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How to Add a Side Zipper to Any Garment

2018 July 5

Check it out! This is my awesome new sewing shirt, with an added side zipper (a new tutorial!) to make it fancy. Plus, it’s this sewing nerd’s most fun thing to do to wear my hobby. #youknowit

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

Today’s tutorial will show you how to add a side zipper to a garment with a side seam. (Yes – the bottom of pants too!) I used my trusty Union St tee pattern as a base for the embroidery and zipper. This will be my 5th I think!

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. I am a Janome Artisan and have been loaned a Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery combination machine as part of this program.

zipper, tutorial, union st tee

To sew the zipper, I used the Janome twin Dual Feed holder with the AD twin foot. My zipper was flat enough to topstitch it without using a zipper foot! This foot hooks into the AcuFeed system in the Skyline S9 to feed the top and bottom fabric layers through your machine at the same rate – creating amazingly flat and accurate seams, especially when sewing knits and quilting.

Embroidering on the Skyline S9 is an amazing bonus! I’ve wanted to put this saying on something for a long time and I was thrilled to be able to design and execute my very own embroidered sewing shirt. Guess how many other things I want to embroider this on now? #lol #embroiderallthethings #andsewonandsewforth

You might like these previous posts! 12 Tips and Tricks for Sewing with knits, Machine Embroidering, and more projects on the Janome Skyline S9.

Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!


zipper, tutorial

How to Add a Side Zipper to any Seam!


You will need:

  • Pattern and supplies for a knit garment with a side seam
  • Ballpoint needle (for sewing knits)
  • Zipper (in your desired length)
  • Fusible Interfacing scraps
  • Removable Marking Pen
  • Sewing Machine and Supplies
  • Optional: Serger

Prepare the garment

  1. Sew your garment, according to the instructions, until you reach the step requiring you to stitch the seam where you’d like to add your zipper.
  2.  Mark where the garment’s hem will finish on the seam you’d like your zipper. My hem is 1″ deep.zipper, tutorial
  3. Place the bottom zipper teeth at the hem mark. With the slider open and away from the hem, mark just above the zipper stop.zipper, tutorial
  4. Measure from the bottom of the fabric to the top mark and add 1″. Cut 2 pieces of interfacing 1″ wide by your measured length.zipper, tutorial
  5. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric on each marked edge.zipper, tutorial

Stitch the Seam

  1. Stitch the seam as per your instructions, stopping at the top mark. Press sewn seam allowances open or towards the back. NOTE: If serging, stop 2″ above the mark and stitch to the mark with a sewing machine. This allows the zipper area seam allowances to be pressed open.
  2. Draw a line on the back of your zipper just under the zipper stop. Also, mark two lines on either side about 1/4″ from the center of the zipper teeth. Place the zipper right sides together with the sewn seam (over the unsewn area) with the zipper slider away from the hem and the zipper stop along the previous zipper stop marking (shown here in blue). It is very important that the zipper teeth are well centered along the side seam!zipper, tutorial
  3. Sew along the marked line on the zipper from one 1/4″ marking to the area. Don’t worry that the zipper seems oddly placed, this will all work out!zipper, tutorial
  4. Turn the garment wrong side up and open the seam allowances. Mark two 45 degree lines from the center opening to the edges of the line you just sewed. Cut along these marks being careful not to cut through or past the stitches.zipper, tutorial

Finish the Zipper

  1. Press each interfaced seam back 1/2″. Fuse or glue them down if desired.zipper, tutorial
  2. Fold the excess zipper tape on each side of the bottom of the zipper to the wrong side at a 45-degree angle (left in photo), and then fold it up and out of the way (right in photo). Baste each side in place.zipper, tutorial
  3. Lay the shirt right side up on a flat surface. Pull the zipper down from the wrong side of the shirt until the zipper slider near the shirt hem. Align each folded side seam evenly on top of the zipper tape. Glue or pin in place.zipper, tutorial
  4. Topstitch around the zipper about 1/8″ away from the folded edges. Start at the bottom of one side seam and stitch around to the other side seam, pivoting at each corner.zipper, tutorial

Finish the garment

  1. Finish the shirt as per the instructions. When hemming, make sure the hemline and stitching match on both sides of the zipper for a professional finish.zipper, tutorial


Congratulations, you’ve sewn a Side Zipper!


Sewing Machine: Janome Skyline S9 (on loan from Janome Canada as part of their Artisan program)

Knit Fabric: Heather Grey – 10 oz Cotton/Spandex Jersey Knit from Fabric Snob

DIY Secret Message Pillowcase Tutorial {Glows in the dark!}

2018 June 1

Last summer my kids went to sleep away camp for the first time. I was a bit nervous leaving them for an entire week, since they were 6 and 9 years old, so – being a sewist mom – I decided to make them a project.

