How Fabric Affects Garment Fit

Wanna see the same pattern, sewn in 4 different types of knit fabric? Here’s a quick visual of how fabric affects garment fit; and can change the look and style of your project.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245, sewn in 4 different fabric types.

Here’s my latest sew, Jalie 3245 again. I love this pattern, I wear baseball tees all the time. (And flannels. And moccasins. It’s my momiform.)

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

These prints are high quality, medium weight jersey knit with 4-way stretch. Both are cotton with 5% Lycra. This is my favorite type of fabric to work with; 5% lycra is the magic number for me. It has  excellent stretch recovery, the fabric hugs you and it’s super soft.

Below is a very similar top in tribal print and stripes. It’s the exact same type of fabric, jersey knit; except it’s lighter weight and has 2-way stretch instead of 4-way. It stretches along the width of the fabric, but there isn’t much stretch vertically.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

Visually, I don’t see a ton of difference in the top using less expensive fabric. This top thinner and needs a tank under it, and it’s definitely not as stretchy. But still a great top that gets a ton of wear.

How Fabric Affects Garment Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabric types

Next is the same pattern, using an upcycled t-shirt with 100% cotton and very little stretch. Using this type of fabric won’t give you much ease, and you can really tell the difference in the fit. I got claustrophophobic taking it on and off! That’s why my sister in law is wearing it.

How Fabric Affects Fit: Jalie 3245 sewn in 4 different fabrics

Here it is again using a lightweight jersey slub. Slub knit has a little bit of texture to it, since it’s made using uneven yarns. Linen and handwoven cotton almost always have slub, but in knit fabric it’s made that way intentionally.

The fabric content and stretch varies with slub knits. I like a cotton/Lycra blend; but I’ve used some with a little bit of polyester (or some type of synthetic fiber) content that felt nice too. Often it’s a bit sheer, great for summer clothing. It gives this top a looser, drapier feel. I wear this top a lot!

After wearing all these tops, I gotta be honest and say that the pricier fabric on the first version look and feel the best. The less expensive fabric in the second top looks just as nice, but isn’t as thick and stretchy. Not a deal breaker for me. The slub knit has a totally different aesthetic that I love; but the 100% cotton knit top (version 3) was worn only once.

How fabric affects garment fit

My newest Jalie 3245 is my favorite of all. Sadly, I used the laziest construction of all with this one!

Jalie 3245

I didn’t serge any of the seams. I used a double needle to stitch the neckline, hem, and sleeves; but the tension was a little loose. I really need to unpick it and redo. I’m holding my breath for that sponsor who wants to give me a coverstitch machine. Ha!

Jalie 3245

I think it’s interesting to see how fabric affects garment fit. But I’m kind of boring, sewing the same things over and over. I’ve become pickier about everything sewing related; from fit to fabric. It makes it harder to get a project off the ground!

Until next time, friends.

Posted in Women's Clothing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments
How To Add Sparkles To Photos

I’m in several bow making groups on facebook, and recently had some help learning how to add sparkles to photos. This is a great way to show off rhinestones or sequin details in your handmade bows or sewing projects!

How To Add Sparkles To Photos

I used to think it was cheating, but the truth is the camera doesn’t pick up infrared and refracted light very well. Seasoned hair bow shoppers appreciate being able to quickly spot the embellishments. Customers need to see where the bling is, because they are paying for those little details! Below is the “before” photo.

How To Add Sparkles To Your Photo

Scroll down and look again. Now your eyes are drawn to the Swarovski crystals I’ve added using my hotfix tool. (Amazon afiliate link, because I bet you want one too.)

How To Add Sparkles To Photos

My sparkles aren’t perfect, but this was my first time using it. It’s so easy! The app I used is PicsArt. It’s compatible with iPhone and iPad, and probably everything else too. I’ve never been able to use PicMonkey with Apple devices, surely there are others who had the same problem?

How To Add Sparkles To Your Photos

Anyhow, you just pull up your photo, and select “Lens Flare”. Choose the design that looks the most natural with your project. You can click, drag, rotate, and resize your sparkles.

Free App To Add Sparkles To Photos

I’m using the free version so there are ads. Here are some of the options available for the unpaid version.

How to add sparkles to photos

Hope this helps someone out there; I was really grateful to find this app.

I have lots of bows in the MayenDesigns Etsy shop, so swing by and have a look! Halloween bows are coming soon. And…eventually I’ll get back to sewing. Have a great week!

Posted in Blogging, Bows & Ribbon, Crafty, Jewelry | 2 Comments
New Look 6285 & Fave Women’s Sewing Blogs

My muslin for New Look 6285 needs a full bust adjustment. I guess I should probably assume a FBA in most patterns; but I haven’t made many of my own shirts so I’m still learning by trial and error. Mostly error.

