How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants

luna drawstring tutorial

One of my favorite things to add to the Luna Pants pattern is a drawstring, so I’m sharing a tutorial here to walk you through adding your own! This is part of the Luna Pantsalong; here’s a list of all the previous posts:

Let’s have a Luna Pantsalong!
Luna Pantsalong: Inspiration
Luna Pantsalong: Planning
Luna Pantsalong Day 1: Measure, Print, Tape, and Trace
Luna Pantsalong Day 2: Make a Muslin
Luna Pantsalong Day 3: Cutting
Luna Pantsalong Day 4: Steps 1-4
Luna Pantsalong Day 5: Steps 5-9
(you can find the Luna Pants sewing pattern here if you need it)

Now for the drawstring: it’s so easy! Here’s a quick how-to:

Step 1: After attaching the waistband in Step 5 of the pattern, I press a small 1″ by 1.5″ rectangle of fusible interfacing directly over the front center seam on the inside of the pants, just below the waistband seam.

Sidenote: I used fusible interfacing to stabilize my waistband facings for this pair of pants, since the fabric (Loominous by Anna Maria Horner) has a very loose weave.

How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants / made by rae

Step 2: Mark and sew two buttonholes on either side of the center seam. I used 3/4″ wide twill tape for my drawstrings, so I made the buttonholes 3/4″ tall.

How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants / made by rae

Step 3: Stitch down the ends of two 20″ lengths of twill tape (or whatever you are using for your drawstring) at each side seam, just below the waistband seam. You can adjust the length of your drawstrings to whatever length you would like; I find 20″ works for me (I wear a size M/L).

This method places the drawstring through just the front half of the waistband, with elastic through the entire waistband. I prefer this because when it’s tied in the front, I can still pull the pants on and off easily. If you’d prefer a full drawstring, just use one long length of drawstring (60″ would probably work for most waists) and stitch it down at the back center seam instead.

How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants / made by rae

Step 4: Thread the ends of the drawstring through the buttonhole openings, being careful not to twist them.

How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants / made by rae

Step 5: Press the waistband back down into the pants, over the drawstring and pin and stitch it in place (this is Step 6 of the sewing instructions), leaving an opening in the back for the elastic just as you would if you were making the pants without a drawstring.

How to add a drawstring to Luna Pants / made by rae

Step 6: Once you’ve threaded the elastic through the waistband and closed the opening in the back, try the pants on and check the length of the drawstrings. Shorten them at this point if you would like. Then fold under and stitch the ends of the drawstrings to prevent them from fraying at the ends.

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Voila! Luna Pants with a drawstring!

Don’t forget to snap a photo of your pants when you wear them and email it to me, or tag them on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter with #lunapantsalong or #lunapantspattern; it also helps to tag me (@madebyrae) so I’ll see them!

How to make a Beatrix View A with the View B button placket

beatrix how to view a+b
One of my favorite ways to make the Beatrix Top is actually a pattern hack. You may recall that the pattern includes a View A (which I like to call the “shirttail version”) and a View B (which we call the “banded version”).

It’s super duper easy to create this hybrid of the two views, and the Original Beatrix and Let’s have a (Beatrix) party tops are both examples of this. In fact we almost included this version in the pattern but decided against it because a) the pattern instructions were already getting pretty long with the two views and we were behind deadline, and b) it’s just so easy to show with a photo tutorial, so we decided to go with the tutorial. Which I then delegated. TO JESS. Heh. So, in this post, Jess will show you how to make Beatrix with the shirttail hem and sleeves from View A, plus a contrasting button placket borrowed from View B, like this:
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Hi folks! Jess here. I was making this Beatrix anyway, so I made myself useful and took some photos in the process! Here goes.

First, cut out and prepare your pattern pieces. Follow the cutting instructions for View A (page 6) with ONE EXCEPTION: cut your Back Bodice pieces along the vertical “Cut here for banded bodice (View B)” line.

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Also cut two Button Plackets out of a contrast fabric (these are the only View B pieces you’ll need). Transfer markings as instructed for View A (page 6), and attach interfacing to Front Facing and Back Facings (page 8). Now fold and press Button Plackets, then attach interfacing (page 8).