Each of my girls received a personalized pillowcase with a glow-in-the-dark secret message. Every night when they went to sleep, the glowing message would say goodnight and that mom and dad love them. Made me feel much better!

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. I am a Janome Artisan and have been loaned a Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery combination machine as part of this program.

Today’s tutorial shows you how to incorporate a glow-in-the-dark message using a sewing machine with an alphabet function. (P.S. If you don’t have one, consider using the glowing thread to hand-embroider a message instead!) I added some embroidery as well since the Janome Skyline S9 can do that too!

There are so many uses for these pillowcases. Make one for….

  • a unique gift for your grandkids
  • a child in the hospital
  • your hubby while you are away traveling on business
  • a child who is scared of the dark
  • a fun surprise!

My lovely blog sponsor, Country Clothesline, provided the fabrics for this pillowcase. They have a gorgeous selection of fresh and pretty fabrics in her shop – think picnics and country gardens. My kids are debating who gets to use this pillowcase first as we speak! (Find links to the fabrics at the bottom of this post.)

Make your own DIY Secret Message Pillowcase

You will need:

  • A good burrito pillowcase tutorial – try this link from Janome Life.
  • Glow-in-the-dark Embroidery thread
  • Materials as per your tutorial
  • Optional: Embroidery machine and supplies


Cutting Instructions:

It is best to follow your chosen tutorial, but, as a gauge – here are the measurements I used to cut fabric for my pillowcase. Each of these is cut across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage – generally, this is about 42″-44″.

  • 11″ band
  • 2″ wide accent strip (will be folded in half)
  • 27″ main fabric


STEP 1: Make the Accent Strip with Your Secret Message

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Fold the accent strip in half and press. Add a 1″ wide piece of stabilizer to one half of it. This will be where you will place your glow-in-the-dark message.

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Program the message into your machine. The Skyline S9 allows you to check your work, do it if you can to make sure there aren’t any spelling mistakes.

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Measure the height of your text and draw a baseline with a removable marking device. Check which way the text will face as you stitch and align the baseline so the text is right side up above the fold of the accent strip. If you are centering the text on the strip, allow for a 1/4″ seam allowance at the top of the accent strip.

IMPORTANT: Press your accent strip well before you embroider on it! You CAN NOT press the glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread with the same heat you use to press the cotton fabric because it will melt. (Don’t ask me how I know, blergh.)

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Use the baseline as a guide and stitch the message, starting about 1″ into the strip to allow for the pillowcase seam allowance. Continue repeating your message until you reach about 1″ from the other end of the strip.

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Remove the spacing threads between the letters if desired.

Re-fold the strip. (Do not press on high heat! Test your “synthetic” setting and use a press cloth if you really want to iron it.)

STEP 2: Embroider the Pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

When centering embroidery, make sure to take seam allowances and folds into account. Embroidery centered on the top front band will appear on 1/4 of the band fabric. (see photo)

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

Place stabilizer underneath and hoop your project.

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

I used two rose designs included with the Janome AcuDesign app and changed the colours to use similar colours to the fabric so I could envision the final product.

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

diy pillowcase, secret message, glow in the dark, glow-in-the-dark, handmade, pillowcase

The AcuSetter app allowed me to send the design placements over WIFI to the Skyline S9, so the rose and the two vine sections would match up.

Janome Skyline S9 Embroidery machine

Embroidered Pillowcase

Embroider the pillowcase band as desired.

Step 3: Finish Making the Pillowcase

Follow your desired tutorial to finish the pillowcase. Insert the accent strip between the main and band fabric with the lettering facing the band fabric when sewing them together.

I used a french seam to enclose the raw edges of the pillowcase so they won’t fray.


Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!


Woven Fabric: All fabrics are from Country Clothesline - Rambling Rose by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit, Happy Dots Pinhead (white on blue dot) from Michael Miller Fabrics, Basically Hugs (blue on white dot) by Helen Stubbings for P&B Textiles

Glow-In-The-Dark thread: Coats & Clark, 100% Polyester

Sewing Machine: Janome Skyline S9 (on loan from Janome Canada as part of their Artisan program)

The Fabric Snob – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ discount & giveaway!}

2018 May 17

I love the Canadian online fabric shopping scene! Over the past few years, it has grown by leaps and bounds, providing Canadian (and US and International!) shoppers with lots of variety and choice.

Today, I’m thrilled to be able to feature Lindsey from The Fabric Snob, chat about her shop and give you a chance to win a fabric-y giveaway! Plus, she’s provided a discount code for you to use in her shop. (P.S. This is the 20th Canadian Online Fabric Store interview we’ve had here!)

the fabric snob, fabric, canadian, online, shop

“It started with the search for the perfect diaper fabric for my newborn son, which was impossible to find in Canada. I realized there was a huge gap in the Canadian market for on-trend fabrics, so The Fabric Snob was born!

