Hopefully you had time over the weekend to spiff up your sewing room. My Craftsy class “Sew Confident: Essential Techniques for Beginners” has officially launched and we are already just shy of 500 students. Very Exciting!
Beginners Guide to Fashion Sewing
Let’s get started! In case you missed last week’s message, the series for beginner sewing starts now.
Part 1. Choosing a Pattern
What’s the big deal about finding a pattern anyway? Scan the pattern books, find a cute cover photos, and you are ready for sewing success, right?
I just got back from a 6 day Sit & Sew tour visiting all the Allbrands stores which started in Louisiana and ended in Texas. Fabulous trip, but definitely dragging a little today. I will be sharing details of the week as soon as I organize all the photos. In short, I met so many wonderful people, ate some amazing food, got over my fear of bridges, I now have official Mardi Gras beads …
In the meantime, I posted this message to facebook and realized not all of you are on facebook, so I thought I would THANK YOU again.
Saturday was the last day of teaching and I was flying out the next morning. Super tired, but before crashing I decided to scan my emails and came across one from Craftsy with the title “Are you a blogger award finalist?”. I clicked on the link and couldn’t believe it! You nominated my blog to the top 4 Best Sewing Instructor Blog again. You all are AWESOME! This means so much to me, thank you, thank you. I also know it is a little work to nominate a blog at the first stage, you have to fill out a lot of things. Thanks so much for going through the effort, you inspire me to keep at it 🙂
One More Round of Voting
Now, there is a last round of voting that ends Wednesday at midnight. This vote is quick and easy:
Click here to vote: Scroll down the page to Vote Now! Best Craftsy Sewing Instructor’s Blog and you will see my name. Vote and then watch the tally live.
Just being in the top 4 is such an honor and knowing it’s because of your effort to nominate me really makes my day and a huge THANK YOU is all I can say! By the way, while you are scanning the page you might want to check out a few of my friends blogs that also made the top 4 in their category: Leah Day has a great one for quilting and Lisa Shaw in Embroidery.
The 2014 Wardrobe Challenge was so much fun! Seeing your outfits on flickr and following your Pinterest boards has been a treat and a quick way to get in the sewing mood, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. There have been a few hiccups on my end, so thanks for your patience. (Note to self: Never plan anything while I am traveling to teach, tape It’s Sew Easy, or shoot online classes – just not enough time and brain space ) In fact, I still need to post the list of winners, but I wanted to give you the last challenge.
I told you the last challenge would be an easy one. Take a picture of the clothes in your closet that you have sewn this past year and post it on Flickr before February 15th (the same way you posted the other photos – click here if you need help uploading to flickr). Even if you only have 1 garment, your photo qualifies you for this last challenge. Winners will be all random drawings from the entrants, so even if you haven’t participated yet or you feel intimidated by the rock stars who have really used the challenge to fill their closet, let us see what you have made. Again this is just 1 photo, just like mine. Good luck and thanks again to all that have participated.
I don’t know if you read my last post about the cooking adventure, but many of you gave the best tips for cleaning the pan! the baking soda worked like a charm and I wrote all the cleaning tips down so I am ready for the next burn. Well, I am off to edit pictures and explain to Winn how I got my mardi gras beads 🙂
A little creative serging! I mentioned I am finishing up a serging book. The book has challenged me to play with new threads, new stitches, new serging feet, and more. I wanted to share a quick serging stitch that you might find useful for restyling or adding embellishment to one of your outfits.
This is a 3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper. The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread. The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside. The backside looks like a ladder stitch. (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).
I started with a basic gored skirt. The front has 2 seams and after I finished flatlocking those two seams I decided to add embellishment to the center front. So the center front really does not have a seam. This would be a great way to create unique fabric!
Here is the back view. Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a real seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even, because of the zipper, I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice 🙂
Set your serger up for a 3-thread overlock – I will be using the Brother Project Runway 5434PRW and the standard setting for the needle and looper tensions are 4. When I give you new tension numbers you can compare this with your machine. If you are serging on the Babylock air-threading serger set up your serger for the 2-thread flatlock – wide.