Here’s what you should have:

  • one front bodice (darts marked)
  • two back bodices cut on the View B line, and two button plackets (folded, pressed, and interfaced)
  • front and back facings (with interfacing)
  • two sleeves (short sleeves pictured, marked Left and Right with fold line marked)

Beatrix tute 1

Beatrix tute 2

Now, sew button plackets to back bodice pieces: With raw edges at center back and right sides facing, pin each button placket to its corresponding back bodice (if your fabric has a directional print, make sure it’s pointing the right way up). Sew button plackets to back bodices with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Press seam allowances away from the bodice, toward the plackets:
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Proceed as for View A. From here, you get to follow all of the directions exactly as written for View A, starting with Step 1 on page 9. Here are some photos for reference:

In Step 9, fold the button placket to the right side and stitch down 1/4″ from the top along the folded portion:
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Stitch along the bottom of the folded portion and all the way around the curved hem with a 1/2″ seam allowance:

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Attach facings using a 1/4″ seam allowance:
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Step 11: Pin “in the ditch” from the right side, catching the folded edge of the placket on the inside of the garment. I use fabric clips to hold my curved hem in place (and I forgot to take a picture before I sewed the hem, whoops!)
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Note the directions of the pins: you’ll be sewing DOWN the left side of the back and UP the right side, so pin accordingly.
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Here’s that finished seam at the top and bottom:
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Now all you have to do is add buttonholes, sew on buttons (see page 20 for Very Detailed Instructions), and put your top on!

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

I LOVE my new Beatrix! I made this top out of Chambray Union in Indigo (our sponsor, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, has it in stock), with a Palos Verdes Voile button band. And those are vintage carved flower buttons made out of shell, so they’re shiny and a little hard to photograph (here’s a close-up) … but oh so pretty!

Bust Dart Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart

Jess is here today to show you how to adjust the length of a bust dart if it’s too long or too short. When we put together a (pretty comprehensive, I might add) list of common pattern adjustment tutorials for the Beatrixalong Muslin post (day 2), we couldn’t find one showing how to lengthen or shorten a dart. Whaaat. Anyway, Jess has had to do this adjustment on her Beatrixes, so she took a few pics to show you just how easy it is. Here’s Jess:

This is the easiest bust dart adjustment EVER! In these photos, I’m wearing my Beatrix muslin with dots representing where the dart ended before the adjustment (closer to the middle) and after the adjustment (closer to the sides).

With the darts sewn as they were in the pattern, they ended pretty much exactly on the bust apex.

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The darts are at a good height, and the size is right, though, so the only thing I wanted to do was shorten the dart by an inch. Generally, you want the dart to point in the direction of your bust apex, but ending 1/2″ – 1″ short of the apex. (Rae adds: typically the 1″ is for bigger busts, 1/2″ for smaller busts)

dart adjustment

Here’s the Front Bodice pattern piece from Beatrix, traced in my size. All I had to do was make a new point on the dart’s center line one inch away from the original point, then re-draw the dart legs using a straight edge, and starting at the same points on the side so they’re the same length and they don’t change the side seam.

dart shorten

If you need to lengthen the dart, simply extend the center line by the amount you need, and re-draw the dart legs exactly the same way.

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See how easy? For additional pattern modifications, be sure to check out our awesome list of links in this post. You can find all of the Beatrixalong posts by clicking here.

Beach Goddess Maxi + tutorial

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So I made myself a new maxi dress for the beach! It makes me feel super glamorous. It’s made out of flowy cotton rayon which also makes it incredibly comfortable. The other great thing about this dress is that I made it with just one 1.5-yard piece of 54″ wide fabric. AND it was super quick to make, which is just the right speed for me these days; it’s gotta be fast otherwise it just won’t happen.

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The basic idea is that you cut the fabric into two rectangles, sew the sides together, leaving the bottom 18″ unsewn for slits, sew with elastic thread in a big spiral around the top portion (shirring tutorial here), and then finish the hem and slits. The only thing that’s a bit time consuming is the shirring; you go through about four bobbins worth of elastic thread, so that requires some serious concentration because sewing around and around a tube of fabric a bajillion times is not the most mentally stimulating activity. I should have put on some TV. I just finished binge-watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, which is so good and awful at the same time. It was like watching a wreck happen, I just couldn’t look away. If you do not like violence do not ever watch that show. It’s downright horrifying. And addicting. But awesome. Anyhoo.

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I’ve mentioned before that this cotton rayon challis is one of my favorite fabrics of all time. Pink Castle has a few of the Free Spirit rayons in stock, including this one, and I found a few at Pink Chalk too (both of these shops sponsor my blog). In addition to being really comfortable to wear, the cotton rayons also cinch up like a dream when you do the elastic shirring.

