Saturday, January 9, 2016

How to Make a Reading Shawl

I posted a few gifts I made for Christmas on my other blog SewPassionista by DIANA and was asked for tutorials on the reading shawl, the hair towel and the mug wrap . I'll do each in an individual post so check back a little later for the other two.

Here is the reading shawl.The idea is to keep your shoulders and arms warm while reading in be.

For the reading shawl, you'll need:

About  24"to  30" of 60" wide fleece or sweater knit.( In the one pictured above , I used 30" and was able to fold the upper edge into  a collar ).
1 meter or yard of 1/2" wide elastic (optional )

The pattern I drafted looks like this:

It was hard to photograph and give the right perspective of it so I made a drawing which will give you a better idea with measurements included..

As you can see, one length is placed on the fold  for about 30" and  then tapers out to the sides.
The opposite length is the opening and also tapers out to the sides.These tapered ends form the sleeves.

Sew along the dotted lines to form the sleeves.

There are two ways to form the cuff. In the picture above I took several tucks on the inside of the sleeves to fit around the wrist.I used the selvedge  for the edge of the cuff.


Finish the edges of the lengthwise openings  with a 5/8" seam. Add elastic to one long edge of the opening, if desired ,so the shawl will snug up against the neck. (I did not use elastic in the first shawl above ) In the above version, the upper edge formed a shawl collar ,which is pretty, I think
In the picture below I used elastic for both the cuffs and the upper edge.

I hope this makes sense and that you'll try one of these. I use mine every night in bed to read  during the cold months and I just couldn't be without it. It is also useful when on the computer or watching TV.

I gave one to my sister-in-law for Christmas , along with a book and a gift certificate to Chapters. She loved it!

Next up I'll show you how to make a mug caddy which will be  especially useful in your sewing rooms for all tose bits and pieces or on your dressers for keeping make-up and brushes organized and  at your fingertips.!

How to Make a Mug Caddy

I decided to give this little item the name of mug caddy for lack of a better term but it can also be used for tin cans, mason jars or some other such thing.

Here is the pic of the one I made as a sample for my Sewing Group.

And here is the pattern I used.As you can see, the dimensions are  approximately 10" X 10" but it tapers off at the top.

The only other piece is a long rectangle pocket piece which measures twice the width of the bottom of the above piece ( 2 X 10" so 20'' by about 6"".) and two strips of bias  tape or self made bias strips to coordinate with the body and pocket pieces.You should have enough to go around the body of the caddy and along the length of the long pocket strip.

Here are the pieces you need to cut out. I use flannelet between the two outer layers of the body of the caddy but you could use interfacing if you prefer.

Here are the steps.

1...Baste together the three layers of the body together. (Sorry no pic ).

2.Fold the long pocket strip in two lengthwise.

3. Sew the coordinating bias strip to the folded edge of the pocket strip.

4. Mark the midpoint of both the caddy body and the pocket strip and sew pocket at this juncture .

5. Sew each end of the pocket strip to the sides of the caddy and trim the corners.

6. Sew each half of pockets at their half way mark and then again until you have 8 sections .

7. Sew across the bottom to secure the sections to the caddy .Next the binding around the caddy and then across the top.

                                8. Press binding to wrong side and stitch in the ditch. Trim away extra fabric                                             close to stitching.

                                 9. Determine where best to add velcro closures and sew in place.

                                   10. Fit caddy to your choice of mug by folding upper half into the mug.

                                Fasten with velcro closures.

                                   For gift giving maybe you can add a sleep mask which should have a layer of                                        black out drapery lining in between the the two fabric layers because this will                                        make the mask much more effective in keeping out light.

                                 Here is another idea for this type of caddy. A friend gave me this one which has                                    been in my sewing room for years. It has a different design to fit over a tin                                            can with elastic at the bottom. It would need to be designed for a specific size of                                  holder but shouldn't be too hard to draft.

