The dreaded topstitching of the button fly…. It’s scary because it’s one of the most visible parts of the pants. The good news is there is an easy method to get the stitching looking good every time.
Topstitching the fly was the main thing that held be back from making jeans. I was fearful the fly stitching wouldn’t look good. Had I known how easy this was, I think I would have started my journey of making pants-with-button-flies earlier than I did.
So let me spare you some heartache. Here’s how to nail the topstitching…
1) Cut a fly pattern piece out of scrap paper.
2) Line up the curved edge of the pattern piece right where you want your topstitching to land on the button fly — I want mine to land right along the inside of the serger thread.
(I have an abundance of scrap paper from paper patterns, so I’m using some for this tutorial.)
3) Keeping the paper aligned, flip the paper and button fly over. Using a pen, mark the paper along the top and edge of the button fly.
4) Cut out the stitch guide along the line you just drew. Clip the paper piece in position on top of the pants, with the button fly in position underneath.
5) With everything lined up perfectly, stitch right along the edge of the stitching guide.
6) Unclip, pull off the paper, admire your work.
7) Once you have one line of stitching, you can easily use that line as a guide for sewing another line.
Ready to wrap yourself up in some handmade love? Here are the fabric requirements and fiber content recommendations you need for the Rosemary Wrap.
This pattern is meant to be light hearted and chill. Meaning, it’s easy to cut out, easy to sew, easy to wear, easy to fit (because it wraps!), and easy to adjust the length to your preference. Check the chart below to find your approximate size and the corresponding fabric yardage requirements.
Can you have too many woven tank tops? If you’re like me, they are basically the foundation of your wardrobe that you build outfits around. They go with so many things, they keep you cool, they don’t get in the way of your work, they are beautiful and fun to sew, and they just… be with you. They don’t require flashy attention, they just add to who you are and how you adorn yourself.
Here are 7 woven tank top sewing patterns to make and love. All the titles and photographs are linked to the designer’s site where you can purchase or download the pattern.
Chamomile Crop by Sarah Kirsten (Sorry, not sorry…)
The Chamomile comes with a wide shoulder version and a narrow shoulder version, and a cropped fit for perfect pairing with high waisted pants, shorts, and skirts.
The Ashton Top sewing pattern comes with a super cute cropped and long version, wide hem, and also the option for bias tape or a sharp looking all-in-one facing to finish the seams.
The Peplum features a ruffle bottom and a v-neck back. It’s designed by my friend Emily from In The Folds who produces amazing patterns every year.
The Demeter sewing pattern is another wonderful example of how wonderful everything is that Anna designs. So dreamy. This pattern comes in four versions - a sleeveless and sleeved dress, and a sleeveless and sleeved shirt. All versions are stunning.
The Willow has a tank top and a dress version with a lovely wide hem, straight hem.
The Wiksten Tank is a beautiful dartless tank with a lovely curved hem.
The Gemma is simple and elegant with a lovely neckline and curved hem. She also has lots of tutorials about sewing the bias binding and how to make a cropped version.
Sewing the Chamomile Crop in the fully lined version has the wonderful perk of making it a reversible tank top! The construction of this double layer version was thoughtfully designed to not include understitching.
(Understitching definition: Sewing the inner layer to the seam allowance to help keep it from peeking out and being visible.)
Without understitching, the top can be worn both ways.
Another fun thing about this tutorial is that it doesn’t just apply to the Chamomile Crop. You can use this method to sew a fully lined tank with almost any pattern!
This tutorial uses two floral print quilting cottons to easily determine right and wrong sides of fabric (which is why quilting cotton prints are so good for tutorials) and to keep the two layers differentiable.
Let’s make something!
1) Cut out all the pieces. For this tutorial, I’m using one front and back in pink floral, and one front and back in blue floral. You could have both layers the same fabric if you’d like.
The right side on both of these fabrics is a bit darker and more vibrant, the wrong side is more muted and slightly whiter.
2) Using a fabric pen or chalk, mark a line 2 1/2” (6.4 cm) from the bottom edge on the wrong side of the fabric on all four pieces. This will be used as a guide for sewing the hem later. It’s easiest to mark it now when the pieces can still be laid flat before any sewing.
3) Sew all four darts (two on each front piece) and press darts toward the bottom of the crop top.
4) Sew the front and back pieces of each layer together at the shoulders with a 3/4” (2 cm) seam allowance and right sides together.
Trim seams to 3/8” (1 cm). Explanation: This pattern was drafted for French seams, which requires a large seam allowance, so the extra seam allowance has to be trimmed off for this double layer construction.
Press seams open.
5) Lay the two layers right sides together. Line up and pin or clip the arm openings together.
6) Sew the whole length of the arm openings with 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance.
7) Clip the seam allowance along the arm opening curves. Clip farther up the length of the arm opening than you might think you need to. (I’ve made the mistake multiple times of not clipping far enough up!)
8) Turn the crop top right side out through the neck opening.
9) Flip the outer layer together and the inner layer together with right sides together.
