The Confident Stitch
Why have we discounted all our ponte knits?
In order to be more competitive on the world wide web, we have discounted all our ponte knits – forever, not just today!
What the heck is ponte?
Ponte is a fancy word for good, old-fashioned double knit. We carefully select our pontes from a variety of sources to ensure they are beefy, soft, and don’t feel synthetic. Ponte is a great first-time-sewing-with-knits fabric because it stretches cross-wise, but not length-wise. Also, its edges don’t curl, and it doesn’t show bodily lumps and bumps.
Ponte is great for pants, jackets, skirts and dresses. I recently ran across a blog post by a British blogger entitled, “Cancel Your Gym Membership This Christmas – I’ve Found the Miracle Dress.” Of course, the Miracle Dress is made of ponte! And, it “only” costs $125.00.
The Confident Stitch ponte knits now range from $9.00 to $15.00 per yard, so we’re talking bargain-city for a miracle dress. For instance, our Jalie Knit Dress uses 1.6 yards of fabric ($14.40 - $24.00), and our Colette Wren Dress uses 2.5 yards of fabric ($22.50 - $37.50).
We have ponte in warm, cool, quiet and loud colors. They are all on this page (along with other knits). Check them out and make yourself a “Miracle Dress!”
This year, make your holiday gifts. We'll help!
Every year about this time, I promise myself I'm going to get a jump start on my Christmas sewing, so that all my friends and family will receive lovingly crafted handmade gifts. I start mulling over ideas in October, make a few plans in early November, then BAM! it's Christmas Eve and I'm in a slight panic, hunkered over my sewing machine and wondering if I can use glue to finish a seam. My niece will never notice, right??
But this is the year! No more procrastination or selfish sewing! We've racked our brains and scoured the web for creative, thoughtful handmade gifts that you can sew (and that people will actually want). It's early yet - so no excuses!
1. A Diva Wallet or Clutch
This wallet requires very little fabric and can be made in an afternoon. It's practical, cute, and can be completely customized. Since it uses quilting cottons, the possibilities are endless! If you're not feeling confident about sewing this up, take our class on Sunday, December 4th to let us help you with your first one. (Register here). The clutch is a little simpler than the wallet so you might even be able to finish two in one sitting. Try it in laminated cotton for a makeup bag!
2. Mini May Pin Cushions or Passport Cover
Fellow sewists can never have too many pin cushions, and they're super scrap friendly. Fill them with these ground walnut shells and you're good to go! If you have a traveler in your life, make a passport cover that you can totally customize.
3. Whole-Cloth Blankets
Whole-cloth blankets have to be the one of the most rewarding sewing projects. Simply sew two pieces of fabric together and bind! Quilting optional. We have been making them with Robert Kaufman flannel so they're extra cozy. We also love these pom-pom swaddle blankets from See Kate Sew. Perfect in this Robert Kaufman double gauze with our pom fringe!
Who doesn't love to snuggle up Christmas morning with some new jammies? Try the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files, the Sewaholic Tofino Pants, or the tried-and-true Pajama and Robe Pattern from Palmer/Pletsch. Good for kids AND adults, especially in some fun seasonal flannel!
5. Tablet Sleeves for iPads, Kindles, and more
Like so many gifts on this list, tablet sleeves can be made from just about any kind of fabric and are therefore easy to customize. We like this pattern in wool felt from Oh So Lovely. For something different, try it in Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric or some sophisticated faux leather!
6. Fancy Eye Masks
7. Scarves, scarves, and more scarves!
Blanket scarves are hugely popular, and super easy to make. We made one by cutting a 1.5-yard piece of this Robert Kaufman flannel and fraying the edges. It's as easy as that! Fat-quarter infinity cowls are another fun project that let you show off 6 different fabrics. If you want to make a cool zippered scarf with us, register here for our class on December 10th!
