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The Confident Stitch

  • Jalie Vanessa Pants in Light Blue Tencel

    Mairin loves her new Jalie Vanessa Pants! Mairin loves her new Jalie Vanessa Pants!

    Jalie Vanessa Pants in Light Blue Tencel

    The Vanessa Pants are a relatively new pattern from Jalie, and we were so excited that they arrived in time for summer. When we saw the cover photo of the pants in the same light blue Tencel that we carry, we wanted to recreate them exactly! They're the perfect casual pants for this casual mountain town we live in -- nice enough to wear outside the house, comfortable enough to do all your usual activities and keep cool.

    Pattern:

    Jalie #3676, "Vanessa" Pants

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  • Capsule Wardrobe

    I created a capsule wardrobe and I love it! I have loved the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a long time, but I always dropped out of the process because the soul searching seems boring and unnecessary. I don’t need to define my style and psychoanalyze myself in order to put together a limited number of outfits. A couple of months ago, during my nightly Bloglovin’ crawl, I stumbled on a blog post about Courtney Carver’s 333 Capsule Wardrobe project. While she does ask more than a dozen touchy-feely questions, her method allows you to skip the questions and just select the 33 items you will wear for 3 months. Her website and her downloadable guide (which I did purchase) explain the rules. I thought my refusal to answer the preparatory questions meant I wouldn’t learn anything from the process. I was so, so wrong. After wearing only 33 items of clothing (including shoes, leggings, and my watch) for eight weeks, I have learned almost a dozen touchy-feely things! Here are four of them:

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  • Marcy Tilton for Vogue V8813 Dress in Cheetah Print Knit

    Gathered Front of Cheetah Print Vogue Dress Gathered Front of Dress in Cheetah Print Knit

    Kate in Cheetah Print Vogue Dress Kate in Dress in Cheetah Print Knit

    Closeup of Cheetah Print Vogue Dress Pocket Closeup of Dress in Cheetah Print Knit Pocket

    Pattern:

    Marcy Tilton for Vogue V8813 Dress in Cheetah Print Knit

    Pattern Description:

    Pullover dress (semi-fitted through bust) has shirred front extending into back collar, side-front seams, draped lower side-front with pockets, and stitched hems. A: Pleat and button trim on pockets. A, C: Narrow hem on cap sleeves. B: Three-quarter length sleeves. C: Contrast fabrics.

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  • Angela Wolf Delila Knit Top

    Closeup of Delila Knit Top Sleeve Cuff Closeup of Delila Knit Top Sleeve Cuff

    Angela Wolf Delila Knit Top in ITY Knit Angela Wolf Delila Knit Top in ITY Knit

    Closeup of the Delila Knit Top Zig-Zagged Neckline Closeup of the Delila Knit Top Zig-Zagged Neckline

    Closeup of the Delila Knit Top in Black Soy Knit Closeup of the Delila Knit Top in Black Soy Knit

    Angela Wolf Delila Knit Top Description:

    The Angela Wolf Delila Knit Top is a batwing with nine different styles included in one pattern. According to Angela, "This is one of the most comfortable stylish tops you will own. Each style can be sewn in just a few hours." I agree!

    Pattern Sizing:

    US sizes XXS to 5X. I made the ITY version in extra-large, and the soy version in large. I think I’ll stick with the size large for my next versions.

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  • The Sewing Workshop's Fillmore Duster

    Mairin modeling The Sewing Workshop Fillmore Duster Mairin modeling The Sewing Workshop Fillmore Duster

    The Sewing Workshop: Fillmore Duster

    Leave it to the Sewing Workshop for another of their pronounced "avant-garde patterns for the adventurous sewer." The Fillmore Duster is definitely unique. Read on for Bonnie's thoughts on this pattern!

    Description:

    “Knee-length, button-front duster with circular pockets, winding seamlines and strategic tucks. Soft, fold-down mitered collar and extended shoulders. Narrow stitched hems and armhole binding. Wrong side of the fabric shows.”

