Weekend reading: Shopping for denim, simplicity myths, and rhubarb rosewater syrup

symphony

I’m pretty excited to bowl for kitties this weekend, including this sweet gal above. Her name is Symphony and she’s a little dream. Alsyon and I met her a couple weeks ago at the Pixie Project and fell in love. She’s sweet but a little sassy.

There’s still time to make a tax deductible donation for these little guys and gals. If you have a pet that was a rescue, you can make a donation in their honor.

If not, maybe consider making a donation to a rescue in your own area! It’s such a good thing to remember once in a while that a tiny bit of money can alleviate so much suffering.

Here are some great links for you to peruse this Spring weekend:

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Help me expand The Wardrobe Architect

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So. A couple weeks ago, we wrapped up our 14 weeks of The Wardrobe Architect series, and in that time I’ve learned so much – not just from my own explorations, but from all of you. Your comments, moodboards, blog posts, and discussions have really got me fired up about this topic, and the feedback has been so valuable.

I also feel like I have a lot more to say. We’ve covered a lot in these few months, but a blog post can really only go so far. I’d like to dig deeper and create something more out of it.

I’m not sure what that is yet. Maybe a book. Maybe a toolkit of some kind. A class? Who knows.

What I do know is that I’d like your help:

  1. If you’ve gone through the series with me, or are continuing to go through it now, give me your feedback. What did you want to hear more about? What’s missing for you? What was the most helpful part?
  2. Also, I’d love to find a few of you to be “case studies,” to show how this whole process worked out for you. If you’d be willing to do that, let me know that in the comments too.
  3. Finally, if you’d be interested in this book/toolkit/whatever when it comes out later on and want to stay in the loop about it, enter your email below.

I’ll send out very rare emails about it (maybe one every couple months), but I’d love to give you a first crack at anything I do produce, and ask for some occasional feedback.

3 must-have Bernina presser feet and how I use them

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Recently, while I was working on a new dress, I noticed just how many different presser feet I use over the course of one project.

It wasn’t always like this. Though machines I’ve had in the past came with a multitude of different feet, it realy wasn’t until I adopted my current Bernina that I realized just how vital they are to professional-looking sewing.

Sure, I’d use a zipper foot when I needed to, but mostly I stuck with the standard straight stitch foot for 90% of my sewing. Rarely would I switch more than once over the course of a single project.

All that changed when I got my Bernina. Partly, it’s because Bernina offers such a huge variety of presser feet and attachments that learning how and when to use them became a lot more fun.

But mostly it’s the quality of the parts. With other feet I’d used before, I just didn’t see a huge difference between using the speial foot and relying on my own hand-eye coordination. With my feet now, I know there’s a faster, easier, and more reliable way to do it.

So, today I’m going to tell you about my 3 favorite feet, how I use them, and how I store them. I’ll also include some links to great articles on Bernina’s blog, WeAllSew.com, where their experts go into even more detail.

1. The edgestitch foot (#10)

edgestitch-foot

Other than the #1 foot, this is the foot that gets the most use in my sewing room.

Though it’s called the edgestitch foot, it has tons of uses beyond edgestitching. I use it for edgestitching, topstitching, stitching in the ditch, joining with a zigzag and more.

edgestitch-hem

My favorite way to use it is to get even hems. After folding and pressing a hem in place, I always use the edgestitch foot to stitch the hem down from the wrong side. The vertical plate goes right up against the fold and keeps my hem tidy and even, without excess stitcking up.

Over at WeAllSew, this article explains 10 different uses for the #10 edgestitch foot.

2. The invisible zipper foot (#35)

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This is the first foot I bought for my Bernina (since it came with most of the basic ones).

I sew a ton of invisible zippers because I make a lot of dresses. This is hands-down the best invisible zipper foot I’ve used.

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Here’s what it looks like from the front. The foot has two diagonal channels that hold the teeth of the zipper perfectly in place while you sew.

I also like that you don’t need to adjust the needle position at all in order to sew the zipper in. That way, you don’t have to worry about stitching too close to the edge (so the zipper won’t close) or too far from the edge (leaving the zipper tape exposed).

finished-invisible-zipper

It works perfectly every time.

Bernina has a video tutorial on using this foot over on WeAllSew as well.

By the way, if you own a Bernina and don’t have this foot, it’s currently 25% off at participating dealers this month!