If this part is tricky to understand, keep playing with it — you’ll get it! See how the two pink floral pieces are together on the right and the two blue floral pieces are together on the left? That’s what you want.
10) Line up the side seams and pin or clip in place. Either fold the seam allowance of the arm opening of the top and bottom layer in opposite directions, or press them both open to reduce bulk around the seam.
I chose to press my seam allowances in opposite directions.
11) Sew the side seams with a 3/4” (2 cm) seam allowance. Backstitch across the darts and the ends of the arm opening seams.
Trim seam allowance to 3/8” (1 cm). Again, because this was drafted for French seams.
Press side seams open with a steamy iron.
12) Now we’re going to sew the neck in two sections. If you look at the necklines, you’ll see there are four layers.
Grab the outermost layers (one is the blue floral fabric, the other is the pink floral fabric) and push the middle layers down away from the edge. These two outermost layers should be already be right sides together.
13) Pin or clip the outermost layers together all the way up to the shoulder seams.
It requires some arranging and finagling to pin all the way up to the shoulder seams, but you’ll want to do that to make sure the two layers are lined up and centered with each other properly.
At this point, the other half of the shoulders are tucked inside the part of the shoulders and neckline you are about to sew.
14) Sew the first half of the neckline from shoulder seam to shoulder seam with a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance. Make sure the two layers in between don’t get caught in the stitching.
15) Clip the seam allowance of the curve of the neckline.
16) Flip the tank top over and pull the shoulders/neckline through the opening in the other side of the neckline.
17) Do the same thing to this side. Pin or clip the two outermost layers together up to the shoulder seams. Again, the outermost layers should already be right sides together.
18) Sew with a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance and be sure to not catch the in between layers in the stitching.
19) Clip curve of neckline.
Whew! Just take a breather here. You’re done with one of the tricky parts. The neckline is finished!
Okay now on to the final steps…
20) The last thing to sew is the hem. Starting at a side seam, fold the bottom of both layers up so the right sides are facing each other.
21) Line up the bottom raw edges and side seams, and sew the two layers together along the line (2 1/2” (6.4 cm) from the bottom) you marked in the first step.
Start sewing at the side seam and leave a 5” (12.7 cm) gap when you come back around so you can turn the tank top right side out.
The hem will be going in between the blue floral layer and the pink floral layer at this point. You won’t be able to lay the whole thing flat, so get a few inches flat to sew at a time.
If this step feels like a huge confusing mess, hooray! You’re probably doing it right! It always looks like a total mess — one you would never think would actually work out right.
If you’d like to test that you are doing correctly before you start sewing, you can pin along stitching line and then turn the tank top right side out through the hem to see how it works.
It should look something like this at this point. The hem should literally be going in between the blue floral layer and the pink floral layer.
22) Turn the tank top right side out through the 5” (12.7 cm) opening in the hem.
23) Give the bottom seam, neckline, and arm openings a good press.
24) Make sure the wide hem allowance is laying flat between the blue floral and the pink floral layers.
Top stitch 2” (5 cm) from the bottom edge. The hem allowance is 2 1/2” (6.4 cm) wide, so the 2” (5 cm) stitching from the bottom should be about 1/2” from the top edge of the hem allowance.
25) Hand sew the opening in the bottom of the hem shut using a blind stitch. Or leave it unsewed, if you want a secret little compartment in your hem :)
26) Have a cup of chamomile tea. You just made a really cool, double layer, reversible, Chamomile Crop!
I’m excited to announce another limited edition release of a really cool sewing tool! This time… it’s a Spool Stand created in collaboration with my friend, Nate.
Nate is a structural engineer with a natural knack for being good at designing things. He is also sewist, cyclist (he designed and sewed his own set of cycle touring bags), photographer, pickleball player, and a woodworker. He has an adorable shock of salt and pepper curly hair toppled on his head most days. My siblings and I met him through a mutual friend about 10 years ago. Now we go on lots of bike rides, eat lots of ice cream cones, and occasionally attempt triathlons together.
Nate says, “The idea for this spool stand developed while working on a project that required upholstery thread. Instead of going through many 150-yard spools I decided to make the jump to 1500-yard spools, which are only a few dollars more than the smaller spools. I didn’t have a spool stand, and after looking around I realized I could make my own out of scraps in my garage. I was able to combine two of my hobbies, woodworking and sewing.”
When I saw the spool stand he made for himself, I was so impressed and asked if we could do a collaboration to produce a limited edition run. We batted around a few design tweaks, and what he developed for the final product is so beautiful.
My favorite part of the Spool Stand is it’s designed to hold together without glue or nails! It just uses wooden pieces fitted together like tightly secured puzzle pieces. And it’s really strong! There’s no way to take it apart once it’s fitted — it’s all stuck together really solidly. We’ll explain how in the photos below.
Nate invited me to his woodwork shop to see the process of making the Spool Stands. I took my camera with, and Nate explained every step in the process as I snapped photos.
