The Sahara Sew Along- Coming Soon!

We’ve been gearing up for a new sew along for a while. There was a vote in the Facebook group and Sahara won by a landslide! And since it comes in both Ladies and girls sizing it’s a great mommy-and-me opportunity or you can choose whichever you’d like… the steps are the same! The GREAT news is there’s a SALE going on right now, so you can get the Ladies or Girls Sahara and all of the other amazing Bella Sunshine patterns for 30% off (for a limited time). What can you expect from a sew along? Let me enlighten you.

 

 

Sew alongs can differ from group to group (because we are not the only sew along game in town), but with Bella Sunshine sew alongs, this is what you can expect.

There will be a clear timeline. We will have a schedule for which steps we intend to complete on which days. There will be a blog post for each block of steps with a few pictures and some helpful hints to help you follow along. Of course, you are more than welcome to work at your own speed. So if you want to work ahead, that’s great! If you’re a little slower, that’s fine too! We’re here to help and support you either way!

It should be informative and helpful. Each blog post will include some helpful lesser known or maybe lesser thought of tips and tricks to make your project go just a little smoother. It might be explaining a technique you’ve never used before, it might be a pattern hack that you can add in to make the pattern *more* (hint hint), you never know! Part of the idea of a sew along is to help those along who might not be as familiar with the techniques or steps, so if you join us, please don’t hesitate to ask questions (either on the blog or in the group, we answer both)! We are always more than willing to explain or demonstrate those things that are a little tougher to get.

Bella Sunshine sew alongs are a social and fun affair! While the bulk of the tips and steps will be posted here on the blog, we have a fantastic community in our group and we LOVE to see your work! Each sew along will have its own album with each day’s steps included where you can post participation pictures. Oh, and did I mention prizes? We will randomly give away a few patterns during the sew along and will award more prizes at the end to those who have completed it and shared their beautiful creations!

Want to join us? You totally should! We’d LOVE to have you! Just look out for the May 29th blog post for Sew Along Day 1, join our Bella Sunshine Facebook group for the community and to share your participation, and take a peek at our timeline so you know what to expect… and get ready! I can’t wait to get started!

Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing

Last week we went over some basic woven fabrics that are commonly used in garment sewing (you can read all about it here). This week, we’re bringing you the knits! Knits, as a general rule, are a little trickier to work with because of the stretch factor, but they can also create some of the most comfortable and beautiful pieces of clothing imaginable once you get the hang of it. So don’t be afraid! Read up, and try your hand! Just don’t forget your ballpoint needles, use lots of pins, and start SLOW! You’ll be sewing knits like a pro before you know it!

Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

The Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing

 

Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  1. Cotton Lycra/Cotton Spandex

    This is one of the more common types of knit around, especially with the explosion of custom knit small businesses in the last few years. These can range in weight/thickness from print to print, so make sure you check what you’re getting. It has a 4-way stretch, which makes it great when it’s a non-directional print because you don’t have to worry AS much about the pattern placement. Mid weights (10-12oz/yard) are usually a really nice weight for sewing with and wearing year-round. Lighter can work well for summer wear, but will be a little harder to work with and heavier will make nice cold weather gear. With it’s typically great stretch and recovery, this is a perfect choice for Ladies or Girl’s Sahara dresses!Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  2. Cotton Jersey

    Typically a lighter weight knit with a 2-way stretch, this is a common staple in making things like t-shirts. In fact, it’s perfect for the Ladies or Kids Reagan Raglan! It will typically be a little more slippery compared to the cotton lycra due to its lighter weight, but with lots of pins, it can make some pretty amazing things!Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  3. Liverpool

    This one is really nice for durable and beautiful women’s clothing. Liverpool is a cross between a double knit and a crepe, which means you get the stretch and durability of the double knit with the beautiful texture of the crepe. It’s an absolutely perfect choice for some of the more fitted women’s knit garments like our newly released Amelia! You can find it in a wide array of gorgeous prints… I’ve seen some of the most beautiful florals ever printed on Liverpool.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  4. Viscose Rayon

