French Seamed Side Seam Pockets

I decided with the rayon voile of the Anna dress by By Hand London dress I’m working on would benefit from French seams but I also wanted to add side seam pockets. Was a little tricky but this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew was super helpful! She used 1/2″ seams so I had to make a few changes for my 5/8″ seams but I followed the same steps.

For my pockets I used the usual recommended seam allowances for French seams on a 5/8″ seam allowance garment. That is, I sewed the first seam with garment wrong sides together at 1/4″, then turned garment wrh right sides together and enclosed the raw edges in a 3/8″ seam. I just showed the process for one side of a pocket, then did the remaining three in the same manner. Here is my attempt at a pictorial tutorial. Not the best fabric choice for easy visibility, sorry!

First I used a side seam pocket piece from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book and used the notch marks on one of her skirt pieces to align the pocket piece properly. You can use any side seam pocket piece you have available. Mine are placed about 1 3/4″ below the top of the skirt panel. I cut 2 pocket pieces for each side, a total of 4. First step: pin the pocket piece to the side of the skirt piece wrong sides together and stitch at 1/4″ seam allowance.

And the pretty line of stitching.

Then you turn the pocket over so now the right sides of the pocket and skirt are together, smooth down the seam with an iron, pin, and stitch at 3/8″ to enclose the raw edges.

And I would give the finished seam another press then do the same for the other pocket piece for other skirt side piece.

Then before attaching the sides of the skirts to enclose the pockets, trim the side seam of the skirts pieces right above and below the pocket pieces the 1/4″ seam allowance in order to make stitching the skirt sides together easier.

So it looks like this at the top and bottom of each pocket piece.

Then you get to pin the skirt sides together pinning the pocket pieces together as well, all wrong sides together. After they are pinned, stitch the 1/4″ seam allowance and trim any pesky fabric strands away. I stitch 1/4″ up into the pocket pieces as well to ensure all unfinished edges are enclosed.

How your pocket should look after stitching. I circled in purple where you can see where I stitched 1/4″ into each end of the pocket.

Then turn your pieces inside out so the fabric pieces are right sides together now, press down the edges, then pin together to keep fabric from slipping around. Sew at the 3/8″ seam allowance to enclose all the rough edges. Give another press with your iron.

And voila! A nearly invisible side seam pocket, :). Once all stitching is done give the pocket a good pressing with the pocket bag and side seams turned to the middle front of the dress, going the direction the pocket will face when you put your hands in them.

And there you have it, a lovely completely finished side seam pocket without any of those pesky threads!

I’m still finishing up my dress but here is a pick up the skirt with the pockets added, :).


Butterick 6019: Bodice Construction

Loving this dress! I’ve been taking my time with this one making sure the fit is absolutely right. I used Gertie’s adding an underwire to a bustier style top tuturial to add underwires that I took out of an old bra that didn’t fit anymore. It was a little tricky finding the best fit but what I ended up doing that worked really well was to lay the old bra on top of the bustier and trace the outline of it, then matched the underwires up with the outline. I was going to add additional boning but I have the cheap plastic kind and it was bending funny so just put in the 2 recommended by the pattern. Look at that pretty placement! You can’t see from the photo, but I have a layer of Pellon 950F ShirTailor interfacing lining the cups and then sew-in fleece interfacing on top of that. I didn’t put any interfacing on the bottom portions.

On the outer bodice front pieces I lined the cups with the same Pellon 950F interfacing and then used Pellon featherlight interfacing on the bottom sections. Essentially I lined the bra cups twice with the Pellon 950F (once on the outer fabric and once on the lining) with a layer of fleece lining inbetween them. This gives the top wonderful structure so I won’t need a bra at all with this dress, :). I opted to not put in a waiststay since everything is so structured and I’ll be attaching the halter top.

I made 3 muslins total, one using the original size 14 D-cup pieces with no adjustments, one making adjustments, and the final version. As can be seen by the two pieces below I ended up adding about an inch to the bottom cup pieces and about an inch to the top as well to ensure full coverage and excellent support. For sewing purposes I am a 34DD, I used the size 14 pieces.

