Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sandra Betzina

I am always looking for what Sandra Betzina is going to come up with next.

I have read all of her books on sewing, have enjoyed her articles in Threads magazine, seen her sample webshows, and I recently checked out her DVDs from the library. I think these DVDs are my favorites. I like the ones that are made by just her alone, as well as the ones co-hosted with others, like Ron Collins (like Sandra Betzina does, he shares some excellent sewing techniques as well; their co-hosted DVDs are both funny and very informative).

You can check out the DVDs here:
There are also short previews of them!

In addition, let me share my favorite fly sewing technique by Sandra Betzina:

And a duvet cover technique:

Handy links

Today, I am posting some of my favorite sewing links. I collected these a few years ago when I first started sewing.

Fly zipper
Bias tape edging
Decorative dressform covers
Easy bound buttonholes
Fix a buttonhole
Gridded wrapping paper for pattern drafting
Hemming solutions
How to sew a French seam
How to sew a good seam
How to sew on cording
How to use the narrow hemmer foot
Invisible zipper
Lining a pleated skirt
Machine sewn blind hem
Making belts
Hemming pants
Measuring for hemming pants
Pattern alteration
Patterns adjustments
Quick bindings
Real Simple magazine
Sew a bead behind a button for a clean finish
Sewing in a zipper

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Robe (Butterick 5224)

I made this robe or pajama cover-up for my Mom, but I think I could have made it one size smaller. I may take it apart and re-do it in size S. Also, I think the shorter version may be more flattering.

Pattern: Butterick 5224
View: E with the length of D
Size: M (for my Mom)
Fabric: Crushed panne (berry color)

Things I learned:

* I had read in Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing that Simplicity and McCall's patterns tend to "run larger than Butterick and Vogue." This and the fact that even the Simplicity fleece jacket I had made for her was just a tad too big at the waist, should have given me the clue that maybe I should go one size smaller.
* I applied single-fold bias tape to the neckline, all the way down to the ties. This stabilized the neckline so it doesn't stretch.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jean-a-ma-jig (TM)

I mentioned in my last post that I hemmed 4 jeans in one weekend. Mostly denim-weight fabrics. This was the first time I used my new Jean-a-ma-jig (TM) by Dritz. It's a dream to hem jeans with this little piece of plastic. Well, I also used a denim needle and thread, but all in all the Jean-a-ma-jig helped the machine sew through and go over the thickest parts of the hem (outer and inner seams).

More information on how to use it can be found on the Dritz website:

There are also pictures about how to use it on:
Looks like I am not alone to sing its praises.

Caveat: Be careful not to hit the Jean-a-ma-jig with the needle.

Small refashions and adjustments

As with most of my refashions so far, I forgot to take pictures of the "before," so all I can show right now is the "after."

I shortened a skirt that my Mom has been keeping in a stash, because even though it has a lovely retro fabric, it was the wrong length for both of us. It's a georgette type fabric, with lining, so essentially, you have to shorten two skirts. Ugh!

Things I learned:

* Working with sheer fabrics is not so bad, just requires patience. But a lot of it!
* 1/2" wide double fold bias tape makes a really nice, subtle waist band if you can't do a self facing for some reason.

I changed a wide (and a bit too, uhm, snug :( ) waistband on a thrifted skirt to a complementing black color double fold bias tape. Now it does not only fit me, the waist band sits much more nicely.

Things I learned:

* 1/2" wide double fold bias tape makes a really nice, subtle waist band if you can't do a self facing for some reason.

Finally, I did some repairs and adjustments:

I hemmed 4 pairs of pants (mostly jeans last weekend).

And I took in from some tops that were to wide.

I also adjusted the back darts, shortened the sleeves and added some fun, matching buttons to this white shirt with burgundy stripes.

Added more buttons. I think it looks nicer this way.

Jeans refashion

I bought 2 yards of fabric, and a pack of matching large rick-rack. That's it! I doubled the fabric along the grainline so it will have some body when gathered and sewn on.

Pattern: none
View: n/a
Size: size 0 jeans
Fabric: Calico print

Things I learned:

* This was the first time I tried my friend's suggestion to gather the ruffles using a wide and long zigzag stitch over dental floss. It's much easier than the conventional way!