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1 November

  • 20150722_221152_large

    Nov 1, 2014, 05.21 AMby Livonet

    Hello Kate. I read your post about sheer fabrics. I want to sew this dress http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/338/1981n.jpg but I am having problems to decide what types of fabrics I have to use for the construction of the bodice and skirt.

    Will you be able to advise me? Could you please help me?

    Thanks so much.

21 August

  • Missing

    Aug 21, 2014, 11.31 PMby Jacinta James

    Hi Kate

    Good to see you are back. Is it possible for you to have your course on teaching adults to sew photocopied and mailed to me? I will pay for the photocopies and postage, if that’s possible. Alternatively, give you put me in the right direction where I can find a course?



1 July

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    Jul 1, 2014, 05.09 PMby bjr99

    Hi Kate,

    Good to see you are back and well! Was getting concerned since you are a regular contributor to the site and hadn’t been on in months.


    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 1, 2014, 05.23 PMby katexxxxxx

      PSU on the mac dies… Then I dropped the iPhone in a glass of squash! Boy’s car got dented by hubby, and we are about to be invaded by builders… While Su and I are making wedding gowns! Keeps us busy… ;)

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 1, 2014, 09.44 AMby katexxxxxx

    Dead computer! Not bee able to log in for the longest time… Now connected via a chromebook, but really wanting my mac back!

15 May

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    May 15, 2014, 12.02 AMby Sue Harkins

    Hi Kate, I just joined and saw that you mentioned on a post that you had a course outline for teaching sewing. If you have already posted this, I would love the link so that I might read through it. I have recently started teaching and am just “shooting in the dark”! Thanks so much, Sue


    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 1, 2014, 09.47 AMby katexxxxxx

      Sorry I didn’t get back to you before: see abouve. Unfortunately the files were on dead former pc that went up in smoke, and I couldn’t read the hard disk with the newer (now also defunct!) computer. Unfortunatle I don’t have time to scan the hard copy I have as it’s squirreled away in the lockup while we await builders.

3 March

  • Missing

    Mar 3, 2014, 11.05 PMby themrsv

    Hi Kate – I am making Vogue 2931 into a wedding gown (strapless and without the bow bodice) for my niece. I have the satin for the main part of the dress and a fancy lace for an overlay. The lace is not that wide and has scallops on the selvages. How am I going to do the lace overlay? Do I make the dress out of organza or tulle and apply the lace that way to erase any seams? ARRRRGGHHH!!! Why did I open my big mouth If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate your input. Thanks, Judy H

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Mar 4, 2014, 09.15 PMby katexxxxxx

      You will need LOTS of lace for this!

      From the Empire waist seam down…

      Lay each corrected-for-size piece of pattern out on a new sheet of translucent paper…

      Trace round it, leaving a large margin round each piece…

      Start with the center front panel… Lay it on the lace and trace round the lace pattern OUTSIDE the pattern piece…

      Cut round this piece outside the new lace pattern. Cut the lace out… AVOID cutting the scalloped edge motifs! You’ll want hem later…

      Do the same for the back panels. Match the panels as best you can up the CF.

      Thread trace the original seam lines…

      Cut the other panels, lining up the major pattern motifs as best you can, on their original seam lines…

      Lay the wriggly edged pieces ON TOP of the side panels, matching the seam lines. ZIGZAG the lace down round the motifs you traced round, using a tiny zigzag stitch. Carefully cut away the excess lace fabric on both the top and bottom layers…

      Sew the side seams with either two rows of narrow zigzag or a 4 thread overlock stitch. They are less important seams than the CF and CB panel seams…

      Round the hem, carefully place the scalloped edges and reattach using the zigzag stitch. Cut away the excess fabric on the bottom.

      Cut the bodice pieces at the back in the same way as you cut the CF and back panels, and use reattached edge pieces along the top if you think that works. Use reattached edges along the strips used to cover the bow. Hand catch the lace to the bow in stategic places to stop it slipping. You only need tiny stitches for this.

      Hope this makes sense and works! And this might also help! http://itsastitchup.co.uk/tutorials/sewing-with-lace/

27 February

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    Feb 27, 2014, 12.20 AMby rita61

    Hi Kate. Any chance you can help Maychang with her last questions on sleeves? This is the jacket she’s making: A Line 60s Jacket 02/2014 #132 http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/a-line-60s-jacket-022014 Her question is under: Burda modern jacket 132 Thanks. Rita

    5 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Feb 27, 2014, 05.17 PMby katexxxxxx

      Yes, no probs. Been away, and then recovering!

    • Rita_for_burdastyle_photo_large

      Feb 27, 2014, 09.09 PMby rita61

      Thank you so much Kate. I hope you aren’t seriously ill or something?

