Hello sew-friends! Today I’m sharing another garment from my Make Nine list - the Hadley Top by Grainline Studio. I’m always on the lookout for nice tops that I can pair with jeans or trousers for a quick and easy outfit. I especially love sleeveless styles because they’re easy to wear under a cardigan. I really love the swingy design of this top, it’s a little fancier than the Willow Tank by Grainline (which I’ve made twice!) and it was a pleasure to sew.
I made view B which is sleeveless with a deep V-neck and swingy hem. I made a size 10 and did a 1” FBA which is my standard size and adjustment for Grainline patterns. I also lowered the bust dart 1.5” but I think that might have been a little too much. I decided to move the dart based on holding up the paper pattern to my body and after I did it in fabric the dart felt a little low. For reference, I’m 5’11”, my bust is 38.5 inches and my upper bust is 35.5”. If you haven’t done a Full Bust Adjustment before, I have a video about it here. This blog post from Curvy Sewing Collective is also a great FBA reference.
I really love the design and construction features of this tank. There is a seam at the center front and center back. The arms, neck and hem are all finished using facing which provide structure and a really clean finish. By the way, I have a post right here about how to sew a hem facing. If you haven’t sewn a Grainline pattern before, I highly recommend checking them out. They have a lot of classic wearable designs and the instructions are excellent.
I used a gray chambray linen that was gifted to me by The Fabric Store. It’s a totally yummy fabric and a joy to sew with. I used this same fabric twice before, once for McCalls M7788 and more recently for a sample of my Lela Skirt pattern. I love the linens from The Fabric Store and I so wish that they still had a shop in LA. After those first two projects, I only had a little bit of fabric remaining and it was just enough to make this top. I did have to use some scrap fabric for the facings but those are not usually visible so it’s no big deal.
This version of the top is kind of a wearable muslin. If/when I make it again, I think I’ll raise the neckline a little bit, raise the dart and maybe consider a square shoulder adjustment. I usually don’t do a square shoulder adjustment on sleeveless tops but I think it’s worth considering. That said, I love this top. It pairs especially well with fitted bottoms, like skinny jeans. I tried wearing it with wide leg pants and it was just too much volume for me.
This is the first video in our new series of sustainability in sewing. Sustainability and trying to reduce our impact on the environment is really important to us at Sew DIY and we're excited to share some of our favorite tips and practices. In today's video, we will share tips on how to care for your handmade garments and make them last longer.
Six Tips for Caring For Handmade Garments - YouTube
Six Tips for Taking Care of Your Handmade Clothing
1. Sew for longevity
One way to ensure that your handmade garments will last is to make sure that you construct them well. That includes things like finishing the seams, backstitching or tying off threads in a knot. You can also select sturdy (or at least thicker) fabric that will stand up to being worn and washed.
2. Wash gently
Garments can go through a lot of wear and tear when washed. To make them last longer, use a short, gentle cycle with cool water (forgot to mention water temp in the video but it’s also important) and gentle laundry detergent. And if you’re able to, hand washing is the most gentle way to wash of all.
3. Wash less frequently
I know this might seem gross. But you might be able to wash your clothes less frequently, especially if you’re wearing them in layers. Definitely change your undies everyday but your trousers and jeans can usually be worn for a few days before needing to go in the washer. You can refresh clothing without a washing machine by putting it in the freezer for a few hours or spritzing it with a mixture of vodka and water. The vodka will remove odors that are lingering in a garment.
4. Limit drying time
Using a dryer, especially with high heat, can damage your clothing over time. To keep your handmade lasting longer, air dry as much as possible. If completely air drying your garments isn’t feasible (for example if you live in a very humid climate), then try using the dryer for a short period of time on medium to low heat and then allow the clothing to hang to dry the rest of the way. You’ll save energy and your clothing.
5. Store Carefully
This basically comes down to hanging or folding. Garments that are made out of knit fabric or a very stretchy woven should be folded. If knit garments are hung up in a closet, gravity may pull them out of shape and even create divots where the garment is pressed against the hanger.
Also, if you have wool garments, you should store them with cedar blocks or lavender sachets to prevent moths from eating them.
