Fabric Rescue: Ironing Velvet

CircleCloakIroning and pressing is one of my weaker seamstress skills, and no where is that more evident than when working with velvet! One of my very first sewing projects was a huge circle cloak for a Teen Titans: Raven cosplay, and dear Reader, I will be honest: I ironed it not a lot. I did little but press the seams, and was not entirely satisfied that they could have come out crisper.

But how do you properly iron and press velvet without crushing the beautiful nap? Answer: a needle board! This will allow you to put the fabric nap down and iron to your heart’s content.

There, a little one-off fabric rescue post to get you started on the weekend!

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Venellope Von Schweetz: Sweatshirt Color


I’m taking my first tentative steps towards my Venellope cosplay (countdown: 3 months.) I’m now on my third custom fabric swatch, trying to get the color of her sweatshirt right. I just ordered a swatch of the color on the right; I think I’ve finally got it. (The alt text has the hex codes if you’re interested.)

As for the skirt, I’ve been eyeing Simplicity #2365, view B. It’s got a tiered look going on, with an elastic waistband (so no insane fitting.) It also has a wide array of fabrics to choose from, so finding chocolate-colored cloth won’t be as difficult. I think I’ll try tackling that first, while I wait for the swatches to come back.

Finding a sweatshirt pattern seems to be the big challenge. If anyone out there has found a sewing pattern for a non-zipped hoodie with a kangaroo pocket, please, I beg of you, send it my way!


Hex: #bdfbc8Hex: #8bbdb2

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sew Along Knit Shirt: Week 1



KS3766Since we set out to sew a knit shirt, we will want a knit pattern! As I mentioned in my Boxers: Week 1 post, you will want to select your fabric to your pattern, and your pattern to your fabric. Using only fabrics that are recommended on a pattern envelope is a hard rule you should not break unless you really know what you’re doing.

With knits, this goes double. Knits pattern are crafted with the stretch of the fabric in mind; each pattern has a special bar marking, right along the edge of pattern envelope, to make sure your fabric can stretch the necessary length to accommodate the project.

To test the stretch of your fabric, hold the selvage edge of your fabric against the indicator bar on the pattern envelope.  Holding the fabric against the envelope with one hand, use your free hand to grasp the fabric at the “non-stretch” end of the bar. Then, pull the fabric horizontally. You should be able to stretch the fabric to the end of the entire bar without damaging the fabric.

KS3766_BackSince we are making a knit, we will obviously want knit fabric. Knits are fabrics that can be stretched, in one or both directions, and can come in a wide variety of fibers and thickness. Clothing items like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and yoga pants are commonly made from knits. If the clothing item has to stretch in order to fit on your body (doesn’t have any closures, ties, sewn-in elastic, etc) it’s probably a knit.

For this project, we will be using a one-way stretch knit. Jersey or interlock (a light to medium fabric with a fine rib on both sides) would work. The important thing is that the fabric have 35% stretch. For now, stay away from two-way stretch fabrics like spandex.

For a great detailed account on different types of knits, check out this webpage from Denver Fabrics. Don’t let all the different types confuse you; for right now, all you need is a jersey or interlock knit, in the length appropriate for what size you are sewing.

I will be sewing a size Small, in View A (the long sleeve), so I bought a little over a yard and a half.


This is the first project in which we will be working with interfacing. Interfacing is a stiffer type of material used to stiffen or reinforce different parts of a sewing project. Interface is hidden, adhered to the wrong side of the fabric, usually through heat bonding (heat-adhesive interfacing is called fusible interfacing. I far prefer it to the sewn kind.) With a sharp eye, though, you can still spot when interfacing is used-in a crisp collar, on a button hole, or to help hold the shape of a sewn wallet.

You only need a very small amount for this project. 1/4 of a yard of light (but not featherweight) or medium weight fusible interfacing should do it.


A big advantage of knits is that they are incredibly easy to take care of, at least for people who do their own laundry. I can wash my knit fabric just like I would all my other normal clothes. (This isn’t universal, of course; always make sure to double-check the fabric care instructions on the end of a bolt.)

Best of all, knits don’t have to be ironed! I iron mine anyway, because I’m obsessive about wrinkles, but once your fabric comes out of the dryer, you can pretty much get straight to pinning and sewing!


Sewing tools are essentially the same as with other projects, EXCEPT the needles.

  • Sewing needles. You will want to match the needle to your sewing machine. I have a 1970’s Singer, and the Singer needles still fit it perfectly.
    • Pay special attention to the size of the needle you get. Choose the size of the needle based on the weight of fabric. You’ll probably be sewing either lightweight or medium weight fabric, so choose either a 11/80 or 14/90 needle size. 
    • When sewing with knits, you will want to use a Ballpoint needle. If you use a regular point, you will ruin your fabric. Use a Ballpoint Needle. (I am emphasizing this because I once forgot myself. Bad things occurred.)


