Indroducing the Creative Sewing Challenge

ChallengeButton Primary

ChallengeButton Primary

I have partnered with Diane (gatorbunnysews) of Blue Dot Patterns to host the Creative Sewing Challenge. We’ve asked sewists to let their creativity flow with the patterns. I’ll be featuring these creative projects for you over the next few weeks.

Please visit our creative sewists to learn more about them and maybe get a sneak peak of their project.

Michelle of thatblackchic
Ashley of sewnbyashley
Sara of musingsofaseamstress
Cindy of
Shanni from Shanniloves
Kyla of LifebyKy
Amy of thatssewamy
and me: Melissa of mahlicadesigns


Stay tuned to see the Creative Sewing Challenge projects beginning next week, enter the Blue Dot Patterns giveaways, and watch for another surprise.


Thank you to Rachel from bobbinsonmymind; who is participating in spirit, but preparing for baby in reality.

Give fall the cold shoulder with the Georgia Top

Georgia Hack by mahlicadesigns

In a couple weeks (Dec 1st), I’ll be hosting the Creative Sewing Challenge with Blue Dot Patterns. Today, you get a sneak peak of how I altered the Georgia top pattern for the challenge.

Georgia Hack by mahlicadesigns

The Georgia is a dolman sleeve tee that has a soft look and comfy fit. I wanted to add a little bit of edge to my look by adding a cut out with cross bars.

Georgia Hack by mahlicadesigns

I won’t do a repeat of this look as I have other plans for the Georgia pattern, but next time I would make the cutout narrower. It’s gapes a little.

Georgia Hack by mahlicadesigns

I like my edgy Georgia and its a perfect transitional piece that fits in with my Core Wardrobe.

Georgia Top

I used an interlock knit from my stash that is just the right weight for fall and spring. The cutouts do make this cold all the time girl a little chilly, so it won’t see the rounds come winter.

Georgia Hack by mahlicadesigns

Get my look:

When cutting out the pattern, I simply folded down the shoulder edges of the front and back bodice pattern pieces by 2in to create a 3in finished opening. At the neck line and just above the cuff, I added inserts to cover my shoulder and hide the cuff’s seam.

Georgia cutout

I sewed and turned a long tube to create the cross bars and spaced them 2in apart measuring up from the lower insert.

Georgia cutout 2

I used a 1/2in seam allowance throughout. I pressed the serged edge of the opening to the wrong side and topstiched to keep that seam allowance in place.

Be sure you’re following me on bloglovin or by email to see what’s coming up for the Creative Sewing Challenge.

Georgia Top by mahlicadesigns

See ya next time.

Burda 6928, the most boring skirt ever.

Burda Skirt

The last piece I’m sharing from the Sew With Me challenge is Burda Young #6928, a pieced straight skirt.

Burda Skirt
Burda Skirt

I ordered this fabric for its ivory/vanilla/putty color to fit in with my Core Wardrobe color palette. What I got looks exactly like unbleached muslin, it even has some of those flecks of color like muslin. I was under a deadline and sending it back didn’t make $ense, so I used it anyway. The resulting skirt is perfectly fine as a basic and fills a hole in my Core Wardrobe, but it’s resemblance to muslin and shape make it a pretty boring piece.

Burda Skirt by mahlicadesigns

Pattern Notes:

Burda #6928 View A, Size 12. Bottom weight cotton/lycra twill in Vanilla from Fabric mart (sold out)

Apparently the “Young” part of the pattern means no shaping through the hips. If you are straight up and down this pattern is for you, I am not. A pretty stretchy fabric and altering the waist band redeemed this pattern.

Burda 6928 Skirt by mahlicadesigns

I added 3in in length to make this mini a workable length for me (I’m 5’4″ and modest). The back waistband gapped a bit. Two 1/4in darts positioned right above the two back seams did the trick. I was not loving this skirt from almost the start, so I did not bother redrafting and recutting the back waist band. With the stretch of the fabric I was able to eliminate the zipper altogether. I also skipped the piping detail, which may have made this a little less boring but I was not inspired to do so at the time.

burda skirt detail

Burda 6928 should take you 2.75 hours to make, but honestly find a better pattern.

