A new year is upon us and to celebrate I’ve gathered up 5 posts aimed at having a great 2019 sewing year. Whether you’re just picking up the sewing habit (yay!) or you’re a long time sewer, there’s bound to be a new tidbit of info you can use in these posts!
Selecting Your Pattern Size
One of the most important things you’ll need to learn when starting out sewing is how to correctly choose your pattern size. Rather than starting with your ready-to-wear size, you’ll need to take a few body measurements and then compare those to the pattern’s size chart. This post teaches you how to properly measure your body, select your size, and blend between sizes if your measurements don’t all fall into one size. This post is written as part of our Alder sew-along but the information applies to all sewing patterns.
Read the post here:
All of our patterns contain yardage information but occasionally you might like to use a contrast fabric for one or more pattern pieces or alter the pattern in one way or another. This tutorial shows you how to quickly and accurately estimate how much yardage you’ll need if you want to mix things up!
Read the post here:
All About Interfacing
Interfacing is a mystery to a lot of people but it needn’t be. In these posts we talk about the different types of interfacing so that you can better select the proper interfacing for the job with confidence and ease.
Read the posts here:
Essential Serger Tips
If you’re one of the lucky people who got a new serger this holiday season our post on essential serger tips is a must read. We practice these tips in the studio and they keep our sergers running smoothly day in and day out.
Read the post here:
Organizing your PDF Patterns
A lot of people struggle with storing PDF patterns so I wrote this post to share what works for me in my personal sewing as well as at work. There are so many methods and this is just one of them, but I love reading about how people organize their things. If you’ve struggled with where to put your patterns you’ll want to check out this post.
Read the post here:
We have a ton more tutorials, tips & tricks which you can find by clicking the Learn tab in our site’s menu. I hope this helps if you’re just starting out, and if you aren’t hopefully you learned something new! If you have any tutorial requests for the upcoming year, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!
If you’re looking for a last minute for the sewist in your life, look no further than our Grainline Studio gift card! Available in any amount, these digital gift cards can be emailed directly to you or the recipient of your choosing. We’ve cooked up a really exciting release schedule for next year so it can be saved for the future (our gift cards never expire) or use it to access our current library of patterns. You can’t go wrong giving the gift of handmade!
Also a quick reminder about our holiday hours – we’ll be out of the office from Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 until Monday, January 7th, 2019. Our shipping will not completely stop, but we’ll be decreasing the frequency from shipping every business day to 2x a week so if you order, you won’t have to wait till the 7th for shipping.
I want to thank every one of you who makes our patterns, reads our blog, subscribes to our newsletter or follows us on social media — thank you for being amazing! This was a bit of a re-organizational year behind the scenes in preparation for a TON of fun and exciting stuff we’ll be launching next year and we couldn’t do any of this without you.
I’ll be using this break to fine tune our release schedules, brainstorm a few blog series, and more. If there’s anything you’d love to see from Grainline in 2019 let us know below! We can’t wait to see you in the new year.
Lots of love, from Jen, Jon & Lexi
The Holidays are upon us and we’ll be closing up shop here at Grainline so Lexi, Jon and I can have a bit of a break and spend time with friends and family. Our last day of work will be this Friday, December 20th and we’ll return back to the office on Monday, January 7th, 2019! We’ll be shipping periodically during this time so if you place an order your patterns will go out, but we won’t have our usual Monday – Friday shipping schedule. I think that’ll be pretty hard for Jon because if there’s one thing he loves it’s getting your patterns out ASAP but I’m going to try to get him to take a break.
If you’re looking for a last minute holiday project, don’t forget we’ve got these two cutie free ornament patterns up on our site! They’re a great quick gift for friends and family, or a fun project to do with friends and family! We made ours out of wool felt, but any fabric scraps you have on hand will work just fine. If you don’t have sequins on hand, try French knots and embroidery floss! The options are endless and I’ve been seeing some super cute ones pop up on Instagram this past week.
Grab the Free Patterns Here
In this Stowe Sew-Along post we’ll be walking you through steps 13, 14 & 15. We’ve learned that these are the most confusing steps of the entire project so I’ve included two videos to help illustrate the steps. If they aren’t playing for you for any reason, you can find them on our newly created YouTube Channel. I’ve tested them on my phone, tablet, and desktop computer and they work for me, but everyone’s devices are different. With that, lets dive in!
