Virtual Sewing For Kids

In times where schools are closed down, Phee Fabrics has decided to start a weekly virtual sewing class that we be held on our YouTube Channel. The goal is to grow children’s interest, sewing knowledge and skill into something that they can be proud of. Think virtual Home Ec! When I was 4 years old my grandmother taught me to sew. By beginning with very basic skills and this is how this program will be run. Explaining supplies, fabrics, pattern assembly etc. Engage the kids and hopefully give the caregivers a moment of sanity or at least fun interaction. My 5 year old son, Giacomo, will be appearing in these videos as well as dinosaurs, I’m sure. He would love it if everyone said hi!

Our first day will be explaining what we need to create a reusable grocery bag. Trish Newbery has two free patterns for this that we will be focusing on.

First will be a Large Unlined Bag. The Trish Newbery pattern can be found HERE

Your child will need:

22 pieces of printer paper to print the pattern

A glue stick or tape to assemble the pattern

Scissors, safety scissors are ok, we will be cutting the pattern with them

Either chalk or bust out some of those washable markers that still have the caps on them and not dried out (Godspeed).

While this small business would love from you to purchase from us, it is not required. Based on 60″ of woven fabric, you will need 1 1/3 yards.

Why Should I Sew a Muslin?

This post is part of the Sew It Slow Sew Along, you can view all posts here.

If you’re unclear of what a muslin is, it’s a test garment made from inexpensive fabric, typically muslin, but you can use any fabric with the same drape and structure as your final fabric. The muslin isn’t meant to be pretty or even completely finished.

What are the requirements?

  • Use an inexpensive fabric with the same properties to your final fabric. This is a way to save money, yet still get the same fit as your final garment.
  • Cut only the required pieces. There’s no need to cut facings, linings, pockets, or full skirts. Personally, I don’t cut any sleeves at the beginning, I wait until I know my bodice fit has been perfected, then I sleeves last and then only sometimes one.
  • Make all marks on the pattern so they are visible. Use pen or fine tip marker so you can easily see them.
  • Use basting stitches. It’s just fine to use basting stitches on a muslin, this way if you need to let a seam out, it’s so much easier to do so.
  • Don’t bother with front closures. Any closures in the front that you can easily pin skip them. If you have a back zipper, baste it in place, so it’s easy to remove and use again.
  • Don’t finish your seams. Although you aren’t finishing your seams, it’s still a good idea to press them.
  • Try it on! Use pins, colored pens, whatever you need to mark any changes that need to be made to make the fit better. Wear the same undergarments you plan on wearing under the final garment when trying on the muslin.
  • Transfer the alterations to your pattern pieces. Any changes you need to make, don’t forget to transfer them over. If you need a lot of changes, then sewing another quick muslin isn’t a bad idea. I once sewed 3 muslins of a bodice till I had the perfect fit, and while it was tiring, it was the best choice I could have made because there was no way I would have been able to get all the changes in the first muslin all on my own.

What are the benefits?

  • Get a Perfect Fit: You are able to perfect the fit before cutting into your final fabric. Isn’t this why we started sewing our own clothes?
  • Confidence: Since you’ve already read through the pattern and worked through some of it, you can now confidently work on it knowing exactly what you’re doing. If there’s a part in the pattern you feel you need to practice, sew this on the muslin, to practice it first to help boost your confidence more.
  • You’ll Save Money: Have you ever sewn anything that didn’t fit properly and then it just sat there? I know I have, and it’s because I just wanted to get it done. I didn’t take the time to fit the pattern like I should have, and the 4 yards of fabric I bought was basically a waste.

Sew It Slow Sew Along: 1/24-2/3

All Sew Along Posts

Lately I’ve noticed so many people who share their sewn items focusing on quantity over quality. I have always been one to strive for quality when sewing something, always working to achieve professional finishing. In college, this wasn’t any different, all of my samples were sewn up to my personal standards, which also grew at this time in my life.