Pattern $1.99 Fabric $4.75  Total $6.75

Twisted Tuck Wristlet tutorial by mahlicadesigns

Feature collage

Feature collage

For the September Sew With Me challenge on facebook, I needed to make an accessory. After being stumped a while, I came up with an idea for an accessory that I actually needed; a small purse with a handle. I drafted my own pattern, so I wanted to do a practice run before working with a faux leather for my final version. The first version out of quilting cottons was made up for my So Sew Easy Sewing Swap partner. I hope she likes it.

Since I put in some effort to draft my pattern and work out the twisted tucks detail, I wanted to share a tutorial so you can make one too.

You’ll need:

Twisted Tuck Wristlet template, 4.5in X 14in rectangle for twisted tuck detail, 3in X 11in piece for strap, 11in X 8in for interior pocket (optional), fusible fleece or heavy weight fusible stabilizer, 9in zipper.

Cut Exterior Fabric: 1 main body, 2 front side pieces, 1 tuck piece, 1 strap piece

Cut Interior Fabric: 2 main body, 1 pocket.

Cut fusible fleece: 2 main body (hint: trim away about 1/2in from edges to reduce bulk in your seams, especially at the top edge)

First we’ll make the twisted tucks insert.

  1. Grab your 4.5 x 14 inch piece. Mark one of the shorter ends on the wrong side as the Top. Make your first fold, wrong sides together, 2in down from the Top edge. Press. Sew 3/4in away from and parallel to your folded edge.**
  2. Make your next fold, wrong sides together,  1 5/8in down from the stitching line you made in step #1. Press and sew 3/4in from your folded edge. Repeat until you have a total of five tucks.
  3. Press tucks down. Baste tucks down on one edge using 3/8in seam allowance. Fold and pin tucks up on other side. The edges will not line up squarely, that’s ok, its more important to keep the piece squared up. Baste in place using a 3/8in seam allowance. You should have 1/2in of fabric above your top tuck and more below your bottom tuck.Tucks collage
  4. Using a 1/2in seam allowance, attach the side pieces to the tucks insert, lining the pieces up at the top. Press. The insert should be a little longer than the side pieces, trim away any excess after the side pieces are attached.


Next, we finish getting our pieces ready.

5. Trim 1/2in away from the top, flat edge of the fleece if you haven’t done that already. Apply the fusible fleece to the wrong sides of the two exterior pieces.

6. Press the pocket piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Center the pocket on top of one of the lining pieces, right sides up. The lower raw edge of the pocket should line up with the lower edge of the lining piece. Bits of the pocket will hang over. To make a 3in card slot, I mark the center of the pocket, then measure and mark 1.5in out each side of center. Stitch along the marked lines, backstitching at the top to reinforce. You can divide the remaining pocket area as desired or leave them alone.  Tip:  1.75in to 2in width is good for a lipstick slot. Trim off any overhanging parts of the pocket.Pocket7. Press the strap in half lengthwise wrong sides facing. Open up, fold long edges in to meet at the center, press, and fold again. Same as if you’re making a double fold binding. Stitch 1/8in from the folded edges to close the strap. Place one of the exterior pieces right side up. Position the strap 1in down from top edge and with raw edges facing out. Baste in place.


8. Mark a line 1/8in down from top edge on right side of a Lining piece.** Position the zipper right side up along this line, making sure the top zipper stop is about 3/8in in from the side. Pin in place. Position one of the Exterior pieces on top, right side down. The zipper is sandwiched between the layers. Using a zipper foot, stitch 1/2in from edge. Repeat with the second lining and exterior pieces.

Wristlet zipper insertion collage

9. Open out the layers so zipper is in the center. Press and topstich about 1/8in away from exposed zipper tape.

Top stitching collage

10. With needle & thread, make a new zipper stop about 3/8in from edge. Trim away excess length of the zipper. Open zipper by about 3/4s.zipper end collage

11. Fold one exterior piece over onto the other exterior piece, right sides together. Line up exterior and lining pieces, making sure open edges of zipper are lined up. Pin as needed.

12. Leave a 3in opening at the bottom edge of the lining pieces. About 1.5in from center bottom of lining, start stitching with a 5/8in seam allowance, as you sew around the curve gradually change your seam allowance to 1/2in. before you reach the zipper. Sew slowly as you go over the zipper. As you come back around to the lining, increase your seam allowance to 5/8in after the curve.stitching

13. Carefully trim excess bulk from the zipper corners. Clip the curves and trim seam allowance around the bottom edge of the lining by about half.

