All posts tagged: teaching

Tutorial: a simple, sweet little drawstring gift bag

Last week I shared the tutorial for making the simple zippered cushion cover that I use to teach zip insertion in my Absolute Beginners class.  This week I thought I’d share an even easier tutorial – one for the simple drawstring bag that is the very first thing that I teach my Absolute Beginner students to sew. I love these bags, and have been making them for almost as long as I could sew.  My mother doesn’t like wrapping presents, so I made her dozens of them in lovely festive fabric, and she just pops her presents in them – easy-peasy, looks gorgeous, and totally green and recyclable, because she’s still using the ones I made her 10 years ago! These days I make little ones to keep my pearl necklaces in, middle sized ones to hold the accessories to each of my historical outfits, and bigger ones for sorting socks and undies when I travel. This tutorial makes a a 15cm (6″) wide x  22cm (8 3/4″) long bag – perfect for a chunky pearl …

Tutorial: how to make a simple zip-back cushion-cover

In my Absolute Beginners sewing class I teach students to set zippers using a simple zipper cushion-cover tutorial.  The cushions are fun and easy  to make and the students love them.  I thought you might enjoy a tutorial, so you can make them yourself. This method of setting a zip is a bit longer and more involved than some, but it yields a fool-proof result, which is important when you are first learning to sew.  And even now, I’d rather use a technique that is always going to work perfectly than one that can go wrong! For this tutorial you will need: One 35cm/14 ” zip 1/2 metre of mid/heavy weight fabric cut into 3 pieces: one square that is 49cm x 49cm (19.25″ x 19 1/4″”) (for your cushion front), and two rectangles (for your cushion back) that are each 49cm x 26cm ( 19 1/4″ x 10 1/4″”) One 18″ square cushion inner Step 1: Sewing the zipper seam First, finish the two long inside edges of your rectangular back pieces with zig …

The ’30s Garden Party frock

Reminder!  One day left to enter the Giveaway! One of the upcoming classes I’m teaching is a ’30s garden party dress class.  I love ’30s garden party dresses – you know the ones; chiffon, ruffles, floral prints, with that incredible ’30s ability to be ridiculously cutesy feminine and very glamorous and sophisticated at the same time. For the class, I’m debuting an idea I’ve been working on.  A lot of 1930s dresses are made from very similar patterns: a basic bodice, married to a full-ish skirt attached with an interestingly seamed dropped waistline, with a choice of sleeve treatments.  I’ve taken this formula, and am turning it into a pattern that allows lots of choices, while still being a good introduction to vintage ’30s sewing techniques. To start with, my pattern has a basic bodice.  I’ve taken the bodice from patterns like Excella E3006 – this type of bodice has the advantage of back princess seams, great for adding a little more shape and fitting a wider range of bodies. For necklines, my pattern has the choice …