Vogue 9040

Vogue 9040 and Craftsy “Inside Vogue Patterns: Coatmaking Techniques” with Steffani Lincecum.



There are several views with various collars, sleeves and lengths. I made version A which was the version made in the class.

I have been wanting to make a coat for many years but a) never got around to it; b) thought it would be too hard for me; and c) didn’t think I’d wear it in California’s winters. Well, I was browsing the Craftsy website and this coat caught my eye.  The picture of this coat is stunning and I felt with someone walking me through step by step that I could do it.  AND to top that off, it’s been really cold this winter.  So I got me a nice wool coating fabric from Michael Levine’s in my color and jumped right in.  I decided to include the contrasting collar in silk velvet too.

I love how Craftsy viewing lets you rewind, go fast through the parts I already understood and pause to catch up with the teacher. Steffani Lincecum has been sewing all her life and she also worked in the industry, sewing for movies and television.  She has so many tips and techniques that this class was well worth the price of admission.

The close ups are wonderful and really help with all the techniques that she shows.


Steffani shows a special pocket inside the coat that she added. It’s called the Chinese Wedding Pocket and she has super easy techniques to add it to the coat.  I can’t wait to add this to all my coats and jackets.

My coat came along quite nicely as I took my time and watched over and over again. One technique I had never done before was hand understitching.  It was essential because I couldn’t press the silk velvet collar.  I even had a couple issues while pressing my coat so I wanted to be really careful with it and do hand understitching to help keep it under control.

This is my Chinese Wedding Pocket complete with prairie points..


Steffani likes to mark her seams in the crucial areas and then when you are at a corner she directs you to go diagonally across the corner as you sew so that your corner isn’t too pointy.


There is a whole lesson on shaping the sleeve and providing the structure for the sleeve which was fascinating.  I loved how when I had time to sew I had a built in “sewing buddy” to walk me through this project each step of the way.


Hong Kong finish for the hem.  The hem is very curved so it was a 3 step process to get it to lie flat and finish it off.


Sorry the color got all wonky on me for the buttonhole picture.  I wanted to show the buttonhole.  Steffani shows how to do a hand worked buttonhole but frankly, I couldn’t find the correct thread that matched and by this time I honestly just wanted my coat finished!  I took out my trusty automatic buttonhole foot and attached it but I had a HUGE problem!  The button wouldn’t fit into the automatic buttonhole foot!  OH NO!  I looked online but couldn’t find any fixes for this other than making a manual buttonhole on my machine.  I dug out my memories of doing this when I was a kid because back then they didn’t have automatic buttonhole feet.  So I marked them really well and practiced on a scrap first – changing the zig zag from narrow to wider at the ends.  I think they came out OK.


The finished coat!  I love how the pockets are built right into the seam.  The bottom of the coat is really flared!  It might be a little too flared for my liking but I’m happy with my coat.  Now if it would only get cold again.  I could wear it!








Caddy Pad Tutorial

Want a great way to carry your travel iron or regular size iron to classes or for travel?  This is an easy project for your sewing group.  What’s more is…if you don’t want to use it as an iron caddy you can substitute the heat resistant fabric with terry cloth inside and use it as a lunch box.  Then when you open it up it’s a placemat while you eat your lunch.  FUN!


First, you’ll want to get your pattern here.  The pattern designer is Sisters’ Common Thread.  The pattern comes with the heat resistant fabric.  You can also purchase it at most fabric shops.

Regular size:

Junior size

Follow the pattern instructions to draw the grid onto some tissue paper.

Layer the main fabric wrong side up facing you, the two layers of Insul-Bright batting, the heat resistant fabric with the right side up facing you.



Place the tissue with the pencil lines drawn on top of the “sandwich.”  Pin in place.


Place your walking foot on your sewing machine and lengthen your stitch length to about 3.5 or 4.0.  Sew along the lines according to the instructions in the pattern.  Just sew right through the tissue.


Tear off the tissue paper.  This is what it will look like when you are finished.


Sew across the corners according to the pattern and cut them off leaving about 1/4 inch edge.  Trim all the way around the pad, close to the stitching, leaving about 1/4 inch around.


Time to make the handles.  Cut your handles according to the pattern and fold them in half wrong sides together.  Press.


Open it up and then fold each long end to meet at the center crease you just made and press.


Now fold in half again and top stitch.


Place the handles as indicated in the pattern and baste in place before you add the binding.  My picture already has the binding attached.


