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!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams

We all have a little extra weight sometimes. You know that bulkiness that you can’t seem to get rid of? No, I’m not talking about what happens to your body after the holidays (or wait, does that only happen to me?) I’m talking about the extra baggage in your seams! Often times when you add a couple layers, your seams expand from too much fabric and look, well, terrible. There is an easy fix for that: grade your seam allowance!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams

Now seam grading sounds like something only a teacher would do, but it’s just a simple term for cutting off your seam bulk. Check the photos below for how to do it.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

First, we start with a seam with multiple fabric layers.  For this tutorial, I have used four layers together and pressed the seam allowance to the right. I did each layer a different color so you could easily see what to do.Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!
When looking at the wrong side, you want the top layer of the seam allowance to be the shortest. Therefore, you are going to trim this layer the most. Since I have four layers of fabric in the seam allowance, I trim this one pretty short. If you only had two layers, you could just trim this seam allowance to half.
Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams
Now do the same thin as the last step, trim this second layer to just past the top layer. Since I have four layers of fabric, I trimmed this layer to half.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

Now it’s time for you final trimming. Take the third layer, and trim a small amount off. Leave the bottom layer untouched.  As you can see, all the layers are visible, and by gradually trimming the seam allowance, you have greatly reduced the bulk.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later! Here’s what it looks like from the front.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later! And here is a close-up of the seam allowance. Now you can be super precise if you want and get a ruler out and mark an amount you need to cut off. Personally, I find if you just keep each layer shorter than the next one, it will turn out perfectly fine. But if precise is your thing, take the amount of your seam allowance and divide it by the number of layers of fabric you have to adjust. For example, if you have 4 layers of a 1″ seam allowance, you would trim the first layer .75″, the second .5″, and the last layer .25″.

Now if only all those holiday treats came off so easily. ha ha.

We use this technique on our Sahara Dress & Top for Girls and our Sahara Dress & Top for Ladies. If you don’t have these pattern yet, you are missing out!

12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need To Quit Doing - So guilty of number 5!

12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing

A year ago today we wrote our viral post 15 Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing.  That post has had over 170 comments at the time of this writing.  It was so popular that we thought we would follow it up with another post.  So without further ado…
12 More Bad Sewing Habits You Need To Quit Doing - So guilty of number 5!

12 MORE Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing

1. Using your teeth to cut your thread

Broken teeth, appendicitis, dentist trips. Holy smokes! This was the number one thing people commented and said was a bad sewing habit of theirs that they had to break.

2. Not ironing your fabric before you cut your pattern

OK this may only apply to those of us that prewash and put the fabric away as a wrinkly mess. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) I once cut out a dress from lining without ironing the fabric first and ended up with a dress an entire size too big.  Whoops!

3. Getting in too much of a sewing groove (AKA not paying attention)

This totally happened to me the other day. You would think a fashion designer would know better, but I was listing to music, enjoying some kid-free time, and cutting away. And then I realized I had completely laid out the fabric wrong and not paid attention to the grainline.  Have you ever cut two left pant legs because you were in a groove? Yep, me too.

4. Knowingly using the wrong needle for a project

Admit it. You do this. You do this more often than you care to admit. Ok maybe I’m just talking to myself here, but I have totally used a stretch needle on woven because, eh, I don’t care that much and I’m in a hurry. Please let me know I’m not the only one that’s done this.  I do normally regret it later when my seam looks terrible.

pins photo

Photo by gosheshe

5. Thinking, “I’ll just hem this later”

And there is sits for 6 months (or more!).  This bad sewing habit is also a cousin to, “I’ll finish this hand stitching tomorrow.”

6. Setting anything on your cutting table that does not directly relate to the project you are working on

This is by far the quickest way to turn your cutting table into something that slightly resembles that tv show Hoarders. Seriously, how does all that “stuff” pile up so quickly?

7. Not changing your rotary blades often enough.

This is one of the bad sewing habits that I am the most guilty of! You know what happens. You get a tiny knick in the blade, but it still works 50% of the time.  And that knick is small.  It just misses one thread or two and if you press harder it works fine. Before you know it every inch you blade isn’t cutting and you know it needs to be replaced, but you just keep using it and you don’t know why. When you finally do replace it you wonder what in the world took you so long and remember how nice it is to have a nice fresh blade on your rotary cutter.

pins photo

Photo by dhendrix73

8. Sewing Over Pins

Now this is a topic that is much debated in the sewing world. But if you’ve ever hit a pin just right and had it go flying at your face, you will understand exactly why this is a bad sewing habit. One perk is that it normally only takes this happening once or twice before you decide that this is a habit you must break (you know, next time you sit down to sew something.)

