathing suits. It’s a very feminine kind of neckline that looks great when showing off the shoulders and back. The strap around the neck can be detachable or a single piece, and is sometimes closed with ties and a bow. This design is used for both shirt and dress tops.        

    ASYMMETRIC2ASYMMETRIC NECKLINE

    ASYMMETRICAL NECKLINES can vary in design. Some have a neckline paired with a strap, others have one side with a cut-out, or even a single-strap design—the list can go on. The point is to have the two sides designed differently, hence the asymmetry. These designs are great for more modern and stylish looks.          

    MOCKNECK2MOCKNECK NECKLINE

    MOCK NECK NECKLINES have necklines that come up very high and sit above the clavicle, and they are finished with a thin, standing collar. These necklines are different from the turtle-neck collar design; the collar does not fold over.              

    CREWNECK2CREWNECK NECKLINE

    These necklines sit lower than a MOCK NECK NECKLINE and have a flat collar that is more like a ribbed-knit trim. They look like the necklines of pullover sweaters and resemble a SCOOP NECKLINE. These are worn for comfort and are usually not incorporated into fancier designs.            

    HIGHNECK2HIGHNECK NECKLINE

    Like a HALTER NECKLINE, but with an attached back. These necklines are a more conservative design, but they still retain the classy appeal. A high-standing collar paired with a HIGH NECK NECKLINE is a stunning look that is also great for showing off one’s arms.            

    BOATNECK2BOATNECK NECKLINE

    BOAT NECK NECKLINES are another feminine design. Tops with this neckline rest from the shoulders and have a wide opening for the neckline that hangs just a bit in the front and back in a kind of bowed shape. This is where the “boat neck” image comes from, as in the underside of a boat. It’s a very elegant garment style that uses the larger volume of fabric to help the wearer look smaller and more petite.          

    COWL2COWL NECKLINE

    Like an over-sized turtle neck design, a COWL NECKLINE sports a huge and loose collar that sits around the neck. The collar of these necklines is usually very long when stretched out, but they are intended to sit gathered around the neck. It’s a very comfortable style of fashion that’s great for knits and other soft-handed fabrics.          

    ILLUSION2ILLUSION NECKLINE

    ILLUSION NECKLINES are one of the more decorative types of necklines that play with empty space. Paired with low-laying necklines, the empty space between the upper breast line and up to the neck is usually filled in with a sheer or see-through kind of fabric like lace or netting.            

    STRAPLESS2STRAPLESS NECKLINE

    These necklines also sit low and are exactly what their name implies: necklines without straps. The actual shape of the neckline can vary (like STRAIGHT to SWEETHEART NECKLINES), but STRAPLESS designs are identified as any neckline design not supported with straps. Support for these types of necklines come instead in the form of things like boning, close-fitting cuts, and elastic.          

    STRAIGHT2STRAIGHT NECKLINE

    A neckline that literally goes straight across the chest. This neckline doesn’t usually reach up to the clavicle or actual neck on the wearer, but sits just under the arms. It’s a popular design choice for dresses and gowns as a strapless design, but it's also paired with spaghetti straps just as often.            

    SWEETHEART2SWEETHEART NECKLINE

    A strapless neckline design that gets its name from its “heart-shaped” hemline at the top of the bodice. These are often used on dresses and gowns as well as corsets and are especially popular for wedding gowns.              

    PLUNGE2PLUNGE NECKLINE

    A PLUNGE NECKLINE is a neckline whose straps or front-facing bodice cuts deep down the middle of the chest to under the breast line. It’s not exactly a type of cut-out, but it does incorporate exposure into the design. This is a design that’s popular with gowns and dresses, and its straps are often gathered together, giving the cups of the shirt or dress top a pleated look.             What neckline designs have you incorporated into your projects before? Or if you haven't worked on shirts before, what necklines would you like to learn how to make or work with?
  • Mood DIY: Double-breasted Pea Coat

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    Autumn is here, and that means it's time to break out the pea coats! Known for their sturdy outside and a silky satin inside, the ever-trendy double-breasted pea coat is a beloved staple of the fashion world. The look is usually topped off with a set of buttons, and they give off  a mature yet fierce look for all who wear them. Muted colors go great with this style, and you can decorate them with embellished buttons or more reserved ones--both look will look fantastic! This particular pea coat was made using a pattern from Butterick, Pattern #B5685. Its design sports a high waist, an over-sized collar, 3 different lengths to work with, pockets, and a 4-button closure. It's best made with fabrics like lightweight woolens, lightweight tweeds, and poplins. We made ours with wool coating! Here's a full list of the materials used to make this jacket:

    Materials List

    Mood Brand Lia Sewing Machine 2 3/4 YDs of Marc Jacobs Double Cloth Black Wool Coating 2 YDs of Ivory Stretch Polyester Satin Dritz 250 Long White Ball Pins 10 Black 250m Gutermann Sew All Thread (for sewing and top-stitching the coating) 20 White 500m Gutermann Sew All Thread (for sewing lining) White/Black Plastic Button - 40L/25mm Butterick Pattern #B5685: Misses' Double-Breasted Jacket and Coat Dritz Tailor's Chalk   The fabrics used to make this coat include a double cloth black wool coating by March Jacobs for the main fabric and an ivory stretch poly-satin for the lining. We chose this wool coating because pea coats tend to be made with a nice, thick fabric, and we wanted to replicate that. A thicker fabric is the sensible route for coats like this, and it's so worth it when the garment is completed; the quality really shows, both in construction and style! Pea coats are also winter garment and should be constructed as such if you intend to wear it for the colder seasons (though there's no harm in going with a lighter fabric when it's warmer!). This wool coating has a soft exterior, a tough, tight weave, and a slight one-way stretch. The subtle diagonal is very easy on the eyes, too. The poly-satin lining has a gorgeous sheen, and it's so soft to the touch. The coat fits nice and loose without being over-sized (save for that collar!) and it's incredibly comfortable to wear. The extra room provided by the pattern allows for easy layering for completing an entire ensemble, and perhaps the best part is the stretch of the lining—it doesn’t feel constricting when you wear it!

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    This wool coating turned out great for this jacket! The contrast between the coating and the satin lining looks astonishing.

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    The sharp angle of the collar is striking as well, and it will give a nice squared shape to your top silhouette. The buttons work together with the collar's design to pull this off.

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    You can flip the collar up while still maintaining its shape, too!

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    And the princess cut of the bodice frames nicely. With the addition of the longer sleeves, this coat is pretty irresistible!

     If you're looking to add a little something to your design of this jacket, considering using faux fur trim around the sleeve cuffs or the wide collar! You could use any kind of large buttons on the front too, or maybe even add a hood! There are plenty of ways to spice this look up!   There are a few things to keep in mind when constructing a coat or garment with thicker fabrics and lots of layers like this one: One is to invest in denim sewing machine needles. Thicker fabric is more work for your sewing machine, and when you have to work with as many layers as a pattern like this calls for, it can be very easy to break a needle if it's not well-suited for thicker fabrics (regular universal needles have  a higher chance of snapping!) We recommend these: Style 2026 100/16 Singer Pins & Needles Another tip is to definitely make use of your tailor's chalk. If you're working with any lighter-colored fabrics, go with the blue chalk, and make the time to mark all of the spots the pattern tells you to. The pattern can be overwhelming if you're below mid-level sewing skills, but having the markings make the pattern much clearer and the garment puts together fairly easily because of them! A word of caution for the poly-satin: this may be obvious, but the satin is pretty slippery. It will slide around under your presser foot, so go the extra mile and pin a little more. Keep that satin from sliding around! Especially with the pockets and the sleeve linings, add a few more pins to help keep the pattern pieces stable as you sew. You'll thank yourself later! Lastly, when you're sewing a lot of layers together (like when attaching the collar to the bodice or the bodice to the lower half of the jacket), DON'T RUSH; SEW SLOWLY. Use the sewing machine wheel manually to go over areas that are piled high with layers or bumps, too! This can save you from breaking a needle! Take your time and work carefully. This goes for any level seamstress. And there you have it! We look forward to seeing your versions of this design and comments about how it went! Let us know: Have you made a pea coat before? Do you have any extra tips to share for making them?
  • Mood DIY: Removeable Collar Tutorial

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    Ever wanted to add a collar to your ensemble without permanently altering your top? Removable shirt collars are a simple and quick way to do it. Removable collars can help add a pop of color or a print to your shirt, help dress up a basic tee, or just keep your neck warm! There are a few different styles you can go with, too, like angled collars, peter pan collars, and more, plus you can play around with the design for your closures and how you attach the collar to your top! Trims are perfect for this project, too, because it’s so easy to embellish them. You could use a piece of embroidery or ribbon to tie your collar on—there’s lots of room to experiment! That’s what’s so appealing about removable collars; they’re wonderful to work with and make since the design is so versatile and open-ended. To help give you some ideas, we’ve put together a quick tutorial for how to sew an angled collar as well as a peter pan collar. Removable collars look especially cute tied with a bow, so get ready for ribbons! The Materials List will be separated into three lists, one for each of the three collar types that this tutorial goes over, so you can have an easier time planning out your own project!

    Materials List

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    Nautical Collar 1/4 YDs Optic White Mercerized Cotton Shirting 1/2 YDs Navy Corded Crochet Trim - 3.5" 1/2 YDs White Water Jet Loom Interlining and Fusible 1/2 YDs 1/4" Light Navy Single Face Satin Ribbon 22 Egg Shell 250m Gutermann Sew All Thread Pattern Pieces #4 and #5 from Vogue Pattern #V8927  

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    Striped Peter Pan Collar 1/4 YDs Black/Multicolored Striped Floral Cotton Poplin 1/4 YDs Optic White Mercerized Cotton Shirting 1/2 YDs 1/2" Misty Turquoise Single Face Satin Ribbon 1/4 YDs White Water Jet Loom Interlining and Fusible Peter Pan Collar Pattern by Mood Peter Pan Collar Pattern by Mood 10 Black 250m Gutermann Sew All Thread  

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    Cherry Blossom Peter Pan Collar 1/4 YDs Italian Ivory Solid Cotton Shirting 1/2 YDs 1" Metallic Rose Floral Lace Trim 1/4 YDs White Water Jet Loom Interlining and Fusible Peter Pan Collar Pattern by Mood Peter Pan Collar Pattern by Mood 323 Old Rose 100m Gutermann Sew All Thread   Notions Iron and Ironing Board Mood Brand Lia Sewing Machine Craft Pints 8" Fiskars All-Purpose Scissors Dritz Size 9 Sharp Needles   Nautical Collar The first to go over is the Nautical style collar! Since this is a piece from a brand-name pattern, this tutorial will focus on how to go about embellishing with the navy crochet trim.

