PJ pants PDQ

Another round of testing a new pattern at 5oo4.
I love the drafting of the adult version of the free PJ pants. My younger students have loved and learned loads from making the smallest sizes of the adult version. So I jumped onto the test for the kids version. There is always so much interesting insight to be gained in pattern testing if you pay attention. Recently, I found out that I would be keeping my grand daughter an extra day early, and wanted to get photos of her in these, but had limited time. So I made this pair in about 45 minutes. You can make them up quickly too. Here are some tips!

1. Skip the pockets. If you are making these for photos or for small children who have not yet discovered the joy that pockets bring, or are inclined to leave messy things in them, just skip them. Don’t get me wrong. I am 100 percent a pocket fan, but we are in a hurry here. This remnant was only 23 inches long, and there would not have been room for pockets on the fabric.
2. Skip the side seams. The side seams of these pants are fairly straight. Mark the seam lines on the outside leg (the longer side) with a highlighter, crayon, or whatever is at hand. Line them up so that the seamlines are on top of each other, and, with your fabric folded, cut around the perimeter of this new shape.

3. Serge the single layer of the top waist band edge and the bottom hem edge to give them a clean finish. Chain serge to save thread.

4. Sew the inseams. Fold each individual leg right sides together and serge the inside leg seam. In the photo below, I serged and top stitched the inside leg…. And also hemmed. I was in a hurry and forgot to take shots of that.

5. Hem the pants. I know my models inseam, and found it simple to hem each leg before sewing them together. The inseam before hemming measured at 16 inches. I folded the pant leg up 2 inches and hemmed, then another 2 inches, and this time hemmed with the longest stitch, and just enough back tacking to hold this together. This gave me a 12 inch finished inseam. While hemming twice seems like it takes more time, and seems a little bulky, it will allow us to remove that long stitch hem and give the wearer another year to wear these pants. I like the idea of a more sustainable, grow with me wardrobe. Pants can also be finished, tried on and then hemmed for a more accurate hem.

In the interest of a grow with me option, the same can be done with the waist band. It can be cut one inch taller front and back and elastic applied then folded down once more and basted, so that when the model grows taller, the waist and or hem could be let out to wear for another season. The flip side of this is it will take longer for these to dry with the extra bulk. You choose what works best for you.

6. Sew the crotch curve. Turn one leg inside out and place the right side leg into the inside out leg, so that right sides are facing, then serge the curve, matching up the seams at the inside leg. Below is a photo of me top stitching that seam to one side. Since the crotch curve has some bias and stretch to it, a bit of a stretchy seam will last longer than a plain straight stitch. .5 wide zig zag is sufficient.

7. Add elastic. The fastest way for me to add elastic is to quarter mark my elastic and quarter mark the pants. The seams are half of that, so just mark where the side seams would go. Then starting in the center front, and the center mark of the elastic. Stretch the elastic as you sew from matched up mark to matched up mark. The first one is easy.

8. Overlap ends when you get to the back of the pants, add a tag here if desired, sew to the end of the elastic, then back up half an inch, and without twisting, place the other end of the elastic on top of this, stitch without stretching for 1/2 inch, and keep sewing that elastic from mark to mark.

9. Secure the elastic ends. Go back to where the elastic ends are overlapped and sew down the center of the elastic. For me this is enough to mark the back of the garment. Since a little one or her parents will be helping with this garment, I added a strip of knit fabric just to denote the back.

10. Fold elastic to the wrong side and top stitch. And just like that, you are done. One more gift on the “finished” list!

I sized these according to a hip measurement wearing a cloth diaper. Lots of room for play in these fun and quick pants!

This post contains affiliate links to free patterns which may generate a small commission to me from the pattern designer if you purchase the patterns using those links. Much gratitude from me if you do!

I made a pair of these pants – slow sewing style – with pockets, flat felled and French seams on the treadle. Watch for that post, it may be a while.

Wishing you happy sewing! Joan

Open front Leslie

It was a joy to test the newest sweatshirt pattern from 5 out of 4 patterns. Jessica really knows her sweatshirts, and we are at the beginning of cold weather here, so the timing could not have been better. This my version of Leslie. I have a preference for a cardigan style, so I can put on or remove my outer layer without messing up my hair. It also works for when you just want to cool off a little bit, and open the cardigan without completely removing it. Folks with limited mobility, or nursing mommas might appreciate it as well.

To begin, I altered two pattern pieces. Both the front, and the shawl collar. For the front, I simply folded back the few inches of the center front. I marked where the seam lines of the bottom of the placket and the top of the shirt would normally meet, and created a new “notch” or marking both there and on the other side of my shawl.