3. The blindstitch foot (#5)

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Last, I simply adore the blindstitch foot.

I love sewing blind hems. In fact, it’s become my go-to hem for most of my garments lately. The reasons I love it are:

  1. It gives a really professional invisible finish. It elevates the look of quality to the garment.
  2. It is a great was to sew a deep hem, so that you can lengthen or shorten the garment later on.

I’ve used other blindstitch feet before, but nothing comes close to the results I get with the #5 foot, quite honestly.

finished-blind-hem

In the past, I’d always dealt with a bit of uneveness in blindstitching, so that the zigzag stitches don’t quite bite into the fold of fabric. This would mean that the hem wouldn’t be completely secured, and I’d have to go back and tediously restitch some parts of the hem.

I rarely have that problem now. This foot works flawlessly almost every time, so these hems are a joy to sew.

Here’s a tutorial and video from Bernina on sewing the blind hem, over at WeAllSew again.

Those are my top 3 favorites, but of course it depends on the type of sewing you’re doing. You can learn way more about Bernina feet and see a bunch of video tutorials over on their blog.

Which feet are your must-haves when you sew?

Pattern Hack: How to turn Moneta into a vintage-style cropped sweater

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Remember this cute little cropped sweater?

For our photo shoot, we needed a top to pair with the Mabel skirt. As a knitter, I love the way short sweaters with a deep waistband look. It’s a style that was very popular for knitwear from the 1930s all the way through the 1950s, and is incredibly flattering on a range of body types.

Kristen and I had the idea of combining some techniques from The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits (namely, the banded hem and ribbed cuffs) with the Moneta dress to make a light sweater top.

The result was just lovely. It’s just like those cute little vintage sweaters I love to knit, except I can make it in an hour or two!

moneta-sweater-finished

Use a sweater knit for the main body of the sweater and a tight, stretchy rib for the cuffs and waistband. Make sure the rib has good stretch and recovery.

Look at the cuffs and bands on sweaters and sweatshirts you already have to get an idea of what to look for. Your fabric store might have ribbed fabric made exclusively for this purpose, so if you’re not sure, ask them.

You can also use any of the free collar variations that come with Moneta. Because the sweater knit we chose has a ribbed pattern, we went with a simple rolled collar so that the stripes of the rib would look more natural. I’ll go over how to do that here, but if you aren’t using a fabric with a pronounced ribbed texture, just use one of the collar patterns.

You’ll Need:

  • Sweater knit fabric for the main body
  • Tight rib knit for the cuff and waistband
  • Matching thread
  • Clear 1/4″ elastic

Continue reading to learn how to make the sweater

Weekend Reading: The medium chill, moodboards, and American textiles

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Look at what kind and generous reader Kelly sent us to celebrate our anniversary! It’s a set of the Time Life Art of Sewing books! I’ve been having so much fun flipping through them this week and admiring the beautiful covers.

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Kenn and I are headed to Austin for a quick weekend getaway today. Here are some links I think you might enjoy this weekend:

  • Designer Wendy Mullin has a new line called Soft Rock and I love it. Totally my colors from my Wardrobe Architect capsule wardrobe this season too.
  • How to make a moodboard. Though this is geared toward designers, this could be helpful for those of you creating moodboards and palettes for sewing. She even has a recommendation for a color picking app, which some of you have asked about before.
  • Gorgeous photos show the beauty inside America’s textile industry. Stunning images!
  • I’m fascinated by people’s attitudes towards money. This article from a former Wall Street hotshot explores what it’s like to be consumed by greed.
  • What does it mean to be “pinterest perfect“?
  • 10 simple words every girl should know: “Men interrupt women, speak over them, and discount their contributions to a discussion with surprising regularity. Here’s how women should respond.” I’ve found that most men are well intentioned and have no clue that they do this, or that it’s a larger pattern of behavior.
  • Want to be more creative? Take a walk. I’m a big believer in using your body to help you think better.
  • This is the best thing I’ve read all week: The Medium Chill. The author explores the disconnect between what consumer culture tells us about happiness (buy! acquire! work!) and what social psychology tells us actually makes for lasting happiness. And I love the conclusion, that the solution is helping people be more genuinely happy, not guilting them out of materialism.

[images above via our instagram feed. Follow me there!]

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