9. Taking too many sewing short cuts

Understitching? Eh, topstitching is close enough. Grading those seams? I’d rather keep sewing. Basting? I’m sure if I put enough pins, it will turn out fine. And then you look at what you just did and all you can think is, “Why didn’t I take the extra step?” For the record this is the point in the project that you and your seam ripper become BFF’s.

10. Letting those little threads/ fabric scraps go everywhere but the trash can

Does your dog wear thread in his fur like its an accessory? Does your daughter hoard little pieces of scraps she finds randomly all over the floor? When you are at the grocery store, does the person behind you say, “Ma’am, there’s little pieces of red thread all over your back.” Just me? Ok moving on.

thread photo

Photo by sarae

11. Not snipping your threads after every seam

In my head, its easier to just wait until the end of a project and snip everything all at once. As I’m sewing I actually repeat this to myself in my head as I see all those loose threads. But you know what happens at the end of a project? I forget spots. Then later when my daughter is wearing the garment I notice all these threads randomly hanging. My New Year Resolution for last year was to cut these threads after every seam. I would love to tell you I succeeded, but…

12. Trying to take on too many projects at once

OK this might just be a me thing, but I tend to think I can make no less than 75 things any given week. And I’m not talking about 15 minute projects. No, I mean dresses with 1.5 miles of ruffles with more pin tucks than you can count. Oh and did I mention I need to drive to the fabric store to get materials too? Then before I know it I have a million half used supplies and a ton of unfinished projects. I have sewing ADHD.

So tell me, did you fair better this time? How many of these are you guilty of? Let me know in the comments. And if you have anymore bad sewing habits that are not on the list, tell them to me!

 

 

 

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape

There is a secret to perfect bias tape that not many newbies know. I know when I first started sewing, I would marvel at how other seamstresses would add bias tape trim and it would look so perfect!  I wanted to know how to get those results, but every time I tried to add it on, I failed miserably. Well, fear no more! You too can end up with bias trim that makes other people wonder how you did it.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape

The first time I applied bias tape, I wrapped it around the edges and sewed it on in one swoop. If you’ve ever done this, you know that a majority of the time it looks like you sewed it in the dark. While it is quick, the result is terrible. It makes things look more “homemade” than handmade. The real trick to bias tape is to not only apply it in steps, but also apply the right side of the tape to each side of the fabric. Confused? Don’t be. It’s easy. Let’s get started.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Bias tape (the commercial stuff anyway) has a longer/wider side and a shorter/narrower side. This helps you catch the entire tape when sewing it on in the final step. Keep on reading and you will see what I mean.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

We are going to sewing on the wider/longer side first. Open up your bias tape and place the right side of the bias tape to the wrong side of your fabric. Align the raw edges and then sew the bias tape on using the fold as a guide for your seamline.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Now refold the bias tape back down towards the raw edge…

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

…and flip you fabric over to the right side. Continue to refold that bias tape around towards the front of the fabric. All raw edges should now be enclosed in the bias tape. You re now ready for the final step.

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Sew the bias tape along the fold to close it. Now since you took your time to apply it, you back should look like this…

The Secret to Perfectly Sewn Bias Tape - This tutorial is super easy to follow! I can't wait to try it out next time I sew something with bias trim. Pin for later!

Ta-dah! Like magic! Now everyone will wonder how you got those stitches in so perfectly. And you can tell them its because you can sew like a boss!

Want to practice your new found bias tape sewing abilities? Several of our pattern feature bias tape like the Holiday Cutout Dress & Top or the Alice Pleated Dress.

The Alice Dress & Top releases next week! Be on the look out for sneak peeks on our Instagram!

What is your next project you plan to use bias tape on? Let me know in the comments!

 

Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long: Day 8 – Final Details, Button Holes, and Buttons

Day 8: Final Details, Button Holes, and Buttons

Today is also a catch up day.

Welcome to Day 8 of the Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long! Are you still with us? Day 5 was a mid sew-a-long catch up day. If you need to go back, here is where you can find Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6, and Day 7.

Today will be fairly quick to finish. If you have never sewn button holes before, don’t worry, I will be showing you how in detail. Today will be steps 35-39 of the pattern instructions.

Final Details

Follow steps 35 & 36.

With the main side up and beginning at the bottom of the right front placket (the right when you are facing the coat), top stitch at 1/4″ up the placket, around the neckline, down the opposite placket, and around the hem of the skirt.