We also have a brick and mortar location. We are located in a small town, Riverton, in rural Manitoba! If you are ever out our way, please stop in for a visit, we would love to have you!” ~ Lindsey, The Fabric Snob

I had a lovely time shopping at The Fabric Snob. They have a huge shop including 60+ solid knit colours plus prints, french terry, and heathered knits, quilting cottons, fleece, minky, flannels, notions and thread! Plus a low Canada and US shipping flat rate of $9.99.

My order arrived super-quick with a washing sheet and bonus fruit snacks that, yes, I did share with my kids! Plus I got a swatch sheet for their huge array of knits – so I can properly match future orders. (Almost my favorite part of the order, besides the fabric of course! #fabricnerd) 

 the fabric snob, fabric, canadian, online, shop

Sherri: Why did you decide to start your shop?

Lindsey: I wanted something that I could do from home while being a mom, I LOVED sewing and was a self-professed fabric snob. Plus I have always loved working with technology. An online fabric store was the perfect fit!

Sherri: What is your favorite type of sewing project? 

Lindsey: Clothing! I love being able to custom fit something to my body. But I also love the challenge of quilting projects!

Sherri: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Lindsey: We are hoping to expand our apparel fabrics in a big way over the next few months, and we are also in the process of getting a long-arm to start offering edge-to-edge quilting services!

Sherri: Thanks, Lindsey! 

Lucky us! The Fabric Snob is offering a discount at their shop until May 31, 2018! (One-time use, discount is not applicable to EverSewn Sewing Machines.)

Use the code THR10 to get 10% off your order.

The Fabric Snob is giving away the best kind of gift – a $50 gift card to use in their shop!

This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide, from today (May 17) until midnight May 24, 2018 (EST). Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter”, no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: Fabric Snob is a current blog sponsor. I contacted them to see if they also wanted to be interviewed. They provided fabric and a giveaway as part of our collaboration for this series.  I won’t promote a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will always be my own. Thanks for reading! 

Quick and Happy Mother’s Day Gift

2018 May 11

Last year my kids and I made Mother’s and Father’s day gifts for my parents. The youngest chose to make this pincushion for my mom and I thought it would be fun to show it to you.

Simple Hoop Pincushion, DIY, no sew

Simple Hoop Pincushion, DIY, no sew

Simple, Hoop Pincushion, DIY, no sew

Simple Hoop Pincushion DIY no sew

My idea came from the Sewing Rabbit’s Embroidery Hoop Pin Cushion tutorial. There are a few other tutorials out there, but I like this one because it has a cork backing to stab your pins into. Plus it’s a no-sew project!

This one is a less “clean” looking than the original tutorial – and that’s because my daughter decided we HAD to leave the frilly fabric around the edges. I love that she puts her spin on our crafts, even if it’s hard for me to leave it alone and not say anything!

She picked some of my long-hoarded fabric, something my friend Cynthia Frenette designed and sent to me a while ago – appropriate for my mom who loves to sew. We also added a little tag with a tiny grommet. As a bit of an aside – gromments are amazing and look fantastic in many places that I usually don’t think to put them. And they are easy to install.

I love adding special messages, so my daughter prettied up the cardstock cover on the back with a message and we sent it off to Grandma. Grandma happens to live in Texas, so we also like that it was small and lightweight enough to put in the mail!

P.S. It was well received. :)

Simple Springtime Skirt Pattern {Free in 3 sizes!}

2018 May 3

Hey there, it’s finally getting warmer outside! We’ve been listening to the birds (with the windows open!), walking to school and searching out our local convenience store for slushies. Ahhh…. feels good!

To celebrate, I’ve teamed up with A Material Girl, a Canadian online fabric shop, to bring you and your kids a brand new pattern tutorial – the Simple Springtime Skirt in 3 kids’ sizes. (P.S. A Material Girl is also offering a discount and giving away fabric to you lovely readers. Enter for your chance to win below!)

Free Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern in 3 Sizes for Kids

Front of Free Kids Skirt Pattern

Closeup of Sewn Waistband

CloseUp of Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern

Free Kids Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern in 3 Sizes

Unicorn Skirt Top View

Back View of Free Skirt Pattern

a material girl,  online shop, canadian

This post is sponsored by A Material Girl Fabrics and they have provided the fabric for this post. As always, I only work with sponsors that I love. Enjoy the tutorial!

Before we start, I’d be remiss not to let you know about this new-to-me shop. It’s just around the corner from me in Milton, Ontario. Owner Nicole started her shop in 2014 and noticed that her customers loved having access to organic fabrics. (Yay!)

Branching out from there, she also sells knit prints, woven character fabrics, double gauze and so much more by the yard. As a bonus, all A Material Girl shipments within Canada are only $5.75 and she can make arrangements to ship to the US as well.