    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Feb 28, 2014, 01.13 AMby katexxxxxx

      No, just seriously tired and full of fibro flare after an insanely good game weekend spent in Cassablanca in 1941 being a Private Eye! :D

    • Rita_for_burdastyle_photo_large

      Feb 28, 2014, 02.26 AMby rita61

      Oh, I’m jealous!!! That would be so much fun !!!

    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Feb 28, 2014, 02.47 PMby katexxxxxx

      It was a total blast! When I get pix, I’ll put them up. I made a suit, a blouse, a pair of French Knickers, a day dress and an evening dress. I had 1940’s look-alike shoes and bag, Victory roll hairdo, and very red lippy. And a hat. And one of my character goals was to eat cake!

31 December

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    Dec 31, 2012, 06.27 PMby bjr99

    Just got back from the Christmas holidays and saw your status post on Basement Sewing. I think the only thing worse than basement sewing is ripping out basement sewing without tearing it!!

    Have a Happy New Year!

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jan 2, 2013, 09.05 PMby katexxxxxx

      I have to say that it is turning out rather well!

      Hope you too have a great 2013.

6 October

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    Oct 6, 2012, 08.53 AMby lindsay-l

    Hi there,

    I seen a post from a couple years ago and see you have a lot of experience with nylon, lycra and other stretch fabrics. I want to start making my own leggings and was wondering what would be the best overlocker machine to get for this? Do you think it’s just as good to use an at home machine as using an industrial? If so, what at home overlockers would you recommend for a quality end product? (preferably 4 thread)

    Thank you! Lindsay

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Oct 6, 2012, 09.05 AMby katexxxxxx

      Home machines are far more versatile than industrials, which tend to do one thing only. If you are only making your own rather than intending to run a production line, a home machine will be much better. Once you have one, you will find a lot more ue for it than just making leggings! :)

      The big drawback with an industrial in a home setting is the size of the table: they tend to be sold as a head only, and you need to buy the motor separately, plus special serger a table to mount them in. A domestic machine is a table top machine and can be put away if you need to. I have one of mine in a Horn cabinet, but as I work as a dressmaker and have a partner here most days, we tend to have it permanently set up. along with at least two other machines!

      At present I run two: a Brother 1034D and a Bernina 1150MDA. They are both 4 thread machines. The Bernina was more than twice the price of the Brother, and side by side on the bench you can tell where the extra money went: it’s faster, quieter, smoother, will do 2 thread stitching, and is slightly easier to thread.

      For a serger newbie, the Brother is a great machine, though. Tough, easy to operate, and does a really nice stitch. If you have the money, the Bernina is lovely, but it is expensive.

      The best thing to do is go and try a few, and see which you are comfortable with.

2 October

11 July

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    Jul 11, 2012, 10.35 PMby leashbean

    That was what I was thinking were my options. I would prefer to have as little visible seaming as possible, but I do know that the lace is expensive. Maybe a good compromise would be to have visible seaming on the side seams but to do this overlapping stitch method for the front seams. Thanks for your imput yet again! happy project sewing!

10 July

  • Wedding_large

    Jul 10, 2012, 10.39 PMby leashbean

    Hey Kate. its me again! please let me know if my questions are annoying for you.

    I am making a wedding gown with an overlay of lace fabric. the pattern I made has to seams running down the front and I know that I do not wish to have these lines in the lace. Is their a way to avoid these seams on the lace overlay? Can i cut out and sew the skirt front underlining, and then tcut out the entire skirt front as one from the lace? some places also state to use the lace and the underlay as one piece while sewing, I would think it would look nicer if these were free flowing from eachother. is there a reason people recommend this way? is it because there is also a separate lining as well?

    so many questions!

    thanks again.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 11, 2012, 09.33 AMby katexxxxxx

      No problem! I’m just madly busy with work and home projects at the moment…

      Now, lace… There are two main ways to tackle this. For the sake of it I am going to assume that there is a scalloped edge to the lace and you want this along the hem of the gown. And that the skirt sections are made up from gore sections rather than rectangles.

      The first way is just to cut the scalloped edge off the lace, very carefully, along the edges of the motifs. Then just cut the skirt pieces as if the lace was plain. You then make up the skirt, with the seams, and sew the scalloped edge along the bottom… This will leave you with seams that will show a bit down the lace…

      The next way you do much the same, except that for the FRONT section, down the seam line you cut round the edges of the lace motifs OUTSIDE the pattern pieces. You then lay these pieces OVER the seam lines on the side sections, and stitch round the edges. Do the same for the center back sections… Then reattach the border.

