4 Tips for sewing Big Time for Holi-Daze week.

Every now and then we are blessed with an extra long holiday weekend, so I’d like to share my strategies to help maximize your sewing time.

Tip #1 Make your plan

I peruse my Pinterest boards and my “to list” to focus in on what I want to work on. I try to pick items that are similar enough that I can work through them quickly without having to think too much about what I’m doing. Be realistic about how much time you have and how much you can get done.

Tip #2 Be Prepared

Get your patterns traced & cut, fabrics washed, & make sure you have the notions required. Get organized. Put your patterns together with their fabric and notions.

Tip #3 Batch your processes

Do all your cutting at once. If you’re making multiples of one pattern, layer the fabrics and cut them at the same time. Sew similar seams at the same time. If you’re making a pile of tees for example, sew all the shoulder seams in your stack then sew in all the sleeves in your stack and so on.

Tip #4 Be Speedy

Chain stitch and skip the pins if you can. If you can stand to, don’t trim your threads as you go, instead have a trimming session as the last step. Avoid re-threading your machines, instead use neutral thread colors that can work on most or all of your projects. I use gray thread by the cone-full. (Check out Sarah‘s tips for Speedy Sewing)

Bonus Tip:  Say No To UFOs

To make my sewing room UFO free has been a give and take process. A couple years ago I committed to making one project at a time, from cut to finish, and have almost entirely eliminated new UFOs. I do not pre-cut multiple projects (unless I know I’m absolutely committed to making them) knowing that I give up some efficiency in my sewing time, but I gain the freedom to change my mind about the next project on my list.

The only hitch in my “No To UFOs” plan is occasionally running into an issue that I cannot solve without some input. I give myself the freedom to start and finish another project while getting help on the problem and then I finish it off.


Are you wondering what I made over the holiday weekend? Well to be honest, not very much. Weekends are family time and rarely do I get to sewing, but I did finish a Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan for my Core Wardrobe.

Drop Pocket Cardigan 1
Drop Pocket Cardigan from Jalie patterns

Never Ending Summer with a Pin Peg Mini Skirt hack

When thinking about how to bring a summer feel to clothing that I can wear year round, I kept coming back to the idea of using fabrics with a summery print or colors for a fall/winter garment. The best I was coming up with was a floral lining in a jacket, but it just wasn’t what I was wanting to accomplish for Never Ending Summer.

Thanks to The Monthly Stitch’s August theme of “2 is the magic number” I got to thinking about making something reversible and viola the Reversible Pin Peg Mini idea was born. Summery on one side, wintry on the other.

PinPeg summer 1

PinPeg summer 2

PinPeg summer 3

Just a few details: I used an abstract stretch cotton sateen from Fabrics & Trimmings and a stretch cotton twill called Stingray from Felinus Fabrics (sold out). The Pin Peg Mini is a newer pattern release from Sew This Pattern. I paired fabrics with a similar stretch, weight and opacity.

PinPeg winter 1

PinPeg winter 3

I would resolutely insist that you make a muslin first. I’m glad I did because there was some weirdness with how the pattern printed. (I didn’t see anyone else report problems when researching, I’m sure I goofed it up) The size chart puts me at a size 10, but I sized up to a 12 on my first muslin and it was about 1in too narrow on the back and 3in too narrow at the front. Whhaa? I reprinted on some A4 paper I have, made sure there wasn’t something happening with the scaling, and got no difference in the pattern pieces. Unfortunately there are no finished garment measurements to help out either. I started my second muslin at size 16 and worked down from there. I ended up using size 12 for the back and size 14 pieces for the front and grading one size smaller at the waist. All this too say, measure your pattern pieces for fit and do a muslin.

PinPeg winter B1

Getting the right fit took a little work, but I’m really pleased with my reversible version. I was most excited about the black Stingray fabric, but I’m only meh about the finished look. I think a black zipper would not have distracted from the vertical print, so I’m considering painting over the metal on that side. I’m liking the watercolor side much more.

PinPeg winter 4

I haven’t thought through how I’m going to style it in the cooler months, but I feel good about my Never Ending Summer creation and I’m glad I can share how I made a reversible version.