Thread the upper looper (or the only looper for the 2-thread flatlock) with a decorative thread. Use standard poly serging thread in the needle and lower looper.
Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:
Stitch Width: 5mm
Stitch Length: 2-4mm
Needle Tension: Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
Upper Looper Tension: Decrease to 2 – 3
Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
Disengage the knife
These setting serve as a guide. It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.
See if you have a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use a standard foot.
There is a setting on the foot that moves to the right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric. Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.
Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line. Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).
The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric – half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric. In fact the stitches look really messy coming out of the serger!
Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.
Pretty simple, but so fun! Have you ever tried this before? I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.
Today is officially the end of National Serging month, did any of you pick up a good deal on a serger?
If you are thinking of adding a basic serger to the sewing room, really inexpensively, take a look at this Brother 1034D – on sale for $217 and free shipping! I had to double-check that, kind of thought it was a misprint 🙂 I have no idea how long the sale is on for or how many are in stock, but that is a great deal.
I will post March’s winners tomorrow evening. Don’t forget to get April’s photos posted on Flickr and share your pinterest board before Thursday! Good luck everyone 🙂
As we plug along with the wardrobe challenge, last month offered a chance for sewing designer jeans. Jeans have become a staple in many of our wardrobes and after you get the hang of the fitting (I still have a few blog posts coming to help) and sewing techniques, jeans can really be fun to sew! Taking in consideration that jeans can take a while to finish, I am adding an ongoing monthly prize for the best jeans on the Wardrobe Challenge flickr group! I know many of you mentioned you were not finished and others might join the wardrobe challenge throughout the year – jeans are my favorite and now you can win each month by adding a new pair of jeans 🙂
Onto April’s Challenge – Simply Serged!
This challenge is to come up with fashionable apparel that is quick and easy to finish, yet doesn’t look it. I am a little selfish on this challenge as I am trying to finish my new serging book (available next spring) and if you all are working on serged outfits, I thought that would inspire me to finish faster 🙂 Also, this month is National Serging Month – not sure what that really means, except you will probably get a good deal on buying a serger if you are in the market for one. 🙂 The serger offers so much more than finishing seams and after sewing jeans or a couture jacket, it is so nice to jump on the serger and finish a silk top in less than an hour! Take a look at this top:
Stitches: 3-thread overlock, coversitch, narrow rolled hem
This is just one example, but I will try to include some of my favorite creative stitches throughout the month. I just received my new order from WAWAK Sewing with a batch of thread. I am trying out new ideas for the serger … I can hardly wait to test them and let you know the results!
Don’t have a serger? Well, now is the time to buy one, but if you are not quite ready for one you can still participate in the wardrobe challenge on Pinterest. I am still offering a prize for jeans on the Flickr group and you can still sew simple garments adding to your overall wardrobe.
What an impressive finish to February’s challenge, Ruching & Shirring. The photos posted on flickr are fabulous! Take a second and click on over and see what these talented sewer’s came up with, such creativity! And don’t be surprised if you see one of your photo’s on my blog, I have added pictures from the wardrobe challenge flickr group to the right side of the page. The photos randomly change, so enjoy previewing the outfits as they arrive 🙂
And the pinterest side of the challenge … I periodically scan each of your “wardrobe challenge boards” and I must say, my mind is filled with new ideas to add to my apparel, what inspiration! Don’t forget you can follow each others wardrobe challenge boards, inspire each other to sew 🙂 February’s winners will be announced soon, the judges are busy at work. In the meantime, let’s talk jeans …
… March’s Challenge is to design, sew, and restyle jeans. Many of you have mentioned a fear of sewing jeans. The fit and the fly are the main concern, guess what – there are great patterns and so many resources to help you along, now it’s time to jump in!