Living in Seattle attending college for fashion design, we had major department stores that carried designer brands, and the finishing on this clothing is absolutely dreamy. One of my projects in college was examine and try on clothing at different price levels. I remember examining so many different designer pieces, and taking all the photos in the dressing room, oh and these pieces fit so much better than the low end pieces I tried on. This combined with all the techniques I learned in my industrial sewing classes, pushed me more to strive for quality and more detail in each piece I made.

Sew It Slow Sew Along

For this sew along, we will be doing things a little differently than we have in past Phee Fabrics sew alongs. Each participant will choose their own pattern from one of our featured designers (see below), and sew up their own creation using Phee Fabrics. Videos with sewing techniques and tips will be posted throughout the sew along time period that may or may not pertain to your garment, but all will revolve around sewing a woven dress, tunic, or top.

1/24 – 2/3 with final garment due 2/10 giving you 3 full weekends from start to finish. Stay tuned next week for the specifics of the schedule and what is happening each day, as well as the rules for entering your garment for the grand prize and other prizes.

To find the posts on social media pertaining to the sew along including discount codes, search for the hashtag #PheeSlowSew. During the sew along, you can also use this hashtag on social media platforms as you document your progress.

To join the sew along on Facebook, you can follow along in the Phee Fabrics Sew Along group. In this group, there will be a post for each featured designer where you can post specifics pertaining to your pattern.

Phee Fabrics Discount

Watch Phee Fabrics on Facebook and Instagram as well as the newsletter (sign up here) for a discount code on woven fabrics which includes Art Gallery Fabrics (AGF) Premium Cotton, AGF Rayon, AGF Canvas, Stretch Twill, and all AGF woven bases in the Pre-order section of the website.

Featured Designers

Blueprints for Sewing

Save 15% with code PHEEFABSAL15, 1/20-2/3, on the Cabin dress.

Cabin Dress

The Cabin Dress is an easy, comfortable, and flattering top, tunic or dress with french darts, dolman sleeves, and a back yoke. Either version can be finished with bias facing or binding around the neckline, sleeves, and hem.

Size range:  B: 32”/H:35” – B:50”/H:53” includes two bust options, A/B cup or C/D cup.

Fabric types:

Closet Case Patterns

Save 20% with code PHEEDSALDRESS20, now-2/29 on Cielo Dress/Top or Fiona Sundress print or PDF patterns.

Cielo Dress/Top

The Cielo Dress & Top is an easy, breezy take on a boxy tee and shift dress. Loaded with interesting details and interchangeable features

Size range: B:31″/W:24″/H:33″ – B:48″/W:39″/H:48″ Includes cup sizes

Fabric types:

Fiona Sundress

Fiona is a fitted button-up sundress with shoulder straps, princess seams, a straight cut skirt and fetching topstitched details. Wear it on its own during warm weather months, or layer it over tees and turtlenecks as the weather cools.

Size range: B:31″/W:24″/H:33″ – B:46″/W:39″/H:48″

Fabric types:

Designer Stitch

Save 30% with code pheesew through 2/3. The discount code works on Sedona Shirt/Shirt Dress, Clara Dress, Frida Top/Dress, Kate Dress, KeeLin Top/Dress, Kristen Dress, Pippa Wrap Top/Dress. If you would like to use the code on more than one dress, you’ll need to purchase each pattern separately.

Callie Tweens and Teens Dress

While this pattern isn’t included with the discount code, it’s still a great option if you’re looking for something for your tween or teen and want to sew along with us. Easy wearing the Callie is fabulous for all seasons wearing, while it looks amazing with a simple tee underneath along with summer sandals – or for those in cold weather climates – a turtleneck, tights and some great boots.

Size range: Tween/Teen 6-16 (C:24”/W23”/H:26”/ height: 45.625” – C:33.5”/W:28.5”/H:36” / height: 64.5”)

Fabric types:

Sedona Shirt Tunic Dress

The traditional style of the Sedona is a favorite of fashion icons and can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Plus, it can be layered over a pair of pants and tee or turtleneck to transition from season to season.

