Charlie Caftan // Imagine Gnats Contributor Post

Monday, August 7, 2017

Charlie Caftan // Sewing For Women

It's a week all about the Charlie Caftan over at Imagine Gnats!
*FYI, you're going to want to check out the post today for a surprise for you all!

I am sharing about this ERmazing Charlie Caftan I made in a double gauze from her shop. The pattern/fabric combo could not be more dreamy!!

I made several changes to the pattern for this dress, so be sure to head over to check out all the details!

You can find the post here.

Charlie Caftan // Sewing For Women

Charlie Caftan // Sewing For Women

My Sewing Space // Homespun Magazine Feature

Thursday, August 3, 2017

 Hello, all!!

Today a little thing happened. My sewing space was featured in this month's Australian magazine publication 'Homespun'. This magazine can be found in print in Australia only, from what I understand, but can be found online in various locations such as Amazon, Zinio, & Barnes & Noble. There are options to subscribe for the whole year or purchase only the current issue through the online resources as well.

I am so honored and blown away to have been asked to be featured in this issue! I was given permission to publish the article here. It's a little surreal to see my space showcased in magazine format!

My Sewing Space // Homespun Magazine Feature


"A stylish, functional and kid-friendly sewing area in 10 square metres may sound like a bit of a squeeze. But with vertical storage, mood lighting and plenty of toys, Heidi Polcyn has achieved the trifecta.

   Heidi describes her sewing space as the "centre of the action". It's the intersection of five doorways and it doubles as a play area for her three children, which means "navigating the war-zone of toy landmines" every time she leaves her chair. But Heidi admits that she loves having her kids close by. "It allows them to play and be with me, and we can interact while I sew. It can be distracting at times, but this is truly the only way I can get any sewing done. Of course, the most productive times happen when baby is snoozing in his room!" she says. But once awake, there are plenty of play areas nearby. "off to the left of the space, there is a corner by the stairs that houses the play kitchen and baby book nook, so baby can 'read' while I'm pottering around my space. The dining room is also off to the left, and the table serves as my cutting table when needed. The big kids have all of their craft supplies and Lego in that room, as well. They love to work on some little project while I'm working creatively."

   Although Heidi was never really keen to sew as a teenager, she took to stitching with gusto after she married and wanted to furnish her home with bespoke pieces. "My mum used to sew frequently when I was very young and occasionally during -----

My Sewing Space // Homespun Magazine Feature

--my adolescent years. I remember watching her, but was never very interested in trying it for myself. It wasn't until I started sewing more frequently in my early 20s that I realised just how much I'd picked up simply by watching my mum." Heidi hopes the same osmosis process happens with her own children. 

   Since then, Heidi has extended her repertoire from home decor to clothes for herself and her children. "There is something so satisfying about making a garment from nothing but a pile of fabric and having it fit well and that you can wear out in public proudly."

   From wardrobe to home decorating, Heidi strives for a cohesive style. She especially loves lots of bright white spaces with pops of colour - as seen in her thrifted sewing chair, which she reupholstered from a solid cream fabric (that had seen better days) to a distinctive floral print. "I may have squealed a little after I put it back together and saw that it turned out just as I had imagined and hoped," she says. This has become the focal point of the room, doing the decorative heavy lifting to support simpler Ikea installations around it.

   The finishing touches - lights, photos, greenery - transform the space into something special. However, Heidi emphasises the importance of having a functional, as well as pretty, space. "My favourite furnishings are probably my desk top, with the Ikea Alex drawer units. Everything I need is there at my fingertips."

   Working in such a tight space does mean that Heidi has to be practical when I comes to storage. "If I don't have a place for something, then it (or something else), has to go." But that's sometimes easier said than done, as fabric-hoarder Heidi admits, saying she has a hard time letting go of material.

   Heidi has waited to have this special sewing spot, and says the interim didn't dampen her enthusiasm. "My sewing space has travelled literally around the whole house. It started out as a tiny, ugly little desk that was just barely big enough for my vintage sewing machine. If you love your craft. it doesn't matter where you do it. Just make time for it, and someday you may be able to find a dedicated spot in your home for it. But don't let it be a roadblock to doing what you love to do!"