Scroll to the bottom to see a few of my favorite women’s clothing sewing blogs, especially if you’re needing inspiration, like me lately.

New Look 6285, muslin with pocket.

According to the fitting chart I’m a size 16, but the pattern reviews all said this pattern runs huge. I determined (based on how much other sewists sized down) that I should make a size 12. For reference, if you sew New Look 6285, that’s pretty close to my RTW size. I don’t always read reviews for commercial patterns, but it’s needs to be habit if I’m going to make things that fit really well.

New Look 6285

I can’t believe I’ve joined the ranks of muslin makers. I wrote that post about common fit issues in clothing and realized I’m going to have to get all serious. It feels very adulty. Here are 2 articles that I found most helpful for knit FBAs:

How To Do A Full Bust Adjustment On A Dartless Shirt Paprika Patterns.

How To Do A Full Bust Adjustment For Fitted Knit Patterns Jennifer Lauren Vintage

New Look 6285

No telling when I’ll get around to fixing this pattern; I’ve been procastinating for over a week. I’m debating cutting straight into the tissue paper and retracing the whole front piece. Do y’all proper sewists hack your original pattern to shreds; or trace, hack, and trace again?

New Look 6285

If you’re an experienced sewist, you can probably gauge (by the amount of orange bra hanging out) that this is going to be a good sized adjustment. I’m reading that extreme FBAs create a bigger, nastier dart than a moderate adjustment would. Some choose to sew the dart closed, and others ease it out of the pattern. I think a dart would look funny and create stress on a knit garment…so extra work for me. But hey, I made a decent pocket!


Sorry to complain a lot. I just wish the world would accommodate my every need. I’m betting I’ll be able to full bustisize any pattern without a thought soon…it just seems annoying right now though. Why can’t I get my butt in gear?! At least once it’s done, I’ll have a perfect tank block. I wear the same t-shirts and tanks 99% of the time, so I’d like to have a good set of blocks for basic tops by next year. That’s the plan!

I wasn’t always interested in women’s sewing, kids clothes are cuter and more straightforward. Maybe I’m preparing for the inevitable. My little girl is starting to fit smaller women’s sizes in stores and patterns. At least by the time my baby niece decides to grow up, I’ll be a seasoned pro! I’ve been following more women’s wear sewing blogs. It helps to see that most of us have an adjustment or two that we make all the time, and it becomes second nature.

Here are a few blogs I’ve been loving. Some are seasoned women’s garment sewists,  some are childrens clothing makers dipping their feet into selfish sewing, and some are masters of both worlds. I made a little graphic in case you want to pin it for later. These blogs are good reading, I promise.

Women's Sewing Blogs You Will Love: If you ever get tired of blogs always trying to sell you something, photoshopped perfectness, and syndicated team bloggers; check out these blogs. They are still sharing a love of sewing without all the consumerism.

Work Pray Sew– Angela mostly sews for her youngest daughter which appeases my desire for cuteness. But she’s also sort of eased me into sewing women’s wear. We joke that we like boring basic clothing; ie highly functional wardrobes. She dabbles, now I dabble too. Check out some of her women’s projects here.

Megan Nielson Design Diary– Love her writing style. Really nice photos and in depth tutorials. She also designs edgy patterns that are feminine, with a sometimes vintage vibe. She isn’t trying to sell you something every minute,  just sharing a love of sewing. That’s getting kinda rare among bloggers and designers.

Feather’s Flights- I started reading Heather’s blog for the cute kids clothes, but I’m seeing more women’s clothing than when I started reading a couple years ago. Perhaps I’m just paying more attention now that I’m tackling new things. Either way, I love her projects. I’d say Heather’s style perfectly toes the line of modest and stylish, and she veers towards classic pieces that won’t go out of style like fast trends.

Cookin’ & Craftin’  Meg sews mostly for herself, and it’s glorious. She makes wearable, well fitting clothing and has a collection of gorgeous fabrics from various places in the world that I’ve never been. You’ll see casual and dressier pieces, but on her most casual day she is dressed better way than me! You’ll fall in love with her contagious smile and witty posts.

Sew Country Chick- Justine is a badass. I said it. She’s not afraid to tear into leather working, fine silks, tricky sportswear…trying new things just doesn’t phase her. I love that she doesn’t jump off the cliff just because everyone else does; in fact she tends to march firmly in the opposite direction of the masses. You’ll find her studying old draping books and nearly extinct sewing techniques, and sourcing estate sales for fabric. She’s usually a few steps ahead of the sewing blog world, although I don’t think she quite realizes it.