    Being lightweight and delicate, this will be one of the more challenging knits on this list to sew. Also, you will want to keep in mind that being a man-made fiber, it will not breathe as easily as natural fibers will, so will lend itself best to garments from fall to spring, as summer wear will likely induce excessive sweating. It is a lovely fabric, though, and definitely worth a mention here.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  5. Cotton Interlock

    A fully natural fabric, this can be comparable to the cotton lycra in weight, although it will only have a 2-way stretch (side to side) and often won’t have the same kind of recovery that the lycra provides. One of the huge upsides of this fabric is not only being sustainable but also being a good choice for all seasons. It is also a type that you can find in a HUGE array of colors and prints, so you can usually find just what you’re looking for.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  6. Sweater Knit

    Another tricky customer, but definitely worth the effort, sweater knit is unique in that it can come in a wide variety of fabric contents. It’s basically like someone did a ton of knitting, leaving just flat fabric behind for you to sew with. It’s typically monotone, striped, or heathered in various colors. It’s great for making fall and winter wear, like long-sleeved shirts or cardigans. In fact, Maggie would be adorable in a sweater knit.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  7. Fleece

    Fleece is a heavy-weight polyester knit with a 2-way stretch. You can often find it made into things like blankets, but it can also make awesome garments like jackets, sweaters and car seat ponchos if you have little ones in a cold climate. Being a man-made material, it does a good job of blocking wind and keeping the warmth in, making it PERFECT for winter wear items.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  8. Sweatshirt Fleece

    Like regular fleece, this is ideal for cold weather clothing. It has a smooth outer side and a fluffy inner side, although, you can flip those sides when sewing if you so choose. This often doesn’t have a ton of stretch, so make sure the patterns you choose for this fabric have a lot of ease built in!Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  9. Rib Knit

    This is a specialized knit with very obvious ribbing running through it. It is great for things like neck bands and shirt cuffs, but can also be used for full garments as well. While this is most often found in solid colors, you can occasionally find it in some prints as well.Top 10 Knit Fabrics for Garment Sewing - Knits always confuse me, so this is such a handy guide!

  10. Nylon Spandex/Swim Knit

    This is another specialized knit used primarily in the making of fitted bathing suits. Another type of fabric that might be used in a similar capacity is Polyester Spandex, but the polyester does not hold up as well to the chlorinated water as the nylon does. Both of these types of knits are also used regularly in the making of active or workout wear such as leggings, fitted tank tops, sports bras, etc. Just take extra care when sewing with these, though, as they are very slinky and slippery and can be difficult to work with. I recommend extra pins and taking your time.

Some of the pictures in today’s blog were provided by Sincerely Rylee, Who happens to be an AMAZING source for knits in the sewing community! Make sure you check out her shop and her facebook group!

Also, don’t forget to join our group for answers to your questions, support, or just to show off some of the amazing BSD projects you’ve made! And be on the lookout for some AWESOME knits for yourself or your little so you can join our Sahara sew along starting next week! Are you ready???

 

New Releases: Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top

Today is a dream come true for me.  For the past two years, I have had this design stuck in my brain just waiting to be released on the world. I’m so happy that day is here. And even more happy to have several of these beauties in my closet. I would like to introduce you to…

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top

The Amelia is perfection. It hugs all the curves you want to show off while hiding the ones you don’t. The neckline is perfect for date night while still hiding the assets. The lined bodice along with the tight band gives the bust plenty of support. And since the pattern comes with not only three garment lengths but also options fo a sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve version as well, you have options that will last you all year long. Even more exciting, this dress also comes in a children’s version which means… matching mommy-and-me sets! That makes my heart so excited. I sewed up a version for my girls and I and wore them on Mother’s Day. It was the perfect time for a mom and me photoshoot.  Take a look:

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

Another exciting thing about Amelia is that we expanded our size range to include MORE plus sizes!  So many of you lovely ladies have messaged me over the past several weeks saying that you are in love with our Ladies Sahara and Ladies Alice, but that you didn’t fit into our current size range. We plan on fixing that. The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top ranges from size 0 all the way to size 30! We plan on updating past patterns as well over the summer to the new size range.

