Saturday, December 21, 2013

Exposed Zippers - The Full Monty

My Weekly Blog Post

The Full Monty. That's what I call a fully exposed zipper. This week's post will teach you to apply this suddenly stylish zipper. Check out how easy it is to do. Here is the link:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A New Sewing Machine - Now What?

My Weekly Blog Post

Is a new sewing machine on Santa's list this Christmas? If so, once the box is open, now what? This week's post offers my tips for familiarizing you with your new machine and introduces you to a stitch sampler.  Here is the link:

Do You Shop for Fabric, or Fabric Shop?

It's an interesting question when you really think about it. Not everyone has the luxury of living near a huge metropolitan fashion center like New York City or Los Angeles where the sky’s the limit when it comes to shopping for fabric.  Many cities, like where I live, offer few options for buying fabric beyond the local Joann’s or Hobby Lobby stores. For buying really good fabric, well, that almost doesn’t exist.  I can’t tell you how many times I have an image and/or a pattern of something I am dying to make and can’t come close to finding the right fabric to satisfy that craving. It’s extremely frustrating and I have to believe I am not alone. 

My latest 50% off purchases
As a result, I rarely shop for fabric. Instead, I fabric shop. What's the difference? Think of it as the way Europeans are known to shop for food. Their meal of the day is based on what they find at the open market that morning.  So rather than shop for items to fit a predetermined menu, the food they create from their purchases becomes the menu.

I find this method is sometimes a better approach when it comes to shopping for fabric as well. When I find a beautiful piece of fabric I buy 2, sometimes 2 ½ yards or more of it even if I have no specific pattern or garment in mind. I do, however, contemplate what type of garment is best suited to the fabric, which helps determine the amount of fabric I buy. When material goes on sale 50% off, I stock up.  What I make from my purchases comes later. It has become easier these days to match a pattern to the fabric than to match the fabric to a pattern. 

While this may not always be the most economical way to shop for fabric, it keeps things real. Real, in the sense that this is what’s available for me to work with.  There have been many instances when I have passed up an opportunity to buy a beautiful piece of fabric because I had no specific pattern in mind and later regretted that decision when it was no longer available.

As you can see, this is a recipe for accumulating lots of fabric and I admit, I do.  To keep  track of what I've purchased, I document my finds before I stash them away in bins in my studio.  I pin a pre-designed label to the fabric which identifies what kind of fabric it is, fiber content, care instructions, and the fabric width and yardage.  Not too long ago I wrote a post  on the subject -- see my post on Fabric Stash Organization:;postID=3196290962237856201;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=24;src=postname 
So, do you shop for fabric or  fabric shop?  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Review of the New U.S. Edition of BurdaStyle

In a recent post I presented my interview with Ms. Denise Wild, the new Editorial Director of the newly launched U.S. edition of BurdaStyle, the magazine.   

As a subscriber to the original German-based BurdaStyle magazine I thought it would be useful to those perhaps contemplating subscribing to the new edition that I offer my personal review of the first issue. 

If you are not a current subscriber to the German-based magazine, or are unfamiliar with it, you will be quite pleased with what the new U.S. edition has to offer. It is considerable. In the simplest of terms, it is primarily a sewing magazine done with a fashion spin, albeit a rather European spin. The magazine targets anyone who sews, but especially the garment sewer. 

Layouts and fashion news are on the order of In-Style, though considerably less in depth or comprehensive which is to be expected from what really is a sewing magazine.  As a sewing magazine it offers lots of sewing tips and advise on products and techniques similar to whats offered by many other sewing magazines, but with a clear focus on garment sewing.

The U.S. edition's principle objectives is without a doubt to promote Burda patterns and the many services the website has to offer, which is extensive and growing. I'm talking about the many new teaching vehicles that are now available to the sewing community from the site. They include sewing webinars, (for which I am among one of the many presenters) sewing how-to videos, sewing kits and sew-alongs with BurdaStyle books and classes on the horizon. All great learn-to-sew vehicles geared to the new as well as, experienced garment sewer - for a cost, of course. 

What differentiates this magazine from most other sewing magazines are the pattern inserts that come with each issue. Over 40 fashion items are featured throughout the magazine in beautiful fashion-magazine-like settings. Tucked into the center of each issue are 20 full sized patterns that can be traced or cut-out to make the garments featured throughout the magazine. Detailed instruction for constructing each garment are also included.  