Rebel & Malice- Melissa will keep you up on the latest patterns, but her punk rock, Latin flavor will make you look at them a different way. She has 5 beautiful kids that she sews for regularly, but I’ve been living for her selfish sewing. Her blog is a sewing chronicle with occasional glimpses of her life, and she’s quite endearing. You can count on her to voice her opinion, stand up for what she believes in, and to always stay rebellious.

I’m sure I’m missing out on any good blogs for women’s sewing. I haven’t been looking long enough! Do you have a favorite blog to share?


Posted in Blogging, Pattern Review, Women's Clothing | Tagged , | 10 Comments
Common Fit Issues in Ready To Wear Clothing

Even if you never plan to sew clothing for yourself, this post can help you identify some common fit issues in ready to wear clothing. Knowing fit and construction quality can help you make better shopping choices and look fabulous.

Common Fit Issues In Ready To Wear Clothing

Many of you sew because of unique body shapes or simply to get the perfect fit. Ready to wear clothing is designed for a specific body type, which varies by brand. Most garments are designed for a B or C cup woman who stands about 5″4. RTW patterns are typically drafted for a size 8 and graded up and down from there. It’s the law of averages in action. Everyone has fit issues with at least some brands; and some of us have fit issues with most brands.

Selfish sewing is a different beast for me. My body needs all kinds of adjustments to get a proper fit, and I’m practicing the different techniques. I can’t say I love sewing for me; but wearing properly fitting clothing feels amazing. The first step is being able to identify fit issues.

Common Fit Issues in Ready To Wear Clothing

I bought this dress for $10. I’m realizing how expensive “fast fashion” is. If I had been paying attention to construction and fit…I’d still have my $10. Not saying the dress isnt pretty; just that it’s about what you’d expect for the price tag.

Fast Fashion: Woes of the $10 Dress. Common Fit issues and construction shortcuts in ready to wear clothing

Here’s it is a little closer. You probably don’t notice anything totally absurd yet, but let’s start with the hem. Below you will see its a serged hem, which is acceptable I suppose…French hems would’ve been beautiful though.

Cheap, 3 thread serging on a ready to wear dress. Construction issues to look for when shopping for RTW

RTW often uses 3 threads instead of 4 in the serger, which is a huge money save for a factory spitting out thousands of garments. But it does weaken the finish. Cheap clothing is designed to be worn a couple times and thrown away.

The side seams of this dress and slip are sewn together and serged which creates bulk at the hip and disrupts the drape. I could write an entire post about cheap construction methods…I’ll save it for another day. You really do get what you pay for most of the time. It’s cheaper in the long run to own a few, nicely made garments that you’ll wear for a decade than dozens of pieces you’ll only wear for a couple years.

Common Fit Issues In Ready To Wear Clothing: Full Bust Adjustment

Above you see gaping buttons at the bust. This is how almost every single button up shirt or dress fits me. Fairly often, I buy a larger size and take the side seams in. The buttons are gaping because I need a full bust adjustment, this dress is designed for a C cup. I can’t show you from the side because it’s obscene. If you’ve ever worn a blouse or dress and a button pops open, chances are you need a FBA too. The sad thing is I didn’t know it was a thing until I started sewing. I thought I was just prone to wardrobe malfunction.


See the fabric bunching up round my lower back? The fix for that is called a swayback adjustmemt. It removes extra fabric from a lower back that curves inward. You know how great celebrities look great on the red carpet? Well that’s mostly because they work out…but it also helps that their clothing is custom made for their bodies. A swayback adjustment knocks 10 imaginary pounds off when your back is curvy.  It’s practically the same thing as dieting; so I say adjust your clothing & eat cake.

Note the fabric pulling upward toward the bust at the side seams. That’s another symptom of needing a full bust adjustment. And, if you look close at the binding near my shoulder blade; you’ll see the fabric is already starting to fray. Shoddy construction!

Common Fit Issues In Ready To Wear Clothing

There’s a back to school capsule wardrobe series going on a Rebel & Malice that I  think is neat. The idea of a capsule is own fewer clothing items that are made to last and coordinate together. You don’t have to sew to plan a capsule wardrobe. Just shop smart:)

BTW- If you make clothing, you will find some useful articles about pattern adjustments and fitting on my Pattern Drafting/Tailoring Pinterest board.

Here’s a chart from Practical Dress Design. It shows various fit issues and symptoms you can look for when sewing or shopping. I found it at The Perfect Nose, where several excerpts from the book are shared. (It is no longer copywrittten.) It’s a great post to read, I’d love a copy of the book!