Size range: B:32”/W:23.5”/H:34” – B:52”/W:43.5”H:54” measurements are based on fit models with a cup size of B and C, but pattern includes cup sizes B-DD/E.

Fabric types:

Hey June Handmade

Save 15% with the code HJPHEESAL now through 1/31, on Laramie Shirt and Dress (juniors), Larkspur Dress (juniors), Sanibel Dress and Romper, and Trevi Top and Dress.

Larkspur Dress

A simple and stylish shift dress for juniors in sizes 6 – 16, the Larkspur Dress comes with tons of options to customize: in-seam pockets, a peter pan collar, notched neckline, scoop neckline, sleeveless, cap sleeves, elbow length sleeves, or elbow length sleeves with notches.

Size range: Juniors 6-16 (C:24”/H:25.6” / height: 45” – C:32”/H:35” / height: 62”)

Fabric types:

Trevi Top & Dress

The Trevi is a versatile and flattering trapeze top or dress for woven fabrics.  It features high cut shoulder straps and a full button down back.  The pattern includes a separate front piece with a darted full bust adjustment for sewing cup sizes above a C.  

Size range: High B:32.5″/H:35″ – High B:44.5″/H:50″ includes FBA

Fabric types:

Made by Rae

Save 20% with the code PHEE20, 1/21-2/29 on all Rae patterns in the shop including the Geranium Dress and Washi Dress.

Geranium Dress

The Geranium Dress is a sweet and incredibly versatile dress pattern that includes two views and endless possibilities for mixing and matching! 

Size range: Girls 0m-12yrs

  • Baby and Toddler sizes newborn – 5T (C:16” / weight: 8lbs / height: 17” – C:23.5” / weight: 46lbs / height: 45”)
  • Kids’ sizes 6 – 12 (C:24” / W:22” / height: 45” – C:29.5” / W:25” / height: 57.5”)

Fabric types:

Also check out the expansion pack for more options.

Washi Dress

This sweet and stylish dress features a cut-out scoop neckline, pockets, and shirring in the back for an easy, comfortable fit. No zippers or closures are needed! The pattern can be made with a basic scoop neckline, sleeveless, as a tunic, or with a longer skirt to achieve a large number of different looks.

Size range: B:34″/W:26″/H:36″ – B:44″/W:37″/H:46″

Fabric types:

Check out the expansion pack for more options.

Megan Nielsen Patterns

Save 20% with the code SLOWSEW-2020, 1/1 – 2/4 on Darling Ranges Dress, Eucalypt Woven Tank Top & Dress (Curve version available), Floreat Dress & Top (Curve version available), Matilda Dress, River Dress & Top, and Sudley Dress & Blouse.

Floreat Dress & Top/Floreat Curve

Floreat is an asymmetrical dress or blouse that can be made from woven or knit fabrics. The pattern features clean lines, woven and knit facing options, inseam pockets as well as multiple sleeve and hem lengths.

Size range: B:32”/W:24”/H:34” – B:46”/W:38”/H:48”
Curve Size range: B:40”/W:32”/H:42” – B:56”/W:48”/H:56”

Fabric types:

Matilda Dress

Matilda is a modern utility style shirt dress with classic tailoring techniques. Pattern features princess seams, drop shoulders, pleated breast pockets, an A-line skirt with roomy statement pockets, collar and stand.

Size range: B:34″/W:26″/H:36″ – B:42″/W:34″/H:44″

Fabric types:

Sew Liberated

Save 20% with the code PHEE, now through 2/11 on any woven dress pattern including the Ashland Dress and Hinterland dress.

Ashland Dress

The bodice of the Ashland Dress is fully-lined, allowing you to use lightweight fabrics. It looks great in wool, too, making it an all-season design. Two pocket variations, a decorative sash, and buttons down the front complete the dress. Buttonholes are made optional by an invisible zipper on the back that we show you how to install. 

