Tuesday, 27 May 2014


* From Design Your Own Zip It dress pattern *

One fat quarter of fabric, makes approximately 8½ yds (7.5m) of bias binding so make some in your favourite colours and wrap the left over around a piece of cardboard to put away for other projects!

1. Take a rectangle of fabric fold down a corner with a 45-degree fold and press.  Cut along the fold line.
2. With right sides together, position the cut triangle on top of the straight edge of the original fabric and sew a ¼” (0.7cm) seam.  Press the seam open.
3. Draw lines 1¼” (3cm) apart following the 45-degree angle and number each of the panels both top and bottom edge.
4. Position fabric right side up with number 1 on the left and mark a line 1½” (3.7cm) from the top left edge. With right sides together line the bottom left edge up with the marked position and stitch with a ¼” (0.7cm) seam.
5. Press the seam open, then cut between the 1st and 2nd row and continue cutting around the tube until you have one long continuous strip.
6. Fold bias in half along the long edge and press. 
7. Cut a length of piping cord slightly longer than the bias strip and insert it into the fold and pin to secure.

TIP: Dab small amounts of Sewline glue periodically along the fold to help hold the piping cord in place.
8. Use a piping foot or zipper foot to stitch as close to the piping cord as possible in thread that matches the binding.

I love my piping foot, it just allows you to get a little closer to the piping cord for a fabulous tighter finish as it has little ridges that sit on top of the piping cord and hold it in place while you are sewing.

Now go and use that fabulous piping!

Zip It! Dress by Cuggie with piping

Criss Cross Pinny (Overalls and Twirly skirt mash) with piping by For Monster and Miss using BOO! Designs fabric.

Grace Dress with piping by me! 

Saturday, 17 May 2014


My insanely fabulous friend, Jen from One Thimble magazine asked if I would put together a bit of a binder foot review for the latest edition of the magazine.   It just so happened, that I was already putting something together and working with my friends at Janome to organise a bit of a pattern club promo for you too!  
You can find details of the promo here.

I have only recently started playing with the binder foot and I am totally in LOVE!

The uses for a binder foot are endless, here are a few suggestions of things I have tried!   
  • Edging a pocket
  • Edging a ruffle
  • Hem
  • Edging a dress or pant lining rather than overlocking or concealing the edge
  • Add to a jacket or dress facing

How to use:


Using the size gauge on the side of the foot, cut a strip of fabric to the correct size (preferably on the bias, especially if using on a curved edge).
Cut the end of the strip on an angle to make inserting easier.
Using a pin or unpicker, guide the bias through the mouth of the cone and pull through under the foot.


You will need 12mm single fold bias.
Cut the end of the bias on an angle to make inserting easier.
Thread the bias tape through the first slot on the side of the cone.
Use a pin or unpicker to guide the bias through the mouth and pull through under the foot.


Snap binder foot onto your shank with the binding positioned under the foot.
Lower the foot and sew a few test stitches to make sure you are happy with the needle position.  I normally move mine one position closer to the left.
Feed main fabric through the slot.  Fabric should be positioned as close as possible to the needle and as far to the right as you can ensuring that you don’t ‘miss’ it when sewing.
As you start to stitch, the bias will grip around the edge of the main fabric and pull it through under the foot.


Pull main fabric to the right slightly while sewing. 
Don’t stretch the main fabric or the bias when sewing or it may result in puckers.
When at the end, stitch a few inches past the end and then snip the binding allowing you to continue sewing your next item, without having to take the foot off to feed the bias again.

Check the finished item to ensure your bias is correctly attached along the length and if your bias has come away from the main fabric or the stitching has gone off the edge in any sections, just unpick a little around the trouble spot, correct the problem, press and then stitch it with your normal foot.

There is not much I don’t like about this foot, but here are a few observations:
It is advertised as being able to use decorative stitch with the foot, but I have found it difficult to use with any decorative stitch other than a zigzag as the stitches are usually too wide to fit on the bias edge and I don’t like the look when stitching on both the main and bias.

I prefer to use store bought 12mm bias binding as the home made strips don’t always fold neatly on the underside, this could be because I tend to use quilting weight fabric though and it would probably work better with a lighter weight fabric and more practice!

Helpful YouTube videos:

I used my binder foot when I made this cute skirt too.  You can find out how to make your own skirt here.

My very talented friend, Sandra from Shabbylicious Designs made this with her bias binding foot.  She was a little cross at me as she has spent a lot on metallic thread and had sewn most of her layers when I talked her into using her binder foot that she had previously discarded because once she did one tier, she wanted to go back and redo all of them! 