Tutorials & Learning
My online class Sewing Designer Jeans on Craftsy launched last October and we are just shy of 5,000 students. Now that’s a lot of jean sewer’s :). This class walks you through the entire process of sewing jeans from cutting to the final hem. And just to promote my Wardrobe Challenge, here is a 50% off for the entire month of March. Worried about fit, join my Altering Pants class on Patternreview (which is also on sale) where you can post photo’s of your muslin for personal fitting advice. Looking for a few free tips, refer to the jean category on my blog. There are even video tutorials for sewing pockets. Now you have not excuse not to give it a try.
There are so many jean patterns available now. My Angel Bootcut Jean Pattern is my go-to pattern, I taper the legs for skinny jeans, raise and lower the rise, offers a contour waistband for fit and it’s easy to adapt denim with stretch or without. The sizing currently goes up to size 16 (but I promise I am working on the sizing 16W – 24W sometime in 2014). Use coupon code MARCHMADNESS for 20% off all jean supplies in my store (yes, that includes rivets, jean buttons, and the It’s Sew Easy jean dvd :)). My two other favorite jean patterns … Jalie and Jennifer Stern’s ( I adore Jennifer, she is my jean buddy). You can find reviews for both on PatternReview.com.
Well, that’s enough to get started! This month I will share major fitting solutions for jeans and much, much more. Check out March’s Wardrobe Challenge page (now located at the top right) for all the details on the pinterest challenge and flickr info. Are you new to the challenge and need an invite to pinterest, email me email@example.com. I would love you to join us!
Did I mention we have a new sponsor, Coats & Clark. Yeah, just in time for denim thread! Join me on Twitter to give a shout out of thanks to our sponsors:
There is only one reason I have not moved South in order to enjoy beautiful sunny weather all year round … jackets and boots! This is the time of year I rearrange my wardrobe, bringing out all the cute jackets I finished last March and never had a chance to wear (remember in the fashion industry we are always designing a season ahead). Of course while I am pulling out the fall wardrobe, out come the fabulous boots. I LOVE shoes! I sew all my own clothes, I have to find something to shop for besides fabric 🙂
Speaking of sewing all my own clothes, about 15 years ago I set a goal of only wearing clothes I had sewn myself. It was a great idea, but hardly possible. I spent all my time sewing custom garments for clients and I could never find time to sew for myself. You know, like the shoemaker that wears worn-out shoes. Those of you that are in the sewing business know exactly what I am talking about.
Once I started designing a ready-to-wear line and a pattern collection for the home sewer, I found a perfect reason to sew for myself. Someone has to test the fit, right 🙂 Over the last few years I have been adding my label to the closet with jeans, tops, jackets, dresses, skirts, slacks, … In fact last night after admiring my organized closet (now is the time to admire, it never seems to stay that way very long), I realized I finally accomplished my goal! Every garment carried the Angela Wolf label. I could hardly believe it! In fact, once you get going on sewing for yourself, the outfits flow in much faster than you think. Have you ever had the desire to sew all your own clothes? I challenge you to try. I am going to celebrate this accomplishment and try to focus on doing the same for the spring wardrobe swap. I feel a 2014 wardrobe sew along coming on … what do you think?
In the last post, I mentioned how thankful I am to all of you readers and a special thanks to those that voted my blog into the finals for the category sewing – best instructor blog for the 2013 Craftsy Blogging Awards. Voting in the final round is still going on, so make sure to vote for your favorites again (hint, hint). I couldn’t think of a better way to thank you than give away a few online classes, which I will do over the next few weeks.
Not everyone can win, so I asked my friend Deepika – founder of PatternReview.com – to place all my online classes on sale for the rest of the month. In case you haven’t visited the site, PatternReview.com is a great website for learning and connecting with other garment sewer’s. I offer quite a few classes there, including sewing jackets. No, my jacket patterns are not ready to launch yet, so this is the next best thing. The next few giveaways will be for my online classes. The first one is Create a Jacket Muslin on PatternReview. Creating a perfect fitting muslin is the most important part of sewing a jacket. If you would like a chance to join my class on sewing a muslin where I offer fitting tips, solutions, and you can even upload photos of your muslin for personal fitting advice, simply share a comment about your experience in fitting jackets. Never sewn a jacket, even better reason to start with the muslin class (a random winner will be chosen and announced next Friday). Speaking of jackets, have you been watching season 5 on It’s Sew Easy and following along as I sew a jacket? If your PBS doesn’t carry It’s Sew Easy, you can catch a new episode every week on their website.
