Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog

8.18.2017

Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest

Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I'll admit it; I'm ready for fall, cooler weather, and layers. I usually don't get the itch until September, but it's been extra hot and busy. I've just been craving my favorite season: Autumn. I love the crisp air, holidays, layers, pants, boots, etc. Even though I still have summer makes I want to do, I put this vest at the top of the list. Actually, I thought this would be a really great summer vest, but I'm in no mood for extra layers so it's more of a late summer vest. I hope to wear it through the Fall, Winter, and Spring. (I am wearing a fall outfit for this photoshoot, but I was sweating like crazy!)
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
You had already seen this pink tencel fabric before. I got it from APC fabrics for my Flint pants. I ordered the 3 yards as suggested, but I always conserve fabric when I cut something out because that's how I roll. I didn't have a big chunk of fabric to work with, but I had about two yards of pieces and remnants that I carefully puzzled out this vest. I didn't just lay out the fabric and cut everything out. I cut and moved, and cut and moved, and cut and moved lots of times, but it was totally worth it! This fabric has beautiful drape and a really soft hand. It's is the perfect color for my wardrobe; I wear a lot of blues so this pink pairs very nicely. I have loved working with this fabric, and I'm really sad that it's gone. I'm so proud that I got two full garments out of three yards of fabric!
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I used the Kelly Anorak for this vest. I had already used it before so it was cut out and ready. I thought about buying a new pattern just for the vest, but I prefer to use what I have if I can. I knew the bodice and collar of the pattern was perfect, I would just need to alter the armholes to get a vest look. I used the collar instead of hood this time too.
My pattern alterations from the first time I used this were to add an 1" at the waist and an 1" above the bust.
My additional pattern alterations were to omit the zipper, I didn't want to buy or try to find a matching zipper. I also wanted the front to drape nicely and I think a would've stiffened the placket. I left all the front pieces so it looks a little like it's missing something, but I didn't want to try to figure out how to omit a zipper and combine the flap and facing and have it overlap.
When I sewed up the placket one turned out shorter. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but luckily it was the first placket. I made all the facings and plackets the same length, but it's probably 1" shorter than the pattern is drafted. I like the slightly shorter length for a vest though and was planning on doing it anyway.
I made a fabric drawstring so it matches, and so I didn't have to buy a matching drawstring. I did buy pearl snaps* which give the perfect touch of dressy and casual. I love how they pair with the vest.
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I sewed up the entire vest and finished everything before deciding on the armholes. I was able to see everything to determine where I wanted the line. I decided to leave the bottom of the armhole the same but taper in and take 5/8" off the rest of the armhole. Then I sewed on bias binding, one that folds inside with stitching on the outside, to finish the amholes. I sewed the binding at 1/2" seam allowance which took a the amrhole in a little bit more.
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I really love the guts of the vest. There's no serging or exposed seams. It's really pretty. This was really important to me since a vest flaps open and you always see the inside of a vest. I added my little tag, Feathers Flights Handmade, into the collar. I got them from Dutch Label Shop. I also had to piece the collar facing together since I didn't have a large enough piece of fabric. 
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I used a mix of the tencel and some basic lightweight woven cotton for the interfacing. I had to be really strategic with my fabric to piece out some interfacing. I really wanted to use the tencel as interfacing because I didn't want to lose the pretty drape of the fabric.
Me Made: Pink Tencel Kelly Anorak Vest
I really love this vest, eaking out a vest out of fabric remnants, and using the Kelly Anorak wasn't as mind-consuming as the first time. The pattern is really good with really good instructions, but it's just a consuming project. You can't go on autopilot while sewing the seams because you have to focus on every step. It's a very rewarding and satisfying sew though because you feel so accomplished when your finished! I was really happy with this pattern purchase, and I can see myself using it again and again! The utility jacket is very much my style.