“To make them I start by cutting up oak boards into 7-inch lengths for a base. Then I cut up oak dowels into lengths for the thread guide, smaller oak dowels into short lengths for the spool holder, and even smaller oak dowels into 2.5-inch lengths for dowel pins. Oak hardwood looks really nice, has good durability, and is also easily sourced at my local lumber store, so it was a good choice for this project.”
“Next, I round one end of the dowels by using a roundover bit in my router table and drill two holes where the thread guide wire is going to go (inserted in one of the last steps). Then I lightly sand down the dowels to make sure they are smooth after drilling and rounding.”
“Next, I mark the center locations on the base where all the dowels are going to go. Using a slightly undersized bit for hole for the larger dowel and a right-size drill bit for the smaller dowel that acts as the spool holder, I use my drill press to neatly drill all the holes.”
“Using a rubber mallet to not dent or damage the dowels, I pound the dowels into their place on the base.”
“Then [this is the cool part] I drill holes into the side of the base through the two dowels and pound the smallest dowel pins into these holes. Now all the dowels are prevented from rotating or being pulled out of the base. This allows for a design that doesn’t need any glue, screws, or nails.”
Pretty cool, right?!
“After sanding and cleaning off the dust, I wipe the Spool Stand down with a Danish oil using a clean rag (I use a scrap of a t-shirt I have from making a t-shirt quilt). The Danish oil is a wood stain and sealer in one. It’s easy to apply, provides protection to the wood, and enhances the look. It’s fun to use a natural finish that slightly darkens the wood and brings out the personality of the woodgrain — this is where the unique characteristics of each Spool Stand really stands out.”
“Finally, I cut and bend some stainless-steel wire and install it through the holes I drilled previously in the larger dowel. The two 90-degree bends at the back of the dowel prevent the wire from rotating in the dowel. This wire material and size is perfect for this Spool Stand because of its ability to be shaped without kinking, its strength and durability, and its adjustability.”
And just like that, you have a beautiful spool stand that enables you to seamlessly (no pun intended haha) use larger spools of thread on your regular sewing machine!
I’m really excited to be releasing a very limited amount of these special handmade Spool Stands along with the Chamomile Crop on September 7th! They are sitting in my sewing room right now, waiting to be shipped out to their new homes. These are such beautiful pieces of workmanship and design. It’s a good piece of equipment to have in your sewing arsenal. I feel honored to have one sitting on my sewing table and to be able to provide a limited number to my customers!
This week I have the honor of appearing on the delightful While She Naps Podcast by Abby Glassenberg!
If you haven’t listened to Abby’s podcast before, you should give it a listen just so you can hear her lovely voice and thoughtful questioning style. Not only is her voice soothing and powerfully gentle, she has a way of putting people at ease and letting them really explain their thoughts while guiding them with insightful, perfectly timed questions. The way she draws out stories is like an artist at work. Asking questions well is a social art, and she does it masterfully. It was a joy to be on the receiving end of her questions for this interview.
We talk about some of my marketing strategies and how my business has taken off, how I left the world of academia and agriculture to pursue sewing and starting my own business, some pivotal moments in my career so far (some might surprise you!), and how things have grown and changed in the short time since starting.
I’d love for you to have a listen (and then get sucked in and listen to all her other episodes!).
Have you ever wanted to give away a digital product for free but didn’t know how to do it? Or have you ever wanted to start a newsletter list but weren’t sure how to get people to sign up? Through this exact method I’ve grown my email list to over 11K subscribers since starting Sarah Kristen. I love to serve my audience by providing free education and patterns, and setting up email automations for people to quickly and easily sign up and download my content has been one of the main ways I’ve grown my business.
Sound interesting? MailChimp is a great place to start because you can have a free account up to 2000 subscribers. (This isn’t sponsored, by the way.)
I’ve put together a tutorial of how you can set up a list and set up an automation so that as soon as someone subscribes, they will be sent your free download AND get on your email list. It’s a win-win.
So here’s how to do it.
First of all, sign up for an account.
Once logged in, click on the Audience button on the home dashboard to create a new list.
Set up all the details for your new list.
When your audience is created, hit the Create button in the top right corner.
Select the Email option.
Select the Automation option and select Welcome new subscribers.
Click on Edit Design to design what the email will look like and to upload your digital file.
Have a bunch of fun designing the email the way you want it to look. It’s pretty customizable — you can change the, font, size, color, background, etc. The design layout is pretty intuitive and easy to figure out. Just play around with it.
Somewhere in the email, insert a button where people can download your digital product. Select to link this to a File.
This takes you to where you can upload your digital file in link it to the email.
When your email is ready to go (you can send a test email to yourself to check layout, spelling, and the free download!), hit Start Sending!
And before you know it, you could be rolling in the subscribers! It’s fun to have a lot of subscibers because it’s kind of secret, only you know how many you have. It can feel like less pressure than social media where your numbers are open to the public.
But more importantly, this is the best way to communicate with people. It’s a step further than people scrolling past your post on Instagram; it’s you landing in their inbox! It’s a place of honor that requires them to really want to have you and keep you there. So they are likely to really listen to what you have to say!
If you want to just send one email when people sign up, that’s it! You’re done!
