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Knits

  • Ruffle Hem Top in Organic Soy Knit

    Ruffle Hem Knit Top in Organic Soy Knit

    Pattern: Katherine Tilton for Vogue 8691 Ruffle Hem Top

    Description: Semi-fitted tops A, B, C, D have scoop neckline, neckband, princess seams, shaped, ruffled hemline flounce and long sleeves, topstitching and raw edge hem finish.

    Sizing: 8-14 (BB) or 16-22 (FF). Bonnie made this version in a size 12.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did look like the cover picture once it was all said and done!

    Were the instructions easy to follow? In general the instructions were good, but they weren't very clear in regards to the different flounce options.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Bonnie liked all the variations and possibilities of combining different knit fabrics and ruffle hems. It's also a very comfortable shirt to wear and looks great on. She didn't like the full cut of the pattern in the hip area, and felt that the sizing was inaccurate - she had to go down a size despite checking her measurements against the finished measurements on the pattern.

    Fabric used: Two different Organic Soy Knits: this one in Spruce and this one in Navy. They have a great weight and drape to them, and don't pill easily.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Armhole alterations ( ), took in the sleeves. According to her measurements, Bonnie is a size 14, but she ended up cutting down to a size 12.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Bonnie would sew it again, but would probably make the view without the zipper, and decrease the fullness at hip and hem area.

    Conclusion: This is a cute and comfortable top that has a lot of room for creativity. Bonnie would add the disclaimer though that with the modifications she had to made (and the sometimes vague instructions), this is not an "easy" pattern as designated by Vogue!

     

  • We Have Discounted All Our Ponte Knits! Check them Out!

    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.

    We Have Discounted All Our Ponte Knits! Donna of the blog "I won't wear sludge brown" in a bright blue ponte dress

    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!”

  • The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Closeup of Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit Closeup of Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Tunic in Pink Bamboo Knit Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Tunic in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Bonnie Staying Warm in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit Bonnie Staying Warm in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    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.

    Conclusion:

    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.

    buy-the-fabric-stella buy-the-pattern-stella

  • We Have The Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern

    Kate in front of store wearing Cashmerette Appleton dress Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern sewn in Organic Soy Knit

    Close-up of hem basted in place Wrap Dress Hem Basted in Place -- Ready for the Cover Stitch Machine

    Closeup of Wrap Dress Basted Hem Bottom Hem Basted in Place from the Wrong Side -- Ready for the Cover Stitch Machine!

    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.

    Sizing:

    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 Loganberrywhich 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!).

    buy-the-fabric-appleton-dress buy-the-pattern-appleton-dress

  • A Tale of Two FBAs

    Jalie Dolman Sleeve Top with cheater FBA Jalie Dolman Sleeve Top with cheater FBA

    Even though I am a certified Palmer/Pletch Fit instructor, I am also a certified shortcut-taker. I know the correct way to alter a pattern to fit, but I my brain automatically tries to find a faster way. And, owning a shop and setting up a website keep me busy, so I’m always doing everything at the last minute.

    As I prepared to teach a Sewing with Knits class, using the Jalie Dolman Top pattern, I felt too rushed to do a proper full-bust adjustment. I also wanted to give my students an easy alternative to an involved full-bust adjustment.

    Noticing that the center front of the shirt is on the fold, and the Jalie pattern drafters moved the center front farther and farther out as the size increased, I decided to cut out the size based on my high bust measurement, but add fabric at the center front by cutting the center front on the size that fit my full bust. I then cut out the top in our lovely rayon/poly stripe knit in black and cobalt.

    I hemmed the neckline, instead of binding it, and added sleeves. I love it. The back fits well, and the deeper, wider neckline formed by cutting a larger size at the center front is cute and flattering.

    I like a wide neckline... I like a wide neckline...

    Then I taught the class again. Only two students signed up, and I knew they would both benefit from a full-bust adjustment. I was curious how a true FBA would compare to my cheater FBA, so before the class, I altered the pattern using the Palmer/Pletsch Knit for Real People book, and here is the result. I used Riley Blake’s Four Corners Knit in Black. I bound the neck, which raised the neckline a little, but as you can see, the two methods created two very different looks.

    The high neckline is maintained with a traditional Full Bust Adjustment The high neckline is maintained with a traditional Full Bust Adjustment

    _B9B0511

    So, if you love the neckline on a pattern, do a traditional full-bust-adjustment, as described in Fit for Real People and Knits for Real People, but if you want a wider neckline, just add fabric to the center front. That’s why we love sewing. Everything is custom, just for us!

  • New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern

    I have a new front-runner in my never-ending search for a flattering t-shirt pattern. What am I looking for in a t-shirt pattern? I'm looking for a top that minimizes my bust, and makes me look slim without clinging. Welcome to my life, Jalie 2682.