8.15.2017

26 Ways to Save Money While Sewing

26 Ways to Save Money While Sewing
Saving Money on Fabric, Notions, Tools, and Machines
1. Tell your friends and family you are learning to sew or that you love sewing. People will give you stuff. I've had family members, friends, and even friends of friends give me bags of fabric. If it didn't fit in my color scheme, I use it for muslining or for my children.
2. Sew your stash. Have you ever bought a certain fabric at the store and realized you had something very similar in your stash? I have. This year I've tried really, really hard to sew with what I have, and I've done a pretty decent job. I still have a big stash, but I've made a good dent in it. And sewing my stash has made me realize what fabrics I want to reach for, so I can make better fabric buying choices.
3. Don't buy something only because it's on sale. You get a high from buying fabric or a pattern because it feels like you bought an item of clothing. But how often have you bought a pattern and you never used it? How often were you a sucker for a fabric sale and realized the fabric wasn't your style?
4. Watch for other sewists to sell their stashes. They often do it on instagram and you can get name brand or high quality fabric for a great discount even if you have to pay a little shipping.
5. Search for nearby manufacturers or warehouses and ask if they'll sell you remnants. I get 75% of my knits from a manufacturer that has remnants they need to get rid of. I get really high quality knits for really cheap. It's a bit of a drive, but I get a lot of fabric for inexpensive. It's always worth the drive.
6. Thrift - you can thrift fabric, sheets, drapes, tablecloths, etc to use as fabric. If the print is nice enough than you can make something out of it. If the print is not nice you can still use the fabric for muslins.
7. Alter and fit thrifted clothing or hand-me-downs. I have never made jeans for myself because I can alter RTW to fit me well, and I can thrift jeans for cheap. I'm just willing to do a little bit of work to get what I want. Here are some alteration tutorials: lengthen pants, pinch hem jeans, fitting jeans, take in a shirt, and using a pattern on RTW. You can also buy this tailoring ready-to-wear* online class.
8. Refashion for yourself and upcycle for your kids. Refashioning and upcycling means changing the style and/or of the piece. This can be dyeing, bleaching, embroidery, cutting, hemming, rearranging, adding, etc. Refashioning is a cheap way to figure out your style, colors, and which fabrics you like to work with. Here are some refashion tutorials: dress into skirt, tunic to shirt with bell sleeves, pajama pants to shirt, bell sleeve refashion videosweater into cardigan, tee and button down shirt tutorial, button down shirt with trim, two button downs into a dress, and lace sweater cuffs. I also have a giant list of kids upcycle tutorials!
9. Buy purses, backbacks, and bags used and reuse the bag hardware and zippers.
26 Ways to Save Money While Sewing
10. Be willing to mend. Instead of buying and making a bunch of new clothing, can you fix a seam or mend a hole? Can you cover a stain, bleach or dye the whole item? How to mend a hole, argyle pocket mend, zigzag mend, and mending without sewing.
11. Use fabric as interfacing. This might seem counterintuitive but hear me out. I always forget to buy interfacing and rarely have the right kind in my stash. I always have scraps of fabric from the item I just cut out. The scraps are never enough to make something else, so they are kind of wasted. Now I use woven fabric scraps as interfacing, and it's been awesome. Technically I'm spending more on interfacing since I'm using fabric, but I'm using scraps that I otherwise would not be using. And it's not something I have to remember to buy or go back to the store to get. I think it makes my items better because everything is interfaced with the correct weight and drape since it's the same fabric. I do have to sew in the interfacing instead of ironing it, so it takes more time but my garments look amazing.
12. Keep all your scraps and use them. Use them as lining, pockets, facings, interfacing, etc. I keep all scraps that are about 10 inches or larger and I often have a place to use them. Here are some ideas for using knit scraps.
13. Buy high quality for the tools you use a lot. For things you use often like pins and scissors it's worth it to get good quality. I actually don't have a lot of the standard items found in a sewing room because I'd rather spend my money on fabric. But I do have a few basic high quality items that were worth the investment. When buying something expensive use camelcamelcamel.com for comparison, and be willing to buy machines used.
14. Learn how to use fabric the right way (drapey pattern with drapey fabric, stretch pattern with stretch fabric, etc), learn how to plan a wardrobe, and learn how to fit your own body. I lump these together because these all come with sewing a lot and can make a big difference in wearing what you make. You can either make a lot of mistakes to learn or you can take my three favorite online classes: Fabric Know-How*, Plan Your Wardrobe*, and Solo Fitting*.
15. Muslin. Muslin. Muslin. Once you know what you know your style and you plan your wardrobe, you will be able to muslin the patterns you want to fit. Then you won't waste good, expensive fabric if it doesn't fit right. Your muslin should be of similar drape and weight as your final piece. Use thrifted sheets or apparel fabric on sale.
16. Make good quality basics. Once you've fitted a pattern perfectly with your muslin, you can make good quality, correctly fitted basics. These are your wardrobe workhorses that will go with everything and be the base of your wardrobe. These should carry you through every season.
17. Buy quality. If you know your style, fabrics, plans, and fitting issues, buy good quality (usually expensive) fabric that will last a long time. This might seem counter intuitive, but you'll save money
18. Buy in bulk. If you know you're going to make a bunch of kids clothes, then buy 1" elastic in bulk. If you know you're going to make a lot of knits, then buy a bunch of serger thread in bulk. It'll save you money in the long run! My favorite things to buy are 1" elastic* and jersey needles*.
26 Ways to Save Money While Sewing
Saving Money on Patterns
19. This is kind of controversial, but don't buy pdf patterns on sale. You feel the pressure of buying something, but you don't know if you'll make it or wear it. Are you buying it because it's on sale or because you'll actually use it? Do you want the high of the purchase or feeling like you bought a item of clothing for $7 (that you're actually not buying clothing)? Unless you've planned out your patterns and wardrobe, and you've been waiting for a specific designer to have a sale, don't buy only because there's a sale. You can save money buy buying 3 pdf patterns full price every year ($30), instead of buying 20 pdf patterns on sale every year ($140).
20. Do buy paper patterns on sale. The big 4 paper patterns are not worth it full price so only buy them when you can get them for $1 each.
21. Use free patterns. There are loads of free patterns. Almost every single designer has one or more free patterns. By using their free pattern you can see if a designer has good drafting, designs for a body similar to yours, and has good instructions that you understand. This is the best way to "try out" a designer before spending any money.
22. There are also books full of patterns. You can buy the book to be able to keep all the patterns, or borrow the book from the library and trace the patterns. This is a great way to get lots of patterns for a small price. My favorite pattern books are Kwik Sew for Swim and Action Air*, Kwik Sew for Baby*, and Kwik Sew for Toddlers*.
23. Learn how to alter patterns and combine patterns. You can hack a pattern into a lot of basic styles without having to buy another pattern.
24. Use cheap tracing paper. Trace your tissue paper patterns or trace your printed and taped pdf patterns. Store you patterns so you can use them again and mark and alter your traced pattern. My favorite tracing paper is medical exam paper. You can get a giant roll* for cheap!
25. Plan your wardrobe silhouettes before buying any patterns. If you like all loosely fitted tops and fitted bottoms then you know the patterns that will fit into that silhouette. If you don't know what you like, use the Wardrobe Architect to figure out your style.
26 Ways to Save Money While Sewing
"Making" Money While Sewing (without having a blog or business)
26. Use ebates when buying fabric, patterns, and supplies online to get some money back. There's nothing special about ebates. You don't have to open a new credit card, and there's no catch. Sign up for ebates here*.