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    When you cut out your fabric and interlining, you'll need two cuts of the collar and the collar stand, as well as one cut of interlining for each of those pieces. Iron your interlining to each of the cuts, and grab your navy trim. The navy trim should be layered between one collar cut and one collar stand cut, with the interlining sides facing OUT, and when placing the trim between your two pieces, line the straight edge side of the trim at the points of the top side of the collar piece. Do not turn and pin the trim to go with the curve!! You want it to be straight to get the look in the final photo!

    Pin the layers together, making sure the collar stand piece is longer than the actual collar (this should NOT be gathered!). and sew the plain seam. Trim along the seam you just sewed.

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    You're going to do the same with the other pieces, minus the trim layer!

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    This next step is similar to when you're making a pillow; pin your two halves right side together. You're going to sew along these lines:

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    We need the three unmarked spots left open so that we can turn the collar right-side-out and also have a place to attach our ribbon closures! Once you sew these seams, clip along all the edges carefully, trim any excess threads needed, and turn your collar right-side-out. Don't cut your seams!

    From here, press your collar flat so it's easier to work with. You'll need to make sure all the corners are filled out (use a clean, thin dowl or paint brush handle!).

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    Now take your 1/2 of ribbon and cut it in half, and trim the other end so that they're the same length. Pin the ribbon into the open edges of the collar stand, and then go ahead and top stitch a border around your collar stand piece. 

    After that is done, flip your collar stand up and iron it down. Tie your bow, and you're all done!   Striped Peter Pan Collar

    Next up is our striped collar! These steps are a bit simpler. For the pattern, we drew one up ourselves. Click here to download the pattern! Print out the pattern and cut out the paper along the lines, seam allowance is included!

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    Cut out your two fabrics, one collar pattern piece in the striped fabric and one in the white, and then one cut of interlining. Iron the interlining to wrong side of the striped fabric.

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    Pin your pieces right sides together and sew along the borders, making sure to leave openings like in the picture below here:

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    The opening in the collar is so you can turn it right-side-out, and the openings at the tips are for adding your ribbon!

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    Make sure to clip along the curved edges and trim an lingering threads, then turn the collar right-side-out. Fill out the shape using a clean dowl or other thin tool, and then press it flat wit your iron.

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    Next, take your 1/2 yard of ribbon and cut it in half, and trim the other ends.

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    Go ahead and pin the ribbon into the openings you left behind with the shiny side of the ribbon facing out. Using black thread, top-stitch around the entire border, making sure to back-stitch over where you inserted the ribbon.

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    And then you're all done!

    Cherry Blossom Peter Pan Collar

    And lastly, is the cherry blossom peter pan collar!

    This collar has the same steps as the striped collar, but with a few added steps beforehand as well as skipping any top-stitching.

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    This trim is an embroidery trim which means in order to attach it, it must be hand-sewn, and since it's such a loose trim design, I highly suggest pinning your trim down onto your already-cut fabric pieces in the way that you want it to lay for the final product, like so:

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    Do this for both sides before starting to sew. It's best to get the trim to lay as symmetrically as possible.

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    Sewing down just the leaves and flowers is enough to keep it flat and stable. Don't pull your threads too tight, because you want them to lay flat, and make sure to tie a knot before starting each leaf or flower and after you've completed it. It's also important to use like-colored thread (the thread listed above in the materials list matches the pink of the embroidery thread very well).

    After this step, continue as you would for the striped peter pan color, EXCEPT for top-stitching the final border. This collar does not need to be top-stitched! Make sure to iron the backside of this collar, not on the front--it's safest to keep from ironing the embroidered trim!

    And there you have it! Three simple and quick removable collar designs. See how you can change little things and make a completely different design? What designs do you think you'd like to try? Are there any trims that you'd love to see on a removable collar?

  • Mood DIY: Sewing a Plaid Skirt

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    Plaid is appealing for its geometric patterns, and they’re known to give off a sort of “official” look—in other words, plaids are great for the office or work! Its pattern is eye-catching and versatile, and the design fits right at home in the aesthetic of autumn, too. Whether you’re wearing a scarf, a sweater, or accents made with plaid patterning, you know you’re in good, stylish hands. Plaid also has a great reputation with skirts. When put together carefully, skirts look fantastic in plaid. It’s a bit of a challenge with louder plaid patterns, since matching a repeating pattern can be tricky, so if you’re just starting out, consider using a simpler or subtler plaid design like this one:

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    This skirt was made using McCall’s skirt pattern #6842 in a size 18. The pattern offers a skirt with a contour waist, 3 different yoke designs to choose from, a back zipper, and a narrow hem. This tutorial goes over skirt design A, which includes yoke variation 1 and length A. The pleats are gathered as well, giving the skirt some nice volume. We chose the Oscar de la Renta Tan and Pink Wool Double Cloth for this skirt tutorial. The latte-colored background and subtle pink plaid was hard to resist, and the fabric is incredibly soft. Something warm and cute for the season was just too good to pass up! Plus, it feels and looks great to sew through! The fabric isn't thick, but it feels solid and substantial. To learn how to make the skirt featured in this article, read below!  