TIP: Since the layers are a little thick, use a medium-long stitch length for top stitching. If you have to lengthen your stitch even further when going around the neckline due to there being more layers there, do so.

Make sure to move the hood out of the way of your stitching so you don’t sew it down.

top-stitching Read more

Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long: Day 6 – Add Collar or Hood and Sew Facings


Day 6 – Add Collar or Hood and Sew Facings

Welcome to Day 6 of the Gabriella’s Winter Coat Sew-A-Long! Are you all caught up? Day 5 was a mid sew-a-long catch up day. If you need to go back, here is where you can find Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.

Today will be the most labor intensive day of sewing. We will be adding the collar and/or hood and sewing the facings. This will be steps 20-26 in the pattern instructions.

Add Collar or Hood

There are a few options here for how you want your hood to be attached.

  1. Attached hood with collar inside – This will make it so that the wearer’s neck is protected from the wind even if her hood is down.
  2. Attached hood with no collar.
  3. Detachable hood – I am giving instructions for using snaps, but you could use buttons and button holes to achieve the same effect if you desired.

Add Collar Only

Skip if doing any hood option.

Follow steps 20-22 in the pattern instructions to add your collar. Make sure to line up your notches with the shoulder seams and center of the neckline.

Assembly for the Attached Hood

If adding a collar, assemble your collar following the directions in steps 20 & 21 of the pattern. Set this aside.

Recall your seam allowance determined when you traced your hood to create the pattern pieces. Take your main hood pieces and sew them right sides together along the back curve. Clip the curve and press the seam open. Repeat with the lining pieces.

Note: Do NOT sew along the bottom or front edges.

TIP: Stuff the hood with fabric to access the seam in the curve to press it open.

20161015_043616 Read more

How to Cover Plastic Snaps with Fabric

How to Cover a Plastic Snap in Fabric

Plastic snaps come in all sorts of colors, but there are still a variety of reasons that you may wish to cover them in fabric instead. You may not have snaps in the correct color to match your project, you may want to have a print on your snaps, you may want to quickly camouflage a snap, and many more reasons.

For this tutorial, you will need:

  • Plastic snaps (ex. KAM or Babyville snaps)
  • Fabric
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread

Step 1: Lay a snap cap on your fabric and cut out a circle of fabric that is larger than your snap cap. Remove the snap cap from the fabric.

TIP: Tracing a quarter (the coin) can help you achieve a nice circle.

Step 2: Thread your needle and tie a double knot in the end. Use a running stitch to go all the way around ~1/8″ from the edge of the circle.

20161014_190908 Read more

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

Adding piping in a seam is an easy way to give your finished garment that gorgeous end detail but also when you go with a different piping color then it will give that pop of color as well.

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to add piping into the waistline of our newest girl pattern, The Charlotte Dress & Top! for a gorgeous end detail!

So let’s just started:

STEP 1: Follow steps 1-9 of your pattern tutorial to start with your garment construction. if you are going to add piping detail, follow the following steps:

STEP 2: With the right side of the main bodice facing up and the lining pushed back and out of the way, lay the piping along the waistline. Leave a bit of extra piping hanging at the end of each back waistline! Make sure the stitched lined of the piping is aligned with your seam allowance! Pin in place.

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

STEP 3: Curve the extra piping towards the bottom of the bodice at each back. The cording portion of the piping should be just past the

seam allowance. Baste the piping into place using a piping foot or a zipper foot following close to the piping stitch.

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

STEP 4: Follow steps 11-21 of the pattern tutorial to sew the skirt placket and preparing the main skirt to be sewn to the main bodice.

STEP 5: With right sides together, align the main skirt to the bottom of the main bodice making sure that the lining is pushed out the way.  Align the raw edges, match side seams and back plackets while still keeping the main skirt placket hidden under the skirt on the right side. The piping will be sandwiched in between. Pin. Sew the skirt to the main bodice only. Press the seam towards the bodice.

Important: Here when I sew the main skirt to the bodice I like to sew the side of the bodice and not the gathered side. This is because I can follow closely the stitch I made when I was attaching the piping to the bodice!

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

STEP 6: Flip your garment to the right side, and check that your piping looks good. Make any necessary adjustments! For example stitch a little closer or rip a bit and stitch again to make it look good all around the waistline.

See how it looks at the back

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

And inside before we enclosed with the lining. Now go ahead and trim off that extra piping!!!

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

STEP 5: Now all you need to do is to just finish your garment construction per the pattern tutorial.