Saturday, 3 May 2014


To make your leggings pattern a little more fun, why not add a funky elastic waist? 

Measure 1.5" (4cm) down from the top of your leggings pattern piece, then cut down the marked side seam and fold under.  This will form your new pattern piece. 

(NOTE: For my next pair I only took 3/4" (2cm) off the top which centres the elastic more on the waist and the top of the elastic sits 3/4" (2cm) higher than the normal waist height.  This is because my little darling has a pot belly and it prevents it from folding down under her tummy)

Cut waistband length according to the leggings pattern.  This tutorial uses 1.5" (38-40mm) elastic available in the BOO! shop.

Cut and sew the leggings as normal until you get to the waist. 

Use the method from the skater skirt pattern to add a flip waist elastic waistband!

WRONG SIDES FACING, stitch, then flip!!! 

As you are sewing the waistband stretch out the leggings and the waist elastic (for both rows of stitching, this will reduce the chance of the thread snapping when stretched to put them on.

That's it!!  Easy huh!

Lucy from Beetles, Bugs & Butterflies has made these gorgeous ones as well using the black/silver waistband elastic from the BOO! shop.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


Add a gorgeous overlay to you skater skirt to create the ultimate fairytale princess skirt.

Take your skater pattern piece and lay it face down on a scrap of paper with the fold line aligned with the edge to trace another pattern piece. 

Tape original pattern piece to new pattern piece, overlapping the seam allowance.

This is your pattern piece for your overlay!

Cut 2 pieces of the overlay on the fold.

Cut 2 skirt pieces using the normal elastic waist skater layout.

 Sew skirt side seams and hem using the same method as the skater pattern. 

In this example, I actually decided to use a bias foot to apply the binding to the hemline for something different and I LOVED IT, but you can easily use one of the bias methods from the pattern instead.

After applying the bias to the hem, I trimmed it off.

Then opened out the seam, pressed and stitched along the bias to secure.  You could add a little fray stop to the ends if you wanted to as well.

Now to the overlay.
Sew the side seams.
Fold in half to mark front and back centre front with a pin or erasable pen.

Sew 2 rows of gathering stitch around the waist opening of the overlay (one at 3/8” (1cm) and another at 5/8” (1.5cm) and pull bobbin threads to gather so that opening matches waist opening of the skirt. 

Align at centre front, centre back and side seams, then stitch overlay to skirt. 
Leave the gathering thread in place until after attaching the waistband.
If you have an overlocker, overlock around the waist opening as well.

Attach elastic waistband using method from the skater pattern.  Depending on how bulky your overlay is, you may wish to use the alternate method from the pattern where you are simply attaching the elastic on top with out using the 'flip' technique.

Remove visible gathering thread if it exceeds the waistband.

And you are done!

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Want to use your spandex fabric and techniques from the Leggings pattern to make a funky skater skirt?

Want a super quick sew with no hemming?

Then you are in the right place! 

My lovely assistant will be helping today! 

Approximate requirements for spandex and pattern cutting table. 

Why can't I just use the elastic waist measurements from the pattern?  
Good question, I am pleased you asked! 
Technically you can, in fact you can do whatever you want to do!  The reason I have a separate measurement table is because spandex stretches and woven fabric does not.  With woven fabrics (like cotton), the waist opening needs to be bigger to allow for the skirt to pass over the hips, with spandex, you make the waist opening smaller than waist size since it stretches.  Using the measurement table from the blog will ensure you get a nice smooth waist to your skirt which is more flattering to most shapes and it will save you some fabric too! 

Use measurements from the Skater Skirt pattern to determine what size you need to make (or mixed measurements).

Use the pattern cutting table above to mark the appropriate line on the pattern piece for waist and length.

Cut skirt out of fabric using the elastic waist skirt layout (2 pieces on fold with seam allowances)

Change overlocker settings for knit sewing (or stretch stitch on sewing machine).

Increase left needle tension, decrease looper tension if using woolly nylon on the loopers (2 dials on right).

I have marked my overlocker so I remember the settings for next time I sew spandex!

Decrease stitch length and increase differential dial.

Place skirt right sides together and align at hemline.  Use the leg flip technique from the DYO Leggings (Pins) pattern to sew the skirt side seams on both sides.

Create elastic waistband and attach using measurements & instructions from Skater Skirt pattern.

 And done!!

Here are some I prepared earlier.

This is how it will look if you use the measurement table from the blog, notice the waistband is not really gathered?

This is how it will look if you choose to use the elastic waist measurements from the Skater Skirt pattern, gathered at the waistband.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand, I have some very cool fabrics and elastic in my store to help you get your knit on!  Visit the shop here.