Sewing Cake is a Piece of Cake

If I can, I always like to try out a new designer by making one of her free patterns. I was intrigued by the patterns at Sewing Cakes. The styles are fun, but I was more interested in how the patterns are drafted. She gives you some of the lines, but then the rest of the pattern is like a game of connect the dots, which makes it really easy to custom fit the pattern. The free pattern is for a tee shirt with a dolman cap sleeve, either a round neck or a Vee, and a banded hem. DSC_0045 (3)There’s a cute designer touch for a pair of micro-pockets. The pattern is supposed to extend to a 59″ full bust, but the dots in the pattern don’t go that far.  I was fine because they did extend as far as I needed them. I will be buying  more patterns from her, and I will report back whether this is ” a bug or a feature”.

When I’m making a muslin, I don’t usually take it to completion. I stop when I have all of the information I need for a fitting. But this was just a simple sew, and I did want to know things like where the pockets would land on my chest and how the neckband would lie so I finished it.

The sewing is super simple. There’s a pocket template piece to help you get a nice, clean edge to them. I added some tricot interfacing to the back of the pocket pieces using the pressing template as a cutting guide. One of my knits is sort of flimsy, and the interfacing gives it some body.

When I got to the neckline, I tried using the same flimsy knit for the neckband, but it didn’t work very well. The neckband of the tee shirt is narrow, and the roll on the fabric edges of the knit was extreme. Even after steaming it, it wouldn’t lie flat so I switched to the other color.

I like the fit of the shirt through the bust, waist, and hips. How could I not? It matches me every place. I don’t like the way the neckline is, though. I think the sewing term for it is “wonky”. I’m going to try taking off the neckband and sewing a shorter one to see if just pulling the neckline in a little will be enough. If it’s not, well, this is just a muslin, right? Then the next thing to do would be to size down through the neck and the shoulders, but use the same dots for my full bust, waist, and hips.

If you have a coverstitch machine and a serger, you don’t a sewing machine involved in making the shirt. Without the coverstitch, you would need to use a sewing machine on the pockets and to stitch down the waistband and neckband seam allowances. I was binge watching “Game of Thrones” so I did the whole thing on my mini-sewing machine.

The shirt has a lot of possibilities. You can mix and match fabrics or add some embroidery to the cute little pockets. If you like striped fabrics, it’s easy to match them. I chose the polka dots because they are a more subtle stripe if I hadn’t been able to get a good match, but it was a piece of cake.

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Sewing the Ironing Board Caddy

When I started this, I wasn’t sure I would use this one much, but it’s turned out to be my favorite of the two.



Things tend to collect on my ironing board, and I let it build up until the area I have to press gets too small to work. This caddy makes me think about what I really need to have close at hand to iron and what is just clutter.

For this caddy you need:

The long strips you cut

The two pocket pieces

The four thread catcher bag pieces

The interfacing you cut for the bag

The strip of batting

The piece of gripper fabric


Sewing tools

Center the gripper fabric on the right side of one of the long strips. I just folded the strip in half to find the center. You can be more precise and measure it if you like.


Zigzag stitch around the outside of the gripper fabric. I’ve been snowed in for awhile so I just grabbed some leftover shelf liner I had. My sewing machine balked at sewing it so I laid some strips of washaway stablizer between the gripper fabric and the presser foot, and the sewing machine glided right over it. Wax paper or tissue paper will work, too.







The next step is to quit the top side of the caddy. From a practical sense, this is to hold the batting in place so it won’t shift, and to turn this into one long pin cushion. If you just want the bare essentials, three rows of straight stitching down the length of the caddy will do quite nicely. I have this thing about things lining up so I did one stitch down the center and one 1 1/2″ on either side of that.  DSC_0378When you add the pockets, the pocket stitching will look like one continuous line with the quilt lines. But this is also a place for some personal creativity. You can quilt this any way you like. You could outline some of the design in your fabric with stitching. If your machine does free-motion quilting, and you’ve always wanted to try it, then this is a perfect opportunity. The piece is large enough to give you some space to play in, but small enough to fit easily in your machine. There are a lot of good online tutorials, and your sewing machine manual is the first place to start. So machine baste the batting to the wrong side of the remaining long strip and quilt away! I used a washable marker to make it easy to sew the straight lines. DSC_0377











Now we need to construct the tool caddy pocket. Sew two of the 7″x 7″ pieces, wrong sides together on just one edge with a 1/4″ seam. Press the seam open, and then fold them wrong sides together on the seamline and press again. Using an erasable marker, draw a line from the seam to the opposite edge in the center and 1 1/2″ on either side. You can do this before you sew the two pocket pieces together, but not if you’re using a marker that disappears with heat or steam. Next pin the pocket to one end of the quilted side of the caddy and sew down the pocket lines. DSC_0384This should give you one wide pocket and two slender ones. I like to give it a good press at this point.