      For this second method particularly, you need a LOT of lace! You really need to plan the layout of the pieces before you order the lace. You have to cut all the pieces the same way up on the pattern, and you end up ‘wasting’ a lot of triangular sections up the sides of the skirt panels, and joining panels to get sections wide enough at the hem… It’s a right ole skiddle! For it to look good there’s either a hall of a lot of slow hand stitching or a lot of VERY SKILLED and careful machine work joining the lace invisibly.

      If you have a hunt through some of the past discussions on using lace and making wedding gowns, I know there are recommendations for several good books that should also help.

27 June

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    Jun 27, 2012, 07.05 PMby leashbean

    Hey Kate!

    I have a question for you! ( or should I say another question….) I have some fabric that is a cotton twill with a one way stretch. I am looking to make a full gathered skirt with the front and back on the fold. I have noticed that right on the crease of the fabric there is a bit of miscolouring and i can see a lighter line. Obviously i do not want that on the centre of my skirt. Is the only option to have a seam down the centre front and back? (the back I do not care as much, but the front i feel as though it could look weird?)

    is there any other options? I would be too afraid to cut with the stretch falling vertically as it might get really wonky…

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jun 27, 2012, 10.32 PMby katexxxxxx

      I really think the seam is your best option. Try making a feature of it, like using a fly front and zip…

30 May

  • Missing

    May 30, 2012, 11.21 PMby LittleMuse-ess

    I’d thought I’d ask you to check out my someone-help me pages since you really seem to know what you are doing and give good advice, and thought maybe you could help me out, too? here’s the links.linktextlinktext thanks in advance!

18 March

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    Mar 18, 2012, 10.59 AMby sewingfan1

    re Larping, I did a day of medieval jousting once and sword play which I loved. I’ve always fancied the idea of making myself a medieval dress, that’s partly why I started learning to sew and I still haven’t got around to making one!! (I guess as I wouldn’t really have anywhere to wear it) so when I heard about larping it’s getting me inspired again :-)

14 March

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    Mar 14, 2012, 03.19 PMby tanuyadav

    no worry ,i was just reminding you ,in case you have forgotten ;)

    I am working on my side but in vain:(


29 January

9 December

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    Dec 9, 2011, 12.08 AMby patti-r

    Kate, On this birthday I wish you a joyful ride 365 days long, filled with fun and frolic. Wish you many happy returns of the day.

    Big Hugs, Patti

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Dec 9, 2011, 09.04 AMby katexxxxxx

      Thank you. :)

8 December

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    Dec 8, 2011, 08.42 PMby katensew

    Thanks Kate – looks ideal BUT when I press " print at Home " nothing happens !! Never mind I have found a waistcoat pattern that I drafted for my husband so I shall alter that. ( it had a straight bottom edge instead of pointed – if that makes sense ? )

7 December

  • Patti_12-28-2011_large

    Dec 7, 2011, 03.29 PMby patti-r

    That so funny LOL, but so true.

  • Patti_12-28-2011_large

    Dec 7, 2011, 02.34 AMby patti-r

    Yes still miss mine too, guess when they are great people you have more happy memories.

    This hopefully will make you smile.

    Took my mother to doctor she looked a book then said I think Ru Paul is much better looking than him. I took a look at the book it was Sports Illustrated and it was Serena Williams the Tennis star. Never said a would to my mother, that Serena was not a female impersonator , but every time see Serena or a Sports Illustrated Mag, I smile from ear to ear…..

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Dec 7, 2011, 02.54 PMby katexxxxxx

      They do come out with classic shots at times, don’t they.

      I asked mine, when the then cherub – now Giant Mutant Ninja Teenager, was being particularly ornery how long it took to civilize a baby. Oh, says Mum, about 25 years!

      That still cracks me up!

6 December

  • Patti_12-28-2011_large

    Dec 6, 2011, 06.07 PMby patti-r

    Kate, So Sorry for your loss.

    No matter how old we are, losing a mother is one of the deepest sorrows a heart can know. But her goodness, her caring and her wisdom live on, like a legacy of love that will always be with you. With deepest sympathy.

    Hugs, Patti

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Dec 6, 2011, 11.26 PMby katexxxxxx

      Thank you. It’s almost a year, but still we miss her.

  • 10th_aug_on_holiday_large

    Dec 6, 2011, 04.01 PMby katensew

    Hi there Kate – i know that you are a fountain of knowledge regarding all things sewing !! Can you direct me to a site for a free gents waistcoat pattern ( approx. chest38/ 40 ) I tend to make them up on the person but want to make one as a surprise, so I can’t use the old newspaper round the body trick !! Many thanks Kath

    1 Reply

20 November

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    Nov 20, 2011, 01.27 AMby nessys

    Oh Kate! You funny girl! Enjoy those pies Honey! xxx

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Nov 21, 2011, 01.01 AMby katexxxxxx

      And 10 Christmas puddings and 4 Christmas Cakes, and my own marzipan, and 4 jars of beetroot chutney and some cranberry sauce, and several jars of emergency tomato chutney (the tomatoes were starting to grow beards, so it was rescue them for chutney or bin them! I trimmed off the squashy bits and made chutney!).

