Sewing patterns online

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions on where to buy patterns here in Manila/Philippines.  Unfortunately, there really aren’t any stores/shops that carry the actual paper patterns (which are so much fun and so exciting to open).

A good alternative though if you’re keen on getting new designs is to purchase online through Sewingpatterns.com.  You just have to create a user name and log-in and you can purchase using your credit card.  My experience has been pretty good (no shipping required obviously), although you will need to keep the following things in mind:

  1. Make sure you test print that you’re printing to scale.  There will be a test page and you have to make sure that the size you’re printing is accurate or the whole pattern will be totally ruined.
  2. You will need to have LOTS of paper and tape on hand and a BIG space to put everything together.  My entire living room floor gets filled up when I’m taping the printed pattern together before cutting it out!  Turn off your electric/ceiling fans (Don’t do what I did and get stuck chasing papers around and having a hell of a time reorganizing them hehehe)
  3. Have big envelopes/plastic dividers/clear books on hand.  I organize the patterns I bought in big Manila envelopes for easy reference.
  4. For the patterns I’ve downloaded, you can only print each up to 5 times.  This isn’t really a problem though, in fact I could see myself sharing patterns with my friends who sew too.
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Burda style magazine in Manila!

This week is Holy Week in the Philippines which means that almost everyone is on leave and on vacation…but I’m still at work since it’s not the best idea for me to make long trips or to fly somewhere almost 36 weeks into my pregnancy. I’m saving my leaves for Christmas break! Happily though, something arrived today to keep me company at work (although it means I wont be getting much work done):

I’ve been really curious about the Burda style magazine since so many hobby seamstresses and blogs often post about it. It can’t be purchased anywhere here in Manila (like a lot of sewing supplies and references) but luckily I saw a link on burdastyle.com here which directed me to http://www.newsstand.co.uk. I ordered just 3 issues first since I’m not sure how much I will like the magazines and how easy it will be to sew from them. The first one arrived today, and from the looks of it I’ll be getting a longer subscription. 🙂 Only thing is I’m not used to tracing out patterns since I’ve only used the ones from the Big 4 which I just cut out. It’s always fun to teach yourself new things though! If you guys have any tips or suggestions or favorite patterns from the new magazine do let me know! 🙂

Butterick 5196 maternity top, completed!

Now that I’m in the home stretch of my pregnancy (35 weeks and counting!), I really need more maternity tops (quickly!) since my regular clothes, even the stretchy ones, just won’t fit me anymore.  I’m so happy to share that I finally finished my new maternity top that I posted about earlier here.

Here’s my finished twist maternity top from Butterick 5196, I made it with around 1 and 1/4 yard of lightweight jersey.  It ties at the back (or in front if you would like) which I love because it somehow defines the waist a little bit.  I also really like the way the twist highlights the baby bump, I’m planning to make another one but I would take an inch off the top portion to make the neckline a bit higher.  When I was cutting the pattern out, I already took off an inch but in the portion below the twist since most patterns from the Big 4 are intended for women 5’6″ in height and I’m only around 5″2 on a good day (hehehe).

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Things I learned:

  • Narrow hemming (using my sewing machine for the neckline and by hand for the armholes) – Narrow hemming is sort of a pain especially when you’re trying to do this on curved parts of knit fabric since it’s hard to press/pin evenly while your fabric is curling on the bias.  Ultimately, you want a tiny hem without much bulk.  Using your sewing machine, there is a lot of pinning, basting and sewing.  If you do it by hand the stitches are almost invisible on the right side and it’s easier to make the hem as tiny as possible.  I followed the narrow hem tutorial here, it worked okay but I found it kind of involved and time-consuming so I ordered a narrow hem presser foot from Amazon the other day.  Will share with you guys how that works out for me once I figure out how to use it!
  • Blind hemming using my serger – I made a tutorial for those of you who might need it here.  I still need lots of practice though!

The verdict:

  • Great pattern with a few minor edits needed, makes a cute wardrobe staple!

Another sew your own maternity top in progress, Butterick 5196

I’m nearly done with my next maternity top using Butterick 5196.  I decided to do version A using some pretty green jersey and I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you, I just have to hem all the edges which I want to do with my new serger/overlock machine.  It shouldn’t take much time once I get cracking on it, but I’m still practicing how to make a good blind hem on some jersey scraps.

Overall, I found the pattern pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  Since I’m not that tall (okay, I’m short hehehe) I would shorten the top pieces of the front pattern next time to bring the neckline up a bit.   Other adjustments I had to make were in the twist portion at the middle since there is a gap that will show some skin because the pattern gives you pretty generous allowances for this part.  I can’t fault Butterick though since you have to pull panels of fabric through the gap.  Here’s what the back of the twist portion looked like before I sewed it down a little more.

Skills I learned making this top:

  • Narrow hem
    • I had no idea how to make a narrow hem, the instructions on the pattern were just so vague to me. Good thing I found a tutorial here on InfoBarrel that didn’t involve a narrow hem presser foot which I don’t have just yet.
  • Blind hem
    • I’m still working on this now, will update the post once I have the step-by-step for the blind hem using a serger!