The knit organic Birch Fabrics bows I used for this tutorial washed up buttery soft and so easy to stitch. And my youngest was over the moon excited when she got to choose the magic rainbow shine fabric by Alexander Henry.

A Material Girl Knit and Woven Fabrics


 4 Prizes: 

A Material Girl is giving away the fabric you need to make a Springtime Skirt. Four lovely readers will win their choice of 1 yard of fabric, enough to make a skirt for their favorite kid and 1/2 yard extra just for fun! You can find your favorites in advance in their shop.

These giveaways are open to everyone, internationally, from today until Thursday, May 10th, at midnight EST. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter”, non-social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recieve 10% off at A Material Girl using the discount code: STUCKINTHE80s

A Material Girl is also offering a month-long 10% discount! Valid from today until June 3, 2018.


How to Sew a Simple Springtime Skirt

This tutorial comes in 3 sizes, for an average fit on ages 6/7, 8/9 and 10/12. It can be made in both knit or woven fabrics and requires only a 1/2 yard of fabric. The elastic waist pulls on for easy dressing and (I’m told, lol) that also makes them so comfy! Plus, a nice sized hem allows the fabric to lay flat and look great.

Of course, it’s also called “Simple” because it only requires 10 steps and a couple of hours to finish. Your kids will love their quick spring wardrobe pick-me-up!

Size Chart:

Fit the skirt to your child based on their hip measurement. When in doubt, choose the larger measurement.

Size 6/7 fits a 22 1/2 waist and 26 1/2 hip, finished length is 14 1/2″

Size  8/9 fits a 23 1/2 waist and 29″ hip, finished length is 14 1/2″

Size 10/12 fits a 24 1/2 waist and 31″ hip, finished length is 16 1/2″

Helpful Links:

For tips and tricks for sewing knits please see these posts:

You will need:

  • 1/2 yard woven or knit fabric
  • under 1 yard of 1 1/2″ or 1 3/4″ wide elastic
  • fabric matching thread
  • elastic matching thread
  • removable fabric marker
  • ruler
  • sewing machine
  • your usual sewing supplies
  • optional: Stretchy Fusible Seam Tape for knits (Knit-N-Stable Tape)
  • optional: serger for sewing knit fabric and finishing edges

Cut Your Fabric and Elastic:

Cut your fabric as indicated below according to the size you need. The elastic can be cut to your child’s waist measurement or you can follow the size below.

NOTE: These measurements are slightly different for knit and woven fabrics to allow for the extra ease and hem depth needed in a woven skirt – be sure to choose the right one!

Size 6/7 Knit Cut 2: 14 1/2″ wide x 14 1/2″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 22 1/2″

Size 6/7 Woven Cut 2: 15 1/2″ wide x 15″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 22 1/2″

Size 8/9 Knit Cut 2: 15 1/2″ wide x 15 1/2″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 23 1/2″

Size 8/9 Woven Cut 2: 16 1/5″ wide x 16″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 23 1/2″

Size 10/12 Knit Cut 2: 16 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 24 1/2″

Size 10/12 Woven Cut 2: 16 1/2″ wide x 17″ high, cut 1 length of elastic 24 1/2″

Cut the Skirt Shape:

Prepare the Skirt Panels

Mark the top of the skirt

Draw a new side for the skirt

Cut off the excess along the line

  1. Layer skirt front and back matching raw edges and one-way up fabric. fold panels in half, matching the raw edges. You will have 4 layers on the top right and a fold at the top left.
  2. Mark 1/2″ in from the top raw edge (not the fold!).
  3. Draw a straight line from the bottom edge of the skirt to the mark at the top raw edge of the skirt.
  4. Cut along the line.

Sew the Skirt:

NOTE: If you are using a woven fabric, finish all raw edges together using a serger, zigzag pinking shears.

Step 1: Mark the Skirt Front and Back

Mark the Top of the Skirt

On the right side of the fabric, mark the center of each skirt panel and draw a line 1/2″ down from the top of both skirt front and back with a removable marker.

Step 2: Pin and Stitch the Side Seams

Pin the Side Seams RST

Stitch the side seams

Place the skirt front and back right sides together, matching raw side edges. Pin and stitch with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Step 3: Press the Seam

Press seam towards the back

Press the side seams towards the back of the skirt.

Step 4: Prepare the hem (use either the knit or woven instructions)

Press the hem up once

Press the hem up again

Prepare a woven fabric: Fold the bottom skirt edge 1/2″ to the wrong side. Then 1″ again and press well.

Press knit hem up 1 inch

Prepare a knit fabric: Fold and press 1″ once towards the wrong side  (If you are using Stretchy Fusible Seam Tape, apply it before folding.)

Step 5: Pin and Stitch the Hem

Stitch the hem

Finished Woven Hem

Finished Knit Hem

Pin your hem on the right side of the fabric, matching side seams. Stitch close to the top edge of the hem fold with the right side of the fabric up on your machine. Note: Use a stretch stitch or a twin needle if you are hemming a knit skirt.

