Over the past few weeks fashion writer, designer and sewing instructor Jamie Lau has shown us how to take an idea and turn it into a textile design for a custom dress! Today we wrap up her series as she shares how to put the finishing touches on an A-line shift dress.
We've been along for the ride with designer, sewing instructor, and fashion writer Jamie Lau as she designs her first textile and sews it up into one of her beautiful shift dresses. She shared her fabric design and color palette inspiration and her textile design process from photo inspiration to printed fabric. Today, she'll begin sewing her a-line shift dress and sharing garment sewing tips along the way!
I set out to design
my fabric print,
I had a specific dress design in mind using a pattern I had
previously drafted. I wanted to showcase a paneled
gradient textile design
that read like abstract scenery with an A-line shift dress silhouette
that was relaxed and easy to wear – something you could slip on
without the hassle of a zipper. I decided to cut the dress on the
bias and play with the rough lines and gradients of the print as I
wanted the print to have the illusion of “wrapping” around the
body. I had my fabric design printed on linen-cotton canvas (a
generous 54 inches wide) to give it the texture I was going for, and
also to have an element of structure for a stronger silhouette. In
the last two posts in my project series I will be detailing my step-by-step
garment construction process and sharing sewing tips along the way.
Pattern designer, April Rhodes, whose "dream is to provide simple garment patterns for beginning sewers and experienced sewers who want to quickly sew pretty things to wear" visits the Spoonflower blog to share length altering tips for her new Date Night Dress! Visit her on Facebook or Instagram today for a chance to win a PDF of her new dress pattern!
A flattering dress length is crucial. Most of the time I like my dresses to hit at the knees or just a inch or two above. Often the length I choose depends on whether or not I want to style a dress with leggings or not. I LOVE LEGGINGS! Yay for fall! I tend to keep my hem lower if the weather is warm and my legs are bare. I am on the shorter end of the height spectrum and being so, I almost always have plenty of length. Shortening a dress is easy. It's always easier to take some off than it is to add it!
Celebrating the recent addition of Performance Knit to the Spoonflower fabric family, Emma Jeffery from Hello Beautiful stops by to share a sewing tutorial using one of her favorite knit dress patterns, and offer tips for sewing with this colorful new apparel fabric!
The thought of sewing with knits can sometimes strike fear in a seamstress, but Spoonflower’s new Performance Knit is a dream to sew up, and with its brilliant, vibrant hues that hold their color after repeated washing, you’ll be creating beautiful garments in no time. When selecting your pattern, I recommend choosing one with simple, clean lines, especially if you are a less experienced seamstress. I used the Miz Mozelle pattern by Jamie Christina Designs which was written with stretch fabrics in mind, and I chose Hot Weave fabric by Scrummy to sew it up.
Today we announced the addition of Performance Knit to the Spoonflower family. I (Allie) used Wiksten's tank pattern to sew up a simple dress using our new knit to get my feet wet working with our new apparel fabric!
Sewing on performance knit was initially a little intimidating. Not having much experience with knits combined with the drape and slippery-ness of the fabric made me a little scared! I decided to go with a super simple pattern from Wiksten that sews up in a snap to make a versatile dress or tank using one of my own fabric designs! With an upcoming beach trip, I knew this would make a great cover-up that easily transitions in to a cute outfit for lunch or a casual dinner and drinks!
Spoonflower & OliveBox— a subscription for hand-picked paper & lifestyle products delivered monthly to your door– have partnered to bring you a special cut & sew goodie bag in June's box! Check out the simple tutorial below and head to Domesticate's Spoonflower shop to pick up one of your own!
- Your cut & sew pattern
- Safety pin
- Needle & thread
The how to:
If you're feeling extra crafty, now's the time to attach a badge for a little extra embellishment! I recommend adding your badge to the pattern piece before sewing the sides together to make attaching it a bit easier. Continue to step 2 if you'd prefer to skip adding a badge.
- Fold edges over 1/4" and iron.
- Pin in place.
- Stitch on to bag — either by hand or machine.
2. Fold rectangle in half lenghtwise, right sides together.
3. Measure down two inches on one side from unfinished edge, place two pins at the two inch mark.
4. Pin along side seams.
6. Backstitch at top and bottom.
7. Sew the opposite side from top to bottom.
8. Trim bottom corners at an angle.
9. Press the seam allowances open.
10. Turn under the unfinished top 1/4 inch and iron.
11. Turn down again, about 3/4 inch, iron and pin in place.
This week for our DIY weddings series, Spoonflower team members Abbey and Sharon share how they created simple Cotton Silk and Kona® Cotton pocket squares for the groom and groomsmen.