    Sizing:

    XS-XXL, Bonnie made this is an XS

    Review:

    Bonnie found the instructions easy to follow. However, she would have liked better illustration detail for the front placket, and noted that the pattern does not include finished measurements. Bonnie likes the unique details but wonders if all the added elements make for “too much of a good thing.” As it is worn over a sweater or top, she does not suggest extending the shoulders.

    The back of the Fillmore Duster has unique seam details. The back of the Fillmore Duster has unique seam details.

    Bonnie top stitched the back seams to enhance the seam detail. Bonnie was concerned the armholes would not be large enough to accommodate bulkier tops and decided to enlarge the armholes at underside and add to the armhole binding length. She folded under the seam allowance at neck and top stitched.  She did 6 buttons instead of 8.

    Be sure to note wrong side of fabric shows on collar! Bonnie enjoyed sewing this duster and thought it turned out better than envisioned. The pattern pieces went well together and the plaid fabric looked great! The Duster could be very bulky depending on weight and flow of fabric – there’s a lot of material. Bonnie notes that the pattern does not have any shortening or lengthening adjustments available.  If she wanted to make it in a larger size, she would not make it as wide (a large is 6” wider at 60”!) Fortunately, it could be modified to be narrower in width without changing the look.

    Detail of the Fillmore Duster's front, including pockets. Detail of the Fillmore Duster's front, including pockets.

  • Katherine Tilton B6026: Radiating Pin-Tuck Top

    Mairin lookin' good in the Katherine Tilton B6026 Radiating Pin-Tuck Top! Mairin lookin' good in the Katherine Tilton B6026 Radiating Pin-Tuck Top!

    Katherine Tilton B6026 Radiating Pin-Tuck Top in Stretch Woven

    We carry mostly patterns from independent pattern companies, but every once in a while something from the Big Four catches our eye -- such as this contemporary top by Katherine Tilton. Read on for Bonnie's thoughts on this button-up with pin-tuck details!

    Pattern:

    Butterick 6026 Katherine Tilton: Misses' Radiating Pin-Tuck Top

    Pattern Description:

    “Fitted top has shirt collar, collar band, front radiating pin tucks at neck and waist, shaped hemline, front longer than back, wrong side shows, and stitched hem. A: Sleeveless. B: Three-quarter sleeves and pin tucks on sleeves.”

    Pattern Sizing:

    8-16, Bonnie made this in a size 12 with a bust adjustment to a size 14.

    Review:

    This fitted top is a classic staple for any wardrobe. Pair with slacks for a wear-to-work blouse or dress it down with jeans for the next family BBQ.

    Bonnie used The Confident Stitch’s Morocco Blue Floral Stretch Woven in Black  for this top. This mid-weight fabric with some stretch gives a great relaxed fit for shirts. The only changes she made were to go up a size in the bust with a full-bust adjustment, and to raise the waistline about 1.5".

    Bonnie particularly liked the pin-tuck details. They're fairly simple to create and give the top a flattering shape and fun detail. The fabric she used has a very small and busy pattern to it, making the pin-tucks harder to see. The next version might have to be in a solid, such as this organic shot-cotton voile in grape.

    Button-up shirts are always in style. This particular version lends a fun twist on an old classic -- what's not to love? She found the pattern easy to follow and would recommend it to others!

    Detail of the shirt front. Detail of the shirt front.

    The radiating pin-tucks are much more visible in a solid fabric! The radiating pin-tucks are much more visible in a solid fabric!

    katherine-tilton-6026-BUY-THE-FABRIC-web

  • Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset in Designer Fabrics

    Bonnie made a colorful Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset with our designer poly knit and a Capri Linen knit. Bonnie made a colorful Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset with our designer poly knit and a Capri Linen knit.

     

    The cardigan of this twinset drapes perfectly! The cardigan of this twinset drapes perfectly!

    Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset in Designer Fabrics

    The Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset is a new pattern we carry in the shop, so of course we had to try it out! Bonnie loved the finished results and shares her review here:

    Pattern

    Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset

    Pattern Description

    “A sleeveless knit top with an open, drapey cardigan. The Rachel Twin-Set is super easy and fast to sew and is perfect for beginners.”

    Pattern Sizing

    XXS – 5X. Bonnie made hers in a size large.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yep!