If you want to send ANOTHER email, and ANOTHER, and ANOTHER all automatically, here’s how to do it.
Go back to where you first clicked Edit Design (if you’ve already hit Start Sending, you can get back to this page by clicking Campaigns, then click Edit in the drop down menu where it says View Report).
Click Use advanced settings.
Click Use Advanced Settings.
And here is where some real magic can happen. You can add additional emails and choose when you you want them to send to new subscribers.
Add a new email and click Edit Trigger.
Set how long you would like to delay from one email to the next. And then don’t forget to hit Update Trigger.
I hope this tutorial is helpful to you for having a good way to deliver digital goods to people in the sewing community (and the world beyond) and to start or grow your email list.
I’m cheering for you!
If you’d like to see this in action, you can sign up here to get 101 Sewing Hashtags sent right to your inbox :)
Oh my, what a delight to wear my new memade swimsuit! Here’s a tutorial about how to make your own swimming suit pattern from a RTW swimming suit and how I made this one.
Last year I finally found a one piece swimming suit that I felt good in. I was walking through Walmart (probably in there buying thread or looking at their fantastic clearance fabric!) and saw it on sale for $9. I’ve wanted a swimsuit like this, so I snapped it up without trying it on. It happened to fit my body well, and I felt great in it (which, as far as swimsuits go, is kind of rare).
It became my go-to swimsuit. I wore it so much that the fabric is already worn out. Quite sad. You can see how stretched out it is in the photo.
So…. I decided to see if I could cut it up and make myself a new swimming suit with the same great fit.
Here’s how to do it:
1) Look at how the swimsuit is constructed. Remember how it’s sewn together so you can use the same sewing techniques (or different ones, if you have better ideas!) when you sew the new one together.
2) Cut the swimsuit along all the seams. This was easy in this case because it’s only two pieces! I debated whether to also take out the elastic along the arms, legs, and neck, but it was really difficult to get the stitching out, so I left it.
3) Fold the pieces in half and trace around them. Since I didn’t take out the elastic, I added about 1/4” - 1/2” length to the places that had elastic later.
4) Draw the folded edge using a ruler to make sure it is straight.
5) Add seam allowances. I decided to use a 1/2” seam allowance all around. (Here’s where I also added some extra length to places where there was elastic — the crotch and the shoulders.)
6) Cut out the new pattern pieces.
I bought this beautiful blue swimsuit fabric from Cloth Story (not sponsored). It’s smooth like silk yet thick and firm. It’s delicious! For some reason the idea of another blue swimsuit that matches the color of my eyes was appealing. Isn’t it nice to wear clothes that bring out your eye color? Plus, Maycie (the owner) has such cool branding. I love her fabric tags!
7) Cut out your swimsuit fabric. I decided to do a double layer, so I cut two of each pattern piece.
I sewed the crotch and the shoulders together in such a way that the seam allowance would be hidden within the double layer.
Then I measured the openings of the arms and legs and cut elastic that length minus 2” (depending on the stretchiness of your elastic you may want to cut more or less than that). I did the same thing for the neck opening, except I reduced the length of the elastic by 7” instead of 2” because of the greater length. I used 3/8” wide elastic.
I overlapped the ends of each elastic strip together and sewed them shut. Then I made sure the elastic was evenly distributed by clipping it in place along each opening (this is really important!) and serged it to the wrong side of the fabric.
Then I folded the elastic and the edge of the fabric it’s serged to over once and zigzag stitched along the folded edge with matching thread.
Sewing swimwear is quick and easy, I’ve discovered. The fabric is forgiving and quick and fun to sew. It’s also a bit slippery and hard to work with, ha, but fun. I didn’t have blue serger thread, so I just used white. But I think blue would look nice. Next time maybe I’ll buy matching thread so the insides will match, even if I’m the only one that sees them.
Now that I have the pattern, I can make another one next spring! And the next spring. And the next!
What do you think? Does this make you want to whip out your scissors and elastic right now? I hope so. It’s really a satisfying project.
Every maker knows sewing is messy business. And as creative people, it's sometimes fun to be in a messy environment! Ideas flow, new projects get jump started, plenty of sewing materials strewn about to choose from…
But when I notice I’m starting to avoid my sewing room, I have to face the fact that it simply needs a good cleaning and tiding up.
For most of us, productivity is highest when we are surrounded by general order and tidiness -- when the joyful messiness is contained to it's rightful place. A certain measure of tidiness is especially important for prolonged, sustained productivity.
The thing is, maintaining tidiness, and therefore productivity, is easier if you have some basic systems in place. I’d like to give you these 14 simple things you could be doing to make a big impact on your sewing space. Tips that make sewing more enjoyable, make you more productive, and make you a happier person!
These are things I’ve learned after sewing many years in a variety of situations (ranging from tiny shared spaces to large spaces specifically dedicated to sewing). Whether you have an entire room dedicated to sewing or just your kitchen table, I hope these tips can be helpful to you.