  •  Seam Gauge. I usually end up using my tape measure if I need to hem something. I’m sure a seam gauge is handy, I just haven’t figured out how yet.
  • Rotary cuter and cutting mat. My quilting friends swear by these, but I don’t have a surface large enough in my house that I could use a decent-sized mat on. Hopes to use this in the future, though.
  • Thimbles. I don’t use these when hand sewing, because I take the saying “put blood, sweat and tears into your sewing projects” literally. Especially the tears part.

You’ve got your pattern, your gorgeous and well-cut fabric, and your sewing tools. You’re all set for Week 1!

The very last thing we’ll discuss is the Right/Wrong side of fabric. This is something we’ll be coming back to over and over again, so best cram this last term into your head before we turn our gaze to next week, when we’ll start laying out the pattern and cutting.

Prep for Week 2: Buy your pattern and fabric, wash your fabric, and assemble your sewing tools.

Next Week: Ironing, Laying Out The Pattern, Pinning and Cutting

-Thwarted Needle

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Deepest Apologies!

Hello everyone!

I am finally back after a month of very frustrating technical difficulties. Hopefully we can tumble back onto schedule and just pretend February never happened. So, expect a post from me on Wednesday introducing you to the wonderful world of knits! 


This is also the time of year when a girl’s thoughts turn to sweeter things: summer cosplay. I am gearing up to start out on my long journey towards having two cosplay outfits ready for a con in July. These two outfits will be (drumroll):

  • Venelope von Schweetz from “Wreck It Ralph”
  • Assassin from “Assassin’s Creed 2” 

Oh man am I excited. I will be getting most of the AC2 costume made (I’ll be trying my hand at the silk shirt), but Venelope is gonna be all me. Stay tuned for further developments! 


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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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February Sew Along Announcement!

KS3766Hello everyone! With the end of January fast approaching, I am gearing up for my next Sew Along. For February, I have decided to try… a knit!

Since this is my first time officially working with knits, I will be keeping it simple, sewing a straightforward long-sleeved T-shirt. If you wish to follow along, the pattern I will be using is Kwik Start 3766.

Since February is a more condensed month, I’ll be adjusting the Sew Along Schedule a bit. Since I already covered a lot of basic pattern envelope reading in January, I won’t be dedicating a full week to pattern/fabric choice in February. You will still get an entry, since knits require their own special explanation, but we’ll be jumping into the pinning/cutting a lot sooner!

Below you’ll find a detailed schedule for the February Sew Along: Long-Sleeved Knit.

1 2
3 4 5 6
#1: Pattern and Fabric
7 8 9
#2: Pinning and Cutting
11 12 13 14 15 16
#3:Steps 1-_
18 19 20 21 22 23
25 26 27 28

*I will be finishing the January Sew Along on February 2nd.

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Dr. Who Mousepad

Dr. Who Mouse PadTwo weeks ago I covered a tutorial on how to make your own fabric mouse pad. This weekend I tried it out with some left over fabric from my Quilted Wallet.

This time around, however, I did add in the layer of foam between the shelf life and the fabric. I haven’t decided if the foam is an improvement yet. It certainly was a headache to include, since I couldn’t find anything thinner than 1″ upholstry foam. I took a scissors and hacked my poor foam piece in half, height-wise, to try to get the foam under a more manageable 1/2″. (The 1″ wouldn’t fit under my sewing foot.)

Either way, I love the fabric and am overall pretty pleased with how it turned out!

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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sew Along Boxers: Week 3

Video editing is a strange, and not always cooperative, beast. I was able to get most of my video for this week’s Sew Along created, but the conversion inexplicably cut out the first step, so I hope you’ll forgive if Step 1 is in text form.

Welcome back to January’s Sew Along, Boxers! This week we’ll actually start the sewing. In this post, we’ll cover steps 1-7 in your Simplicity pattern, and then cover finishing touches, elastic insertion, and hemming next week.

Step 1 calls for us to add a stitching line to the right (fabric) side of the Left Front boxer piece. In order to figure out which piece is your left and which is your right, hold the pieces up as if you were wearing them. The flap should be in the front. Take the piece that is on your left, and lay it right (fabric) side facing you.

Now, place your pattern right side (the side with the actual print) onto the fabric. (Right sides together.) The edges should match. Find a line near the flap marked “Left Stitching Line.” This line will differ depending on what size you are sewing, so make sure you choose the correct stitching line for your size!

I am sewing a small size. In order to correctly draw the line, I fold the flap pattern piece back, so I can mark right along the edge of the pattern paper onto the fabric. If you are marking, make sure you use water-solvable markers/pencils! These will disappear once you wash the fabric so you won’t need to worry about unsightly lines on the nice, right side of the fabric.

You can also hand-baste the stitching line, but where’s the fun in that?

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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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