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I sketched out some basic instructions just in case you wanted to make one yourself; I’m pretty sure that this would fit just about anyone, but if you’re pretty small (XS or S) you might want to narrow the pieces by a few inches so that it doesn’t just slide right off of you. I’m wearing a women’s size large these days and it fits perfectly.

And my handy-dandy tutorial for elastic shirring can be found here:

shirring with elastic thread

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Sewing for baby: knit baby leggings

made by rae just hatched leggings

I love to make baby pants and leggings. I always have so many cute baby onesies hanging around that making tops seems fairly pointless, but pants? Leggings?? Bring it on. So far I’ve made these and these, and now…there’s more. From knits this time. Hopefully these will fit when Baby Boy is newly hatched:

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Oh yes and the adorable kitty pants were from the same pattern, just with a drawstring made of a strip of jersey:

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Someone needs to stage an intervention.

It all started innocently enough…I just thought I’d try to chop the feet off of the free pattern in my Baby Tights Tutorial. That worked great for this little navy striped pair, which are made of rib knit:

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Super cute right? But then when Tashina was cutting out another pair here at the studio, she accidentally put the fold down the center of the pant instead of along the leg, and it was just as cute. So we tweaked the shape a little, added a cuff, and we had a new pattern!

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And then we made a free pattern (link below) just in case YOU want to make a pair! Or twenty!

I’m calling these the Just Hatched Leggings, though I suspect that they will fit more like pants in the very beginning. If you add a cuff they might even fit 3-6 months? Who knows? You’ll just have to give it a try. Here’s how to make them!

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Sewing for baby: Nursing Pillow Cover Tutorial

This nursing pillow cover is a fun and quick sewing project for one of the most useful things I ever had around when my babies were born: the nursing pillow. I kept not one but two of these pillows around because it was nice to have access to one wherever I was in the house, and they were great for propping up the baby for a moment while I folded a load of laundry or ate a bowl of cereal.

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In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to trace a nursing pillow cover you already own to make a new one, or you can download and print out my free pattern out at home and use that instead. This cover was made with a lovely cotton designed by Sarah Jane from her “Wee Wander” line for Michael Miller and it’s perfect for my spring baby! You could also try flannel or fleece for the colder months. And remember: if you make at least two, you’ll always have a backup when the other one is in the wash!

This post is part of the Wee Wander blog tour hosted by my friend Sarah Jane, the designer of the Wee Wander fabric shown in this post. For more fun tutorials using the Wee Wander fabric line, check out the rest of the tour! Just a note: I received the fabric for this pillow for free, but I did not receive any additional compensation for this post, just happy to play along!!

You will need:
1 1/2 yards of 44″ width fabric
22″ inch zipper

Step 1: Cut out the pieces
Print out my free Nursing Pillow Cover Pattern (click to download and print at 100%, then tape together and cut out the pattern pieces). Fold your fabric in half with the selvages together and cut out one of each piece on the fold: UPPER BACK, LOWER BACK. Then tape the pattern pieces together along the dashed line and cut out one FRONT on the fold.

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Don’t want to bother with the printer? Have a nursing pillow that is older or a slightly different brand or shape? Make your own pattern! Here’s how:

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Fold your nursing pillow cover in half and trace around the outside with a pen or pencil. Use a ruler to make the folded edge perfectly straight. Now add 1/2″ to the curved edges only for a seam allowance.

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Cut out the FRONT of the pillow first (top two pics). Now take a ruler and cut straight across the upper part of the pattern piece. Now cut out an UPPER BACK and LOWER BACK, but add 1/2″ to both of the cut edges of the pattern pieces for the zipper seam allowance.

Step 2: Attach two back pieces together
Pin the UPPER BACK and LOWER BACK pieces together along the straight edge with their right sides together. Place the zipper over them and mark where the zipper begins and ends (you want the metal parts of the zipper, not the ends of the zipper tape).

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SEW the two pieces together between the ends of the pillow and the zipper marks, but BASTE between the two zipper marks as shown. Be sure to stitch back and forth at the zipper marks a few times to secure the stitches. Press the seam allowances apart.

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Step 3: Attach the zipper
Place the zipper face down over the seam allowances as shown and pin in place.

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Sew the zipper to the cover using a zipper foot as shown. I like to sew right down the middle of the zipper tape (you may need to put the needle down, lift the presser foot, and move the zipper head if it gets in the way), across the ends (be careful not to sew over the metal parts of the zipper!!!!), and back up the other side.