For the shawl collar, I just extended the shawl side B to almost match the full length of the front piece. I left the front piece to be about 3/4 inch longer. I opted to use the fuller shawl piece. Cut four shawl pieces (mirror images), and two fronts (not on the fold).

Optional pocket. Cut a strip as wide as the lower edge of this front piece and about 2 inches deeper than your desired pocket. I cut this from scraps.

Note my sharpie curve of the point of the shawl collar. I did not cut this here, but will stitch this later, and trim it off.

First things first, pockets. One simply needs a pocket in everything, and this Leslie Cardigan is no exception. I finished the top of my pocket strip, then placed my front right side down on my table, then the pocket also right side down on top of that and stitched across the bottom with a slight zig zag. 1 wide 3 long.

Under stitch. In my book, under stitching is like permanent ironing. With the seam towards the body of your front piece, stitch 1/4 inch from the seam line with the seam securing the main fabric and seam allowance. This will roll the seam to the back of your garment and make the next steps easier. It also reinforces the bottom seam of your pocket.

Flip and staystitch. Flip the pocket back round to the front, make sure the bottom seams are where you want them and stay stitch either side. Repeat for the other side of your front. *Note for the adventurous here. Ignore the adventurous tips for your first version please.

Shawl collar, Sew the center seams as directed, then place the two shawl collars right sides together. Stitch all the way round the outside edges only. In the photo below, your can see where I curved the point a tad. Do this for both sides and trim the seam allowance. Speaking of trimming the seam allowance. If you are sewing especially thick fleece, or do not want your collar to roll out, trim 1/4 inch off the outer edge of this curve from point to point on the collar that will be your under collar before sewing them together. **Adventurous sewist tip here.

Sew the bottom hem of your shawl collar. Each side please.

Turn your shawl right side out, and top stitch the outer edge and hem. I am a top stitching fan for the same reason I like under stitching. It is optional. What is not optional in my sewing teacher’s opinion is basting. Please take the few minutes to baste the inner curve of your shawl pieces together. It will save you more than a few minutes of ripping later.

In the photo below, I added a pin to my “outer ” collar. It is just a smidgen bigger than the inner one and gives just a hint of puffiness.

Inside collar view.

Pin the collar to the body. With the inner collar facing the right side of the body of the garment, pin along the edges, matching the front bottom edges, notches, center back, then add more pins in between as needed. Stitch all the way round. I used a 4 length with a slight .5-1 zig zag for stretch. After you decide you like it, you may clean finish the edge if desired. I used the overcast stitch on my sewing machine for two reasons. Matching thread, and it can handle the multiple layers of fleece more happily than my serger can. ***Adventurous tip here.

Top stitch this seam towards the body of the garment. Go slowly over the pocket area since it has many layers. Take care when you start and end, and use an awl or other tool to squish the seam allowances into the underneath part, so the stitches catch them and hold them securely out of sight.

Clip your threads, so that they don’t show up on a super close up. Then go ahead and serge the hem edges of your back pieces and sleeves. If you flat sew your sleeves, now is the time, otherwise you will be sewing them later, in the round.

Pin and sew your side seams. If the universe is happy with you, your back piece will be about an inch longer than your front pieces. Use this to roll round the edge of your nicely finished front piece. Snug is key here. Make your side seam. Repeat for the other side.

Notice the tidy stitching. Now you can serge if you would like to.

Flip the seam open, and surprise! Ready to hem the back side.

Hem the back. I used a wider zig zag 2 wide 4 long to account for the horizontal stretch. Add and hem your sleeves if you haven’t already, and you are done!

This would make a lovely long robe.

A note about shawl collars. This one could be cut on the fold. Just fold back the seam allowance and go for it. I did that for another version where I had a lot of fleece in that particular color. This one was cut side by side, so I have enough fabric to make a pair of Susie pants to coordinate.

This post contains affiliate links, wherein I may receive a small commission from the pattern designer if you use my link to purchase their pattern. It is no additional cost to you and I really appreciate the support.

Happy sewing! Joan

For adventurous sewists only. You will need a separating zipper that is the length of the spot where the seam allowance at the tip of the shawl collar starts, down to your hem. It can be shorter if you want to leave a few inches at the bottom of yours without a zip. It is up to you to choose on this adventure. This will vary per size, and per length option chosen.