Size range: B:32″/W:24″/H:34.5″ – B:44.5″/W:36.5″/H:47″ includes cup sizes A-D

Fabric types:

Hinterland Dress

The Hinterland Dress offers a timeless, comfortable, and elegant silhouette. Featuring three sleeve options, either partial or full button down plackets, customizable length, and inseam pockets, this is a pattern workhorse that spans the seasons. The fit is loose, with side bust darts and a gathered skirt with optional waist ties, and is easily modified for maternity and nursing. Don’t feel like buttons? Cut the front bodice on the fold for a placket-free hack.

Size range: B31″/W25″/H33.5″ – B48.5″/W42.5″/H51″

Fabric types:

Sew Over It

Save 15% with the code SLOWSEWBETTY through midnight (UK time) 2/10 on the Betty Dress PDF or paper pattern.

Betty Dress

With a fitted bodice and full circle skirt, Betty is super flattering for all figures, nipping you in at the waist and flaring out to create a beautiful silhouette. The dress fastens with an invisible zip down the center back, has facings around the neckline and armholes and a machine finished hem.

Size range: B:33″/W:26″/H:36″ – B:45″/W:38″/H:48″

Fabric types:

Sofiona Designs

Save 25% with the code SOPHEEFIRE, now through 2/3 on the Fireweed Flounce Dress.

Fireweed Flounce Dress

The Fireweed is an elegant dress, perfect for special occasions. The narrow circle-cut flounces are beautiful on both little girls and young ladies. The bodice is fitted and gives way to either a high-low circle skirt or a gathered skirt with an invisible zipper closure in the back. A darted bodice is included for young ladies with a 1/2-1” upper/full bust difference.

Size range: Girls 2-16 (C:20”/W:20”/H:21” / height: 35” – C:33”/W:27”/H:34” / height: 63”)

Fabric types:

Ready to Wear: Something More

I am generally a very simple dresser. Jeans or yoga pants, and a tee shirt are my uniform when I am not at work. This project made me revisit a staple that most of us have in our closets: a plain black tee shirt.

I used a pinsperation that I knew I could wear. It was cute and I loved the detail.

I used a shirt that I liked the fit of (an inexpensive V-neck tee shirt). And I used stretch lace that I KNEW was high quality ( ).

Just prior to this project I had knee surgery. I was crutch bound and knew it was going to be difficult if I needed to try this on a million times and crutch to the mirror to check the fit.

To mitigate these issues, I decided that this would be a draping project as opposed to a flat pattern drafting project. This means I used a dress form and scissors and pins. There is a learning curve to draping, but it can be a lot of fun and gives you a lot of freedom if your sewing for someone who isn’t around and if you are sewing with finiky fabric.

Draping is also handy when sewing adaptations to ready to wear items or already constructed pieces.

This is Grace, my dress form. She lost her base in a move a few years back. This was the next best thing. As Grace is made of plastic, she has a basic knit sheath on so I have something to pin to.

I measured meticulously, marked with chalk, pinned the shirt in place, then cut off the shoulders and upper sleeves.

Initially, the lace created a shawl type collar. This was not really my jam, so I pinned the lace in place, maintaining the galloon lace edge, and trimmed the lace to resemble a conventional tee shirt collar line. I attached the lace with a basic stretch stitch (a zip zag in my case). I used fold over elastic, unfolded, as a neckline trim. I did a simple fold over hem for the sleeves.

In the photo, there is a little bit of pulling at the upper bust. Grace has a more endowed chest than I do, so I tightened the material a bit on the chest, knowing it would suit me when I put it on.

The project worked so well due to the quality of the lace. It was stable, did not warp, and was basically gorgeous and awesome.

The modified tee is comfy and cute. I will probably be doing a similar modification with several other Phee Fabrics stretch lace colors, because LACE!!!!