I am having so much fun finding ways to use my serger, more than simply finishing the edges in my garments! With over 5,000 students in the Craftsy class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics , many of you are already expanding your serger use. I was thrilled to see Craftsy posted a few of my videos on YouTube … below you will see how to add pintucking. A great embellishment on home dec and apparel. The video shows you how to change the settings on the Brother Project Runway Serger 5234PRW (although it doesn’t show you how to remove the stitch finger, so check your manual and don’t forget that part!) In fact, no matter what serger you use, pull out the manual and set the serger to a rolled or narrow hem. I am showing you how to do the pintucking using a blindhem foot. If you don’t have that foot, a standard foot works fine. Just serge straight 🙂
Speaking of manuals, lets take a vote … how many of you have read through your entire serger manual? I must confess, until last year I only scanned the pages referring to threading 🙂 Enjoy xoxo Angela
I know you usually don’t hear about my new classes until the day they start, but not with this one! Sewing designer jeans will start later this month on Craftsy and I am offering a FREE CLASS to one lucky winner. This class will take you from A to Z in sewing your own designer jeans. Click here to enter! (The contest closes at midnight on Sunday, October 6, 2013) and the winner will be announced next week. Good luck!
So how did the shoot go? Well, I was in Denver for the torrential downfall and it was heart wrenching to see the damage shown on the local news. Fortunately downtown Denver fared with very little flooding despite the many dark, rainy days.
The Craftsy studio has been redesigned since my last taping Creative Serging and I had a great team to work with! The set was equipped with the best of the best, including the Brother DreamWeaver XE Innovis-VM6200D sewing machine. Although these are long days of taping, when you are having fun, the hours fly by.
Below you can see 3 of the best jean tools in the sewing room … a pink hammer, sand paper, and a tailor’s clapper. Not only will this class walk you through sewing a pair of designer jeans, I show you how to distress the jeans as you go. Once you sew a pair of stylish jeans that fit perfectly, you will be hooked! Enter to win a free class today.
Ruching with Elastic Thread on a Serger / Coverstitch Machine
Loose flowing tops are right on trend right now, here is a quick way to add a little flair and fit with one of my favorite serging techniques; ruching with elastic thread. Add the ruching to the sleeve edge, hem or neckline. This is so cute and really easy! This ruching can be done on a sewing machine by winding the elastic thread in the bobbin, threading the machine with any silk, cotton, or polyester thread, and stitch with a narrow zigzag. What about serging with the chainstitch? The chainstitch is found on coverstitch machines or sergers with the added coverstitch function.
Tighten the looper tension (start by tightening 1 notch)
When adjusting the tensions, my coverstitch has a standard setting at 4 – so adjust the tension on your machine accordingly. Then simply run the edge of the fabric through the serger. The photo’s below show you the front and back side of the first row of stitching.
Put the fabric back in the machine, line up the previous row of stitching with the edge of the presser foot and stitch.
That it! I usually ruch 2 – 6 rows depending on the design. Another idea is to ruch the waist on a skirt – the elastic ruching makes a great waistband and then you wear the waist high or low. I will dig up a photo of my silk bathing suit cover up that is sewn like this.
FREE SERGING CLASS GIVEAWAY!
Speaking of using a coverstitch and overlock machine – I have a class on Craftsy called Creative Serging – Beyond the basics. I am giving away a FREE CLASS to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to take the free class. Click over and “‘like” my facebook page and you will get 2 entries. If you leave a comment on the facebook page you get an extra entry as well (that’s 3 entries total :)). One name will be drawn randomly on August 1st. I know many of you are already in my class as we are just under 5,000 students, awesome! For those of you that are already enjoying the class, leave a comment as to what you like most about the class and I will include you in the next giveaway (trust me, it will be good :))