  • For a zip on the left side of your front, install one side of your zipper here from your hem line to about 5 inches above the notch we made in the second photo. *
  • It will later be enclosed in the seam where the shawl collar is attached here. ***
  • The other side of the zip will be installed here. ** You are responsible for determining which side of the shawl collar it goes on and which side faces up. On the version I made, this is where the zipper pull side of the zip was sewn. Perhaps a reversible separating zip might make the whole process easier, as it would be hard to get the zip in “backwards”.
  • The version I made for me with the full zip did not have pockets, although I installed invisible zips on the side seams where a pocket might go. I hope to install pocket bags at some time in the future. I wore it over a sweater that did have pockets, and was able to get to them , so it may be a while.
  • Happy Adventurous sewing! Joan

A different twist on an Ally Protohaven mask

Earlier this year, I popped over to my local hardware store to pick up some widgets.  It is walking distance and they have everything I really need from seeds to manure, to canning jars, and pvc parts.  Well they do not have fabric, but that is ok.  Some of the employees were wearing masks, others were not.  Many of they folks that work there sport beards.  From goatee to full on mountain man.  I had been mask making, and wondered how one masks up with a beard, and googled when I got home.  I actually made some for them.   The pattern has multiple sizes of regular masks as well as the beard option and has become one of my favorites.  It pops out from my mouth, so I can talk with it on, without mask climbing into my mouth.   Straight lines and simple, interesting construction?  Yes please!  

A dozen Ally Protohaven masks finished and waiting for ties or elastic!

I found the pattern here and printed it. Then I traced it on to some news print folding it at the seam line, so I could eliminate the long top seam, since I wanted to make these up quickly. The crease of the paper is where the seamline would be on the printed pattern. A friend liquidated her quilting stash, and these fit on fat halves I got from her quite nicely. I then stacked the fabrics, wrong side up, lightest color on top. I traced around the paper pattern with a yellow sharpie. There was enough fabric left to squeeze some pieces of this mask from Tie Dye Diva as well. It has smaller pieces, and I like to conserve fabric. Cut the outer edges with ruler and rotary and inner angles with scissors.

Fold each piece in half along the seam line, or fold line above, and make the first seam. I call this and L seam, as that is its shape. I do not see it often, but use it all the time. It really helps the opening from popping stitches when the mask is turned right side out. It is worth making that 90 degree turn and stitching into the seam allowance. Leave about an inch and a half open for turning later. In the past, I have sewn the long seam then turned just before the space for the opening, but you can see that I missed that step on the second one. In my most recent batch, I started with the short 1/4 inch seam an inch and a half from the folded edge, then turned to make the longer seam. It worked in helping me to remember.

“L” seam made in the first side.

The second side is simple and fast. Just chain piece from seam/fold line to the end. Chain piecing helps to save thread and keep tiny pieces from falling down the needle plate. The one on the bottom in this photo has the L seam.

Second seam sewn.

Next, open the mask and match up the seams you just made, so they nest against each other, and sew across them. I used pins to keep the seam allowances pointing away from each other in the photo.

Squash folded and sewn seam.

Next, to free up the seam that will eventually be at your chin, clip either side of the center, just about 1/2 inch from the center seam. Careful not to clip your stitches!

Clip about 75% into the seam allowance on either side of the crossed seams.

This part can be simple or tricky. The simplest next step is to sew the right and left remaining seams together. Just do that! Everything will be fine.

Brain teaser option: If you want to be complicated, like me, and save a fraction of a second of sewing, tuck the solid seam made into step one, inside the “L” seam made in step two, and align all four edges together like in the photo below. Stitch from folded edge on the top middle of the photo past the previously sewn seam. Simply folding them in half and sewing will not work. Just ask my seam ripper.

The resulting Polygon has five sides as shown above.

Once you have the mask turned right side out, it will look like the photo below. Press the edges of the opening under, press the mask, and top stitch all round, 1/8 inch from the edge. An edge stitching foot is helpful here.

Freshly turned mask.

We are getting there! Fold the corners of the mask in towards (but not all the way to) the center to form the casing. The pattern has you double fold this, but I like the triangles. I normally sew one, using a 5/8 inch guide from the edge to form the casing, then sew over previous top stitching to form the triangle. Fold the mask in half, and fold the other side so that they are symmetrical before stitching that triangle. Thread a single tie or elastic through the openings, strap on and go! I use about 50-60 inches of twill tape.

Finished mask.

If you want to get really fancy, make a reversible mask with this method. Below, I cut 5.5 inch wide strips, serged either side, and alternated the direction of the masks when cutting. This is a stack of six pairs of strips. “Mass Production” and “Reversible” are both vying to be my middle name. For your first time, you may want to try a single layer at a time.

Hope you have fun and stay safe with this. There might be an affiliate link in this post. This means that I may receive a small commission if your purchase a pattern using my link.