You will need some elastic or I used pony tail ties for the elastic loops.  Place them according to the pattern and baste them down before you add the binding.  I didn’t get a picture before the binding.  : )


Time to attach the binding.  You can use the pre-packaged bias binding or make your own.  You do not really need the binding to be bias because the corners are not that rounded.  I just cut mine on the straight of grain.  I cut them 2 1/2 inches wide and enough to go around the pad.  Attach two buttons where indicated by the pattern and you’re all done!  Enjoy!



Welcome 2016!


A brand new year is a time of goal setting, turning over a new leaf, giving back, changing bad habits and starting new ventures. Join us at the American Sewing Guild to improve your sewing skills.  We have it all for you…

Before we get started we want to tell you that you can help support the non-profit sewing group, The American Sewing Guild – the Los Angeles Chapter.  Just click the link to the sewing classes and purchase the class.  A portion of your purchase goes back to ASGLA to help us with our youth sewing programs, our community service supplies, and passing along our sewing to the next generation.


SEW….. Let’s get started with our new year and new goals!

#1  Improve your sewing techniques by learning good habits.   Janet Pray, an amazing teacher has a wonderful class on the subject.  Sew Better, Sew Faster and gives you garment industry secrets.  Check it out here.






#2 Take a field trip or shopping tour with your sewing friends.


#3 Learn to fit and sew jeans with national educator, Jennifer Stern.


#4 Sew a beautiful blouse using our step by step picture tutorial.


#5 Give back by sewing up some clothing for needy children.


#6 Learn how to fix mistakes in your sewing from national educator Jennifer Stern Hasemann.


Let us know how you are doing on your goals. Share on our facebook page.

McCall 5554

Review by Jeanette Swanson

M5554aRecently, our sewing guild was making doll clothes to raffle off along with an American Girl Doll.  Our members pitched in to make clothing and once I made one outfit I was hooked.  These little outfits are so cute and quick to make that I made several outfits from McCall 5554.  This pattern is very versatile.  There are many options for creating a little wardrobe with just this one pattern.



agd004The little backpack really caught my eye and I thought some little girl would truly enjoy that.

The pattern comes with the tissue printed a little differently and you need to pay attention to this if you plan to use it multiple times.  The pieces for each outfit are grouped together but not all are labeled on each individual pattern piece.  Take the time to go in and write the name of the pattern piece on each tissue if you can…that is if it isn’t too small to write on it.







I looked through my stash and found some fancy beaded scraps from a previous project and some sheers so I decided to make a fancy dress with that.  The seams are really small so if you like to work a little larger you can just add a bit to your seams.  Necklines can be finished with trim or turned under and stitched.  All sleeves are sewn in flat which makes it really easy.

The doll clothes are closed using Velcro which is much easier for little girls to dress their dolls.  I love using the Fabric Fusion iron on Velcro.

VELCRO Brand – Iron On – 5′ x 3/4″ Tape – White

I really recommend making some doll clothes for the little girl in your life.  You will enjoy making them as much as she will enjoy dressing up her doll.


Sew Along – Simplicity 1316 Week 5

NOTE:  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for week #1

Week 5 – Facings and Finishing

Sew Along Simplicity 13161316

We’re going to sew on the facings and finish up this blouse. Woohoo!




First, we will be sewing the facings together. Match your notches and I always like to mark my center back on the facing so I don’t accidentally sew that to the front facing.  With right sides together, sew the facings together.


Finish the long unnotched edge. You can choose from a few different finishes.  You can serge the edge, or you can turn the edge under ¼ inch and stitch it, or you can just zig zag stitch around the edge.  I followed the guide sheet and I stitched through a single layer ¼ inch from the edge.  That stitching became my guide for turning the edge under.  It’s much easier to turn on that stitching line.  Press it up and stitch.


With right sides together you’ll stitch the facing to the neck edge. If you are doing the style with the collar you’ll stitch the facing right over the top of the collar.  I use pins at the match points only.  The seams on the facing match up with the shoulder seams on the blouse.  The center front of the facing match up with the center of the blouse.



When you sew, you are sewing not only around the neckline but also down the sides of the facing. Tip:  If you don’t want to add a thread chain to your blouse and want a little shortcut you can add a pony tail tie to the left side of the center back.

To do this you will choose a pony tail tie that matches your blouse.  If you don’t have a match you can use a sharpie and “paint” it to match.


Next you will place the tie right up against the seam between the facing and the center back of the blouse.  I basted it in there.


Fold down the facing and stitch your center back seam.


Turn the facing to the right side and there you have your loop.


Here’s a tip on turning corners.  Fold the two corner edges so that you get a nice point.


Put your thumb up into the corner underneath and your forefinger is still holding that point in place.  Push it through to the right side.


