Tag Archives: sewing

Top Tip: Pre-cut interfacing strips

If you make alot of waistbands or button plackets, you may like this! (That is if you’re not already doing it!)

You know those fiddly little tasks in sewing ? The ones that make you go “ugh” and slump your shoulders when you reach that point in  make? Well cutting long narrow strips out of floaty lightwieght interfacing is one of those for me. Specifically we’re talking waistbands and button plackets. Invariably my sheet of interfacing is an odd wonky shape from where I have cut out pieces for previous projects. And I’ll have oddments of interfacing that are too small to be of use but will come in handy “one day”. Which I find  quite  messy and a little bit wasteful (as I probably won’t end up using those pieces anyway), and makes it tricky to find the right spot to cut your piece of interfacing from.

It occurred to me when I was cutting some interfacing for  a waistband the other day….why not cut a whole lot of it in one go?
Sewing tip pre cut your interfacing stripsI generally cut the same width of waistband on every make as I have found a width that is comfy on me. So I always need the same width of interfacing. So I just cut a load extra and rolled it onto an empty masking tape roll to store for future use.

Easiest way to do it for me was to fold my interfacing several times and mark out my strips in the right width….then cut…and you have multiple strips ready for future projects…and no waste!Sewing tip pre cut your interfacing strips

Sewing tip pre cut your interfacing strips


Makes me wonder if there is a product like this already out there? Rolls of interfacing strips in various weights. Like wundaweb but only sticky on one side? In any case…I won’t have to be faffing with interfacing strips for a while 🙂Sewing tip pre cut your interfacing strips


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FO: DIY Harem Pants (Drop Crotch Trousers)

An area of garment sewing that I haven’t massively explored is trousers. Like alot of people I find the potentially complex fitting and pattern adjustments involved a little off putting. (It’s probably one of those situations where the reality is nowhere near as bad as the anticipation of it!) I HAVE been sewing up some trousers on the quiet in Shedquarters in a bid to start cutting my teeth on trouser sewing AND develop a self drafted pattern for my ideal pair of trousers. Apart from my beloved skinnies (I have no intention at this stage to venture into jeans sewing!) my preferred trouser silhouette is slouchy and comfy…DIY HAREM PANTS

These drop crotch trousers (harem pants, “hammer” pants, call them what you will!) have been in constant rotation since I made them.  They’re a reincarnation of a jersey pair I made a couple of years ago to test the idea out. That pair has been in constant use ever since but since they were a test pair I didn’t take the time to achieve a decent finish (and the jersey attracts every last bit of fluff in a 5 mile radius) so I tend to wear them around the house; and I’ve been wanting to revisit the idea and make a more “grown up pair” suitable for being out in public (!) for a couple of years now! (These are made from a lovely black crepe from Dragonfly Fabrics. Get 15% off with code “DRESSMAKING” at checkout).

One of the awesome things about these trousers is they don’t require any traditional fitting as dropping the crotch kinda makes it redundant in terms of fitting to the body. Drafting a pattern for your own is a pretty easy undertaking too. I simply used a pair of existing trousers as a template. I made the waist wider as I wanted to incorporate some pleating and give some drape…DIY HAREM PANTS

Then I traced the approximate shape of the trouser outline with the exception that the crotch is dropped to 16″ from the waist. The crotch point (is that the term?) is much lower and  deeper. If you’re going to drop the crotch, it has to be wider to allow for the width of your stride when you walk. The lower you drop the crotch, the wider the crotch will have to be to allow for your stride (does that make sense? If you stand in a pretend walking position then consider the distance between your legs. They’ll be further apart at the ankle than they are at the thighs. That distance has to be factored in when you decide on your crotch width)

I subtracted my waist measurement from the final width of the pattern piece and marked in pleats to take up the excess…DIY HAREM PANTS

Then narrowed to the ankle taking account of the measurements around my knees, calves and ankles. The whole thing was drafted to include SA as I went. It’s such a loose style that you can get away with it!DIY HAREM PANTS

There is just one pattern piece from which I cut 2 pairs…DIY HAREM PANTS

Construction as follows:

  1. Sew the front and back pieces together at the side seams
  2. Sew the front and back pieces together at the inner leg seam up to the crotch point
  3. Turn one leg the right way out
  4. Place inside the other leg
  5. Line up the crotch seams matching at waist and crotch
  6. Sew the crotch curve all in one go


That’s your basic trouser! Add the pleats and baste those. Then add a simple elasticated waistband (Mine is a simple band of fabric applied to the waist and then folded over, with elastic inserted) and you’re done!

