Ruching is when fabric is gathered along a seam to provide decoration or fullness. You may have seen it before on sheers (like in the skirt pictured above) or swimsuits, but there are so many opportunities for ruching in patternmaking. The technique looks particularly great on a fitted garment, where it accentuates your body's curves.
With all the uncertainty swirling around the country about COVID-19, there's a lot of pent-up desire to do something, anything to help. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say staying home, washing your hands and practicing social distancing are some of the best things to do at this time, as makers we also have a unique ability to, well, make. And with the current shortage of face masks, many sewers want to take action.
Apparently, sometimes we creative types think rather differently than the rest of the world. But we're all in the making game together — so whether you're a newbie sewist or a master of the craft, we bet you can't help nodding along to these truths only sewers understand.
Fitting can be a challenge for even the most seasoned garment sewers. But that's where a moulage, or "mold," fitting system comes in. It was developed and used in couture houses to reduce client fitting times, yet home sewers can use the technique to draft personal slopers for a blouse, dress, jacket or an overcoat.
If you're under 5'4", you're considered a size petite by the fashion industry — as well as the pattern companies industry. And when you're searching for a pattern, you want one that helps you look taller and gives great proportions to flatter your shape. Keep these tips in mind while you're browsing to help you find the perfect pattern for your next garment.
When fitting a sewing pattern, you typically check standard measurements such as the bust, waist and hip — all measurements of circumference. But there's another that's critical to getting the perfect fit: vertical dimension. This measurement isn't usually marked on most patterns, but you should measure and adjust your patterns for it (in both dimensions, actually) to get the fit you need — especially if you're plus-size or full-busted.
If you're going to sew your own clothes — or even alter store-bought ones — you have to know how to hem. The good news is it's a super easy skill to pick up, as the bottom edge is simply turned up and stitched into place. (Things get more complicated when dealing with extras like lining, a kick pleat or a cuff.) The method below can be used whether you're hemming a dress, a pair of pants, a skirt, a sleeve — anything you put your mind to!
Getting the fit just right is one of the most challenging parts of sewing clothes, mostly because the process isn't a singular step. Rather, it begins before the first pattern piece is even cut, and continues throughout your sewing.
If you love sewing your own clothes, you've probably come across a princess seam. The seams are common design lines on many tops, dresses and jackets. Their slimming effect is flattering on almost any figure, but for them to look just right they need to fit your body properly — which means they need to follow the natural curves of the bust line.
One of the biggest differences between regular garment sewing and couture sewing is underlining. Underlining is what gives couture garments their superior overall appearance and elevates any homemade article of clothing to a designer-grade product. But, what exactly is underlining? Why do you need it, and how do you use it?
As you get deeper into sewing, your needs and investment level may change with time. Maybe you started sewing on a family hand-me-down, and the machine finally bit the dust. Or maybe you learned to sew on a basic model, but now you're ready to upgrade to something higher-quality.
A custom duvet sounds like a major splurge. After all, it's designed to fit your bed perfectly and comes in any color or pattern you want for your dream bedroom. But what if we told you that, in this case, custom is cheaper than off the rack? It's true — because you can make this one yourself!
Real talk: if you sew your own clothes, it's probably because you want a custom fit. And that usually means you adjust the pattern before taking scissors to fabric. But if you're not also fitting while you sew, you're missing out on an opportunity to make your garment as perfect as can be.
An exposed zipper instantly makes any top, skirt or dress look totally modern. But in order for them to look stellar, all stitching (which, unlike when sewing an invisible zipper, is done on the right side of the garment) needs to be done with precision and careful planning. Here's how to get all those little details right.
Go retro and stitch high-waisted underwear that's totally comfortable and classic, not to mention customizable thanks to the ability to mix and match woven and knit fabrics. And if you have leftover fabric post-project, there's great news: you can use it to make a matching vintage-inspired bralette, meaning you'll never have to scour the lingerie section for perfect-fitting undergarments ever again.
There's an easy (and fun!) way to make fabric you won't see anywhere else: block printing. By carving a block and using it to stamp a pattern onto fabric — which you can learn to do in Fabric Design: Block Printing — you'll never stress about finding the perfect material for any sewing, quilting or home decor project ever again. But block printing is only half the fun: what you make with that one-of-a-kind fabric is what'll give you that awesome 'I did it!' moment.
Say buh-bye to the days of searching for that perfect bolt of fabric. Block printing is the easy way to create custom fabrics for one-of-a-kind sewing, quilting and home decor projects. If you're new to customizing fabrics, Jen Hewett, textile artist and instructor of Fabric Design: Block Printing, has must-know tips for beginners.
There are a ton of ways to sew a tote bag — with a lining, without a lining, with pockets on the inside, with pockets on the outside, with a quilted design — the list goes on and on. This tutorial breaks it down to the basics, teaching you how to make a simple tote with three panels. Once you've got that down, you can customize your bag however you want!
Lining a garment can seem like a lot of extra work: buying more fabric, cutting out the pattern again and all that extra pinning and sewing. It's enough "extra" to make the idea of skipping this step awfully tempting. But some garments really do require a lining to be functional. Here's what you need to know before starting to sew one.
Crafting for the holidays is supposed to be fun — but so often our yarn balls turn into stress balls as we try to meet deadlines and get everything done. But with a little planning, you can keep yourself happily making as the holidays approach. Sounds magical, right?