Blue hair, cute shirt, and crutches. Happy summer!

Are you a pinspiration creator??? Phee Fabrics is having a contest this August for all you pinspirers! Check it out! Phee Pinspiration Challenge

Thread Matching, Phee Fabrics Edition

Hi sewing pals! I’m Ashley! I’m bringing you a blogpost on matching the Phee Fabrics that I have on hand to a popular brand of serger thread, Maxilock. I get Maxilock from because their prices can’t be beat and they ship quickly. (Not Phee fast, because Melissa is a super-ninja-boss-lady, but fast enough.)

I wrote a general thread matching blogpost, and these principles can be used on Phee Fabrics as well. Today’s post is specifically focusing on getting a great fabric-thread match for the most professional looking results.

Ready? Let’s get started.

First up is Phee’s Rayon Spandex. If you haven’t tried this fabric yet, ohmygosh what are you waiting for? It is GREAT! It has such a nice weight, lovely drape, doesn’t pill, and is a pleasure to sew. It is absolutely my favorite fabric to sew and wear right now.

I used Emerald Rayon Spandex for this Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan. (I’ll be hosting a sew-along in the Phee Fabrics Sew Along Facebook Group starting May 1. Coupons for both the pattern and Phee Rayon Spandex in the group!!! Get it while it’s on sale!!) I love this combination of pattern and fabric and wear this cardigan once a week. Maxilock Churchill Green is a great match for this fabric.

I think a dark gray thread blends well with most colors. I order Maxilock Steel more frequently than any other color. It hides well in medium and dark colors and even black. A light gray blends easily with light colors.

The fabric pictured below is Light Heathered Gray Rayon Spandex. The thread on the left is Steel, the one on the right is Light Gray. I prefer the Steel color because it almost disappears.

I prefer Maxilock Steel for the Heathered Charcoal Rayon Spandex as well.

Next up is one of my favorite colors, Turquoise Rayon Spandex. This is also a close color match for the Turquoise Circular Knit. Both of these fabrics are so beautiful for spring and summer. They’re great for tees, dresses, skirts, tanks, rompers, and even panties. The color is just so pretty. If you want moisture wicking properties, go with the circular. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with either of these two fabrics. Both go well with Maxilock Turquoise, a happy coincidence.

Next up is Navy Rayon Spandex (will be back in stock soon) and Navy Supplex. I’ve already sang the praises of the buttery soft, wonderful drapiness of the rayon spandex, so let’s switch gears to talk about supplex for a sec. Phee’s supplex is a thick, heavy weight, compressive fabric that is soft and moisture wicking. It’s great for workout tights, pants, jackets, waistbands, and even bodycon dresses. Both the Navy Rayon Spandex and Navy Supplex match Maxilock Navy.

Up next is another supplex color that I’m crazy about – Cherry. This is a great statement color! Maxilock Poppy Red is a perfect match!

Burgundy Rayon Spandex has so much potential for both matching and coordinating colors. If you want a color that matches, Red Currant is your best bet. For this Summer Kimono, I chose to use Bright Fuchsia because it matched the lace and tied it in as a coordinating color. I almost used Roseate because it looked so pretty with the Burgundy. I’m no help with this one – I really loved all three.

The newly stocked White Rayon Spandex has an obvious color match. I stick to White thread for some prints, too, like Insane in the Membrane and Matte Stripes. But sometimes I like to make the thread colors different and fun. Like in the Christmas shirt I made below, using Black Rayon Spandex, I used Churchill Green and Poppy Red in the loopers. Instant Christmas cheer!

I’ve saved the best for last. My most favorite of all is the Peacock Supplex. This color is PERFECT. I made a Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket with it as well as some Polartec Powerstretch (sorry, out of stock) and I cannot get enough of this color. Dark Turquoise is a great match.

