Pattern Review’s Surprise Sewing Bee!

Inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee, Pattern Review is hosting their own sewing bee contest next month!


Yup, the grand prize is a Bernina serger! But there’s other great prizes along the way, like a $100 gift certificate to Elliot Berman and a Reliable Sensor Velocity V200 iron.

If you want to know more about the contest check out the announcement on Pattern Review. You can view the rules here. If you want to participate make sure you sign up by November 7. I’m not sure who the judges will be (the announcement just says “Contest Committee”) but Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons (and a contestant on GBSB) is going to be the guest judge for the first round.

I have no idea if I’ll be participating in this one. My job recently started including me doing photo coverage…and while I know something about photography I feel the need to step up my game when I’m producing photos that will be seen by faculty, students, parents, alumni, trustees, etc. So recently a lot of my nights have been taken over by me practicing and doing lots and lots of reading on photography websites/blogs/forums rather than working on sewing projects. And I’m definitely going to need to go on a fabric fast if/when I invest in a full frame DSLR. I’m not complaining at all because I find it very interesting and challenging,  and it is a wonderful opportunity for me to develop a more marketable skillset.

Style Arc Julia Jacket, Part 2

You guys…I’m so excited. I fixed the ruffle on my Julia jacket!



And for comparison purposes, here’s the “before”:


As I mentioned in my previous post about this jacket, I was unhappy with how the ruffle came out. The drape was asymmetrical and stiff. This was really disappointing because I loved the fabric I used for it. So I thought about how I could fix it. According to my father, one of my best traits is that I have an incredible amount of persistence. (Example: I spent over three hours on a Sunday a few weeks ago successfully chasing down and catching one of the chickens that escaped into the woods because I wasn’t about to let a dumb cluck get the best of me.) So as a last ditch effort I spent part of Tuesday evening attempting to fix my Julia…and it worked!

My theory was that, in addition to me possibly sewing the right ruffle in the wrong direction, the 3/8″ seam allowance Style Arc included for the ruffle was getting in the way of it flowing nicely. So I started off by un-bagging the jacket and unpicking the right front ruffle and front facing from the body of the jacket. I then unpicked the outer edge seam of the right ruffle, from center back of the hem to the center back neck. I resewed this seam, starting from the center back neck and going all the way down to the center back of the back peplum. Then I took my pinking shears and went to town on that seam allowance, trimming it down so the pinking was just barely above the stitching. I then re-attached the ruffle and front facing/lining to the body of the jacket, starting from center back neck and finishing at the center back hem. I turned the jacket inside out, took it to my ironing board, steamed and pressed the heck out of it, making sure that outer edge stretched into a circular shape as much as possible. I tried it on, and to my delight I saw the ruffle was not only much better, but actually looked nicer than the left one did! So then I unbagged the left side of the jacket, unpicked the front facing/lining/ruffle/body seam allowance, then pinked the seam allowance of the outer edge of the ruffle. Then I re-attached the ruffle and facing/lining to the jacket. I also turned the jacket inside out at this point and closed up the bagging opening (which is located in the lining of the sleeve.) I once again took the jacket to my ironing board and steamed and stretched and pressed the everything into shape.

So if you make this jacket, make sure you have your pinking shears nearby! It really helps “release” that ruffle and let it flow nicely. Due to the bias cut of the ruffle and lack of structure you aren’t always going to get things perfectly in place, but in my opinion it behaves much nicer and looks much more like the line drawing than it did before.


Make Bra 3226 and the free hipster striped set



I can’t believe I matched the stripes at the front!

I used a Merckwaerdigh bra kit for this set. The black fabric is a fairly hefty matte nylon which stretched about 20% before I started encountering significant resistance.


Here’s a photo of the bra on me, and here’s a photo of the complete set on me.

The Bra

I purchased this pattern several years ago but only got around to making it just now! It is a full band, diagonally seamed bra which is designed to act like a push-up bra without all the extra padding.


My only fitting change was folding 5/8″ from the back wing to make it a 70 rather than a 75 band.

My style change was adding a scalloped stretch lace to the neckline edge rather than fold over elastic. This was a little challenging – I had to keep rotating the pattern piece so that I got the correct height as well as width – but I think the final effect is worth it. I just zig-zagged the lace to the foam lining along the upper edge. The Make Bra foam has enough stability and doesn’t need the additional stabilization of fold over elastic.


I added 1″ to the upper edge of the hipster. I have a longer than average rise and I like the smoother effect a higher rise gives under dresses and skirts.

I also did a lace overlay at the center front. To accomplish this I cut some lace on a 45° angle, carefully sewed up one side so the stripes of the lace matched, marked the center front of the panty, then pinned it in place and carefully zigzagged along the scalloped edges to hold it in place. I decided to leave the fabric behind the lace rather than trim it away.

Another thing I did was make the waist about 1.5 times larger than what my measurements indicate. My theory with underwear is that ride-up happens to me because my waist is much smaller than my hip and I have a longer than average rise, so rather than a tight waistband keeping things in place it ends up just migrating everything up, up, up to the point of least resistance (toward my waist). When I made the hipsters I not only made the waistline much larger than before, but also applied the fold over elastic to the waistline very loosely, pulling it just enough so that it wouldn’t stretch out under the presser foot. I combined this with keeping the elastic even when applying it to the front leg and crotch, but pulling the elastic more when attaching it to the back leg. The result is the waistband actually gapes a little bit at my center back, but they did not ride up, at all, during the day. The legs also stayed in place nicely. I really recommend trying this if you’re pear shaped like me and have issues with things riding up during the day!