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    For the most part yes, especially for the tank top. Bonnie thought the instructions for the cardigan were less clear, and two of the notches did not match where they were supposed to. The drawings also could have been more detailed.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Bonnie likes that this is a flattering style for all figures, and is a quick and easy sew. She notes that this pattern runs a little small and is fairly fitted, so it’s important to check the finished measurements to make sure you pick the right size. 

    Fabric Used

    For the tank top, Bonnie used one of our linen knits. She made two versions of the cardigan: one in this poly ITY knit, and one in a Missoni Crush Knit in Candy.

     Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

     Bonnie added a little length to the tank top, and added 2” slits to the side seams at the hem. She opted to double top-stitch around the hem, neckline, and armholes. On the cardigans, she added extra ease to the sleeve cap for a better fit. She also lengthened the cardigans approximately 2”.

     Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

     Bonnie would sew this again – the tank top especially is quick to sew and versatile. Double top-stitching on both pieces gave it a professional touch! Although the instructions for the cardigan could be a little better, she highly recommends this pattern.

     

    The back of the cardigan has a nice seam detail. The back of the cardigan has a nice seam detail.

    Detail of the sleeve rouching. Detail of the ruched sleeve.

     

  • Sewaholic Crescent Skirt in Cotton + Steel Rayon

    The second Crescent Skirt, made in Cotton + Steel Rayon. The second Crescent Skirt, made in Cotton + Steel Rayon.

    Sewaholic Crescent Skirt in Cotton + Steel Rayon

    The Sewaholic Crescent Skirt is one of the first Sewaholic patterns I made. I finished two skirts in two very different fabrics, made a few mistakes, and learned a few things along the way. But the overall verdict? Love!

    Pattern:

    Sewaholic Patterns Crescent Skirt

    Pattern Description:

    “The Crescent Skirt is a gathered skirt with a fitted yoke. Your choice of a slightly gathered skirt, a fuller gathered skirt or a longer, knee-length skirt. Optional trim or contrast topstitching highlights the fitted waistband. A great addition to your wardrobe!

    This skirt is designed with a pear-shaped figure in mind. The fitted yoke waistband highlights a narrow waistline, gathers at the hip create a flattering silhouette. Slash pockets are easy to sew, and anything you put in the pockets is disguised by the gathering. Sizing is proportioned for a pear-shaped figure: smaller waist, larger hips.”

    Pattern Sizing:

    0 – 16. I made one version in a size 8 and one in a size 6.

    Review

    I first decided to make one in a Robert Kaufman Montauk Twill, to replace an old J. Crew skirt that finally wore out earlier this year. The fabric is soft, high-quality, and sturdy. It’s great for a skirt, but I have to admit it wasn’t the best choice for this pattern. I had a really hard time creating the gathers, because of the weight of the fabric, and I was afraid the lack of drape would create too much of a bell-shape effect. I ended up taking the side seams in quite a bit to tweak the fit and to make the skirt a little less tulip-y. Despite these issues, I like the finished result and wear it frequently!

    The Crescent Skirt has a pieced waistband, which is an ideal place for top-stitching. The Crescent Skirt has a pieced waistband, which is an ideal place for top-stitching.

    The second version I made in this amazing Cotton + Steel rayon, and it was a breeze. Because the first version turned out a little bigger than I expected, I made a size 6 (although my measurements correspond more with a size 8) and it fit perfectly! The drapey fabric was a much better choice for this pattern and gathered nicely.

    The rayon drapes much better than the twill! The rayon drapes much better than the twill! And who doesn't love a pocket?

    Detail of the yoke and gathers...and this amazing rayon! Detail of the yoke and gathers...and of course the swishy-soft rayon!

    The instructions for the Crescent Skirt, as with all Sewaholic patterns I’ve used, are clear and easy to follow. The zipper intimidated me a bit, but their method makes for a clean finish all the way around and doesn’t require any hand stitching. I loved the flattering fit of this skirt, with the yoke and the drape around the hips. Add the top-stitching detail and it’ll look extra professional!

