Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog

10.17.2017

My 12 Favorite Sewing Products

There are affiliate links in this post. I only link to things I have used and recommend. All opinions are my own. Thank you for understanding and supporting me.
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
I'm a frugal sewist and I often give ideas for sewing and saving money. But with every hobby comes tools that you have to buy. I actually don't have a fully decked out sewing room which I'm happy with, but I do have some items that I can't sew without. These are my top twelve sewing products that I can't sew without! What are your favorite sewing products?

1. Glass head pins* and sewing clips* - I've been using glass head pins for a couple of years, and I love them. They are small and thin so they don't ruin fabric, and they don't melt if you pin and press. I just started using sewing clips, and I like them so far. They take some getting used to, but I think I sew faster when I use them instead of pins.
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products]
2. Rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat* - I love love love cutting fabric out with a cutting mat and rotary cutter. It's so fast and easy! I only use my ruler when I'm cutting rectangles, pockets, and knit bands, but I couldn't live without it.
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
3. Tailor's Wax Chalk* - I know a lot of people don't like this waxing chalk for marking fabric, but I love it. I started doing it in a tailor shop about nine years ago, and I've never looked back. It's my favorite and only way of marking fabric. I love that it steams off when I iron it!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
4. Scissors Necklace* - These aren't the exact scissors I have, but it's pretty close. I have a small pair of scissors that I tied a long ribbon on and wear it around my neck. I love having small scissors always accessible when I sew for quick trims and cuts. I use them constantly while sewing, and I can't sew without them!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
5. Measuring Tape* and Small Transparent Ruler*- I don't use a measuring tape while I sew, but I use it to measure myself, my kids, and any pattern I'm working on. I had a sewing teacher recommend to always wear one around your neck, but I've never gotten in the habit of it.
I love having a small ruler right next to my machine when I sew for any small measuring job. I use it to mark hems and measure seam allowances. It's really handy!
6. Fabric Scissors - I used to have really fancy, expensive fabric scissors and didn't see a huge difference from inexpensive fabric scissors. I use them so much that they dull quickly, so I like to inexpensively buy another pair.
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
7. HeatnBond Soft Stretch Hem Tape* - I have tried every trick for hemming knits with a twin needle without success until I started using this product. It's the only hem tape that works well and gives me a hem I am happy with. I can't recommend it enough!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
8. Inexpensive Iron with a Retractable Cord* - I have a much older version of this iron, mine is 8 years old, and I've always been happy with it. It works great, it's inexpensive, and I love the retractable cord!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
9. Ironing Board Cover* - Every ironing board cover I've had gets stained or dirty so I wash it and then I can never get it to fit on the ironing board well! It's so frustrating to work with the string, so I found this elasticized ironing board cover that doesn't stain and won't burn! I love it!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
10. Tabletop Sleeve Ironing Board* - I actually use my small sleeve ironing board more than my big ironing board. I got a small one like this at a thrift stores years ago and always have it out for quick pressing jobs. I love that I don't have to get my big board out to press small areas.
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products
11. Inexpensive Brother 1034D Serger* - I've had this inexpensive serger for almost 6 years, and I've never had a problem with it. It's loud and shakes a ton, and it's definitely an extra level serger, but it's a great little machine. It elevates my sewing and makes finishing edges so easy!
My 12 Favorite Sewing Products

