DIY

Sew With Me: Finding Cute Fabric and Patterns

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record about my sewing adventures! I’m just really loving it and it’s something that has been bringing me immense joy. With that said, I’m the farthest thing from an expert. I’m pretty much just starting out and I heavily rely on Youtube video instruction to guide me through what I don’t know. But… I’m also adventurous. I’m really not keen on letting “not knowing how to do something” be an excuse for not doing a project I want to do. Maybe it takes me ten times longer and maybe I end up ripping out seams twice before getting it right, but I’ll keep at it. I’m adding this because I think it’s important to remember when you see a final product, you’re seeing the final product, not the work, effort, and possible frustration that went into making it.

(This is all to say…. if you want to learn how to sew, YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN AND SHOULD!)

As I started to dip my toes into the sewing world a bit more, I have been finding incredible inspiration. Honestly there are many different layers to the sewing world. Vintage styles, children’s wear, quilting, etc. It’s kind of hard to find accounts, businesses, and inspiration that fit my style specifically… but they’re out there. It just takes some digging.

A FEW ACCOUNTS CURRENTLY INSPIRING ME:

TABITHA SEWER // Tabitha was the first account that really got me interested in making clothes! Like she makes clothes that doesn’t look…. homemade. (You know what I mean??) She also makes her own patterns and sells the chicest buttons.

KATE EVA DESIGNS // I love Kate Eva Designs’ style. Seeing what she makes, the fabrics she chooses, and patterns she “hacks” has been a great source of inspiration lately!

BURIED DIAMOND // Martha’s style quite a bit more eclectic and colorful than what I personally gravitate towards… but she’s such a talented sewer that it’s impossible not be inspired. I love her knack for taking vintage patterns and turning them into modern works of art.

ROSERY APPAREL // This Youtube account is fantastic!!! I love the tutorials and ideas.

PATTERNS I’VE RECENTLY MADE

SHIRRED TIERED DRESS // I didn’t follow a specific pattern for this, instead I found a bunch of tutorials for a similar vibe and then tweaked that based on what I wanted. The hardest part was honestly the math trying to figure out the sizes of the rectangles to cut. Here is the first Youtube video of how to do the shirred fabric– it’s actually pretty easy but EVERY machine is different so it took me a while to get the settings right on my machine. I did a bunch of trial runs on scrap pieces until I got the shirring the way I wanted. I also read this post for tips and watched this video too. Then I just went for it.

I used this fabric and this green ribbon for straps

SPENCER TODDLER DRESS // I absolutely loved this pattern. I made three dresses for our nieces and they turned out beautifully. I definitely learned a few new things, like cuffs on sleeves, but the dresses are darling. I love that you can make this in a few different ways. The swing on the dress is just right. The pattern was perfect and the directions were super clear.

I used this floral fabric and scraps of random pink I had for the lining.

RUFFLE NECK DRESS // I did not love this pattern and wouldn’t recommend it for a variety of reasons… I originally bought it because I liked the collar and then realized I could have just hacked a better dress pattern and added a cute ruffle collar (which is just a gathered rectangle) myself.

I am pretty sure this is the fabric I used (I purchased in the store, so not 100%).

FINDING CUTE FABRIC

Cute fabric is the hardest part. Most of the time it’s not even a matter of “cute” but trying to find exactly what you envision. I do have a sewing store that sells fabric near by, but it’s mostly for quilting and the fabric selection is very quilting focused. If there wasn’t a pandemic, I’d probably drive into the city just to go to Mood and B&J to wander through aisles. I’ve been focusing my efforts online and it’s totally doable, just takes time. (I’ve been doing the black hole scrolling and clicking thing while watching TV mostly!) I would probably go with Liberty London every time if I had an unlimited budget, but… alas, I do not!

Some of the shops I’ve found a bunch of cute prints from: Polka Dot Secrets, The Fabric Shop USGardenia Fabrics, Bobbie Lou Fabric, and Sewing Room Birmingham.

See some of my recent favorites below (note: I’ve obviously got Christmas projects on my mind!):

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24 Comments

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I’m new to sewing, too. I think I made couple of shorts and tees before forgetting about my sewing machine almost a year :p Thank you for the post, it reminds me I have had a passion for sewing!

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Lee

I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old. My first project was an apron in 4-H. Thank you for introducing me to some new fabric shops. I love the things you’ve made. How fun to sew for nieces!

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Catherine

I love this new hobby of yours! I’ve been sewing for a while, but not consistently. It’s been great seeing what you’ve been working on.
I’m dying to know where you had your labels made! Such a cute touch!

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Meg

This is so encouraging! I really want to give sewing a try! I’ve tried crocheting, multiple times, and it’s just not for me. I’ve found that having too many different sources to learn from can be overwhelming for a beginner, so I like that you have all of your highly recommended sources all in one spot.

Would you consider making more videos? I love how you broke down your mask tutorial into such clear, basic steps! Very helpful!

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Deanna

I love this content from you!! I’ve been sewing for a long time, but all this time at home has me gravitating toward my machine more. Love all the fabric and the style inspo you picked!

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marcella

I also did a sewing camp in 5th grade and after that I would sometimes hem dresses I found at goodwill.. but the most frustrating part for me about sewing is the needle!! The thread would always get messed up and I would get so frustrated trying to thread it from the bobbin (?) and my mom would be there frustrated with me, lol. However since we are both on the embroidery train maybe we’ll try out the sewing machine. Earlier in quarantine my dad watched a video and made some DIY masks with it, maybe I’ll try with the scrunchie 🙂

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Carlee

Love the cable knit sweater you’re wearing in the first pic! Can you link it, please? 🙂

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Lauren Stotler

Love your fabric selection! My next project is going to be sewing a Christmas stocking for me and my husband and embroidering our names on it! Trying to find the perfect blue and white Christmas fabric first, found one from Lacefield Designs I might go for

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Sandra

Carly, I’m so impressed. I just started taking sewing classes and can’t imagine trying to learn on my own. Thanks for your tips and ideas!

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Michelle

Thanks for this, Carly! I’ve also been sewing in quarantine, and I’m finding my local craft stores to be lacking in fabric choices. I’m really lucky to have my mom be able to teach me, and I can’t wait to look into these channels and blogs!

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Jane

You should definitely try to follow a “Big 4 Pattern” — McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue Patterns, or Simplicity. They can be intimidating at first but take it one step at a time and you’ll get through it. Google and YouTube are your friends. The YouTube channels Professor Pincushion and Made to Sew have incredibly high quality tutorials available for free.

I also recommend checking out By Hand London, and Etsy is an endless source of vintage patterns if that’s more your jam.

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Phoebe

Loved this post so much! Thank you for putting all the helpful things in one post! I’ve been using my sewing machine to make masks lately but trying to get back into making clothes for myself through patterns! This was very helpful and inspiring! Can’t wait to see what you make next!

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Stella Flores

I am looking for a night gown pattern for sizes 5-7years old. A colonial pattern would be wonderful.
Thank you

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Sarah

You might like the tv show “The Great British Sewing Bee”. It’s exactly like the Great British Bake Off but for sewing!

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