Garment Sewing: Intermediate Level

If you have made a simple garment or two and want to tackle some bigger challenges, then this post is for you! This post is also for you if you’ve been sewing other things (like quilts!) for a little while and want to put those sewing skills to the test! I’m going to walk you through some new skills to learn how to sew your own clothes!

I started getting a lot more into sewing garments earlier this year after being super inspired by #MeMadeMay. If you aren’t familiar with #MeMadeMay, it’s when people deliberately wear homemade clothing as much as possible during the month of May and get to share their creations with the world! I was very inspired by all the beautiful garments I saw and just HAD to get started!

The first garment I sewed for Me Made May was my Peplum Top which you can read about here, and then I kept the garment sewing going by making myself a Molly Dress, re-vamping my wardrobe by altering some of my own clothes, and then even made a little girl dress too! Eventually I decided that I really should compile some of my garment tips and tricks into one place for you so I posted Tips for Beginning Garment Sewing. This post is a follow-up to that one, so go ahead and read my initial tips to learn how to sew with Rayon and some of the tools I love to use.

The fabric I used for this top is called Flower Toss in pink. It is part of the Rollakan collection by Cathy Nordstrom for FIGO Fabrics.

Today I want to share with you about the process of making my pink Gelato Blouse. This super comfortable, transitional summer-to-fall blouse fits perfectly into my current wardrobe and is already one of my absolute favorites for wearing to work! The Gelato Blouse Pattern features a couple slightly trickier techniques that make it perfect for an intermediate project. You’ll see this top has lots of ruffles, lots of buttons, and has sleeves, which I was actually scared of until I made this top!

Before I dive into my tips to master these skills, be sure to read about my Tips for Sewing with Rayon if you are using rayon for your project!

Tips for Sewing Ruffles

Ruffles are actually pretty easy and I probably could have shared these tips earlier in my beginner blog post, but the top I made to show off on that one did not have any ruffles so I left it out. The key in sewing gathers is to sew slow and accurate!

  • Using a contrasting thread color, sew a large basting stitch (I use the largest stitch size my machine has) 3/8″ away from the edge of the fabric, then go back again and sew another line at the 5/8″ mark. Be sure to leave long tails of thread on both sides of the stitches so you can gather
  • Grab both TOP threads and start to pull gently, careful not to break the thread but firm enough to make the fabric gather together.
  • Play around with your gather placement for a little while. You’ll want to make it as even as possible, which is harder than it looks!
  • Before sewing your gathered piece to the garment itself, I like to stitch another line using normal stitch length at the 3/8″ mark (over the first line you stitched). I find doing this extra step helps the gathering stay where you want it)

Tips for Sewing Buttons

I never would have tackled buttons if it weren’t for my amazing sewing machine. My HUSQVARNA VIKING machine actually has an automatic buttonhole foot that makes it a total breeze! I’m here to say though that you do not need a super fancy machine in order to succeed at making a button hole or sewing on the buttons!

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  • Regardless of what your machine is, be sure to look through the owner’s manual to find out what features your machine includes when it comes to button sewing.
  • Next, go to the good ole’ google machine and search for some videos of people using making buttonholes on your specific make or model of sewing machine.
  • Practice a few time on scraps of your fabric that you’re using on your garment. If the place on your garment where you’ll be putting the buttonhole is 2 layers of fabric and one layer of interfacing, then create a practice piece with the same layers to give you the most “real” practice experience.
  • Lastly, you’ve got this! I believe in you! You’ll be a button pro in no time!

Husqvarna Viking Jade 20 Sewing Machine

from: Sewingmachinesplus.com, Inc.

Tips for Sewing Sleeves

When sewing on sleeves, you will want to go slow and be very careful not to gather too much or too little. Your pattern will likely allow for a tiny but of gathering, and will show you how to match them up to the bodice, so each sleeve is even.

When getting ready to sew on your sleeves, I recommend pinning very carefully, and then sewing it on with a large basting stitch just as if you were doing the real thing. Basting stitches are much easier to take out just in case you don’t love how it looks the first go around. Once your sleeves are basted on, try the shirt on and see how it looks. Are the sleeve ladies even? Are there any accidental holes or puckers? Once everything looks satisfactory, go ahead and sew right on top of your basting stitch with a smaller stitch length. Ta-da, your sleeves are now done!

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The Top 5 Best Sewing Machine Features

Are you considering buying a new sewing machine? Maybe you’ve been having the itch to learn how to sew for a while now and you just want to dive in by getting your very first machine, or maybe you are gaining experience and are looking to upgrade! Whatever the case, I am here to help guide you towards finding the best machine for your needs! 

As a sewist and a quilter, there are a few key things I looked for when sewing machine shopping, and even some features that I wasn’t particularly looking for but I turned out to love SO MUCH! so are you ready to find out the Top 5 Best Sewing Machine Features?!

You might already know this about me, but I am a total HUSQVARNA® VIKING® fan. My very first machine was a HUSQVARNA® VIKING® EMERALD that I got for my 16th birthday and I’ve been obsessed with this brand ever since. The machines are total workhorses and have tons of unique design features with the sewist in mind! I recently upgraded to the HUSQVARNA® VIKING® DESIGNER BRILLIANCE 80 machine and I am pleased to announce that this machine has all 5 of these amazing features and so. much. more.

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Can I Learn to Free Motion Quilt on My Sewing Machine?

Maybe you’ve already noticed, but I have been dedicating a LOT of time over the past year focusing on hand quilting, and before that I did a ton of straight line walking foot quilting, but I am thinking maybe I should do some more quilting on my machine – Free Motion Quilting, to be exact – also known as FMQ! I have actually made a couple quilts over the years with FMQ but I have never been happy with my stitches or designs.