10.12.2017

Linden Sweater and Velvet Ruri Pants: Me Made Holiday Outfit

I was given these fabrics for free in exchange for a review. As always all opinions are my own.
As the season starts to change, I'm looking forward to all the upcoming holiday parties. There's family parties, friends parties, and holiday parties. I don't know about you, but the most important thing for me is feeling comfortable, being able to eat lots, and looking dressy. I have found the perfect outfit, and I'm ready for any holiday party. I used basic silhouettes and used special fabrics to dress them up. I definitely feel like this is an outfit that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the accessories I choose.
When I think of a holiday outfit, certain fabrics come to mind like sequins, tulle, lace, and velvet. I felt like velvet would be the easiest to wear and wash, and especially stretch velvet. I could've gone with any bright fun color (like my gold velvet pencil skirt), but I knew I would wear it more if I went with one of my basic colors. I'm really glad I went with navy stretch velvet because this color is so rich and will match everything in my closet. I am really happy with this fabric. I actually purposely cut the nap going up instead of down because it makes the color look darker and richer which is the look I was going for.
While I was sewing these pants I was being careful while ironing because velvet can get ruined quickly by a hot iron. Except when I ironed the fly I wasn't careful and melted the fabric just on the fly. I was so sad and couldn't undo it. I cut out the melted area which you can see below and cut out a slightly bigger piece to sew in and replace it. BUT when I cut out the new piece I forgot to check the nap and the nap was upside down. So it was the same fabric but it looked like a different color! Cue tears and frustration. I finished the pants and went to bed because sleep always helps me think. I woke up early when I feel the best and sewed a patch the same size with the nap going the correct way right on top of the fly. I cut out the very bottom layer from the inside so it wouldn't be to thick with that many layers of fabric. It looks great now, and I'm glad I fixed it but it's so frustrating when you make a silly mistake!
The pants pattern I used was the new Named Ruri Sweatpants pattern. When this pattern released I knew it was a pants pattern I would wear. This preppy pants silhouette is totally my style. It has front inseam pockets, elastic waist back, faux fly, and a unique pleated snap hem detail. I made a size US 4 and lengthened the leg at the knee one inch, and I used a yard and a half.
The pattern instructions were straightforward, and I had no problems putting the pants together. I will say that the pattern is drafted for stable knits like ponte and sweatshirting, and I made it hard on myself and used a non-stable stretch velvet. It worked out for me, but it was definitely trickier to get it to work. I also took one full inch out of the side of each leg since my fabric behaved differently. Interfacing helped with all the trickier areas.
I've never used a Named pattern before which I regret because they draft taller than most other pattern companies. I want to try more of their patterns because I'll have minimal pattern alterations.
For the top I went with something simple so that the pants could shine. I chose the oatmeal hacci sweater knit because it has a beautiful heathered look, and it's a great basic color. I love the soft feeling of Hacci sweater knit. I didn't how realize how thin it would be so I decided to double layer the front, back, and sleeves. It made a gorgeous opaque sweater, and it's a really easy fabric to work with. I'd say it's similar to cotton spandex in ease of use.
I used the Grainline Linden Sweatshirt pattern which I've had my eye for years, and I finally purchased it. It's a great basic pattern. When I printed it out the square to measure came out larger than it was supposed to be. Since I was in a hurry I didn't reprint it to get the right size, I just cut out a size smaller. I measure to be a size 2, but I cut out a size 0. I added length to the sleeves and body. It was still a little wide on the muslin, so I removed some width from the center front and the center back. It's basically perfect except I added a little too much length. I also did the waistband with a split hem using this tutorial. I'm definitely going to use this pattern again!
I understand that most people reach for a holiday dress which can definitely be dressier than this outfit. And I'm not trying to convert you to be a pants person, especially these "semi-fitted similar to track pants" pants. Because I know I love unique pants silhouettes. I really do love this silhouette even if they might not be super flattering. I've made three (one, two, three) woven track pants, remember? I love that pants give me extra warmth and I feel so luxurious wearing velvet. They are easy to dress up with ankle boots, and they are so comfortable to wear. I told my husband that this outfit is like wearing pajamas, but I look dressed up! Can you believe this is an elastic waist pants outfit?