And a photo of muslin #3 and then the final version. Perfect!

Due to this awesome pattern it’s hard to see all the line stitching on the bodice lining.

And complete! I had to adjust the band a little due to adding an overall 2″ to the bodice top and not adding any length to the band…oops! It all worked out. Also instead of understitching the lining I’m just putting “invisible” stitches to attach the lining to the outer bodice.

I also added a bit of a V to the front cup for visual aesthetics. This dress top is super supportive! And the fabric pattern is perfect. The dress is almost completed. Just the zipper, hem, and halter strap left… I am also using Gertie’s horsehair braid tutorial for the hem line. I selected 1/2″ wide polyester horsehair braid to add a little structure to the hem. Keeping the overall vibe of this dress more casual.


So I have finally had the chance to begin working on my very own Butterick 6019 version A Shaheen look a like dress, pattern by Gertie. Yay! I’ve spent 1 day making muslins of the top to ensure the proper fit ending up making 3 different ones but finally got it. I had to add about 2″ to the overall pattern to get the fit, support, and coverage I wanted. Then I played around with using just batting or adding interfacing and deciding to go with both, more details and photos in a future post, ;). Gertie’s blog has been wonderfully helpful. Using her adding underwire to a bustier tutorial. Still working on it. But I progressed enough to shirr the side pieces. I did some research after seeing people with Brother sewing machines can have some trouble. I came across this post by Tina referencing my Brother cs6000i specifically. And bingo! Worked out perfectly, :). This was my first attempt and I of course practiced on a scrap piece first. Then I wound up about 3 bobbins and shirred away. I just wound my bobbins on my machine like I would any other bobbin threading it through the guides. Dawn Nicole also had a great tutorial here that includes photos.

He is the first few rows. As Dawn clarified, ONLY WIND THE BOBBIN WITH ELASTIC and then use a regular top thread. After adjusting the tension on my bobbin (had no idea I could do this!) I threaded my machine and just eyeballed the rows. When using stitch setting 00 as long as I kept a little over a presser foot difference between rows they measures 1/2″ from each other so I would stitch another row in between to get the desired 1/4″ distances between rows. On the first piece I did about 10 rows before I realized I wasn’t leaving a 5/8″ seam allowance on the sides, oops! After I finished all the rows I tied off each end and then steam ironed over the piece so it would shrink up nicely. Perfect! Overall it took me about 2 hours to complete both panels. The sewing went quick, it was the tying that took awhile. It’s recommended to not back stitch the elastic. I was a little weary but overall it wasn’t very hard at all. Love the effect. Now I know how they do that for sundress tops, :).

Love this floral fabric pattern, absolutely perfect for a Shaheen look a like. And the fun part is I selected this fabric before even knowing that was his style, haha. Was just looking for a nice spring/summery floral.

As you can see side by side the shirred piece with the non-shirred piece it crinkles up nicely!

And a more detailed photo of the stitch lines.

Trials of Creating my Own iPhone Armband

I’ve gone through 2 armbands within 1 year now. One supposedly “the best”. Perhaps I’m just hard on my gear doing so much running but they are not cheap! Well, they can be but those last me maybe 2-3 months. This is for my iPhone 5s.

So I decided I wanted a workout armband that had a pocket for gels and my cards as well as a clear screen so I can see and get to my phone without taking it out. After some searching I found this great tutorial by Maiden Jane. My first idea was the following pieces:


Basically 2 sides measuring 1″ wide, a front and a back. I was going to put a layer of interfacing between the lining and exterior fabrics and a layer of vinyl over the top of the front basically creating two pockets. Pattern piece 1 measures 3.75″ wide and 6.5″ long cut on the fold and the side measures 1.75″ wide by 6.5″ long

Yeah…great in theory. I then changed my mind and just put the front and back together so it would keep it’s nice stretch (using spandex) and decided to skip the sides and fancy zipper pouch idea I had.



