Weekend Reading: Custom jeans, vintage sewing films, and weekend listening


We’ve quickly slipped from a lovely mid-Autumn into the depths of winter this week. I’m looking forward to curling up under a blanket all weekend before our trip next week to somewhere even colder – Denver!

I’m adding a new section to my weekend reading posts for things I’ve listened to and recommend. Given that sewing is something many of us do with headphones on, I thought perhaps some of you podcastophiles out there might enjoy some of these selections.

Weekend Reading:

Weekend Listening:

For more links every week, you can follow me on Twitter, where I’m always posting interesting tidbits I find.

image above via colettepatterns on instagram

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How to sew a couched edge finish


The other day, I was perusing the Bernina blog and came across a tutorial for an edge finish technique I’d never tried before – a couched edge using cord.

Susan over at We All Sew demonstrates this technique for craft and decorative projects such as book covers and wall hangings, but I wondered how it would look on a garment. It seemed like a fast and interesting alternative to piping, and one you could apply even after a garment is finished.

Basically, to do this, a purchased cord is sewn directly to the edge of a garment using a zigzag stitch.



For this technique, you use the #12 Bulky Overlock foot. I highly recommend this foot, not just for couching like this, but also for installing piping. It’s perfect, much nicer than a piping foot in my experience.

You’ll also need some cord. Bernina recommends 4-6mm cord.


The cord is sewn to the edge using a zigzag stitch. It can be attached to a finished edge (like this), or sewn on top of a raw edge, though that would be easiest with non-fraying fabrics.


I backstitched over the end of the cord to keep it from unraveling as I began stitching.

Ideally, you’d add the cording to an edge before sewing the seams, so that the edge of the cord is caught in the seam. But that won’t always work, in which case it can be sewn in the round, tucking the edges underneath at the start/end point.


I think this technique would look really cool on a nautical-inspired garment. You could even use additional cording to create some surface details, by sewing it on top of the garment in rows or patterns.

You can read the full instructions on this edge finish over at We All Sew >

This post presented in partnership with Bernina, one of our sponsors this month. You can find more handy tutorials using incredible Bernina equipment at their blog, We All Sew, where I found this technique.


What trips you up every single time?


I have a sewing achilles heel. What about you?

I don’t know why, but the same blind spot pops up over and over. It seems to be some sort of mental block that I just can’t overcome: I keep cutting things upside down.

See, I’m a fast cutter. It’s never been my favorite part of the sewing process, so I tend to whiz through it pretty fast. I’ll put on my headphones, get out the old rotary, and glide right through. I never pay attention to cutting layouts, since they’re usually imperfect.

It’s only after I cut that I seem to remember that some fabrics have directionality.

(In other words, some prints can’t be cut upside down or they look, well… upside down.)

The worst example I recall was this Negroni I made for Kenn in this wonderful (and expensive) Liberty print. I was taking so much care to match up the print exactly right along the front, and even on the pockets. I mean, look at those pockets:


The moment I finished cutting, I realized that I had cut the back yoke upside down. Even when I’m paying attention I cut upside down.

Luckily, I had enough fabric to fix my mistake, but it definitely wasn’t the last time I did it. Thankfully, I’ve always managed to fix my mistakes somehow.

Who knows? Maybe writing about it like this will finally get it through my skull to check for direction before I cut.

Do you have any issues that constantly trip you up when you sew? What’s your achilles heel and how do you fight it?


Free class: Bag Making Basics with Kristin Link on Craftsy


I’ve often heard the advice that when you’re shopping for clothes, you should evaluate purchases in terms of cost-per-wear.

I try to take the same approach with sewing. Instead of thinking about the monetary cost, I think about the time I’ll spend. That’s what makes challenging projects like tailored coats worthwhile in the end, but it also makes quick projects exciting.

If you think about it that way, few things you can sew rank as high on the time-cost-per-wear scale as a bag. Not only are they fairly quick to sew up, but it’s something you can actually use every single day. Plus, no fitting!


If you want to learn some of the basics of bag making, Craftsy is offering this free class taught by the lovely Kristin Link. You might know Kristin from Sew, Mama, Sew, one of the handiest sewing blogs around and a total inspiration when I started my own blog. She’s an amazing lady we’ve known for years.

The class covers two different projects. The first is a reversible tote, and the second a zippered pouch. These are really nice weekend projects, or a great introduction to sewing if you’re a newbie.


Kristin is a fantastic teacher with a clear and straightforward style. You’ll be guided through every step of the process with clear video lessons, from cutting your fabric to mastering those tricky corners and closures. Personally, I find that video really helps you to visualize some of these techniques.




This is really great intro to bag making, and will teach you many of the skills you need to make any bag in the future.

Enroll for free in Bag Making Basics >

{This free class is brought to you by Craftsy, one of our partners this month. Thanks Craftsy!}


Call for submissions!


Thanks everyone for your amazing support (and feedback, thoughts, and questions) on our new venture announced yesterday.

I know some folks were asking about the price, and I’ll be announcing those kinds of details closer to the actual launch on December 1. Again, hop on the preview list if you want more details and behind the scenes as things progress. I’m going to send out a personal letter with behind the scenes stuff each Friday until the launch.

But today, I wanted to ask you to contribute – by writing for Seamwork!

Call for Submissions: Spring 2015

We’re looking for techniques, how-tos, embellishments, fabric guides, and short essays. See our full submission guidelines for exact specifications.

Right now, we’re looking for articles for the spring. The deadline for this submission round is December 31. Themes include embellishments, color, florals, and other spring prints and textiles. Suggested topics (this is by no means an exhaustive list, so get creative):

  • Embellishment tutorials. Anything that can be used to pretty up a garment, from applique to trims to bias tape and more.
  • In-depth guides to any type of spring fabric (linen? rayon?)
  • Guide to floral prints, history of florals, or a profile of a floral textile designer (contemporary or past). All things floral!
  • How to turn sketches, paintings, or photos of flowers into textile designs.
  • Guides to color, choosing colors, finding a palette.
  • Guides to dyeing fabric, natural dyes, or how-tos on dyeing specific kinds of fabric such as linen, cotton, or silk.
  • Short personal essays on color in clothing or sewing.
  • Other short thoughtful essays on sewing.

How to submit

If any of these topics (or just something related to these topics) gets your creative juices going, here’s what to do:

  1. Write up your article, following the guidelines for one of the three main types of artciles we’re looking for (guides, how-tos, or essays).
  2. Submit your article here.
  3. If we can use it for our current themes, we’ll let you know what to do from there and the exact compensation we can offer. If not, we’ll let you know that too (so you can still use it elsewhere). You will hear from us.

Photos to accompany your article are helpful, but not required.

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