8. Felt Friends
We carry a lovely variety of 12" x 18" felt (35% wool, 65% rayon) that is perfect for making ornaments and stuffed animals. (We're even offering the Dala Horse and Bird ornaments as a kids class on Saturday, December 3!) Sew Mama Sew also has a cute shark pattern and tutorial ... but you could also make a bunny, bear, sloth, you name it!
9. A new take on the giant IKEA bag
We all know those giant bags are awesome for toting all your stuff to the beach, that camping trip, the quilt show.... why not make your own and skip the trip to IKEA? This free pattern from Miss Make will hold everything. Pop in the shop for some oil cloth or laminated cotton and whip a few up!
10. Aprons for all!
We love making aprons, because they work for everyone. They're useful, can be made out of a variety of fabrics, and are easy to fit! Using our Palmer/Pletsch apron pattern, we made a sturdy waxed cotton apron that'd be great for woodworking, BBQing, and gardening. Contrasting quilting cottons work great for kids and adults alike!
11. Specialty bags
There's a bag for every hobby. For the yogi in your life, try this yoga-mat bag pattern from Art Gallery Fabrics. Wine enthusiast? Here's a two-bottle wine bag pattern from Sew Mama Sew. And of course the Grainline Stowe bag was designed for knitters, though we've found it works great for carrying projects of all kinds!
12. Tool roll
This pattern from Better Homes & Gardens is meant for makeup brushes, but can easily be modified for sewing supplies, woodworking tools, knitting needles, picnic utensils, harmonicas... you get the idea! Make it extra durable in a waxed cotton.
Have other good ideas? Post them in the comments!
We are celebrating our first Anniversary, so all Confident Stitch Fabric, Patterns Notions on sale! The more you spend, the more you save!
Here's how the sale works:
- If you spend less than $25, you save 10%
- From $25 up to $50, you save 15%
- Between $50 and $100, you save 20%
- If you spend more than $100, you save 25%
What's included? All Confident Stitch Fabric, Patterns Notions on Sale!
Click here to shop the entire store.
A classic, structured men's shirt pattern can be hard to find. Luckily, the Walden line from Colette Patterns features some great clothing and gear for the rugged outdoorsmen of the Pacific Northwest. They are also stylish looks for the less rugged among us! Bonnie made a sample of the Negroni, a classic button-up shirt that features flap pockets and some snazzy pearl snaps. Here are her thoughts on the pattern:
"For men that like a classic, slightly retro shirt with a more modern cut, this shirt pattern is just the thing. The instructions will guide you gently through every step of creating a well-crafted casual shirt: felled seams, a lined back yoke, and sleeve plackets on the long sleeve version. Subtle details include a convertible collar (also known as a "camp collar") and midcentury style collar loop detail.
This shirt can be made in a variety of fabrics, such as crisp shirting, warm flannel for winter, or cool rayon for summer. Check out the pattern info for more details and suggested fabrics.
Version 1 has long sleeves finished with a placket and cuff. Version 2 has short sleeves."
XS - 2XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were good, although Bonnie used a different technique than suggested for the flat-felled seams. (This is the benefit of 30+ years of sewing experience!)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Bonnie liked that it was a more slender cut than most men's shirt patterns, which gives it a modern feel.
Bonnie used this beautiful (and manly) 100% cotton Buffalo Plaid from Robert Kaufman. It has a nice hand and is easy to work with. It does wrinkle some.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
For some fun detailing, Bonnie cut the yoke, pockets, flaps, and cuffs on the bias. Instead of using buttons, she used black pearl snaps to give it a good Western look.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes definitely, to both!
The Negroni is a great update on a classic shirt. Bonnie liked the use of the flat-felled seams to create a more polished finish on the inside and allow for top-stitched detailing. The sleeve plackets were easy to place given the instructions provided and the pattern piece design worked well.
We'll be sewing up a lot more of these for the fellas in our lives!
Our wonderful seamstress, Bonnie Thompson, made The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in our pink bamboo knit. The fabric is a technical charcoal-bamboo and polyester blend that wicks moisture away from the body -- making it great for long underwear. But, it's also reversible and gorgeous, so Bonnie correctly thought it would work well for this top.
