Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

July Challenge (4 the occasional sewer)

Lynnelle | Posted in General Discussion on


Some time ago (about 250 messages or so =)), I posted a challenge to those sewing enthusiasts who absolutely love the craft, but find that life oftentimes has other plans that don’t quite gel with our intended sewing endeavors. 

As a full time worker and caregiver to an ill parent, I found little time to sew (let alone do anything else).  So, I challenged people like me to start a (or continue a previously started) project and take small steps toward its completion.  From cutting the pattern on Monday, to pinning it on Wednesday, and not time having until Saturday to cut it out – each small step forward presented a goal within reach.  Before I knew it, I had made curtains and sheers for my den, repainted my den, made a valance for my office window, recovered a footstool, and even helped my mom make a skirt and tank top for her!  (I totally forgot to tell you all about that!!  I’ll have to post some pictures later.)

Anyway, the primary purpose of the challenge is to keep moving forward, no matter the pace of the size of the step.  What has happened over time is that we (the partcipants) have developed a sincere friendship coupled with respect and admiration for all that we have to contribute.  I can not speak directly for all of the participants, but I am pretty confident that we all feel the same about each other in that we feel supported and encouraged.  So, without further ado, I invite new participants to join us for our ~ monthly (every 5 weeks…or so…=) ) challenge.  The inspiration and optimism demonstrated by the members of this challenge is nothing short of remarkable. 

 Here is my goal for July:

I joined the wardrobe contest on Pattern Review (10 garments as 1 complete wardrobe in 3 months).  Considering that there is one month left, it looks doubtful that I will complete all 10 garments.  But, I do have a plan for all 10 garments so the rest is fitting and sewing.  The first garment is Kwik Sew 2788-B which is almost complete.  Next on the cutting table is a simple A-line skirt using a geometric print and a New look pattern whose number I don’t have in front of me.  Future garments for the month include:  Kwik Sew 2694, Simplicity 4698, and another version of Kwik Sew 2788.

Join us and share your July goal(s).  I think you will enjoy!



  1. jane4878 | | #1


    I've sort of fallen by the wayside--I'm guilty of a few too many half finished projects hanging around.  I'm SOOOOOO busy with work. And I have a wicked (but terribly cute) 9 mos poodle puppy who has gleefully provided a ton of mending for me to do.  He's fabric obsessed--he's eaten entire sheets!  He leaves shoes alone, thank heavens! 

    I am, however, quite excited--the sewing machine store I bought my machine from is holding several classes this summer.  I'm taking basic garment sewing--weekly lessons for 5 weeks and my 13 year old is taking basic sewing for 2 afternoons.  I'm going to make a Burda short sleeved dress in linen and she'll make a simple purse/tote with a little change purse/case.  The teacher for my class is a Martha Pullen instructor who taught me some Heirloom sewing classes last fall.  She's great.  I also ended up with a virtually new Singer serger and I haven't even pulled it out of the box yet.  I'm taking a "Get to Know your Serger" class in early August as well. 

    I'm feeling inspired already--I have today and tomorrow to work and then I have vacation for almost a month.  Today is a holiday (Canada Day) which was actually yesterday, but today is off as well.  I'll have to get hold of a digital camera and post some photos.  The joy of classes is that I HAVE to get stuff done :^))  I also occasionally become paralyzed with fear when I come up to something new and having help gets me through that.



    1. solosmocker | | #5

      Jane, have lots of fun in your classes. I think it is so wonderful that you are sharing such quality time with your daughter. I raised two girls and once they hit that age it was often a challenge to be on "the same page". You are blessed that she is wanting to learn to sew. Neither of mine sew, but they have both told me, "we don't need to". I did try to teach them but they weren't really interested. One was more sportsminded, not my thing at all, and the other was a real bookworm. They did grow into wonderful women and great moms.

      1. jane4878 | | #6

        We do have that "mother--daughter challenging" thing going on, so I try very hard to keep plugged in with her.  She's ADHD and has poor fine motor skills, so sewing is very frustrating for her, but she's very artistic and very keen to learn.  I'm a total novice, so I'm not much help to her.  The instructor is willing to work with her to help her become proficient with a rotary cutter.  I just got a phone call while I'm typing this--there's not enough taking the basic garment sewing course I wanted, but they'll teach me anyway.  It works out better this way--I can come in when I want.

        I regret not learning when I was her age, so I'm glad she's at least getting the basics.  My mom's thing was hand smocking (she's gone now and I deeply regret not learning that--some day I'll post a photo of her work) and she wasn't very keen on the sewing and didn't have much patience to show me.  I can however darn--I guess that's a lost art now! :^)  I was more concerned with getting through university and college.


  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    I wanted to join long ago but I hurt my neck and so sitting at the machine for more than 2 min (mending) was way out side the realm of possible.  So now I am further behind and just now thinking I might be able to sew a little. For some reason typing has not been as much of a stress, I lean on the desk!

    July goal... Emma's dress and matching one for Dolly (she turned 4 in June and had to make do with a store-bought gift!


    1. mygaley | | #7

      Dear One, I can only imagine how frustrating is for you to not be able to sit at the machine. I was in a similar condition and found that sewing standing up was much less painful, and in fact relaxing to my muscles. My husband put my machine on my breakfast bar in the kitchen. God bless you Galey.

      1. User avater
        Becky-book | | #8

        What a wonderful idea!  Wish I had a bar that was the right height.

        We swapped all the desks except one, in order to give me a lower table surface for the machines. No more hunched shoulders. (I couldn't just raise my chair seat 'cause my legs are so short!)

        All in all it has been good for me; the sewing restriction and resulting frustration showed just how much my "passion" for sewing was taking over my life.  It has been a time for re-setting priorities.  God first, and sewing somewhere further down the list!