Next put the two long strips wrong sides together, and using 1/4″ seam sew around three sides of the caddy, leaving the short end of the caddy open at the end.






Clip the corners, turn the caddy right side out, use a point turner or a chopstick to push out the corners, and press the caddy well. Turn under 1/4″ on the open end of the caddy and press. DSC_0390








Now we’re ready to make the thread catcher. You should have 4 pockets pieces and two interfacing pieces left in your pile. Fuse the interfacing to back of two of the pocket pieces. Sew the two interfaced pieces, right sides together on the 7″ sides using a 1/4″ seam. Press the seams open. Repeat with the two non-interfaced pieces.


Next we’re going to turn this into a box. Using a clear plastic ruler, cut away a 1″ square from the bottom two corners of each of the pieces.









Next sew across the bottom 9″ seams on both pieces and press open.







In each corner bring the two seam lines, one from the bottom seam and one from the side seam together and pin them so they match up perfectly.


Pull out the outside edge to flatten them and stitch across the corner using 1/4″ seam.  Push out the corners so it makes a box. Do it with both boxes.




Now put one box inside the other right sides together. Stitch around the top edge of the box leaving a small opening in the back of the box to turn it right side out. Turn it and press it pressing the opening under as well.DSC_0409





Line the back of the box up over the edge of the caddy you haven’t sewn yet. Pin in place and sew two rows of stitches 1/4″ apart, closing up both the end of the caddy and the opening in the top of the box as you do it.







Put your scissors, a marking pen, and a hem gauge (or whatever tools work for you) in the pockets and drape the caddy over the end of your ironing board.



Happy Sewing!





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The Fabric Cobbler Sewalong- Sewing the machine caddy


DSC_0415 (2)

It’s time to start constructing our caddies. The sewing machine one is the simpler one so we’ll start there. For this caddy you’ll need

The two pieces you cut out and rounded for the back and the front. One should already be fused with interfacing.

The pocket piece you cut

Double fold bias tape, either purchased or that you’ve made yourself


A marking tool that will wash out

A ruler

Fold the pocket in half “hot dog” (lengthwise) wrong sides together and press it.


With your washable marker, draw the lines that will separate the pocket into slots for your tools. The pocket is wider than the caddy to allow for one or two of the slots to be pleated so they can hold bulkier items or become a thread catcher. The best way to do this is to lay your tools on the pocket and draw the lines around them. I choose my pocket widths based on a pleated pocket for a pair of shears, another pleated pocket for catching threads, and slim pockets for my seam ripper, my long tweezers, and my thread snips. This is a place to really customize your caddy for your needs.


Pin the pocket to the sides only of the interfaced caddy piece. Then put some pins in along the lines you drew for your pockets. The pocket will not lie flat where the pleated pockets are.

Stitch down the lines you drew.

Now pick the pocket along the bottom of the caddy making the pleats at the sewing lines so the bottom of the pocket matches the bottom of the caddy.

Machine baste the edge of the pocket in place.

Now place the front of the caddy on top of the back of the caddy wrong sides together.

Open up your double fold bias tape and pin it around the outside edge of the caddy. If you look closely, one side of tape is wider than the other. You want the shorter side of the tape on the front of the caddy, and the wider on the back so when you stitch from the front,  you’ll also catch the back.



Start pinning at the part of the caddy that will be underneath your sewing machine. Fold one edge under and lap it over the other.

Sew around the outside of the caddy along the edge of the tape. This is a fun place to use a decorative stitch.


Alternately, you can place the front and back of the caddy wrong sides together. Stitch around the outside. Turn, press, and topstitch.




Slide your caddy under your machine, and you’re ready to fill it with your favorite tools!

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Cutting Out Your Sewing Caddies



Now that you have your fabric and other notions collected up, it’s time to get our caddies cut out.  How you mix and match your fabrics is up to you. The sewing machine caddy can be customized to fit your machine. The ironing board caddy is a standard size so lets start there.


The Ironing Board Caddy Pieces


This caddy is a long strip that lies across the wide end of your ironing board. It has pockets at both ends. One end holds the tools you like to have handy, and the other end has a small bag for collecting threads and scraps. The center of the strip is quilted and functions as a pin cushion. The underside has a piece that grips the ironing board cover underneath so the caddy doesn’t slide off of your board since one end will be heavier than the other when it’s filled with tools.



Cut two long strips 7″ X 27″ for the center of your caddy using your ruler and either a rotary cutter or your shears.

