Giveaway Winner + Photo Round-up

Scrolling through the Seamwork Giveaway submissions has been a bright moment of my day since we announced the giveaway here.

When designing Seamwork Patterns we try our best to design garments that can be used as a blank canvas. Peices for sewists to modify and customize to suit their signature style and build their personal wardrobe. Seeing all of these gorgeous makes in action is such an inspiring sight.

This round-up is just a small sampling of the many stunning submissions to the Seamwork Giveaway.

clockwise: @fijianadventure in a Sydney topper, @ositlinguista made a Florence Bra, @breakdownhat in a Savannah camisole, @besabelle in a Adelaide dress

@stephaniepantello in an Osaka skirt, @teridodds1 in an Oslo cardigan, @maxantonia made an Aberdeen tunic, @saramixter in a Bristol skirt

@rach_wain, @rozgreger, @megret79, @sewingsober

Astoria is definitely the current crowd favorite. Paired with jeans it is a sweet and casual look, or worn with a skirt for a more vintage aesthetic. Astoria is a chameleon piece!

I love the classic appeal of this sweater sewn up in a solid, but the color-blocked versions have stolen my heart, and have jumped to the top of my sewing queue.

And now to announce the winner of the giveaway…


The winner is Rose of @rosejhampton!!!

Rose’s Madrid tote is made from Cotton+Steel Canvas, handmade canvas handles, and faux leather.


Just comment below to redeem your 6 month subscription to Seamwork. Congratulations!
And thank you to everyone who participated!

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Aster: A Simplified Classic + 15% off through Friday


Meet Aster, a simplified classic with endless opportunity for variation.

Who doesn’t love the simple appeal of a button up? They are a classic for a reason, they easily transition from season to season, and they are a multi-purpose wardrobe staple. A good button-up shirt can take you from work to play.

Aster is a modern and simplified version of this iconic garment. The button-up style instantly lends a put-together quality to the blouse, while the v-neckline is universally flattering, and eliminates the fuss of a collar. Bust darts offer soft shaping, giving Aster its flattering body skimming fit.


This highly customizable pattern is perfect for an advanced beginner or an experienced sewist looking refine their skill set. With its semi-fitted shape, 3 mix-and-match versions, and a wide variety of fabric options, Aster can be made to wear during any season.


Version 1 has a short cuffed sleeve for a casual look you will want to wear all the time. Shown here in a raw silk (purchased locally)


Version 2 has skill building details like a pleated bodice, and a full length sleeve with a cuff and placket. Shown here in Robert Kaufman Dot Chambray in Indigo, purchased from Hawthorne Threads.


Version 3 features a delicate flutter sleeve that offers the blouse soft feminine ease. Shown in Cotton + Steel Gemstone Rayon, purchased from Hawthorne Threads.


Learn these 6 skills

When designing a new sewing pattern, we strive to create something that is versatile, beautiful, and highly teachable. In sewing Aster you can learn and perfect several details through the easy step by step instructions.


  • Learn to sew a clean finish yoke
  • Sew a sleeve placket with version 2.
  • Finish a neckline with single-fold bias tape
  • Learn to ease a sleeve into an armscye
  • Sew a cuff
  • Master a fold-under placket


Make your Aster one of a kind

Aster is highly customizable. Why don’t you try:

  • Mixing and matching between the 2 bodice options and 3 sleeves.
  • Use vintage or one of a kind buttons.
  • Use self-made bias tape.
  • Use a contrast yoke lining.
  • Add contrasting top stitching.

Style Aster for every season

Aster can be made from a wide variety of fabric. This classic top can be worn year round- in the summer try version 3 out of a breezy rayon challis, and during cooler months, try version 2 in a cozy cotton flannel.

