Pattern Emporium has done it again with another amazing pattern that I was honored to pattern test! This is the Carefree Cuffed Tee which was just released today (so you can get it at 15% off for the next week or so). This post is mostly gonna be photos ...
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Pigs In Pajamas: 'I wonder what Piglet is doing,' thought Pooh. 'I wish I were there to be doing it, too.' -- A.A. Milne, Winnee the Pooh

Pattern Emporium Carefree Cuffed Tee

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Pattern Emporium has done it again with another amazing pattern that I was honored to pattern test! This is the Carefree Cuffed Tee which was just released today (so you can get it at 15% off for the next week or so). This post is mostly gonna be photos because the top itself is pretty straight forward.

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I made mine of a bamboo jersey from FabScrap that is super soft. I could sleep in it. It also has great drape as you can see in the photos.

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I made the longest hem option because I wanted to wear it over leggings to work which I have have done. It’s really the best. I’m covered and comfortable. So I’m probably gonna make at least 3-5 more of these because after spending the last year in leggings while working from home, I’m not sure I can go back to regular pants. I mean, the jeans I wear are pretty close to leggings as is, but still. Leggings are so comfortable and it’s way more comfortable to slip my phone in their side pockets than in my jeans back pocket. Tthis lets me keep wearing them and be work appropriate and even fashionable!

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I did the relaxed neckline because I’m not big on having things around my neck unless it’s an actual turtleneck. But there is a higher neckline if that’s your thing. The neckline is bound using the same method as the Tank Dress: 3-Ways which is just a great way to bind the neckline. Probably one of my favorite finishes. I like to finish mine off with my coverstitch machine. It gives a very smooth but ready-to-wear finish. It does make it a bit thicker but in a way that gives it visual weight not really anything you feel, especially in drapey fabrics like this.

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As the name states, the armholes are cuffed. There are 2 options for this, a twisted cuff and the plain cuff which is what I did. For drapey fabrics, the plain cuff seemed to work better, but at some point I’d like to try the twisted cuff as well. Maybe on one of my next makes.

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I made a size 6 though I measure at a size 8. As you can see from the goofy photo above, this is definitely a loose fit tee, so you may want to consider sizing down depending on the fit you like. But that looseness is also what I love about it. There really isn’t much to worry about with fitting for this one. It’s only 4 pieces (back, front, cuff, neckband) so it goes together super quick. It would be a top contender if I were ever going to teach a basic knit top class.

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I finished off the hem with my coverstitch machine which other than needing to swap spools since I apparently didn’t have enough red thread, was quite fast. I didn’t feel the need to use any stabilizer in the hem, but you could if your fabric was on the thin side.

And that’s really about it. Great staple wardrobe pattern. Grab it on sale for the next week and thank me later!


3D Printed Embroidery Thread Holder

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I recently decided I needed to free up more space on my sewing table. One way I decided to do that was by replacing several of my standing thread racks with storage containers. For threads like embroidery, metallic and other specialty types, it’s fine to not have them out visible all the time. I still have my normal all purpose thread on a large standing thread rack because I’m constantly reaching for that.

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I picked up some of the ArtBin Super Satchels which it turns out are the exact right height for most standard embroidery thread spools. However, I didn’t want to just toss all the thread in the box so I made some organizer inserts. ArtBin also makes a double height version and sells an organizer for cones of serger thread. I’ve got 2 of those and I really like them so that’s where I drew my inspiration from. ArtBin does make a thread organizer version of the super satchel, but that is only for small thread spools, or you have stick the wide thread between the posts and that wasn’t what I really wanted.

So I got out my calipers, measured my spools and jumped into Fusion 360 and started designing. Because I’m limited by the size of my 3D printer bed, I would have to print it in 4 pieces. I designed the pieces to interlock to make them less likely to bounce around. I also designed them so that there are only 2 different ones and you can rotate them to get the other 2, making it easier to both design and print (since you only have to worry about 2 files). After I printed the the first set I realized I could actually fit 4 extra spools in if I staggered the posts slightly differently so ended up having to reprint several, but iteration is the name of the game. Here’s how they turned out:

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And here’s how a pair fit together:

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To fill the base of the bin, you’d just need another pair. Rotated 180 degrees, it will interlock with the first pair.

I also did several tests of just the base to make sure it would sit properly in the bin. You may have noticed that the bin has ridges on the bottom. Since I was printing in 4 pieces, I had to account for those ridges and mold my bottom around it because if I just did a flat bottom, it would teeter on the ridge in the middle of the base and lean to the back or front, depending on which quadrant it was. Again, my calipers came in handy and here’s what I came up with which seems to work pretty well.

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Overall I’m super happy with how these turned out and they’ve been super useful. It’s reassuring to know that if get more thread, I can just buy another bin and print some more or if they break I can just print new ones. If I were going to iterate further, I’d probably tighten up some of the tolerances, especially front to back, but for now these are pretty good.

I’ve made them available on Thingiverse (here) in case anyone else has the same need! Would love to hear if you use them.