Other Phee Fanatics have suggested the following combinations for the fabrics that I don’t (yet) own:

Olive Supplex matches Maxilock Olive Drab

Plum Circular Knit matches Gutermann color 930

I know this isn’t an exhaustive list of in stock fabrics, but I hope it helps you see how the fabric and thread matches appear at on your screen to help you better determine which thread color will match your favorite Phee Fabrics.

Happy sewing!!

This post contains affiliate links. That means, at no additional cost to you, if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a very small percentage that goes right back into my creative hobby budget. I will always only recommend to you what I would absolutely purchase again. Pinky promise.

Conquering the Twin Needle: Tips for hemming knits

The twin needle used to be the monster that haunted me in my dreams. Worse than even the button hole there was the twin needle and the pile of hemming I had to finish off my me-made garments from months past that I had been avoiding.

Turns out my fear was well founded.

When I first started sing my twin needle I was really bad at it. Like awful. There was tunneling and skipped stitches galore and what stitches there were ended up being so tight they would pop at the slightest tug.

So I started my own personal journey to conquering the twin needle. There was a lot of trial and error, a few tears, many cuss words, and countless hours spent with my seam ripper but within a few months I had figured it out and was hemming like a pro (well as mush of a pro as you can be with a twin needle!) and I learned a few things along that way that made a world of difference.

The secret to perfect top stitching with a twin needle start well before the actual hemming, it actually starts when you are buying the needle to begin with. You need to be sure you are buying a twin needle that is deigned for stretch fabrics. Look for ones that specifically say the word stretch, jersey, or knit on them. I personally like the Schmetz one but I am a creature of habit.

Ready for tip number two? Now right before you are ready to hem, you need to stay stitch the hem. No really, for more projects than I could count the only thing I needed to do to get perfect top stitching using a twin needle was to do some sort of stay stitching along the bottom edge of my garment, where I would be top stitching over once the hem allowance was finished.

I run the edge through my serger to do this but a zig zag stitch from a regular machine could work just as well. The stay stitching gives the fabric under the twin needle more stability, helps keep it from stretching, and helps bulk it up so it moves better over your feed dogs. It is seriously magic trick when it comes to thin, slinky, or extra stretchy fabrics.

Then we need to make sure that needle is threaded correctly! Only one of your top thread should be going through the needle guide. This keeps them from getting tangled as you sew. Also make sure that the threads are not on the same spool holder on top of your machine. If your machine only has one spool holder, they sell supplementary ones at JoAnn Fabrics or on Amazon. Separating the spools is key to making sure the tension stays correct thoughout your hem.

Another trick? Be mindful of your stitch length. I had a tendency to set my stitch length to be as long as possible, thinking it would make hemming quicker. All I was really doing was making it harder for my machine to catch the bobbin thread when it was rotating. It may take some experimenting to find the right stitch length for your machine but for my Singer Heritage machine the sweet spot for stitch length is 3.4.

Here is another hemming game changer no matter what you use to hem, get yourself some proper hem clips. They not only hold much more securely than pins but they also measure your helms, making sure you keep a proper hem allowance the whole way around your garment entirety.When I am using a twin needle to hem I especially like using my hem clips because they remove any possibility of my hem allowance shifting as it is pulled through my machine.

Now if the stay stitching isn’t doing the trick for your particular project you may need to get yourself some soft-stretch hem tape. This double sided tape provides a hem in and of itself but can also be sewn over with a needle without gumming up your needle. It makes very crisp, clean hems and is great for beginner sewists. It’s only real draw back is that the structure it gives hems can look out of place on very thin fabrics or fabrics with a lot of drape.

Still struggling? Here are a few more quick tips:

  • Place a tear away stabilizer between your fabric and the machine to add extra stability
  • Use a walking foot to help your fabric feed evenly though the machine
  • Provide slight tension on the hem of your garment while stitching by pulling from the back of the machine

There you have it! My best tips for mastering the twin needle hems! Anything you think I missed be sire to drop your tips in the comments so we can all share in the hemming greatness!