Versions 1 & 2

  • Cotton poplin
  • Cotton Lawn
  • Chambray
  • Swiss Dot
  • Cotton or wool shirtings
  • Cotton flannel

Version 3

  • Cotton lawn
  • Cotton voile
  • Rayon or silk challis
  • Chiffon
  • Georgette

Through Friday (midnight PST) Aster is 15% off. Buy your copy today and and begin sewing this skill building, updated-classic. Stay tuned for the Aster sewalong coming soon!


Aster also can be found at these retailers:

Indie Stitches (AU)
SewSquirrel (AU)
Stitch 56 (AU)
Can Do Books (AU)

FabricsEtc (CA)
Needlework (CA)
Patch Halifax (CA)
Couture et compagnie (CA)
Gala Fabrics (CA)

Zugeknoepft (DE)
Santa Lucia Patterns (DE)
Urban Cut (DE)

So Couture (FR)
Cousette (FR)
Fifi Jolipois (FR)

Fabrics and Fancies (GB)
Guthrie & Ghani (GB)
Sewbox (GB)
Fabric Godmother (GB)
M is For Make (GB)
The Stitchery (GB)
The Sewing Parlour (GB)
Sew Contemporary (GB)
Halfpenny Home Haberdashery (GB)
Trixie Lixie (GB)
The Makery (GB)
Backstitch (GB)

Sew Natural (NL)
Naaipatronen (NL)

Bitu (SE)

DownTown Knits (US)
Brooklyn General Store (US)
Bernina of Oklahoma City (US)
Bolt (US)
Quilt Beginnings, Inc. – (US)
Picking Daisies (US)
Hawthorne Threads (US)
Pintuck & Purl (US)
Fabric Mart (US)
Silk Road Textiles – http://www.silkroadcincinnati.com (US)
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics (US)
District Fabric (US)
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply (US)
Sew Biased Fabrics (US)
Birch Fabrics / Fabricworm (US)
Jones & Vandermeer (US)
Stitchology (US)
Hart’s Fabric (US)
Quilters Haven (US)
Britex Fabrics (US)
Fancy Tiger (US)
Treadle Yard Goods (US)
Mulberry Silks (US)
The Whole Nine Yarns (US)
Pattern Review (US)
Handcraft Workshop (US)
Nutmeg (US)
Sewn Mill Valley (US)
StitchCraft (US)
Rock Paper Scissors (US)
The Cloth Pocket (US)
Spool Of Thread (US)
The Needle Shop (US)
Modern Domestic (US)


How to make an easy elastic waist Mabel


I have a sewing confession. Sometimes I am a lazy sewist.

I love that sewing is an activity that forces me to slow down and immerse myself in the process. It is meditative and relaxing. On the other hand, sometimes you just want to make something, not to revel in the process, but to have something new, practical, and quick! Mabel is a pretty speedy sew to begin with, but through my sewing-laziness I have found a way to cut about a half hour off that process. Which is a victory in my book.

Mabel, meet 2 inch elastic.

I wish I could say that this genius idea was mine, but Meg is the pioneer of this brilliant hack. One Friday while discussing weekend sewing projects, the lovely Meg mentioned that she likes to make her Mabel with an elastic band. Naturally I had to sew one up immediately!

This Mabel mini-hack also has an added benefit of lending your Mabel skirt a control-top-like quality. Making everything lay just a little smoother. Who doesn’t love that?

What you’ll need:

  • Mabel pattern, traced if desired
  • Recommended yardage
  • 1 1/2 to 2″ elastic in a color of your choice, enough to wrap around your waist
  • Pattern paper
  • Tape


Begin by cutting out the pattern pieces for desired view. I chose to make Version 1.


Mabel is intended to be worn a few inches below the natural waist. With the addition of the elastic band, I knew I would want to wear this version higher at my natural waistline. Taking this into consideration I chose to lengthen by 4″.


Cut fabric. Remember that you don’t need to cut out the waistband. Assemble skirt pieces.