    I'll be carrying Jalie patterns on The Confident Stitch website SOON! As I mentioned in my yoga pant post, Jalie is a Canadian company that makes great patterns for regular clothes. I love them, my 20-something daughters love them, and they come in small children's sizes, too. 

    I have made two versions of this V-Neck top. The first version was crafted out of an awesome soy knit. Soy knits feel like bamboo, but they don't pill as much. Yes, they'll be available in the shop! I can't show you the first version, because my 23-year-old daughter snagged it on her last visit home: "Oooh, Mom, this shirt is so flattering on me. Can I have it? Thanks." In case you're not the mother of girls, the previous quote can be interpreted as HIGH PRAISE.

    This second version is made of an Art Gallery cotton/spandex knit. The fabric, and many more Art Gallery cotton knits will be available in the shop. The only alteration I made was to lower the underbust seam by one inch so that it would actually go under my bust, and not across the apex. I wish I had done a more traditional full-bust-adjustment because there is some pulling at the front underarm seam. Next time, I will do a complete FBA and show you how I did it. The v-neck and shawl collar are created ingeneously, so the FBA will be a little tricky.

    Andrea Jones did not move to Missoula with me, so we all have to put up with my fiance's Andrea Jones did not move to Missoula with me, so we all have to put up with my fiance's "artistic" sense. Gotta love the tree in the eye.

    In this side view, you can see that I need a little more fabric across the bust so the armseye will lay flat against my body. In this side view, you can see that I need a little more fabric across the bust so the armseye will lay flat against my body.

    In addition to constantly searching for the perfect t-shirt, I am always looking for the best way to hem clothes. There are so many options! This top called for simple, single-turned hems for the bottom and the armholes. I decided to use 1/2" SewkeysE double-sided fusible stay tape to hold the hems in place before I stitched them. The tape is extremely fine and pliable. I pressed one side of the tape to the edges of the hems, turned and pressed the hems, removed the paper backing on the stay tape, and re-pressed the hems. (notice the all-important hyphen. No one wants a "repressed" hem.) The stay tape held the hems perfectly in place for stitching -- no bubbling or shifting.

    Emma Seabrooke has a huge variety of stay tapes, all of which help with sewing knits. Emma Seabrooke has a huge variety of stay tapes, all of which help with sewing knits.

    I also used my new seam allowance guide that screws onto my sewing machine. Pushing the fabric against the blade of the guide ensured the zigzag stitching was even on the right side of the garment, and the stitches caught the fold on the wrong side of the fabric. The stay tape and the guide made the hems so nice and easy. Double score -- great t-shirt pattern + great hemming method!

    Extra precision with the seam guide! Extra precision with the seam guide!

  • Jalie Yoga Pants -- Yes I'm Brave Enough to Show You

    Do you know about Jalie patterns yet? Jalie is an independent Canadian pattern company with a great variety of patterns. They are well-drafted and each envelope contains 27 sizes.  Jalie carries patterns for what I consider 'regular clothes' -- Polo shirts, dolman-sleeved tees, easy knit dresses. I have made a Jalie swimsuit, which I like, but you will never see. I am brave enough to show you these yoga pants, however. I love this pattern because it has a center back seam. The seam improves the fit in general, and allows for extra tweaking (no, I did not say twerking). The waistband is also two pieces, allowing for tweaking and interesting design elements.

    This is my first version of these pants. I unintentionally treat the first version of anything I make like a muslin. I should make actual muslins, but I'm too antsy and hopeful. I promise myself I will pay attention to all the details and make sure everything is perfect, and then I jump in with both feet. Unfortunately, I am always too distracted by finding the correct fit and learning how the pattern goes together. Although I like this finished product, I put the waistband on backwards, I completely forgot to match the pattern on the waistband, I cover-stitched with blue thread instead of black....

    Long yoga pants....A tall woman's dream come true! Please disregard the center-front waistband seam -- it's supposed to be in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones. Long yoga pants....A tall woman's dream come true! Please disregard the center-front waistband seam -- it's supposed to be in the back. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I made these pants with a super-strong polyester-spandex from Rose City Textiles. The fabric is from a famous bike-short company, and the pants are thick and WARM. I think the fabric is better suited for shorts. These pants will definitely keep me cozy through the Montana winter!. The waistband is a fun cotton-lycra jersey from Art Gallery. Both will be available in my shop and online (soon!).

    The back. I tried enhancing the photo so you could see the center-back seam, but other things were also enhanced. No thank you! Photo by Andrea Jones. The back. I tried enhancing the photo so you could see the center-back seam, but other things were also enhanced. No thank you! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I chose a size based on my hip measurements, and made no changes to the pattern except lengthening (my inseam is 36 inches). The waistband is held up by half-inch elastic cut to fit your waist and sewn on the inside. I can't wait to make more pairs!