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The 20 Year Quilt (actually a little more)

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This quilt took forever. Okay, not forever. Twenty-one years. But that’s still a very long time for a single quilt. I started it for my bestie Serena while we were still in college. I had completed one quilt at that point. I was very ambitious in deciding to make a queen size quilt for anyone, let alone someone else. It’s been the source of many jokes over the years when referencing some never-gonna-happen event in the distant future. “Yeah, that’ll happen right after I finish your quilt.” It’s moved from being a college graduation gift to a law school graduation gift to a wedding gift to a first child gift to, well, just a gift.

So here’s how it went . . .

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We went to the store together, picked out the pattern and she selected the fabrics. My plan was to make it a college graduation gift. Well, college was busy so I didn’t really have a chance to get to it. So it came with me to my summer internship after college where I remember cutting strips in my apartment because, yes, of course I brought my sewing machine with me for a 3 month internship.

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At some point in grad school I did get it pieced together. I think during this time it lived at my parents’ place because I started doing the quilting on my mom’s old machine. That machine had issues. There was something going on with the foot pedal where it either went crazy fast or numbingly slow. She took it in for service, but they could never really fix that. She tried getting a new foot pedal. No luck. This was what I was quilting on. Also, I was a super baby quilter so I was using monofilament thread because I didn’t know how to match the thread to the colors and I wasn’t using a walking foot. I don’t know that I even knew what a walking foot was at that time.

Side note: I have since given my mom the machine I bought for myself in grad school which sews beautifully. She loves it and I love having a nice machine to use when I’m home visiting.

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Fast forward a couple years (still in grad school though), and the quilt eventually moved out to California with me because I was going to work on it during my copious amounts of free time. You don’t actually have a lot of free time in grad school. At least I didn’t because I also had 10 other activities I was involved in as well. So very little got done on it.

Then at some point in the last 10 years, I started quilting for real. I revisited this quilt thinking I was finally gonna make it happen and was devastated by the state of the quilting. The stitches were uneven. The tension was terrible. It looked awful. At least it was monofilament so it was kinda hard to see. But the pattern was meh (it just followed the lines of the patchwork). I was also using the thinnest muslin as a backing (I didn’t know any better when I bought it) and this awful polyester batting.

As an upside, I was (and still am) really quite impressed with my patchwork which was pretty precise even in my early days. So I had that going for me.

Here are some embarrassing photos of that quilting from the back:

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I got into longarm quilting because of this quilt. I thought that would be an easier way to actually get this thing quilted. I decided I was going to remove the existing stitches and then do the fanciest quilting you ever did see on the longarm. I got stencils. I had ideas. (Side note: I was correct that doing this on a longarm machine would be way easier, but I was again overly ambitious about my longarm quilting skills or how long it would take.)

Removing the stitches took ages. Well, years. It was very slow going work. I would pick it up every and now then and do a bit. Mostly it stayed hidden in a closet where I didn’t have to be reminded of the quilting mess that it was.

And then the pandemic hit. So now I had time. Well, sorta. I still have a ton of other hobbies. But I said this is when it’s gonna get done. And then it didn’t for all the reasons many things didn’t get done during the pandemic.

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The final push was when I realized that when I had to move in a couple months, I would have to take this with me and I decided that wasn’t happening. I had packed and moved this thing so many times that I couldn’t bear the thought of doing it again. Also, Serena had threatened to just take it and get it quilted if I didn’t finish which really was fair.

So that’s what I did. I spent many nights ripping out the stitches. Some of them I couldn’t even rip out and had to just cut away. Yes, the backing was sacrificed and will be used for making garment muslins instead. But it happened. It was a bit touch and go at the end, but it was one of those projects that I could see the end and I just needed to make it there so I gave it some extra push.

I begged Lucky Penny Quilting to do a rush job because I was going to see Serena at the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I wanted to hand deliver this thing because so many years of work had gone into it that I wasn’t trusting the postal system to deliver it. I could just see it getting lost in transit. I didn’t even trust it to the baggage carriers and brought it in my carry-on baggage.

Lucky Penny came through, doing a beautiful floral design I selected. I was able to bind it and make and attach the biggest, most detailed quilt label I’ve ever made the day before I left with barely enough time to take some photos. And in true fashion to this quilt, I got the dates wrong as I was informed when I gave it to her (apparently it was 2001, not 1998). But she loved it! And fortunately still likes the color purple all these years later.

And while we can no longer joke about things in quilt timelines, at least I won’t have to move it again and it will now get used and loved rather than sitting in a closet.

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Pattern Emporium Field of Dreams Strappy Top

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And here is the top version of the Pattern Emporium Field of Dreams Strappy Tiered Dress and Top that I shared yesterday! I’ve already mentioned that the pattern has a ton of different styles so now you get to see another one. I love how cute and summery it is, styled here with my homemade Ginger Jeans . . . that I have yet to post. I’ll get to that eventually, but you get a sneak peak now.