        1. solosmocker | | #10

          Becky, I have short legs too. I raised my chair to meet the height of the machine comfortably but my feet dangled. I found a box of heavy foam about 9 inches high. It's a box to transport large fish so its about 3 feet wide. I covered it with fabric, put my pedals on it and have been comfy and happy ever since. I guess you could say we are vertically challenged! I do hope you get all better soon. Take care.Tonight I did a muslin, thank goodness, for my own dress for the wedding. I needed size 6 in the back and 12 in the front so it's a good thing I checked it all. This is a crossover bodice with pleats so I wasn't confident doing my standard alterations. I feel that I've got the bugaboos worked out and am ready to get going on this. On the flower girl dress the bodice and sash/cumberbund are all done. Next is the skirt and I want to have a clear head before I hit that so thats why I worked on the muslin tonight. Tomorrow AM, after I check on the chickens, I will hit the sewing room and stitch away on the FG dress. maybe I will cut out my dress for a mental break. So that's the latest on my challenges. I am so sorry you have your foot challenges Becky. I bet you can't wait for the day!
          soloEdited 7/5/2007 9:56 pm ET by solosmockerEdited 7/5/2007 9:57 pm ET by solosmocker

          Edited 7/5/2007 9:58 pm ET by solosmocker

          1. User avater
            Becky-book | | #11

            Funny you should mention the box...my hubby had his monitor on a wooden stand (box) on his desk,but did not really like the set-up. I bought him some white wire "shelf helpers", which he prefers, so I got the box! It is just the right height to bring the pedal up to my foot when I sit at the right height for this lower desk top.

            Emma's dress (back on topic!) is nearly done, but Dolly's is not yet cut out.  Physical therapy today, may not feel like doing anything when I get home!


          2. ctirish | | #12

            Becky,  I totally understand the pain of back and neck problems. I had major back surgery and since then I have to do everything in small timeframes.  I keep my ironing board at a height where I have to stand to use it and that keeps me getting up and down while I sew. I can stand or site for about 20-30 minutes so ironing in between keeps me from getting so stiff I can't move when I go to get up.  

            Laying out patterns and cutting the fabric is the hardest for me because I am bent over a table.  I try to have one project on the table to be cut out and one at the sewing machine and one that needs pressing. Sometimes the pressing and sewing is the same project, but usually I keep fabric that needs ironing before I can cut it out ready too. This way when my back starts complaining to me, I can get up and iron for 15 minutes, then I have to sit down again, so I sew for 20- 30  minutes and then either stand or walk around the house. I also have my cutting table and sewing machine on different floors so I do the stairs in between cutting and sewing, and ironing. The stairs also help abdominal muscles which are the muscles that hold your back upright.  As long as I keep moving I do OK.  

            If you think about how you sew and do projects, maybe you can come up with ways to change things around so you can keep sewing.   I like Joyce Meyers and she says to cast your cares and take the step out of the boat and only then will you know what you can do. One last thing, I had a big chair at my office desk that I thought was the most comfortable chair but I couldn't sit in it for more than 5 minutes without my back hurting more than usual. I switched to an armless chair and what a difference it made because I wasn't trying to use the arms or getting my arms out of the arms on the chair. Now, I only use armless chairs because I am short and don't have the torso height for chairs with arms.

            I feel lucky sewing is a hobby where you can get up and down at lot to keep moving.  I crocheted an afghan a couple of years ago and it was so much harder to do because I couldn't crochet standing up.  I am sure it is doable,  I just couldn't get used to it.  

  3. Tatsy | | #3

    Hi Lynelle,This summer I'm sewing a lot for myself and some for my niece and nephew. I already have several new short sets for me and am starting to work on sleeveless blouses, capris, tailored pants, and dresses for the next school year. For my nephew, I've made three pairs of slacks. For my niece, I've made a fur jacket, a fleece jacket and pants, and a few skirts. They live in the Rockies and can use the warm clothes for all but a few weeks in the height of the summer. I'm using the Lutterloh patterns and am working on a few variations--necklines, etc. Tatsy

  4. solosmocker | | #4

    Lynnelle, that is such an ambitious undertaking. I commend you but if you don't make it I still respect the wonderful sewing you do. You seem very motivated. I find once I put something in print I just have to make it happen. So, this board is a wonderful motivator. I printed it on the old post but my goal for July is to finish DGD's flower girl dress and my dress for the wedding. That will leave me August to finish the ringbearer's pillow. After all that, can I get back to making something just for fun? I would like to plan some school, rather pre-school, clothes for DGD and then there are the twins. So a lot on the burners for a while. Hopefully I can slip in some just creative madness in between the havetodo's. Lynelle, I just want to say I am so impressed with what you have achieved with the responsibilities of a sick parent. I have been there and believe me I know. I got hardly any sewing done but what I did get done certainly kept my sanity. It is not easy and I certainly understand it all. I hope others join in the challenge even if it is for just one month. Sometimes thats all we need to get back on our game. So this is a wonderful idea you came up with. solo

    1. Lynnelle | | #17


      First, forgive me for taking so long to reply.  I am on a serious 'reply' delay and am just now reading the posts.  I decided to teach a summer class and it is now underway.

      Thank you for the commendation!  I probably will not complete all ten garments, but the fact that I have a plan, with fabrics and patterns keeps me going.  I made another version of Kwik Sew 2788 and it came out 100 times better than the first.  All I have to do is the hem and it will be complete.  I will post some pictures once it's finished.  My next two projects are New Look 6300 (first view) and McCalls 2818 C.  I am particularly interested in the second pattern as it teaches one how to fit a full bust.  I have Fit For Real People and feel comfortable doing the FBA.  But, I need to work on doing back alterations for my broad and sway back.  So, I figure if I can fit and get a wearable garment out of it at the same time, it's worth it. =)

      You certainly do have your hands full with the wedding date nearing!  Plus, you have clothes for your DGD.   Wow, and I thought sewing for me was alot of work. =)

      Thank you for understanding about caring for an ill parent.  It certainly has not been easy - especially when my parent doesn't believe that they're ill.  I have only recently accepted the fact that this is really happening and that this is how life will be.  Honestly, coming here to chat with everyone has made an enormous difference.  I have an outlet that involves people doing what I like to do.  It is oftentimes refreshing and comforting to be here.

      Anyway...I too hope others join our challenge.  The support given and received is wonderful.  This thread would be nothing without the cooperation and participation from you and everyone else. 

      Many thanks,


  5. From my Stash.... | | #9

    July's always a good month for a new project.....Lynelle, I am in awe of your list of things to do and sew. 

    This month I am making a pair of dress pants and a pair of denim jeans (both fabrics are pre-washed and I just have to get going on them) and two purses to go with them. If I find the time, there is a jacket that I want to make (the fabric's also pre-washed), but I don't think that I will get to it (guess that's August/Sept project).