What distinguishes the U.S. edition from it German counterpart is that all the patterns are now printed in English versus German (plus other European languages) and with American versus metric measurements. A huge plus and the main reason for anyone wanting to subscribe to the magazine. 

The magazine is now also a vehicle to promote Ms. Wild's sewing school in NYC called The Sewing Studio and her online sewing/lifestyle magazine
Both are now part of the BurdaStyle family though it is not quite clear where that collaboration is headed. 

All in all it's a good looking magazine packed with great information and lots of patterns. But, if you are like me, a current subscriber to the German-based edition, you will need to decide when the time is right to transition to the U.S. edition. The reason for this is that all of the patterns contained in the U.S. edition are from past issues of the German magazine with some as far back as a year ago. 

Like me, you probably already have all of the patterns in the U.S. edition and much, but certainly not all of the information throughout the magazine is either available on the website or has appeared in previous issues of the German publication.

The real advantage for subscribing to the U.S. edition is the  price. A one-year subscription that will include six issues is only $14.99. A great price given the German magazine costs $25 per quarter

If you are new to the magazine, its a good one, so now is the time to subscribe. If you are a current subscriber to the German publication, you might want to wait a while.  

The magazine is published by F+W Media. Here is the link to subscribe to the new U.S. edition:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Use a Seam Ripper

My Weekly Blog Post

This week's lesson is on how to rip out a seam with a seam ripper.  This method is lightening fast and leaves the seam clean with no messy threads to pick up or pick out. While there are no right or wrong ways to use a seam ripper, this method is the best ever. Give it a try. You will be converted forever. Here is the link:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Perfect Collar Points

My Weekly Blog Post
This week the subject is collar points. I went to an expert to learn to do them right - just perfect in fact! The secret is a thread loop. Works every time and makes those often frustrating points look professional. Here is the link:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BurdaStyle - My Interview with Denise Wild

Last month Burda, the German-based pattern company and parent company of the website, launched its first U.S. edition of its popular sewing magazine, BurdaStyle

On behalf of F+W Media, the magazine's publisher, I have been granted the privilege of interviewing the magazine's new Editorial Director, Ms. Denise Wild. In addition to her new responsibilities with the magazine Denise is also the new Content Director for the website. She bring to both the magazine and website an extensive resume in the publishing arena as the founder of the popular online sewing magazine In addition, she is the founder and owner of The Sewing Studio, NYC's premier sewing school, lending proven expertise in educating people to sew to the website and it's international community of home sewers.  

My interview with Ms. Wild explores the mission of the new magazine and details what readers can expect to see with future issues.  Here is the interview in its entirety:

Linda: My immediate impression of the first issue is it is indeed a blend of both fashion magazine and sewing magazine with both a Euro vibe as well as lots of red, white and blue.
Denise: Fantastic! Exactly what we were going for!

Linda: How would you personally characterize the new magazine? 
Denise: BurdaStyle is the leading fashion magazine dedicated to the sewing enthusiast, whether a new or aspiring sewer or a seasoned pro. BurdaStyle brings you trends, techniques, how-tos, and tips to help you achieve your very best personal style. BurdaStyle is more than just a magazine, it’s a fashion brand: Every issue presents a collection of original BurdaStyle designs plus the corresponding fashion patterns that allow you to DIY. The world’s biggest sewing magazine, BurdaStyle, is available in more than 90 countries in 17 different languages. 

     Linda: What are your chief objectives with this publication?
Denise: Our goal is to provide sewers and DIYers with inspiration, knowledge, and fashionable projects and patterns. We focus on bringing the latest runway trends and styles directly to the reader in ways that they can easily recreate the looks on their own.

Linda:  What magazine would you most compare it to?
Denise: There is no sewing magazine on the newsstands like it at all. So, I would compare it to InStyle, Marie Claire, and Lucky, fashion magazines that focus on educating and informing the reader about trends and also how to take those trends home in a way that’s suitable for them.

Linda:  How would you describe your target reader? – age profile, demographics, psychographics, etc.
Denise:  Our target reader is anyone who sews or has an interest in DIY/sewing and who enjoys fashion. Our readers range from beginner sewers (or even soon-to-be-beginner sewers) to veterans and span every age range. The thing that ties them together is their interest in fashion.