One of my goals this year is to spend more time making other people’s patterns. Self drafting is fulfilling and delightful to me, so I often find myself gravitating toward that instead of using patterns. But it’s so educational to use other people’s patterns! You learn new tips and tricks, and I love to see how different pattern makers draw illustrations and write instructions. Plus, you get the joy of supporting other pattern makers!
When Endearing Cloth told me she was releasing this pattern, she sent me a copy and I jumped into sewing right away! Her instructions and illustrations are beautiful and simple. They are easy to follow and result in a well finished garment. I feel honored to be the owner of this Ana Kimona!
Emily and I met on Instagram a few years ago when I messaged her and asked for tips on how to create such a beautiful feed (because her’s is so thoughtful and beautiful!). I was just starting out, had only a few followers, and really didn’t know what I was doing at all but trying to learn. She replied so kindly and gave me some pointers. We’ve been friends since! I’ve appreciated her friendship, encouragement, and support through the last few years.
Emily writes thoughtfully about slow living, the impact her grandmother has had on her life, her sewing journey, and other beautiful things. Not to mention she is an excellent seamstress! So, it was a real joy for me to sew up her first sewing pattern.
This fabric is a curtain that I got at a secondhand store last summer. It’s amazing how much good fabric you can find in the linen’s section at secondhand stores! It’s a double layered cotton and was perfect for this pattern because I think of Emily often when I see it sitting on my shelf. I used the existing hem for the bottom and one of the sides, and sort of absentmindedly happened to match up the stripes along the shoulders (I wasn't even thinking about it when I cut it out, but it just happened to be perfect).
The whole thing took me about an hour. One thing I really love about this pattern is that it’s paperless! She simply gives you the dimensions to cut the pieces and then shows you exactly how to sew them all together to create a professional finish. Printing and taping PDF’s together isn’t my favorite thing in the world, so I love that she doesn’t require her sewers to do that. I often feel more connected to a garment if I am more intimately connected to the creation process. Measuring and cutting out fabric instead of tracing around pattern pieces is one step closer to the rawness of a piece of clothing. It can feel like a special experience to partake in.
As soon as I finished and put it on, I had visions of romantic summer evenings — wearing it on walks down our gravel, country road during sunset, and putting it on after a warm shower on a summer evening, keeping the warmth contained while trodding up to my bedroom to put on cozy pajamas. I think I’m quite enthralled with the idea of summer right now… All my daydreams seem to be centered around lovely warm summer evening scenarios, ha! Summer is a wonderful time of year in Iowa.
Thanks for the lovely and simple pattern, Emily. This was a delight to sew, and I’m looking forward to wearing it not only in my daydreams but in reality this summer.
Spring seems to be blossoming outside and it's almost time to plant the garden. As spring makes its warmth permanent, I wanted to give you this PDF as a Spring-time reminder to treasure special moments.
Every evening here on the farm, an interesting event happens. Just as the sun begins to set, all of the little lambs begin to play. (In case you didn't know, in addition to sewing, I raise sheep!) It's as if they have an internal schedule that tells them it's time to play when the sun sets! They group into little lamb gangs and chase each other through the hills and dales as swiftly as their legs can go, leaping and jumping as they run. Then for a few moments they'll stop and pretend to head butt and wrestle with each other until one of them jets off down the hill and all come chasing after. It's quite a sight to see. It's a special moment.
I often feel conflicted about how to spend evenings - do I sew or do I spend time outside doing something less measurably (no pun intended haha) productive?
I think the lambs have the right idea. It's easy to feel pressure to always be creating, but I'd like to encourage you to seek balance and take a moment to remember why you sew in the first place.
Why do you sew? I sew because:
It satisfies my soul
It helps me express who I am by enabling me to create and wear exactly what I want
It helps me connect to special moments and to experience life more deeply
And when I analyze my 'why' I realize there is plenty of room for more than just sewing in my evenings. Take time to sew AND time to "play" during sunset.
On the bottom of this poster there are some prompts to help you step off the sewing treadmill and to reconnect with your 'why'.
This spring, let's spend some extra time wearing our memades outside in the warm sun, creating memories in the things we already have before we feel the pressure of creating something new.
Print this off, pin it to your wall near your sewing machine, and drink in all the joy life has to offer.
So thrilling to see people start blogging about the Raspberry Rucksack! Here are three beautiful blogs with posts about their Raspberry makes.
Sienna is a talented artist and sewist who brings a quality of work with everything she does. It was a real honor to have her test the pattern and she provided really valuable feedback. Aren’t her drawings lovely? Her blog is pretty amazing to have a look through.
Emily has such a beautifully thoughtful approach to sewing. Her thoughtfulness shows in her creations and photographs. I’m so happy we’ve had the opportunity to become friends through sewing in the last few years. She made this beautiful bag and did such a wonderful job on it. In her post she talks about how it was scary at first to start such a big project. I love her honesty because it can be so daunting to start something like a backpack if you’ve never done it before! It’s special to read her words and then to see how beautifully her Raspberry turned out. Such good work!
The Popup Pocket on the Raspberry Rucksack is fully lined and may be the most challenging part of the pattern to sew. So rest assured, if you can sew this, you can sew the rest! I’ve taken lots of photos and broken down each step to aid you in smoothly completing each phase of the Popup Pocket construction.