    Now having written this down, I feel more confident about finishing them. 



    1. Lynnelle | | #18

      From myStash:

      Teehee, I'm in awe of my list of things to sew also!  I am close to completing one garment and am eagerly anticipating the next couple.

      Keep us posted on your progress and post some pictures (if possible) when you're done.


  6. Katcleland | | #13

    I have not been on site for a spell so I read with interest the July Goals.  I have just been able to take the owners class for my machine even though my machine has been in my company for 2 or so years, I finally had a clear windwo of time when they class was offered, and that has not only shown me several things I had no clue about on my machine but inspired the sewing bug to re-surface aftr years of place mats and receiving blankets. 

    My projects for July have been and are little romper sets for my new grandsons.  One is just over 6 months old and my daughter just had her little boy June 28th, and he is indeed very little just 6 pounds so the one piece romper set for him maybe a item he needs to grow into.

    I have dusted off some of my heirloom knowleged and have applied it to these sweet little outfits for the darling little men in our world.  I do have a couple of dresses on the waiting list but for now the smaller projects are keeping me able to focus and see an end in the whole scheme of sewing in detail again.

    What makes a person take time away from a craft they obviously loved in the past is a question that I would be willing to hear some answers too.


    1. solosmocker | | #14

      Glad you found your way back! Isn't sewing for grands the best? No big fit issues either!
      I had a period of several years where I did not touch my machine. That was when my children were very little and I also had no place to set up my machine. But I did not leave creative stitchery. In that time I did a great deal of hand quilting, embroidery, crewel. These were things I could pick up and put down for a few minutes at a time without leaving any big mess around.
      I also think need does play some part, although I think many of us would be creative one way or another no matter what. When my children grew and I went back in the workforce I discovered my taste in suits was rather expensive so out came the machine and back to it I went. I learned to tailor and made many suits and winter coats. I will spare you my entire sewing history but just wanted to comment in response to your question on why we wander away from a craft we love. So welcome back to the fray and I hope you join in the challenge to make one garment for the month of July. Something for the little ones?

      1. WandaJ | | #15

        Where there's a will there's a way...It's ironic that I happened upon this discussion a little while ago, as I within the hour had a brainstorm that can get me started back sewing, which I will continue to mourn if I don't. Here at my Mom's I don't have a lot of room to do anything much in the line of sewing, except sew. I have to get patterns fitted and fabric cut out...Well here's my thoughts about how to get going...

        My granddaughters are on vacation with their grandparents and father, therefore, my daughters house is free of children, so I decided (she doesn't know it yet) that I will take my planned projects to her house to pattern fit and cut out, then I will have garments to sew when I get back home. And, I may even take my machine to her house and sew if the first part goes well.

        I'd like to get started on the Simplicity Retro Jacket and Skirt Pattern I spoke about in another thread, and then cut out a Chanel Jacket to match a tweed skirt I've already 'almost' finished. And, afterwards, I'd like to work on another tweed (I've had this piece in the stash seemingly forever) skirt and jacket, most likely it too will be Chanel-like.

        I decided last week that with my slow sewing it is high time I start on some winter pieces (I love winter clothes because of the colors and warmth of the fabrics for this season), thus my selections of fabric above.

        What will my daughter likely have to say? 'Mom sure I'll believe it when I see it, you didn't even come down to get your toenails done!' I look forward to spending the time with her without the children (even though I love them dearly) for every daughter needs their Mom every now and then, and every Mom needs their daughter.

        I'll let you know how this mini-sewing vacation turns out.

    2. Lynnelle | | #19

      Welcome to the challenge!  I hope you find the messages and messengers inspiring and helpful. =)

      I do not know all the reasons one abandons a loved craft.  I can certainly share my reasons:  frustration with fitting and construction, work, family issues, topped with a lack of motivation resulting from the first three reasons.  All of these helped my machine and fabric to accumulate a nice smooth layer of dust.

      The good thing is taking those small steps and discussing my challenges here helped me arrange my day so that I can include some sewing more often.

      I hope you experience the same goodness that we have over the past few months.


    3. User avater
      VKStitcher | | #22

      I'm sure your new "little men" are darling, especially in their new rompers.  You'll have to post pictures for us to see.

      I wish I had little ones to sew for--their outfits are just so cute.  I did make a quilt recently, for a new great-niece that is to be born next month.  It went together quickly, so there's one more item marked off the list.  I agree with you that smaller/quicker projects do help to keep you focused and you're able to actually see progress.  That helps me not to get overwhelmed with all that I want to do.

      Have fun learning all about your machine.  You now have lots of inspiration to make fun things for your grandsons, but take time to sew things for yourself too!  :-)

  7. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #16

    Hi Lynnelle,

    I've been reading all the posts for the "occasional sewer" and they have been very motivational for me.  With a full time job and a long commute, I don't have nearly as much time to sew as I would like.  I don't work on Fridays and should use the time for sewing, but somehow things (laundry, appointments, errands, meals, etc.) always wedge themselves into my day!  When that happens, I get discouraged and disappointed that I don't get any of my sewing projects done.  My husband Tim is a real sweetie and encourages me, telling me that I put too much pressure on myself to try to get everything done in one day.  He says Fridays are my "Craft Days" and that I should leave all the other stuff for later.

    So I will officially accept your challenge and will work towards completing my sewing projects and limiting the distractions that get in the way.  Last week I made a list of all the projects that I want to do, and actually finished a couple this weekend when Tim was out of town.  Here are some of my goals for July: * Finish two skirts for my sister (Butterick 3458).  DONE! * Embroider a kitchen towel for my mother-in-law.  DONE! (we're visiting my in-laws next week.) * Re-work the design of a wall hanging for the living room, calculate how much Quick-Bias and batting to buy, and get started on the construction. (I already have the main fabrics.) * Hang a shelf on my sewing room wall and move my sewing books to make room for my laptop computer.  (I already have the shelf.) * Continue to crochet an afghan for Project Linus.  (An on-going project, mostly done while I watch TV at night.)We're going on vacation next week, so these things will pretty much take up the rest of July.  There are other projects for August and beyond.  And Christmas is just around the corner--more projects to add to the list!  :-)

    Thanks to everyone here for inspiring me to make time for my sewing projects.  Writing them all down helped me prioritize what I want/need to do, and is a visual reminder of what I want to accomplish--and what has been completed.  The laundry, cleaning, and cooking will get done, but life's too short not to enjoy the things that make you happy!