How do you save money when you sew?

8.08.2017

Me Made: Doily Dress

Me Made: Doily Dress
I'll be completely honest; this is not a new make. I finished this dress five years ago for one of my wedding anniversaries. I wear this dress anytime I have a cocktail event which isn't very often. I've probably worn it once a year since I made it. Recently I added a lace trim to the waist and lowered the front neckline an inch, and I retook pictures since my photography has improved a lot since then.
Me Made: Doily Dress
My favorite part of this dress is the open scoop neckline in the back. I've always been a fan of beautiful and interesting back necklines. I had a perfect lace piece made for a neckline that I applied on the back. The zipper runs through it, but I think it is just stunning.
Me Made: Doily Dress
I used the pattern Butterick 5605. I skipped the belt and the bow and altered the back neckline slightly. I think I made a size 12 and added length to the bodice. The reason I chose this pattern is that I loved the silhouette, and I thought applying all those lace doilies would be easier on dolman style sleeves.I also loved the side seam pockets. The bodice is fully lined so I applied the doilies before lining the bodice, but the skirt is not lined so the doilies are sewn right on. There's lace trim at the neckline and at the hem. Now after having three kids I don't fill out the bust like I used to, but there's no way I can go in and fix it.
Me Made: Doily Dress
I used doilies and lace that I was gifted. My grandmother had collected a bunch of lace and doilies over the years, and when she passed away my mom gave it to me. It makes this dress extra special since it always reminds me of my grandmother. She was very proper and always poised.
Me Made: Doily Dress
The base fabric is a fabric I got at a yardsale. I got over three yards of fabric for $3. It's a basic weave, and I think it's a cotton. It's a very interesting color, somewhere between lavender and blush. I couldn't find the same weight of fabric (since I don't know what this fabric is), but this is a similar color in a lightweight woven cotton fabric: pudding*, petunia*, carnation*.  I also found three different packs of doilies, 4 pack*, 6 pack*, 4 pack*, you can buy to make your own doily dress.
Me Made: Doily Dress