To begin step 13, measure in from the seam line at the side of the bag and mark 3″ on the small bag and 4″ on the large bag. Fold the sides of the bag over towards the center along the marked point.
I’ve made a video to show exactly what we mean by fold the edge over onto the bag since this stumps people quite a bit. You’re just going to take the edge and bring it towards the center by folding it in over the bag.
Pin the bottom of the bag and head over to your sewing machine so we can stitch the folded edges in place.
You’re going to sew within the seam allowance from the folded edge in towards the center edge as shown in pink thread above. You can see that I do backtack at both sides of this line. This anchored fold creates the side gusset of the bag and completes step 13.
Turn your bag right side out and push the lower corners out into place. Give the sides and handles of your bag a light press to shape the bag.
This next step is completely option and honestly, something that Karen and I both omit from our bags. It gives the bag a permanent bottom gusset allowing the bag to stand up on its own empty. The bag will already stand up when there’s a project inside of it without this step, and permanently anchoring the bottom gusset will make it so the bag doesn’t fold completely flat when not in use. It’s really up to you whether or not you do step 15. Rather than try to explain this step in words and pictures, we’ve made the video below for instruction. It really is easiest to explain this step this way.
That wraps up the Stowe Sew-Along, thanks so much for following along with us! I’m sure there’ll be a question or two on this post so let us know below if you need clarification on anything.
Patterns Used in this Tutorial
Whether you’re following along with our Stowe Sew-Along or want to make your own bias tape for another project, this tutorial is for you! We’ll walk you through the steps involved in cutting and folding your own bias tape as we do it here in the studio. If you have any questions just let us know in the comments below!
To begin, we’ll need to cut our bias strips. We’ll be cutting along the true bias, which falls at a 45° angle from the selvage. We’ll be making bias tape with a ¼″ finished width so we’ll be cutting 1″ wide strips. As a general rule you want your strips to be 4x as wide as the finished strip width.
Cut a few strips so that you’ll have enough length for whatever you’re binding after we join the pieces together.
Now we need to join our pieces together. Take the end of one strip and lay it face up, then take the edge of another and lay it face down on top of the first strip as shown above. You’ll have angled edges from cutting the bias strips so you shouldn’t need to cut those. You can see we have the edges of the two strips matching ¼″ from the raw edge which also happens to be our seam line.
Now we’ll stitch across the seam line. You don’t need to pin before you sew but if you’re worried about keeping the edges lined up along the seam line, feel free to pop a few pins in!
You can see here how the two pieces look once they’re sewn together. You don’t need to backtack at the edges of the stitching, occasionally if you do it can pull the edge of the binding in since it’s a bit of an unstable edge. If you do want to backtack, I recommend doing it one stitch in from the edge.
Now press your seam allowances open.
I like to trim off the triangles of seam allowance that overlap the bias strip, that way it’s a bit less bulk in the binding at the seam joins. Repeat these steps to join strips together until you have the length you need for your project.
You can apply your binding now without folding it, but it can be nice to have a pre-folded bias strip with creases for stitching lines. You can do this by hand by folding the binding in half, then bringing each edge into the center crease and pressing, or by feeding it through a bias tape maker like the one shown above.
Head over to your ironing board with your bias strip and bias tape maker, grab some glass head pins and plug in your iron.
With the wrong side of the bias strip facing up, feed the end through the bias tape maker. Use a pin to help feed it if it’s not going through smoothly.
Pull about an inch through and anchor the end with a pin.
Now slide the bias tape maker backwards as you move your iron forwards over the newly folded fabric to set the folds. Continue till you reach the end of your bias strip.
You now have a single fold piece of bias tape. Next we need to make the second fold.
Fold the edges of the bias tape together and press to create the final fold.
Continue pressing till you reach the end of the bias strip. You have now made double fold bias tape!
You can use your bias tape right away or wind it onto a piece of cardboard to stay neat for later. We used ours for the Stowe Sew-Along bag and it looks so cute!
As I mentioned earlier, if you have any questions let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them clearly!