    1. Lynnelle | | #20

      Thank you as well for joining our challenge.  I am glad to see that you too are finding time to return to sewing.  Many people have shared the sentiment that actually writing down what needs to be done has helped them get it done!  I have to agree.  There's something to putting thoughts down on paper or in this case, virtual paper. =)

      You certainly have many projects for this month!  You have my sincere support in completing them.  Post some pictures when you're done!

      I like the last thing you said about life being too short not to enjoy what you love.  I think I will make a tirp to Cold Stone Creamery as testament to that fact!


      1. User avater
        VKStitcher | | #21

        Cold Stone Creamery--YUM!  That's a refreshing treat, especially if you're having the heat wave like here in NC.  Enjoy some for me!  :-)

  8. jane4878 | | #23

    Hi Lynelle,

    I'm trucking along.  I finished one of 2 Roman shades I had to do last night.  Last Saturday I spent the whole day in Lethbridge working on the linen Burda dress for the sewing class and got a lot done.  Nothing like having no kids in your hair!  I'm leaving tomorrow to visit my brother in Banff for a few days so I won't get anything done during that time.  I'm going to spend today sewing.  My 15 y.o. son is harrassing me to drive him to Lethbridge (almost 1 hour away) to see the new Harry Potter movie.  He'll have to wait. :^)  I'm still really slow, but there's less seam ripping and swearing going on as I gain experience!

    1. Lynnelle | | #24

      Congrats on finishing the roman shade!  That is a project I've been meaning to get into as I want some for my bedroom.  Sew News did a really nice article on making roman shades an issue or two ago.  I guess I'll get around to it...at some point. =)

      I don't remember if you mentioned it or not, but on what Burda pattern are you working?  I would love to see pictures of both projects when you're done!


      1. solosmocker | | #25

        Congrats on getting that shade done, Jane. It is so satisfying to finally "put something to bed." Today was and all day sewing day and I just finished. DH is on the road tonite so I started at 9:00am and other than watering the chickens and stopping for lunch and dinner, I pounded the pedal until 8:00 tonite. I try to get one totally sewing day a week in and I was overdue by two weeks! It helps me keep my sanity. What I worked on today was the skirt to the flower girl dress. It is two widths of 60 inch fabric. First I did the french seams. Then it was marking and sewing 3 rows of 1/4 inch ribbon to the georgette. That was like herding cats. I had to use double layers of stabilizer, tear away, and a double needle, and go very slowly. All day long for that part of the process! Tomorrow may be a garden day but if I get to the machine the next step is putting together the underskirt of bridal satin. I have got to work out the placket. This is pretty much out of my head so no pattern or instructions and that can certainly slow one down but you get what you want in the end. So I am all sewed out for the day.I keep seeing my dress looming and can't wait to start so that is egging me on to finish this one. It certainly motivates to have a place to go to and share with others the days accomplishments. Thanks for being there everyone. solo

        1. User avater
          Becky-book | | #26

          I can hardly wait to see that little dress!  You had BETTER post pictures!  (please)


        2. fabricholic | | #28

          Hi Solo,Way to go, putting the ribbon on the georgette. I hate the thought of sewing georgette ever since I made a Barbie doll Christmas dress that had an overlay and sleeves out of it. Oh what a pain that was, because it kept tearing away from the stitching and I would have to mend it. I think I finally used some FrayCheck on the bodice. Can't wait to see your dress.Marcy

        3. jane4878 | | #29

          I'm itching to see pictures as well--the little girls' dresses are so cute.  When I'm done what I've got on my plate right now, I'll have to start making stuff for my little girl (she's 7).  I'm so slow, the kids are outgrowing what I make!

        4. MaryinColorado | | #30

          You never cease to amaze me!  Your projects always have such depth in the creativity and the processes you go through to accomplish them!  Thanks for being such an inspiration.

          Your information on the narrow ribbon is very helpful.  This is something I have always given up on in frustration for years.  (Or maybe I should admit to decades)  Now I will attempt this once again, thanks to your instructions. 

          God bless You for all you do for others!  Your family is so blessed to have you in thier lives!  So are we! Mary

          1. solosmocker | | #32

            thank you so much Mary for your kind words. I love to sew with a passion and am lucky to have family around to indulge me.

          2. LindaFaye | | #33

            It think it was here that someone mentioned earlier about a cardboard cut out to use for fitting the crouch of patterns.  Can anyone tell me how to do one????  Really would help, fitting pants is a real problem for me, any help would be appreciated!


          3. Tatsy | | #35

            This is the absolute best way to get your pants to fit.  A book I read last year said to take a lightweight coat hanger and bend it to fit around your body (front to back), then put the bent coat hanger down on paper and trace inside it.  You have to hold the outside edges together when you trace it.  I got an approximate measure for this distance by standing against a wall and putting a yardstick alongside the thickest part of my torso.  It helps to mark the spot where the inseam should fall.  It is so wonderful.  Now I just lap the inseams, slap down the template, and trace the cutout.  It really helps alleviate that "round window curtain" effect in the back!

          4. LindaFaye | | #36


            thank you for this tip.  It sound easy, do I measure up to where the waistband would start in the front and them to where it would start in the back.  I know this sounds crazy, but then do I hold the two hanger ends together and them trace.  After I trace it on paper do I then compare it to the pattern pieces (back and front) and make the adjustment to the pants pattern to fit my drawing?

            You explained it well, but I just want to make sure I understand!!!

            ANY MORE PANT'S FITTING TIPS?????????????

          5. Tatsy | | #38


            Yes, you measure from where you want the waistband to be in front and back.  Mark these spots on the coat hanger.  Also use the old plumb line trick of tying your keys or some other weight to a cord, hanging the cord on the coat hanger and letting it fall where it wants to.  This gives you the spot where the inseam should go.  Mark this spot.