PEG BOARD SPICE RACKS - These little racks have so many uses, and in my sewing space they are perfect for holding overlocker spools

MY BERNINA 305PE - It was a splurge purchase, but one I don't regret one penny of! It handles anything I've thrown at it and sews it well.

THE LIGHTS AROUND THE PEG BOARD - They add such a whimsical and homey feel to the space, plus some much needed light. For just a few dollars, they add a lot of punch!

MY CHAIR - It was thrifted, but looked new when I bought it. Originally, it had cream coloured upholstery. Needless to say, after a few years of regular use, it needed to be recovered. I decided to go from plain to a big pop of colour and now it's one of my favourite pieces in the space.

GIANT PEGBOARD - It is the statement of the space. I can easily store things that are used frequently out in the open, but still in an attractive way. And it's easy to switch things up if I feel the need for a change.

ROW OF WALL HOOKS - I like to hang frequently used patterns and in-progress or finished garments. It's handy to have the patterns out and ready to go, and fun to admire a pretty garment for a while.


If you are interested in finding the current month's issue, look for this gorgeous crochet cover!

My Sewing Space // Homespun Magazine Feature

I hope you enjoyed reading more about my sewing space! If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to email me directly, or leave a comment below and I will reply. I'd love to hear from you!

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

Hi all!

I'm popping in today to share about the latest Chi-Town Chinos I made.

I am a chinos gal, through and through. I love me a good pair of jean shorts, but the perfect chinos are just hard to beat! That being said, I think these are pretty close to that "perfect" pair. 

I blogged my first go at this pattern HERE

The second (navy) version remains unblogged, but is definitely worn constantly! Below are a some phone pics for reference.

Chi-Town Chinos // Sewing For Women

Chi-Town Chinos // Sewing For Women

Chi-Town Chinos // Sewing For Women

The navy pair was made in a 100% cotton twill from Joann's. I am super pleased with the quality of this fabric, it has held up very well and is also very comfortable to wear. The only downside is that it relaxes quite a bit with wear. By the end of the second wear for sure, I need to throw them into the laundry to shrink back down so I don't feel so loosey goosey and *ahem* frumpy. 

The first pair I made, blogged HERE, was made in a lightweight denim, plus I lowered the rise (oops, my mistake), and that pair also relaxes into a super loose fit. Although, not as quickly as the navy twill pair.

All that to say, it is the nature of the pattern for the shorts to relax into that "perfect" fit as you wear them. But I'm finding that fabric choice plays a huge role in how much it relaxes. 

I liked the navy twill so much I went back and grabbed it in white! I'm so happy I did, because this is without a doubt, my favorite pair of white shorts I have ever owned.

The first two pairs I made, I made in a size 6. My hips measure a size 6, while my waist measures a size 8. Alina has a very handy waist extension built into the pattern, so if you are like me with a size larger waist than hips, there is really no pattern alteration needed to achieve a great fit! I used the waist extension in the first pair. The navy pair I found I didn't need any waist extension at all, and even took in some at the side seams. 

The white pair I'm showing here today, was made in a straight size 4 and the waist extension was not used. Although, I still cut it out with it intact so that I could custom fit as I sewed them. I definitely recommend custom fitting each pair you decide to sew because of how differently fabrics can behave!

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

All of the Chi-Town shorts I have made, I have lengthened the inseam by 2 inches. This pair was the same, the only difference being that I forgot initially to taper in the outer leg seams when I sewed them together and topstitched the seam. With topstitching thread no less... One of those sewing moments where you just have to put the project in timeout for a while. 

I put the shorts in timeout, but my brain couldn't let it go. I first thought, I'll just leave it, it's not that bad! Because I really didn't want to unpick the topstitched HEM, and the side seams! But the more I thought about it, the more I knew it would bug me so badly that I wouldn't wear them, and other than that one blunder these were amaaaazing. So I decided to go at it the next morning and fixed it, and properly! You can't even tell where the original and re-stitched topstitching thread meets. Totally worth the extra hours spent on this project.