Happy Sewing! Joan

Flat method Bands side seam tip

8A391C54-1FEE-4372-8EBC-F788F7407F08I love saving time with sewing, and flat methods of construction are great when you need to stitch something up quickly. Or are making tiny bands for a baby.

My youngest asked for sleeveless tees that he could wear walking or as PJ tops.   I cut out three.  One from a Jersey sheet, and two from Rayon Spandex.  Ran a little short on time, so hopped on getting these done in a hurry.

As much as I like sewing on bindings in the round, they look better inside and out.  The neckbands are sewn in the round, and arms in the flat.  Under the arms is less conspicuous.  I figured out that it is easier to top stitch the band in the flat.

B4FC408E-F502-4A70-9A19-AC9999AC0ECB Then align the side seams and pin where the seam between the band and shirt meet.

BEAF1AB1-F513-4476-9476-8E1AED0517F0Notice that on the edges the top of the bands do not meet.  They do match up at the point where the 1/2 inch seam allowance will be.  That is key.

Here we will start the seam halfway between the top edges of the bands and the pin.  Leave the pin in for now and start sewing in reverse.  This allows those bands to stay together.  If you start sewing at the very top of the seam. The feed dogs will often pull the seams unevenly. They grab the bottom layer, and pull it through, while the top layer, being held firmly by the pressure foot (which is pointing uphill)  doesn’t budge.  Resulting in an uneven edge.

0002B6B8-4979-486B-A123-6FB80B17120FBack stitch to the top edge of the band.  You can remove the pin now, since the stitches will hold things together.  Then sew forward to complete the seam using your favorite stretch stitch.  If you plan to serge the seams, then you may make this machine seam just a few inches long.  Then serge as desired, making sure the serged seam meets where the machine sewn seam is, so it appears “seamless” from the outside.

5A475F46-472A-4BDE-8F25-AA8D7D81881EI have used this technique for a multitude of tank patterns.  Affiliate links for some of my favorites are below.

This is the Charming tank.

You can see more of what I sew here: https://www.facebook.com/JoaninStitches/

Happy Sewing!  Joan


Riptide Reversible Shorties meet Tidal Waves

E2D5CE43-42BE-437A-A189-971DC9EB29F3Noticed a Sew Along with one of my favorite sewing groups for a swim bottom called Riptide Reversible Shorties.  The first time I made these was teaching a couple 8 year olds to sew swim wear. They came out super cute, so I thought I would try a pair.  After all, reversible! How versatile is that? I was at the beginning of sewing a swimwear capsule with 4-5 tops and bottoms that worked together in coordinating fabrics.
I should have tried mine on before finishing up the last seam.  Too loose for public swimming.

Later, I joined in testing the Tidal Wave Swim Shorts.  I have lost count of how many I have made from this pattern.  They are great lined or reversible.  I discovered wicking fabric and made several pair specifically to wear under dresses or as PJ’s.

Seeing an extended gusset while shopping ready to wear on vacation several years back gave me ideas.  I added 3 inches to the length of the gusset (or bridge) and the legs of the shorts.  Worth trying, right?

3E6A7BA5-D555-4134-AAC1-B16266C48DA9 The order of construction needed to be a little different.  Front, back seams serged, then burrito the bridge.  I cut a notch in the center front of the bridge, to be sure I got it on correctly.

To burrito, stack as follows:  1.  Gusset right side up, 2.  shorts right side down, and 3 second gusset right side down.  Pin or clip at edges and in center.  Sew from one edge to center.  Re organize fabric to eliminate bunching, then sew the other half.

Second half of the bridge is stacked same as first.  Start with outer bridge And shorts right sides together with pants, then “burrito roll” the top of the shorts, so that the second part of the bridge or gusset can be wrapped around and pinned to the wrong side of the shorts.  Sandwiching the shorts between two gusset pieces.   In other parts of the world, this may be referred to “hot dog” roll.  Anyone hungry yet? Carefully sew from one side to center, Re organize the fabric to avoid bunching, then finish the seam.

Add waist band per instructions.

Pull the fabric out from between the gusset, and voila!   Fully enclosed inner leg seams!


Loved how the leg bands on the tidal waves keep the legs from creeping up.  So I added those here.

6A1258AB-7D09-40F4-B43D-772E2099C3D5Cut bands at 4 inches wide, and the exact width of my thigh measurement.  Slippery fabric bands work nicely when zig zag basted together before attaching to the shorts.

Since these are not lined, they will not be worn publicly, but make great under dresses and Pj shorts. I am really happy with them!