            You may want to do this part before you start with the coat hanger.  Get an approximate measure of how wide the template should be at the top by backing up to a wall, flattening your back against the wall, and holding a ruler or yardstick next to you.  Hold one arm straight across your stomach.  Where your hand meets the ruler should be the same as the top of the template (your width front to back.) 

            The coat hanger needs to be flexible enough to bend and keep the new shape.  If you can't find one that works, get some cheap jewelry or floral wire and use that.  After you've got the shape as close as you can get it, put it down on paper or cardboard.  Use the measurement you got by standing next to the wall to mark the distance between the front and back spots on the hanger.  Trace the inside shape.  Mark the inseam spot.  Check the length of the line you drew against the measurement from the front to back waistband  (crotch line.)  Use a ruler or french curve to make it even if necessary

            Cut out an elastic waistband pants pattern from some cheap fabric and sew the two inseams together. Lay them flat.  Put the template on the muslin lining up the inseam spot on the inseam.  Slide it down as far as it needs to go to make the top of the template fit flush against the waistband seamline. Trace this with soap.  Baste the crotch line you traced.  Sew the outside seam.  Try on.  If there's too much fabric inside the crotch seam you may need to trim it down to a normal seam allowance. After you're sure you've got it fit the way you want it, you can pin together the inseam line of any pattern you want to use, then lay the template on the pants pattern, trace it, add a seam allowance and cut away the excess (or add in more tissue if you need to.  I hope this helps.


          6. LindaFaye | | #39

            Tasty, thank you for such an detailed explanination!  I have copied your directions and printed them for safe keeping to use on the next pants i make.  Thanks again....

          7. Tatsy | | #43


            Glad to help.


          8. stitchintime | | #66

            The pants fitting help is really great. Thanks for all that.  Do you have any great tips on armhole fitting?

          9. Fiona | | #67

            Thank you all for the help with the knit questions. I did wash the fabric before I cut it based on something someone wrote here. It feels wonderful and is so comfortable. The tip about basting the neckband in first with a straight stitch and then serging it really helped. I am now sewing a simple black knit dress with the foldover neckline and I put clear elastic tape in the neckline and it made it so much nicer. Thank you for that tip.Attached is the dress. Unfortunately not a lot of detail.

          10. Josefly | | #72

            Nice job, Fiona. Glad it turned out so well for you.

          11. Lynnelle | | #76

            Your dress is gorgeous!  I am so glad that you were able to resolve the problems you were having with knits.  Just recently, I attempted my first knit pattern and still have much to learn.  Please post more pictures when you have completed more garments.


          12. User avater
            VKStitcher | | #77

            Hi Fiona,

            Nice job on the dress--the neckline is perfect!  I do like this pattern, especially the sleeves and ruching, and it fits you well.   I've not seen bamboo knit (I wasn't really looking for it...), but it sounds interesting.  I'll have to check for it next time I go to Hancock's.

          13. Fiona | | #80

            Thank you and everyone else for the compliments. I really like the pattern and will make it again. The organic bamboo knit at hancock feels wonderful. It is now on sale for 50% off, which makes it reasonable at $6.50 a yard, but I will only use it for me not the kids. The can use the cheaper stuff since they go through clothes faster then I do.Now I am back to trying to master the necklines on t-shirts for my little darlings. My order of FOE elastic just came today so I can try and get some shirts made nicely. All the tips should help me in my qest for making st shirts that look nice.Fiona

          14. Tatsy | | #69

            Well, that would be my other major fitting problem. What finally worked best for me was tracing out the pattern size that fit my shoulders and the pattern size that fit my bosom on the same paper, overlapping.  After lots of experimentation, I found out that I needed to use the shoulder line for the smaller pattern and the underarm line for the larger pattern and the side seam line for the smaller pattern. The only book I ever found that helped me was the one by Gail Griggs somebody, which talks about the diameter of the ball joint of your upper arm making a big difference in how sleeves/upper bodice fit.  She also has a technique she calls the Hook-E-do for getting extra room to allow for the bosom. After lots of trial and error, I found out that I needed to cut off anything that wasn't a perfectly straight side seam line.  I'm not small-busted, so it was counterintuitive to do that, but it really helped with the size and shape of the armscye.  This does great for sleeveless tops.  I'm still working on getting sleeves adjusted, but I've started using the Lutterloh system so I can do all the adjustments in the drafting stage, and there aren't nearly so many of them. 

          15. stitchintime | | #74

            Your solution seems to support all those who recommend buying patterns to fit the upper bust and then doing a full bust adjustment as necessary. Bust circumference is no reflection of shoulder and armscye fit.

          16. solosmocker | | #37

            I am trying to picture "that round window curtain effect" in the back. Hopefully I don't have that issue with my bum! LOL! That is a great idea. I did manage to work on the flower girl dress today. I finished some major gardening work around here and took a pledge to devote Wednesday and Thursday to sewing. I am so close to finishing. Today I managed to finish attaching the skirt to the bodice and did the placket. I've done countless plackets but each one seems to be a rubic's cube , but it is all done and hangs nicely. Now all that is left is the neck binding, buttonholes and lining hem. Soon, soon, soon,,,,, If you haven't figured it out I am very goal oriented and set my goals by the day, week, etc. I pledge to have my dress done by next week. OK, you heard it here...solo

          17. DONNAKAYE | | #87

            The crotch measurement:  Y'all might want to check out the "Pants Fitting" thread for further info about inseams and center back seams, but I simply measure from the waist to the chair at the side seam in a sitting position.  Any alterations to the crotch are made AFTER I stitch up my sample garment.  With a good pattern, the alterations get much easier.  One thing that's important to realize about pants, and it does play a little trick with the mind: Scooping out the crotch curve makes the pants SMALLER, not LARGER!  A good example:  Try on a pair of pants.  Take them off and pin up a larger seam allowance throughout the crotch seam, then put the pants back on.  Your crotch will hang lower (i.e., be tighter), and you'll now have less ease through the abdomen, hips and butt.  I know everybody probably already knows this, but I think it's one of those optical illusions we seldom think about until it's too late.....d.

          18. Minnie63 | | #41

            LindaFaye, can't you get a size 14 pattern and work from there? I think you are funning us because it seems like you do know what you are doing, really pretty fabric's and patterns. All of my patterns are smaller in size than RTW. Keep us posted.