Cut two squares 7″ X 7″ for the tool pocket.

Cut four rectangles 7″ X 9″ for the thread and scrap catcher. If you have a directional print, the print should run horizontally across the 9″ width.

Cut 1 strip of fleece or batting 7″ X 27″

DSC_0372Cut one piece of gripper fabric 4 1/2″ wide X 14″. I used shelf liner I had left over.

Cut two pieces of medium weight fusible interfacing 7″ X 9″




For the sewing machine caddy

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The sewing machine caddy can be customized to fit your sewing machine. I made mine the width of my larger machine.  If you use my measurements, you’ll end up with a caddy that’s 16 1/2″ inches wide and 18 1/2″ long. It’s the 16 1/2″ width across the sewing machine you might want to change.  My pocket is 8″ deep. Collect up a few of the things you’d like to store in the pocket and measure them to see how deep you want your pocket to be.



Cut two pieces of fabric 18 1/2″ by your width. If you have a directional print, the 18 1/2″ is the vertical direction. My pieces were 16 1/2″ X 18 1/2″

Cut one piece of fusible interfacing the same size.

Cut one piece of fabric two inches wider than the backing for your caddy and twice the depth of your pocket. It needs to be wider so you’ll have some width to pleat the big pockets. I cut my pocket 18 1/2″ X 16″.

Fuse one side of the caddy with the interfacing.



Lay the front and and back of the caddy on top of each other. Fold the pocket in half “hot dog”. (lengthwise)







Line one edge of the pocket up with a corner of the caddy. Using a round object or a compass, either draw a line and use scissors or use your rotary cutter to cut through the layers to round the corners.

DSC_0369 DSC_0368






Repeat with the other bottom corner. Then round off the top two corners, and you’re done cutting!




Come back in a few days, and we’ll start sewing!



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Welcome to the Fabric Cobbler February SewAlong!

Welcome to the Fabric Cobbler February SewAlong!

PicMonkey sewalong

I’m Roberta Burkey from Taking It Up A Notch, and I’ll be your hostess this month.

I usually sew clothing for myself, my daughter, and my granddaughter with something for the boys thrown in every now and then. I recently bought a pocket organizer for the door of my sewing closet, and I like knowing where all of my sewing tools are. But it’s not close enough to my sewing machine or my ironing board to reach what I need. So I decided to make myself some pocket organizers for them.

The sewing machine organizer can be adjusted in size to match your machine. It’s pictured here with my traveling machine, but I made it the width of my bigger Janome. The ironing board organizer will accommodate most standard ironing boards. The sewing machine organizer is my own design, but the ironing board one was inspired by one designed by Moda fabrics, although I have modified it some. There are lots of ways to customize them for your needs, and I’ll include instructions for how to do that along the way.

So collect up your fabric and notions and meet me back here in a few days to get started. Any coordinating fabrics will do.

If you’d like to be eligible for prizes, 50% of your fabric must come from the Fabric Cobbler.

Their FB group-


2 yards of fabric (I used 1 yard each of two)
1 yard medium weight interfacing
1 7”x 27” piece of quilt batting or fleece
1 14” x 4” piece gripper fabric (I used shelf liner)
1 package double fold bias tape or fabric to make your own
marking tool
clear ruler
scissors or rotary cutter

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Some Tips for Making Halloween Costumes

In our family Halloween costumes usually hit the dress up clothes for play after the holiday is over so I usually sew them with that in mind. There’s always at least one party where they get worn as well as trick or treating. Our town has a downtown Halloween Parade when the kids get to dress up, parade down the main streets, and get “treated” by the local merchants. The costume needs to be designed for wear and most if not all of the pieces need to be reusable.


Max pjs

This year Davis Farmland, a local attraction, is having a Pirates and Princesses Day. Elsa and Anna will be joining the fun. My grandkids have a family membership to the park so this party is on the agenda. While my granddaughter has a princess dress, she doesn’t have a princess pirate dress, and my grandson has agreed to wear a pirate costume for Halloween as long as it’s “cool” and not little kid. So we were able to bypass a lot of the what do you want to be for Halloween discussion.



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Buttons and Buttonholes Part One- Choosing the Right Style



There are a couple of walls beginning seamstresses run into when they’re trying to advance their sewing skills, and one of them is buttonholes. Eventually, they want to make something that doesn’t rely on stretch to be able to get a garment on and off. Or their daughters would prefer a prom gown that isn’t closed with Kam snaps. (Sandya was sent home last week on Project Runway for using snaps.  I feel exonerated. lol) Whether she’s competing on Project Runway or not, the day will come for every seamstress when it’s time to attack the dreaded buttonhole. Sooner for some, later for others, but the day of reckoning will come.

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