And…it gives you a nice sharp point.  Press.


The next step is understitching.

Press the facing up with the seam up toward the facing. Use the pressing ham to press the curves.


Now comes the understitching. I never used to do my understitching.  But it really is important and will make your blouse look more professional by keeping the facing from rolling to the front.  You will stitch on the facing very close to the seam catching in the seam allowance that you just sewed.  Stitch as far as you can along the neckline.  You can’t go all the way because the facing won’t turn that far since you stitch a corner seam at the back.


Turn the facing to the inside.  To finish the back opening below the facing,  follow the guide sheet instructions to fold back the center back seam twice and top stitch it in place. Pin as shown so that you can take your pins out as you go.  To top stitch, start at the top and sew down close to the edge.


When you get to the bottom, *pivot and sew a few stitches across the bottom and then pivot and sew up the other side.  This gives you a clean finished opening.

*Pivot = stop with your needle down.  Lift your presser foot.  Turn the project.  Put the presser foot down.  Continue sewing.


If you are sewing up style B and want to add the trim to the neckline, this is the time to do that. Depending on the trim you chose and the look you want (you’re the designer!) you might add the trim on the outside or you can lap it on the underside and have it just peeking out.  Try it out different ways before you sew it down.



You are going to want to tack down your facing so it doesn’t flop to the outside when you’re wearing it.  The guide sheet suggests hand stitching at the shoulder seams.  I like to use the machine to tack them down.  If you sew a few stitches “in the ditch” which means in the seam outside you can barely see it.  Sew forward about 2-3 stitches and then reverse the same.


I think we’re ready for the underarm/side seam finally! I would pin it together or baste it first.  Try it on and see if you need any adjustments.  Sew the underarm and side seam.  Clip the sharp corners at the underarm.  Finish the seam in your chosen seam finish.  Press the seam.   Almost done!!


We have a few different sleeve finishes in the pattern. To add trim you’ll turn up your sleeve two times to make a nice hem and then sew on the same trim as is on the neckline.  Another option is the cuffs.  Follow along with the guide sheet to attach the cuff.

sewalong094 sewalong095

For the hem, sew through the single layer of the bottom edge of your blouse 5/8 inch from the bottom. This will be your guide for pressing up your hem.  Press along this stitching.  Tuck the raw edge underneath the fold and pin. So you end up with two folds at the hem. Stitch your hem.      Note:  This is a rounded “shirt tail” hem.  You might get a little big of puckering and that’s OK.  Do the best you can on those curves.



Add a thread chain if you didn’t add a pony tail tie to loop over your button. Sew on a button to the right side.


View D has studs attached to the front. You can certainly do this.  Purchase some studs or rhinestones at the craft store and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach them.  Get creative and do your own thing.

You now have a beautiful blouse that you can wear with pride! You made it yourself!


Please post pictures on our facebook page. We’d love to see them!

I’ll see you next time as we Sew Along a pieced and quilted table runner.

Join the American Sewing Guild to get up to date information on posts, discounts at sewing shops, discounts to fun sewing events in your area, instant sewing friends…and much more!

Happy sewing!



Sew Along Simplicity 1316 Week 4

Sew Along Week 4 ~ Sewing the blouse pieces together.1316

Now comes the fun part…the sewing!

First we will fuse our interfacing onto our facing pieces. If you are adding the collar you will need interfacing for that piece too.

You will fuse your interfacing by following the manufacturer’s instructions for whatever interfacing you have purchased.

Lay your facing fabric onto the ironing board with the wrong side facing up. To make sure your fabric hasn’t twisted or gotten out of shape take your facing pattern piece and lay it on top.  If you are using a drapey fabric like Rayon you will definitely need to do this.  Once you fuse it, there’s no going back and you want to make sure it is in the right shape.  Make any adjustments you need to make and then take the pattern piece off.


Lay your fusible interfacing with the glue side down. Place a pressing cloth over the piece and press the entire piece, making sure you lift and press, overlapping to get the entire piece fused.  Use the pressing time suggested by the manufacturer’s instructions.






A note about fabric. If you are using a fabric like a batik (like I am using) your fabric looks the same on the right side and wrong side.  Be careful.  You don’t want to sew any pieces backwards.  Ask me how I know!  Choose a wrong side and then mark it in some way.  I used my chalk marker.  You can also use painter’s tape or the adhesive dots you get from the office supply store.  Whatever you need to use just make sure you have your pieces marked correctly.  You should have mirror images of your side pieces and your back.


Choose a good all purpose polyester thread that closely matches your fabric.

