Ahoy pirates! Today on the blog I wanted to show you how to shorten different style zippers. With the new Go-To Jacket patterns releasing, you will be playing around with various size zippers so I find that it’s easier to just stock up on longer zippers (30-36″) and then shorten them based on your needs.
*Plastic separating zippers
Let’s talk about plastic separating zippers first. They are my favorite zipper style for kids and women casual wear. And shortening them is a peace of cake. There’s no need for any fancy tool or muscles 😉
Simply grab a pair of scissors that you do NOT use to cut fabric, a measuring tape and a lighter. Measure the length of the zipper you need for your jacket, mark it on both sides of the separating zipper. Move the zipper pull down and cut the desired length. Follow the instructions I give you in the video below to create a “zipper stop”.
Note: since you’re working with an open flame (if you don’t have a hot knife) please be extra cautious and avoid having your little ones “help out” 🙂
TIP: Always measure 3 times before cutting the zipper, just to be sure.
*Metal Separating Zippers
The other separating zipper you may use for hoodies or jackets is a metal zipper. Walmart always carries them so, on a pinch, it’s a good alternative for plastic zippers.
Shortening a metal zipper is more time consuming and it requires a little bit of elbow grease and more tools but it’s totally doable. Just grab those non fabric scissors, a measuring tape and some long nose pliers and watch the video below.
TIP: Mark on both sides of the zipper where the waistband meets the bodice, the pockets and the hood. This will make it a lot easier to make sure that everything matches when you zip up the jacket.
*All purpose zippers
If you are making a Wiggle dress and you need to shorten the all purpose zipper you are using you will only need your scissors, a measuring tape and some thread. Simply mark on the BOTTOM of the zipper (not the top as you did for separating zippers) where you would like for the zipper pull to stop.
Sew by hand a zipper stop at the mark you just made. Simply sew back on forth over the zipper teeth a few times. You can certainly use your sewing machine for this step but I find it easier to just hand sew the thread zipper stop. Cut the zipper 1″ below the thread zipper stop you just created and seal your zipper ribbon with a lighter. Optionally, remove the plastic teeth below the thread zipper stop. Tadah! You have shortened your AP zipper in minutes.
Now that you have shortening zippers all figured out, go and sew all the Go To Jackets and make sure to post them in the Patterns for Pirates group!
How adorable are the new Petite Pegs? So much cuteness in such a small package. If you haven’t downloaded your FREE copy, do that here. Today on the blog I wanted to show you how to add cuffs to the Petite pegs.
We will start by shortening the length of the Petite Pegs by 1″. To do that simply grab a ruler and draw a line 1 inch above the ankle cut line. This will be your new pegs ankle length. Cut the two mirrored legs using this new cut line.
You will now be cutting the cuffs. I did the math for you so just follow the cutting chart below. Remember to cut two cuffs, one for each leg.
*If you babywear a lot you might find it helpful to double the cuff length. This way the long cuff can be folded down over the heel. It’s a popular way to wear pants when you’re babywearing because otherwise the pant legs hike up and then the baby ankles stick out.
Sew the Petite Pegs as per the tutorial. Grab your little cuffs and fold them to create a memory hem. Press and steam.
Sew the cuffs to create a loop and fold them. Take a moment to look over the tips I gave you in the Knit Cuffs 101 blog. They will definitely come in handy when attaching these itty bitty cuffs to the little pegs.
Attach the cuffs to the leg opening with your serger or the sewing machine following a 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure you match the cuffs’ side seams to the leggings inseam. Stretch the cuff to fit the leg opening.
When attaching the cuffs you can place your serger foot on the outside of the leg (as pictured above) or inside the leg (as pictured below). You will be working with a pretty small loop so go slow!
Tadah! There you have it, Petite Pegs with cuffs! I can’t wait to see your little creations!
Note: You may find it easier to attach the flat cuff to the leg instead of sewing the inseams and the cuff in a loop. You can certainly do that, you will be sewing the inseam after you attach the cuffs. You can read about some ways to finish your serger seam here.
Welcome to the day 5 of the P4P Henley sew along. Today’s steps include adding the neckband or the hood.
If you have done the solid front shirt (no placket) you will now be adding the neckband as in the pattern tutorial. For additional tip, check out our P4P University Neckbands 101 blog and videos here.