This post contains affiliate links, which may pay me a small commission if you use them!  Thank you for doing so!

Happy Sewing!  Joan

A twist on a classic where Joan gets out all the feet

78BA6065-9673-469D-BD20-4066197388DCI was pleased to test 5 out of 4’s most recent pattern for aclassic one piece swim suit.  It has really nice fit detail and options to make it your own. There is an adult version too, as well as a bundle.  I made two in testing in swim fabric, and got a request for a rashguard.

In the interim, a cotton lycra mystery box arrived from Nick of Time Textiles.  My youngest just graduated from college and has requested t shirts that are a step up from the graphic tees he has grown out of.

The pink was up for grabs. I really liked the peplum on the purple suit I made and the simplicity of the red one. I found about 3/4 yard by 20 inches in these festive owls. And thought they would be cute together.  Normally I might make a muslin from a sale cotton lycra before cutting into dear swim fabric. This time it worked out the other way around.

The swim version has a circle peplum (cut 2 on fold).  I knew that that wouldn’t be stretchy enough for this application, so I cut two rectangles for the skirt about 7 inches tall.  The rest of the fabric was cut into 2.5 inch tall strips to make a ruffle.


2 7 x 20 skirt strips and 6 2.5 x 20 ruffle strips

I cut out the remainder of the suit as directed from the pink cotton lycra, with one exception. I added 1.5 inches to the back crotch length.


Since I couldn’t get the back on the fold, I seamed it narrowly and top stitched.

To reinforce the area for snapping purposes, I stitched 1.75 inch wide woven selvage strips to the front and back crotch edges.  Top stitched towards the woven.

Adding snap tabs.jpegFolded the snap tabs back on them selves with right sides facing the right side of the garment. Stitched side seams, and ready for elastic!

I added 1 inch to the elastic length from the chart and zig zagged that to each leg opening, taking care not to stretch the elastic over the tabs. In future, I will mark the middle of my elastic to match up with the side seams.  A serger or clear elastic could be used here.

Flip the tabs, exposing the right sides.  This brings the elastic to roll over right where it wants to be top stitched with a 3 x 3 zig zag.  A twin needle or cover stitch would work here too.

Straight stitched across the selvage edges of the woven on front and back so it looks pretty from the outside.  Ready for Kam snaps!  The bottom is covered.

For the arm and neck openings, I cut 1.5 inch strips from a contrasting cotton lycra, and it probably wasn’t necessary, but I 3×3 zig zagged clear elastic on one edge of each strip. Then sewed them into loops.

Quartered the neckline and halved the arm bindings attached, the right side of the band to the wrong side of the bodice.  Folded this and topstitched with a narrow 2×2 zig zag with my coded BERNINA #20 foot – open toed embroidery.

4B8C6EE3-2828-4E37-A18E-7EBA61E682F4Then I took my rolled hem foot and hemmed 10 feet or more of ruffle.  This one takes practice.

ED5B5934-B58A-4BA2-976F-F1A23F2D6EDFTo gather the top edge of the skirt I measured a length of 1/4 inch clear elastic, and wide zig zagged that to the end of the skirt panel which I had sewn together. Luckily I marked the middle of the elastic and the seam marked the middle of the skirt, so this is more even than the leg openings.

512817BA-784F-445F-AECE-2A12E461E9B4Like magic, one gathered (and still stretchy) skirt. I used a different foot for the ruffle.

D8499DF6-EA1F-4DFD-9331-621ECF3A9757Meet BERNINA #16. The gathering foot. I marked off 10 inches of strip, gathered, and it ended up being almost 5 inches.  I had 5 ruffle strips and 2 skirt strips so the math was in my favor.  I ruffled on.

Back to my favorite #20 foot where I can see everything under the needle, I attached the ruffle strip to the bottom of the skirt strip.  As I was nearing the end, I broke the gathering thread so that there would be no ruffles getting in the way of my side seam.  Then we went to the serger and clean finished that seam.  It could be zig zagged as well.

Then #10 foot with the center guide came out to play. Moved my needle to the left and top stitched so that the ruffle will behave better, and because I really do love topstitching.

CC7E264E-A6F5-41AB-9197-32379ECC3AEFAligned the skirt side edges, After I cut off extraneous ruffle, and stitched the side seam!

31B66DB1-BCA1-401E-9072-A06F065B4C41With the skirt right side down and the panty portion right side down, I stitched the two together matching side seams. I used a 3×3 zig zag.

B574C689-9880-4E4D-BAC7-28357CAF88C6Oops no photo of sewing the right side of the skirt to the right side of the bodice, but that was also sewn with a 3×3 zig zag, after I was sure I had front matched to front and side seams together.

