My New Style Arc Sewing Patterns (Independent Sewing Patterns)

I’m trying to find time to sew more, and in particular I want to try sewing patterns from independent pattern companies. I’ve just ordered a few sewing patterns from Style Arc, an Australian sewing pattern company focused on current fashion trends and styles. I purchased:

  • The Olivia Dress
    Style Arc Olivia Dress Independent Sewing Pattern PDF
    Style Arc Olivia Dress Sewing Pattern
  • The Riva Raglan T-Shirt
    Style Arc Riva Raglan T-Shirt PDF
    Style Arc Riva Raglan T-Shirt
  • The Diana Top
    Style Arc Diana Top Sewing Pattern
    Style Arc Diana Top Sewing Pattern
  • The Susan Top
    Style Arc Susan Top Independent Sewing Pattern
    Style Arc Susan Top

I concentrated on simple styles suitable for a beginner. You can download most of the patterns to print from a PDF on the Etsy Style Arc site or order a printed pattern to be sent to you directly from the Style Arc sewing patterns website. Make sure you select the correct country currency when you visit their website, as they are an international pattern company.

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Beginner Quilting: Craftsy Cozy Throw Quilt

throw quilt by craftsy online quilting class
Amy Gibson’s Craftsy Cozy Throw Quilt

It has been a loooong time, but I recently finished my latest quilting project! I made another one of Amy Gibson’s quilt patterns in the Learn to Quilt Series on Craftsy, the Cozy Throw Quilt. I couldn’t be more happy with the online video class or with my finished throw quilt.

This Craftsy class teaches you how to strip quilt. Strip quilting allows you to build you quilt blocks in a quick and efficient way. Although the individual blocks themselves look complicated to make but because they are actually cut from strips of fabric sewn together, the process is easier and faster than you might guess. It took me a long time to finish this throw quilt, but only because various family emergencies and baby sleep regressions made this easy quilt pattern into a rather drawn out process. It was hard to find a block of time to actually sew, and whenever I tried to, someone wandered over to unplug my sewing machine or push all the buttons on my sewing machine.

strip quilting: kona cotton solid quilting fabric
kona cotton solids quilting fabric strips
how to strip quilt
how to strip quilt
finished craftsy cozy throw quilt pattern from amy gibson
finished craftsy cozy throw quilt pattern from amy gibson
machine quilting with walking foot in diamond pattern
I machine quilted this easy strip quilt in an all over diamond pattern with my walking foot

Amy Gibson gives very clear instructions and is a very good teacher. She teaches you how to accurately measure and cut strips of fabric for strip quilting. Then she teaches you how to make quilt blocks from those strips. My quilt is far from perfect but I love it.

Craftsy offers a pre made quilting kit for this class. It is a beautiful set of bright, feminine quilting cotton solids. I chose to make my own mix of muted colors in kona cotton quilting solids from fabric.com. If you don’t want to cut fabric strips then you can buy pre-cut jelly roll quilting fabric.

Craftsy Learn to Quilt Cozy Throw Quilt
Craftsy Learn to Quilt Cozy Throw Quilt
strip quilt pattern
throw quilt with kona cotton solids fabric
kids on quilt on couch
my throw quilt on the couch about to get very dirty
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Learn to Quilt: Custom Table Runner (Craftsy class project)

Christmas pinwheel quilt table runner
Table runner quilt with half square triangle pinwheels for Christmas

My latest beginner sewing project is the fantastic and easy Custom Table Runner Quilt by Craftsy. This simple quilting project uses half square triangles in a compact quilt. I got practice making pinwheel quilt blocks and machine quilting the top of the quilt, but because this is a small scale projct I did not feel overwhelmed or frustrated. In fact, this class would help a beginner quilter learn new skills and increase their sewing confidence!

pinwheel christmas table runner
Custom quilted table runner for christmas table setting. Half square triangles for pinwheels.
quilt binding rippling
A little rippling on my quilt binding. Oh well.