    Here’s the list of materials used to make this skirt, while working with a Size 18 in mind…

    Mood Brand Lia Sewing Machine McCall Misses' Skirt Pattern 6842 1 ½ Yards of Oscar de la Renta Tan and Pink Wool Double Cloth 5/8 Yard of White Stiffener/Fusible Interfacing 896 Dark Khaki 9" Invisible Zipper 536 Tan 100m Gutermann Sew All Thread Fiskars Pinking Shears Hand Needles Dritz 250 Long White Ball Pins If you're planning to line up a fabric pattern for a garment, make sure to buy extra fabric!! We can't stress this enough. There's nothing worse than finding out you need more fabric after you've already gotten your cut. The pattern suggested 1.25 yards of fabric for a size 18, but we went with 1.5 yards, because we knew we'd need it. You will, too! We won’t go into detail about how to make the actual skirt here since it’s all in the pattern instructions already, but we’ll highlight important notes and features of the skirt’s design.   DSC_0059 The first tip to keep in mind is that it's extremely helpful to pin your fabric before cutting. When you're laying out your fabric and getting ready to pin it, line up your plaid grids and pin them first! The piece in this photo is cut already, but see how the pins are guided alone the plaid lines? Do this around the entire border of your fabric when it's laid out. This will help prevent mismatched cutting!

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    Just to give you an idea, this is what the pieces should look like after you cut them out. This plaid  design is pretty simple, so it's easy to guide your pattern edges so the skirt will look mostly matched up. Remember that the ends of your pattern pieces will have a 5/8" seam allowance, so when laying out and lining up your pattern paper, line up your plaid grids 5/8" into the pattern piece.

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     You should also be very careful about pining your pieces together before running a stitch through with your machine. Line up your pattern pieces so that the plaid grids are lined up and it looks like the pattern continues naturally. And don't be afraid to use more pins or a walking foot attachment to keep your fabric from sliding out of place! Same thing goes for installing the zipper:

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    You'll have to trim the zipper a couple of inches, but if you work slowly and carefully, it'll look great! (Don't know how to install a zipper? Click here for our tutorial!)

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    Please keep in mind that this fabric frays! Stay-stitching will be your best friend while working with this fabric.

    We made the skirt according to the directions of the pattern so that you could see what it would look like, but we do highly suggest using french seams instead of a double-stitched seam like the pattern calls for. That means sewing your pattern pieces wrong sides together and then hiding your seam allowances in with another line of stitching. If don't know how to sew a french seam, follow this link to our All About Seams page. Sewing in french seams will help tuck the frayed edges away and keep them from unraveling your garment.

    However, if you are having trouble sewing the french seam, you can also go with the double-stitched seam and then trim the seam allowances with pinking shears.

    The double-stitched seam will look like this:

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    This fabric really looks wonderful with a plain seam on it. If you enjoy top-stitching and can find a hem line you'd like to sneak them in, feel free to!

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    And that's basically it! This skirt design isn't too hard, and it actually puts together pretty quickly. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be good to sew yourself a wonderful piece of autumn fashion! Are you inspired yet? What advice do you have to share for working with plaid fabrics?

  • All About Sleeves

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    Sleeve designs can be a little bit intimidating. Drafting them is kind of a science on its own, and it's hard to imagine what shape you need to start with if you have no prior experience with patterning them yourself; trial and error is usually inevitable, and if you don't have the time to commit to it, it'll probably never get done. That's why we're bringing this All About Sleeves post to you!

    Whether you're looking for a shirt sleeve pattern but can't seem to find the right one, or you want to make custom sleeve  patterns for yourself, we think the information here could at least help you get started. We've drawn up a chart and images of a bunch of different types of sleeves used in fashion and costume sewing for you to use as a reference, as well as descriptions, notes, and tips for drafting them on your own! Knowing the shape is half the battle, and combined together with a little math and measurement, the task should be a lot more manageable for you!

    Below, we have each sleeve type highlighted as well as a magnified image of the comparison between what the sleeve will look like as its pattern piece versus what it will generally look like finished on a person. Take a look and see what sleeve types you might want to try drafting patterns for!

    T-SHIRT SLEEVE

    TSHIRT Ahh, the t-shirt sleeve! One of the three "basic designs" of sleeve patterns. It’s good to have a t-shirt sleeve pattern handy at all times (making it out of something sturdy like cardboard or poster paper is a good option) so you can use it as a base for other sleeve designs. This type of sleeve is short by design and can be finished at the end in a number of ways, though t-shirts usually just have the hem folded under and sewn down for the cuff.  

    CUFFED SHIRT SLEEVE

    CUFFED The CUFFED SHIRT SLEEVE is another staple of sleeve patterns that you should familiarize yourself with. It’s basically just a long version of the T-SHIRT SLEEVE, but the shape is a little less squared (though you could certainly make the shape of the sleeve straight, if you wanted to!) and the sleeve tapers just a little towards the cuff. The sleeve should be gathered a bit when the cuff is added, too.  

