Hello folks! I love a good pdf sewing pattern, you know this. And so many independent designers are jumping on the pattern bandwagon and publishing some seriously awesome stuff! But the digital sewing world has become disjointed. Thousands of us are blogging, sharing photos on Flickr and pinning the heck out of patterns we have put our own creative spin on. We’re all out there, but we’re not connected beyond platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We need to bring it together.

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Since the new semester of school has started, I’ve had a surge of requests for alterations from my classmates. Interviews, spring cleaning, or maybe just a renewed mission to look good has prompted my friends to clean up their wardrobes. Of course, I’m excited about this. It means people are trying to fix their clothes instead of replacing them. And when the seat of your jeans is a little too saggy? I’ll put some more belt loops on your men’s designer jeans. Hell yes I will.

Tutorial time! Yes, it’s the most obvious fix ever, but sometimes photos help. Right? Please tell me they help.

measuring existing belt loops1. Measure the length and width of the current belt loops on your jeans. Write down those numbers, adding 5/8″ to the length and double the width plus 1/4″.

How to Sew Belt Loops onto Jeans2. Cut a rectangle of denim in the dimensions you noted above. I used a pair of old jeans I never wear anymore.
3. Serge the long end of the fabric with a dark color thread. Try not to cut off any fabric while serging.
4. Iron your belt loop so that the serged seam runs down the center. Serge the top and bottom edges.
5. Edge stitch at 1/8″ seam allowance down each long edge of the loop with a coordinating thread.

find and mark the center point between the two belt loopsNow you’re ready to sew the soon-to-be loop onto the jeans. For this project, I added two extra belt loops between the back middle and the side loops.

6. Measure the center point between the two loops and mark with chalk. Pin your belt loop to the waistband with 1/4″ folded under.

sewing belt loop onto jeans7. Sew a straight stitch that lines up with the waistband’s topstitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
8. Sew a tight zig zag stitch over that straight stitch. Back and forward stitch several times.
9. Repeat on the bottom of your loop.

Now go thread a belt through those loops and admire your handiwork.

The most epic Sew Thrifted post is coming your way after I clean myself up for some photos. It might be my proudest moment yet!

You guys, this is big. My first guest post is happening today…right now, in fact! And I couldn’t be happier to feature my internet buddy Elena from Randomly Happy for the inaugural post! Take it away, Elena.

Hiya lovely Meadow Rue readers. I’m Elena over at Randomly Happy. It’s such a treat to be here with you. These Sew Thrifted posts were the very first posts I stumbled across and are what hooked my on Meadow Rue in the first place.

If your thrifting adventures are anything like mine, you might be stumbling across some lovely items of clothing that are just several sizes too big. Case in point: this lovely vintage skirt I found in my local thrift store. So hard to resist with it’s yellow polka dots and pleats. But just way too huge. And, trust me, nothing makes you look less attractive than an oversized, pleated polka dot skirt. 

But there’s hope. Skirts are ridiculously easy to take in. And so, I wanted to share two ways you could use to tailor thrifted skirts like this. One way is super quick and works when skirts are slightly too large. The second way is best if a skirt is significantly massive. Both of these work best if the skirt has an elasticised waist (i.e. no zipper), or has a seam at the back centre.

No 1: The quick way to take in a skirt1. Turn your skirt inside out and try it on. Work out where you want the skirt to sit on your waist. Mark this with a fabric pen or tailor’s chalk. Make sure you take in roughly the same amount of fabric on both sides.

2. Wander on over to your sewing machine. With both sides of the skirt together and starting at the top sew over the line you marked and gradually continue down till about half way down the skirt. Make sure you gradually taper the line, bringing it closer and closer to the original side seam. This helps stop the fabric from bulking up and giving you weird seams on your hips (not flattering – trust me – I’ve learned the hard way!).

No 2: When a skirt is huge1. Repeat step 1 above. Now, instead of tapering the line just continue straight down to the bottom of the skirt. Cut away the excess fabric and zig zag the seams to stop them from fraying.See, so easy. And quick too. You might need to hem the skirt – especially if you’re short like me – but even then this can all be wrapped up in an hour.

So, would you be willing to take the plunge and resize your next thrifty find? Or are you strictly sticking to your size?  

Little kid fabric is the best. Munchkins get to wear prints of elephants and puppies and it’s totally cool.