A brief tutorial on how to make your Pin Peg Mini reversible:

Note: I’m just giving high level instructions so you can make your own. Good sewing practices like marking, trimming seams, and pressing are assumed. Also I’m assuming you know how to install a zipper.
  1. You will need the two front pattern pieces, back piece, two front waist band pieces and back waistband piece. (Set the facings and zipper flap pattern pieces aside)
  2. Determin your new zipper length. Abutt the left front and left front waist band pieces and measure along the zipper edge. Subtract 2.5in to account for seam allowances. Or wait until you’re to ready to insert the zipper and measure.100_4153
  3. Cut your fabrics separately. Cut main fabric right side up with pattern pieces right side up. Cut second fabric right side up and pattern pieces wrong side up.
  4. Sew all darts. Press the main fabric darts out, press the second fabric darts in.
  5. In main fabric, sew front 2 pieces to back piece at side seams. Repeat for second fabric.
  6. In main fabric, sew front waist band pieces to back waist band piece. Repeat for second fabric.
    **Note that the right waistband piece includes extra length for a button closure, I just trimmed the extra off after attaching the waistband to the skirt.
  7. In main fabric, sew the waist band to skirt body. Repeat for second fabric.
  8. Right sides together, line up the main skirt with the second skirt along the waist and hemlines. Sew the two skirts together along the waist band. Press. Sew the hem line together leaving a 10in opening along the back piece. You should now have a tube, open at two ends and a 10in opening at the hemline on the back piece.
  9. Sew in your zipper along the shorter front piece. Turn things right side out if it helps, then line up the other side of the zipper in the opening on the long front piece. Sew the zipper in the other side and the bottom of the longer seam closed at the same time.
  10. Now you’ll need to turn things right side out through the 10in opening in the bottom hem and hand stitch the opening closed.

Jade Skirt from Paprika Patterns for Summer Crush week

Meet my Summer Crush, the Jade Skirt from Paprika Patterns. (LinkUp your Summer Crush here)

Jade Skirt by mahlicadesigns

My interest was piqued last fall when the Jade came out, but it wasn’t until spring that I decided what fabric to use. Thanks to #sewlongsummer the Jade is finally taking up residence in my closet. I can really see this being a key part of my Core Wardrobe. The length is good for summer and paired with some colorful tights will be cute in fall and winter too.

Jade skirt by mahlicadesigns

I used a  Maggy London ponte from Fabric Mart for the shell and a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee for the lining. I’m very pleased with both fabrics for this project. The ponte is a good quality and the jersey has the right stability needed to support the folds on the Jade. The color is not as saturated on the jersey as I would like, so it may only be used in supporting rolls in other garments.

Jade skirt by mahlicadesigns

The pattern is not as difficult as those front folds make it look. There’s a tutorial video and a practice sheet to make sure you can do the folds correctly. I watched the video a couple of times and followed the tip to use colored pins and had no trouble with the folds. In fact, I got it on the first try.

Jade skirt by mahlicadesigns

Once you tack down those folds, the rest of the construction is elegant in its simplicity. The instructions include options to add an exposed zipper or an elastic waistband. I didn’t need to do either.

Jade Skirt by mahlicadesigns

The Jade Skirt should take you about 3.75 hours cut to finish.

Pattern: $7      Fabric: $9    Total: $16

Sew Long Summer sew along is just around the corner!

SewLongSummer badge

Sew Long Summer Sew Along is starting in just a few days, August 24th.

I hope you’ve been working on something to show off for one or more of our weekly themes. If you’ve just found the sew along, you still have a little time to get ready, and we definitely want you to join in on the fun.

We’ll have Link Up parties to show off what you’ve made for each week’s theme, some contests, and lots of inspiration from your hosts.

Be sure you’re following all of our pages so you don’t miss anything, you can still enter our giveaway too.

Are you social? We are. Join us here:

Follow Sew Long Summer on Pinterest and Instagram

Join Sew Long Summer Facebook and Flickr groups.

Sew Long Summer-Meet the Co-Hosts and giveaway

SewLongSummer badgeSew Long Summer our brand new Sew Along is starting soon and we’re very excited to see what you’ve been making and to share what we’ve been up to. Four lovely ladies have joined me in working behind the scenes to make this a fun event. Be sure you’re following all of our pages so you don’t miss anything.

Melissa portraitHi I’m Melissa, of mahlicadesigns. I’m a stay at home mother of a three year old. Sewing is my creative outlet and escape from toddler craziness.

I’ve been sewing in earnest for about seven years after making a baby quilt (on a garage sale machine-it was a hot mess) for a friend. I was hooked. Quilting was my focus for a few years before making the switch over to garment sewing primarily. I had a few blips of sewing experience in 4H and also made my wedding dress. Don’t be impressed, my mother did most of the work.

