Thursday, July 25, 2013

Announcing THREE upcoming sew alongs

By popular demand (and because I think it's really fun), I'll be hosting some more sew-alongs later this summer and early fall. I've decided to do three different items, each of increasing difficulty, but all very easy. The second two require patterns, so keep your eye out for sales at the major (read expensive) fabric stores and online at

Speaking of sales, there's one now! $1.99 for McCall's and $3.99 for Vogue! The McCall's one ends Friday, though, so fill place your orders!

First, the easy breezy skirt. This skirt will be based on your measurements and does not require a pattern! Woohoo! Once you've made it, it's also REALLY easy to change to make lots of unique skirts and dresses from the same base. It has a side zipper, a waistband, and a bow.

Bobbins of Basil BEGINNER Sew Along, begins August 1st, 2013
Sew Along #1, starting 8/1/13
We'll start cutting this one on Thursday, August 1st. So you have a week to get your fabric. If you're behind, don't worry. This is a short, practice sew-along for any newbies that will last less than a week. Someone more experienced could easily bang it out in a day. I'll try to break it into small, manageable pieces. We started with this post (click here).

You'll need ~2 yards of fabric to make this skirt, along with a 7-9" matching invisible zipper, matching thread and a small amount of interfacing (optional, less than 1/4 yard). To be safe, buy 2 yards. I already miscalculated TWICE, so if your fabric isn't too expensive, err on the side of a little extra.

Update: here are all the calculations for the amount of fabric you need (I hope)! Measure around your waist (your narrowest point). That's the only measurement you need.

  1. Calculate the fabric width your skirt pieces will use based on your waist circumference and desired skirt length. Width=((waist+12)/π)+L)*√2 (L=your desired skirt length).
  2. Determine how much excess fabric width you have. Subtract the above number from the width of your fabric (typically 44" or 54" or 60"). If your necessary width is too big, there are some tweaks we can make to make it work (see here for those ideas). Ideally, you want wider fabric!
  3. Determine how much length the two pieces (front and back) require. Fabric length=[((waist+12)/π)*(1-1/√2)+L]*2. That last *2 is just to account for the front and the back.
  4. The fabric length from #3 is all you need for the actual skirt. You might need more for the waistband and bow. If your answer from #2 was greater than 10", then you really just need twice the fabric length you calculated in #3. This could be only ~ 1.25 yards if you're making a short skirt. Just remember to measure the length from your waist! I would buy at least 1.5 yards if you're new, and 1.25 yards no matter what. If your answer to #2 was less than 9", buy an extra 15-20" for the waistband and bow. So you're basically looking at around 2 yards.
  5. Make sure the length of fabric you're buying is at least your waist circumference+5". This shouldn't be a problem, just thought I should include it!
If you want to check my math (because really, it's been a while), click here. If this is too complicated for you, you can't go wrong buying 2.5 yards as long as your fabric isn't very expensive. You might just have leftovers.

Second, McCall's 6074, which is available online here or at major fabric stores. It comes in multiple size collections, so be sure to buy the correct one based on your MEASUREMENTS, not your US clothing sizes. I'll be making VIEW A (without the iron on applique). Alternatively, you can make VIEW C, which will follow the same instructions but will generate a maxi dress instead of a short dress.

Bobbins of Basil BEGINNER Sew Along, starting in late August
McCall's 6074. Sew Along #2 in late August
We'll start this one in late August (I'll announce a more concrete date after the skirt) on August 29th, details posted on August 22nd here.. This is a knit dress. I think knit fabrics are much more difficult to work with (and by difficult, I really just mean different). Aside from using a different type of fabric, the pattern itself is extremely simple. I'll make sure to explain how to follow a pattern for those of you who are new to sewing, including what different symbols mean and what different phrases in the instructions mean.

Finally, we'll do Vogue 1241, which is a bit more dressy. This dress is much simpler than it looks; the difficulty level is probably similar to the Coffee Date Dress. If you followed along that sew-along, this one won't cause you any problems at all. We'll probably start this one in mid-September.

Bobbins of Basil sew along, starting in September
Vogue 1241. Sew along #3 in September
I hope you're excited as I am! For now, you can prepare:

  1. Buy fabric for your easy breezy skirt. I'd recommend something light, flowy, and breezy, like rayon, peach skin, or a light cotton. Stay away from knits unless you have experience sewing knits to avoid complicating your life. We're going for SIMPLE.
  2. Buy the patterns for the next two sew-alongs if you'll be joining. Preferably while they're on sale!
Don't worry, the bridesmaid dress pictures are still coming tomorrow!

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