I’ll likely be making more of these and may well do a more detailed tutorial at some stage. I’m afraid light levels & the fact that I chose black for this project made it impossible, with my meagre photography skills, to photograph this one in more detail. But I think you’ll get the gist from this!

Such a super simple and comfy pair of trousers! If you fancy cutting your teeth on some trouser sewing without the fitting fears…give this a try!!

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FO: Scuba Pencil Skirt + tutorial

This may actually be one of the most versatile garments I’ve sewn! I don’t normally style a make in lot’s of different ways for a blog post, but since skirts are an alien concept to me I needed to try out a few ideas and see what worked best for me. It turns out quite alot works with a black pencil skirt which shouldn’t surprise me as it’s often touted as THE supreme wardrope staple. It’s just that as a lifelong tomboy I tend to stick resolutely to trousers. I may have been swayed with this make…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT OUTFITS

So…if I’m such a trousers devotee…you might ask what prompted me to sew a pencil skirt? Well….I’ll explain! I fell prey to the confusion that exists over the difference between neoprene and scuba. Know the difference? I didn’t! I saw the word scuba and thought I had ordered neoprene. Which is a foam core sandwiched between two layers of dense knit. (Yes, the stuff that wetsuits are made from hence the “Scuba” confusion) I planned to make a giant tote/shopper. Then my scuba arrived… (Remnant Kings at £9.99 a metre. This is the heavyweight scuba that they have currently sold out of but they have the medium weight and some new crepe scuba in stock which would also work for a lighter version of this. Get 10% off when you use the code MAKERY10 )SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Scuba it turns out is a very dense knit. Sturdy but with some drape and firm stretch and a very slight sponginess. Definately apparel weight though. So I had to rethink my plans; and “The Scuba Skirt” was born!

It’s a simple make and requires no pattern. You just need your hip measurement…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

And your desired length. With the fabric folded in half selvedge to selvedge, mark your length on the fold…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Then square across from this point by half your hip measurement (no SA needed as this is stretch and I’m serging…but add a little SA if you’re using your standard machine). Then square up to create a rectangle…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Cut along your lines and up the fold so you have 2 separate rectangles. Then sew along the sides to create a tube and try on…


Pin to fit whilst you are wearing it. Tapering at the waist and hem to create that classic pencil skirt curve at the side seams….remove the skirt and even out the line of pins so it’s a smooth curve that  blends into the seam at the hip…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

To mark the curve identically on both sides remove the pins from one side. Fold the skirt in half lengthwise, lining up the side seams; then using the remaining line of pins, pin through all layers at once…being careful not to change the position of the pins and retain the shape of the curve…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Mark the position of the pins with chalk on one side…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Then flip over and do the same on the back…


When you remove those pins and open out the skirt you’ll have the outline of your curve marked identically on both sides…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Join those marks then use the line as a guide to sew your new curved side seams. Make sure the line is lined up with your needles and then serge or sew…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Create a simple folded over waistband. A strip of fabric, sewn together to fit your waist snugly (Make sure you can get it over your hips too) then folded over…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL



With the skirt RS out line up the waistband seam with the CB of your skirt and the sides of your waistband with the side seams of your skirt. The waistband will be marginally smaller…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Slide the waistband onto the skirt with raw edges aligned. Pin in place. Serge/Sew together. You’ll need to stretch slightly as you sew to take up the slight bit of slack between the waistband and the skirt itself….then hem…and you’re done! Easy right?!SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Except a word of advice. Warning. Call it what you will. While I LOVE this fabric and my finished skirt. My serger did not and threw an absolute paddy when it came to the waistband. I have the Singer 14SH754. Yep the Lidl spesh that I got a few years back. (and I know a few of you have bought one recently). While I don’t deny that this fabric is sturdy…and dense…I’d liken it to sweatshirt fabric in terms of thickness and stretch. And it’s my honest belief, that when my manual gives instructions for sewing “heavyweight” fabrics…it should have been able to cope with this. It could not. I won’t go into the details of the injuries my machine sustained. Far too gruesome, lol! It’s with the servicing company as we speak . This is not the first thicker fabric that my Singer failed to cope with. And I’ve come to conclude that this machine is not actually powerful enough for thicker fabrics. So…my advice would be this if you intend to work with this fabric…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