    Close-up of the waistband -- wouldn't it look good if I had matched the pattern and put the vertical seam in the back? Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the waistband -- wouldn't it look good if I had matched the pattern and put the vertical seam in the back? Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Ivy #2

    I had so much fun making my first Sewing Workshop Ivy Top, I whipped up a second one. The Sewing Workshop patterns are perfect candidates for playing with fabric. They are all impeccably drafted, and they aren't overly fitted, so you don't need to fuss with tweaking the fit. With three different knits, the fabric combination options for this top are endless. 

    This top works great with a variety of knit weights. The black and gray stripe is a bamboo ponte, the pink is a mid-weight rayon knit, and the gray is a tissue-weight bamboo. Photo by Andrea Jones. This top works great with a variety of knit weights. The black and gray stripe is a bamboo ponte, the pink is a mid-weight rayon knit, and the gray is a tissue-weight bamboo. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back. The tissue-weight bamboo wrinkles in the wind!. Photo by Andrea Jones. The back. The tissue-weight bamboo wrinkles in the wind!. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Close-up of the three fabrics. Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the three fabrics. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The left sleeve has a triangle insert at the elbow, adding even more interest to the top. Photo by Andrea Jones. The left sleeve has a triangle insert at the elbow, adding even more interest to the top. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Thoughts about Pockets

    I finished the non-muffin-top burgundy pants (V8859), and Andrea Jones photographed them. I love that they are stretch pants that hit at the right spot on my waist. I also love that they don't look too casual -- they have a design element on the knee and actual pockets in the back. The back pockets were quite problematic, though. I knew the pockets were too small and badly located, but I didn't know how to fix them for the best visual effect. After my photo shoot, Heather Lou at Closet Case Files had a great blog post on jean pocket placement. She went into great depth about pocket size and placement, and she included many photos of good and bad placement. After reading her article, I ripped out my pockets and cut a bigger pair. I then pinned and repinned the pockets in place (I'll spare you the multitude of photographs) until I had them even and well-placed. I'm much happier with the look of my derriere in the pants now. If you want to make these pants, or any others with small, high back pockets, do yourself a favor and read Heather Lou's post first. Friends don't let friends have small back pockets!

    Cute knee detail. Photo by Andrea Jones. Cute knee detail. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The front -- They are long enough! Photo by Andrea Jones. The front -- They are long enough! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back with the original pocket size and placement. If super flat butts are ever in style, I'm set. Photo by Andrea Jones. The back with the original pocket size and placement. If super flat butts are ever in style, I'm set. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Home photo of bigger, lower pockets. Please ignore the many markings. I feel much more confident with these pockets! Home photo of bigger, lower pockets. Please ignore the many markings. I feel much more confident with these pockets!

  • Blouse-Back Tee

    This week, I have another somewhat shapeless but completely fabulous pattern to share with you -- The new blouse-back tee from Hot Patterns. This is my first Hot Patterns shirt, and I loved the fit of the shoulders -- Perfect! It's a loose tee, which meant no need for any adjustments. Trudy hosted a 4-part sew-along on her blog, which was helpful. The instructions say to sew the neck and sleeve facings in a tube before you start sewing the rest of the garment. Then when it's time to attach the facings, Trudy is emphatic that you should pin the facings in place to make sure they are nice and snug before you sew them in. If you have sewn with Hot Patterns, you know Trudy is not strict at all about anything, so if she is emphatic about a step in the process, you should follow her instructions. I know that. I really do. But, alas, by the time I was sewing in the neck facings, I was in that magical "almost done" space. I could picture myself wearing my blouse-back tee the next day. I could taste completion. I could not stand to slow down and pick out the already-sewn neckband tube. And so, my neck facings are a little floppy. Otherwise, I love this tee, especially with a contrast fabric for the "blouse." I made one in a white modal knit, and one with the modal knit combined with a woven almost-voile as the blouse-back.

    For one version, I used a white modal knit from Dharma Trading Company, with a Kaffe Fassett almost-voile from the Sewing Palace. Photo by Andrea Jones. For one version, I used a white modal knit from Dharma Trading Company, with a Kaffe Fassett almost-voile from the Sewing Palace. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The other version is plain white. Please avert your eyes from the loose neckband. Photo by Andrea Jones. The other version is plain white. Please avert your eyes from the loose neckband. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back is truly gorgeous! Photo By Andrea Jones. The back is truly gorgeous! Photo By Andrea Jones.

    Thank you, Kaffe Fassett, for your beautiful fabrics. This one makes me so happy. Photo by Andrea Jones. Thank you, Kaffe Fassett, for your beautiful fabrics. This one makes me so happy. Photo by Andrea Jones.

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