There's nothing better than listening to Christmas music, sipping on eggnog and breaking out your holiday fabric for the season. Whether you're in the mood to stitch a new tree skirt, some fresh stockings or more holiday decor, we've got a pattern for your perfect project.
Take a look at your jeans or a men’s dress shirt and it's likely you’ll spot flat fell seams. On the outside of the garment there's a pair of stitch lines, while the inside is all tidy without any raw seam edges. If you've wondered how it's done, it's not magic — sewing a flat fell seam is a technique every garment sewer can (and should!) learn.
When you set out to sew the perfect jacket or coat, you may not immediately think about the sleeves. (You're probably envisioning a poppin' collar or those beautiful lapels and buttons, which is fair!) But sleeves are an obviously critical component of your design. They need to fit, taper and drape perfectly, as a properly sewn sleeve can be the difference between a coat that looks high-end and a coat that screams homemade.
There are two ways to handsew hooks and eyes to garments — the easy, rather straightforward way, and what is considered "the couture way." The primary difference is one looks prettier than the other. And, as you may have already guessed, the pretty one requires a bit more care to sew.
One of the best reasons to sew is to make clothing that is as unique and creative as you are — and to have a great time doing it. Combine all these things (uniqueness, creativity, fun) and you might end up exploring one of my favorite types of embellishment: beading!
Whether you're hosting a formal affair or just a casual family dinner, a tablecloth goes a long way in tying the dining room together. The good news is tablecloths are one of the easiest projects you can sew — here's how to make sure yours is done right.
In sewing, ease is a total necessity. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to bend, reach, sit or walk in your clothes, as it's the extra space built into a garment to make it easy, fun and flattering to wear.
You've got a fun, strappy top you love to wear, but there's one pesky problem: those straps always slip off your shoulders. Rather than constantly push them back into place, you can shorten them super fast — we're talkin' minutes here — and even make them adjustable. Problem solved!
Sewing your own bras can be intimidating, but there are so many reasons to do it. Not only does it call for such little fabric — making it a great way to use up fabric scraps or splurge on something fancy — but it's also a good way to save money. After all, store-bought bras are expensive!
A cowl is a timeless look that's almost always flattering, no matter your body type. You can add one almost anywhere — not just at the bodice front, the most obvious spot, but also the bodice back, the sleeves or even the sides of skirts or pants. Cowls can be subtle with a gentle fall, or dramatic with a plunging silhouette. It's one of those versatile design elements, so sewists really can't help but love it.
When it comes to making alterations to your WIP garment, there's a secret weapon just waiting to be used: curved rulers. These get the job done much better than simple straight rulers could — after all, our bodies aren't filled with straight edges and hard lines. Humans are curvy!
It's cold outside and there's nothing like a warm and comfy throw to take the chill off. And while you could always buy a cozy blanket, making your own is simple and fast, so you can start sewing in an afternoon and have it ready for that night's movie.
Zippers can feel super intimidating to beginner sewers, but they’re actually pretty easy to pull off, and some are easier to insert than others. Like the invisible zipper. When you add one, there’s no machine stitching visible from the right side of the project. Everything is done behind the scenes, totally concealed within the seam allowances.
When you’re working with lightweight, sheer fabrics, there’s a sense of airiness and elegance to them. Which means they deserve an equally-as-elegant finished seam that hides all your raw fabric edges. Enter the French seam.
Monogramming adds a personal detail to any project: piped icing on cake designs, embroidered stitches on home decor, stamped initials on stationary, even custom details on quilt or sewing projects. And these days, you can pretty much design your monograms however you want. But if you want to keep things more traditional, there are a few monogram etiquette rules to consider following.
There's nothing worse than picking a dreamy fabric to work with, only to have it turn into a total nightmare when the edges start to fray. By the time you get to the hemming stage, it can feel like over ¼" of your seam allowance has — poof!— vanished into thin air.
Learning your way around a sewing machine can take time, and even experienced sewers can have a few technical blunders. Here are some of the most common issues sewers can run into on their Janome machine, and how to fix them so you can get back to your project ASAP.
Whether you're flying a red eye or simply trying to block out the light from your TV, there are many reasons to use a sleep mask and get some quality shuteye. The good news is that it's super easy to DIY, and only calls for a little bit of fabric. (Stash-buster project, anyone?) Whip up one for yourself, or go to town and make 'em for the whole fam so you can all get some beauty rest, stat.
Properly prepping and cutting your fabric is the very first challenge you face when sewing a garment that wears well. Case in point: Have you ever worn a shirt with one side seam that kept twisting toward the front? It did that because the fabric wasn't cut on the grain. Or, have you ever sewn a dress and ended up with different lengths when trying to match a seam? That can happen when your cutting isn't as accurate as it could be.
Looking to dive deeper into your sewing obsession? These blogs are some of our all-time faves, and many of the faces behind 'em teach classes on Bluprint — meaning you can gain extra knowledge and get those creative juices flowing for your next project.
Adding a collar can make your dress or top look extra fabulous — but it can also be a nightmare if not sewn on correctly. So if you're planning to sew your own collar, follow these tips to help you nail that polished look.
Pockets make life easier — it's just a fact. After all, haven't you ever thought about how much better your favorite party dress would be if it had pockets you could stick your hands (or lip gloss) into?
Interfacing can be your best friend ... or your worst enemy. It has a job to do — adding stiffness to fabric — and it does that job well. But, like any frenemy, it can drive you a little crazy from time to time. But with these tips, you can get the upper hand and make interfacing work for you.