My serger managed 2 layers of this. But it didn’t like it. It grumbled at me while I was sewing and I should have listened. When attaching the waistband you’re looking at 3 layers of this stuff (+ seams!). If your serger in any way complains at 2 layers of this…do not even attempt to attach the waistband using a serger. In the end I used DENIM needles and a zig zag stitch on my standard machine (a Janome) for this stage. The fabric is completely non fray so the unfinished edge is not problematic. And trust me….you don’t need the heartache of a broken serger when you have projects to finish (and deadlines to meet, aaaargh!). In hindsight I wish I’d done the whole thing on my standard machine. She did me proud my Janome. If you go down the standard machine route, then definitely try the denim needles and look at increasing your stitch width and length to account for the the thicker fabric. Swatch it all first and you’ll be good.SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Despite the trauma of “sergergate” I sincerely do love this skirt which is quite a revelation to me. The scuba is perfect for smoothing over lumps, bumps and VPL. The waistband is CRAZY comfy and it really is a very comfy and versatile piece.  I tried out a few different looks…flat or heeled boots with a variety of tops…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT OUTFITS

The first stripe top is the one I based my spotty box top on and is refashioned from a thrifted jersey nightdress. The camel and black stripe top is a cropped variation of a hemlock tee that I never blogged. Then grey hemlock blogged here. Then the camel top is refashioned from a skirt (due to be blogged) and the black top in the last pic is a black crepe test version of the 2 Hour Top. A free pattern from Sew Different. (I love it!) I think they all work as outfits. I think you can probably guess which 2 I am most likely to wear considering my tomboy tendencies. But at least now I know I have a dressier more ladylike option. To be fair, there is something about this skirt that makes me feel feminine (without being girly) which is a slightly odd and alien state for me. A totally new silhouette. And what is it with pencil skirts that makes you feel like you want to sashay like Jerry Hall when you walk?!

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How To: Remove Stitch Marks from Fabric

With The Refashioners 2015 juuuuust around the corner,  and this years community challenge running in parallel, there may be just a few people this August refashioning shirts! I thought, what better time to share this little technique  for getting rid of stitch marks! The kind you get when you unpick a hem or  dart, or remove a pocket.; and simple pressing just isn’t cutting it.  Welll…it is possible to minimise and, in some cases, completely remove those marks. It’s not a complete cure in all cases  as it depends on a few different factors. BUT, I think you’ll agree from the before and after shots, it’s worth a try, right?How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Here’s what I’m talking about. This is a piece of cotton fabric where I was trying out some Sashiko embroidery. Wasn’t happy with it, so unpicked it in order to start again. One problem….stitch marks!! (I’m using this as a sample for this how to as the weave is larger and easier to photograph, but this applies to machine and hand stitching alike.)

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Here it is after a simple press. Better. But not great! What happens with holes is the weft and warp threads of the fabric get moved out of alignment as the needle passes through the fabric and they stay that way even once the thread is removed. If you look closely at the first two pics (tap to enlarge and zoom in) you can see the individual threads are skewed around the stitch holes.

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Now for the secret to erasing those stitch marks! Use your nail…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

…or a spoon. With a firm pressure appropriate to the sturdiness of your fabric, drag it across the weft (left to right then right to left) and the warp of the fabric (up and down) Press with steam and repeat 2 to 3 times.

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

See the difference? The repeated dragging action manipulates those warp and weft threads back into place and the steam fixes them there. Clever huh? But we’re not quite done…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Flip the fabric over and repeat on the other side. Drag your nail/spoon across left and right, then up and down then press with steam…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

All done!

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Quite a difference huh? This technique will work on most wovens to a greater or lesser degree depending on two factors. The fineness and weave of the fabric itself AND how long those stitches have been in there. In some instances the fabric will be too delicate or the stitches will have been in too long (I’m talking existing garments type long!) for this to be completely effective. BUT in a lot of cases this will help erase all memories of that bodged stitching (we all bodge seams right?!) so no-one will ever know 😉


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