Step 6: Finish the Woven Fabric Edge

Woven fabric only: Finish the edges of the top of the skirt using pinking shears, a zig-zag stitch or a serger.

Step 7: Prepare the Elastic Waistband

Stitch elastic RST

Open Seam allowance and stitch elastic

Finished Elastic Waistband

Place the elastic right sides together, matching the unfinished ends. Stitch with 3/8″ seam. Press the seam allowance open. Stitch the seam allowance down in a box shape using matching thread.

Step 8: Mark the Waistband

Mark Waistband in Quarters

Mark the center front of the elastic by folding at the seam. Refold the matching center front and back to find and mark the side seams. Now the elastic is marked in quarters.

Step 9: Pin the Waistband

Pin Waistband along Skirt Top

Pinned Waistband

Line up the bottom wrong side of your elastic with the marked line on the top, right side of your skirt.  Match and pin the elastic and skirt quarters with the elastic seam at the center-back of the skirt. Pin “sideways” all the way around, stretching the elastic to fit the fabric.

Step 10: Stitch the Waistband

Sew waistband with zigzag stitch

Sewn Waistband

Stitch the elastic to the skirt 1/4″ up from the bottom of the elastic with a zig-zag stitch in matching thread. Stretch the elastic to fit the skirt as you go.

Congratulations, you’ve made a Simple Springtime Skirt!


Woven Fabric: Magic Rainbow Shine in Sky from Monkey’s Bizness by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics from A Material Girl 

Knit Fabric: Organic Blue Bows from Wonderland by Emily Isabella for Birch Fabrics from A Material Girl

Elastic: Dritz Metallic Waistband Elastic, Gold

Sewing Machine: Janome Skyline S9 (on loan from Janome Canada as part of their Artisan program)

I sewed a Boronia Bowler

2018 April 30

And what is that you ask? It’s another purse… (insert down-looking bright-cheeked emoji here, lol) Yup – of course, I needed another one after my long-wearing Chobe was finally looking a bit worse for wear.

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Wanting, of course, to try something new I landed on the Boronia Bowler Bag pattern from Blue Calla. The shape was similar to many of the Coach and Kate Spade purses I’ve been seeing around, which was nice as I always aim to make things as professional as I can, so they don’t look handmade.

I took this bag to the Creativ Festival a few weeks ago and it was met with lots of interest. Everyone was especially impressed by the side gussets that hold all of your things in when the zippers are open. Very convenient! (You can see what I added to my fabric stash on Instagram.) I was able to visit the Janome booth and show them as well since I sewed the entire bag using my on-loan Skyline S9 machine.

Things I love:

  • The shape. The double zipper allows the bag to open up fully so you can actually find the things at the bottom of your purse.
  • The hardware. It’s so pretty! All of the hardware and the zipper were brought from Emmaline Bags. Online shipping is the best! I love the handmade tag and the purse feet make it all very professional.
  • A simple sew. It was a fairly simple bag to make with a few things that took a little bit more time. It was not very fast – but making a good bag shouldn’t be. The construction was simple and easy to put together.
  • Adding the selvage edge to the inside bottom of the purse – Have I mentioned that I love sewing?!
Things I changed:
  • My sewing machine was needing a trip to the spa (read: a good cleaning!) so it was having trouble top-stitching consistently through many layers of vinyl for the handles. I added a fabric layer to the back – which looks super cool! And I also added fabric tabs on the ends of the handles to finish them. This made the handles thinner and so much easier to sew.
Things I’d change next time:
  • In my opinion, the double straps should be at least 2, maybe 3 inches longer. I find they are very close to my armpit and am worried that heat mixed with sleeveless summer shirts will create trouble and a sweaty purse. They also barely fit over my winter jacket. I did make the removable crossbody length strap because I like the shoulder-free option and I use it that way the most.
  • The bottom contrast piece does not have finished edges. I am finding the faux vinyl frays on the edges and it’s not wearing super well. I’d maybe use real leather or add a facing so the edges are finished.
Hope that helps if you’re thinking about making this bag. I really, really love mine and already have a fun Artisan project with Janome Canada planned for later this year with it. ‘Cuz, of course, I need another one!
Have you made a purse or bag? Which pattern should I try next?!
Pattern: Boronia Bowler Bag from Blue Calla Sewing Patterns
Outer Fabric: Cotton and Steel Canvas Picnic Baskets from (now closed) Fabric Spot
Lining Fabric: Cotton and Steel Add it Up from my sponsor Fabric Spark (sold out, other colours here)
Vegan Leather (read – vinyl): from my local big box fabric store
Hardware: Emmaline Bags

Visibly Mend and Embellish your Ripped Jeans

2018 April 13

Last September I thought I’d up my jeans game. I have a pair that was getting very ripped and torn. Though I love this style, I don’t love that my pasty-white (and honestly, under-moisturized, #sorrynotsorrry) skin shows through so much.