In case you are wondering, I tapered the side seams in by 1" (as per flat pattern, so 2" total width is taken out from each leg), starting at nothing at the pocket point and tapering down to the greatest decrease in width at the hem. I used my hip curve ruler, but it is just the slightest teensy curve, a straight line would likely achieve the same result. I did taper the inner leg, ever so slightly, I think I took 1/8" out there.

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

The next change I made was to scoop out the back crotch seam by 1/4". The navy blue pair above required only an 1/8" scoop. But going down a size required a little more scooping for my low booty.

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

Lastly, I interfaced the waistband facing piece with a lightweight interfacing. I did this in hopes that it would help keep the waistband a little snugger and not relax as much. I'm very happy to report that it seems to be doing the job well! I've worn these shorts several times since making them and they still feel snug and supportive when I wear them. 

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

For this pair, I used a lighter interfacing because the fabric itself is pretty hefty and I didn't want to add any bulk at the waist. I plan to make another pair in a lighter fabric and I'll probably use a slightly heavier interfacing for that. I also have plans to make a couple pairs in some stretch twills I picked up. Those will definitely need interfacing to keep them from stretching out. 

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

In other words, I need all the Chi-Towns. So many. In all the colors. Lol.

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

I used a white jeans zipper from Imagine Gnats Shop for this pair and I feel like it upped the "legit" factor for me to the next level. :) 

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

Another handy little tool for making this pair of shorts was this Craft Awl that Rachael sent over for me to try out. I was struggling to get the bottom part of my belt loops attached with the bar tack and was fearing the fate of my finger when trying to evenly push it through. Enter the "wrong" end of the craft awl! It was perfect for pushing the belt loop through the presser foot, the cushion grip meant no slipping at all. I can't wait to use it next time to install some jean's buttons onto some actual jeans!

Also, shout out to Lara Liz. I have been enjoying reading her blog lately and I like how she references not only the fabric and patterns she used, but also the tools and notions! So I'm going to take a cue from her and list them here as well. I think it's nice to know where other get their supplies and maybe you'll find some new shops to support as well!

Chi-Town Chinos in White // Sewing For Women

Sources: (Click on description for available links *no affiliates in this post*)
Pattern: Chi-Town Chinos (Alina Design Co)


Top is the Pony Tank Pattern by Chalk and Notch, blogged HERE.

I hope this information dump was helpful! Thanks so much for reading!

**Disclaimer: I was given the zipper and craft awl in return for an honest review.**

Motherhood & Sewing // #easeintomotherhood

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today I'm honored to be a part of the July blog series called Ease Into Motherhood. Ease Into Motherhood is a sewists' celebration of motherhood and the changes it brings to our lives.

I can actually thank motherhood for bringing sewing into my life. I learned how to sew pretty early on by watching my mom sew. *It's amazing how much you pick up by just WATCHING!* I had a tiny sewing machine of my own when I was little and would sew scraps together. I don't remember ever making anything tangible, in fact, the thing I remember the most is my thread constantly getting tangled up in that little machine. Lol.

In high-school, I took a home ec. class that solidified the basics for me. After that, I hardly touched a sewing machine until I was married. I attempted a quilt top after being married for a year or so (I had the itch for a hobby), that quilt top still languishes unfinished in a box somewhere in my attic. I did manage to make some very simple curtains (completely straight panels with a rod pocket), with the help of my mom. Thanks Mom!

After my first child was born, I made a few more very simple projects. I remember making a small foam pad with a pillow-style envelope cover for his pack and play.

I mentioned earlier feeling an itch for a hobby. I worked outside our home up until I had my first child, then became a stay-at-home mom. This was something my husband and I wanted and planned for before we were married. It was all I ever dreamed of. I just wanted to be a mom. I thought that would be everything; my fulfillment, my purpose, my calling. Being pregnant for the first time, my mind was consumed with all things baby and I thought once he arrived, that would be my "thing". And it is. All of those things. All moms know, this is a 24 hour job, there is no off time, ever. And hard as it may be, as much as I feel like I want/need a break sometimes, it is the most fulfilling thing I could ever imagine doing.

