Archive for the ‘sewing’ category

Pant/ trouser sewalongs

November 9, 2013

Love the extra support from following a sew along ?
I like following detailed instructions with lots of illustrations and demos the first time I do something. I also like instructions from a friendly encouraging voice, even if written !

This is the last of my sewalong series, links to the others are listed on this page.
And no, I’m not planning to post on sewalongs for dresses or blouses :D

If (like me !) you only ever wear one style of pants, here’s a couple of styling ideas :

If you wear casual pants, but want to get away from jeans, YouLookFab has a post full of suggestions.

Once you’ve got a good basic pants pattern, here’s a Craftsy class about altering a pants pattern to make many other pant styles.

I have a couple of posts with ideas on pant fit :
Pant patterns and body shape
Fabric wedges below the waist

In this post, I’ve put the sewalongs in 4 groups :
– pants/ trousers, in 2 sections – on written tutorials and videos/ DVDs,
– jeans,
– sweat pants,
– elastic waist pants – not mentioned here, there are links to several sewalongs in my post on making pyjamas.

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Written tutorials with photos

Colette Clover


tissue pattern with side seam zip

Sewaholic Thurlow


tissue pattern
sew along from Ladybird (scroll down for links)

Burda Style 07/2010/ 127 vintage style pants


download pattern
sewalong by A Fashionable Stitch

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DVDs and on-line videos (not free)

Sandra Betzina
pattern Vogue 2948 is oop but supplied with class


Craftsy class (associated class on fitting pants)

The Sewing Guru
Ladies trousers with no pockets, invisible zip, faced waist.
The Sewing Guru course tells you how to draft your own facing pattern so you could adapt Butterick 5391, which is also used in The Sewing Guru skirt course.


sewalong on-line videos in Collection 10

The Sewing Guru
Men’s trousers with slant pockets, fly zip, waistband.


pattern Vogue 2836, also used by The Sewing Guru in his courses on men’s jackets.
sewalong on-line videos in Collection 5.

The pattern they mention is oop.
Their current pants pattern, McCall’s 6567, has more difficult pockets.


There’s also a Palmer-Pletsch chinos pattern, McCall’s 6361 (includes skirt).


‘Pants for Real People – Sewing Techniques’ DVD (also a DVD on pants fit)

Those instructions suggest specific patterns, though they can be used with many other patterns.
These 2 are more general, just suggested style elements :

eSewing Workshop
self drafted pattern
sewalong – online videos, can be used with other patterns

You Can Make It
pattern : pants with side pockets, fly zip, fell and welt seams.
sewalong : teaching DVD. These DVDs are cumulative not stand-alone. Level 5 assumes you know the skills taught in Levels 1 to 4.
Level 5 DVD (scroll down page for information)

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Kwik Sew 3504 men’s jeans


sewalong by Male Pattern Boldness (free online written instructions with photos and discussion)

Palmer-Pletsch McCall’s 5894 misses jeans



2 sewalongs for this pattern :

‘Jeans for Real People’ DVD

The Sewing Guru
this is the current version of the jeans pattern used in his
Collection 12 (online videos)

Pattern Review class from Jennifer Stern
Blueprints to Blue Jeans
uses her own jeans pattern.
Includes videos, fitting, styling, sewing.

There are 2 Craftsy courses on making jeans, not linked to specific patterns.

Kenneth King Reverse engineer your favorite jeans

Angela Wolf Sewing Designer jeans
recommended patterns listed in class

I don’t usually mention ‘chat and encouragement’ boards, but there’s a huge amount of useful information about sewing jeans in this one :
Pattern Review Jeans Tips and Tricks

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Sweat pants

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous tailored trackpants


tissue pattern (use drapey fabrics, knits not necessary)
YouTube demo

Silhouette patterns 3400 3-piece yoga pants


tissue pattern
free webcast

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Whew there are a lot of these. Any of them right for you ?

Many thanks to all the people who post the free sewalongs – those do represent a huge amount of generosity and work. Isn’t the internet marvellous !

Hope you enjoy these :D

No guarantee of completeness or quality. This is another use of the internet which is happily growing.

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Links and patterns available November 2013

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Shirt sewalongs

October 19, 2013

Many people feel making a shirt is a step too far beyond sewing a top or blouse.
But there’s a good variety of support available, so it can be worth going for !

These are sew alongs which give detailed extra guidance to supplement the shirt pattern instructions.
I’ve chosen to focus on ones which include a band collar. (The word ‘shirt’ is a bit ambiguous, and there are many shirt patterns which don’t have a 2-piece collar.)
Some of the sewalongs also include a classic ‘tower / steeple’ shirt sleeve placket.

The free written tutorials are linked to specific patterns.
But most of the on-line videos and DVDs are not pattern specific, though they make pattern recommendations.

The classic shirt has such standard features that the Big 4 pattern companies all have several basic shirt patterns for women.

Kwik Sew are particularly known for their men’s shirt patterns.
This is Kwik Sew 3883.