14. Pull the wristlet right side out through the opening in the lining. Hand stitch the lining closed. Use a turning tool to push out the corners at the top and smooth out the lining and curves.

lining opening

Zip it up and your done!

Final collage 3

** This sentence edited after publishing to be more clear.

Tonic 2 Tee pattern hack by mahlicadesigns

As part of the Sew With Me challenge in September to make four coordinates, I used some of the remaining fabric from my Matilda leggings, to make a color blocked version of the Tonic 2 Tee from SBCC patterns. (Previous Tonic 2’s here & here & here )

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

I made a size small with a few adjustments to the pattern this time. I raised the neckline  by 1in at center front, narrowed the neckline by 1/2in at the shoulders and drew a new neckline curve. I also shortened the sleeves to about 17in finished length to make a 3/4 sleeve.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

For the color blocked portion, I used one of my previous versions to determine where I’d like the new sewing line to be, retraced pattern pieces and added seam allowances. I also noted where my center bust point was so I could slightly curve the color block line down from center bust to about 1/2in lower at the sides.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

It didn’t quite come out as hoped. Next time I’ll move the sewing line up a little more above my bust and redraw the curve to be more noticeable. I also learned to consider stretch more carefully. The stretch in the top fabric is much less than previous fabrics used and pulls across the top of my shoulders.

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

The Tonic 2 Tee should take you about 2.25 hours cut to finish, plus time to redraft your pattern.

Fabric $5  Pattern $0   Total $5

I also entered my Tonic 2 into the Sewing Indie Month contest.

Matilda Leggings from Spit Up and Stillettos

Matilda Leggings

I’m pretty sure I mentioned earlier in a post about my Core Wardrobe that I would never wear leggings. I loath that people wear them as pants and I did leggings (stirrup pants back then) in middle school so…

Tonic 2 Tee hack by mahlicadesigns

So here are some leggings I made. Yup, never say never. In September, I joined in a challenge from the facebook group, Sew Alongs & Contests to sew four coordinates. For the challenge I made the Matilda leggings, a skirt, the color blocked Tonic 2 Tee you see above, and a self drafted wristlet. (Watch future posts for details)

The leggings were made to wear under skirts, but are already in heavy rotation around the house as a slightly less frumpy option then wearing my pjs past 10am. (Ah, the problems of a stay at home mom)

Matilda legging by mahlicadesigns

Just a few thoughts on the Matilda Leggings pattern:

This pattern is seriously short in the rise. Without the 3in waistband you’d be a little indecent. I added 1in to the front and back rise and will add another 1/2in to the back rise next time.

Matilda leggings by mahlicadesigns

I made a straight medium according to my measurements, but am feeling a little like a sausage around the rear end, so a little adjustment is needed there. There’s also a little extra room around the calves to slim down.

Matilda legging by mahlicadesigns

Caption: Earlier photo shoot with longer hair

If you are tall you’ll need to add some length to the legs also. I’m 5’4 and the length is perfect for me. I measured the inseam at about 27in.

matildas closeup 2

I picked up 1.5yd of this fabric from the red tag shelves of Joann Fabrics. (Of course I can’t find it online to link you) The right side is a grayish blue with a faded denim look. I used the wrong side, as it was so much cooler and in my Core color palette. I’d say it’s a medium weight knit with good stretch.

Matilda leggings close ip

Caption: I thought I set the..

These went together so quickly I was a little stunned. How often do you get a project done, cut to finish, in one hour? Bonus: At my height, I only used half of my yardage, so plenty left to make the Tonic 2 Tee (to be blogged later) and more.

The Matilda Leggings should take you one hour to complete.

Fabric $8   Pattern $Free    Total Cost: $8

Sew With Me Challenge

Burda Skirt

One of my facebook groups, Sew Alongs & Contests put on the Sew With Me Challenge in September to create four coordinates; a pant, skirt, top, and an accessory. Even with my efforts working towards a Core Wardrobe, I still struggle with a haphazard approach to what I’m making. I thought participating in the challenge would give me good practice at purposely making separates that go together.

Although a couple of the pieces are not true love, I do feel good about the cohesiveness of the four. I hope I can maintain the mindset of being more purposeful about making pieces that have wardrobe partners.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post about each of the pieces including a tutorial on how to make the Twisted Tuck Wristlet.

Do you have an approach that keeps you from making wardrobe orphans?