I hope this tutorial is clear and that you'll make one. It's quick to sew (1/2 hour ), and fun to match fun fabrics together and really useful for many things. I have one for make-up and make-up brushes that I find very useful.

Next up will be a short tutorial on how to make a hair towel
so more later from

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Adding Side Panels to Burda 6988

I just made this dress using Burda 6988.

Ii had the idea of slimming it down by adding panels to each side front and back.

This is what I did.

I cut my panels 3.5" wide by laying the pattern pieces (front and Back ) and tracing along the sides. I should say that I sewed in the dart first before tracing the front.

I then measured 3  and 1/8" from the sides of the dress and marked with my great measuring tool and my chalkener. This was my placement line for the panels.

Next I butted the edge of the panels against this placement line and pinned ,then stitched a 1/4 " seam allowance

I pressed the panel towards the sides and here I could have basted the layers together but I used strips of hem tape to fuse the two together.


 After this the two layers were sewn as one and they serve as support for my flab and that's a good thing .

I hope this helps somebody and if not, it will serve as reminder for myself the next time I want to do this.

More  later from

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Burda 6998...Adding neck facing and Narrow Shoulder Adjustment

I love Burda 6998. It has become one of my favorite TNT patterns .

This pattern fit very well out of the envelope but I did tweak it a bit.

I found the boat neck too wide on my narrow shoulders and as the space between the armhole and the neckline was very narrow,  I decided to not make my usual NSA. Instead , this is what I did.

I cut off the shoulder area as seen in the pic above and moved it  in 1/2". The neckline was perfect after that. It created a little jag in the armhole but ,using my French Curve,I trued up the armhole and the sleeve fit fine.

I really dislike how neck facings have a tendency to roll to the outside in many garments even after understitching. The method I'm describing here wouldn't work for the sleeveless version of this dress.

I drew a facing that include the upper part of the armhole for both front and back.

I cut it out of the dress fabric

I stitched it to the neckline, understitched it, trimmed the seam allowance  and turned it to the inside .

I then sewed it to the armhole before I put in the sleeves.
That's all there is to it and the neck facing stays put. I love it!


And in case  you're curious, here's the dress in the photos above.

Thanks for stopping by.
More later from,

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making a Twisted Fur Infinity Scarf

I  posted fur scarves I made as Christmas gifts on my other blog SewPassionista by DIANA and was asked for a tutorial , so here it is.

You'll need .4 meters (16") of a soft , drapey faux fur . Be careful in choosing your fur. The backing makes all the difference. If it feels stiff, it won't do.

Usually, this fabric comes in 150cm. (60") width. That will be too long. I made mine 33" long by 16"

If your fur is quite long or thick, it's best to shave the seam allowances. That's quite easy to do. Use your shears and clip off the fur as in the photo below. Be prepared for a mess!

Pin and sew the length of  the scarf using a longer stitch length. I used 3.5. This will give you a long tube.

Turn right side out . Place a pin or other mark  at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 way marks at each end of the scarf. This is an important step when you sew the two ends together but is a little hard to explain why (so I won't! Just trust me!)

Now  lay the tube on your table. Twist the right hand end  and butt it against the left end . ( I hope that makes sense).
                                                        This is half a twist

                                                  This is a complete twist

 Pin with right sides of fur together matching the seams, the 1/4 and 1/2  marks.Sew this part of the seam and stop.

 Rearrange the ends of the scarf and pin the next 1/4 of the seam. This will probably be as far as you can sew by machine.

 Once you've sewn that far, you  will turn in the seam allowances of the last 1/4 and either hand stitch   or what I did was zig zagged it shut by just catching the fabric when I zigged  and sewing off the fabric when I zagged !! Does that make sense?

When you pull on the seam and fluff it, The stitching doesn't show at all..

I think these scarves are beautiful , elegant and so comfortable to wear . I hope you will try one!
Please let me know if the instuctions are not clear.

                                               Bad pic but that's all I have !