First order of business is stay stitching. This will help to keep your neck edge from stretching as this area is bias and will stretch easily.  It’s important when sewing in your stay stitching to go in the direction that they show you in the picture on the guide sheet and also be careful not to stretch as you sew.

Note the stay stitching for your particular front piece. For instance, notice that for the V neck you will start at the V and sew up to the shoulder.  For the round neckline you will start at the shoulder and end at the center front.  You also need stay stitching on the front piece at the side between the notches.

If you are making the style with the lace (View E) you will need to prepare your front piece before you sew it together with the side fronts. Cut out your front of fabric and your front of lace.  Place them together with the wrong side of the lace on top of the right side of the fabric.  Both right sides are facing up.  *Baste around the entire piece attaching these two pieces together.  Then you can treat this as one piece.

To “baste” means to use the longest stitch on your sewing machine and sew without any backstitching. It’s just holding the two pieces together.

(This is a different blouse in the picture.)


Next you will sew the side fronts to the front as instructed on the guide sheet for your particular style that you are making. These are called princess seams.  Place right sides together.  Whenever I sew princess seams together I always match the notches and put the first pins there.  Notice that you will have more fabric in the side front than you do in the front.  It seems that they won’t fit together, but they will.


Clip into the front (shown on top in the picture above) up to the stay stitching. I also “curl” or “curve” the fabric and then you can pin them together.  Pin the rest of the seam.



Getting ready to sew: The seam allowances on this blouse are 5/8”.  If you look on your sewing machine you can usually see some markings with measurements on them.


You’ll follow along with the edge of the fabric along the 5/8” mark. If you have trouble following the 5/8” mark or if your sewing machine doesn’t have the mark, you can use painter’s tape and measure from your needle 5/8” and place the tape down on your machine.  It’s super easy to follow the tape.


Tip: Place the piece with the most fabric down on the sewing machine toward the feed dogs.  The feed dogs are the sharp metal things under the presser foot.  They will help to feed that extra fabric through.  So you will be sewing with the side front down and the front up.


Now sit back and admire your beautiful seam.


After you have sewn a seam you need to decide how you will “finish the seam.” You can’t leave it all naked and bare.  The fabric will ravel and make a mess.  There are several things you can do.

If you have a serger, you can finish the edges with a serger.

serged seam2

serged seam1

I will be finishing my seams with a pinking shear. This is a simple way to finish a seam if you don’t have a serger and it will help to keep your fabric from raveling.


A very important part of sewing is pressing. Once you have sewn and finished your seams you will need to give them a good press.  Use a pressing ham for the curved areas (especially on the front).  First press your seams flat, then open your seams if you can and press from the back.  Turn it over and, using the ham, press the front nice and flat.


Note: What is a Pressing ham?  A pressing ham was named for its “hammy” shape.  Getting hungry?  Typically one half is covered with wool and one half is covered with cotton.  The reason for this is that you can use the cotton side for high heat items and the wool side for lower heat.  I kinda break that rule though and use my wool side all the time.  I think it really holds the steam/moisture well.



Here is the result. The right side was pressed and the left side was not pressed.  See the difference?


While we’re on the subject of pressing…here are a couple other tools to help you. If your seams are being stubborn and not wanting to lie flat you can use a “clapper.”  It is a piece of wood that is heavy and so you can just plunk it down and hold it until it cools.  You’re gonna LOVE this thing!


Another tool is just like the ham but it is long and narrow like a hot dog and is called a sleeve pressing roll. We’ll be using that shortly.

Next up is sewing the side backs to the back piece, right sides together. Use the same principle as above with the front and side fronts.  There is probably not as much curve in the side backs as there was for the side fronts (especially if you are large busted).sewalong057

Finish your seams and press them.

Be sure you marked your center back where the small dot is. If not, pull out your pattern piece and mark it now.



Sew up the center back and stop at the dot. Back stitch at the dot to lock in your stitch.


Time to sew the shoulder seams. I want to share something about shoulder seams (or any curved seam).  Have you ever noticed that when you place the top edges of your seams together that you end up with an uneven seam?


What you want to do is place the pieces so that they are together at the 5/8” seam.

sewalong061 When you sew them they’ll be perfect! Finish your seams and press them.



If you are doing the collar version you’ll need to apply the fusible interfacing to it. Place the interfaced pieces right sides together with the un-interfaced pieces.


Sew them together according to the guide sheet. Tip:  If you have trouble with the curves and want them to be perfect you can mark them with your fabric marker.  Then just follow the lines when you get to the curves.  It’s so much easier!


Trim your seam and clip the corners so it turns easily. I trimmed my seam extra small since it is white and the seam can show through.