I am really happy with how this came out and can’t wait to see my grandbaby toddling around in it!

This post may contain affiliate links.  If you use them, the seller of the pattern may pay me a small commission at no cost to you.

Happy sewing!  Joan

Lucy in the sky- a little larking around

I was very excited to see princess seams on the latest pattern from 5 out of 4.  Lucy can be a top, tank, tee or dress.  It is the beginning of summer here and tanks and shorts are my absolute go to from March through October.  Perfect for spending time in the garden or behind the sewing machine.  Even without this strange trip of 2020, that is where I would be.  Maybe behind a machine in class, but that is a story for another day, whilst in a boat on a river, or something.

I really love the look of a color blocked princess seamed anything, those vertical lines are a body’s good friend.  Searched my stash for two compatible knits that were color coordinated and similar weight.  Thank you C19 for sparing me the urge to run to the fabric shop.  I kept searching.  My first go was a snugger knit than the pattern calls for.  A wicking knit that is monarch purple on one side, with a diagonal black (think twill) on the other side.  I serged the seams with black thread, then top stitched.  Bound the arms and neckline, instead of bands, and just serged the hem.  Voila!  One reversible top.  Which do you prefer?


Due to my fabric choice, which was fun to make, but a little more snug around my torso than preferred, I continued to consider my stash. In the meantime, I was able to sneak   in a Lucy for my mini mini me out of the slivers of scraps.  For tips on tiny armbands, check out this post.  When she gets a little bigger and can request a “princess” dress, I will make one that has the lace up back option it is really cute.  When my daughter was small, I would purchase a half yard extra for my project, and make something for her from the same fabric.  She loved matching me and I told her that wearing it was like wearing a hug from me all. day. long.  Hugs….

Next up, more polyester, which I normally shun, but this was in my stash and has holes in it, so breathable, right?  I made a little change or two as follows.  On the side pieces only, I swung the hem out from just above the waistline.  Then, I curved it upwards.  It was very early or very late depending on perspective, so I used a handy thing.  A #10 envelope.  A bit more than 4 inches.  I curved the hem up on the side (on front and back side pieces only) by this much and out about half the width of the envelope (2ish inches).  And went for it.  I banded the neckline and bound the arm openings, narrow roll hemmed and happy to wear it in the garden on Mother’s Day.  For polyester, it was perfectly comfortable.  Planning to plant some flowers that grow so incredibly high, you know, the variety that tower over your head. First year planting Dahlias and some Mexican Torch Sunflowers are on the agenda this year.


Lucy plays exceptionally well with Lola Shorts.  Stella Shorts were in the running for this #MMMay2020outfit as well.  A Rita Skirt would dress it up nicely.  So many choices!


Next up, a dress with a ruffle hem, or maybe sleeves.  And more from the scraps for my mini mini, who noticed we had on the same fabric for our super quick photo shoot, and now says “grandma” via Face Time.  Check out the Lucy Bundle.

I really love a good basic pattern that can be spun off different directions.  The pattern includes instructions on how to move the bust curve to fit your shape.  I got to move mine down commensurate with 6 decades of gravity/multiple years breastfeeding, or a couple inches.  It looks great on everybody!


This post contains affiliate links.  It costs you nothing to use them and I may earn a small commission from the pattern designer if you do.  Thank you!  Happy sewing – Joan


Sophie top

D02A352E-B4BC-49EA-A55E-DAEF7755E44CI had the pleasure of testing 5oo4’s first woven top.  Jessica did not miss a beat with this one.  A lightweight woven sleeveless top is my go to all summer long.  The placket on this one is worth working on.  It elevates a simple tank into something special.

– Women’s sizes XXS – 5XL
– Bust darts
– Collar or bias binding for neckline
– Sleeveless binding, Ruffle, or Half-circle Short Sleeves
– Shirt can be hemmed or have a split hem
– Dresses can be hemmed or have a ruffle
– Shirt, Knee-length dress, or maxi dress
– Pockets!
– Interactive tutorial that links to Sewing School videos

With a v neck, and a fun angled placket, you can end up with a diamond shaped box.  My first placket was not as tidy as I would have liked.  So I put some thought into it.  The pattern calls for a drapey woven, which would probably comply better to the bit of curve required here.  I used light weight quilting cotton and plan a lawn for the next one.