      I freely admit to being bonkers. But tomorrow I’ll be sane and do some sewing. (She says, after she and her other half drove a 500 mile round trip to buy a used car!)

18 November

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    Nov 18, 2011, 06.25 PMby katexxxxxx

    Rhetorical. I always end up doing this sort of thing…

15 November

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    Nov 15, 2011, 04.02 PMby artepart

    Hi Kate, Ribbons,lace,fabrics,sewingtools,knitting wool,dresspatterns,DIY books,sewingbooks and other things like wiggs,buttons and some vintage stuff.It’s first the sorting out,taking the pictures and then it goes on my Etsy site.You will find me under the name Artepart on Etsy.The whole process will take about 3 weeks,I’m working also fulltime next to my sewing but I will let you know when the first lot is on. Happy sewing and really nice from you to hear, Petra,ArtepArt.

    1 Reply

14 August

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    Aug 14, 2011, 02.09 AMby BritJ

    Your creations are absolutely delightful!!

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Aug 14, 2011, 09.55 AMby katexxxxxx

      Thank you. :)

3 August

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    Aug 3, 2011, 01.02 PMby bjr99

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    I did speak to the folks at Dharma about dip dyeing. Given the quantity of fabric that I had to dye and that it was different types of fabric, they recommended that I not do it. I have to agree since I do not have the facilities to do the quantity of fabric needed. So not only did Dharma loose the sale of the dye but also the sale of the fabric to be dyed. This is a good company in my book and I would buy from them in the future.

    As for the project, we have shifted gears. Rather than dyeing the fabric we will be using 2 layers of silk chiffon, pink and lavender, to get a similar effect. Much simpler and faster. Given that the due date is Sept. 9 this seems to be the best way to go.

    Thanks again for your input. Hope your summer is going great.


1 August

  • Missing

    Aug 1, 2011, 10.58 PMby sierrat2011

    Hey Kate.

    I’ve seen your comments around the site so I see that you know what you are doing when it comes to sewing and I thought you would be a good person to help me with this.

    I’ve been attempting to make a glitz style pageant dress. I think I can acheive the style of skirt and the dress itself but I have no confidence at all in the beading. Can you offer me any tips or advice on beading. If you could even refer me to any sites, that would be fine.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Aug 2, 2011, 10.47 PMby katexxxxxx

      Take a look at what Kenneth King says about beading: hes the beading king! ;)

      What you need to read is his book Designer Bead Embroidery.

27 July

  • Sewing_machine_large

    Jul 27, 2011, 01.55 PMby bjr99

    Hi Kate,

    I have posted this in the help section but I wanted to post it personally with you to be sure that you would receive this. I have also sent this to 2 other sewers as well who are also quite talented. I hope you can help me.

    I have a last minute job making 3 ballet costumes due Sept.9. The construction is not a problem. The problem is one of fabric for 2 of the costumes.

    The client wants the woman’s costume to be a sleeveless leotard with a silk chiffon and silk crepe de chine skirt. The man will be in tights and a silk shirt. Here is where the problem starts. She wants the costumes to go gradually from white to green. The original designer,( moved and couldn’t finish the project) had planned on dyeing the white silks to achieve this effect.

    I have never had any need to dye fabric other than tie dye tee shirts and certainly not graduated. So the first question is have you ever died silk and if so is it hard to do? Also, do you have any sources for dyes, materials and how to information? The original designer has specked Dharma Trading Co. for dyes and materials. Have you ever used them and would you recommend them? I also need tips on how to do graduated dying and how to achieve this effect.

    I am also looking at costume companies and fabrics on line to possibly purchase these 2 costumes or the fabric for them. Do you know of any companies that would have something like this? I have resources of my own but am not seeing what I need from them.

    All companies would need to be in the US since I have a tight budget as well as a tight time frame.

    Thank you in advance for any information or help you can give me.


    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Aug 2, 2011, 10.40 PMby katexxxxxx

      Sounds like what you need to do is dip-dye them… You need special silk dye for this. Take a hike round the Dharma Trading website and ask their advice for the best dye to use.

      Dip or ombre dying means that you dampen the whole skirt and then dip the edge i the dye and let is bleed up the fabric. It gets paler as you go up the fabric… You can also do more than one colour!

      Try this video: http://youtu.be/SBN3hDIz88Y Two colour ombre dying.

      Sorry I couldn’t answer before: I’ve been away.