8.04.2017

How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel

How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
I've realized that I really only enjoy sewing clothing. Especially for myself. I've focused mostly on sewing clothes for myself for the past year, and I'm a much happier person and enjoy sewing a lot more. But every once in awhile I like to sew something quick, easy, and satisfying. I made an easy fabric tassel to decorate a zipper and so I could keep enjoying one of my favorite fabrics. I only had a scrap left, but I was able to make a tassel from it. 
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
SUPPLIES
Woven fabric scrap - lightweight is better so that the print goes through the fabric, but not as lightweight as a chiffon - I used rayon challis*
Sewing supplies*
Matching yarn*
Hot glue gun*

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut a scrap piece on the bias 7.5" x 4". Cut the fabric in strips but stop cutting 1/2" from the top so it stays connected. When you cut it on the bias the fabric will not fray even though the edges are not finished. The edges will get a slight feathered look.
2. Cut another piece on the bias 3/4" x 8".
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
3. Fold the thin piece of fabric in half with right sides out. Sew the ends to one corner of the large piece.
4. Starting on the side where the loop is sewn, roll the fabric into a cylinder with right sides out.
5. Tack the tassel at the base of the loop so that it does not unroll.
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
6. Get your yarn. Hot glue one end right over the stitching. Glue and wrap the yarn until the top of the tassel is covered.
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
7. Add a knot in the loop at the top of the yarn if desired.
8. Loop and pull through a zipper pull. Enjoy your beautiful and easy tassel, and your favorite fabric!
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel
In my Feathers Flights shop I just listed some cute cosmetic bags and tote bags with fun sewing sayings. There are some really fun sayings and designs. I don't like sewing anything but clothing, remember, but I still like cute bags and showing off that I love sewing! Since these are new designs I'm offering 15% off with the code "happyday" until tomorrow. I won't do a sale this big for awhile so grab what you want while the code is good! If you don't want to purchase anything, I'd appreciate a favorite so I know which one is your favorite!
How to Make an Easy Fabric Tassel

8.01.2017

Why you Need Pennies in your Sewing Room

I love sewing with lightweight fabric like rayon, tencel, or silk, but I usually make something that's really drapey. Whenever I sew something drapey and lightweight I worry about wind flipping up the hem especially when it comes to skirts and voluminous blouses. I remember hearing a trick to keep the hem down from my boss when I worked at a tailor shop, and it all has to do with pennies (or small coins from your countries currency.)
Why you Need Pennies in your Sewing Room
SUPPLIES
Sewing supplies
Two small coins or pennies
Fabric scraps

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut two scraps of fabric that is the same width of your coin but twice as tall with a little bit of seam allowance.
2. Finish the edges of the short ends.
3. Fold the scrap in half longwise with right sides together. Sew each side with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Why you Need Pennies in your Sewing Room
4. Turn the pocket right sides out and poke out the corners.
5. Insert the penny and baste the opening closed.
Why you Need Pennies in your Sewing Room
6. Sew the pocket into the side seam allowance of your skirt or blouse near the hem but not close enough to hang out from the bottom of the hem. I like to sew mine in 1/2" from the hem.
Why you Need Pennies in your Sewing Room
7. Never worry about your hem flipping up in the wind ever again!
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