Move forward about seven months (eep!) and I finally got back around to the project this week. Thankfully it is also very slowly becoming spring here in Toronto, and wearing these pants is becoming more viable by the day due to the climb in temperature!

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada.

Ripped and Torn Embellished Jeans with Visible Mending

Embellish Jeans with Embroidered Lace

I recently discovered a thing called water-soluble stabilizer, and since Janome Canada was nice enough to loan me a Skyline S9 with embroidery capabilities (part of their Artisan program, in fall of 2016) I was in a position to use it to produce fun embroidered lace. Perfect to cover up, but not cover up, that skin!

It has become trendy – and I think, necessary – to mend and re-use clothing more often than purchasing new, and this is a great way to do it. I wrote about using visible mending to spruce up my favorite jeans a few years ago. And I’ve been trying to be more careful with my garment projects, so I produce things I’ll actually wear – in fabrics that will last over time.

How to Visibly Mend and Embellish your Ripped Jeans

My main focus here was to use the fun water-soluble stabilizer and a Janome Skyline S9 embroidery machine to show you what it can do. (#spoileralert) It can do a lot!

Hold on… if you don’t have an embroidery machine… you can still fix up your jeans! I’ve also added fabric, lace and hand embroidery to embellish the jeans even more… You can also reference my quick how-to jeans visible mending overview for more ideas.

Machine Embroidered Lace, Janome, Skyline S9

How to make Embroidered Lace in 6 Steps:

Step 1: Press your Pants!

Press your Jeans
Measure the Torn Area
Press the area on your jeans that you’d like to fill to flatten any stray threads. Use a ruler and measure the general size of the hole. This is the size your embroidery needs to be. (TIP: Try the jeans on if they are stretchy, to ensure you have the hole the correct size.)

Step 2: Choose your Embroidery Design

Choose and Edit an Embroidery Design, AcuDesign
My final design was part of a much larger file that came with the Janome Skyline S9. You will need a “Water Soluble Lace” specific file or the threads will not hold together when you remove the stabilizer.
I used Janome’s AcuDesign app to edit the file and make it a bit smaller. It was so easy to edit it! Though it did take a while to delete all the unnecessary points.

Geeky aside: I sent the file back to the Skyline S9 over the my WIFI connection. So easy! And it makes my techie brain happy.Send the Design to the Sewing Machine over Wifi, Skyline S9, Janome, AcuDesign

Step 3: Prep your Stabilizer

Prepare your Stabilizer, Solvy
Press Layers of Stabilizer, Solvy
My Solvy stabilizer said to press a few sheets together between a press cloth to make a thick enough stabilizer. Follow your water soluble stabilizer manufacturer’s directions. Make the piece large enough to fit in your machine’s embroidery hoop!

Step 4: Choose your Thread

Choose Thread and Wind a Bobbin, Janome, Skyline S9
I chose to make this entire embroidery file in cream coloured thread. Make up a bobbin and thread your machine.

TIP: The bobbin and thread should be the same colour, since the back may show on the final lace!

Step 5: Embroider

Use the AcuSetter App to position your embroidery, Janome
Embroider your Lace Design, Janome, Skyline S9
Embroidering Lace on the Skyline S9, Janome
I positioned my file using the uber-easy and accurate AcuSetter app on my loaned iPad mini. It is free and makes it so simple to put your embroidery where you want it. (More on how to use the AcuSetter app here.) In this case, I moved the design to the side so I could embroider a few more things in the valuable left-over space.
Start the machine and embroider your lace.

Step 6: Wash out the Stabilizer

Finished Embroidered Lace
Wash the stabilizer out of your lace with some warm water and lay it flat to dry. You can see a video of me removing the stabilizer on Instagram.

As a side note, more playing around with the water-soluble stabilizer led me to make these butterflies for my littles. The embroidery file is included with the Skyline S9 – and the girls love them.

Embroidered Lace Butterflies

How to Embellish Your Jeans in 4 Steps:

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Jean Embellishing Supplies, visible mending

Gather your supplies. I wanted these jeans to have a neutral colour scheme – so I selected lots of cream from my stash. You could use coloured fabric of course, including all of your favorite hoarded scraps.

  • ripped jeans
  • embroidered lace
  • pretty fabric scraps (prewashed/preshrunk)
  • hand-sewing needle and thread
  • sewing machine and your usual sewing supplies

Step 2: Put your jeans on!