If your sew along choice was a Henley style shirt then you would now be adding the henley neckband. This neckband is not sewn in a loop like the crew neckband was. Take a moment to watch the video below. The most important thing to keep in mind when adding this neckband is to go very slow and baste!
Hood (with or without the placket)
The Henley patterns include a hood for the placket option. For this sew along we wanted to show you how easy it is to add a hood to the solid front option. The only pattern modifications you will need to make is to extend the front of the hood by 1/2″.
Sew the hood as per the pattern tutorial. Overlap the front neckline 1/2″ and baste in place.
Mark the quarter points of the hood and the neckline. Turn your shirt inside out and place the hood right sides together, matching the quarter points.
Sew or serge the hood to the neckline following a 1/2″ seam allowance. See how easy it was to add a hood to the plain front shirt?
**The links won’t be active until the scheduled date.
January 14: Announcement.
January 15: Choosing Your Fabrics, Printing + Measuring.
January 16: Cutting Fabric.
January 17: Placket.
January 18: Sleeves.
January 19: Attaching Neckband + Hood.
January 20-21: Catch-Up Days.
January 22: Recap + Winners Announced!
Ahoy Pirates! In our first P4P University blog of the year I wanted to give you a few tips and tricks to make adding knit cuffs to your projects easy peasy. Whether you’re sewing for yourself, your significant other or your little ones, adding cuffs to your sleeves or leg openings can be a tedious job. We can change that!
*Choose the right fabric for the cuff!
As I mentioned in the Neckbands 101 blog post, choosing the correct fabric for your cuffs will make a huge difference. The best one is rib knit or ribbing. If you do not have any ribbing handy or the colors you have do not work for your project the next best thing would be cotton spandex. I mainly use cotton spandex in for my kids’ shirts and joggers cuffs as I like to coordinate it with the main fabric. Whatever fabric you pick, make sure it has at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery.
*Always cut the cuff with the greatest stretch horizontally.
Always cut your cuffs cross grain! Even if the fabric you use stretches over 50% in both directions, you should never cut against the grain. Read all about the importance of “the grain” in Roberta’s blog post, When It Goes Against the Grain.
*Press your cuffs!
I know I talk about pressing a lot in my blogs, but you have to believe me, it makes your sewing life so much easier. I recommend grabbing those cuffs and giving them a good steam press as soon as you cut your fabric. This will create a memory hem that will make it so much easier to fold them once you sew the “loop” closed.
Press your cuffs after you sew them on too! 🙂
*Snip the seam allowance to create less bulk
This is one of tricks for creating less bulk at he seam. Once you sew the cuff to create a loop, grab your sharpest scissors and make a cut as close to the stitch as possible without, of course, snipping the stitch.
That little snip will make it so easy to please the seam allowances on opposite sides when you sew fold the cuff. In doing so, you will have so much less bulk at the seam, your serger will thank you! 🙂
*Place your sleeve inside the cuffs
Mark the quarter points on the sleeve (or leg) opening as well as the cuffs. I find that for the smallest of sizes, marking just the half point is sufficient.
To make sure you will not have your seam allowance on the outside of your sleeve (or ankle) 😉 place the right side of your sleeve inside the cuff and match the quarter (or half way) points.
*Sew or serge with the presser foot inside the sleeve
Most of the time the sleeve opening is pretty small so I find that it is easier the place the presser foot of my serger (or sewing machine) inside the sleeve as opposed to stitching on the outside. This is especially important when you make Baby Bear Joggers or and kids shirts with cuffs, like the Jolly Roger Raglan or the Yo Ho Henley.
*Do not topstitch.
As opposed to necklines, I find that cuffs and waistbands look a lot better if you do not topstitch them down. I do encourage you to press your garments when you finish sewing it, including the cuffs.
There you have it! 7 easy tips to follow when adding cuffs to your favorite P4P knit patterns. My boys are both rocking the JRR with add on cowl neck from the pack and faux layered sleeves from the blog.
Which one will you be making first? Make sure you post your creations in the P4P group and let me know if adding cuffs is now an easier “task”. 🙂
Many moons ago, I can remember calling my mom in a panic. I had printed out my first pattern for a garment, assembled it, and then just stared at all of the markings! Even though I’d sewn quilts for years before, this was my first attempt at making clothes and the pattern looked like a map in which I had no clue how to follow. After my “what did I get myself into” talk with her, she slowly walked me through each question I had and now after all these years we’ve come full circle and I’m making clothes for her!