10.10.2017

Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics

Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I've started slowly working on my fall/winter wardrobe. I have a couple of basic solid sweatshirts, sweaters, and long sleeve tees that I made and bought last year. Since I have some basics to start with, I decided to make long sleeve tees with interesting details. I started by making two waterfall tees. I love the long fitted sleeves paired with the loose, draped ruffle. (If you want to see the comparison picture go to the end of the post.)
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I have made this waterfall tee before, but I'll remind you of the pattern alterations I did. I lengthened the sleeves by one inch. I flipped the front curve that was curving down to curving up. I feel like my shape is most flattered when I have a line at my natural waist even if it's really draped.
This was the final waterfall teel I made and it actually stretches vertically the least. I'm a little disappointed that it's so short in the front because the other ones hang longer. I feel like I need one more inch to be comfortable. It works great if I'm careful, and if I'm wearing it as a layer. It's really fascinating how different fabrics behave so differently!
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
Did you know you can order some fabric.com fabric on Amazon and get free shipping!? I don't love that I have to buy $50 worth of fabric to get free shipping from fabric.com, so Amazon is a nice solution. A couple of weeks ago this blush bamboo rayon spandex* was on sale for $8 a yard so I bought two yards right away.  I love using bamboo rayon spandex. Blush is a color I'm attracted to, but don't often buy. Since this fabric was on sale I went for it. I knew the color would work with all my gray, white, and navy wardrobe.
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
These tees are great for layering. I love wearing this one with cardigans. The sleeves are long enough to peek through at my wrist and the perfect ruffles show through. I know that I'll be wearing these tees a lot this winter!
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I made this striped one because I saw a striped ruffle raglan sleeve tee on pinterest and wanted to copy it. I made all the same pattern alterations as the other waterfall tees, but I had to stripe match while cutting out which takes so much time and concentration. It's totally worth it and I love wearing stripes, but I always forget how much effort goes into cutting stripes out correctly. I've never cut out raglan sleeves and stripes so I didn't realize how hard it was to stripe match them. I got it to work out but I had to stretch the lines while I was sewing because they change width when you cut on angles. Anyway, I just want to say it's a lot of work to stripe match raglan sleeves. I don't recommend it!
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I actually purchased this fabric as a remnant from a manufacturer. (I buy a lot of my knits that way because it saves me so much money!) I found a similar gray and white pinstripe jersey fabric* that seems to have a similar drape. I know the fabric content is different but the drape and returnability is the most important. These gray and white stripes are so fantastic. I love that they are small because it almost reads as a solid.
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I think I like this gray one better than the blush one mostly because it's not too short in the front. The blush one works, but I'm more comfortable in the striped one. It could also be because I love stripes so much and want a closet full of striped tops!
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
Since finishing these I found that it's super fun to wear them under sweatshirts. The ruffle peaks out and it's adorable. I can't wait to wear my waterfalls under sweatshirts and wear them with leggings. Some of my sweatshirts aren't long enough to wear with leggings, and I feel a little frumpy wearing cardigans over my sweatshirts. These waterfall tees are the solution!
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
I have made three waterfall tees with three different fabrics. I altered the front to curve up instead of down, but used the same exact pattern. The blush waterfall is bamboo rayon spandex* which drapes well but doesn't stretch vertically. The striped waterfall is a lightweight cotton spandex jersey* that has a little bit of vertical stretch and lots of drape. The charcoal waterfall is a rayon spandex with lots of drape and lots of vertical stretch. This one even has some width removed, but it's much wider and longer than the other ones. They all work great with skinny jeans or leggings. They coordinate with everything in my wardrobe, and I love the way they look with long jackets and cardigans.
Me Made: The Waterfall Tee in Different Fabrics
jeans (thrifted - get $10 for online thrifting at thredUP, booties (similar*)

10.06.2017

Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times

I have been dreaming about this style of dress for a long time. I remember pinning something similar and waiting for the right fabric and pattern to come along. I thrifted this fabric this summer which kind of got the ball rolling. But I made some mistakes during the process and had to redo it three times. I hated redoing it, but I knew I would only wear it if I redid it. I'm happy I redid it, but I have to work up to it to have the energy and determination to redo it. Redoing something is so frustrating and disappointing, but it's always worth it!
Let's start at the beginning. I thrifted this taupe fabric from Savers this summer. It was about a yard and a half and it had an original handwritten note on it saying that it was "Rayon Flax" or basically rayon linen. It washed up beautifully, it drapes beautifully, and it's soft. I love the gray/brown color because it goes nicely with everything in my wardrobe. It's a great basic. Here's a charcoal linen rayon fabric* and a khaki linen rayon fabric*. I wanted the cuffed dolman sleeve dress that's semi-fitted. I didn't want to sew a zipper though so I was pretty limited in patterns because of no zipper and only 1.5 yards. I finally decided on the Lacey Dress by Style ARC because it was exactly what I was looking for and I didn't want to create/hack my own pattern.
I initially was in a hurry to finish since I wanted to wear it to a sewing meet up. I live in an area where there's some sewing bloggers that meet up once a month to sew, but this last time we decided to meet up and take pictures. Of course I had to make something new and start the day before.
Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times
The first problem came when I printed out the pattern and the test square was larger than it was supposed to measure. (I should have reprinted it!) I wanted to get going so I just decided to go for it even though it was too big. My thinking was the extra length will already be added in so I don't have to add it and I'll just shave some width off. Well I made it just the bodice and it was way too wide. I took the side seams in, I shortened the sleeves, and I took the princess lines in. The neckline gaped so I added a pleat to the front neckline. I decided to add all the gathering to the side instead of all the way around (which I found after the fact that I didn't like it). I loved the pockets and cuffed sleeves so I was sure I would love the dress. I never got to try the dress on before running out the door and realized I didn't really like it. I had to wear a belt to feel comfortable in it because the waist was so wide. I know people wear it undefined waists and they look great, but since I have almost no waist I need some definition. After wearing it for the evening I knew I needed to redo it.
Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times
Right away I took off the skirt, cut it two inches shorter and used that fabric to make two sides ties. I took the pleat out of the neckline because I felt like it detracted from the simple style I was going for. I added a .5" center front seam and .5" center back seam to get rid of the gaping neckline. It solved the neckline problem and you can't even see the seams which makes me really happy. I sewed the skirt back on with the gathers on the side. That was a mistake. It's really cute in theory, but I just didn't want to wear it with gathers on the side. Everyone has that thing they just won't wear no matter how good someone else tells them they look. And you know what? It doesn't matter if someone else thinks it looks good. Because you'll only wear it if you think you look good! And you only want items in your closet that you want to wear, right?
Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times
So it hung on a hanger in my sewing room for a couple of weeks. Taunting me that I I had to redo the skirt AGAIN. I didn't have to energy to fix it. I knew it wouldn't take long, but it was the principle of redoing it. It made me want to cry.
Finally I got up the courage to take off the skirt and redistribute the gathering. I love it lots more now that the gathering goes all the way around the waist. I also redid the sides of the hem to give it a slight curve. I love curves and have always been drawn to curves, and I think curved hems are very flattering. After those quick fixes I'm very happy with my dress, the fabric, and the style. But I wouldn't wish the mistakes and redos on anyone! Learn from my mistakes! No matter how good you think someone is at something, they can still make mistakes. Mistakes are okay and they help you learn!
Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times
 What I've learned from this sewing project:

  • Try not to rush. That's always always when I run into problems.
  • Reprint a pattern to get the square the right size!
  • If you didn't like it the first time you tried it, the chances are you won't like it if you do it again.
  • Even if someone else thinks it's cute, you need to love it or you won't wear it.
  • It's okay to stick with the basics. You don't have to love a new design or style.
  • Only sew curved hems on wovens. That's only what I want to wear.
  • Everyone makes mistakes no matter how good they are. Mistakes help you learn!
What did you learn from my billions of mistakes?

Rayon Linen Lacey Dress: The Dress I Redid Three Times

10.03.2017

Free "BOO" Cute File and Halloween Cut Files

There are affiliate links and links to my shop in this post. As always all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting me.
Fall might be my very favorite season. I love Halloween and looking forward to the winter holidays, I love the cooler temperatures, and how there are so many fall things to do. There's also two fall birthdays in our family which is lots of fun. I didn't love Fall until after I finished school and realized how great Fall actually is when you don't worry about school and homework. It's so fun to get my kids excited about Fall and Halloween, so this year I decided to make my whole family Halloween shirts. It seems a little silly to make shirts that my kids will only wear for one month, but they are so excited about it, and since I did iron-on vinyl it was so easy to personalize. I am sharing a free cut file today, and I just added four Halloween cut files to my shop!
The cut file that's free is this cursive "BOO". It's super fun and can be made at any size. I made mine big to fit on a tee I made for myself. I made a Hey June Lane Raglan* using white cotton lycra* and ghost Halloween cotton lycra (designed by Emily of Enjoyful Makes for Raspberry Creek Fabrics). I am very happy with the Lane Raglan, it's a favorite of a lot of other people so now it's my turn to try. The first one I made came out really large but I'm wondering if my fabric stretched out as I used it. I just took the side seams in a little bit, and now it fits great! Then I cut and ironed on this metallic "BOO". I used silver metallic iron on*. Get the FREE cut file at the bottom of the post!
For my daughter I made a Mini Briar sweatshirt out of (similar) purple sweatshirt fleece which has almost no stretch. Luckily, it works for this swingy style. I made a size 2/3, and I cut two inches off the bottom and added a bottom band. I used (similar) purple ribbing* for all the edges. I also did ghost fabric for the sleeves to make it more fun and to add a stretchy fabric to the arms. I used the ghost "fabBOOlous" cut file out of purple metallic iron on. She LOVES her ghost shirt!

For my baby daughter I made another Mini Briar which is still a little too big for her, but I think it works well as a tunic. I used a lightweight gray bamboo rayon spandex* remnant for it. I added shirring at the sleeve hems, across the shirt hem, and across the back to give it a little more shape. The neckline is still a little too open, but it is a size 2/3 and she's only 18 mos. I'm considering adding shirring somewhere on the neckline to bring it it. Then I ironed on the BOOtiful witch cut file.
For my son I made a long sleeve sweatshirt. I used the Alex and Anna Pajama* top in a size 6 which is about half a size up then what he could wear. I used the ghost fabric for the sleeves for stretch since the (similar) gray sweatshirt fabric* for the body has almost no stretch too. I finished the neckline and sleeve hems with (similar) gray ribbing*. I used the bat "boo yah" cut file for him. He loves having a funny and scary shirt to wear this month!
For my husband I came up with this funny one - all in a day's lurk. I think it works great for boys and men, and the dancing skeletons make me laugh! I actually didn't make this tee for him. I ran out of time and didn't have the right fabric for him, so I bought him an inexpensive long sleeve tee to iron on.

 
Don't forget to check out the other Halloween cut files in my shop!
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