The Sewing Workshop Stella Top Pattern Review:
The Sewing Workshop Stella Top, available in our shop here, can be made out of knit or woven fabric. Bonnie's pink fabric is a two-way stretch, so we think it's perfect for a pattern drafted for both knits and wovens. A four-way stretch fabric would likely lead to an overly large Stella Top.
Bonnie lengthened the pattern to make it more of a tunic than a shirt, and she lengthened the sleeves. She warns that "wrist length" sleeves are shorter than long sleeves -- be sure to check the sleeve length before you cut out your fabric.
Bonnie loves the pattern, and we love it on her! She especially liked the flat-felled seam and the neck cowl. She also created cuffs for the hems to showcase the wrong side of the pink bamboo knit fabric. Not much of the wrong side shows on the cowl.
I am so excited that we have the Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern! Jenny has designed six patterns for curvy women in the past year, and I'm sure she has more in the pipeline. Sizes range from 12 - 28, with cup sizes C - H. Woo Hoo! Here is the link to our pattern.
Based on my hip and bust measurements, I cut out a size 12 with cup size G/H. The size 14 with cup size G/H would have been better. You can see in the photo that the skirt wrap is pulling to the side. Next time I will cut out the size 14! (And, there will definitely be a next time.)
Using the sewalong on the Cashmerette website made sewing the dress a breeze. The fabric I used was The Confident Stitch Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Navy and Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Loganberry, which were both easy to sew with and super comfortable to wear.
Extra Steps lead to success!
A few minutes of hand stitching can set things up for success. I wanted to sew the hems of this dress with the coverstitch machine, which meant stitching from the right side without being able to see if I was catching the hem. So, I hand basted the hem with our Japanese fine silk basting thread from the wrong side, which allowed me to see the stitching line from the right side, and get a perfect cover-stitched hem the first time. The silk thread slipped out easily after I stitched the hem.
I recommend this pattern with only one caveat -- It has negative ease in both the bust and the hip, meaning that the final bust and hip measurements will actually be smaller than your bust and hip, so you may want to size up, or at least be honest with yourself about your measurements (a lesson I need to learn over and over again!).
Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Pattern Review:
Bonnie created a lovely Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in our beige woven striped fabric. The Liberty Shirt is one of Kate’s favorite patterns, and many of our customers love it! Now Bonnie is a convert, too. She really liked the French seams and the clean-finished mitered corners. She also loved the unique, slightly ruffled collar, and how the diagonal lines enhance striped fabrics.
The Liberty Shirt can be a flowy shirt, a jacket, or even a vest. As with all Sewing Workshop patterns, it is impeccably drafted. It also runs a little large.
We all love Bonnie's fabric choice -- the striped woven was easy to sew with, and it created a hefty-yet-flowy jacket.
Bonnie made a size medium. She liked the fit everywhere but the shoulders. She was surprised that the shoulder seams extended beyond the end of her shoulders, so she pivoted the armscye 1.5 inches, making the top of the armscye land at the point where her shoulder meets her arm. Kate doesn’t mind that the shoulder seam extends a little past the end of her shoulders. Just be aware that you may want to move the shoulder seams a bit. Bonnie also shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches, while Kate lengthened them by 2 inches (yes, she's tall).
Bonnie would definitely make this shirt again, and Kate has already made three of them (all in size large)!
Bonnie, our seamstress, whipped up a Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen for herself a few months ago. She made Version 3 – the one with the bell sleeves. It turned out great.
You can learn more about Bonnie on our About Page, but I want to say a few words about her here. When Bonnie owned Custom Fashions here in Missoula, she was everyone’s favorite tailor. I am new to Missoula, but my husband Fred has lived in Missoula on and off for the past 40+ years, and although he is not the tailored-made type, he knew I had to get Bonnie to help out in the shop. After making Missoula look great for over 20 years, she now sews for herself and the shop mannequins. Her workwomanship is precise, and she knows which of our fabrics work for all of our patterns. We will all learn from the clothes she makes. Triple win!