Linda: This is clearly a platform in which to promote all the services Burdastyle has to offer – webinars, videos, patterns, etc.  Aside from what was featured in the first issue, what other services can we expect to see and/or how will these services be further exploited?
Denise: In addition to the magazine, online patterns, and online education, we will be introducing more BurdaStyle books, BurdaStyle classes, and live events, and much more!

Linda:  What key components or sections of the magazine should we expect to see on a regular basis in each issue? 
Denise:  BurdaStyle US is broken into five editorial sections. 
  1. Community: Bits-and-bites pages that bring relatability and familiarity to the reader and capture attention with quick reads and easy tips.
  2. Inspiration: Trend and product pages introduce the reader to the magazine from a fashion perspective.
  3. Fashion: The styled fashion spreads that BurdaStyle is most known for showcase Burda’s very own designs in a variety of beautiful settings. 
  4. Project Instructions: The sewing instructions for each of the BurdaStyle designs will be fleshed out and detailed in a way that will make them more comprehensive for the American reader. 
  5. Sewing: Technical articles, member project images, and tips provide readers with sewing education, techniques, and ideas.
-      Patterns 
Five fashion spreads per issue (including one plus-size) will be showcased in each issue, incorporating a variety of personal styles as well as a range of sewing skill levels. 20 selected garment patterns from these fashion spreads will be printed on four pattern insert sheets, and the rest of the garment patterns featured in the spreads will be available for download on
 -       Added value 
BurdaStyle US is full of fashion and style inspirations, community tips and ideas, DIY projects, and sewing techniques, education, and how-to’s. BurdaStyle US features a total of 20 garment patterns that are included as full-size inserts, plus fleshed-out, easy-to-read detailed instructions for every single garment pattern in the magazine (40 total), whether it’s available on the insert sheets or as a download.

Linda:  I am delighted to see the pattern inserts adjusted to address an American customer – English v. German, inches v. metric system, etc. What other updates or adjustments are we to expect in future issues?
Denise: Fantastic! I’m glad you noticed! In each issue (including the premier) we have included (re-written) fleshed-out, easy-to-read detailed instructions for every single garment pattern in the magazine.
Linda:  The patterns contained in the magazine are straight from previous issues of the Euro version. Will this be the standard practice or can we expect to see the introduction of new patterns exclusive to the U.S. magazine? If so, when?
Denise:For now that will be the standard practice. Right now, there are no patterns exclusive to any market/country. All 90 countries that BurdaStyle is published in use the same BurdaStyle designs created by the German team at our Burda Fashion Factory.

Linda: In keeping with the Euro model, the pattern inserts are sized up to an American size 14. I realize plus size patterns are also part of the magazine, but given the profile of American women these days is there any consideration to expanding the basic size ranges to include sizes 16-20? 
Denise:  Not at this time. We publish the same size range as all of the BurdaStyle magazines, although we do feature plus-size patterns each issue. We do have several resources available including webinars that guide sewers through grading patterns to make them larger for anyone who doesn’t yet have those skills. 

Linda:  The “make it” section of the magazine is a nice feature but noticed it, too, comes from previous issues of the Euro Burda. Will it continue to be a regular feature, and if so, any consideration to featuring ideas from the many wonderful American bloggers out there that have equally great, if not better, ideas to offer?  
Denise:  Are you referring to the Runway DIY pages? Yes, those will continue to be a regular feature, and for now, we will continue to publish that content as it has been prepared by our head team at Fashion Factory. 

Linda:  The Sewing Studio and Love are prominently featured throughout the new magazine. Could you please explain the collaboration with Burdastyle? 
Denise: We are now sister companies, all under the F+W Media sewing community umbrella. The Sewing Studio is the first and only place someone can take an official BurdaStyle sewing class, and you will continue to see all three names teaming up as we grow to offer everyone a more in-depth sewing experience. 

Linda:  I understand the Toronto location of The Sewing Studio is closing its doors.  Are there any plans to either expand the number of locations of TSS in NYC or elsewhere around the country? Are plans to franchise the TSS concept on the horizon? 
Denise:  There are always various plans in the works.

Linda:  How may we expect to see you expand on the TSS & LS collaboration through the magazine?
Denise: There will continue to be close ties across all brands as we grow. My goal will all three companies is to service the sewing and fashion community in the best way possible with the very best education and with inspiration, close-knit community, and positive encouragement.