This tutorial is made specifically to accompany the Raspberry Rucksack, but the techniques are applicable for any bag you wish to add a lined popup pocket!
First, make sure you have all the pieces.
Top Pocket outer layer
Top Pocket lining
Bottom Pocket outer layer
Bottom Pocket lining
Single Pull Zip - 7” (17.8 cm) for the Little Raspberry or 9” (22.9 cm) for the Big Raspberry
Fold the Zipper Ends in half and press (you can either press with an iron or just firmly with your fingernail). Then fold both ends in toward the center.
Trim off the tails off your single pull pocket zipper (I’m using a cut-to-length zipper so mine doesn’t have tails). At this point, it’s very important to check if the length of your zipper is actually 7” (17.8 cm) for the Little or 9” (22.9 cm) for the Big with the tails cut off. Some zippers are slightly longer than that and will need to be trimmed. Be sure to use one of your not-so-nice scissors to trim the zipper, especially if using a metal zipper
Place the Zipper End directly against the beginning of the teeth and sew them in place. Be careful navigating your needle through the zipper teeth.
Once the Zipper Ends are sewn on, check again to make sure the length of the zipper is still the same.
Top of the Pocket
Place the zipper face down on the right side of the Top Pocket outer layer. Make sure the zipper is centered and has about 1/2” (1.3 cm) clearance on each side. Place the Top Pocket Lining right side down on top.
So just to be clear here, the outer layer and lining are right sides together, and the zipper is sandwiched in between facing the outer layer.
Sew the length of the seam through all layers with a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance.
Fold the lining back. Press the seam allowance toward the lining and edge stitch through all layers.
Fold each of the four corners right sides together and mark with a fabric pen where the width across is 1 1/2” (3.8 cm). Sew along the line you marked on all four corners.
It should look something like this with all the corners sewn.
Fold both the outer layer corners toward the center of the long side. Edge stitch both of the outer layer corners along the seam.
Trim all four corner’s seam allowances to 1/4” (6 mm).
Fold the whole piece in half with right sides together so that the corners you just sewed are aligned. Here are some photos of what it looks like from different angles.
With the corners aligned, flatten out the folded bottom edge (this is the zipper flap that will cover the zipper when turned right side out) with your fingers. Sew up the sides leaving a 3” (7.6 cm) gap in the middle. Use a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance.
It should look something like this.
Tip: When leaving openings where something will be turned right side out, turn a corner and sew the the edge of the seam allowance. This makes for easier turning with less stress on the fabric.
Turn the piece inside out through the opening. Shape it to look like this with the zipper flap cover the zipper. Give it a good press with an iron. Neatly press in the seam allowances of the opening. Those will be sewn shut when the Popup Pocket is attached to the front of the rucksack.
After shaping it and giving it a good press, stitch along the top of the zipper from outer layer side of the piece.
To do this, I move my needle to the far left side of the foot (not all machines have this option - a zipper foot would work well if your machine isn’t able to change the position of the needle). I place the left edge of the foot right along side the zipper (you can just make out the bump under the fabric in the photos) and stitch along the whole length of the piece going slow and steady.
Here’s a view of the outside and inside of the stitching. You can see from the inside that it just barely catches the edge of the lining. Thankfully no one sees this so it doesn’t have to line up perfectly in the inside. For this stitch it matters more what the outside looks like.
The top of the Popup Pocket is done!
Bottom of the Pocket
Fold the zipper flap up (by the way, the ends of those Zipper Ends can be trimmed off at any point).
Place the whole top pocket piece you just sewed face down on the right side of the Bottom Pocket outer layer. Make sure that zipper flap is folded back so you don’t stitch through it.
Place the Bottom Pocket lining right side down on top.
So to clarify, the lining and the outer layer are right sides together, and the zipper of the top pocket piece is sandwiched in between the two facing the outer layer.
Sew the whole length of the seam through all layers with a 3'/8” (1 cm) seam allowance.
Just like the top pocket pieces, fold all four corners with right sides together. Mark where they are 1 1/2” (3.8 cm) wide and stitch along the line.
It should look something like this.
Again, fold both outer layer corners toward the center of the long side and edge stitch along the seam.
Then trim all four corner seam allowances to 1/4” (6 mm).
Fold the whole piece in half so that the corners of the lining and outer layer you just sewed are aligned.
With the corners aligned, sew up the sides with a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance and leave a 3” (7.6 cm) opening in the top for turning the piece right side out.
Trim both bottom corners like so and turn the piece right side out.
Shape it with your hands so it takes the shape of a box and give all the edges a good press with an iron.
Fold the zipper flap back and edge stitch along the seam.
Popup Pocket is DONE!
All the pattern pieces of the Raspberry Rucksack are simple rectangles! Here’s what you need to make the pattern pieces.
Firstly, it’s nice to have sturdy paper so the pattern pieces are durable and can be used multiple times. I like to use this brown packaging paper you can find at Joann’s or Walmart or other basic stores. Another good option is freezer paper or any paper that is large enough for the pattern pieces.