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Use a seam ripper to pull out the basting stitches, then open the zipper a few inches (IMPORTANT! DO NOT FORGET TO OPEN THE ZIPPER!)

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Step 4: Sew FRONT and BACK together
Pin front and back together with right sides facing. Sew around the entire outside edge of the pillow with a 1/2″ seam.

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Finish the seams with a pinking shears or serger, turn right-side out through the zipper opening, and put it on your nursing pillow!

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Ta-da!! Wasn’t that fun?

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For more fun tutorials using the Wee Wander fabric line, check out the rest of the Wee Wander blog tour! You can also find more baby tutorials over on my tutorial page. Thanks for inviting me to participate, Sarah!!!

Upcycled Parsley Pants

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One of the reasons I designed the Parsley Pants the way I did (as a 2-pc pant) was so that I could whip out pairs for my kids in no time flat. Seems the other patterns I had for pants often involved zip flies, recessed pockets, multi-pieced waistbands, or some sort of extra finishing at the cuffs or hems, and while I love those pant patterns too, they just aren’t FAST. You know? I wanted something like the Flashback Tee (another new striped Flashback for Clementine is shown below) something that could come together in an hour without too much hassle. And thus the Parsley Pant pattern was born.

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But…there’s something that makes them even faster: upcycling old adult pants for the fabric. Because then…NO HEMMING!!! So last week I cut apart two pairs of JCrew chinos in pastel colors that I used to wear back in the 00’s and turned them into pants for Clementine. The addition of the pouch pockets was the only thing that kept these from being a half hour project, seriously. And they are not only adorable, but she wears them. DOUBLE YAY!

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Here are a few tips for upcycling old pairs of pants into Parsleys:

  • use old pants that aren’t too worn out; the fabric needs to be in good shape. You can cut around (or cover up) stains, but make sure the fabric isn’t threadbare at the knees or anything. You want these pants to stand up in their second life as kid’s pants!
  • I usually only use old pants that still have their cuffs or hems in good shape, so that the old hems can become new hems.
  • To harvest the old pant fabric, cut up the inner leg seams (inseams) with a scissors, then up the crotch seams in front and back, then across the sides of the pants below the waistband as shown in the diagram below. Usually there’s not much salvageable fabric in the waistband, zipper area and pockets, so I just cut those away. DO NOT CUT THE SIDE SEAMS OPEN! LEAVE THE HEMS INTACT!

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  • Then lay your pant fabric flat (as flat as you can; some women’s pants have shaping at the hip on the side seam) and place your Parsley pattern over top of the fabric with the original pant hems even with the line on the pattern that says “finished hem line,” and the side seam of the original pant as close to the “tuxedo stripe line” as possible (see diagram below; the lower layer in the diagram is the old pant leg opened up and laid flat). Cut out two mirror image pant pieces, then assemble them according to the instructions.

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  • You can still add pockets, tuxedo stripes, pintucks, a flat front, or any of the other “extras” that come with the pattern. The main difference here is that you don’t have to hem them, because your hems are already finished!
  • Additionally, the old side seam makes it look like you’ve put in extra work when you haven’t. NICE.

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The big win here for me was the addition of two new quick and cheap pairs of pants to Clementine’s wardrobe (and the tee was quick too!). Love it!

How-To: Square Floor Cushion

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Ever wonder what to do with all the scraps you accumulate when you sew all the time? Why not make a floor cushion? Using scraps makes them heavier and more substantial than if you fill them with stuffing or poly-fill. I always feel guilty throwing fabric away, but I’m not the sort of person who saves every little scrap for a future project. As much as I would love to use all those wonderful little scraps, I have to be realistic. Is it really going to happen? And if so, WHEN? Most of the scraps I produce (especially from garment fabrics, like knits and rayon) don’t really have any potential for reuse.

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So I recently took a yard of velveteen (this one is from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study velveteens), some piping, and a whole bunch of scraps, and made this little floor cushion for the kids. They love it!

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I should mention that the original concept for this cushion came from an adorable round floor cushion made by my friend Emily; which she made using a tutorial from Living With Punks (warning: copious amounts of pop-up ads at that link). That version also uses just a yard of fabric, and adds some cute handles on the side to boot!