As usual, I haven’t read or watched through all of these sewalongs, let alone worked through them – so no guarantee about quality !

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On-line free written tutorials with photos

Wiksten Tova


This isn’t a shirt, but it has a collar band, so I’ve included it here.
Easier than making a two piece collar – perhaps a good starter piece ?!

pattern download

sewalong from verykerryberry.

Grainline Archer


(Those back gathers are optional !)

pattern download

days 1-5
days 6-14

There’s even a ‘chat and encouragement’ group at Pattern Review, for people who promised to sew one of these a month for a year !

Colette Patterns Negroni for men



Oh, this pattern doesn’t actually include a collar stand, ah well. . .

sew along from Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness
page 1 of posts
page 2 of posts

This pattern was one of the challenges in the Super Online Sewing Match.
Here are the Entries, which all show creative options (one of them added a collar band, which is what confused me !).

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On-line videos (not free)


The Classic Tailored shirt class by Pam Howard

Suggested patterns for men and women in Lesson 2

class here

eSewing Workshop

They use their own pattern draft for the shirt, but you could use many other patterns.

bodice drafting
sleeve drafting

Shirt Sewing sewalong

The Sewing Guru

the Gent’s shirt video collection
Collection 9

[There isn’t much open access information at The Sewing Guru site, but you can sign on free for 2 days and have a look round. It’s easy to cancel from a PayPal account. Tailor’s methods.]

Instructions also apply to making a woman’s shirt.

– – –



The latest version of the Palmer-Pletsch unisex shirt pattern is McCall’s 6613, with sleeve, hem, pocket options.


sewalong in ‘Learning to Sew a Shirt or Blouse‘ DVD

You Can Make It

Level 6 of their sewing course.
The course is cumulative, Level 6 is not stand-alone, it assumes you know all the skills taught in previous levels.

sewalong : Level 6 teaching DVD (scroll down).

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Would you like this sort of extra help with the instructions while you make any of these patterns :D

Feel more confident that You Can Indeed Make A Shirt :D

– – –

Patterns and links available October 2013

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Knit top sewalongs

September 21, 2013

(Hey, not sure I would have chosen this topic if I’d realised it was going to be my 200th post ! Amazing what starting a blog can turn into :D Thanks for all your interest over the years.)

Knit tops are so popular as a quick make, I thought there would be many sewalongs. There are several ‘let’s have fun together’ sewalongs, but not so many with detailed instructions for a specific pattern (at least, not ones that are easy to find !).

The skirt sewalongs in my previous posts included all sorts of pattern-sewalong combinations.
These knit sewalongs all come from the designer of the pattern.

Many of these assume you’re working with a conventional sewing machine rather than a serger/ overlocker. I’ve noted what’s used in some sewalongs, but I haven’t seen all of them so don’t know about the others !
Some are video and some written materials.

– – –

Written instructions with photos
(most of these are free)

Child’s cut-on sleeve top from KitschyCoo


download pattern

scroll to bottom of page to get first post
Uses a serger/ overlocker.
Many ideas for variants – apply them to adult’s patterns too !

Fishsticks’s Designs Charlie Tee

A sew-along for a simple tee with separate sleeves.
The instructions show a children’s version, but of course the same instructions apply to the adult sizes !


Pattern for adult sizing, tissue or download

Intro to the sew-along
For later steps click the link at the bottom of each post.
Sewing machine, includes sewing a twin-needle hem.

Renfrew top from Sewaholic patterns


Top with variants of sleeve length, neckline shape, cowl neck
The Number 1 best pattern for 2012 at Pattern Review.

tissue pattern

Sewalong intro
List of links
Final step
sewing machine

The Sewing Workshop Trio pattern Tee – raglan


tissue pattern (includes woven sleeveless jacket and pants)

Sewalong for tee only, sewing machine (not free, 62 pages)

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Video, on-line, free

Ttutorial from Hot Patterns on making a basic v-neck tee.

Video demos, on-line or on DVD
(not free)

Basic Tee from Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated patterns


Craftsy on-line video class – Sewing with knits
download pattern included
sewing machine

Fleece Hoodie from Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated patterns


Craftsy on-line video class – Sewing with Knits
download pattern included
sewing machine

(See above for basic tee in the same class. Class also has patterns and instructions for knit skirt, pants, dress)

Pamela’s Patterns 104 the Perfect T-shirt DVD


tissue pattern

sewalong in ‘The Perfect T-shirt‘ DVD

Vogue 8793 from Katherine Tilton


tissue pattern – class price includes pattern
complex collar with zipper trim

Craftsy on-line video class – The Ultimate T-shirt – from Marcy and Katherine Tilton
includes fitting, and making variations

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P.S. useful links not related to a specific pattern :

Sewaholic’s big list of tips for sewing knits is itself a collection of useful links
Noodlehead’s self-made pattern for racer-back tank with detailed sewing instructions
Crafts class by Linda Lee on Sewing Fashion Knits.