Put on your jeans
If your jeans are stretchy, you will need to pin the fabric on while the jeans are stretched and on your body. That way they’ll fit when you are finished. #nobrainer

Step 3: Pin on the Fabric and Embroidery

Pin Embroidered Lace to your Jeans
With your jeans ON, pin the embroidered lace over and/or under the appropriate rip(s).
Measure the hole in your jeans
Pin a lace patch to your jeans
Pinned Jean Patches and Embroidered Lace
Measure, cut and pin additional pieces of fabric that fit over the other ripped portions of your jeans. Place them under the holes, flatten them out and pin them on carefully – watch out for your skin! (P.S. If this seems like a terrible idea, ie: OUCH!, pin the fabric on flat, then try the jeans on to make sure they still fit.)

TIP: If you are using a woven fabric, it is a good idea to take a second to zig-zag, overlock or use pinking shears on the edges so they will not fray. I finished these edges using the Overedge foot M and an overcasting stitch on the Skyline S9.Finish woven edges with an overcasting stitch

Finished woven fabric edges

Step 4: Stitch on the Embellishments

Embellished Ripped Jeans

Hand-stitching: Chose a thread that matches or contrasts your jeans and stitch away – with the jeans off! You can use a thicker thread or even embroidery floss. Be creative! I chose to secure the embroidered with invisible thread to make sure the stitches couldn’t be seen.
Hand Stitch a patch, Visible Mending
Machine Stitching: I removed the extension table and inserted my pant leg onto the free arm. Then I chose a decorative stitch (Quilt Stitch #11) and moved the pants around to stitch it. The ruler stitch is a fun nod to sewing! You could do many stitches across the entire patch and back again. Or just use a matching thread and straight stitch.
Machine stitch a patch, visible mending
Hand Embroidery:
Use embroidery floss to cover stains or small rips. I decided a nice set of daisies was a great embellishment to cover a small paint stain on these jeans.

Hand Embroider, jeans, cover a stain, visible mending, lazy daisy

I hope you love the result as much as I do! It’s fun to wear something unique that you love and put time into.

Road Trip Quilt

2018 March 29

Growing up, my family did a lot of tent camping. Every year we’d drive to our favorite spot for a week or two. As I got older we would book the same park and the exact same campsite. So many amazing memories were built during those summer trips!

Kelly Panacci (a lovely Canadian fabric designer!) designed a Road Trip fabric for Riley Blake Designs last year, and she graciously offered to send me some fat quarters. I couldn’t resist the vintage trailers and camping theme – so I chose a few I knew would match my parents’ home and remind us all of our camping trips. They received the quilt just this past Christmas.

Now that it has been a year, Kelly released a super-cute new line called Panda Love – in stores now – and she’s having a giveaway! We thought this would be the perfect time to show you something with her old line and introduce a new one. If you want to win some fabric (who doesn’t?!) – be sure to head over to Kelly’s brand new shop website. Read her blog for a mini-tour and GIVEAWAY happening March 30, 2018!

Quilt photos are fun and I happened to get some lovely winter photos of this one the day after a gorgeous snowstorm. The opposite of a summer camping trip – but the contrast is so pretty!

This quilt was going to be a copy of this Giant Vintage Star quilt. But it wanted to be it’s own thing, so I made a light/dark contrast HST quilt because making something twice isn’t as much fun! Most of the fabric is Kelly’s Road Trip line, and I added some solids to set it all off.

I quilted it myself with simple straight lines in a diamond pattern and machine bound it as usual using a sage green sheet as the backing. Nothing fancy – but it is finished and usable, which counts in my books!

See you here again soon. I’m madly sewing Easter dresses, nursing a broken baby toe (on my sewing foot, eep!) and preparing for company tomorrow, so I’d better go. Don’t forget to support our amazing Canadian talent – visit Kelly Panacci to win some Panda Love!

My helpful quilt holder and I!

Glenda Convertible Clutch (+ I’m hooked)

2018 February 28

You know when you want to start doing something – ie: sewing your own purses… but you are concerned that you will love it too much, and then it will become an obsession?

And you won’t be able to stop… and then you will need all the patterns. And all the materials. And then your stash (which is already significant) will grow and grow… and take over your whole house?

That’s me… and I want to make all the bags! And, oh wait… sewing has already taken over the house anyhow…

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

I started sewing bags when I created the Forest Glen Satchel – my first “real” pattern. I made a Chobe (from Elle Puls) in 2016 and created the first purse of my dreams – perfectly slouchy with lots of room.

Fast forward a year and Swoon patterns kept coming up in my Instagram feed. I needed to make another bag! How could I justify buying another pattern when my Chobe was still going strong? How about for a gift?! Surely my mom could use a new cross body bag? So the justification (and new obsession) continues! (*lol, I think?!*)

All that aside, I do love making bags and have quite a few more that I have to photograph to show you. The process ticks all the boxes in my goal to sew as neatly and professionally as possible. I think my girls will be needing new purses soon so I can justify a few more?! (Their Sweet Talk Phone Bags are still great, but I should have used a bit of Scotch Guard on them – kids are hard on their purses!)