When thinking of DIY wedding projects, we thought about what we would love to make with Spoonflower resources for our own weddings. We decided that custom pocket squares for the groom and groomsmen would be a nice, personal touch that is relatively easy to do.
One of the best aspects of Spoonflower is the variety of fabrics you can choose to print on, so we decided it would be fun to show the same personalized design on two different fabrics: Cotton Silk and Kona Cotton. Cotton Silk would be suitable for a more formal wedding and the Kona Cotton suitable for a less traditional wedding.
We’ve based the design on the invitation of our fabulous, fictitious couple, Keira and Matthew.
To start your pocket square design, open up a new Photoshop document. We wanted a small repeat so our image size was 0.5” x 0.5” at 150 DPI, RGB color.
When you are done designing your motif to be repeated on the pocket square, don’t forget to save your file as a .jpeg image.
After setting up your design, follow the directions to upload on Spoonflower and select your repeat. We chose the half-brick repeat to make it look more like a pattern.
When ordering, keep in mind the size of the pocket square that you want as well as how many you will need for your wedding party. We recommend cutting a 16×16 inch square for the Cotton Silk, and a 13×13 inch or smaller square for the Kona Cotton, since it is a thicker fabric. You can fit four 16×16 inch squares on one yard of Cotton Silk, and six 13×13 inch squares on one yard of Kona Cotton. If you only want one pocket square, feel free to order a fat quarter!
Once you get your fabric, iron it and then cut it to size with a seam allowance of half an inch. If you have a hem foot on your sewing machine, it’s easier to hem the pocket squares, especially Cotton Silk. Simply iron a quarter of an inch seam allowance and feed it into the foot. If you don’t have a hem foot you will want to fold it over a quarter of an inch twice as narrowly as you can and straight stitch for a rolled hem. You’ll want a thin hem for pocket squares.
Once sewn, the finished pocket squares should measure approximately 15×15 inches (Cotton Silk) or 12×12 inches (Kona Cotton). Iron the pocket squares again, choose your favorite fold, and add your dapper groom and groomsmen!
About Our Guest Bloggers
Abbey and Sharon are good friends who enjoy crafting and eating lunch together. Abbey enjoys traveling with her husband, designing things for friends, and drinking chai lattes to get her creative brain in gear. Sharon spends most of her time thinking of what and where to eat, making paper crafts, and exploring Durham. Together they share fruit snacks daily, as Sharon eats the red gummies and Abbey enjoys the blue ones.
We’re so excited to share a tutorial from Rae Friis at Armommy on how to make fabric-covered buttons from a fat quarter of pretty patterned circles, and then use them in assorted cute projects. Enjoy the DIY ideas that Rae shared with us below, and then head on over to her blog to view one more button project!
Rae: Today’s post is all about buttons! If you haven’t made these fabric-covered cuties before, you are in for a
real treat. Why do I love them so much? They’re super-easy to make, require few supplies and once you’ve finished making some, there are endless ways to use them. I’ll get into some project ideas in a bit, but first a button-covering tutorial…. [Read more…] about Fabric-covered button projects
This week’s Fat Quarter February project comes from Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod, who shows us how to make pretty pieced kaleidoscope pillows from just two quarter-yard pieces of fabric.
Diane: I’ve been a little obsessed with the idea of kaleidoscopes lately. It’s so intriguing how you can take a wedge shape, multiply it by six, and create endless new patterns. So I thought it might be fun to replicate this idea in fabrics. I might be cheating on this month’s fat quarter theme just a little by using two fat quarters, but I really love the result, and using these large scale prints give it a very graphic look. I’m using four Holli Zollinger fabrics here: Chevrons Red and Chevrons Burlap from her Kunda Linen fabric collection in one pillow, and Mint Arrow and Arrow Marine from her Native Spirit Linen collection.
Materials (per pillow):
- Two coordinating Kona® Cotton fat quarters with matching print
- 18” x 18” backing fabric
- Kaleidoscope pillow pattern PDF
- Low-tack painters tape or pattern weights
- Ruler and mechanical pencil
- Sewing machine and thread
- Hand sewing needle
1” covered button kit
- Nylon upholstery thread
All seam allowances in this project are ¼”
Begin by downloading and printing the PDF pattern. I recommend
tracing it onto tissue paper, which will make it much easier to place
the pattern precisely on your fabric before cutting. Iron all
wrinkles out of both fabrics.
Now, align the tissue pattern where you want it on your fabric.
You’ll want to choose a section that will form a nice pattern when
it’s repeated six times. It’s also wise to take a moment and make
sure you can get three identical pieces from your fabric. Here, I’ve taped the pattern to the fabric and traced the main outlines of the design. This will help me align the pattern exactly the same way when I cut the next two pieces.
Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut it out (I’ve already added a
¼” seam allowance to the pattern for you, so cut around the outer
edge.) If it helps you to label sections of your tracing like I’ve
done here, go right ahead.