Like many people, you will probably experience (or already have!) the “What have I done?” moment in sewing and question why you started a project to begin with. Have no fear! We’re here to help. We decided it was time to break that map down for you and help you learn how to navigate through the amazing world of garment sewing. In this post, you’ll find a description of all the key terms and symbols you might expect to see when starting your sewing adventures! So let’s get those patterns printed, assembled and let the fun begin! (If you’re staring at all of those pages you’ve just printed- don’t worry there either! Click here for our First Time User Tips, which includes how to assemble patterns).
The grainline tells you which direction the grain of your fabric should run. The grainline will run parallel between the selvages, or finished edges of your fabric. There are usually printer markings, contrasting trims, solid colors, etc found on the selvage. Typically, your grainline will have the less amount of stretch in knit fabric. A few weeks ago, Roberta shared some details and information about grainlines, why they’re important, and much more. You can check that out here.
The stretch of your fabric will run perpendicular to the grainline/selvage and will be the direction with the most stretch. As you can see in the picture below, the stretch is running the opposite way as the grainline. It is extremely important to have the right direction of stretch when it comes to the fit of your garment. The stretch will go around your body for most pattern pieces and is accounted for when the ease of a pattern is drafted (read more about ease here). For example, if a pattern is drafted with negative ease (finished measurements are smaller than your body) and you have the stretch going in the wrong direction, chances are, it won’t fit.
If a pattern piece is symmetrical on both sides, you will notice the center with a “FOLD” marking. This is commonly found on pieces such as the bodice, back, or sleeve in which both the left and right sides have the same appearance. You will want to fold your fabric wide enough for your pattern piece and align this marking to the fold of the fabric. To help conserve fabric, I like to fold it just wide enough for the pattern piece (shown above). A common error can be to fold the fabric exactly down the middle, leaving wasted material.
You might have noticed small triangles on some pattern pieces. These notches serve several different purposes. One of the purposes is to help distinguish the back from the front. For example, something like a raglan style top can easily get mixed up when assembling. These notches will help keep the front with the front and back with the back. The second purpose is to help with alignment. By matching these notches up, your pieces will be in the correct position.
You will typically find a hem gauge on both the sleeves and bottom edges. This is usually a triangular shape that notches out. It will mark the correct allowance for your hem. This is particularly useful when creating a memory hem. All you will need to do is fold your fabric up to this notch, press and unfold. Once you’ve sewn the seams, you will still have your pressed fold in place with the correct seam allowance.
Most Patterns for Pirates patterns will include a cut chart. The cut chart is typically found within the first few pages of the tutorial and will give measurements for any rectangular pieces. For example, items like neckbands, cuffs, waistbands and elastic would all be found here. Some designers will included these as actual pattern pieces, however by providing a cut chart, you are able to save on both paper and ink. When cutting these pieces, I find it easiest to do so using a quilters ruler and rotary cutter.
Hopefully these tips help! Remember that we are always here to help, especially in our Facebook group. If you’re not a already a member, be sure to join so that you can ask questions and share all of your amazing Patterns for Pirates creations!
The Jolly Roger is probably one of the most used patterns in my son’s wardrobe! It’s fast, easy, and has lots of option to mix it up with the add-on pack. However, one of my favorite looks is a layered sleeve, which can be hard to accomplish when my son always wants to wear a sweatshirt! Enter- the faux sleeve! This hack is very easy to do and can also be used with other long sleeve patterns, including the Yo-ho Henley and Relaxed Raglan.
The only modification you will need to complete to achieve this look is to alter the sleeve. All other pieces will be cut out as directed and sewn as per the tutorial.
The first thing you will need to do is cut the upper sleeve piece. To do so, use the short sleeve cut line, however you will want to cut 1″ BELOW this line. Don’t forget to cut two MIRROR image upper sleeve pieces! After cutting the upper sleeve pieces, you will cut out the bottom pieces. Using the same method, use the short sleeve cut line again, however cut 1″ above this line. Again, don’t forget to cut two MIRROR images. You will now assemble your sleeve pieces. Place right sides together and stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press your seam towards the upper sleeve piece.
You will now complete the rest of your Jolly Roger Raglan (or other shirt) according to the directions. Make sure that when you are sewing the sleeve and side seam, to align the faux hem as well.
