The Confident Stitch
I've been wanting to make a Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Brussels Washer Linen for ages. I love the little pockets on the front of the top, the raglan sleeves, and the simple lines. I decided to make this English pattern look like a baseball shirt because I am so international.
Pattern: Merchant and Mills Top 64
Pattern Description: The Top 64 can be interpreted as a workwear garment, an artist's smock, or a smart jumper. With in-seam pockets, it is Merchant and Mills' feminine take on the style and function of a fisherman's top.
Pattern Sizing: British sizes 8 to 18. I made a 16.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? YES!
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? Like all Merchant and Mills patterns, I loved the drafting. Each piece fit together perfectly.
Fabric used: Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer Linen in Purple and Black.
Pattern alterations or changes you made: I selected my size based on my bust measurement, and the bust and shoulders fit perfectly. The size 16 hip measurement was too large, which was easy to fix with bigger seam allowances. I narrowed the hip area by 3 inches.
I decided to make the sleeves a different color than the body. I’m glad I did – the contrast showcases the raglan sleeves and slims the body of the top.
I didn’t need to lengthen the sleeves and I’m six-feet-tall, so others may need to shorten the sleeves considerably.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely. We have so many fabrics that work for this shirt! I want one in plaid flannel, lightweight wool, tencel...The Top 64 works on its own as a shirt, but can also work as a sweater-like second layer.
Merchant and Mills patterns fit my body and my lifestyle so well. This top looks great with jeans, which combined with the wash-and-dry ability of Brussels Washer Linen, makes it a welcome addition to my wardrobe.
The Clare Coat from Closet Case Files is a great pattern that can be made up in a cozy wool, a lighter-weight twill for spring, or this mid-weight appliqué denim. It has beautiful structure and a flattering fit. It's a great starter coat if you've never sewn one before!
Pattern: "Clare Coat" from Closet Case Files.
Pattern Description: "The Clare Coat is a chic cool-weather staple. Featuring raglan sleeves and an unstructured A-line silhouette, Clare is a great introduction to the joys of coat making."
Pattern Sizing: 0-20. Bonnie made a size 12.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? There are a lot of pattern pieces because it is lined, but the Clare Coat has a really nice design.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Pattern does not include finished garment measurements, which makes sizing somewhat difficult, but it does stat that it's designed for a woman 5'6" tall.
Fabric used: This fabulous stretch denim appliqué. It has a fairly wide plain border, which was used for the bottom and the cuffs.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the length below the original pocket placement on the pattern pieces. She also did not fully interface the front or side panels, and narrowed the collar width by 1" so it didn't overwhelm her. She also changed the pattern layout to accommodate the appliqué design and the plain border.
Would you sew it again? Absolutely! It is a great coat pattern, and the fabric is easy wash-and-wear!
Bonnie made this classic raglan-sleeve sweatshirt using a woven plaid flannel cut on the bias. Paired with some bamboo rib-knit cuffs and binding, it's the perfect marriage of sweatshirt and lumberjack button-up!
Pattern: Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt
Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in sizes 0-18. Bonnie made this version in a size 8.
Pattern Description: "The Linden Sweatshirt gives a modern update to the classic sweatshirt. Featuring a relaxed fit, raglan sleeves, and a graceful slightly scooped neckline, this sweatshirt is perfect for fall layering."
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelop once you were done sewing with it? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Because the instructions are for a knit, they call for 1/4" seam allowances. Bonnies used a slightly larger seam allowance with the woven fabric.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The Grainline Linden is really a very simple pattern, even when using a woven fabric instead of a knit. She also like that it had some slight shaping--the cut wasn't too full.
Fabric Used: Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in Adventure Bonnie used an extra 1/2 yard of fabric to cut the pieces on the bias and to allow for pattern matching. She made the cuffs and bindings (neck and bottom) in a navy blue bamboo/cotton rib knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the hem so it was a slightly longer in the torso.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely! Bonnie would sew it in a knit or a woven again.
Conclusion: The Grainline Linden Sweatshirt is a great basic pattern with lots of options for customization. The fabric is very easy to work with and the finished look is cute and contemporary!
The Morris Blazer is a deceptively simple pattern that results in a polished but comfortable blazer you can dress up or down. The quilted knit is a unique fabric that is wash-and-wear! This blazer will definitely become a wardrobe staple...
Pattern: Grainline Studio Morris Blazer
Pattern Description: "The Morris Blazer is the perfect mix of casual and cool. It will quickly become the go-to garment to complete any outfit. With a mixture of drape and structure, bracelet length sleeves, and gentle shawl collar, it looks great dressed up or down. It works up well in fabrics with stretch, making it comfortable on top of everything else!"
Pattern Sizing: Pattern includes sizes 0-18. Bonnie made this version in a size 6 graded out to an 8.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelop once you were done sewing it? Yes.
Were the instructions east to follow? For the most part, yes. The instructions for attaching the bottom facing get a little confusing. (Luckily, Grainline Studio has a sew-along for this pattern, available here.)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The finishing details are really nice and add a polished touch to the blazer.
Fabric Used: This soft quilted knit in navy. It has some heft and a little stretch, making it comfortable and flattering.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the sleeve length (the pattern is for "bracelet"-length sleeves). This fabric was thick enough that she did not use interfacing. The back center seam is nice for making adjustments to fit.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! It'd be nice to have one in the black quilted knit as well!
Conclusions: Bonnie recommends checking the shoulder width before sewing in the sleeves, and trim excess if necessary -- the shoulders tend to run a bit wide. Overall this is a great pattern that makes a classic blazer that'll never go out of style!
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!).