          19. DONNAKAYE | | #86

            You might want to visit the "Fitting Pants" thread that's currently a hot topic....Let us know if you can't find it.....d.

      2. jane4878 | | #27

        I made the Roman shade using a pattern from http://www.make-roman-shades.com.  I bought all the hardware from them as well.  There's probably less complex ways to do it.  I bought the fabric separately.  The Burda pattern I'm using is http://burdamode.com/Dresses,1000003-1275114-1128998-1005105-1005114,enEN.html and the fabric is http://www.candlelightvalleyfabrics.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CVF&Product_Code=1LBFD&Category_Code=LINEN&Product_Count=11. I'm doing the short sleeved version.  I'm lining it with ivory cotton batiste.  I'll take pictures when I'm done.  I still have the master bedroom shade to do as well.  I'm excited to see all the rest of your projects.

        1. Josefly | | #31

          I'm so glad you posted the pattern and fabric source of the linen you're using for your dress. I had never seen the site for Candlelight Fabrics - what a great site, with good fabric description, suggested usage, suggested linings, interfacings, fabric care, etc. - even correct needle type and size! The only problem was that the flowers described as blue looked positively green on my monitor! That problem is one of the things that has kept me from ordering fabric online. Good luck with your dress, anyway; it looks like a great combination of pattern & fabric.

          1. jane4878 | | #34

            The flowers looked rather green to me as well.  I hummed and hawed over getting it, but I loved the pattern.  The flowers are actually a light aqua.  They send quite generous swatches if you chose to go that route.  I actually had an unstructured jacket and skirt in mind for it, but when it arrived it was too soft for that, so I went with a dress instead.  It's beautiful fabric, has a sheen to it that's almost irridescent.  Cheap linen is like a burlap sack.

          2. WandaJ | | #42

            From Candlelight Fabrics I purchased a royal blue wool gabardine a couple of years ago that was the most lightweight, sumptuous wool I've purchased. I would recommend this company to everyone (NOTE: I am not in anyway connected with this company).

        2. Minnie63 | | #40

          How close are the measurements using Burda Patterns? I see them but have not used one except for a fleece jacket. Do you have to use tracing paper for each size?

          1. jane4878 | | #44


            I found the Burda measurements very close.  I'm a couple of Euro sizes bigger on the bottom, so I merged the 2 around the waist.  I pinned on the shell of a dress and it fits nicely, there's decent ease with it.  The woman teaching me uses Burda quite a bit and she said their measurements are accurate.  I always trace out my patterns to save the original.  It had 4 smaller sizes separate from the 4 larger.  The multi sizes make it easy to enlarge from one size to another.  I also increased the length in the dress by 2" and the sleeves by 1".  The pattern gives lots of areas to lengthen or shorten, since I have a long torso I lengthened above the waist.

          2. Minnie63 | | #45

            Thanks for the info, I'll give them a try and let you know how I make out.

          3. Fiona | | #46

            Hi everyone,I originally replied to the first challenge and posted a picture of my son in his shirt and pants. I am still trying to master knit necklines!!! I made my daughter 4 t-shirts using the same fabric as the t-shirt for the binding. All stretched out and did not look nice, even the serged one and I have been careful to not overstretch the material. I broke down and ordered FOE elastic from a site recommended here. It won't be shipped until the end of July. So I put aside t-shirts for my daugher and decided to do a dress for myself.Naturally it is a knit. Simplicity 3775 view C. I love it. It fits great. I am using the organic bamboo knit fabric from Hancock fabrics in chocolate brown. It is all done except for the neckline.Here is where I need help. Should I follow the pattern piece for the neckline band or should I make the band shorter or longer. 4" of the materials stretches to 9". What else do I need to take in consideration. Because it is a knit I don't want to put the neckband in and then have to take it out, stretching out the neckline of the dress and ruining it.Also how much would a coverstich machine assist me in solving my neckline problem. I cannot afford one at the moment and eventually would like to get one, but will it really make necklines easier and look as nice.Thanks for all your help. I know there are some expert knit sewers here. I will post a picture when it is done -- if I can get the neckline right.Fiona in AL

          4. solosmocker | | #47

            Hi, fiona! I am not particularly expert at knits but one thing I do do (!) is use clear elastic. Go to one of the chains and purchase clear elastic and use that as a stay tape as you sew your neck band. It will stretch as you pull it over your head but go right back to its original shape. When I use it I precisely measure the seam where it is going and cut the clear elastic 1/8 or 1/4 inch smaller to keep everything tight and in check. I am sure there are other techniques but thats my two cents worth. Good luck. By the way, I love that bamboo fabric. It is so soft and really lovely.

            Edited 7/20/2007 5:58 pm ET by solosmocker

          5. solosmocker | | #48

            Today I worked on the flower girl dress and all I have left to do are the hems. The underskirt will be serged and topstitched and the georgette will all be by hand, 120 inches !!!, but other than that it is done. I cut out my dress, or parts of it, this evening. It is georgette also, two layers, and I am about to scream. This fabric has an attitude totally its own. I was going to simplify the pattern I am using but today decided to use it as printed with a lot less modification. I got just too frustrated with the cutting. I know there are techniques for cutting georgette, but when I get on a tear get out of the way. So I am cutting with my rotary and lots of pins to stabilize the "drift" of the fabric. So far so good, but much more effort. I am not going to bang this one out like I thought I would. I guess that's Ok. I am hoping to get it all completed this week as lots of company will be arriving next weekend for the entire subsequent week. This is company that doesn't particularly sympathize with my sewing needs. DH and I also have a lot of personal business issues going on at the moment so lots going on. I leave for the wedding and vacation August 15th, I think. Can you tell I am feeling the pressure? If I dissappear for a few days you know why. solo

          6. Lynnelle | | #50

            Pressure?  What pressure?  =)  Yikes, I totally gave up on georgette a while ago!  It is a beautiful fabric, but very very very impatient.  I tried to make a tunic out of (what I now know is) georgette.  I learned shortly after the first attempt that those frisky pieces make very nice dust rags. =)  Wait...did I read that you are sewing this by hand, as well?!  Bless you. 

            You have accomplished so much!  I simply cannot wait to see pictures of all the completed garments.  I am sure they will be absolutely gorgeous!