Adults? We get to wear stripes. Maybe the occasional ikat, but that’s it. It’s my life’s mission to design a line of playful fabric for adults. It won’t be weird. I promise.

Polly Peasant Dress Neck Detail

This week my sister Whitney is sewing up the most adorable little dresses you’ve ever seen, by putting all those random fat quarters to use.

Polly Peasant Dress in puppy print

So much painful adorableness going on here. I swear, everything miniature is better than full size.

Polly Peasant Dresses
The facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Polly Peasant Dress & Blouse by Etsy seller Sew Much Ado
Size: 3T
Fabric: Two fat quarters per shirt plus white Kona cotton (three fat quarters would suffice if you want the entire shirt from the same fabric), all of mine is from Jo-Ann (surprise, surprise)
Notions:  3/8″ elastic, safety pin
Difficulty: beginner
Make it again?: This isn’t even my first attempt at this pattern, so I’d say it’s likely I’ll do it again.

Her words:
“Do you ever look at those little fat quarter packs of fabric in the quilting section and think that the print is fantastic, but there’s not nearly enough to make something decent?  I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased these turquoise elephants no less than three times when they were on sale for 99 cents apiece.

Well, here’s something to do with them!  You’ll need at least two matching fat quarters.  Grab a third for the sleeves unless you have a coordinate at home.  I used plain white cotton.  The pattern is a breeze.  Every step is accompanied by a photo and she talks you through project with or without the use of a serger. 

These are just as simple as the pants from last week.  I’d imagine this would be a great time to let your little one pick out her favorite fabric.  (Because, you know, your children spend hours upon hours in the fabric store with their mom… just like we did as kids.)  With four bucks and an hour to sew, you can complete this project easily.  Have fun!”

Take a skip across the pond to Randomly Happy, where I guest post for her “Take One Trend” series. Full tutorial on the other side!

FYI Coloradans: I’ll be teaching not one, but two, shirt-to-skirt classes at Fabricate in the coming weeks! Register now, as space is very limited.

Remember when I showed you this before pic? I mean, really, how could you forget? Am I haunting your dreams with that face? I thought so.

When I subjected you to such horror before, I was posting about my newly skinnified Banana Republic jeans. But what I really wanted to show you was a very shapeless, thrifted sweater in a color we can only call citron. It’s the lemony-est yellow I’ve ever seen, so it gets a special name.

Citron was a men’s medium and much too boxy. So I decided to take the sides and arms in, so the darn thing would actually fit me. Now, I’m not calling this post a tutorial, because I didn’t take any pictures of the process. But I will show you a fun little diagram for laughs.

Starting in the armpit, I sewed the blue dotted line to the bottom of the sweater. Then I sewed from the armpit down the arm to the cuff. Do this to both sides. I cut the excess fabric after sewing.

I have to say that I’m pretty smitten with my new citron sweater.

It’s even better under a blazer. But really, what isn’t? Blazers are the best.

Did you notice my new social widgets below? Those will make it super easy for you to like, share, tweet, email, or pin anything you see on the blog. And sharing is free, and fun!  When you use social media to talk about things you find fun, interesting, or just plain awesome on the interwebs, you make that person/company/topic just a tad more visible in the sea of internet junk. Cool, eh? Learning is rad.

I’m on a skirt kick lately. It’s too hot to wear anything else. Soon, friends, soon there will be a fall clothing related post. Just hold your horses. For now, I can’t have fabric wrapped around my thighs. It’s just a bad situation.

While in Portland, I picked up this periwinkle pleated dress at a vintage store near my friend’s house. The racks at this store were packed with awesome vintage clothing and bright, graphic prints. And, get this, there were two whole clothing racks deemed “Burning Man Approved”. In that moment, eyeing those racks, I had a slight longing to embrace the hipster and skip off to Burning Man in nothing but a leather mini skirt and kitten printed jean vest. It’s a slippery slope folks. It could happen.

Then I remembered that I don’t really drink that much, definitely don’t do drugs, and really, really hate being hot. I’ll stick to sewing skirts. And messing up zippers.

Check out this before and after!

I really went out on a limb here and avoided the urge to sew an elastic waistband on this puppy. Mostly because my elastic stash is running low and some serious sewing supply rationing has begun. Instead, I sewed a fabric, non-stretch waistband with (gasp!) a zipper! It was hard. And there are no close-up pictures. End of story.