    BISHOP SLEEVE

    BISHOP This sleeve is one of my favorites, since it plays with shape and weight on arms! If you look between the images for the BISHOP SLEEVE and the T-SHIRT SLEEVE, you’ll notice that the BISHOP SLEEVE’s shoulder has a narrower shape. This adjustment is intentional; it helps the shape of the sleeve fit closer to your shoulder. The sleeve also flares out smoothly down the length, and the design has a much wider cuff than a T-SHIRT or CUFFED SHIRT SLEEVE. BISHOP SLEEVE designs are gathered at the wrist, which is the reason for the flare. The wider, bottom hem is gathered like in the photo and is attached to a cuff piece. The BISHOP SLEEVE cuff.  

    BELL SLEEVE

    BELL The BELL SLEEVE design is pretty similar to the BISHOP SLEEVE; it has the same narrower shape to the shoulder, and the cuff hem is also flared, but the difference is that the sleeve shape itself is squared. See in the picture how the lines are parallel to each other until the flare starts? That’s the “square” shape. The flare is also a little more exaggerated in this design, too. This is what gives the BELL SLEEVE its "bell" shape! BELL SLEEVES do not gather at the wrist either. The cuff is loose and flows at the wrist. It’s a very elegant design.  

    BATWING SLEEVE

    BATWING The BATWING SLEEVE is the only one of its kind in this guide; this type of sleeve is not separate from the bodice of the garment. See in the picture how the bodice pattern piece flows as one into the shape of the sleeve? That’s intentional. Instead of a single seam lining the underside of the arm, there are two seams, one above and below the arm, in the final product. The seam lines of the bodice will line up with that of the sleeves. The design also has a curved shape for under the arm and is intended to be worn loose. The hanging fabric here gives the design’s “batwing” look. These types of sleeves are flexible in terms of length so long as this batwing shape is maintained. In our example, there is a long, fitted cuff, but you could make a shorter or longer cuff or sleeve. The choice is yours!  

    PUFF SLEEVE

    PUFF In comparison to the T-SHIRT SLEEVE, the PUFF SLEEVE is wider at the shoulder and even wider at the cuff hem. With this design, the cuff must be gathered to fit nicely around your arm so you will the puffed shape. PUFF SLEEVES are incredibly cute and look best on a fitted bodice!  

    ¾ SLEEVE/BRACELET SLEEVE

    3_4 A ¾ SLEEVE design should look familiar, because it’s the same as the T-SHIRT and CUFFED SHIRT SLEEVES, the only difference is the length of the sleeve itself. ¾ SLEEVES usually stop halfway down the forearm and can be either the squared or tapered shape (our images show the tapered design). Fun fact—this type of sleeve is also called a BRACELET SLEEVE, because it’s short enough so that you can show off bracelets that you’re wearing!  

    PETAL SLEEVE

    PETAL PETAL SLEEVES are unique in that their shape is created by overlapping a two cut sleeve pieces. These can be short or longer, but they often have a tulip-like look to them. The shape of the shoulder is a gentle slope and the two pieces basically mirror each other when overlapped.  

    CAPE SLEEVE

    CAPE Big and flowing, CAPE SLEEVES are given their name because it actually looks like you’re wearing a cape! The pattern shape for sleeves like these are huge and very wide. Think of a 45-degree angle coming down from your shoulder. They’re great for exaggerating weight and volume, or for wrapping yourself up in your favorite fabric.  

    DROP-SHOULDER SLEEVE

    DROPSHOULDER DROP-SHOULDER SLEEVES are a fairly subtle alteration. They’re usually just an extension of the shoulder line on the bodice pattern piece—not from the sleeve itself. If you look carefully at the picture, you can notice this distinction! This type of sleeve is great for pajamas and sweaters, because the cut is usually loose and unrestricted, making for a comfortable lounge shirt!  

    BUTTERFLY SLEEVE

    BUTTERFLY BUTTERFLY SLEEVES are a larger sleeve and look like butterfly wings when you lift your arms! They’re great when made with fabrics like knits that are loose, and they give your look a very elegant and petite touch.  

    FLUTTER SLEEVE

    FLUTTER Similar to the BUTTERFLY SLEEVE, FLUTTER SLEEVES are like a shorter version. They have a similar shape to the top of their pattern design, but they aren’t as long and are usually cut a little wider. This is another elegant and petite style you could go with for warmer weather!  

    MARIE SLEEVE

    MARIE These types of sleeves are cut like long rectangles and are usually gathered in multiple segments. The shoulder line is set very wide and shallow, too, which will give your sleeve a big and billowing shape from the shoulder all the way down. Elastic can be used to help maintain the shape of these segments, or if kept looser, something stiffer like trims or ribbons.  

    RAGLAN SLEEVE

    RAGLAN You’ve probably seen a shirt with RAGLAN SLEEVES somewhere, right? These are incredibly comfortable for lounge shirts since the cut of the sleeve is loose on the shoulder. The shoulder's hemline of the sleeve is different from others, because it reaches all the way to the neckline. It’s often a similar length to the ¾ SLEEVE.  

    FLOUNCE SLEEVE

    FLOUNCE FLOUNCE SLEEVES are a combination of a ¾ SLEEVE and a circular pattern piece that has a similar shape to a circle skirt. Think of it like a mini circle skirt, but for your arm! The actual sleeve can range in length, and so can the “skirt,” so this design can go a lot of ways!  