6. Mend regularly
Take the time to mend your clothing when needed. The longer a tear or hole is worn, the bigger it’s going to get.
Today we will be sharing our tips for how to sew a narrow curved hem. We will be sewing View A of the Lela Skirt pattern but this method can also be used for View B. The curve of the Lela Skirt hem was designed in such a way that it is possible to turn the hem twice to the wrong side and does not require a facing or bias facing. (By the way, if you’re curious about how to sew a hem facing, check out this post from the Lou Box Dress 1 sewalong.)
The key tip for sewing a narrow curved hem is to do a line of basting stitches where you want to make the first fold (.25 inch in this case). Then gently pull on the basting stitches to ease the fabric into the second fold of the hem. It takes a little bit of fabric manipulation and patience but it’s not too hard to achieve a nice, flat, wrinkle free curved hem.
In the photos above, you can see the two options for sewing the side seam vent. The wrong side of the fabric may be somewhat visible while you’re wearing the skirt. So, if you don’t want the finishing stitches to be visible, you can fold under the side seam twice. We do it both ways, depending on how friendly the fabric is.
Make sure to check out the rest of the Lela Skirt Sewalong posts and if you haven’t picked up your copy of the pattern yet, head over to the shop. (Btw, it’s also available in a discounted bundle with the Lou Box Top right here.) Happy sewing!
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite ways to style the Lela Skirt. This skirt is so versatile and can easily be dressed up or dressed down. I first designed this skirt four years ago at the height of summer to be a comfortable garment that was easy to sew and a little more dressed up than shorts. The style definitely lends itself to warmer or transitional months. I prefer to wear my Lela Skirt in a way that shows off the waistband and creates a bit of shaping at the waist. Read on for my top six favorite ways to wear it.
Styling No. 1 My number one way is (of course) with a Lou Box Top tucked in. I love these two comfy garments together and with the top tucked in, it creates a bit of definition at the waist. (Hot tip! You can buy these two patterns together as a bundle for a discounting price of $20.)
Styling No. 2 For a little slimmer look, you can pair your Lela Skirt with a classic t-shirt like the one I’m wearing here. (This is the Lark Tee by Grainline Studio. You can learn more about it in this video post.) Again, I’m a big fan of the casual tuck.
Styling No. 3 For a super streamlined look, you can pair your Lela Skirt with a bodysuit or rib knit tank. Here I’m wearing view C of the skirt with a Kila Tank (pattern by Allie Olson and post here).
Styling No. 4 For a little more dressed up look, you can pair the Lela Skirt with a woven top. It works great with a structured cropped top like I’m in the photo or even woven top that’s made out of lightweight, drapey fabric that can be tucked in. Here I’m wearing view A of the skirt with a very old me-made (I used Simplicity 2599 which is now out of print).
Styling No. 5 One of my favorite garments ever is a chambray button up. It’s a classic layering piece for me. To show off the waistband of the skirt, I like to roll up the hem at the back and tie the tails of the front in a knot. It’s pretty casual but still put-together and thoughtful. Here I’m wearing View B of the Lela Skirt and a RTW top.
Styling No. 6 The Lela Skirt also works great as a swim cover up. It’s super easy to just throw on over your swimsuit on your way to the beach or pool. Here I’m wearing view A of the Lela Skirt with the Reno swim top by Seamwork.
In today’s sewalong post, we are sharing a video that takes you step by step through the process of sewing the elastic waistband of the Lela Skirt pattern. This skirt is very beginner friendly because it’s easy to sew and easy to fit due to the forgiving elastic waistband. If you haven’t read it yet, check out yesterday’s post about selecting your size. And then click through to watch the video and learn all of our best tips for sewing an elastic waistband.
We hope that you found this video helpful. Let us know in the comments or send us an email if you have any questions. This skirt perfect for the summer season and comes with loads of options. Plus, it's really easy to sew and comfortable to wear (thanks to the elastic waist!). So, if you haven’t picked up the pattern yet, you can find it in the shop right here. Happy sewing!