I extended the V shape an additional inch straight down and used a wide bias tape, instead of the straight of grain placket pattern piece. Say that three times quickly!  I marked the width of my bias tape (just under an inch) centered in the middle, 1/2 inch below the spot where the split ended. Made my own dots, so it was clear to me where to stop stitching. 13698B89-EAB2-48B0-BBA4-0DBEEFEBFA72

I trimmed one edge of the bias tape so there was only 3/8 inch remaining  from the outside fold.  Then stitched it to the back of the vee portion of the neckline.   Clipped diagonally to the dots, as the pattern instructs.

Wrapped the bias around to the front and top stitched.  The bias allows for the placket to follow the curve nicely.  Ending up with less of an angle where the two plackets end helped the box be more square. Don’t get me wrong, the diamond shaped placket bottom looks really cool.

For nursing access, one could extend the placket a little further and add buttons or snaps.


I used me-made wide bias tape for the neckline, and cut the remainder in half lengthwise for the armcyes.  I really should have looked at what I had on supply first, but I was so happy to be sewing something other than masks, I just went for it.  With the placket opening on the front, I wanted a split hem to keep in the theme.  Jessica was a real champ to add it to the pattern, even though it meant writing more instructions.  That was my first hack.  I am holding the vents closed in the photo so fit and ease could be ascertained.  Then, I took that hack a step further….

I also recently tested a placketed shirt for my grand baby from another designer.  It takes the split hem to another level by facing the opening and reinforcing it with a narrow strip of bias.  You will want to get the pattern for best instructions, but it had me looking at my father’s old polo shirts to see how this vent facing thing worked!  Glad I saved those for upcycling.  I used one of these shirts to make one for my grand baby.  So interesting to see the different vent options inside and out.


I had a little bit of this bias tape leftover, and used Tie Dye Diva’s tutorial from Cee’s Tee to reinforce the hem vent.

The gist of it is like this.  I had to read through the instructions many many times.  First you hem the top.  Then cut the bias tape a couple inches longer than twice the opening.  With one end of the bias tape tucked under stitch it up the side of the opening to the point where the seam begins.    Leaving the excess at the top of the opening.  Stitch the other side.

By some kind of TDD magic there is enough at the top to create this fold.  It is taller than the opening, but we will address that later with a bar tack after top stitching the edges.


Below is the photo with the edges of the vent facing top stitched down, and getting ready to bar tack that top area closed, down to the opening.



It really adds a fun pop of color and speaks to the neckline opening.


Totally making this top again.  I find woven fabric much cooler than knits when it gets really warm.  Planning to stitch my color popping vent on the outside of the split next time!

This post contains affiliate links which at no cost to you helps me with a tiny bit of commission from the sale of the pattern.  I appreciate it very much, as that helps me to buy more patterns.   

Wishing you good health and happy sewing!  – Joan

More masks – curved seam

7AC6F7DD-4F63-452F-BE64-F95551517806March 6, 2019, at the onset of the Covid19 crisis,  we were warned against hugging, shaking hands, and were advised to wear masks.  This was in yoga class, by a student with medical training.  Lucky me, I made masks the year before in hopes of seeing my first grand baby before we had all of our immunizations.  This post is purely a “how to” using the mask pattern from Craft Passion. That site has been updated to include a version with a pocket, so the end user can add additional filtration if desired. Do your own research about the efficiency of mask wearing.  This is all about the making.