    LEG-OF-MUTTON SLEEVE

    MUTTON Wide at the shoulder and tapered down to the wrist, LEG-OF-MUTTON SLEEVES get their name from looking like a sheep’s leg. The final look of it has a large puff around the shoulder and narrows down most of the arm and to the wrist. The puff is mostly at the shoulder and does not continue down.  

    POET SLEEVE

    POET The pattern shape for POET SLEEVES isn’t as wide as a CAPE SLEEVE, but it does have a bit of an angle, so it’s kind of in the middle between a CAPE SLEEVE and a MARIE SLEEVE. And similar to the MARIE SLEEVE, it is gathered just above the wrist, but only once, to give a bell-ish shape to the top of the sleeve. POET SLEEVES also sometimes have an uneven shape at the wrist, kind of like a wave, to give it a flowing shape when finished!  

    SLIT SLEEVE

    SLIT SLIT SLEEVES are exactly what they sound like—sleeves with a slit down the center. These are an open-type sleeve that are a lovely option for revealing shoulder designs. This design flows very nicely, too. Take the pattern shape for a MARIE SLEEVE, draw in a narrower shape for around the shoulder, and cut it down the center to get your two pieces!  

    TIERED SLEEVE

    TIERED TIERED SLEEVES require a little bit of work, because—like the PETAL SLEEVE—you need to work multiple, overlapped pattern pieces. Four pieces, to be precise. In the picture for the TIERED SLEEVE, you can see the four different pieces, all longer than the last. You can sew them all together as one big piece along the sides for a more stable shape or sew them together at the shoulder for a looser flow for the tiers.  

    CAP SLEEVE

    CAP Perhaps the tiniest sleeve of all in this compilation, the CAP SLEEVE! Obviously, this sleeve is very short, just a little lip coming out from the shoulder hemline. The pattern shape is very wide and has the slightest, gentle slope to it. It’s size usually doesn’t range, and its pattern shape is pretty unique as well. It’s a design often use for t-shirt-cut designs.     And there you have it! Some of the most common types of sleeves used in fashion broken down. There are other sleeve types available, but hopefully this is enough to help get you started and have an easier time planning how to draft out your sleeves! Have you made any of these yourself before reading this article? What other sleeve types do you think would be useful to know about? Leave some comments and share your knowledge and projects!
  • Quick and Easy Button Crafts

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    So; let’s talk buttons! Here’s a question for all of you casual button-enthusiasts out there: where do you most often use buttons? On a shirt? Pants? Usually closures, right? Maybe a pillow? Have you ever considered decorating with buttons? There are plenty of big and small projects that can be improved with just a few buttons! Working with buttons is a great and refreshing way to shift your mind and design in a different perspective! Sometimes it might help to think outside the box, but it might be better for others to think inside the box! You can focus on the big or the small details—buttons can go either way, and both methods produce different results!

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    Getting interested? Then you might want to consider trying out a Bag o' Buttons to get you started! These bags always provide an amazing assortment of button types, colors, and shapes. I was so impressed when I opened up a bag and saw how many different types poured out! These are available in both small and large sizes, so you can get the amount that suits your needs! So grab yourself a bag, check out some ideas below, and get ready to button up!  

    Button Brooch

    This is a cute idea that just involves stacking a few buttons on top of each other and sewing them together with a bit of complimentary embroidery thread! These come out best when using different sized buttons, and you can play with the color combinations all you want! Attach with a safety pin or brooch pin! DSC_1133

    Holiday Wreath Button Embellishment

    Embellishments on holiday wreaths look beautiful in any season! Since buttons come in all colors and designs, it’s easy to find buttons for every occasion and holiday. Add some buttons for a pop of color or to finish off seasonal motifs!

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    Button Pendent

    This is similar to the Button Brooch, but worn in a different spot! Buttons that are ornate and stand out proud on their own can take a center stage over a shirt pocket or dress hem!

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    Button Napkin Tie

    Another idea that’s simple, tying some buttons together with a little more embroidery thread can make for an adorable and colorful napkin tie! Use them for dinner parties and other special occasions you need a fresh dinner set for!

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    Button Flower Bouquet

    Button flower bouquets are beautiful and elegant pieces that can be wonderful setting pieces for the coming fall season! Use colors and flower designs reminiscent of mums, sunflowers, and harvest-time flora and set them in a decorative cornucopia to liven up a dining room or coffee table!

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    Button Bookmark

    Button bookmarks are vintage little clips that are safe on your wallet and your books! Take a paper clip, attach a button to each side on the end, and you’re done! You can use them for your favorite novel, marking important pages in textbooks, or for organizing your planner!

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    Button Pushpins

    Bored of your corkboard’s push pins? Don’t want to spend money on those pretty ones from the store? Decorate them yourself! Use some hot glue to spruce up any bland pins you have. These will give a cute and quirky touch to your corkboard!