Today we’ll be covering steps 6-12 in the Stowe instruction booklet, making and finishing the handles! If you’re making your own bias binding and need help with that, you might want to wait until tomorrow’s post, but I wanted to get this one up for anyone using pre-made bias binding before I walk you through making your own binding. So grab your pins and bias tape and let’s start sewing!
To begin, cut the binding for your handle sides. You’ll need approximately 13″ for each small bag and 25″ for the large bag. If you’re into cutting after you’ve pinned like I am, my trick is to start at one end and make sure that the first fold of the bias (where you’ll be stitching in this step) hits the edge of the handle as shown above. I then pin around the handle edge, ending back at the same place on the opposite handle side. I then trim my bias and you can see that both handles will be completely covered from edge to edge with binding. When placing your bias, you’ll need to stretch slightly to get around the curves, but make sure you aren’t stretching the bias so much that you end up gathering your fabric. It’s a find dance!
Step over to your sewing machine and stitch in the fold of the bias tape, this is approximately ¼″ from the edge.
Your binding is now attached like so and you can see that its already wanting to turn to the wrong side. This is good!
Now we’ll head over to the iron for pressing. If you have a ham I find it easier to work on the binding of the small bag over one. Fold the binding along the second fold as shown above.
Now fold the binding over the edge of the bag handle. You want the binding to *just* cover the stitching line left from sewing down the front, as you can see in the image above, it’s not a huge overlap.
Work your way around pressing and pinning the binding into place until the entire handle is ready to be sewn down.
Now you’ll stitch through both layers of the binding to anchor the back binding into place. I like to use an edgestitch foot and sew with the front of the bag up. It’s what I’ll be seeing when I use my Stowe so I want it to be the neatest side. As long as you just covered the stitching line when you pinned your binding into place you shouldn’t have to worry about catching it.
Your bag handle is now bound and should look like the images above. If you happened to miss any of the back you can seam rip that spot and re-stitch, or just secure the small part you missed into place with a quick hand stitch.
Repeat these steps for the side of the other handle. We’re really cruising now!
We’re now going to form the complete handle. Align the two top edges of the handles as shown above and pin.
Stitch across both seams with a ½″ seam allowance.
Press both seam allowances open, I find this easiest when using a sleeve roll but you definitely don’t need one.
Now we’re going to create the handle fold that makes the side gusset possible. Try not to overthink this, a lot of people do.
Take one handle in your hand as shown in the first image above. Then grab the edge furthest from your palm and bring it in, over the edge in your palm, as shown above. That’s all there is to it!
You do not need to do this but I just wanted to show you how this will look from another angle since we get the bulk of our questions about this step.
Head over to your machine and sew across the two raw edges of the handle just shy of ¼″ from the edge. Repeat these steps for the other side of the bag handle.
Your bag now looks like this and we’re all ready to bind the inner edge!
Cut a length of bias binding 30″ long for the small bag and 57″ long for the large. Depending on the type of fabric you’re using and how much stretch it has across the bias this number can vary slightly. Before completing this next series of steps I would recommend walking your strip around your bag opening just to double check you don’t need to adjust anything before you start.
Once you have your bias strip cut to the proper length, unfold the two folded edges and align the ends of the strip with right sides facing. Make sure your strip isn’t twisted anywhere or you’ll be in a pickle trying to pin it to your bag!
Sew across the edge you pinned with a ¼″ seam allowance.
Press the seam allowance open and we’re now all set to apply the binding to the bag.
You’re going to follow the same steps that you did for the handles, the only difference is that this binding is a circle.
Pin the binding to the bag and stitch around it in the first fold. Since this is a circle, you might find it easiest to quarter both the binding and the bag opening and pin those points first, then work from the center of each quarter out.
Fold and press the binding over and pin, making sure that you just cover the stitching line from attaching the binding to the bag in the last step.
Stitch around the bag using your edgestitch foot if you have one.
Before you call this step done, double check the area up where the handle is folded and make sure that you’ve caught everything properly, if anything is going to go wrong in this step its usually right there. If everything looks good, you’re all set and ready for the next steps!
We’ll be back here Monday to finish up our bags, so if you need to catch up on anything, or perhaps start a second bag 😉 you’ve got all weekend!
Patterns Used in this Tutorial
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