Next, wrap elastic around your middle to determine length. Make sure you are measuring this at the exact location on your waist where you would like the waistband to hit. The elastic should fit snugly, but not too tight. Mark this point, then add an additional 1/2″. Cut elastic to marked length.


Pin elastic so that the two short ends overlap by 1/2″


Join Elastic with two parallel rows of zigzag stitching. To reinforce the zigzag stitches, sew down the length of the cut elastic edge, backstitch back to starting point, then stitch forward again to secure. This creates an extra sturdy finish.


Pin elastic around waist of skirt, evenly distributing elastic as you pin.


Use a serger, or stretch stitch on your home sewing machine to attach elastic to the skirt.


Hem to finish and enjoy!


Are you really a beginner?


The first time I decided to survey readers and customers several years ago, I got a bit of a shock.

I realized, I really had no idea anymore what "beginner" truly meant.

I knew what it meant to me. But it clearly meant something different to my readers and customers.

The many meanings of "beginner"

When I asked people what they considered their skill level to be, I heard from:

  • True beginners who were just getting into garment sewing for the first time.
  • Women who had been sewing for 5-10 years and still thought of themselves as "beginners."
  • Women who had been sewing for 10+ years who thought they were "advanced beginners."

I’m using "beginner" as an example, but this held true for other skill levels too. In fact, the only people who called themselves "advanced" were women who had been sewing for at least 40 years. Wow!

At first, I thought this was due to a lack of confidence. I mean, if you’ve been pursuing a hobby for 30 years, and don’t claim the "advanced" label, what else could it be?

Over time, as I talked to more and more sewists, I realized that confidence itself was not the issue. These sewists were plenty confident in the skills they’d acquired.

But what I realized is this: sewing is not a single skill. It’s actually a collection of highly diverse (but related) skills.

There’s the manual dexterity of actual stitching. There’s knowing which technique to use when. There’s fitting. There’s fabric understanding. There are specialties like tailoring, knitwear, or bra-making.

With all these skills under one umbrella, it’s easy to recognize how much you don’t know. Who wants to call themselves "advanced" when there is so much they haven’t even had a chance to try yet? Or techniques they just don’t have any interest in?

All of this has made labeling patterns with a simple skill level rating sort of difficult. I know other pattern makers have thought a lot about this too. It’s tricky.


What is a "beginner" pattern?

With our upcoming pattern (next week!), we hemmed and hawed a bit. Are the categories we’ve been using – beginner, intermediate, advanced – actually meaningful? Do they mean the same thing to most people?

What made it doubly frustrating is that the pattern has multiple versions, some of which have details that are more challenging than others. Some versions are pretty quick and easy, while another version has some cool details that take a bit more time and skill.

In the end, we decided to round it up rather than risk frustrating a beginner. But I still feel our categories aren’t really adequate.

Here are some alternatives we’re considering for future patterns:

  • Points on a scale: To get a more nuanced rating, we could rate the difficulty on a five point scale. We could use numbers, pictures, or even abstract terms ala Knitty.
  • Difficulty instead of skill: As our friend Christine pointed out a few years ago on her blog, in some ways focusing on the pattern rather than the skills of the person makes more sense.
  • Skills used: Knitting patterns often do not list difficulty, but instead include a list of "skills needed" or "skills used" in every pattern. With her background in knitting, Kris suggested this and I do really like the idea. It’s much more specific and also has the advantage of letting you know up front what you might learn!

Your thoughts?

Do any of these ideas make sense to you?

Do you think there is a consistent concept of what various skill levels mean? Or does it vary as wildly as I think it does?

Would a skills list be more helpful than generic ratings? Or would it just make it more complicated to find the pattern that’s right for you?


New pattern coming soon!


Over the past few months we have been hard at work on a new pattern. We are happy to announce the wait is almost over! We will be launching our Summer pattern Tuesday May 19th at 10 am PST. This sweet summertime staple will be the perfect addition to your closet, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, here is a sneak peek.

Can you guess what it is?