As usual, our tester did a great job! Check out some fo their photos below:

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

The Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top PDF Sewing Pattern for women and girls by Bella Sunshine Designs

And since you guys loved the last one so much, we also made a video of the Amelia so you could see her at all angles:

The Amelia Dress & Top is available for only $5.50 for girls and $6.50 for ladies through Wednesday, May 24th at midnight EST. Be sure to pick up your copy before the introductory sale ends!

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric

Ruffles: You either love them or hate them. Or maybe you are like me and love them but hate sewing them! But did you know there is an easier way to get a perfect ruffle in half the time? I give you the secret to easy ruffles…
Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!This is SOOO easy guys! First thing you need to grab is some clear elastic. You can find it in the notions aisle of your favorite fabric store, or you can buy it here on Amazon.*

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!Cut the fabric to the size you need your finished ruffle to be. So if the fabric you are ruffling is 8″, but you want it to be 4″ when finished, cut your elastic to 4″.

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!Start at the end of the piece of fabric that you want to ruffle and put a few stitched in to hold the elastic in place. I’m using this technique for our new Amelia Maxi, Dress & Top. The waistband on it is ruffled at the side seam, so I’m going to go ahead and sew the two bands together AND ruffle them at the same time. Because of this, I am ruffling on the seamline. If you were going to ruffle first and then attached the piece to a garment, You could also apply the elastic within the seam allowance so it won’t be seen afterward.

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!As you are sewing, stretch the elastic to the total length of the fabric you are trying to ruffle. The beginning part of this is the most difficult as it might try to shift your fabric out of place. But once you get going, it will get easier.  I often hold the back end of fabric at first to keep it in place. When you get to the end, backstitch to keep your stitching in place.

Clear Elastic: An Alternative Way to Ruffle Fabric - I love this sewing tutorial! I love the look of ruffles , but hate sewing them. I never knew there was another way!You did it. This is what the ruffle looked like on the outside of the two pieces I sewed together. This was a much easier way of sewing the ruffle than basting since the fabric piece was so small. I also made a handy video for you of the whole process which you can view here:

Now you can go out and ruffle all the things! Clear elastic is so handy to have in your sewing toolbox. I use it on anything from ruffles to stabilizing seams. What is your favorite thing to use clear elastic for?

*This post contains affiliate links. That means when you click on the link and purchase something, we get a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog running. We only promote things that we recommend and love. 

New Release: Josephine Dress & Top Featured in One Thimble Magazine!

I have been keeping a secret from you guys the past couple months. If you were to ask my husband, he would tell you that things like this physically pain me.  I’m one of those people that tell you what I bought you for your birthday because I just can’t contain my excitement.  Well, the cat is officially out of the bag and I am now able to talk about the thing I’ve been keeping for the last several months…

Bella Sunshine Designs has been featured in One Thimble Magazine.

I’m going to let that soak in for a moment. Ahhhhh. I can barely contain my excitement. If you are unfamiliar with One Thimble*, you have been missing out! They are an Australian based digital sewing magazine that is FULL of wonderful things such as sewing related articles, tutorials, and PATTERNS! The magazine comes out once a quarter, and every issue they feature different pattern makers. I am honored to be featured in their current issue. I have been geeking out about it for months, and I am so happy I can now share it with all of you. So without further ado, I would like to present you to…

The Josephine Dress & Top

The theme for the magazine was “Prepster”. I knew this design would fit into that theme perfectly. I had originally planned to release it last year for fall and got sick and behind schedule. I’m so glad it’s finally a part of our pattern collection.