            I finished my pencil skirt (KS 2788) and wore it to work this week.  A coworker liked it so much that she's interested in making one for herself.  She doesn't sew, but I told her that I would help if she wanted to learn.  I am in the process of updating my blog with pictures and a story.  As soon as I'm done, I'll post the link.

            Right now, I am working on New Look 6300 first view.  This is also coming along quite well.  I sewed the skirt and the lining.  Now, I have to attach the lining to the facing and insert it in the skirt.  I'm following a method I took from...um...Threads (I think).  I should be complete with this skirt tomorrow.  Again, once I'm done with my blog, I'll post the link.


          7. solosmocker | | #51

            I can't wait to read your blog and see your skirt. I love pencil skirts. I think they are flattering to almost all figures.I finished cutting out my dress and lining today. Can I swear now? Put your fingers in your ears. This was nasty ?#@@?&#%!. I did get it done properly and it will go together just fine, but, oy, what a lot of work to just cut. I am not used to that. This pattern I am using has the lining cut with very different looking pieces from the fashion fabric. Much of the fullness is taken out of the lining and darts are used instead of pleats to reduce bulk. I will keep you posted. I hope to have this finished by the end of the week. Its imperative. Cross your fingers and say a prayer for me, everyone. TIA,solo

          8. Lynnelle | | #52

            The skirts (KS 2788 and NL 6300) are finished! woo hoo.  Since I still haven't figured out how to post small pictures of my finished projects here, I am directing you to visit my blog.  Here are the links:

            For a synopsis of my first (ridiculously unsuccessful) attempt at KS 2788:


            For a synopsis of my second (successful) attempt at KS 2788:


            I will post a synopsis of the construction of New Look 6300 later.  For some reason the photos are not uploading to my blog.

            My next project is Kwik Sew 2694 view B.  I plan to make this out of a navy blue interlock to accompany NL 6300.  These garments are a part of my Pattern Review Sewing With a Plan.  The contest is just about over and I will not have nearly completed all that I originally intended.  Despite that, I will continue sewing the garments anyway as it will be my first time...um...sewing with a planned wardrobe. =)

            The theme of my wardrobe is Midnight Blue Rhap-city and it will contain pieces that are midnight blue and khaki in colour.




          9. jane4878 | | #54

            Wow Lynelle,  you deserve an award for persistance.  The first skirt sounds like the cuff adventure on my Armistice blouse.  The first sleeve and cuff went together beautifully--the second, however, was something else entirely.  Thank heaven 200 tc broadcloth hides ripped out seams so well!  I got that 2 part cuff inside out, backwards, upside down and any other number of screwups.  I picked the entire thing apart and resewed it at least 5 times.  I feel for you--I probably would've given up after the first skirt!

          10. Lynnelle | | #55

            Thank you, Jane.  I feel your pain as well!  A few years ago, believe me I would have given up too.  But, I decided that I had to keep trying.  I can not say that I won't give up in the future.  But if I do, it will be after a serious, all-out battle with the fabric and/or pattern. =)

            My challenge now is to get better at fitting.  I am going to work on this knit top first and then attempt to make a blouse using the Palmer-Pletsch method for adjusting patterns.  The pattern I am considering is New Look 6598 View B or D.

            I finally got the pictures up on my blog for NL 6300.  Here's the link:



          11. solosmocker | | #56

            Lynelle, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I admire your persistence. I felt your pain every step of the way with the ill fitting skirt but when you pulled of the zipper tab, I just couldn't believe it. Congratulations on getting it right eventually. I have bookmarked your blog. You write very well. Last night I finished all the cutting and there it all sits on my cutting table and counter. Today was just one of those beautiful days where it would have been a shame to stay indoors. So I worked most of the day in my garden and am pooped tonite. I have some business "stuff" to take care of tomorrow but after that I hope to hit the sewing room. I have company coming Saturday for a week so its imperative I get this all done this week. I am starting to feel the pressure. While I used a pattern for my DGD and fitted her with a muslin as well, I looked at her dress last night and paniced. The neck looked too small. Its a size two dress and thats what fits her beautifully so I don't know why I am stressing over this. I called DD and asked her to measure Sophie's neck. Of course she had a house full of company and couldn't find her tape. I told her to use a string. She will get back to me. Hopefully I will have the measurement soon so I can put that demon to bed. So you can see that the pressure is on. I could never be a bridal planner. I am breaking out in sweats just thinking about it. Tomorrow I will try again to accomplish some sewing. solo

          12. solosmocker | | #57

            July is nearly done and half of my goal is met. The flower girl dress is done. I am posting pics here and in the gallery. I don't want to tie the sash until the wedding so the weight of it is pulling the dress on the hanger and such so please understand that. This was no particular pattern, but what the bride told me she wanted. The embroidery was my addition which she approved. The top fabric is a georgette and the under fabric is a heavier satin, but not bridal weight. Both are poly which I hardly ever sew so that posed some challenges but has its plusses too. The dress just does not wrinkle, doesn't press much, but doesn't wrinkle either :). The top skirt is 120 inches with 3 rows of ribbon like the brides gown and the under skirt is 90 inches, keeping with the use of a wirth of fabric for the front and another for the back that is kind of the rule of heirloom sewing. I did all the ribbon work with a twin needle and can't imagine otherwise. It just makes it so much easier. Also, typical to heirloom, I put in a placket and mother of pearl buttons instead of a zipper. The embroidery is from the A-Z Book of Bullions which is one of the books I couldn't do without. All of those A-Z books are great. The A-Z Book of Sewing for Smockers told me how long to cut the sashes for whatever size used, in this case a two. Sophie has shoes, Mary Janes, the same color as the dress and kind of pearlized. She loves her shoes. I hope she loves the dress.Image 1510 is the full dress, 1513, the bodice closeup, and 1507, the sash details. Here goes:

            Edited 7/25/2007 12:43 pm ET by solosmocker

          13. solosmocker | | #58

            Posting again much later into the evening. I need to vent. Don't ever let me sew with that fabric again !!! Back to my natural fibers for sure. Tonite I did something I haven't done in a long time - sew into the late evening. I am feeling the pressure. I got the bodice done on my dress, paisley georgette, and tried it on. Despite my doing a muslin, this was way, way too revealing. So I have been putting a bias double fold 1 inch ruffle around the neckline. I may have had a different bra on for the muslin (let's hope so) but the different fabric must have made the difference. I actually toyed with the idea of doing a ruffle on the neckline but thought it would take too much time, which it is. I will get this done, though. I scheduled everything I need to do over the next few days and think I will get it all done despite the ruffle addition. Keep ya posted. solos.