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      These are just a handful of button DIY ideas, but it’s something to get you started! Have you done a button project that wasn’t listed here? Or maybe you thought of another project idea from looking at these? Share your comments and photos with us—we’d love to see more ways to use buttons!
  • Sewing a Cheetah Costume with Mood Fabrics

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    Halloween’s getting closer, and we couldn’t resist kicking off this week with another costume design! This is a cheetah-inspired design, made with our Black Heavy Compression Double Knit and Tan/Brown Leopard Knitted Faux Fur fabrics! This costume is a combination of two other projects we’ve completed before, the Sewing Yaya Han’s Ultimate Bodysuit project and the How to Sew an Easy Faux Fur Vest project, so if you’d like in-depth explanations for the steps we used, head over to those links to check them out! Here’s a list of all the tools and materials needed to make this design:

    Bodysuit

    McCall’s Costume Pattern #MP214 1 ½ yards, Black Heavy Compression Double Knit (1 5/8 yard if you go with the leggings for design D) One 24” Invisible Zipper in Black Black 100m Gutermann Extra Strong Thread Sewing Machine Fiskars Designer Set 2-piece Cutting Set, for cutting fabric 8″ Fiskars All-Purpose Scissors, for cutting pattern Quilting Pins

    Faux Fur Vest and Cuffs

    ½ Yard, Tan/Brown Leopard Knitted Faux Fur Dritz Tailor’s Chalk Razor/Box Cutter/X-acto Knife

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    It should be noted that, for this cheetah design, we used the black heavy compression double knit for all of the bodysuit instead of using the pleather together with it, but either will work! We also made a shorter, cropped version of the faux fur vest! Making the shorter design allowed us to add in some adorable matching cuffs with the leftover fabric to help complete the look!

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    I especially love working with the compression double knit we used here, because it’s thick without losing any stretch, and it’s designed to keep you dry and cool with its mirco air technology! Bodysuits can get super warm and uncomfortable if the fabric used to make them doesn’t breathe well, so this compression double knit is a fantastic option. If you plan to wear your costume for a long time, or just want that extra added comfort, give this fabric a shot! We carry it in multiple colors, too! This is the second time we’ve used this compression fabric, but you could make this bodysuit with other similar fabrics like: Stretch Faux Leathers and Pleathers Neoprenes Knits   As for the faux fur, we chose the tan/brown leopard knitted faux fur for it’s beautiful cheetah-like print and the lush, thicker pile. With a matte bodysuit, this fur takes the spotlight and really makes a statement! Plus, the ornate knit backing is comfortable and makes it an easy option—you can skip out on lining it, if you want! Here are some other faux furs you could use for your vest:   Remember to draw and cut your pattern pieces from the back of your faux furs!

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    What do you think? Do you see yourself dressing up as a big cat for Halloween? What other costume designs do you think these ideas would be useful for?
  • Mood DIY: Kid Flash Superhero Costume

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    There are a ton of kids costume patterns out there, but if you're looking to save some money with a DIY costume, you don't need to dish out the extra bills! More often than not, costume patterns for children end up being the equivalent of a t-shirt and pants sewn together at the waist with a few embellishments - a strip of fabric around their head turns them into a ninja, add a mask and cape and they're a superhero, some ears and a tail make them into any animal they want! The simple and free solution? Trace their PJs!

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    For this Flash costume, that's exactly what I did. The 4 pant panels were all made with the same shape - the fabric I used was super stretchy, but to make it more comfortable and to prolong its wearability, I kept the fit fairly loose like the original pajamas. The shirt panels are also fairly similar, but whereas the front panel is cut one the fold, the back is cut in 2 so it can be closed with velcro.

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    All fabrics and materials used: If you've never sewn with a fabric like this before, it's not as intimidating as it may seem! I just used a walking foot, a narrow zig-zag stitch, and a few wonder clips in place of pins (binder clips work well too!). The suit itself went together quickly and easily - attached at the shoulders and waist and added some sleeves. A 2" strip of extra fabric made the perfect binding for the neckline, like you see both above and below. dc the flash halloween costume The hood and lightning decals were a whole different story. Since most PJ sets don't come with a hood, I decided to make my own pattern, which you can download a free template of below!

    dc the flash halloween costume pattern

     

    DOWNLOAD FREE TEMPLATE PDF HERE

    The hood consists of two sides, with a 3" wide rectangle down the middle top. The free template download is scaled for someone with a 21"-23" head circumference, so you may need to play around with the sizing, but if not, you can print it out and use it like a regular pattern - no additional scaling needed!

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    The two larger circles become the chest decal. The white center piece is cut from the white pebbled vinyl, while the outer circle and lightning bolt were actually cut from the red and then painted with the metallic fabric paint, which worked absolute wonders! The ear decals were created with the smaller circles and lightning bolts. Remember to cut the two bolts out mirroring each other! I took some inspiration from the CW version of The Flash and kept the inner ear decals dark red.

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    All of them were attached to each other with tacky glue and to the suit with sticky back velcro so they can be removed to keep the suit machine washable, however they could easily be sewn or glued on!

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    The mask is built on top of an old generic superhero mask I had; the fabric was simply stretched over it and glued onto the back. No mask lying around? No problem! One cut from cardboard would work just as well!

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    All in all, it's a quick and easy costume to DIY, plus it's comfortable, versatile, and you can wash it! What could be more perfect for a kid?

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    So what costumes are you making this Halloween? Tell us below!