The Josephine’s  boat neck is such a classic design and pairs perfectly with the princess seams. The pattern includes instructions to add optional piping in the princess seams to really make them stand out when you are doing the garment in one fabric. The bodice features capped sleeves and a dropped waistline which is completely different from any of our past designs. The garment comes in three lengths: a top length, a mid-thigh vintage dress length, and a knee-length dress length.

I did both a traditional and a vintage dress length for my girls, and I was super happy with how they turned out.

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

The magazine also did a full photoshoot for the issue and they had some amazing shots of the Josephine along with some of the other patterns included in the issue.  I am overjoyed that our dress made the cover of the issue.  Check it out along with some of the One Thimble photos below:m

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

Our testers also did a great job with their dresses.

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

I love the Josephine pdf sewing pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs! It would be perfect to sew for my girls!

The Josephine Dress & Top is included with the current issue of One Thimble magazine. You can purchase a subscription here.* I have seen the issue, and it is FABULOUS!  Be sure to check out the other patterns included in the issue! There are a lot of super cute, classic children’s designs this issue. You can also purchase the stand-alone pattern on the One Thimble website.*

*This post contains affiliate links. That means when you click on the link and purchase something, we get a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog running. We only promote things that we recommend and love. 

Top 10 Woven Fabric Choices For Garment Sewing

There are TONS of different types of fabrics out there, and sometimes it’s hard to choose just the right thing for a certain project. Bella Sunshine Designs has a wide variety of different patterns designed for wovens, and sometimes the choices can be overwhelming. This post will attempt to help shed some light on the differences between some of the most commonly used woven fabrics used in garment sewing to help make your choices a little easier!

Top 10 Woven Fabric Choices For Garment Sewing

  1. Cotton or Quilting Cotton

    This is the most common, and typically least expensive, of the woven fabrics. You can purchase it in plain solid colors or with pretty prints on it. For the most part, it is good for everyday wear clothing. It will wrinkle, but it is iron safe at higher temperatures and typically easier to care for. Almost all of BSD’s woven designs can be made using this type of woven fabric.

  2. Linen

    The weave of a linen is a little looser than the cotton and it tends to have a nicer drape to it. It makes really great summer wear because of its lightweight nature and breathe-ability. It is most commonly found in solid colors, although, if you look hard enough, you can occasionally find a print or a solid with some metallic threads worked in which is great for adding interest and sparkle to a clothing piece. The Paradise Island Shift Dress by BSD is actually quite nice in a linen.

  3. Wool

    This is a heavier fabric and tends to be on the thicker side. It is GREAT for winter wear such as coats and pants. Some of it can be kind of itchy, but there are a lot of non-itchy varieties as well, you just have to test them by feel to find your favorites! (This is a GREAT  fabric choice for Gabriella’s Winter Coat pattern!)

  4. Denim

    Denim can be tricky. It is often (but not always) blue and comes in a wide variety of shades and weights/thicknesses. It’s perfect for mid-weight jackets, shorts, pants, skirts, jumpers… all kinds of things! Just make sure you take care with the fabric thickness part to ensure your machine can handle it. And always make sure you have the proper (denim) needle!

  5. Leather

    While not incredibly common anymore, this is still a really nice choice for jackets, vests, baby shoes, etc. The real thing tends to be on the pricier side, although you can get faux leather as well.

  6. Silk

    Silk is known for many things. It’s one of the strongest natural fabrics known, it’s soft, it’s lustrous and it often speaks to luxury. It also makes for some of the most beautiful and comfortable clothing you can wear. While its care regimen doesn’t often lend itself to children’s clothing often, it does make very nice special occasion wear for children or semi-dressy to full out formal wear for adults. One thing to note is you will definitely want fresh needles of the sharps variety when sewing with silk fabric.