Today’s post is going to be pretty short but I feel like the question of selecting one’s size came up a lot during testing so I want to make sure I have the info in one place. (I did talk about sizing a bit in the intro video so I recommend watching that if you haven’t already.) The Lela Skirt is a straight skirt that is fitted at the waist using elastic. The drawstring element is optional as it’s really the elastic that does the work of keeping the skirt on your body.
We recommend selecting your size based on your hip measurement. It’s a good idea to measure your hips when standing up and sitting down as our bodies often change when in different positions. This skirt is designed to have 6” of ease at the hips for all sizes and 16” at the waist. So even if your waist is a few sizes larger than your hips, you’ll likely not need to grade between sizes.
For example, let’s say your waist measurement is 32” (size 16 on the chart) and your hips are 37” (size 10 on the chart). If you select a size 10 the finished hip and waist measurements are 43”. So, you’ll have 6” of ease at the hips and 11” of ease at the waist. When you make the garment you’ll be able to select a length of elastic that is comfortable for your body and to fit the waist to your measurement.
The one exception to selecting using your hip measurement is if your waist measurement is larger than your hip measurement. (Not in a different size but different measurement.) For example if your waist is 36” (size 20 on the chart) and your hips are 34” (size 4 on the chart), then a size 4 may not have enough ease to be comfortable for you.
The other adjustment that you’ll want to think about is the length of the skirt. This skirt is designed for someone who is 5’10” tall but it’s very easy to adjust the length to match your preference. The size chart (shown above) includes finished length measurements. Also note that the back of the skirt is 2” longer than the front of the skirt. So if you want them the same length, just add 2” to the front. The easiest way to decide how long you want your finished skirt to be is to hold a tape measure with one end at your natural waist (or wherever you want the skirt to sit while you’re wearing it) and let the other end of the tape measure hang down to the floor. Then look in a mirror and make a note of where you want the hem of the skirt to end. Compare that length to the length in the chart and adjust as needed.
In conclusion, we find that the amount of ease you have in a garment has a large element of personal preference. Functionally, you’ll want to make sure that the fabric in the waist is large enough to stretch over your hips when you put the skirt on but otherwise it’s personal preference. Some of the pattern testers felt that 6” was too much ease while others felt it was just right. So the great thing about having 17 sizes available is that you can choose what works for your personal preference.
Today, I’m so pleased to share a few photos from the group of lovely sewists who tested the Lela Skirt pattern. I’ve always loved this pattern (both the construction and the final result) so it’s great to see other people enjoying it. It’s such an easy skirt to make but also has a lot of different design details to keep a more advanced sewist interested. I think this would also be a great skirt to make for a friend because it doesn’t require a lot of time or fabric and it’s really easy to fit. Now, let’s get on to the tester versions. Check out all the photos and lovely testimonials. P.S. A big THANK YOU to all my testers for their help.
Leanne from Thready For It: “This skirt was such a fun sew. It is perfect for summer and I have a feeling I'll be wearing this pattern year round. I get compliments every time I wear it and I feel cute while also being comfortable.”
Kirsten from @readrunsew: Wearing the Lela skirt is like wearing secret pajamas. It’s a skirt, so it looks dressed up, but with the ease and comfort of sweats. Such a simple yet satisfying sew that is soooooo versatile!
Alyson from @aly_oops_: Easy to sew, easy to wear - this is my kind of make! Great summer staple to throw on and feel fabulous.
Claire from Belle Citadel: The Lela skirt is the perfect summer skirt in both the mini and midi lengths. It sews up so quickly and is exactly what I need to match all those cropped and boxy tops I've been making recently.
Cynthia from @createdbyittybitty: This is the perfect Summer Skirt, pair with a T and some Flip Flops for an effortless look.
Dawna from Spoolriver: I can imagine the Lela skirt with it's style variations and different length options to be a super useful item in anyone's wardrobe. Depending on fabric choice and style, the Lela can be sporty and weekend or you can take it downtown. It's a well drafted, satisfying and quick make. This is an excellent beginner project.
Emily from @littlepeaclothing: The Lela skirt appears to be straightforward and simple but it is in fact a versatile, option packed wardrobe staple. With a comfortable waistband, big pockets (enough to hold an iPhone plus), and different hem lengths, you can easily run errands in it or accessorize and wear it out on a date. The pattern goes together beautifully and the results are amazing.