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This one is a size 8 which is what I measure and you can see that it looks fine though definitely a little roomier. Though now you can see the difference in the sizes by comparing to my other one. But given the fabric is stiffer — this is some random cotton poly I had in my stash from my mom— I don’t mine the extra space. Unfortunately I can’t wear my normal bras with the thin straps, but I do have some that would work though here I’m wearing a strapless. Since it’s fully lined, I could probably even go braless if I felt like it.

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Giving you all the back view because I like to show all sides. There’s a little wrinkling on the back but that’s mostly due to the fabric, not the fit or maybe because I need to iron it after trying it on and off so much. It just pulls on over my head but that can lead to some squishing of the fabric as I do so.

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I was actually able to squeeze this out of less than a yard of the fashion fabric and just used some plain white muslin for the lining, so this is one of my new favorite stash buster patterns for when I’ve got just a little bit of a fabric I like left. And if you do the button front like on my dress you can squeeze it out of even weirder remnants since then the front is in 2 pieces!

So there are 2 versions of this dress. If you check out the pattern page you can see many more variations. I saw so many that I want, so I’m sure I’ll be making more down the line!


Pattern Emporium Field of Dreams Strappy Tiered Dress

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I had the opportunity to test another pattern from Pattern Emporium so of course I jumped at the chance since their patterns are always so high quality. This one is their new Field of Dreams Strappy Tiered Dress and Top which was just release last week. I would have posted this sooner, but I was traveling. Obviously, this is the dress version, or at least a variant of it. I also did a top which I’ll post tomorrow. 

I love how it turned out. It’s easy and comfortable and the wide straps mean I can wear a normal bra with it. Although I prefer it with a belt (this one is from Malco Modes), it looks fine without one as well.

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I measure at a size 8 (and that’s actually the size I made the top which is out of a cotton poly gingham), but for this one I made a size 6 since the fabric is draped and I wanted a more fitted look. It fits great in my opinion so I’m glad I sized down.

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In fact, I don’t actually need to unbutton the buttons. It just fits over my head. Which is exactly why I didn’t bother to do real buttons! The buttons are sewn through both the front and back layers to hold it together, but I didn’t bother making buttonholes. I could have, but a) this is arguably more secure and b) I didn’t feel like it.

The top is fully lined with shaping darts so very comfortable and with a clean finish.

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The dress itself was inspired by the Justina Maxi Dress from Gingham & Heels below. Someone posted it in the testing group and I loved it and immediately knew I could recreate it with this pattern. I think I did a pretty good job! I’m sure I didn’t save any money by making my own, but that’s not why I sew. Given the model is more than half a foot taller than me, an off the rack one would probably be at my ankles and not have the flirty, summer look that I love about it. By sewing my own version I could make sure it fit me and my (shorter) body type.

Source: Gingham & Heels

In order to get the tiers, I used a standard length short skirt tier for the first one and then I did top length tiers for the other ones (if you purchase the pattern, these lengths will make sense). The first 3 tiers are in line with the pattern for how wide they are, but the pattern stops at 3 tiers so I had to do some math for the bottom 2 tiers. I ended up having to cut along the cross-grain in order to get enough width for each tier. To gather the tiers I used the gathering foot on my serger because it gathers and finishes at the same time. I love how clean it looks. This took a little trial and error to get right and I did end up having to do the tiers twice to get the gathering look I wanted. Did I save time? Eh, debatable. But I’m really happy with how they turned out so I’m not mad.

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As you can see, I also put pockets in the dress because why wouldn’t you pockets in a dress? Or pants or anything for that matter. Pockets are so amazingly useful. The pattern comes with pocket pattern pieces, but because of the way I was doing my tiers, they wouldn’t fit into the side properly so I hacked together my own.

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I cut panels that were the width I wanted, but twice the length I wanted. This length was determined by the size of my cell phone. I stitched these to the front sides at the top for the length I wanted the opening which for me was about 6 inches.

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Then I understitched that seam.

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Then I folded up the panel and shifted it slightly. So here’s where I would do it differently next time. Because it was rayon, I could shift it. But if I had been using cotton or something less slinky, this wouldn’t have worked. What I should have done was extend the panel on the front side a bit. The reason I was shifting at all was because I wanted to give a bit more length to the top edge of this top tier so it would look more gathered. In hindsight, shifting didn’t do anything to add length to that edge since I had to cut off the other side of the pocket that hung over leaving it the same width. Live and learn. The pockets till turned out nice. The top edge was caught in the gathered seam and the side edge caught in the side seam so it doesn’t flop around.

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After folding up the panel I serged the raw edges on the inside (the outer side would get caught in the dress side seam). In the photo above, you can see the pocket from the front on the left and from the back on the right. A side benefit of this style of pocket was that it made serging the side seams really easy. When I do inseam pockets I have to serge around the pocket shape which I find much more challenging.

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The hem is a simple serged and folded hem. Obviously, I highly recommend the pattern. There are lots of combinations of top styles, strap widths and styles, ties, pockets, different tier lengths and more. I think there’s over 50 different dresses you could make given all the options. Needless to say, I won’t get bored with this one any time soon!


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