My primary focus for now is getting a Core Wardrobe put together and making pieces that work well together and fit my shape.

Please meet…

Elizabeth MadeThis portrait

I’m Elizabeth of elizabethmadethis.com.  I live in Colorado, and I’m completely dotty for sewing.  I started out draping dolls as a child in my own hand-sewn creations that were made from scraps in my Mom’s fabric bag.  I continued sewing by hand growing up, making accessories for my violin, several twin-sized yoyo quilts, and a rather funky vest made from yoyos in 7th grade.  When I got married and hand-sewed 5 yards of stamped fabric into curtains for our apartment, I figured a sewing machine would be a great deal more efficient.

I bought my beloved Janome and have since sewn mountains of fabric into garments and items for my home.  I love the challenge of taking a flat piece of fabric and transforming it into a beautiful, three-dimensional garment alive with color and texture.

As a mom of three sons and a wife of a husband known for accidentally felting all of my wool garments, my clothes and the ones I stitch up for the boys are inherently practical.  If it’s not washable, it’s not in my closet.  I sew hardwearing basics with tons of added detail that comes in the form of embroidery, pattern-hacking, DIY elements, and novel fabric and pattern combinations.  I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills and infuse as much creativity as possible into my work.

My life as a former elementary music teacher and my life-long passion for writing compel me to write about sewing in a way that will help others grow more confident in your sewing.  I’ve learned to sew from the ground up, and I want to teach others to do the same.

My work has appeared in Seamwork Magazine (Aug 2015) & Altered Couture (TBD) .

Sarah musingsofaseamstressHey everybody!  I am Sarah of Musings of a Seamstress.  I started sewing as a kid by hand stitching Barbie clothes out of my sister and I’s old clothes.  I am the only one in my family who can actually sew though.  I didn’t start sewing again until middle school home ec classes.  True story, I failed my high school sewing class, but only because a secretary threw away my project because she thought it was scraps.  Tells you something about how it must have looked.  Even with that I went on to get my bachelors degree in apparel design.

I now work full time as a technical designer for a show choir manufacturer.  I spend my days making patterns, grading patterns, test sewing, and writing instructions.  I love it!! I also spend my after work hours drafting my own patterns that I eventually want to release under my own indie pattern label.

Cindy portrait

My name is Cindy of  http://www.cindyparrett.com I’m an Education Counselor for college students during the day,  mother to 2 amazing kids (10 y/o girl  & 4 y/o boy) by night. I am a Military Veteran and a Military Spouse. I love to travel and thanks to the Military I get to go for free. We are currently living in Hawaii.
Sewing is not only a creative outlet but on some days a stress reliever.  I’ve learned how to sew like some of you hand sewing Barbie clothes for my little sister. I learned the basics of machine sewing in high school and if it wasn’t for my amazing teacher I think I would have sworn off sewing then. My final project was a Christmas stocking with my name hand stitched. I am proud to say I still have this stocking and still put it up every year for Christmas.

Ashley portrait

I’m Ashley, www.sewnbyashley.com.  I started sewing as a child for 4H, and picked it up a few up again a few years ago.  I mostly sew for myself (selfish I know).  Sewing for me is a way to feel creative, as I work in an administrative position.

You’ll want to follow each of the hosts to see all that we’re doing for the sew along, and let’s have a little fun in the process.


We have put together a Sewist’s Prize Package with all sorts of goodies you’ll love. How do Fiskar’s scissor sharpeners, a My Pad needle keeper, a $20 Joann Fabric gift card, and few little surprises sound? Great.

Get your entries in the Rafflecopter widget/link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

9/22/15 UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed, but you can still be a winner by submitting your makes in the Summer Crush and Fabulous Fall contests.

Introducing Sew Long Summer; a sew along.

Sew Long Summer is a sew along with four weekly themes that will bring us through the end of summer and get us ready for the coming fall.

SewLongSummer badgeBeginning August 24  and going through September 22 (the last day of summer) we’re going to have a sewing good time. Your sew along hosts will have inspiration for you in a variety of ways.

We’ll have link ups, social media, and contests for your participation pleasure.If you’re like me, you like to plan ahead, so I’ve published a Sew Long Summer page with all the details including the weekly themes. If you’re ever looking for info related to the sew along it should be on this page.