5. Pin one triangle of each fabric together with right sides facing. When you pin, pay close attention to matching up all the elements in the fabric design – here, I’m matching the edges of the stripes.
In fact, you may notice that by matching the designs, you end up with little gaps in the edges of the pinned fabrics, as seen above. Don’t worry! You can gently stretch the fabrics so they’re flat as you sew. Just keep those designs aligned.
Sew each pair of triangles together along one side, creating three
units. Press their seam allowances in the same direction. As you sew,
pay special attention to where you end your seams at the tip of the
triangle. They should end ¼” away from the edge of the fabric, as
shown above. This will make it easier to match all these points at
the center of the pillow.
Now, sew the three triangle units together, making sure the two
fabrics alternate. Do your best to make sure the tips of the
triangles align in the center. If you have a mismatch, like you see
above, you can remove some of the seam and stretch the fabric gently
as you re-sew to get a closer alignment. But
that said, getting six points of fabric to line up perfectly is
tricky! So please don’t make yourself too crazy over this. We’ll
be covering the center of the pillow with a button, so perfection is
not a requirement here!
When you’re done assembling the pillow front, check the back of
your work to make sure all the seam allowances are laying in the same
direction. That will allow you to neatly press the center flat as you
see here. Go ahead and reorient and press any seam allowances.
Cut your backing fabric to match your finished pillow front. Pin them
together with right sides facing and sew around all six sides,
leaving about a 4” gap in one side for stuffing. Trim away the
fabric at each corner and press the seam allowance open. Fold and
press the edges of the fabric at the opening so they match the seam
Turn the pillow right side out, poking all the corners out so they’re
nice and sharp. Press the pillow flat before you stuff it.
Stuff the pillow firmly and then sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch.
Tufting the Pillow:
12. Follow the instructions in your covered button kit to make a 1” covered button from a leftover scrap of pillow fabric. Thread a hand-sewing needle with about 20” of upholstery thread, which is strong enough to withstand the pulling we’re about to do. Regular sewing thread isn’t a good choice for this step.
Pass the needle straight down through the center of the pillow, bringing it out at the back. You can compress the pillow so the needle reaches through.Take a little stitch on the back, and then bring the needle back out through the front of the pillow.
Pull the threads to tighten this knot, which will also compress the pillow center a bit.
When you have the center compressed as much as you like, tie a second knot to lock the thread in place. It’s very helpful to have a friend hold the button down as you tie this second knot. Cut the ends of the thread short enough that they can hide under the button.
About Our Guest Blogger
Diane Gilleland blogs, podcasts, publishes, teaches, and makes videos about all things crafty over at CraftyPod.com. When she’s not doing those things, she’s doing whatever her cat tells her to do. And what’s wrong with that?
Fat Quarter February continues! Stay tuned all month long for creative projects that use just a quarter yard of fabric. This week Emma Jeffery, from the blog Hello Beautiful, shares a tutorial for sewing up a sweet and simple baby kimono.
Kimonos are a great item for newborns because you get to avoid the awkward, over-the-head dressing techniques of tops and tees and this one uses a Velcro fastening which is great when speed is of the essence.
To make this raglan sleeve kimono, you’ll need:
- Raglan sleeve kimono pattern
- one package of Ric Rac (I used medium size)
- a small amount of Velcro
The pattern will squeeze neatly onto one fat quarter of Spoonflower’s Basic Cotton Ultra. I used some small-scale prints by Heather Dutton. You will have three pattern pieces. Begin by pinning the raglan sleeves to the shirt back and sewing.
Press the seam allowance towards the back piece and topstitch down.
To make a neat finish along the shirt fronts and neckline, I like to use ric rac. It easily curves around the neck and adds a sweet little detail to the finished kimono. You could also use a thin bias tape, but I find it unwieldy on small projects like this. Start by pinning the ric rac to the right side of the shirt, starting at one bottom edge of a shirt front, up around the neck and down to the bottom of the second shirt front. Turn the ends of the ric rac under to make a neat finish. Sew the ric rac to the shirt. You are aiming to sew a straight line through the middle of the ric rac.
Fold the shirt together with right sides facing. Sew the back and shirt fronts together at the side seams and underarms. Make sure to match the hems at the sleeves and bottom edge. Trim and finish the seam allowance with a zig zag stitch or serger.
About Our Guest Blogger
I’m an obsessive sewer, often leaping into projects with more enthusiasm than talent, more bravado than skill and more good luck than anything else. This technique has worked well for me so far and more often than not, I make things I love, even if they’re not absolutely perfect. And though I’m no expert, I have a passion for fabric, color and design. I know what I like and what I like makes me smile.