Common Fit Issues in Ready To Wear Clothing

Poor fitting, cheaply made garments are just one of the many costs of fast fashion. I’m not ready to sew my complete wardrobe or never buy clothes again, but I do want to be more conscience of my purchases and try to sew for myself a little more. It’s becoming a movement to simplify in this age of consumerism. Yay for more closet space!

Posted in Sewing, Women's Clothing | Tagged | 6 Comments
Farm Update: Summer

I’ve been meaning to keep you updated on the progress here at the farm. I feel like a post blog needs a finished product to show, and the truth is farm work is never really finished. So maybe that’s why I haven’t kept up with writing about farm stuff. But there are lots of wonderful goings on here, and I can’t wait to share with you.

Canning peaches on the farm

Peaches are my life this week. I have at least 20 lbs to can, courtesy of my uncle’s peach tree. My freezer is chalk full of blackberries, squash, and other goodies so I need to process all the peaches. All the peaches! My house smells amazing, you should all be jealous. I’m making peach syrup, jam, preserves, pie filling, and just regular old canned peaches like you buy in the store. Except they are so much yummier. And opening a jar of summer peaches in January? That’s heaven.

Free ranging chickens is a great way to control ticks and other pests in your yard.

We are free ranging our chickens now, it helps keep the grounds bug and pest free and keeps our cuckoo marans happy. I made a rookie mistake and didn’t get chicken wire up around my tomatoes and they ate a bunch of them.

Cuckoo Marans are a very docile breed and great egg layers!

Cuckoo marans are a very docile breed and even the roosters are friendly. We’ve culled lots of roosters but still have 5. We only need one so we’re keeping an eye out to see who is our keeper. I wish I knew who ate my tomatoes, because he’d be first to go. At this point the boys will only taste good in tamales and dumplings…the meat is tough after 16 weeks. I’d love to give them away but everyone out here has too many roosters right now.

Country Living!

We expect eggs in September, I’m so excited. I’ve read that we should put golf balls in their nesters to train them where to lay. I do not want my farm fresh eggs being laid in random bushes, especially since my chicks won’t get broody and give me babies for at least another year.

Next spring I’m buying 50 silkies, (which are great egg layers) and they are also very broody. That means they will sit on eggs and hatch them, even my marans eggs. I’m also going to get 50 broilers, which grow large quickly. They will be my meat chickens. I shouldn’t have to buy chickens after that. I just have to keep my egg layers in the coop, and the baby mamas can free range with the roosters.

My backyard goldfish pond

We almost bought a pig the other day. It was a great price for gilts, but in the end we decided to wait. If we buy a pig now; the benefit is it will get big in winter. We wouldn’t have as much stinky pig smell and flies. The drawback is that when its all big and hungry mid- winter; we wouldn’t have all this fresh produce scrap. I have enough land to put my big stinky pig far away and save money on feed by buying later. I think it’s a better choice for us to hold off a little longer.

Backyard pond with waterfalls

Cattle is still a far away plan. I started small with chickens and need to make sure I can keep pigs before I even think about it. Fencing is a huge cost, and I don’t know how much pasture cows need. I need my cattle to be mostly grass fed because feed will eat a hole in me. I will not run one of those operations with hungry looking cows grazing around. So that’s on the back burner until I’m a whole lot more knowledgable with more cushion in the bank.

Pittbull German Sheppard Puppy

My dog had puppies so we are finding homes for them. They just got their first round of shots. And Brownie gets fixed…poor thing. I’m slightly petrified that my husband and daughter will want to keep more than one puppy. Brownie is a great farm dog…I hope it’s genetic. I can’t afford any puppies stressing out my chickens or digging up gardens. I think hubby is forgetting that puppies chew everything. He’s totally enamoured with the cuteness. Sigh. Btw this is the ugly puppy, it’s Bellas favorite. Several of them are gray with blue eyes…gorgeous.


Cheerleading…oh my gosh I’m loving my daughter in cheer. Bella has practice twice a week, and games every Saturday until November. Her games are on all corners of this earth, we’ll be burning diesel this fall.

Bella is getting good though! She asked me to buy her a mat and she’s been working her butt off. Hubby found a free trampoline (not the big, big kind but not a tiny one either) for her to work on her high kicks. I’ve even let her slack some on chores, because she doesn’t usually take extra cirriculars so seriously. Maybe she just prefers working out to hauling compost…but she seems to be absolutely thriving and making tons of friends.

School starts soon and we will have our first autumn in our new house. I’m bubbling over with happy a little right now, just thinking about all the leaves changing color. I don’t want summer to end at all, but I’m excited to see what the next season holds. Until next time!

Posted in Country Living, Gardening | Tagged , , | 6 Comments