Find the Glenda Convertible Clutch Pattern review below…

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

Glenda Convertible Clutch Review

Things I Liked

  • This bag is so cute! It has a timeless design and you can’t go wrong with that.
  • I learned a lot of fun tricks in the instructions.
  • It has great structure – this is probably helped by my using vegan leather for the exterior.
  • I was super impressed that the Skyline S7 I had on loan sewed through all of the vinyl layers without any issue.
  • It was fun to add a tiny piece of sewing fabric as the interior pocket lining – yay for moms that sew!

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Honestly, nothing! The instructions were great and it turned out well.

Things I Changed

  • I wanted a smaller bag – it’s actually quite long, despite how it looks in the pattern photos – so I removed 2″ from the width. Instead of 11″ wide, mine is 9″ wide.
  • I also lengthened the strap to 50″ for a cross-body length.

Things for Next Time

  • I think I would keep the smaller width next time as well. The wide width looks nice for a clutch, but seems very wide to use as a purse with a strap. (Plus, my pattern pieces are already taped in place at the new size!)

Frozen Hoodies from Canada

2018 January 11

I was thrilled a few years ago to find a fantastic sketchy knit with drawings of Disney Frozen’s Anna and Elsa in my local Canadian online fabric shop, Funky Monkey Fabrics. ”Frozen Fever” is still going strong in our house and the youngest, very blond child, has claimed to be Elsa. Our newly pronounced tween, while interest is slightly waning, is still very OK with being Anna.

Canadian online fabric shop Funky Monkey Fabrics sponsored this post and provided the Anna and Elsa Disney Frozen Sketch knit fabric for these hoodies.

handmade, zipper hoodie, frozen, anna, elsa

Anna and Elsa Frozen Knit Fabric

Finding the Fabric

I love the way this Springs Creative knit is designed and drawn. I get a cool-looking product, and my kids get to wear their favorite licensed character. It has been very difficult to find good quality knits at my local box stores, and the smaller shops don’t seem to carry many either. Enter a Canadian Online Shop to fix the problem!

I’ve known about Funky Monkey Fabrics for quite a while. (Check out my 2015 interview with Melissa.) Recently I’ve started looking for better quality garment fabrics than I can get at my local shops and I’ve begun ordering more from them. Each fabric I’ve received has been delivered quickly and accurately. As a bonus to living very close by to their location, my fabrics sometimes arrive even as soon as the next day!

A quick look through their online shop shows that they sell everything you’ll ever need to create your projects. I’ve personally ordered lots of knits, but also included Pellon interfacing for bag-making and Minky and Licensed Character woven fabric for the Mitered Corner Nap-time Blankets I made a few years ago. Honestly, they really stock it all – needles, cork, batting… I could go on.

Exciting News!

Funky Monkey is currently working with a new solids supplier that will allow them to always have stock readily available. So good! Look for that coming up in the next couple of months. They also have a weekly sale, so you can save on the fun stuff you need!

Since I know some of you are like me (blergh!) and will need a reminder to check out their of their sale info, go ahead and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. For all of you with amazing memories *so jealous*, you can also check the Funky Monkey online shop regularly so you don’t miss their stocking announcement.

P.S. They are planning a big expansion for later this year as well! Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. Pun intented!

Making the Hoodies

I’ve wanted to try the Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie for a while now. While I was scrap-busting it turned out that the Anna and Elsa Sketch knit was just long enough for two raglan sleeves and a hood. I happened to have enough cozy blue and purple knit to offset it and some shiny knit in silver and gold to use as an accent.

The pattern was easy to change to a non-reversible hoodie. The Zippy Hoodie includes a regular sleeve, and I wanted to feature the Sketch knit with a raglan sleeve. Altering the top of the sleeve with the Hey June Greenpoint Cardigan pattern was really simple and I was thrilled when it all worked out. Whew!

I added the gold and silver to the hood and pocket edges – silver for Elsa and gold for Anna – of course! My daughter’s also love the trendy armband thumb hole, and it was fun to sort out how add that as well.

The not-so-bad fallout of writing a blog and working with online Canadian shops?

While we were planning this post last month, I happened to fall in love with a few knits from their shop – of course! I posted these gorgeous Art Gallery knits and pink French Terry on Instagram and they are now pre-washed and waiting not-so-patiently in my stash. Yay!

Honest Conclusion…

In my personal experience and opinion, Funky Monkey’s online shop really is amazing. As sewists, we put a lot of work and effort into our projects and I am regularly dismayed by the state of fabric quality and pricing in most of our local Canadian box stores.

We need a great go-to shop and Funky Monkey Fabrics really fills that void.

Their fabric stock is huge and includes thread, zippers and notions, plus they have unique fabrics I can’t find anywhere else in Canada. The fabric quality is good, their service is fast and their pricing is competitive. This makes them a great stop on the perfect supply search for your next project, I’d highly recommend them.

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