Be sure to share your creations with us in our Facebook group and I can’t wait to see what kind of fun layering ideas you come up with!
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With the off the shoulder look being all the rave right now, I just had to show you how easy it is to get the look with our newest Ragdoll pattern. I will show you two different looks, one more modest and one sexier if you will. The technique will be the same for both you will just make the sleeve cut out different sizes. Feel free to play with it to get your desired cold shoulder size.
Start by printing the pattern in your size. You will be cutting out a portion of the sleeves as in the graphic below.
Hem the cutout using a 1/2″ hem allowance. The easiest way to do that is to steam press and pin it in place with a lot of pins (or clips). Stitch with your coverstitch, a twin needle or a zig zag stitch. Don’t forget to give it a good press after you hem it.
Sew the shirt or dress as shown in the pattern tutorial. All we have left to do now is attach the neckband. Press 1/2″ memory hem as shown below.
Fold the neckband lengthwise and press it really well. Sew the short sides together to create a loop. Mark the center back (where the seam is) and the center front.
Match the center back of the neckband with the center back of the shirt. Slightly stretch the unfolded neckband and pin it to the back. Repeat for the front of the shirt. Using a stretch stitch, sew the neckband to the shirt right sides together.
Using the memory hem you created earlier enclose the front and back of the shirt and stitch the neckband with either your coverstitch machine, twin needles or a zig zag stitch.
All you have to do now is give the neckband a good steam press and show off your new cold shoulder shirt.
Play around with the cut-out size and get more looks!
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During Raglan Week last year, we showed how to create a keyhole back for the Slim Fit Raglan (here), so I knew a tie back option for the RagDoll Raglan had to be done. Instead of binding the neckline, I decided to do a spaghetti strap style tie. You can really use anything for your ties; lace, ribbon, etc. but will show you how to make the spaghetti straps.
Cut your patterns pieces as usual:
- front, back with low scoop option, 2 sleeves (mirror image).
- For the ties, I did 1.5″ x 22″. You can adjust to your preference but found this to be a good length for me.
- Neckband: as per pattern but less 3″ from the width measurement on the cut chart. Example: Size large is 2.75″ x 26.75″ so my adjusted neckband is 2.75′ x 23.75″.
Construct your pattern as provided in the tutorial but skip hemming the low back curve. We will do that after the back has been attached to the sleeves.
Now to create the ties.
Now, we can finish the neckband.
The tie back gives a much more open back but is perfect to show off all those strappy bralettes :).
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We couldn’t have ended this hack series without a twist back. For this option, you will need to print and cut the low back option. You will not be adding the neckband to this hack so the shirt neckline will be 1.5″ lower than the intended look of the pattern. You may need to wear a cami underneath (like the Cross My Heart Cami) or you can raise the neckline prior to cutting the fabric. Check out this “how to” blog!
Place the back top piece 1/2″ away from the fold line.
Using a 1/2″ hem allowance, hem the top and bottom. You can use a coverstitch, a zig zag stitch or twin needles.
Twist the top piece twice so the right side of both the left and right sides are up. Baste the top and bottom pieces together as in the tutorial.
Attach the sleeves matching the notches. There will be 1/2″ excess fabric at the top which will be hemmed next.
Hem the neckline with a 1/2″ hem allowance. All you have left to do is give the shirt a good press and show it off!
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Off the Shoulder
Last but not least, we couldn’t leave you without a full off the shoulder option. Using the same idea that we did for the Relaxed Raglan (here), we’re going to remove some height to all the pattern pieces (front, back, and sleeve). Also, be sure to move your notches to help you keep the pieces in order and you know which side lines up with one another.
For the band, I used the same measurement as the waistband in the pattern. In hindsight, I could have made it a smidge tighter around the shoulders but as is doesn’t move around too much. Now, I didn’t measure each size, but just to be safe…..measure your neckline once you’ve completed the main pieces. Make your band between 80-85% (plus seam allowance) of the opening. (Unsure how to measure the neckline? Check out this blog post for more details.) Mark in quarter and stitch just like you would a waistband. As with any neckband though, be sure your band has good recovery! This will help keep it up on your shoulders. 🙂
Make a RagDoll Raglan? Be sure so share you makes in the Facebook Group or tag us on Instragram!