Now, looking back, I realize even after Baby #1, that itch for a hobby really was an urge to MAKE. At that point it didn't really matter what it was, I just needed to MAKE. I discovered blogs while pregnant that first time, and started to soak in all the inspiration and creativity that I could. I started my own little blog at that point, filled with total randomness. No one read it. Haha! :)

After my baby was born and a few months old, I needed a project. It needed to be something that could be done in short bursts and still give me that satisfaction of completing something I MADE. So I started a little personal project to bake my way through Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and blogging my progress. It was a fun little project, but life happened and we made a big move and life continued to move on. My new project became fixing up the house we bought and starting over socially and building new friendships and finding a church family.

Fast forward to becoming pregnant with Baby #2, I became even more obsessed with fixing up the house. Finding out a little less than halfway through the pregnancy that Baby #2 was a girl had me thrilled with all the girlie things I could make. By this time I had discovered Pinterest and ideas were never ending. I also picked back up with sewing a few things here and there. I made curtains for the nursery, frilly this time, and all by myself because my mom was hundreds of miles away. I was so proud of them! They were made from a clearanced sheet and an old skirt of mine. I also made a car seat cover and a nursing cover. I was so excited about those tangible projects, I just kept going. I made more of those things for friends, and also made a few drawstring bags for my almost 2 year old son and some for the new baby. I also made headbands for her.

Then baby girl was born and life was amazing. I had the smartest, cutest little 2 year old boy and the most precious little baby girl I had ever laid eyes on. A few months went by and the euphoria wore off. By the time she was 6 months old, I felt like all I was doing every minute of every day was feeding two mouths or diapering their bottoms.

At that point I was feeling very unsettled and depressed and felt lost as to why.? I mean, this life is what I always wanted, right? I went to the doctor to make sure all was well on that end and it was, we made a few tweaks, but overall everything was healthy and as it should be.

A short time later I finally pin pointed that I felt like I had lost myself. Who was I anymore? I mean yes, I was a mom, I was a wife. These things I still loved with all my heart, but who was "I"? I cried out to God in those lonely times and the answer didn't come right away, but soon I started to feel the urge to make again! And it started to make sense. I NEEDED to make. I needed something that would let out this energy I felt like was trapped inside.

Around the time she was a year old, I was so inspired by Pinterest and all the amazing (yet simple) clothing sewing projects I was seeing that I decided to give them a try! I remember setting a goal for the month of January 2013 to sew as many clothing pieces as I could. I called it "Sewing Month". (so original) That month I made 2 simple maxi skirts for myself, a peasant dress, a pillowcase dress, and a ruffle skirt for my daughter. I made a pair of kid shorts by MADE and an embellished tee for my son, 5 more carseat covers and a baby blanket. I was on such a high after such a successful month! Now granted the maxi skirts for myself were a bit of a flop because I had no idea about fabric choices at that point. But all the rest of the projects were successes and the clothes I made for my kids were worn and worn and worn.

After that, "Sewing Month" turned into "Sewing Year", which actually means "Sewing Never Stops". I was happy again. My kids were happy too, when Mama's happy, everybody is happy. This is all too true. My kids loved it when I presented them with a new thing to wear, and they were willing photo subjects as well! *I also started my blog around this time, so if you're interested to see some of my first sewing projects you can browse the archives!*

About 2 years after I started sewing and blogging, I became pregnant with my 3rd baby. During pregnancy the sewing slowed a little bit because of lack of energy and also my nesting instincts come out in the form of "PAINT THE WHOLE HOUSE". I'm pretty sure Baby #3 is my final, so... Sorry house, looks like you won't be getting painted again, maybe ever. :)

After he was born though, the sew-jo returned rather quickly. I had that urge to MAKE again, and I knew I had this thing to fall back on this time, not to mention I recognized what the feeling was. The transition was so much smoother this time. I had that thing that made me feel like "ME", and it was there any time I needed it. Around the time he was a year old, I started sewing much, much more for myself. This was partly driven by the fact that taking 3 kids to the department store and trying on clothes was just literally more than I could handle most days. And online shopping also yielded in major frustration because so much didn't fit and then I had to fuss with returning to the store anyway or sending it back, sometimes with return shipping costs.