Don’t forget to topstitch your piping detail!!!

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

And you are done!!! Sit back and enjoy your garment!!!

Gorgeous right!!!

Front view

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

 

Side view

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

 

Back View

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

We just love that pop of lila colour between the waistline don’t you?! She insisting on matching it with her purple purse :)!!

Sewing Piping: A Fun & Easy Garment Detail - What a great tutorial! I've always wanted to know how to add piping to a seam!

 

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket

I love having a skirt placket in my little one’s dresses. They make getting the garments one and off super easy which makes this mom’s life easier.  Anything that makes the day go a little better when you have kids is a win in my book.  Don’t you think? A lot of the BSD patterns include this very simple placket in our tutorials.  One of my favorite things about it is it is hidden. It also is sewn in super quick! Another win! Here’s how to do it.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket

You will need for this tutorial:

  1. Skirt placket pattern piece OR a 8″ x 1.5″ cut piece of fabric (cut on the bias)
  2. Back skirt piece

Be sure and cut your placket piece on the bias! You will need the fabric to be a little bit more flexible to get it to lay nice and flat.

Press the skirt placket piece wrong side together 1/4″ (0.5 cm) on one of the long sides. This is how it will look like after pressing.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Fold your back skirt in half RST. Mark a line at the fold of the skirt down 4″ (10cm) from the top of the skirt. Cut to make the opening for the placket. This is how it should look like.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later! Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later! Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Now open the cut you just made into a wide “V”. This is how it should look like.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

With the wrong side of the skirt  and the right side of the placket together, align the unflolded raw edges of the placket with the open slit on the top of the skirt and pin and sew. When you sew, start with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance and gradually taper the allowance when you get close to the centre of the placket to a needle width seam allowance. Then, as you sew back up to the opposite top edge the skirt, widen the seam allowance back to 3/8″ (1 cm) again.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Now we will fold the placket around the raw edges to the right side of the fabric.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Make sure there is no puckers at the bottom of the placket, edge stitch 1/8″ (0.3 cm) away from the folded edge. Press. Beautiful right!

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

With the back skirt folded RST, we will sew the bottom of the placket at an angle to complete the placket tutorial. Sew at an angle will help your placket lay flat when folded in half! Just perfect!

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

You are almost there! Place your back skirt right side up. Fold the right side of the placket behind the skirt, press and baste it in place.

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

The placket should be hidden when closed and no longer visible from the right side. Isn’t this beautiful!

Sewing DIY: The Continuous Bound Skirt Placket - I'm going to add this placket to all my dress patterns that don't have one! Must pin for later!

Take a minute to admire your Skirt placket!

Now what you should end up with is a beautiful placket (without puckers!). This placket can sometimes take a little practice to perfect, but I promise you, you can do them in your sleep after you have done them once or twice.  Now you add a placket to any dress that doesn’t already have one!

Violet Flounce Dress & Top: Clear Elastic Tutorial

elastic straps

Today’s post will show you how to prevent the seams of the spaghetti straps and the back bodice of our new pattern, Violet Flounce Dress & Top, from stretching out using clear elastic.

What you will need:

  • clear elastic
  • Pattern pieces
  • Fabric

 

Adding clear elastic to the straps:

  1. With right sides together, align the long edges of one strap and fold. Mark your seam allowance.

IMG_6472

2. Arrange your sewing so that the clear elastic is on the top of the marked seam allowance. Sew your seam, stitching on the clear elastic to secure it within the seam allowance. Don’t stretch the elastic or your straps. Cut some excess elastic off. Repeat this step  with the rest of the straps.

IMG_6474 IMG_6475

3. Follow step 5 of the pattern tutorial to turn all your straps right side out.

NOTE: Sometimes depends on the type of the knit you will be using, your straps will be stretched a bit, after turning them right side out, check this by comparing them with the straps pattern pieces. If stretched out cut that extra off.

IMG_6476 IMG_6477

And you are done! You can continue with step 6 of the pattern tutorial to attach the flounce!

Adding clear elastic to the back bodice:

  1. Place your back bodice and back facings right side together (straps are sandwich here). Mark your seam allowance.

IMG_6482

2. Arrange your sewing so that the clear elastic is on the top of the marked seam allowance. Sew your seam, stitching on the clear elastic to secure it within the seam allowance. Don’t stretch the elastic or your bodice. Cut some excess elastic off.

IMG_6483

You are done!  Continue with  step 12 to complete the dress or top.

IMG_6486

IMG_6487

 

How easy is that? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!