Meghan from @m.keder: This pattern is a lot of fun and can be finished in an afternoon so it's great for beginners and advanced sewists alike.
Melonie from @rx2knitSierra from Seams Like Sierra: This is a skirt that will get a lot of wear in my closet. I don’t wear many skirts in general, but this hit at a really cute length and it’s easy to wear due to the elastic waist. I look forward to trying other views and lengths.
Melissa from @floating-sewist: As a first time tester I didn't know what to expect but this pattern was a breeze, the options are endless. Make a matching top for a faux dress or play with the length to suit your style or time of year. Highly recommend.
Julie from @isewdoncjesuis: I made the Lela skirt in 1 hour and 15 minutes!!! This says it all! The well drafted pattern along with the clear instructions make this sew a breeze. The fact that they are many options and way to customize the pattern to your needs/dreams makes it a staple pattern that everyone should have! This skirt is so comfortable and easy to put on and style in many different ways. I can see a few more Lela in my future!
If you haven’t gotten your copy of the skirt yet, you can grab it right here. It’s on sale for $10 until June 26, 2019 at midnight Pacific time so don’t wait. I have a few blog posts planned to help you with the trickier parts of sewing the skirt so definitely stay tuned for those.
P.S. If you are also interested in the Lou Box Top, you can buy the Lela Skirt and LBT together for a discounted price of $20 total. Check it out here.
Hi sew-friends! Today I’m very happy to announce the release of the Lela Skirt pattern. If the pattern looks a little familiar, you are correct! I first released this pattern (view A only) in 2015 as the Baseball Skirt. This is one of my favorite patterns, especially for summer and I always felt like it deserved more attention. So, I have renamed the pattern, added two additional views plus the option for a midi-length. Soooo many more options now. And there are more sizes. The original version of the pattern had 7 sizes and this revamped version now has 17 sizes (to match the updated Lou Box Top). Additionally, this pattern is now drafted for a height of 5'10". As always, there are lengthen/shorten lines so that you can easily make a skirt at your preferred length. Seriously, the pattern is better than ever!
One big reason that I love this pattern is that it is very easy and fast to sew (even easier than the Lou Box Top). The Lela Skirt is a straight skirt with an elastic waist and a split hem. There are three pocket options – in-seam pocket, angled pocket and scoop pocket. Plus there are three hem shape options – a subtle curve, exaggerated curve and square. Combine all those options with the two lengths and you can create 18 different designs from this one pattern. The pattern pieces are a Mix & Match style and work in a similar way to the Lou Box Top.
In the video below, I show you all three views in action and talk a bit about sizing and fabric.
The photos above show: View A, midi length in a yellow poly crepe fabric, View B, midi length in a gray linen fabric and View C, knee length in a rayon dot print. The pattern has three main views and the options can be mixed and matched for a total of 18 different designs. See the line drawings below for all the variations.
What if you’ve already purchased the pattern?
There’s no need to repurchase the pattern. If you purchased the pattern directly from Sew DIY, expect an email in the next week or so with a link to the updated pattern. If you purchased from another retailer, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order confirmation and we will send you a copy of the new pattern. If you don’t receive an email with the new pattern, email us and we’ll send you the link.
First off, you can expect blog posts and/or videos about how to select your size, how to sew the elastic waistband and how to sew a curved hem. This is really such a simple sew, that we’ll just be covering
You can also expect more pattern updates. Next, we’re planning to update the Lou Box Dresses patterns. For now, stay tuned for the tester roundup post tomorrow. And, if you do not already own this pattern, it is currently $2 off until midnight Wednesday, June 26, 2019. No code required.
Thank you so much for your support. I truly appreciate it.
Hi sew friends! Today I’m trying out a new content format for my weekly video. I’m sharing some things that I’ve made. For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing tips and tutorials that will help you sew a knit t-shirt and today I’m going to share FOUR different t-shirts that I’ve sewn.