Since I don’t often use a table runner, I opted for a holiday quilted table runner. I decided to use Christmas fabric and challenge myself to make a pinwheel quilt design. I am thrilled with my Christmas table runner quilt. Its not perfect, but I never thought I would be able to make a half-square triangle or a pinwheel design. The Craftsy sewing class instructor, Amy Gibson, made the quilt chain piecing process clear and straightforward. I know can now easily apply the skills taught in this class to another table runner or even a bigger quilting project.

One thing I need to do differently next time is be more exact with my binding. I have to make sure my quarter inch seam is accurate when machine binding the quilt. I had to pull the binding quite tight on the other side of my quilt to try to cover my stitching seam,so there is some rippling on the edge of the quilt binding. I decided to finish the quilt by machine binding it, because the hand stitched binding was too painful and frustrating for me.

christmas pinwheel quilt table runner
Christmas table runner quilt with half square triangle pinwheels
pinwheel quilt with matchstick
Pinwheel quilt pieced by chain piecing. I used a half inch straight line (almost matchstick!) to machine quilt the top using my walking foot attachment on my sewing machine.
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Learn to quilt: charming baby quilt (Craftsy)

Craftsy Learn to Quilt: Charming baby quilt
Craftsy Learn to Quilt: Charming baby quilt

Now that my baby is a year old, he is starting to sleep through the night. Sometimes when he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, I have been able to wake up early. This change has given me the opportunity to start sewing again.

For my return to sewing, I wanted a simple but useful project. I felt like I barely remembered how to thread my machine! The first class in the Craftsy Learn to Quilt series was a perfect fit for me. This “charming baby quilt” online sewing class featured a simple baby receiving blanket quilt using square charm packs of fabric. No risky measuring and cutting for those unsure of their sewing skills! The quilt is even self bound, so there is no need to worry about binding the quilt.

Baby quilt with ties instead of a quilted top
Baby quilt with ties instead of a quilted top.
I loved this quick and easy quilting project. The instructor, Amy Gibson, did a great job of answering all the basic and common sense questions I had while sewing. The instructions were clear and perfectly detailed. This class was a great foundation for moving on to any other sewing projects.

self bound quilt
Self bound quilt (no sewn on binding)
I used Cool L’s Modern Basics by Lecien for my fabrics. I wish I would have realized that Craftsy has a super cute baby quilt kit that coordinates with this class. It would have taken all the guess work and waste out of buying my own fabric.

I liked this class so much that I have already signed up for the next class in the series: Learn to Quilt: Custom Table Runner.

beginner quilt pattern
Simple quilt pattern using fabric charm squares
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Sew Burp Cloths (Easy Baby Sewing Project!)

Since I am going to have another baby in a month and a half, I have to get some baby supplies together. Most of my old stuff is still perfectly good, but I need more burp cloths! I decided to sew myself a little stash of soft, absorbent burp cloths for the new baby. This turned out to be a quick and easy sewing project for a baby! Plus it is very cost effective considering the cost of burp cloths from a store.

Sew Burp Cloths
Sew Burp Cloths for a Baby

I used the burp cloth tutorial from Dana Made It.

sew burp cloths flannel chenille
Flannel and Chenille Burp Cloth Sewing Project
I used flannel fabric for the backing and chenille fabric for the absorbent layer of fabric. Of course the minor problems I ran into were related to the burp cloth fabrics. The flannel shrunk and the edges shredded when I pre-washed it more than I expected. The soft chenille stretched a lot when I was sewing it AND it made an unholy fluffly mess all over when I cut into it.

As a result the sizes of my burp cloths are a little inconsistent. In the end I decided that the burp cloths might not be perfect, but they are good enough to be puked on.

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Ironing Mat/ Ironing Pad

Let’s face it, one of the negative aspects of sewing as a hobby is the ironing. I hate ironing. Especially ironing entire yards of fabric on a tiny postage stamp-like ironing board. Its hard to get started on a project knowing that I will have to spend an hour moving and repositioning fabric on the ironing board before I can start to actually sew anything.

sew ironing board cover
Sew an Ironing Mat or Ironing Blanket

Recently my ironing board broke and I had to throw it out. Instead of just buying a new one I decided to make a large ironing mat. I also decided to fully commit and make a huge one. I followed the ironing mat tutorial on Little Birdie Secrets.