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Of course there are many other good sources of useful tips on sewing knits. Though you’re expected to pick out for yourself the information you need. My focus here is on thorough guidance from project-based instructions, which give more help than there is in specific pattern instructions. “If you follow these steps one-by-one you’ll make this. . .”

Again I haven’t read or used all these instructions, so no guarantee of quality !
But I hope you find something useful and helpful :D

– – –

Patterns and links available September 2013

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Sewing skills lists

September 7, 2013

Are you the sort of person who likes to tick your skills off on a list as you learn ? or have some sort of structure to guide your learning ?

I don’t like exotic vacations away from home, but I do like to spend August as a stay-cation – sew-cation.
I usually take some sort of on-line sewing class.
And that makes me think about my sewing skills.

Three groups of items here :
Some .pdf lists of skills which I’ve produced.
These are project based.

Some .pdf lists about sewing education from 4-H.
There are several other 4-H sewing booklets which aren’t free.

And, for people who like to learn by working through a suggested sequence of projects, there are the increasingly difficult projects required in a couple of recent knock-out sewing contests.

My own lists

Beginner skills list.pdf

Intermediate skills – based on the book Dressmaking by Alison Smith
31 projects.A4.pdf
31 projects.USletter.pdf

Taking it further, I haven’t produced my own list of jacket sewing skills, but there are comments on them in my post on Sources of jacket sewing advice. Jackets can be made at a huge range of levels of difficulty. All the way from advanced beginner ones which use the same skills as sewing a simple blouse. Through to advanced couture and tailoring skills such as underlining, pad stitching, roll line taping, sleeve head supports, welt pockets. . .

– – –

4-H lists

Different states use different systems.
Here are some .pdfs that are free and I’ve found worth a look.

Penn State
Sewing skills progress chart
(not sorted by level)

Washington State
Sewing skills checklist
(3 levels)

Sew much fun
(3 general levels, 12 detailed levels)

Oregon State
Sewing advancement guide
(3 general levels, 9 detailed levels – general clothing skills, refers to Sewing skills checklist for sewing details)

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Knock-out sewing contests

How about using extended sewing contests as guides to a project sequence to work through ?

Super Online Sewing Match

This on-line sewing contest used patterns going up to intermediate skills. Contestants had one or two weeks to do their sewing, in their own sewing space.
The entries show how much can be achieved from a simple starting point. The basic patterns may be intermediate, but the workmanship and richness of ideas in the entries were at a very high level.


Round One – a-line skirt
Deborah Moebes’ Design and sew an a-line skirt Craftsy class

Round 2 – child’s dress
Oliver + S Roller Skate dress

Round 3 – bag
Cinch bag download pattern from U-handbag

Round 4 – men’s shirt
Colette Patterns Negroni men’s shirt

Round 5 – final – adult dress
Sewaholic Patterns Cambie fully lined dress with bustier style bodice

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Great British Sewing Bee TV series

The Great British Sewing Bee TV series was a more advanced challenge, as it worked up to making jackets and using special occasion fabrics, plus fitting someone they hadn’t met before.

Sewing quickly in an unfamiliar environment – not something I would do well at all :D
Though the building they sewed in looked delicious, a historic building bursting with fabrics and haberdashery, a sewer’s paradise.
Contestants could take their own tools, but had to use the sewing machines provided.

In the 2013 series there were 3 challenges each weekend, each with only a few hours allowed.
First day :
1. Make up a commercial pattern supplied.
2. Decorate a ready-made item.
Second day :
3. Choose fabric and pattern for a specific type of garment (contestants were given the brief a few days beforehand). Make up to fit a real person, who modelled it for the judging.
There was also a simple suggested home-dec project for viewers (not at all well explained !).

The episodes used to be available on YouTube, but sadly they’ve been deleted for copyright reasons. . . yet the makers haven’t issued a DVD – pooh !

Jan 2014 – the show has appeared on YouTube again – don’t know how long it will last !

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Round One

1. A-line skirt
2. alter neckline of RTW top
3. made-to-measure day dress
Project – drawstring laundry bag

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Two
1. men’s trousers
2. add patch pockets to RTW skirt
3. made-to-measure silk blouse/ shirt
Project – tied closure cushion/ pillow cover

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Three – semi-final
1. child’s sun-dress with shirring, french seams, rouleaux straps
2. change shape and embellish RTW shift dress
3. made-to-measure fitted jacket with lining
Project – simple curtains

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Four – final
1. men’s shirt
2. embellish ready-made fabric evening purse
3. made-to-measure special occasion wear (all contestants chose to use 2 difficult fabrics !)

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

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Do you like to develop your sewing skills ?
or do you like to use familiar sewing processes, and put your creativity into choosing what to make and how to embellish it ?
or just burble along for complete relaxation :D

I hope you had a lovely summer vacation, whatever your vacation style :D

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Links and patterns available September 2013

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