Turned it right side out and as I was stitching the sides up I realized 1) it was too long for my phone and 2) it wasn’t wide enough. So take two will be wider and a little shorter. Aiming for 4.25″ wide and 6″ long. Decided to keep it simple and skip adding sides and a zipper and using just the spandex so the fabric can keep its stretch. Then I’ll attach an armband made out of 1″ wide elastic to the back.

Take 2:



Better but still not there yet. I used the same front/back template but took half an inch off the top and put in 1/4″ inseams instead. Almost. Still a little tight. I got the plastic vinyl on but either used too short a stitch or it’s too thin because it started ripping off. Everything else is good.

I think take 3 I will use longer stitches (used 2.5mm, will try 3.5) and add a fabric border. The 1″ elastic was good and sturdy. Also wih this one I had to take my phone out of the case and I really want to be able to leave it in. Almost there!


And Take 3!

Finally got it this time. I made a new pattern piece measuring 4.5″ by 6″, a plastic vinyl piece measuring 4″ by 5.5″, and then the pieces that border the plastic vinyl. The short sides are 1″ by 4″ and the long sides are 1″ by 5.5″. I sewed those onto the plastic, then sewed the plastic onto the case, then sewed the sides together. This creating the two pockets, and then I measure the elastic and sewed it on. I used the method of measuring my arm, dividing by 2, and adding 2.5″. It works!


Fits perfect!    


You can see the detail of the edging. In the end it measure about 1/4″ around the armband.


And the double pocket! I can fit a gel and my ID card in there now, :).



And voila! 3rd try’s a charm, :). 

Plethora of Leggings!


As is evidenced by the above image I have been making up a leggings storm! I discovered this do it yourself pattern tutorial a few months ago and find the leggings are super easy and quick to make! My first pair took the longest but now I can get a pair out in about an hour, :). Working on a 4th pair as I write this, ;). Still finishing up the 3rd pair of hearts fabric. Tried to make an inner waistband pocket but misjudged the width I’d left for the elastic so redoing the waistband using a 1″ elastic and a hanging attached inside pocket.

The tutorial I used can be found on So Sew Easy’s webiste in which she includes a how to measure video, downloadable excel sheet and complete instructions. It is also available through Craftsy for $2.95, or there is also a similar tutorial on One Little Minute’s blog.

My first pattern!


The first pair I made were these lovely bright green and blue animal print leggings with silver reflectives all over it. Perfect for running! Purchased them from Jo-Ann’s. Waistband was a little loose and length a little long but overall turned out well.


My next pair I made all the necessary adjustments and they are PERFECT! :). Purchased some wonderful athletic apparel quality fabric, :). It was the Zirotek black 7oz anti-microbial wicking fleece lined fabric from The Online Fabric Store. Used a 2″ wide elastic and my hand dandy pattern. Knocked these out in about an hour, :). You can’t see it very well but I used my twin needle stitching in the from seam, :).


The current pair is a performance piqué fabric purchased from Wonderful selection of fun fabrics! I got the hearts are wild in dark pink for my upcoming Valentine’s Day Hot Chocolate run. The fabric feels wonderful. The only negative is it is a 2 way stretch and not a 4 way, may try their Performance Knit for a future pair of shorts. So instead of being ankle length they turned out to be capris with the 2-way stretch.


I had planned a 2″ wide elastic band for these as well like the others but I misjudged some measurements and can only fit a 1″ wide elastic. I had created an inner waistband pocket and was so proud and excited about it. But I’ll just had to create an attached inner pocket instead. Next time. But here is a photo of the attempt.


For this pair because I only wanted to order 1 yard so I had to get creative with making the pattern into 3 parts: the main, the waistband, and the bottom cuff. My pattern measures about 39″, so close.


Currently working on a purple/black zebra print with silver metallics like the lime green pair, unfortunately can’t post a link because Jo-Ann’s no longer has it available. And a 2nd fleece lined black pair of course, :).

Biggest discovery is: use 4-way stretch!!! 2-way works but isn’t as comfy and you loose some length. Also learned why my twin needle kept snapping, was using the wrong stitch. Oops!