  1.  Print the pattern, choose your size.  I traced off both the outer mask and the liner on card stock so I could trace off multiples. Note that seam allowances and casings need to be added to the pattern. I made my liner just a little smaller.            A29E5C9E-877A-490D-9215-066CA25EC708 I like the seam to roll to the lining side.
  2. CF90CEFE-E65F-4E6B-B172-436441C90E8C
  3. Cut your fabric.  With careful folding of your prewashed and dried fabric, the both the outer and liner pieces tessellated nicely.  Using two different fabrics and the chemicals used in fabric processing, prewashing is a must do item!  I traced with a coordinating sharpie.  Tip, fold your fabric right sides together, so you can pick up a pair and sew, without the fiddling of placing each set right sides together one pair at a time just before sewing.
  4. I like to cut in sets of 4 or 8.  Choose 2-3 coordinating fabrics, mix and match. Start sewing from the bottom of the mask.    With the pointy end of the mask towards you, stitch the curved edge of your mask with 1/4 inch seam allowance.  That pointy end is skinny and has a better chance of getting stuck in the hole that your needle goes into.  Chain piece to save time and thread. I highly recommend chain piecing in manageable batches for each following step.
  5. Separate the mask lining from the mask outer pairs. It is easier to do this now, rather than later when it is hard to distinguish between the two.
  6. Top stitch that center seam.  With the seam allowance facing left, and your needle in the left position, top stitch the curved seam of your mask and lining.  If you have a blind hem foot, the guide helps aid in straighter stitches.  Carefully ease your pieces away from each other to avoid puckering.  Tip:  start at the bottom of the mask like you did above. Those pointy pieces still like to find their way down to the bobbin.  Do this step on both the inner and outer pieces.
  7. Put the outer masks aside and gather up the lining pieces.  Fold the side of the mask over 1/4 inch and 1/4 inch again to create a narrow hem. Stitch this down as shown.  Repeat on the other side. C51D208F-4359-4ACE-988E-15BF1974D899
  8. With right sides facing, place one lining on top of one outer.  Match up center seams.  The top stitching from step 5 will be offset with one pointing right and the other pointing left.  Stitch with 1/4 inch seam allowance across the bottom (mostly straight) edge of the mask.  Start on the longer piece, and stitch all the way across. The stitching on the single layer may seem redundant, but it allows for a firmer edge to the casing.
  9. Clip into the seam allowance up to 1/8 inch from your seam either side of center.  This will prevent puckering later. E5939C34-F076-4AAF-8F18-C348E093606F
  10. Under stitch the bottom seam.  With the mask opened up and seam allowance facing toward the lining, stitch 1/8 inch away from the seam you just made on the lining.  All the way across.  This helps the lining roll to the back of the mask, reinforces the edge, including the single layers that will later become the casings.
  11. Fold the mask right sides together and make a 1/4 inch seam across the top of your mask.  Just like the bottom seam there will be about an inch and a half of single layer mask before you get to the lining.  Stitching here reinforces the casing opening. Carefully stitch across the upper curve, matching the center seams, then down the other side.  You just created a filter pocket!
  12. Flip your mask right sides out, press out the edges.  Use an iron if you wish.  Lining side up, fold the seam allowance over and top stitch as if to hem, continue top stitching across the entire mask edge.
  13. Top stitch the top edge, taking care around the nose curve to prevent puckering.  If you would care to add a  second line of stitching to create a pocket, here is where you can add that.
  14. Casings:  I chose to make my 9 inch long elastics into loops prior to slipping them  them into casings.  C373625E-EBBE-4353-87E2-6FAD15DA8BACLots of things can be used as a drawstring as well.  Shoe strings, strips of tee shirt, longer elastic, twill tape, bias strips.  Overlap the elastic ends 1/2 inch and stitch back and forth two times.  This process can also be chain pieced.  C424086D-289F-4999-921B-0E05E9AC7BA4
  15. With or without the elastic enclosed. Fold the casing to the wrong side twice, so it snugs up to the hem in the side of the lining.  Pull the elastic out of the way, and sew across the edge of the casing.  Secure the ends of the stitch.
  16. If you are not using elastic, make your casings, and thread the drawstring through.  I have made two drawstrings that go through the casing at 30 inches long. or one at 45 inches long that goes through both casings.

Edit:  I hope to have time to add photos of some of the steps above.  They should be self explanatory.  Off to make pleated masks now.  I helps with the tedium to switch back and forth.

Wash your mask before each use.  Stay safe.  Joan

Calder pants

C9E65E9E-D597-44E9-95FD-E474D856CCB8I live in shorts 3/4 of the year or more, so when I saw the latest pattern by Cashmerette, I did not have to think twice.   Woven shorts with a flat front, pockets, and elastic waist? Yes please!  This is a perfect pairing with one of the many Spruce tops I love and live in.

Was happy to get this pair from a 2 yard duck cloth remnant.  A little bit of leftover may net me a matching mask or two.  I may or may not have completely followed directions.  I skipped the pocket facing, as my fabric is pretty firm. I did not bother looking for a lighter fabric for them. Would be worth it in a heavy fabric or fancy pants, though.  The pockets laid out nicely on a folded piece, and just about the time I was going to cut the fold, I thought better of it.  Left them whole.
A bit like sewing on raglan sleeves.  Front, pocket, back, pocket, front.  This fabric was a little fray prone, so flat felled seams with a bit of a wobble stitch to allow for bias stretch where it is needed in the critical spots.

Inseam got the flat fell treatment too.
Stitched, then under stitched the pockets.

Then french seamed the side seams into the pocket.  After I sewed the first seam, I trimmed off the stray bits then clipped into the section where my needle is paused in the first photo.

Sorry I did not grab a photo of the right thigh patch pocket (phone sized), or my waistband treatment.  Will save that for another post.  I did make 2 channels for the elastic and I fused the waistband.  Not one for tucking in my shirt, I might rethink that.  Love the wide waistband!

Relatively quick, and very satisfying sew.

The End.