  7. Satin

    Like silk, this is a very great option for special occasion wear and costuming because of its sheen. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of pins or clips on hand, though, because this, like the rest of the second half of this list, tends to be slippery while sewing, leading to much careful seam ripping if it isn’t properly pinned when you start!

  8. Chiffon

    Chiffon can be made with many different types of material from cotton to silk to polyester, but it is always a lightweight sheer fabric with an almost heavenly drape. It is often used in formal wear and ladies blouses, but is also quite nice as an overlay to children’s dresses as well. Can you just imagine a Felicity with a pretty printed chiffon over a brightly colored solid lining fabric? Talk about darling! Also another fabric you’ll definitely want fresh sharps on hand for to prevent runs in the fabric, due to its more delicate nature.

  9. Tulle

    Along the same lines as the chiffon in terms of use, but is structured more like a netting. You can get it in a wide range of textured based on how tight or loose that netting is woven. Tulle is great for pettiskirts to make a dress poof, or as its own outer skirt layer to make the design a little more light and dreamy. A layer or three on the top of any gathered skirt will make it look like a princess dress in a snap!

  10. Velvet

    Last, but certainly not least. This fabric will make an instant impression. It does come in knit (stretchy) and woven (not stretchy) versions, so take care to be sure you have the right one when purchasing. I have made many a holiday dress with velvet. It’s not only soft and beautiful, but it also tends to be warm (and I live where it gets cold). Another great use for velvet is to make cloaks and gowns for things like renaissance faires. It goes well with the period and keeps you warm on those crisp fall days!

Those are the most common woven fabrics by our count, but if there are others you’d like to learn more about, please let us know! We can answer questions now, or make another post in the future with different wovens included…. because there are SO many more! And be sure to check out our post on which needle you should choose depending on your fabric type! Also, please join us in our Facebook group to get inspiration, ask questions and share your creations! We’d LOVE to hear from you!

Know Your Needles! And the Fabrics They Go With.

There are many different types of needles out there. It would take forever to go through them ALL, but in this post, we’ll touch on the 5 most common and most used in garment sewing, and the fabrics and projects they are best suited for.

Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

Know Your Needles! And the Fabrics They Go With

Ready? Let’s get started!

 

Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  1. The Universal Needle.

    You can use this needle across a variety of woven or knit fabrics, from a mid-weight to a fairly lightweight without too much of an issue. If you’re just starting out and practicing, this might be a good choice for you as they are also sometimes a little less expensive than some of the other varieties. But they will also not always produce as beautiful as a result depending on the other aspects of the project, such as thread and fabric choices.Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  2. The Sharp or Microtex Needle.

    These needles have a much sharper point and narrower shaft than other needles, which makes it ideal for lighter weight or more finely woven fabrics like silk, satin, faux suede, and microfiber. It also helps enable perfectly straight stitching which makes it perfect for things like topstitching, edge stitching, and pintucks (which we at Bella Sunshine LOVE to do!)Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  3. The Ballpoint Needle.

    These needles were made for knits! Their points are rounded, which allow them to slide through the fibers of the fabric without breaking them, keeping the integrity and stretch of the fabric intact. They also provide the ability to produce more even stitching on coarser knits (interlocks, cotton spandex) as well as preventing damage to more fragile knits (spandex, brushed polyester) that might snag or run more easily).Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  4. The Denim Needle.

    These needles are designed thick and strong with an extremely sharp point for powering through thick, tightly woven fabrics such as denim, duck, and canvas. They are also ideal for going through many layers without breaking. In garment making, these would be most commonly used for making winter coats (like Gabriella’s) and heavier jumper dresses or pants.Know Your Needles (And the Fabrics They Go With) - The up close photos of the needles really show there is a difference! Must pin this for future reference.

  5. The Twin or Double Needle.

    Double needles are made with two needles connected to a single shaft. Their purpose is to mimic a cover stitch, or parallel finishing stitch, for a more professional look when completing a garment.