Secondly, use a ruler that has a true 90 degree angle. You don’t need to have one of these fiberglass quilter’s rulers, you can use a simple straight edge ruler combined with a piece of typing paper or a book. It’s just helpful to have something that you can use to check if your angles are exactly 90 degrees.
Thirdly, you’ll need a pen and paper cutting scissors.
Starting on a straight edge of whatever paper you are using, make a line perfectly perpendicular to the paper’s straight edge. Once you have one straight line horizontally (the papers edge) and vertically (the line you just drew), you can base all of your measurements off of these two lines.
Using the measurements provided in the pattern and these two lines, cut out all the pattern pieces.
Once all the paper pattern pieces are cut, you can trace them out on your fabric. Trace around one pattern piece and then lay another piece right next to it so they can share the same line. Less marking, less cutting, less fabric!
You can also be strategic about cutting out the fabric pieces. You can lay the lining and outer layer on top of each other and cut both pieces at the same time. Just be sure to check that both pieces have their grainlines going the same direction. You can get away with cutting two layers stacked on top of each other like this, especially if the lining is a thin material like quilting cotton. I wouldn’t recommend also trying to stack interfacing on however. Cut the interfacing separately.
Once all your pattern pieces are cut you can move on to sewing!
The Raspberry Rucksack pattern is due to arrive March 6th! I’m so excited to release this pattern, and I wanted to give you a head start on the supplies needed. This pattern comes in two sizes, Little and Big. Here is the supply list for each.
½ yard (0.5 m) - outer layer
½ yard (0.5 m) - lining
1 yard (1 m) - interfacing
3 ½ yards (3.2 m) cotton webbing 1” (2.5 cm) wide
2 rectangle D rings for 1” (2.5 cm) webbing
2 slide adjusters (non-adjustable) for 1” (2.5 cm) webbing
7” (18 cm) single pull zipper
22” (56 cm) double pull bag zipper
40” (1 m) double fold bias tape 1/2” (12.7mm)
¾ yard (0.75 m) - outer layer
¾ yard (0.75 m) - lining
1 ½ yard (1.5 m) -interfacing
3 ½ yards (3.2 m) cotton webbing 1” (2.5 cm) wide
2 rectangle D rings for 1” (2.5 cm) webbing
2 slide adjusters (non-adjustable) for 1” (2.5 cm) webbing
9” (23 cm) single pull zipper
32” (81 cm) double pull bag zipper
1 ½ yards (1.4 m) double fold bias tape 1/2” (12.7mm)
The outer layer should be a heavyweight fabric such as cotton canvas, waxed cotton canvas, heavyweight denim or corduroy, or upholstery fabric.
This bright yellow is 10 oz duck canvas from Joann’s Fabric and Craft.
Using simple quilting cotton works well for the lining. You can use any woven fabric as long as it’s fairly lightweight and brings you joy! It’s nice to use a bright fabric on the inside of bags so it’s easier to find things and it’s like sunshine whenever you peak inside.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the interfacing department. Don’t over think it. Just choose something medium to thick in stiffness. You want something that has a stiffness similar to thick, nice paper (like card stock) but not something that feels like cardboard. This pattern requires sewing through many layers at one time, so you don’t want to overwhelm your machine with too thick of interfacing.
If you’re using waxed canvas or another stiff outer layer, interfacing may not be needed.
It’s nice to use thick webbing for this pattern because it gives the bag a really durable and sturdy feel. Pick your favorite color of 1” (2.5 cm) webbing and make sure it’s the same size as the hardware you’re getting! I like to use cotton webbing because of the nice feel, but you can use nylon or other webbing.
Two rectangle D rings and two (non-adjustable) slide adjusters. You can find these in a bunch of styles and colors and materials. Have fun picking something that matches your fabric and is the right size for your webbing.
Last and not least, zippers! You need two zippers - a single pull zip for the front popup pocket, and a double pull bag zip for the main compartment. You can use any style of zipper you would like - metal, molded plastic, or coil. This pattern was drafted for a zipper that is 1 1/4” wide (a common zipper width - if you’re ordering online, #5 is the gauge you want to go with.)
Here are some things to know about zippers:
The length of the zipper is defined by the length of the zipper teeth, not the length of the total zipper including the tails on the ends. So if you’re using a cut-to-length zipper, you will want to add an additional 1/2” or 3/4” to each end for some extra breathing room on the double pull bag zip. For the pocket zip, it needs to be exactly 7” (Little) or 9” (Big) and the tails actually get cut off anyway, so you don’t have to worry about adding extra.
It can be somewhat difficult to locate double pull bag zips. Surprisingly difficult actually. Jacket zips are much more common. The good news is that many jacket zips can be turned into bag zips. Let me show you how.
Here is a visual of the difference between bag zips and jacket zips. Bag zips are open in the middle and are closed on the sides (just think of how a duffle bag zips!). A jacket zip is open on the sides and is closed in the middle.