We make woven fabrics on a loom. The weaver strings the lengthwise threads first, and we call them the “warp”. Then threads are woven through them creating the fabric. We call these horizontal threads the “weft” or the “woof”. We’ve named the edges of the fabric the “selvages” or “selvedges”, and we weave them more tightly to prevent fraying.
The warp creates the “straight grain” of the fabric, and the weft creates the “cross grain”.
Pattern pieces have grainlines printed on them. They are either arrows or fold lines.
When we cut a pattern out, the best way is to fold the fabric carefully on the straight grain of the fabric, lining up the selvages . If you need to straighten the ends of your fabric, take a snip through the selvage near one end. Then pull a horizontal thread. The missing thread will create a straight line for you to cut along.
Then place the pattern pieces down carefully with the grain lines on the pattern piece lined up with the straight grain of the fabric.
An easy way to check if your pattern piece is “on-grain” is to measure from the line on the pattern piece to the selvages in a couple of places. The distance should be the same.
It’s important for long pattern pieces, especially something like a pant leg, to be grain perfect. If it’s not, the garment will twist, and once you cut it, there’s nothing you can do to fix it. You’ll also never be able to match stripes or plaids if you cut off-grain.
Smaller pieces like pockets, collars, cuffs, and yokes can be cut on the straight grain, the cross grain, or the bias no matter what the lines on the pattern say. The “bias” is the direction that’s 45 degrees from the straight grain. It has more drape than either the straight grain or the cross, and edges cut on the bias don’t fray.
When you cut major pieces on the bias, it’s important to cut them in opposite directions or your whole garment will twist. But it’s not important for small pieces like pockets.
You can mark the bias on your pattern piece with a protractor or a quilting ruler.
Over time fabrics cut on the cross grain will droop more than then fabric cut on the straight. It’s not a problem for something like a skirt or pants made from a border print. The droop won’t be noticeable in the normal lifetime of the garment. You might see it in heavy curtains, though.
Technically, knit fabrics don’t have a grain, but the direction you cut your pieces out matters just as much. Big machines make knit fabric, but they work the same way we knit with yarn and needles. Some machines knit back and forth and some knit in the round. One results in a fabric with selvage-like edges and other in a tube of fabric.
No matter what yarn is used to create the knit fabric, the single knit process will result in a horizontal stretch in the fabric we call the “mechanical stretch”. Fabrics that only have horizontal stretch are usually called “two-way stretch”. The addition of elastane (Spandex, Lycra, etc.) to the yarns can create a fabric with both horizontal and vertical stretch, and it is usually described as “four-way stretch”. Whether the fabric is two-way or four-way, the horizontal stretch should be the circumference of your garment.
While the amount of elastane in the yarns might make the fabric stretchy enough for the garment to fit you cut with the vertical stretch used as the circumference, you shouldn’t cut it that way. If the mechanical stretch in the fabric hangs vertically, you’ll get elephant knees, saggy elbows, and baggy crotches. You can use the same method for making sure your pattern is lined up so the grainlines on your pattern are parallel to the edges of your fabric that we use for wovens. Knit patterns often have the horizontal stretch line marked, too.
There’s a saying in sewing- The fabric always wins. There is probably nowhere in sewing where fighting the fabric is more futile than not paying attention to the grain.
In one of my daily Pinterest browsing sessions (admit it, we all do it!) I came across some great boho tops that just screamed fall to me. Needless to say I had to have one so in today’s blog I will show you how to create this simple boho shirt using just the Timeless Tunic pattern and a few easy modifications.
Start by printing your pattern in your size. You will only need the bodice pieces and the sleeves (if you are not making the tank option). Skip the skirt! Measure the front and back bottom width. We need that measurement to create the gathered skirt. Since the look we’re going for is a relaxed boho style we will not be adding the elastic casing or the elastic.
Cut the skirt part of the top 9″ by 1.5x bottom width. If you prefer your top longer you can certainly make the pieces 11-12″ instead of 9″. You will cut two pieces, one for the front and one for the back.
Using your favorite gathering method (serger gather, zig zag over dental floss, longest stitch/highest tension, etc) gather the top of the skirt pieces to match the bottom of the top.
Sew the top as per the pattern instructions.
Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew the side seams of the skirt to create a loop. Attach the gathered skirt to the top matching the side seams.
I can’t wait to see your take on this top so be sure to post your creations in the P4P group.