          14. dionna | | #59

            I love the dress lady  I whould like to  know what you think about this out fit  I have'nt posted lately so here's the outfit

            Edited 7/25/2007 10:51 pm by dionna

          15. solosmocker | | #61

            I'm sorry dionna, I am not seeing a link to the outfit. Do you need some help posting a picture?Bunny

          16. dionna | | #63

            my photo's were not loading for some reason I will try again sorry something is wrong i can't get the pictures to load for some reason will some one help please  thanks

          17. dionna | | #64

            I will try to  load the photos again it must be somthing wrong with the my pc if it dose not work can anyone help

          18. Josefly | | #73

            I'm not sure what the problem could be uploading your photos, but on the "Welcome" page, the page you get to after you log in to Gatherings Discussions, but before you actually get to the messages, there is a place at the top right side of that page that says "Practice...in the Sandbox" and if you click on that there may be some help for you on creating attachments. I don't see an actual link to the technical folks in the Sandbox, now, but in the past I've managed to contact them by e-mail when I was having trouble logging in, and they were very helpful. I hope it works - looking forward to seeing your photos.

          19. User avater
            VKStitcher | | #60

            What an absolutely adorable dress.  I'm sure Sophie will just love it, she will look like a princess.  You are so talented and creative!

            It sounds like you have a real plan to get everything done on time.  Take a deep breath--it will be OK.  Then you can relax after the wedding.  :-)

          20. ctirish | | #62

            The dress is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I just showed the pics to my daughter and she agrees. The embroidery is perfect, just the right size and texture. I always worry about over-doing or under-doing. What you did is wonderful, just the right amount and the right size and to put it on the end of the ties - what a great idea. Now, for the pressure, just remember - in most companies and homes 80% of the work gets done in the last 20% of the time. Everywhere scholars and companies try to change this but the stats keep coming back to this one fact. So, take some deep breaths, take a nap if you need it and you will get everything done on time.... Hang in there, jane

          21. Lynnelle | | #65

            Absopositively gorgeous!  You are a wonderful sewer and the dress if beautiful!  You did an excellent job!!


          22. stitchintime | | #68

            The dress is absolutely beautiful. How could a little girl not like a dress like that?

          23. solosmocker | | #70

            Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone. I did want her to look like the little princess that she is. Fiona, my dial up won't let me load your pics. I will try again before I shut down. I had an "iluminating" moment yesterday after I attached the ruffle to my far too revealing neckline and got it all enclosed in the lining and sleeves attached. The reason my dress was too revealing is because I did not use my brain, that simple. I made a muslin out of patternease and did all my markings on it. Dumdum here used the actual pattern to mark the pleats and darts instead of my muslin. This is what happens when one rushes. Hopefully I have made lemonade out of lemons when all is said and done by adding in the ruffle. I have gotten some good feedback already on it. I have also decided not to do the stitched down pleats on the skirt and will just gather it. I think it will look more in keeping with the softness of the ruffle. And the saga continues.....solo

          24. Lynnelle | | #75


            Keep at it, lady!  It is through mistakes and challenges that we learn to be the best.  I had to find that out the hard way (and am still learning...).  I can't wait to see more pictures of your creations!


          25. fabricholic | | #71

            Hi Solo,I hope you post a picture of her in the dress with her little shoes. I would love to see the back with the buttons. What is that going down the front on the sides of the embroidery? Is it cording or ribbon? It is beautiful.Marcy

          26. solosmocker | | #78

            It is 1/4 inch satin ribbon. I stitched it with a twin needle and stabilizer which made it kind of puffy, in a nice sort of way. If I had planned it it probably never would have happened.solo

          27. fabricholic | | #79

            Was it tear off stabilizer? I am telling you, that is beautiful!

          28. dressed2atee | | #81

            I haven't been on the site in a while...your gown is beautiful, the details are wonderful.  I know the little flower girl stole the show at the wedding!


            Happy sewing

          29. solosmocker | | #82

            Thank you, I have been wondering where you have been, hopefully sewing lots of gowns!solo

          30. dressed2atee | | #83

            Well I had a bit of a break---I went to see my sister in Savannah, GA and then I went to the ASG Annual Conference in Sacramento, CA.  I was there 7/25-31---I had a marvelous time, bought too much fabric but I just couldn't resist.  I managed to make myself a dress out of white outlet and a skirt to take with me.

            We went to Britex and Stone Mountain & Daughter's fabric stores in San Francisco and it was marvelous.  I had to have my fabrics shipped back home!  I had a wonderful all day class with Susan Kahlje on couture sewing techniques.  I took a class on felting and some other classes including one with Linda MacPhee which was marvelous.  I was wonderful being with so many other sewers!!!!  Next year we go to Chicago.

            Now I'm back at home in the swing of things working on 3 bridal gowns. 

            My shoulder and elbow have been bothering me, I'm getting an MRI next week. The doctor said I have a tear in my rotor cuff and tennis elbow.  Never played a day of tennis in my life  ---lol

            Good to hear from you, will chat again soon!

          31. solosmocker | | #84

            Sounds like sewing elbow to me! Hope you are back in form real soon.solo

          32. dressed2atee | | #85


          33. cafms | | #49

            The bamboo is really nice to wear.  I have two tops from the Organic bamboo from Hancock's Fabric.  I hope you washed the fabric before you cut it if you plan to wash the dress.  The fabric shrinks quite a bit the first time.  I lost about 6 inches from a yard and a quarter piece but it hasn't shrunk again.  It does look different when it is wet.

            I like the pattern you've chosen.

          34. Josefly | | #53

            Have you already seen these?There's a great video tip on this forum about how to measure neck bindings, done by Sarah Veblen. Go to the home page and click on video tips. There are two videos listed - one on sewing turtle necks and one on neckline binding. Both might be useful to you. You'll also see how to install - where to put the most stretch at the curves, etc.There's also an article under "Tips & Tricks" on applying stretchy binding to knit tops.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All