Not all zippers can be changed like this - but molded plastic can! If you have a jacket zip you want to change to a bag zip, simply zip one of the zipper pulls right off the end (you may have to cut the end of the zipper). Then turn the zipper around so you’re holding the open teeth on the other end. Turn the zipper pull around so the wide end is facing the open teeth. Insert each side of the teeth into the wide end of the zipper pull and then slide it on. Be sure to check if the teeth are lined up properly. Sometimes one end gets longer or shorter than the other. Simply take the zipper pull off and reinstall if the teeth aren’t even on the first try.
One more note about zippers. You see how the red zip on the left is 1 1/2” wide and the orange zip on the right is 1 1/4” wide? That has to do with their gauge. See how much larger the teeth are on the red zipper? Online you often see zippers advertised by a number. Something like “Lime green coil zipper #7.”
The red zipper on the left is #10 molded plastic and the orange zipper is #5 molded plastic. For this pattern, #5 is what you want.
Most longish zippers you find in the stores are #5, so I don’t worry too much if you’re shopping local. But if you’re ordering online the numbers can be confusing so bare that #5 in mind.
If you like this orange molded plastic zipper in all these photos, I am going to be offering it for sale when I release the Raspberry Rucksack Pattern!
Here’s another online zip resource with a wide variety of good options and an easy ordering process: Zipper Source.
Bias tape is used to bind the raw edges of the very last seam in the Raspberry Rucksack. You can either make your own out of your lining material, or you can buy double fold 1/2” (12.7 mm) bias tape in a matching or contrasting color! The seam it’s going on has a seam allowance of 3/8” (1 cm. If you’re making your own, the strip should be 1 1/2” (3.8 cm) wide.
You’re well on your way to having your own Raspberry Rucksack! More posts in the sew along series will be trickling on in the next few days as I get ready to launch. Release date is March 6th!
The fantastic Sophie of Ada Spragg posted in her Instagram stories last year about using two threads as an alternative to top stitching thread. I’ve employed the trick on a few pairs of pants since and have been delighted with the results.
Simply thread the machine as normal and put both threads through the needle. If you don’t have two spools of the same color thread, you can wind two bobbins and use one of them in place of the second spool.
Play around with the tension and stitch length on some scrap fabric until the stitches are just right.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to sew a Flat Felled Seam and a Double Lapped Seam. Both of these seams are commonly used on jeans and other heavy fabrics.
Flat Felled Seams
1) Sew fabric with wrong sides together using a 5/8” seam allowance.
2) Press open seam.
3) Trim one side of the seam allowance to 1/4”.
4) Fold the seam allowance of the longer side in so the two raw edges meet in the middle (or fold the long side over the short side and overlap the raw edges). Press.
6) With the longer seam allowance folded in, fold the flap over so the raw edges are tucked away. Press.
7) Edge stitch 1/8” from the folded edge.
Here’s a view of the right side and wrong side.
Double Lapped Seams
1) With both pieces of fabric right sides up, overlap the edges 1/2”. (Obviously, depending on your preference, you can use a wider or narrower seam allowance than shown here.)
2) Making an ‘S’ shape, fold the seam over so both raw edges are tucked inside. Press.
4) From the right side of the fabric, edge stitch 1/8” from the folded edge.
5) From the right side of the fabric, sew a second line of stitching 1/2” away from the first line of stitching (or whatever width you choose to overlap the fabrics in the first step) so it just catches the edge of the fold on the wrong side of the fabric.
Here’s a view of the right side and wrong side.
Pros and Cons
Flat Felled Pros:
Easy to get a consistent seam allowance in the initial step.
Only takes 2 lines of stitching per seam.
Double Lapped Pros:
The seam lays flat because each row of edge stitching is going through the same amount of layers.
Easy to edge stitch and keep the ‘S’ fold managed while sewing for consistent results.
Can use a smaller seam allowance than Flat Felled seams.
Flat Felled Cons:
Somewhat challenging to make sure the raw edge of the longer seam allowance stays tucked in and gets sewn down in the edge stitching.
The seam looks a little bubbled in thicker fabrics because the first line of stitching is only through 2 layers and the second line is through 3 layers.
Requires an extra step of seam allowance trimming.
Requires at least a 5/8” seam allowance.
Double Lapped Cons:
Somewhat challenging to get a really consistent overlapping seam allowance width in the initial step - although marking a line with chalk or a fabric pen greatly helps.
Requires 3 lines of stitching per seam.
Ever since sewing my orange Persephone Pants, I’ve wanted to make a bright orange jean jacket. If you’re wanting to make a jean jacket too, here are 8 pattern ideas and some color block denim inspo at the end.
Both the titles and photos have active links to where you purchase each pattern and read more about them.
There are lots more great photos of this jacket on the Instagram hashtag #hamptionjeanjacket
This is a unisex pattern!
7) Women's Jean Jacket McCall's M4385 - (Appears to be out of print but still available through Ebay and Etsy.)
Since first conceiving of the idea to make a bright orange jacket, I’ve collected more denim jacket inspo. Here are some favorites. To see more, I have a whole Pinterest board!