 

We hope you’ve found this helpful and that maybe you’ve learned a little something! If you have any questions about this, please feel free to visit us in our Facebook group here or ask in the comments below and we will do our very best to help! Come back next week to learn about some of the many different types of fabrics there are and all of the wonderful things you can turn them into!

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

If you’re here, we assume you sew or want to, and that’s great! Sewing is so much fun! A great way for some to relax, to add some uniqueness to a wardrobe, to expand a wardrobe, to decorate your home… there are SO many reasons people do it! But there are some very common across the board tools that EVERY person will need, no matter the project, and that is what this post is for! So, without further ado, here are our top must-have tools for any home sewist.

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

 

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  1. A sewing machine.

    Do you need a top of the line, it practically runs itself machine? Psshh… nah. Are they nice to have? Of course! But I started out with a low-end Walmart special machine when I started and those projects are still holding up today. As long as you are using it right, the machine does not matter a bit. (well, I wouldn’t buy those handheld machines or child-sized ones, but, you get the idea.)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  2. Machine feet

    Most commonly used feet (for apparel sewing) are the regular foot, buttonhole foot, and zipper foot. Most all machines will come with all 3 of these feet and we will have tutorials on using different types of feet at some point in the future. 10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  3. Extra machine needles

    ALWAYS a good idea. No matter how careful you are, needles WILL be broken. Just make sure you are buying the correct needles for the job! You can grab a variety of needles in large qualities on Amazxon for super cheap! Check it out here!* (Another future blog post coming your way soon!)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  4. Hand sewing needles and seam rippers

    Yes, you will need these. Some patterns will require hand stitching. Even if they don’t, they’re still a handy thing to have around. You never know when you might have to reattach a stray button somewhere. And the seam rippers will be used often. Even when you’re a veteran sewist. Trust me.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  5. Thread

    Self-explanatory.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  6. Straight pins and/or Wonder-Clips

    Some experienced seamstresses don’t always use things like this, but if you’re starting out, you’re DEFINITELY going to want to want this anchor to help you out. Even as experienced as I am, I still use them more often than I don’t. (p.s. I use both, which one depends on the project). Every seamstress needs a set of pins and a pin cushion, but Wonder-Clips are amazing!  They are super expensive if you buy them in a big box store, but you can grab them for cheap on Amazon.*10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  7. Measuring tape.

    You’ll need this for making sure you’re sewing the right size if you’re sewing a garment.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  8. A pattern

    If you’re on this blog, I’m guessing you’re leaning toward garment sewing. And most likely garment sewing for littles. That’s awesome! If you’re starting out, Bella Sunshine has several free patterns you can use to cut your sewing teeth, like Reagan’s Raglan and Isabella’s Banded Skirt! Just join our Facebook group here to learn how to get them! Along with this pattern (if it’s a PDF pattern), you will need a way to print it (either at a print shop or a home printer), along with scotch tape and scissors for cutting paper. Which are NOT the same scissors you will want to use to cut your fabric. Trust me on this.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  9. Fabric.

    Self-explanatory. Make sure you have the right KIND of fabric for your project as fabrics can vary wildly and will make a HUGE difference in your finished product. Any patterns you purchase should give you a list of suggested fabrics to use for the best outcome. Pay attention to that list for a superior result.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  10. Fabric cutting tools.

    Here you have a few options. The way I started out was with fabric scissors and a fabric marker. I laid my pattern out on my fabric, traced it with the marker and then used the fabric scissors (again, different from the ones used to cut paper) to cut the pieces. Nowadays I use a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and a cutting mat. It’s a little more expensive. It also takes a little practice, especially on the curves, but once you get the hang of it, it is SO much faster and easier than traditional scissors and I can’t imagine cutting any other way anymore. If you don’t already have a rotary cutter, I really recommend Fiskars for just starting out. It is inexpensive, and they have a great warranty.  You can pick up a starter set with everything you need here.*

*Anything marked with an asterisk is an affiliate link. That means if you purchase something when clicking that link, we get a very small percentage which keeps this blog going. That being said, we only link to products that we actually use and recommend. 