Linda: Will the Burdastyle brand classes offered at TSS be expanded to include class versions of the video and webinar series? How will the Burdastyle affiliation change TSS & LS? 
Denise:  We are taking everything one step at a time, but always focused on growth. The Sewing Studio and LoveSewing operate as they always have, we’re just adding more services and doing more cross-over. 

Linda:  I noticed children’s clothing and home décor are not part of the first U.S. issue. Will that be the case in future issues? Or, are there plans to publish a separate magazine geared to them? 
Denise:  We currently don’t have plans to include children’s clothing and home décor in future issues of BurdaStyle US. Our focus will remain on women’s fashion. We are working on ebooks, physical books, and other add-ons that may highlight areas outside of women’s fashion.

Linda:  What overall changes should we anticipate with future issues of the U.S. publication? 
Denise:  We will continue to tweak BurdaStyle US as needed in order to bring our readers what they want and what they love while always honoring the BurdaStyle brand. Readers will continue to see trends, DIY, inspiration, patterns, techniques, tips, and how-to’s. Always wrapped in a beautiful, fashionable package.

The new U.S. edition is now available by subscription. The cost is $14.99 per year.  Here is the link to view the first issue:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ideas for Scrap Fabric

My Weekly Blog Post

 Patterned Cell Phone Wristlet and Pouch

Keep your scrap! You never know when that little bit of fabric will come in handy.  This week's post explores some of the cute things that can be made with just bits and pieces of fabric scraps.  It's perfect timing as we sewists begin to make gifts for giving. Please take a look.
Here is the link:

Pattern on Small Wallet

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Samples

My latest samples for upcoming beginner classes in January. A darling robe for either kids, teens or adults and a new throw pillow.  The robe I made is in a Child's size small. Isn't it cute!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

12 Tips for Sewing with Fleece

My Weekly Blog Post

This week's post offer tips and techniques for sewing with one of the season's hottest fabrics, fleece. Sewing with fleece is a lot of fun and has many benefits among which include affordability, easy care and no fraying. But, it too has it challenges when it comes to sewing. Learn ways to keep it on the fun side. Here is the link to the post:

Friday, November 15, 2013

How To Stop your Fabric from Fraying Excessively

My Weekly Blog Post

This week's post offers a novel approach to containing and controlling excessive fraying in fabrics. It's a common problem that is more than just annoying. The approach requires some planning ahead and really works! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Soon!

An Interview with BurdaStyle's Denise Wild

Burda, the German pattern/sewing magazine, has just launched the first issue of its new U.S. version. I am delighted to report I will be interviewing Denise Wild, the magazine's new Editorial Director. In addition to her editorial role with the magazine Denise is also the new Content Director for BurdaStyle. 

Within the next few weeks I will share my interview with her. It will be followed by my full review of the first issue of the new magazine.  

So, stay tuned!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Railroad Zipper - Simplified

Weekly blog post

My post this week on the blog site generated a lot of comments. The post offers a slightly different approach to inserting a traditional style zipper. The secret to a zipper that looks professional is in the prep work. Check out my post to learn the preparatory steps that will lead to a perfect zipper installation. Here is the link:

Friday, November 1, 2013

9 Tips for Sewing with Leather

My Weekly Blog Post

The subject is leather. It's not just for outerwear anymore. It is on just about every type of clothing and I love it. If you stick to the lightweight versions sewing with real (or faux) leather is relatively easy. Sewing with it does, however, require some special attention and a few different techniques.  Check out my blog post to see what they are. Here's the link:

Thursday, October 24, 2013 Webinar

 Register & Listen in - Mon. Oct 28, 2pm EST

Here's a sneak peek to the webinar I will be teaching on Monday on www. I will teach how to make a simple Kimono-style jacket.  The following pics illustrate the type of jackets featured in the Webinar, but they can be made into about every type of fabric for any season of the year. How does sequins sound for the holidays!
Hope you will listen in. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Adusting Side Seams - The 3 inch Rule

My Weekly post on

This weeks entry is on a method I use for adjusting side seams. This easy method ensures adjusted side seam lines are evenly balanced and the grainline for both front and back are not distorted. Here is the link to the post:

 I hope you will read the article. I have used this method extensively for myself and with many of my sewing students with great results.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Weekly blog post

Two Unexpected Tools in the Sewing Room

What are these 2 tools doing in my sewing room?  Check out my post in today's blog section to find out. You may be surprised as how handy they can be. Here's the link:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Weekly post

Pincushions - One is Not Enough!

