Sewing Tips

Hello lovely people! The making of this tutorial became a bit of an odyssey because I decided to draw the steps in illustrator, because my photos weren’t too good.

I love this technique and it can be used in any sleeveless bodice or sleeveless dress. By attaching the lining this way there is no hand sewing involved! This is also a nice way to finish a sleevelss dress if you prefer lining and/or want eliminate the need for facings or bias binding.


Disclaimer: Lining is a difficult thing to explain, so I want to apologize in advance if I don’t cover what you need to know! Also note: This tutorial does include some assumed knowledge, so have a read before you commit to using it!

 Heres the Burda-style pattern I used note: I did make a test garment and make a few modifications to it. The main one being, lowering the back of the neckline so that it slips over the head and does not require a zip.

There may be typos, but at this point I just want to add the images…because after 3 days of working on this tutorial I have had it for now! ;). Note: I may edit this tutorial at a later date if I find ways to make it better. I hope this helps someone! Xo Kath

OK now here goes…









Edit: I just realized that the picture for step 9. was misleading so I have removed it.

Step 9-10. Now (with wrong sides out/facing you) sew the left and right side seams of your dress together! (if you have any questions about this step please let me know).




I liked the silly collar I posted yesterday so much, that I decided make a pattern from it and sew the new one up in a medium weight cotton.

Edit: Wow now I realize how ridiculous this red collar looks (especially with my bad hair etc) .

I am kind of embarrassed. But fashion is like that… I mean I can barely comprehend it but once people thought mullets looked good. So tastes change, perceptions are distorted etc.

I was just making use of a fabric scrap and testing out the pattern so I wasn’t too fussed about the end result.

Here is how I made a copy of the pattern from the collar…

Also here is the sewing tip…. Actually its more of a pattern tracing tip.

Last year bought the book “1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips”.

In the book it mentions a tip about using clear cellophane to trace with when copying a ready to wear garment.

I thought that sounded like a great idea because it would make it so easy to see the seams and design details on the garment, so I bought loads of clear cellophane in anticipation of trying it.

I tested it out and for the purposes of this collar and it worked AWESOMELY :)!

Please excuse my excitement over such a trivial matter thats just what I am like…

Here we see the cellophanes awesomeness in action: Look how easy it was for me to see what I was doing! I used a permanent marker/sharpie and it did not slide or rub off once I marked the clean cellophane (you beauty!)

That stripey thing on top of the collar is a self-made pattern weight. I use them all the time when I trace patterns (particularly burdastyle magazine patterns).  It its a small area I am tracing I do this: Before I put the weight on I mark any line then place the heavy sewing weight over the line I drew. That holds in in place and makes it easy to trace the rest without anything shifting.

I made it the weight(s) by buying what are called “mending plates” from the hardware store, taping two together (one on top of each other for extra weight) and the making a little pocket of fabric and sewing it closed both ends.

Would anyone want a pattern weights tutorial?

These weights are super heavy 100 times heavier than those fussy light little washers and I find them lot more effective.

The real commercial pattern weights ones are just too expensive for me but these ones are equally as effective :)!

This is what it looks like traced onto the cellophane with texta/marker. That upper line on the collar piece needs to be corrected but we will just ignore that. See how easy it is to trace with?

You could just add your seam allowance directly to the cellopane but I retraced them onto a thin tissue paper. Pictured above is the one I always use (its quite thin and slightly translucent). I also use this for tracing Burda Style magazine patterns. The only place in Australia you can buy this tracing tissue is Lincraft I think its around $5 for 5 sheets of 150×110.

The “finished” pattern pieces with seam allowance added and a center front fold. They are a bit sloppy but they did the job. I am a little messy/gung-ho sometimes.

Sewing UFO as stated in this threads article are projects that have been  “set aside” for a long time before  they have been completed because they are boring and have not held the sewers interest enough to motivate them to finish the project OR they are super challenging and have been abandoned in sheer frustration.

As am slowly working on the mammoth task of cleaning my sewing room I have uncovered a lot of these. I am really writing this post to remind myself of how to avoid adding to the pile of unfinished stuff.

Ways to avoid UFOS 

1. If you don’t LOVE the pattern and fabric don’t bother!  It seems obvious but life is too short to save your best fabric for the perfect project. The work involved is the same whether you love the fabric you are working on or not. Don’t waste precious time using mediocre fabric or a pattern in a style you don’t love. At this point in my life I have more than enough clothing already so if you make something I have to pick a project that I am super excited about!

2. When using a pattern you haven’t tried before ALWAYS ways make a prototype/muslin first to edit the fit. This has caught me out so many times this year. You think you are saving time but in the long run you aren’t. I would say 90% of commercial patterns I try have to be altered a great deal. Sizing and wearing ease is always insane/varied and necklines always gape.

If you make a muslin, alter the fit THEN alter the pattern itself, next time you want to make the style it will be super quick and easy.

When I have made no muslin and altered the garment directly I have gone back to make the same garment and my alterations on the patterns are wrong or inconsistent.

I have wasted a lot of nice fabric by choosing the wrong size or messing up technical aspects of constructing harder garments because I did not make a muslin/test first!

3. Ask yourself how the garment will fit into your life/wardrobe Does the garment suit your lifestyle? (i.e is it casual or dressy enough), Would it be comfortable to wear? Does it work with/go with other items in your wardrobe? Does it really flatter my figure? A major one for me is: Can I wear a bra with it?

4. Practice and research new/harder construction techniques before attempting them on the garment your making This is something I want to start doing. I am very gung-ho when in comes to sewing. I hate following pattern instructions and I rarely even read them. I often  become more confused by doing things the “prescribed” way. In most cases I find it easier just trying things out and testing my own theories then seeing what works. But it never hurts to try the technique a couple of times on a scrap of calico and get some advice (from youtube or sewing books) before I start using the good fabric.

5. Make notes while completing a project I no longer underestimate my ability to forget things. Make notes of required yardages, techniques used, order of construction etc. Then next time you do the project you will find it easier. Perhaps that doesn’t help so much with UFOS but It has helped my sewing immensely.

Don’t feel too guilty about having a couple of UFOS! Not every sewing project can be a success and you always learn more from your failures than your successes so UFOS = valuable learning experiences.

Whenever I have a project that I fall out of love with or gives me grief I make sure that the next project I start is an easier/simple project with a pattern I know and love (with a good fit) so I do not fall out of love with sewing.