So, alas, here are some short steps to get you started sewing your own pleated skirts. Read the entire set of directions carefully and before you get started, because I was less than stellar at the photo documentation of this project.

1. Lay the dress out evenly on the ground, and cut at the waist. My dress had an elastic waist, so I cut just below that. Pin all of those perfect pleats in place!
2. Measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit. Make sure you wear a one-piece swimming suit while doing this.

 Source

3. Cut a piece of your waistband fabric that is your waist measurement + 2.5″ by 3.5″. Also, cut a piece of medium-weight interfacing that is your waist measurement + 2.5″ by 2.75″. See graphic below for my 28″ waistband.

4. Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of your waistband fabric, centering it.
5. Fold your waist band in half, length wise, and iron well. Then fold your seam allowances length wise, and iron in towards the center fold. See below.

6. Sew a zipper into the side of the skirt using this tutorial. Have wine on hand for this.
7. Sew on your ironed waistband using this tutorial.

And you’re done!

Now, I need to admit that I kind of left you hanging there with the last few steps (ie zipper). And I apologize. I still don’t feel comfortable with my zipper sewing skills and wouldn’t show you a close up of my zipper if my life depended on it. The beauty in a skirt like this is that your mistakes are more hidden than in a fitted piece of clothing.

Normally, I would tell you to hop to it! and go make your own pleated skirt with a fitted waistband. But let’s be real, just slap an elastic waistband on that puppy. You’ll thank me later.

I swear Pinterest is stalking my blog. Because, let’s get real, this doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me.

Source

Yes, Pinterest has taken the whole high low skirt up a notch by showcasing sheer fabrics with a dramatic rise in the front, and just the perfect amount of ruffles to make the whole thing so delicately feminine that it hurts.

But…I’m sure they were inspired by me and my homemade high low turquoise number. Pretty damn sure over here…

Anywho, you guys are in luck today. I’m not featuring a tiny tank or a refitted men’s shirt. But you’re not so lucky that you escaped another elastic waist skirt. (Insert terrifying witch cackle here).

Have you seen this sheer skirt trend? Do you love it? I do.

Yes, I promise, there is a liner under there. An elastic waist skirt is one of the easiest pieces of clothing to whip up in an afternoon. This one took me less than two hours!

So without further ado, here’s a fun little tutorial for creating this sheer elastic waist skirt with a built-in short slip in seven easy steps!

1. Find yourself about 1.5 yards of sheer fabric. Mine was an ikat print that I intended to use for this project.

2. Cut the fabric into a 41″ by 45″ rectangle. Fold that rectangle in half with the 41″ edges together. Pin and serge (or sew with a straight stitch, and then a zig-zag stitch). Disregard my wonky skirt bottom.

3. Cut a solid piece of material (I used rayon, but any other flowy fabric that won’t get bunched up when you walk will work. I don’t recommend cotton) into a rectangle that is 15″ by 45″. Fold that rectangle in half, matching up the short edges, pin and serge. Also serge the bottom hem.

4. Pin the solid colored liner to the inside of the sheer, serged rectangle matching up the serged seams. Make sure that the right side of the solid colored fabric is against the wrong side of the sheer fabric.

5. Serge the liner and sheer fabric together.

6. Cut a 26″ piece of elastic for a size 4/6 and sew the short edges together. Pin the circle of elastic to the serged waist using this method. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

7. For the skirt hem, fold over the skirt 3/4″, then fold over 3/4″ again and press. Pin and sew a straight stitch with a 1/4″ topstitch.

The final product wasn’t half bad. With a thrifted chambray and strappy brown sandals, it’s a great, functional outfit.

I’m considering inserting a slit that goes just above mid knee offset to the left, as this puppy is a tad difficult to walk long distances in. The diameter of the skirt circle is just short of a full stride, forcing you to do that shuffle type walk thing. If you pull up the skirt to make your stride bigger, you run the risk of pulling up the liner, exposing yourself to onlookers. Trust me, I know. My point: If you walk a lot, insert a slit.

On Saturday, I am off to my old stomping grounds, Portland, OR, and you can bet I’m bringing my sheer skirt with me.  Along with my high low skirt and tiny tank. Get excited.