The ironing mat has four layers:

  1. Therma-Flec Fabric: The silver (sometimes tan) surface that you actually iron on. AKA ironing board fabric.
  2. Insul-Bright Needlepunched Insulated Lining – 36″ x 45″
    : Heat resistant material that reflects heat back so the iron can do its thing.
  3. 100% Cotton Batting:Cotton to protect what ever you choose to lay your ironing mat on top of (i.e., the table, floor, or bed).
  4. Backing fabric: Hopefully cute fabric to hold it all together. Sometimes 100% cotton home decorating fabric is recommended for extra heat protection.

The four layers are quilted together and bound at the edges (I used double fold bias tape). I also added ribbon at the edges so the ironing mat can be rolled up and tied to stay shut for storage.

You are not supposed to pin the Therma-Flec to the Insul-Bright or or other layers because the pins will damage the ironing material. Use basting spray to hold it in place for the quilting. I used Basting Spray for the first time, and I have been converted to a believer. Basting spray is the way to go for any quilting project.

The #1 thing I would do differently is sew on the Therma-Flec/ silver Ironing Board fabric last. Each time I attached a fabric layer to the therma-flec, it bubbled up and is no longer flat. Of course you want a flat surface for ironing on, so ugh. I think it will still work just fine but this is kind of disappointing.

I will say that sewing on the binding through so many layers of thick fabric was very difficult! There were a lot of broken needles and broken thread! Is this what quilting machines are for?

Now there is nothing stopping me from starting a new sewing or quilting project, except the tedious process of ironing itself.

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Dog coat from Sew Everything Workshop

Yay being nice and warm!
Yay being nice and warm!

My poor dog has very sparse, short hair and next to no body fat.  We don’t live in a very cold climate, but she definitely needs something to keep her warm on cold morning walks.  But, in my area, stores only stock clothes for toy breeds. Time to break out the sewing machine and make my dog a coat!

P1020506
Yes, she’s a chewer and has already chewed the side. Sock donations gladly accepted, thank you.

Sew Everything Workshop has instructions  for a self-drafted “Canine Couture Coat”.  The pattern is very simple and is based on your dog’s measurements, plus added ease.  The most difficult part was deciding on the dimensions for the chest and neck area- I went with wide and shallow, since this seemed to fit her best based on her muslins. My dog is very deep-chested, so I placed the belt a bit higher than the middle so that it would go around the thickest part of her body, not her skinny belly.

The pattern features decorative buttons at the chest and side.  Cute!  I used silver metal ones.  I used my French curve to round the ends of the jacket instead of making them rectangular.

 

OK, I forgot to buy grey thread.  Green is still cute!
OK, I forgot to buy grey thread. Green is still cute!

The coat I made is fastened with hooks and eyes because I was worried about my dog undoing the fastenings; you could also use snaps or Velcro.  I plan to use  Velcro next time.

I made one major change to the pattern; Diane Rupp drafted the pattern with a two-piece belt that meets underneath the dog’s body in the middle of her belly.  This seemed like too much trouble to me, so I just made a one-piece belt that attaches to the side of the coat instead.  Much easier to get on and off the dog!

This pattern is great- simple and easy.  I like my single-piece belt idea, but don’t have any other complaints, As long as you make a muslin or two to tweak the pattern so that it fits your dog properly, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a good dog coat.

 

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Style Arc Susan Top (Knit T-Shirt)

The Style Arc Susan shirt is a simple knit t-shirt pattern to sew up quickly. I chose this t-shirt pattern because Style Arc sewing patterns are apparently supposed to come in sizes that fit a real person better than the patterns from the big-4 pattern companies. So that’s a big plus for this independent sewing pattern company. Although I am a novice, I have made enough failed muslins to know that so far the big-4 patterns do not fit me AT ALL. I suspect this t-shirt pattern has to be one of the simplest designs that Style Arc makes– just what I was looking for.