My oldest is going into 2nd grade this year, my daughter is starting Kindergarten and my "baby" will be 2 1/2 at that point. We are currently in the midst of summer "non-schedule", and sewing time can be hard to find sometimes. I also have a garden and do lots of canning in the summer, so that takes away from it too. I can find that frustrating, because I want to accomplish all these sewing projects, but my kids all want all the things. Like eating, all the time! Or swimming, Mom, please come in the pool with us! Or just plain old couch-sitting with them. So hard (I'm being sarcastic here). So really, my frustration is self imposed, because all the rest of the things are SO GOOD. And the canning also satisfies that need to MAKE. It makes me so extremely happy to open up my pantry and see it chock full of food that I have grown and preserved to feed us for the rest of the year. I'm not going to mention anything about the state of my house. It's chaos all the time right now, but I've given myself permission to let it go until they start back to school in a month. Then I will purge. And find more consistent sewing time again!

I really can't complain about the number or quality of the projects I've made this summer, they've been great, but us sewists' like to set lofty goals for ourselves!

So in summary. Motherhood brought me sewing. And sewing brought me that "thing" that made me feel like "ME" again in the midst of this glorious, wonderful, hard, thing that brings us the title of Mom. It's truly the best job in the world. *All the puffy hearts and tears right now* I'm going to go kiss my babies.

Thanks to Jodi, Erin, and Monserratt for hosting this series and making me stop and think about how rich my life is. 

Thank you for reading! If you made it to the end, you are the best of the best!! :)

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Hi friends!

If you have ever sewn with knits, particularly the lightweight variety, then you probably know that hemming them with good result can be tricky! There are those who are lucky enough to have a coverstitch machine included in their arsenal. Someday I hope to be one of those lucky ones... But for now, my Bernina 350 and my double needle and I seem to get along just fine.

Today I'm going to show you the method that I use.

*These photos are all from my phone, so bear with me!*

The tools I use are, my walking foot, my double needle, Sewskeys Fusible Knit Stay Tape, regular thread (I don't use wooly nylon), and a little tweaking to my tension and stitch length.

So to start, fix your machine with a walking foot if you have one. If you don't, I can't recommend it enough for lightweight, slinky knits. Then install your double needle. 

I have had the best luck with THIS size (2,5/75 - in the photo) on lighter knits. Some thicker knits might take a larger needle (4,0/75) a little better. Just play around on some scraps and find which works better for you.

*UPDATE: The 2,5/75 Stretch Twin Needle is also available HERE!

**NOTE: Make sure the double needle you are using says STRETCH. This makes all the difference!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next, I adjust my tension by lowering it slightly. My machine is typically at 4, I lower it to around 3. Then adjust your stitch length to slightly longer. My machine is digital and is set at 2.5mm, I bump it up by 3 notches to 3mm.

Next you'll want to prepare your fabric. To do this, I serge the bottom edge of the hem. This is super important because it stabilizes the edge and gives something with some heft for the double needle to sew on top of later on. If you don't have a serger, you may want to try applying the stay tape to the very edge and folding under 1/4", then your remaining hem allowance to give some good stability to the edge that will be sewn on top of.

*Serger tip: For lighter weight fabrics, it may be necessary to adjust your differential. Check your manual on how to do this. On my serger, lightweight knits are a lower number than heavier knits. I have a little cheat sheet where I jot down the differential number for different types of knit, and then test each knit on a scrap before starting the project.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next, apply the fusible stay tape. I use the 1/2" wide variety, but it comes in several different sizes!

Find it here.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

I apply it by lightly pressing with moderate heat and some steam.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next fold up the edge of your hem and press well. The stay tape provides a really nice guide for this!
How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Now we go to the machine and stitch! I like to use my fingers to feel the serged edge and make sure that the double needle is sewing right on top of this. Try not to let one side of the needle fall off the side of the serged edge as this can cause the dreaded tunneling. 

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Give your hem a final steam press and then admire your work!!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

No tunneling!

**NOTE: This method works great with lighter and slinkier knits such as rayon spandex (shown). If you are using a heavier, more stable knit, such as ponte, for example, you will probably be able to get away with just a serged edge or just the stay tape.

***This post is not sponsored or affiliated, I just happen to love these products and use them all the time. Just sharing the love!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful for you!

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