Bonnie's Colette Laurel Pattern Review:
The Laurel was Bonnie’s first Colette pattern, and she has some tips for sewing the Laurel and Colette patterns in general:
The pattern was a little wide and a little short for Bonnie. She suggests checking the finished measurements before cutting out.
The bust darts are a little long – be sure to check dart placement before sewing them. Bust darts should not be noticeable, and they should stop approximately 1 inch from your apex. In Fit for Real People, Pati and Marta say, if you are very small busted, a dart can come to within ½-inch of your bust point. If you are full-busted, it should stop 1-to-3 inches from the bust point.
Also, each sleeve bell is cut out of 2 pieces of fabric, and a seam is sewn along the bottom of the bell. The Brussels Washer Linen is a mid-weight fabric, and Bonnie felt the seam made the bell a little bit heavy. A good solution would be to either use a lightweight fabric for the inside layer, or to use the pattern pieces to create a new piece that could be folded along the bottom, instead of seamed.
Instead of a zipper, Bonnie made a key-hole opening in the back. She can still get in and out of the dress. If you’re intimidated by zippers, this dress could work for you!
All in all, Bonnie is very happy with the dress, and working with the Brussels Washer Linen. Make sure to wash it and dry it before you cut out your garment – it does shrink!
If I had to pick my one favorite pattern (which I would hate to do), I would choose the McCall's 6355 dress and top pattern. I have made it so many times out of so many fabrics. I use it instead of a sloper pattern in my learn-to-fit bodices class, so my students can create wearable projects.
Here is my McCall's 6355 dress pattern review:
Pattern Description: Semi-fitted top and dress with optional front and back vertical darts, self-neck binding and optional invisible side seam zipper.
Pattern Sizing: 16-18-20-22. I made a size 16.
Did it look like the photo? Yes, it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Not only does this pattern have the Palmer/Pletsch alteration lines already drawn on it, but also Patti Palmer wrote the instructions herself.
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? I love this pattern. The alteration lines make it easy to make any changes. I can keep or remove the vertical darts for a loose or tight fit. I don’t have any dislikes.
Fabric used: Designer Ikat Canvas with Rainbow Stripe from The Confident Stitch.
Pattern alterations and any design changes you made: I did a 5/8” full-bust adjustment, and a ½” broad-back adjustment.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my second McCalls 6355 dress, and I’ve made 4 or 5 McCalls 6355 tops, so YES!
Conclusion: This is a winner of a pattern. It can be made loose or fitted, long- or short-sleeved. It can be a dress or a top. The shape is universally flattering, and yet I have trouble finding ready-made dresses or tops with the same shape. I used a black-striped Ikat from The Confident Stitch for this dress, and it was easy to sew with. I made the stripes vertical so I wouldn’t have to match them, and to make the dress more slimming: Win-Win.
Have you made this pattern? What is your McCall's 6355 dress pattern review?
Have you heard of the New York designer, Maiyet? Until a month ago, I had not. So, when I heard we could get a bundle of luxurious Maiyet fabrics from one of our suppliers, I quickly checked out the company's website. The site took my breath away. And, my quick internet search revealed Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Reese Witherspoon also love the brand.
The fine garments sold by Maiyet are lovely and expensive because the Maiyet team is:
"motivated and empowered by the promise of preserving ancient artisan techniques and elevating the next generation of master craftsmen from places such as India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, Bolivia, Japan and Thailand. From textile weaving in Varanasi, India to sourcing cashmere fiber from Outer Mongolia, Maiyet has worked with the world's most extraordinary talents in techniques as diverse hand knitting, macrame, crochet, hand block print development, reverse appliqué, embroidery, batik, shibori, metal working and hand carving."
I am proud to be able to offer you these one-of-a-kind fabrics. We have between one and five yards of each fabric, so they are going fast. We started with 30 different Maiyet fabrics, and we only have 18 left. Click here to see all the Maiyets we have for sale. Click here to check out the Maiyet website for yourself.