  • The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt

    The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    Close up of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard Close up of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    Back of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard Back of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    We wanted to showcase our gorgeous 2-sided wool/rayon blend, and decided The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt would be the perfect vehicle. I was super excited about the fabric, so Bonnie made the skirt for me. Yessss!

    Pattern Description:

    Fitted, slightly flared, below-waist skirt has a narrow bias waistline binding, darts, a bias side panel with shaped hem and a left side seam zipper. View A is knee length. View B is above ankle.

    Pattern Sizes:

    US 6 to 22. We made it in size 20, which I thought (hoped) would be way too big because The Sewing Workshop patterns for the upper half of the body tend to be roomy. My hip measures 44”, most of which is tummy, and the size 20 (which calls for a 45 ½” hip measurement) was little snug. You may want to size up with this pattern.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, the instructions were easy to follow. Bonnie decided to make the side hems from the “wrong,” or contrasting, side of the fabric, so she drafted her own pattern pieces for the side hems, which was the only confusing bit.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Linda Lee, the owner of The Sewing Workshop, is a stellar hemmer. This skirt has straight hems, mitered corners, and a curved hem. Linda includes detailed instructions for all of them – If you’ve never sewn a curved hem or an asymmetrical miter, this is a great pattern to start with!

    Fabric Used:

    Bonnie used our Reversible Jacquard in Black and Gray. The fabric is half wool, half rayon, and I pre-washed it in my machine on delicate, which worked just fine. From now on, I’ll be able to wash it the same way and save on dry-cleaning costs! Bonnie enjoyed sewing with the fabric. It pressed easily, and wasn’t slippery.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    Bonnie only changed the side hems so they would contrast with the rest of the skirt.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and Yes. I love the flowy-ness of the bias-cut panel. I want to make the shorter version for summer!

    Conclusion:

    The Sewing Workshop patterns are all amazingly well-drafted, and this skirt is no exception. I  love the design lines, and this skirt will look great in so many fabrics – rayon challis, I’m looking at you for summer!

  • Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes

    Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes

    Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat

    I made a Grainline Willow dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes in preparation for a class on how to make it. No one signed up for the class, which could have been because the weather is still cold in Missoula, or because I finished the sample two days before the class was to begin. Either way, I will offer the class again. The Willow is an easy, loose fitting top or dress, which makes it a great introduction to basic garment construction for beginners.

    Pattern Description:

    The Willow Tank Dress is a versatile and reliable staple for all warm-weather seasons. It is fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. The Willow is unfussy and can be made into a dress or a tank top. Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, darts, hemming, and applying bias facings.

    Pattern Sizing:

    US 0 to 18. I used size 18 for the front, and size 14 for the back.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    I think it actually looked better than the pattern envelope because I was able to add some shaping to the sides.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, especially with Jen’s photo tutorials on the Grainline Studio website.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I liked the drafting, the instructions, and Jen’s method for applying bias facings. I always use her method. It works every time. Here’s the link so you can, too.

    Fabric used:

    A woven stripe designed by Kaffe Fassett. I loved sewing with it. It pressed like a dream and was soft yet stable. I think I need to order some of Kaffe’s shot cottons for the shop now that I know how nice his wovens are for making clothes. As you can see, the stripes went horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt, adding to the fun!

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    Because I am six-feet-tall, I added two inches to both the bodice and the skirt. I also cut out the front in size 18 and the back in size 14 (a lazy-woman’s full-bust-adjustment!). My mash-up worked well – I just needed to pay attention to make the armholes match. I also kinda forgot that the back was a couple of sizes smaller than the front when I was pinning the fabric to fit, and pinched the same amount from both the front and the back. I should have kept the back seam-allowance at one-half inch, and only taken in the front. Now, the back is a little tight, which I know I can fix, but I’d have to undo the bias binding on the armholes (eye roll). I also made a four-inch sash to wear around my waist for days I want a little more definition.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and yes! I am looking forward to making myself and my daughters Willow dresses for the summer, and making myself a few new tank tops!

    Conclusion:

    This is a great beginner dress or top pattern because of the great instructions, lack of fitting issues, and no sleeves!

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