New Releases: Ladies Alice Pleated Dress & Ladies Sahara Dress & Top

The day is finally here BSD fans! We have had SO many requests for both of these patterns, that I know you are going to be so excited for this.  Our two most popular patterns, The Alice Pleated Dress and the Shara Dress & Top, are now available in Ladies sizes!! And the fit on these is perfection! Take a look.

The Alice Pleated Dress for Ladies

It’s not often that you get a woven pattern that fits so well with minimal adjustments.  But the Alice is that pattern. It comes in sizes 0-20 with 7 cup sizes (Cups A-G!). I think the fact that most people don’t need to do a bust adjustment is what helps make the fit so good right off the bat. I made myself an Alice for Easter, and it is wonderful! I cannot wait to show it off this coming weekend.

Don’t you love it? I think my favorite part is the pockets.  That way I can carry my keys but still look posh. I’m not big on carrying purses, so that’s a nice feature for me.

Our testers also did an amazing job on their Alices.  Everyone worked really hard this test. Look at their photos below:

Sahara Dress & Top for Ladies

Next up we have the Sahara.  When the girls version came out last month, at least 40 of you requested a ladies version stat! It comes in sizes 0-20 and includes a full bust adjustment for those of you that need one. I must say this is quickly becoming a staple in my wardrobe. It is such a quick sew and super flattering.  I love how you can wear it casually with jeans or leggings or you can dress it up with heels just depending on the fabric you use.  The pattern comes with two different necklines, three sleeve lengths (plus sleeveless!) and three dress lengths.  I made a sleeveless one for my final.  I promptly wore it to date night that weekend.  I love it that much.

Once again, we had a ton of fabulous testers that really helped perfect this pattern. I don’t think there is a single person that this garment doesn’t look flattering on.

If you already have the Sahara Play Dress & Top for girls, you know it currently only comes in two garment lengths. Well, that’s about to change because we have since added a tunic length! Some of our original testers were nice enough to test it out for me.  Take a look.

All you have to do to get your updated pattern is head to our My Account page to the downloads section.  Your updated pattern will be waiting for you.  We also changed the construction method to make for nicer finishes.  And if you don’t already have a copy, be sure to pick it up!

As if all that eye candy wasn’t enough, we made a video so you can take a closer look at these amazing garments.

The Ladies Alice Pleated Dress and the Ladies Sahara Dress & Top are currently on sale fo only $6.50. If you join the BSD Facebook group, you can get a coupon code for an additional discount valid the first 24 hours after the release.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy

I love box pleats.  They are one of my favorite things to add to my design simply because they are so classic.  They give a wow factor to any garment and they are fairly simple to sew. The Rebel Girl Party Dress and the Alice Pleated Dress both feature inverted box pleats and I just love them. I thought I would write up a quick tutorial to show you how easy they are.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy

Box pleats can look scary if you have never done them, but they are actually a snap! I took the photos from our Box Pleat hack we did for the Rose Bubble shorts to show you how to do them.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!First, transfer your pattern markings.  I like to use a water soluble fabric pen. Just be sure to test it on your fabric first.

Nect you want to line up your two outer lines and fold so they meet.  On BSD patterns, these are the solid lines.  The fold will be on the dotted line.
Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Then baste on that solid line and you will end up with something like what you see above.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

This is how it will look from the front.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Next you want to press the pleat so that the fabric in the back is distributed equally on either side of the basting. This will actually put your dotted line right at the basting.  The picture above shows both the right and the wrong side so you can see what it looks like.
You can then baste the top seam to keep the pleats in place when you sew.  Leave the basting in until you sew your final seam.  That way your feed dogs won’t shift the fabric out of place as you sew.

That’s it!  Now you are a box pleat master! Now you can add them to everything!