Susan Top Sewing Pattern
Susan Top Sewing Pattern

I am happy to say that this pattern actually fits me. Of course since I used a stretch jersey knit fabric, the odds were in my favor. I used the cheapest knit jersey fabric I could get my hands on.

The pattern itself was great. It was printed on very nice paper, which is so much better than the awful tissue paper that regular patterns are printed on. The instructions are minimal at best. You will need some experience sewing to understand these patterns. It was a single size pattern, so don’t plan on grading between different sizes. You will need to make custom fitting adjustments on Style Arc patterns to make the sewing pattern match your measurements.

Everything would have been fine, but I faced a lot of technical difficulties that ultimately make this project a FAIL. Big surprise there! My problem was sewing this thin jersey fabric with my sewing machine. The thin jersey fabric kept getting sucked into my sewing machine despite my use of lower tension settings, my walking food, tissue paper as stabilizer, wash away stabilizer, and jersey needles. Ultimately, the fabric was beyond saving and this turned into a practice project.

Next time I suppose I will just try my serger first, and skip the sewing machine as much as possible for knit fabric. But that entails 2 hours of testing serger tension settings– boring! And then I will need a way to cleanly hem knit fabric in the future. Ugh, now I want a Coverstitch Machine. 3 Hours Past (which is affiliated with Cake Patterns) has a post all about stabilizers and sewing on knits which will hopefully help me since I don’t have a coverstitch machine!

I switched to using my serger midway through the project. Even though the tension was not perfectly balanced, it was a million times better than my sewing machine. Actually I am very happy to find a starting point for my tension settings for serging knit jersey.

  • Starting point tension settings for Brother 1034d Serger (Thin Knit Jersey): 3 thread overlock, 4, –, 5.5, 4.3 and a stitch width of 4.7.
  • I found the neckline a bit wide for my taste, which made me feel a little over exposed. I will bring it up and in next time
  • Oops, I forgot to cut the sleeves as mirror images, so one of them is sewn wrong side out. Learning experience.
  • 3 Thread Overlock tension settings: 4, --, 5.5, 4.3.
    3 Thread Overlock tension settings: 4, –, 5.5, 4.3. (That’s left needle 4, right needle not threaded, upper looper 5.5, and lower looper 4.3) (Brother 1034d serger on thin jersey fabric)
    Brother Serger 1034d Machine Settings for thin jersey. (differential feed, stitch length and stitch width).
    Brother Serger 1034d Machine Settings for thin jersey. Differential feed: 1 (default setting); Stitch length: 3 (default setting), Stitch Width/ cutting distance : 4.7.
    3 Thread overlock stitching on thin jersey
    3 Thread overlock stitching on thin jersey. Not too bad!

    I plan on making this t shirt AGAIN with a different fabric or possibly trying a fusible interfacing for the neckline, hem and wrists. Sew There Tammy made a couple of Style Arc Susan tops that she was happy with. Hopefully I will too someday soon!

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Black Friday Sewing Sales!

Craftsy classes on sale for $20?? What?!! Right now for Black Friday, there is a Craftsy Class Sale for up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2! Here are the details:

Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings on the craft supplies you want! With up to 80% off yarn and 65% off fabric, get the best prices of the year while you can.

Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings for a limited time only! All their online classes are on sale for $19.99 or less. With classes priced up to 66% off, now is a great time to get the classes you’ve been eyeing all year! Craftsy classes also make a great gift, so do some holiday shopping for the crafter in your life.

Craftsy

I plan on ordering a couple of classes. First I want to get the class on lining, interfacings and facings for garment construcion, “Underneath It All with Linda Lee”. I have no clue how to sew a lining!

I also want to get the class on how to revese engineer a pair of jeans (“Jean-ius”) so I can re-create the only pair of jeans that fit me but are now completely worn out and fill of holes.

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New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
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