What’s the right word?

I can’t think of the right words to describe Robin.  Creative, generous, gentle, Christian.  Inspiring.  Those are good words.  Robin is one of my students.  She already knew how to sew.  But asked me to teach her how to make garments.  She sees what she likes or she finds an example, then she wants to make it.  She has ideas of how to change it.  Make it longer, different fabric, make it to fit a friend or one of her family.  This is her:


She’s a lot of fun.  Sometimes we talk so much we don’t get much sewing done.  Neither of us mind.

Lengthening Pants When There’s Not Enough Fabric in the Hem

How many times have you purchased the perfectly fitting pair of pants then after washing and drying, they are suddenly too short. Not only are they too short, you can’t lengthen the hem because there’s not enough hem in the first place.

Here’s one way to do it:

First thing to do is take out the hem using a sharp seem ripper. Then using water spray or steam, iron the pants as flat as you can. I used a piece of molding left over from a project as an iron clapper. This really helps to flatten the bump where the stitching used to be. The fold line at the bottom will become the lower edge of the pant leg.


Next I used a plain black Sharpie marker and gently drew over the line where the lower edge was. As you can see in the picture, the sharpie covers the line pretty good.  I also used it on the old stitching line.


Using a wide, single fold bias tape, sew it to the pant just below the fold line of the new hem, overlapping a half inch where the beginning and end of the bias tape meet. Iron the bias tape down away from the pant leg.



Fold and press the hem up using the fold line of the new hem. You now have plenty of fabric in the hem (bias tape) to make a decent hem. Pin the bias tape in place so that you can sew directly on top of the sharpie-covered old hem line. I used a triple stitch to sew the new hem. You can also sew the new hem with a regular single stitch.


As you can see in the last picture, the pants turned out pretty good. And they are the perfect length for me. You have to get down and look closely to see that there was anything done to the hem. For myself, I don’t know anyone who would look that close.






Perfect Ironing Board

There was a time when I wanted a large ironing board. But I had no need for the regular store bought kind with one narrow end.  So to get what I wanted, I had to be creative.

A friend was getting rid of his coffee table and offered it to me. First thing I did was ask him to take the top off.   The first time I covered it, I used poly batting. It’s what I had on hand.  Big mistake.  It melts when it gets hot. (Duh!)

So a year ago, I recovered it.

First, I covered it with 2 layers of Warm and White batting,  just the right amount of cushion.  Then I covered it with Ironing Board Cover Silver utility fabric from the local fabric shop.  I stapled the layers to the back of the board.

It’s just the right size for quilt backing, batting or any large project I need to iron.  And it fits on my dining room table.

Sewing Lessons


Some of you know that I broke my left arm on the first Friday of November.  Of course, I had to cancel just about everything in my life.  Now 8 weeks later, I’m not quite back to normal but at least now I can sew.  I’m loving it.  Projects I started for clients can now be finished.  And my sewing girls (as I call them) have started up their lessons again.  Yay!!  I have 2 students that have been coming for lessons for almost a year and a half.  One started out learning to sew garments and the other learning to sew quilts.  Now they are both working on quilts. They’ve come a long way.  They both started with no knowledge of how to use a sewing machine.  And now they make quilts, tops, skirts, tote bags and whatever else they can dream up.  With their mom’s permission, I’m including photos of them. The photos don’t capture the smiles and laughter. We have so much fun!  Just click on a photo for the slideshow.


New Chapter

In August I will start a new chapter in my life.  My work as a Certified Medication Aid will come to an end and my new job as a Payroll Specialist will begin.  What this means is an opportunity to teach more as I will have a set schedule instead of rotating days off.  I will be able to plan classes for Saturdays.  Evenings too.  I’m also in search of a space to rent for teaching.  I’ve been teaching at my dining room table, but I find that is sometimes a hassle when my house is a mess.  And it’s a mess more often than not!  I’m excited to say the least.  God has been blessing my socks off.  So say a prayer for me and stay tuned for tutorials, projects and more fun as I start my new chapter of life.

Sewing With Knits

I’ve been sewing with knits since making sweats for my children 25 years ago.  Wow, that seems like a long time.  Anyway, I’ve read many times over these years that you are supposed to use a special needle called a ‘stretch’ needle.  Up until recently, I never had to use one.  Apparently, you don’t need one for every project.  Sewing sweats, t-shirts, shorts and even nylon slips worked just fine with the regular 80/12 universal needle I bought at the local sewing/fabric store.  A month ago I started working on a cute skirt pattern from Deby Coles.  See her website link in the column at the right of this page.  I downloaded her pattern for the Flirty Skirty.  Cute name.  Anyway, I used a couple yards of flowy knit fabric with a wild print that I ordered from fabric.com.  All the serging of seams went well.  No special needles required.  I used a regular sewing machine for the elastic casing and the hem.  The casing didn’t really look too good but its not going to show so I didn’t worry about it.  But the hem was a different story.  It was going to show.  A lot.  I tried a regular needle. Then a bigger needle.  Then a smaller needle.  I researched online and found the recommendations were to use a stretch needle.  But since I never had to use one before, I figured I wouldn’t need one and I could surely find a way around it. I tried a microtex needle then a jersey needle.  Several trips to Joann’s later I finally decided that I should maybe try the stretch needle.  I also put strips of  lightweight knit  interfacing in the hem.  After many tries, many needles and many moments of frustration, I had a beautiful hem on a very cute skirt.  I will probably still try all sorts of different ways to do things, but it’s nice to know someone has already figured out the right way to do it

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