What I Made for Lynne’s Challenge – Kwik Sew 0188

For our second group challenge Lynne chose our theme: “use a sewing machine stitch you’ve never used before”. I decided to try a quilting stitch. I’ve sewn patchwork quilt tops before, but I’ve always had my patchwork quilted by others - I’ve never done my own quilting.

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Jill’s November Challenge – Built-in Machine Stitches

I have had my machine for 11 years I have NEVER used one machine stitch other that the basic zig zag, straight, stretch and so on. I didn’t really have a project in mind for this challenge so I just stitched out a little sample of what these stitches actually looked like.

Here they are. They are quite thin and the one design, it’s a leaf design which is more dense than the other ones just bunched up under the needle and I got a huge thread ball on the other side.


The fabric also puckers, so I’m thinking I might need a stabilizer of some sort. I’m not sure if I would ever use these, they are so thin. Might look good on a hanky or something.

I think what this has taught me is when buying my next machine I don’t think I’ll be at all swayed by how many built in stitches it has. I think if I really wanted to do this I would move into a embroidery machine. Which I think would be pretty awesome.

What about you, do you use your built in stitches?



November Challenge: Stretch Stitch on the Tonic 2 Tee

My first foray into building my core wardrobe is a long sleeve tee using the SBCC Tonic 2 Tee pattern.

I can only think of two items that I’ve done using a knit and one of those was a complete nightmare. This time I’m going in ready for success powered by sewing blogs.

Melly Sews suggests using the lightning aka wobble aka stretch stitch on knits so the seams can maintain the fabrics stretchable quality. Lladybird uses a walking foot so both layers of your knit feed through evenly. The Tiramisu Circus has a nice post on stabilizers for knits.

First off let’s talk about the pattern. It was free so that’s great. Instructions are super easy, though I modified the neckline procedure. The instructions have you apply the neckline trim while one shoulder seam is still open, then tacking down the trim after the shoulder seam is closed. That seamed sloppier than I want, so I did it the old-fashioned way of inserting the circle of trim into the closed neckline. Even if you follow her instructions your left to guess how much to stretch your trim so it will lay flat instead of gaping. A little guidance there would be nice. I had a little gaping that I had to press the heck out of, but it practically disappeared after washing. I like that the pattern calls for self fabric for the neckline trim.

My first seams, the shoulder seams, incorporated all three of my knit fabric firsts; walking foot, stay tape, and lightning stitch. Other than the fabric getting munched on the first couple stitches almost every time, things were working to plan. When I attached the neckline trim though, I found that the stitch length was so short that it was going to take forever to get this sewn. I did a few tests to try to figure out the problem and didn’t have my aha moment until I was half way through attaching the first sleeve.

My solution? Sulky Solvy original water soluble stabilizer that I bought forever ago thinking I’d make one of those lacy thread scarves. So glad I didn’t cause I stopped thinking those were cool after five minutes.  I started laying down strips of this stuff on top of my fabric and it helped my walking foot get enough grab on the top layer to move things through and give me the stitch length I was expecting. Wrapping a bit of this stuff around the beginning of my seams also helped with the afore-mentioned munching.

So here’s the results.

Tonic 2 Tee

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November Challenge – New Machine Stitches


Every machine I’ve ever owned had stitches on it that I’d never used. The challenge this month was to try using some of those mystery stitches on something, anything. Continue reading

3 Shirts to Dress Refashion

3 Shirts to Dress Refashion 1

Well I failed on my “I’m not buying any new sewing books” pledge. I’d previously vowed not to purchase any more sewing books until I made a project from each of the books I already own. Oops! I recently bought a LOT of new-to-me sewing titles. My favorite is “ReSew – turn thrift-store finds into fabulous designs” by Jenny Wilding Cardon. This book includes 20 easy-enough-for-beginners refashioning projects using thrift store finds. Easy, thrift-stores and sewing? Those are 3 of my favorite things, so this book is perfect for me! Continue reading

Butterfly Kimono from Butterick 6065

Well, this was unintentional, me posting a kimono right after Jamie. Plus, we’re having a Kimono night at the Denver Sewing Collective’s next meetup. I’ve got kimono on the brain.

butterfly kimono sewn by Jilly from Denver Sews
This was an super easy jacket to make. Basically a rectangle folded over and the side sewn where your arms go through. I like the drapey band that Butterick has here.

I bought the fabric from Colorado Fabrics last month. I was on break from a tailoring class upstairs and well, don’t let any of us loose at Colorado Fabrics for very long. We all can do destruction in a short amount of time. This fabric is a knit almost a tissue knit. It’s very soft and thin in an abstract print.

This is going to be a favorite pattern of mine and can see me making it again and again in more beautiful fabrics.

I also like that I can pair it with a heavy turtleneck or long sleeved T for wearing in cooler months.

Super easy project, great for a beginner. Can be completed in an hour.

Butterick 6065 - Denver Sews

Simplicity 1318 – Leopard Print Kimono

Simplicity 1318 Leopard Print Kimono - Collage

This make is a month old already and was just meant to be a wearable muslin, but I wore it to the last ASG meeting and Kitty talked me into posting it. It was a muslin I made up to test the kimono pattern I used for the silk kimono from the October challenge. The pattern is Simplicity 1318 but I pieced it together to remove the center back and sleeve seams.

Simplicity 1318

The fabric was just a polyester print from JoAnn’s. When I laid the fabric out to cut, I realized that the print was not anywhere near centered on the fabric. The fabric is NOT hanging off the side of the table in the photo below, so you can see it’s about 6 inches off center! My clear pattern pieces ended up coming in handy even in the muslin stage, because I probably wouldn’t have noticed this otherwise. I used them to line up the center back of the kimono with one of the black stripes. I also noticed when I was cutting the front pieces and trying to line them up in the white areas that there is a line down the white area that is not centered, so my center pieces wouldn’t look symmetric. Argh! I ended up flipping the front pieces in opposite directions to have the black line in the same place somewhere in the armpit area. I also strategically cut the front and sleeve bands to be on darker areas so they would stand out more. Now that I’m writing this out, I’m realizing that this might have been a bit obsessive for just a muslin… Does anyone else put way to much thought into cutting prints?

Simplicity 1318 Leopard Print Kimono - Fabric Layout

Another technique I tried out was to insert flat strips of fabric along the seams attaching the front bands to make them stand out a bit more. I’ve seen this in RTW and I like it better than piping in a soft garment because it doesn’t add as much stiffness. Basically you just cut bias strips, iron them in half the long way, and lay them along the seam the same as you would add piping.

Simplicity 1318 Leopard Print Kimono - Trim Closeup