Recently, I heard about an online course for learning how to Free Motion Quilt and I’ve decided it’s time for me to get some official training on the topic! Signing up for Free Motion Quilting Academy will be a great way for me to expand my skillset & get better at it, while also getting to practice it with some accountability! I love the idea of taking an online course so I don’t have to give up a whole weekend & lug all my stuff to an in-person class, but I can still connect with the other quilters in the class via virtual groups & show off our progress in photos!

Click here to learn more about Free Motion Quilting Academy!img_0021

My most recent FMQ experience. Still very shaky!

Have you been wanting to learn how to Frr Motion Quilt but you’re worried your machine isn’t up for the task??If you are concerned that you do not have the right machine for Free Motion Quilting, HollyAnne Knight is here to debunk your worries and explain what the most important things are to look for in a machine for FMQ! Continue reading

The Sewing Machine that Teaches You How to Sew

Beginner’s Guide to JoyOS ADVISOR™

This post is for all you high-tech high-quality sewing machine lovers out there! Did you know there is a way to have sewing instructions and tutorials completely integrated into your sewing machine?! It’s practically like having a sewing teacher that lives inside your machine!

Image result for hjoyosadvisor app

Since getting my HUSQVARNA® VIKING® DESIGNER BRILLIANCE™ 80 sewing/embroidery machine I have actually learned SO much about sewing, quilting, embroidery, materials, stabilizer, thread, stitch length, and well, a lot of stuff! One of my favorite features on this new HUSQVARNA® VIKING® machine (that I was not expecting to find so impactful) is the JoyOS ADVISOR™ which came built into the machine. Continue reading

Simply Retro // quilt pattern book review

Last week I shared a blog post showcasing my “Wiggling Quilt” from the book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and it kicked off a quilt pattern book review blog post series! Who doesn’t love a good blog series?! If you want to read about the fun and quirky book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and see cute pictures of an adorable baby girl floral quilt, click here!

Today’s stop on the Quilt Book Review Series is a book that has been around for a little while but will always be a winner in my eyes! My mom got Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley a few years ago and I have been looking through these beautiful patterns ever since! I’ve actually made FOUR baby quilts already from patterns in this amazing book, so you can definitely say I got my money’s worth! (That is a joke since I stole my mom’s book… thanks mom, you’re the best!)

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AccuQuilt Go! // Precise Fabric Cutting Made Easy

Recently AccuQuilt has invited me into their influencer program in order to increase the precision and speed for cutting fabrics for my quilts. They sent me the Ready. Set. GO! which included the 8” GO! Qube and GO! Strip Cutter-2½” (2″ Finished), which are both incredible with So. Many. Possibilities!

AccuQuiltGo

I’ll be honest, I was a little intimidated at first! To help me take the dive into learning how to use the new machine, I invited my mom over to help (that’s what moms are for, right?!). My mom (@JaneJustSew) has had the AccuQuilt GO! Baby for a while so I knew she’d be super helpful, and as always, we had a ton of fun together. Now, I know not everyone has someone to ask for help, so I’m writing this post to share my learning experience with all of you!

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How to make a Quilted Graduation Cap

Graduation Season is coming up!

Are you a quilter graduating this year? Do you know any students struggling to know how to decorate their graduation cap? Are you wondering exactly how to decorate your graduation cap with a quilt? I would love to help teach some things I learned while decorating my graduation cap by making a mini quilt! Read below to learn how I made my very own quilted grad cap for both my Undergraduate degree and then also for my MBA!

My experience making my first Quilted Grad Cap:

In December of 2015 I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and knew that I had to incorporate quilting into how I decorated my graduation cap, but couldn’t really find any examples of how it had been done before. So, naturally, I decided to wing it. I learned a lot through that process and really perfected it my second go around when I completed my MBA in 2017.

Albert and Alberta

I’ll walk you through the steps I took while making mine, so you can be confident when you make your very own quilted graduation cap!

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How to Troubleshoot Sewing Machine Problems

Do you have a sewing machine but aren’t really sure the best ways to take care of it, or fix problems when they inevitably arise? We all want to treat our machines well in order to get the best performance out of them, and to have them around for a good, long time! Doing routing sewing machine maintenance will definitely keep your machine running smoothly and will expand it’s lifetime!

I recently was given the chance to sit down and chat with someone who runs a service center for the Husqvarna Viking sewing machines and pick his brain for all the best ways to address sewing machine issues.

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PROJECT: Sewing Machine Pocket Pal

I want to share with you a little project I’ve been working on. I call it my pocket pal, but I got the idea and pattern from lillyella. She calls it an Under Cover Makers Mat and this is the pattern to download. *I adapted this pattern to fit my machine and sewing needs.

Pocket Pal under the Husqvarna Sapphire965Q

To begin, I downloaded the pattern and printed it out. I then took measurements of my machine and decided to increase the finished size of the mat – my final dimensions are 24″ by 27″. I had to then also change the pocket sizing as well to accommodate the wider finished mat. (My pocket panel finished size is 24″ wide.)

For my middle pocket, I decided to make my own block using pink, white, and grey scraps that I had on hand. I made 36 half square triangle blocks and rearranged them until I liked how they looked. To the left of the center pocket, I put a very wide pocket and a shorter one of the same width, and to the right I put a skinny pocket and my thread catcher bag.

Pocket Pal close up with thread catcher bag

My little pocked perfectly fits a little pair of scissors and the best seam ripper ever.

I was really happy with how the thread catcher bag turned out – I can’t get enough of these pom poms!

Overall, I love how the pocket pal/maker mat turned out! My sapphire 965Q is loving it too!!! I can’t wait to show you more projects as I work to get my new sewing space set up!

Happy sewing, pals!