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    2016-10-14

  • The perfect pencil skirt

    If you're like me and love a pencil skirt, then you know the perfect fabric is the makings of a great skirt. Must have a bit of stretch, must have a bit of weight,  must be able to hold it's shape well and must make your butt look nice. This geometric knit perfect for fall is just that fabric. The pattern used for the skirts is my go-to self drafted pencil skirt pattern here with the following alterations: Yellow- no alterations Blue- removed the waist band and zipper Added 3" to the height of the waist Added 2 5"x30" wraps 2" down from the waist band.  (the wraps are 10" wide and folded in half) The white top is a mens button up with the collar removed that was stolen from my husband.  The  yellow off the shoulder top is vintage Butterick 5975 with the following alterations: -Cut the ruffle in an extra small in order to remove the elastic option. perfect-pencil-skirt_mood perfect-pencil-skirt5 perfect-pencil-skirt6 perfect-pencil-skirt7 perfect-pencil-skirt10 perfect-pencil-skirt-9 perfect-pencil-skirt8
  • Faux Suede Skirt

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    Faux Suede Skirt

    Fall runways have been loaded with garments and fabrics of faux suede, and seeing as I loved the fabric even before its shine in the spotlight, I wanted to take the chance to make a suede skirt—another popular item on the runway—for the coming season. Faux suede is a great fabric choice because of its soft texture, and the suede I used to make my skirt has a nice stretch that’s both form-fitting and comfortable to wear. I’ve always loved the visual appeal of suede, too; like velvet, it adds visual texture to an ensemble, and I love that. You can see the texture without having to feel it (though I’d be lying if I claimed I’ve never compulsively touched suede just to feel how soft it is!) Fabrics like this draw the eye, and it comes in a number of colors, too, making it a powerful fabric tool. The skirt is decorated with a few buttons, top-stitching with orange thread, and the front is closed with a slot seam. This skirt design is incredibly simple, just a few pieces—4 in total—and I made them from easy shapes you can draw out with a yard stick and pencil. I’ve provided an image to help you visualize what they looked like (I apologize that the shapes aren’t drawn exactly to scale, but so long as you get the idea!):  
    Pattern Guide Pattern Guide
    Four pieces and a yard of fabric. Easy, right? Make sure to fit the pieces in the direction shown in the picture, and you need FOUR CUTS for PIECE 2, so turn the piece 180 degrees if you need to in order to fit it in. The skirt falls just below my waist and the measurements I provided are to fit my size (I’m a 30” waist), so adjust accordingly for your own fit! I’m not going to go into a super in-depth tutorial for this skirt, but I hope the design won’t be too hard to figure out!

    Material List

    -        About 1 YD Black UV Protective Stretch Ultra Suede (#311396) -        3 QTY Copper/Orange Rhinestoned Metal Shank Back Button (#14805) -        474 Curry 100M Gutermann Sew All Thread (#100301) -        10 Black 100M Guterman Sew All Thread (#100246) -        1 QTY 580 Black 9” Invisible Zipper (#INV9-850) -        Pins -        Hand-sewing Needle -        Sewing Machine -        Scissors -        Tailor’s Chalk (for marking where your buttons will go before sewing them down) -        Pencil (for Patter Drawing) -        Pattern Paper (for Patter Drawing) This is the list of materials that I used. I used about a full yard of the faux suede fabric that I picked, but you may need more or less depending on the size you’re fitting the garment to. Judge the amount you need based off how long your skirt panels need to be (remember that there are 36 inches in one yard of fabric). After you’ve drafted your paper pattern and have cut out your fabric pattern pieces, you should have PIECE 1 (x2), PIECE 2 (x4), PIECE 3 ,(x2) and PIECE 4 (x1). I installed my zipper on the right side at the top, so between one PIECE 2 panel and one PIECE 3 panel. Pin all of them together like this and start sewing them together! NOTE: The two panels of PIECES 1 are sewn together using a slot seam! If you're not sure how to install a slot seam, click here to see what it looks like!

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    For my skirt design, I decided to hide the second part of the slot seam on the UNDERSIDE, like in the photo below. This is purely a stylistic choice--you can top-stitch it if you'd like!

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    After sewing them all together, I top-stitched with the orange thread. Top-stitching is a great way to add a dash of color to a garment, and I love using it whenever I can. It looks great so long as you work carefully and remain patient. This is honestly the longest step in the process to make the skirt, but you should do it. It removes the need for a lining and helps to stabilize the seam allowances on the wrong side of the skirt.

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    After top-stitching, you need to do a single-fold hem along the top of the skirt. DO THIS BEFORE INSTALLING YOUR ZIPPER! You won’t want a raw edge to show at the top of your skirt, so we’re doing this to prepare to hide it! Like so:

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    After hemming the top, install your zipper. If you don’t know how to install a zipper, click here to read our tutorial on how! Remember to line the very top of the zipper—not the teeth, the extra flaps—up with the top of the skirt.

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    After installing your zipper, you can go ahead and close up the skirt, right sides together. Make sure to sew flat along the bottom of the zipper to lock it in. You can also go ahead and top-stitch down along the sides of the zipper and down the seam you just closed the skirt up with. If the top of your skirt is too wide for your waist, add a dart in the middle of the back panel.

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    After that, roll the top hem again and top stitch down. Do the same on the bottom of the skirt

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    The last step is to hand-sew the buttons onto the front. Make sure to line your buttons up nicely where you want them to lay and use a piece of tailor’s chalk to mark where you’d like them to go before you sew them down. This’ll help prevent off-center buttons!

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    And that’s about it! Easy!   Can you think of other garments or accessories you’d like in a suede fabric? Do you have a favorite piece in a suede? Tell us all about it!
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