Follow the guide sheet and place the front of the collar together.


Then pin the collar to your blouse neckline. Match up the notches and dots as the guide sheet instructs.  Baste it in place.


That’s it for this week.

Next week we will add facings and do some finishing work.




Sew Along Simplicity 1316 ~ Week 3


Sew Along Week 31316
Cutting out the pattern.

Prepare your fabric, if you haven’t already, by washing it and drying it the way you will be caring for it once it is finished.  The last thing you want is to finish your beautiful top and then wash it and have it shrink and not fit anymore!

 Press your fabric if it has lots of wrinkles and then fold the fabric with right sides together the long way with selvages laying on the table away from you and the fold laying on the table toward you.sewalong034

Next, you will need to straighten the cut end of the fabric.  No matter how carefully the fabric is cut at the store it may not be perfectly straight.  To straighten the end of the fabric, snip through the selvage, find one crosswise thread and pull it, like a gathering thread, until you reach the opposite selvage.    Cut the fabric along the pulled thread.

straight grain1

Another way to straighten the side of the fabric is to snip through the selvage and tear the fabric all the way to the other selvage.  This method works well with woven cottons.

Once you have a perfectly straight cut edge, fold the fabric in half lengthwise aligning the selvages.

If the cut edge is not straight, or the corners don’t form right angles, the fabric is off-grain and needs to be corrected.  You can do this by pulling gently along the bias grain.

straight grain2

Use the layout guide from the pattern instruction sheet for your particular style.  Pay attention to the pieces that are cut on the fold and those that are not.  The pattern piece lists the number of pieces you need from each.

Look at your fabric.  Do you have a print that is all in one direction?  You will need to lay out your pattern pieces in the same direction so that you don’t have part of your print upside down on the blouse.

For example:  Look at these fabric samples. In the first picture all of the birds are facing in one direction.  It would not look right if the birds were upside down on my blouse.



Here is another design but the birds are facing every which way so it wouldn’t matter which direction you cut it out.



Press your pattern pieces to get them ready to lay onto your fabric for cutting.



Decide whether you will use pins, pattern weights or a combination of both.  I prefer the small glass head pins when I’m working with good fabric.  They are finer and leave no trace once you remove them.  Any good pins will work.  You really don’t need to use a lot of pins.  Just pin along curves and at corners.

The pattern pieces with this symbol will need to be laid onto the fold of the fabric.  I like to pin this edge right on the fold so I know that it is accurate.  Then I use my pattern weights to hold down the rest of the pattern.


Ready to cut out.sewalong026

Which tool will you choose?


You can use a pair of really good, sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter.  If you choose to use a rotary cutter you must have a special rotary cutting mat under your fabric.  This would not be the time to use your nice dining room table.  I like to use the smaller rotary cutter if there are lots of curves in the pattern but either one will work.  Go slowly and NEVER put your hand out in front of a rotary cutter.   Ask me how I know…just kidding…but it would hurt!


Now you will need to lay the other pattern pieces that don’t go on the fold exactly along the grain line which is parallel to the fold and the selvages.  The way we do this is with our handy ruler.  I like the clear ruler with grid lines so I can see the grain line marked on the pattern.

First, you will lay the end of the ruler at the fold.  Make sure it is straight.  Then find a line on the ruler (it doesn’t matter which number is on the ruler.  You’re just finding a line) that matches up with the grain line on the pattern.  Note the number on the ruler.  In my case, the number is 13 1/2.  But your number could be something different.


Now pin the pattern in place to hold it.


Now go to the other end of the grain line printed on the pattern and repeat this process using the number you noted from your ruler from the first side.


Pin in place.


Now your pattern piece is perfectly on grain and ready to cut.


Once your pieces are all cut you will need to mark them at the notches.  You can use a chalk pencil, fabric marking tool or use your scissors to clip at the notches.  Be careful not to clip too far in.  These notches will be essential for your sewing.


Cut out your interfacing.  I like to use Palmer/Pletsch brand Perfect Fuse.  They come in different weights.  I like Perfect Fuse Light for most of my garment sewing.   Cut out your pattern pieces that need interfacing.  It will tell you on the guide sheets and on the pattern piece.  Choose the right size listed on the pattern piece.  NOTE:  If you made any changes to your shoulder seam you will need to alter your facings.  Make the same changes to the facing shoulder seam that you did on your main pattern pieces.


That’s it!  You’re done for this week.  We will fuse the interfacing to the facings next week.

See you next week for sewing!

Be sure to post pictures of your progress on Facebook.  Ask questions here on the blog using the comment section.