In the video you’ll get to see how the t-shirts look on my body and I give a few thoughts on each pattern. I’m keeping my reviews pretty brief because I honestly loved and would recommend all of these patterns. Keep in mind, every pattern is going to fit each person differently because we all have such different proportions. For reference, my measurements are approximately: upper bust: 35.5”, bust: 38.5”, waist: 28.5” and hips 39.5”. I'm also 5’11" with a long torso and square shoulders.
Also it should be noted that I used completely different fabrics for each shirt so it’s not a true one-to-one comparison. A different fabric will result in pretty different fits. So, this is just for fun, not a true 1-1 comparison.
The Jane Tee by Seamwork is a classic style with a very high crewneck. It really gives me 70s vibes and I love it in this thin striped knit. If my memory is correct (it’s been at least a month), I recut the neckband on this to make it smaller.
Seamly Basic Tee
The Seamly Basic Tee has a scoop neck that narrows a little bit at the center front and a cute pocket with a point at the bottom. I made it in a very stretchy black knit fabric. I made a size Large. The only change was that I did need to recut the neck band to make it longer. This pattern is available exclusively from Indie Sew and can be purchased either on its own or as part of this collection. I bought the collection and love the wrapped cardigan.
The Stellan Tee is a free pattern from French Navy. It’s most similar to the Jane Tee except that it has a slightly wider neckline and a really cool curved hem. It also has instructions for sewing a back reinforcement (which I skipped). I made a size Medium and if I make it again, I’ll add a little length to the body.
The Lark Tee by Grainline Studio is a great basic with lots of options. I made the scoop neck with short sleeves in a size 12 at the bust and shoulders and graded down to a size 10 at the waist and hips.
I hope that you enjoyed today’s video and mini pattern comparison. I have four more t-shirt patterns on my list to try out so if you haven’t started following my YouTube channel yet, you can check it out and subscribe right here.
Today’s make feels like the perfect way to kick off the summer season. Because really this dress is all about the color. And if a super bright orange doesn’t say “Yay it’s summer!” then I don’t know what does. I really love the bright color of this dress and of course I also love the boxy silhouette.
The fabric is something that I picked up from a bargain bin in the downtown LA fashion district a long time ago. It’s very, very lightweight with a little bit of texture to it. It’s almost too lightweight for a dress but I threw caution to the wind.
This dress is made using the Tacara dress pattern from Seamwork magazine. If you’re not familiar with Seamwork, it’s a monthly online magazine and now also a sewing community. I always look forward to the first of every month because it means a new issue of Seamwork and two new patterns will be released. This dress has a very boxy cocoon shape that is similar to my Lou Box Dress 1 pattern. The big difference is that it is very fitted elbow length (or according to the pattern it’s 3/4 length) sleeves. I really love the contrast in proportions from the oversized body to the fitted sleeves. I also really like the center back seam. It’s a nice detail on an otherwise very simple garment.
I made a size 8. My measurements (38.5" bust, 28.5" waist, 39.5" hips) put me between a size 8 and a size 10 but because this pattern has such generous ease, I felt confident going with the smaller size. I also added 5” to the length of the body because I’m 5’11” and it hits perfectly at my knee. To determine how much length to add, I think I just held the pattern up to my body along with a tape measure and looked in the mirror. When adding length, I don’t think there’s a cut and dry number formula because our bodies all have different proportions. For example, my thighs are a little longer than my shins so I need to add more length to get to my knees. Other people might have the same inseam that I do but have longer shins so a knee length dress could be shorter for them. I did not alter the length of the sleeves which is probably why they sit a little more on my elbow than the middle of my forearm.
I mostly followed the instructions in the pattern but did a couple things my own way. The method of doing the pockets seemed overly complicated and I was looking for a quick and easy sew so I used this method from my Lou Box Dress sewalong. I suspect that the method in the instructions would make the pockets less visible. I just wasn’t feeling up for it. For the neckline, I just did my usual knit neckband technique (which I have a video about here).
I really love how this dress turned out. I think it will be perfect for summer. The lightweight fabric and oversized nature will be great on super hot days. I’ve already worn it a couple of times and it’s not surprisingly super comfortable. And that color just makes it feel super fun and special.