This week's blog post is up and ready to view.  This week's entry explores why I keep more than one pincushion in my sewing studio and why I believe any serious sewer should too. Hope you will take a look. Here's the link that will get you there zippity quick!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lapped Seams

Getting Ready for Fall/Winter Sewing

A double stitched lapped seam

What are you sewing these day?  The fall season has officially begun and in my next of the woods the temperature outside is decidedly cooler. If you are like me your focus has shifted to sewing projects for fall and the approaching winter seasons. This means working with fabrics that are decidedly bulkier and heavier. Fabrics like fleece, melton or loden cloth, leather, fur and others that can pose some sewing challenges. 

Having a clear strategy to deal with these fabrics is job one. Managing bulk is one of the most challenging aspects, so learning how to reduce or eliminate the bulk is part of the overall strategy. Doing so will ensure the finished product looks professionally made rather than 'homemade' - my primary goal in every project I ever make.

What all of the above mentioned fabrics have in common is that their raw edges are tightly woven so they are not likely to fray; and therefore, can be left exposed. You can either minimize the effect of the exposed seams or emphasize them to add style and interest to any garment. For some garments it is a way to add an organic or more modern styling. It is also a great way to reduce the bulk.

Using lapped seams instead of plain seams accomplishes both objectives. This type of seam looks great in all the above mentions fabrics and is one of the best solutions for sewing with either real or faux leather. It creates a seam that is strong and adds a stylish detail to the garment.Your biggest challenge becomes selecting the right type and color of thread that will be exposed on the outside of the garment.

As a sewing instructor I am always looking for easier ways to execute sewing techniques. It's important to me that my students not only learn to do a particular technique, but that they are able to do them on the first try. This builds their sense of accomplishment and is a great way to boost confidence motivating them to want to learn more. For new sewers the importance of that cannot be overstated.

So, sometimes I re-engineer the way techniques are done. Case in point, I teach sewing darts in a reverse manner and I hem prep before I sew sleeve hems. Easy alternative approaches that accomplish the same end but are much easier to execute.

The lapped seam is another example of this.  While my method is very similar to the ways most sewing textbooks teach the technique, with a few modifications and attention to detail, it ensures a much cleaner and more professionally looking seam. If the seam is sloppy, in my opinion the garment is ruined or has that 'homemade' look. 

The keys to this technique is to use a rotary cutter for a perfectly cut edge; to mark the fabric on the wrong side; and, to use an edge/joining presser foot for a precise, straight seam line.Cutting a straight edge with scissor thought adequate can't achieve as straight an edge a rotary cutter can accomplish. Marking the wrong side verses the right side in my opinion is always best. Who wants to deal with trying to either mask or remove markings on the right side of any fabric. And, a super straight sewn seam is imperative. So finding a method to achieve that which in this case is the edge/joining foot accomplishes that.  

Here are my instructions for the perfect lapped seam:

  1. Cut all your pattern pieces to include a 5/8 inch seam allowances. Place the two pieces that will be joined (ie: front bodice joining back bodice at side seams) right side up (the piece that will feature the exposed seam is facing up) - that will be referred to as the 'outside flap'. 
  2. Take the outside flap piece and trim off using a rotary cutter and straight edge ruler 1/2 inch off the seam allowance. 
    Trim 1/2 inch with a rotary cutter from the outside flap
  3. On the wrong side of that same piece now mark a line 5/8 inch from the newly cut edge.  
    Mark a line 5/8 inch from the newly cut edge
  4. Take the under flap and line it up to the 5/8 inch marking (the wrong sides are now facing up) and pin in place. If using leather, real or fake, tape the seam in place. 
    On wrong side line up under flap to marked line & pin in place
  5. Reposition pins to the right side. 
    Reposition pins to the right side for sewing
  6. Using an edge/joining presser foot, topstitch the seam approximately 1/8-1/4 inch from the edge. Typically a slightly larger than normal stitch length is best, but use what looks best for the type of fabric you are sewing. 
    Use an edge/joining presser foot for a super straight seam

A single stitched edge gives a more organic look