Here’s a quick how-to for my (square) version:

Materials

  • 1 yard of fabric, either 44″ or 54″ wide
  • 4 yards of home decor piping (or make your own with a bag of 6/32″ piping, some 1.25″ wide bias strips, and my piping tutorial)
  • UPDATED: 1.5″ wide is better

  • Bag o’ scraps

Step 1: Take a yard of fabric and cut it into two 18″ squares for the top/bottom of the cushion, and two 12″ wide by 36″ tall strips for the sides. Note that the print of your fabric will run sideways if you use a one-directional print, so you might want to find a non-directional one.

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This diagram above shows how you would cut a yard of fabric to get the pieces you need; the part with the red X is not used.

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Step 2: Trim the corners of your squares (but NOT the side strips) so that they are curved. You might want to use a small juice glass to help you draw the curve first.

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Step 3: Sew your piping around the edges of the top and bottom squares, keeping the edges of the piping even with the edge of the squares, sewing as close to the piping cord as you possibly can (a zipper foot and adjusting needle position to the left may help), and overlapping the ends of the piping when you get back to where you started. To overlap the ends, unpick the stitches in the piping and trim away the cord for the last inch or so on one end, so that you have a little piece of fabric to fold over the other end.

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Step 4: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Clip into the seam allowance of your piping around the corners of the squares.

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Step 5: Sew the short ends of your two side strips together with a 3/8″ seam, leaving a 4-5″ hole in one side so you can stuff your cushion later. We’ll call this piece the “side loop” from here on out.

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Step 6: Pin the top square to the side loop with right sides and raw edges together. It helps to pin the end seams at the corners first, then find the middle of the sides and pin those at the other two corners, then ease in the rest of the edges as you pin them together. Now sew the top and side loop together, with the top square facing up, so you can use the piping stitches as your guide (just sew right over them). Then repeat this for the bottom square and the other end of the side loop.

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Step 7: Turn your cushion right side out (through the hole) and START STUFFIN BABY.

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Here’s my bag o’ scraps. I keep one trash can in my sewing room for “fabric trash.” I almost have enough already for another cushion!!!

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Step 8: Once your cushion is full, hand-stitch the opening shut with buttonhole or topstitching thread. Basically, a stronger thread will be more likely to hold up over time. You can also try doubling up machine thread, but make your stitches smaller so that your seam is extra strong.

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Voila! Beautiful cushion!!!

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Ruby Dress Yoke Lining Video Tutorials

I promised I’d show you how to line the yoke on the Ruby Dress and Top, so I made you guys another handy dandy series of video tutorials to guide you in the process (the Washi Dress also has a video series on lining the bodice that you can view right here).

I’d probably recommend if you’re new to sewing that you try the pattern the way it is first, before attempting this method. But honestly even if you’re an ambitious beginner you shouldn’t have much trouble with it. The only issue I really see here is that the dress is MUCH easier to alter, fit-wise, if you sew it together the way the instructions show. So it’s smarter to have made at least a test version or muslin first before going this route.

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READ THIS before you watch:
One thing that is not mentioned in the video but is pretty important: I really recommend that you add an extra 1/4″ to the neck and armhole edges of the yoke pieces (all of them) when you cut them out to allow for the seam allowance needed with this technique. It’s not shown in the video (and actually, it was one of those things I realized *as* I was making the video, ahem, which resulted in a finished dress that’s an eensy bit too tight), but it’s a good idea so go ahead and do that, OK?

What about a full lining?
I show how to bind the lower part of the armhole with bias tape here, but you could just as easily line the lower part of the dress as well and make it fully lined. To do this, cut an extra front/back dress (I’d cut them 1″ shorter for the linings so they won’t show at all at the bottom), add 1/4″ extra seam allowance at all of the the armhole curves, sew the side seams separately for dress and lining, then sew dress and lining together along the armhole curves with right sides facing. Then clip and turn right side out; you’ll get a very nice armhole finish and then you can gather it and attach it to the (lined) yoke. Fully lined Ruby? Hot-cha-cha!! You are on FI. YAH.

OK! Ready to watch? Here you go!

Ruby Yoke Lining – Part I (7.5 min)

Intro, sewing neck and first armhole

Ruby Yoke Lining – Part II (9.5 min)

Sewing second armhole, finishing lower armholes with bias tape

Ruby Yoke Lining – Part III (7.5 min)

Attaching the yoke to the lower part of the dress

Ruby Yoke Lining – Part IV (40 sec)

Final look after hand-sewing. Yeah, yeah…I accidentally shot that clip with the camera sideways…heh.

I hope you’ll find these useful as you sew up your very own Ruby Dresses!

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