The tiny pocket tank has me craving something flowy and sleeveless. Like, all of the time.

One could attribute that to the 100 plus degree temperatures in Montana right now. If they wanted.

Attribute away I say, I’m still going to scour the thrift stores for too-big, sleeveless numbers to appease my craving.

Meet Big Red.

And boy is she big. A 1XL Notations tank (that makes me look 8 months pregnant) would be perfect to turn into a tiny pocket tank, I thought.

I put it on and quickly called for my sew-talented mom to assist. She grabbed a bit of fabric from each side to see what it would look like if we merely brought the sides in a bit. The result was a long, flowing cap sleeve. A basic piece for lounging in skinny jeans or tucked into a skirt for more cleaned up look.

So take in the sides we did. Literally the quickest sewing fix available. And when you’ve resized about a hundred button-ups, this is a no-brainer. I promise you’ll think so too.

First, we placed a pin in the armpit where we wanted to take the shirt in. Then I used a quilter’s ruler and chalk to draw a diagonal down to the hem of the shirt, making sure to leave more room at the bottom of the shirt than at the top.

Then, I made sure the slippery fabric was laying absolutely flat and I pinned along that line.

Normally, I would cut the fabric off the side, pin it up, then sew. But this time I just sewed down that white chalk line, and cut the extra fabric off after I knew the fit was right. It worked like a charm!

Finally, I serged up the sides to prevent fraying.

This project took a total twenty minutes from start to finish. My kind of sewing indeed.

I wore this shirt the same day to the Vintage Whites Antique Market and sewing all day. It was totally comfortable, and breezy to boot.

There are many more Sew Thrifted posts to come! Check back each Thursday to see all the crap I’ve accumulated from thrift stores in the past 30 days.

A Year of Nothing New Update:

My year of nothing new has been rather uneventful thus far, besides a slight moment of panic when I was told I’d need work boots for a workshop I’m taking. I quickly scoured eBay, added several used items to my watch list and then forgot completely about the work boots that I’m required to wear…on Monday.

Today is Thursday.

Gulp.

Yesterday, I asked each of the girls I work with their feet size and my favorite coworker told me she’s exactly my size and has an extra pair that I can borrow! I will admit that it’s a little anxiety inducing asking people if you can borrow random items, but I’ve found that, in general, people are more than willing to help a friend out.

If nothing else, this year of nothing makes me appreciate the generosity of my friends and family, and drives me to be equally as willing to give the shirt off my back. Life is good and people are good. Amen.

Have you ever noticed the distinct regional differences in certain words, phrases and sayings? Of course you have, and it’s probably no big deal to you.

To me, it’s fascinating.

Soda vs pop (it’s all Coke to me), standing ON line vs standing IN line, and my all time favorite, button-up shirt vs button-down shirt.

If I’m correct (which is doubtful), I think the correct shirt terminology lies in each individual’s actual habit of buttoning the shirt. Apparently East-coasters button their shirts starting at the top button and proceed down, and West-coasters start at the bottom button and proceed up.

I, on the other hand, start somewhere in the middle, and then proceed in a haphazard process from there. Usually resulting in several rebuttonings of the shirt due to that dreaded skipped button thing.

Moving on.

My life has been dominated by button-ups lately. I bought four of them at the thrift store last week, including a single chambray from 1970 that fits like a glove….and is light and breezy…and (get this) doesn’t need ironing…EVER! Whatever toxic material that 1970’s shirt is made from is pure heaven.

The reason I’m swimming in button-ups, is that I’ve taken on a very special project. After stumbling across this pin, I became a bit obsessed with repurposing oversized button-ups. It started with flannel, and has moved to pearl snaps and some real interesting (read: ugly) oversized women’s wear.

Check out the transformation:

This pretty puppy was a 3XL Timberland flannel. I don’t recommend trying to resize a men’s 3XL to a women’s small, but the result wasn’t terrible.

Here’s another flannel transformation, but no before photo. Sorry I’m a terrible blogger. This shirt was a men’s medium and was a much easier transformation. It literally fits like a glove. And the best thing about repurposing oversize clothes? You can make the shirts as long as you want, in case, like me, you’d like to cover up some of that junk in the trunk.

A full tutorial to come on this process! Also, some tips on where to thrift a chainsaw and workboots to complete the look. I swear I can see trends coming from a mile away.