Browse Category: Tutorials

Tutorial | Adding Pockets

Ever have the perfect pair of pants or shorts that are just missing that one thing every kid wants??  You know what i’m talking about… pockets!   Pockets are a simple thing to add, especially with pants that have a side seam.  Today i’m going to use the Elliedactyl 10k Joggers as my example but you can adapt the same instructions to other patterns as well.

Start out by cutting your pattern pieces out and then set aside the back, we don’t need those until later.

Take your front pieces and make a mark about 3.5″ from the side edge and about 4.5″ from the top edge.  Then cut a curve to connect the marks cutting out your pocket opening. This is a size 2 pair of joggers, so keep in mind the larger pants your making the bigger you will need to make the opening, so this is just a guideline.


Now we make the pocket piece.  Using the piece you just cut out as a guide lay it on your fabric and draw your new pocket.



Cut two bands 1.5″ wide and about 1-1.5″ shorter than your pocket opening.


Press wrong sides together matching long sides and stitch to pocket opening.


Lay your pocket lining piece right side to the wrong side of your pants piece. Stitch along the edge of the lining to attach.  I used a coverstitch but you can just use a straight stitch or zig zag, whatever your preference is.


Press the pocket binding flat and continue with the instructions for your pants as written. Be careful to make sure the binding stays pressed seam down.



Like the pattern I used?  Its a FREE pattern, all you have to do is join the Elliedactyl group on Facebook (HERE)  and you’ll find a discount code!

Tutorial | Knit Drawstring for Just Pennies a Yard 

It seems like every time I turn around I find myself falling in love with a pattern that needs a drawstring, or a hood string and while I could just cut a strip of the fabric I’m working with it’s so nice to have a few neutral (or custom) colors on hand ready to go.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know you could make over 30 yards for under $5??  Keep reading…

I picked up a few t-shirts from the local big box for I think $4.88 each.  You could also easily recycle a few used shirts from hubbys closet or Goodwill/Salvation Army. The key is to make sure they DO NOT have a side seam.

Lay it out and cut off the top from arm to arm leaving you with a big tube.

Starting with the raw edge, line up your ruler so taht it’s at an angle going from zero to 3/4″ (if you want thicker string you can increase the ending amount but that’s my preferred size).

Make the first cut so that your left with this uneven tail.

Now rotate the fabric so that the tail moves to the right and line up your ruler to cut along 3/4″ from the edge.  You won’t angle it again, just the first cut.  Now as you go it will be like peeling an apple in a spiral.  (Best description I have sorry! Haha!)

You just keep cutting and rotating until you get to the end.

Go through the whole strand and give it a little pull/stretch and you’ll see the edges curl in and your left with perfect drawstring for your next project.  No seams, so you can just cut the length you neeed every time!  I keep mine wrapped in a card for easy storage.

Now there’s no excuse to leave the drawstring out of those cute shorts on your list!

Tuesdays are for Teaching – Kids Sewing Series

Whew! Back on track!  School started last week and I think things are going to get back to normal routines around here, including our weekly date in the studio.  I actually LOVE having her come hang for a few hours and its been really nice to share something i’m so passionate about (and have her actually be interested).

Today she helped me test a pattern i’m working on that i’ll be sharing in the next few days I hope.  This is one that i’m planning to use in a few kids workshops this fall, I can’t wait!!

She was excited to put her newly found cutting skills to work.


And her lesson on ironing… I always make sure the steam is turned off (and she knows how to double check)  but she’s doing great at keeping her fingers out of the way.


Now for the fun part!!  She has been BEGGING me to learn about all of the cool stitches her Sparrow has.  There are 197 stitches!!!  This is including the alphabet with capital and lowercase letters, multiple button hole stitches and even an eyelet stitch!  We started off just playing, and trying out different ones so she could learn how to change them.


Then we read up about how to use the memory so she could spell her name and gave that a practice run.


She was so amazed at how it worked.  One tip when doing these decorative stitches, it does help to have either a thicker fabric or to use an interfacing.  I noticed the practice runs were a little puckered so we added interfacing to the good piece.


I also used an erasable marker to make some lines as a guide since she was doing first and last name.  My favorite pens to use for this are FriXion from Pilot, they come off with a quick ironing like magic!

She decided on a flower chain to top stitch her name plaque on and did a great job of pivoting around those corners!


Finished stitching together her final seams and voila!!


My little writer has a journal cover.



Tutorial – Envelope Pouch

As promised, I wanted to share this quick tutorial with you all from Ryleigh’s lesson yesterday in Day 2 of our Kids Sewing Series.


The dimensions you use can vary to give you a variety of sizes, making this super versatile.  We’ve used them for gift giving, books or gift cards are perfect in them!  They can store small toys and treasures or you can get fancy and use a laminated fabric to make re-usable sandwich/snack bags.  Really the possibilities are endless!

For this one I started with 2 rectangles cut 7″x 10.5″.
Fold one piece in half so the long sides match.
Using a ruler, lined up with the folded corner, measure down 3″ and cut.
Repeat with the second piece.

Starting at the bottom, sew around all edges, leaving a 3″ gap to turn it right side out.
Turn right side out, clip all corners (being careful not to go through your stitching) and then press.

Now, for a way to close our pouch.  You could do a button here if you’d like, or snaps, but for this one we are using velcro.  The best way i’ve found to be sure the closures line up is to fold it up as if it was finished.  Take a pen or something similar and press down in the location you want your closure.  As long as you press hard enough, you will see the indentions on both sides and can easily mark the spots.

Lastly, stitch across the shortest straight edge and then fold the bottom up as shown and top stitch from one corner all the way around to the other.

I’d love to hear your ideas on what else these could be used for!  And if you’ve made any please link up in the comments, I love seeing your projects!!

Here is another one Ry made, this one is storing Shopkins 🙂



Tuesdays are for Teaching – Kids Sewing Series Day 2

Welcome back!!  We are taking on a few new skills today while teaching my 8 yr old how to navigate a sewing machine.  I know last week I promised a tutorial and that Ry would have something to add but it is after all summer vacation and highly unpredictable so I apologize that those things are running a tad behind but you won’t have to wait long, I have on good authority that you’ll see a tutorial tomorrow.

On day 2 of our instruction we worked on a small pouch.  Knowing how she learns best, I know that having something she can walk away with will keep her attention more than anything so we picked a small project that would incorporate several of the things I wanted to go over today –

  • sewing to connect 2 pieces of fabric and how to keep them together while sewing
  • pivoting at corners and points
  • turning a project
  • ironing
  • edge stitching /top stitching
  • zig zag stitch

So lets get started… kids and pins.  Not the best combination but there are other options to keep your fabric in place vs pinning.  My personal preference is Wonder Clips* by Clover.  These aren’t just awesome for kids but are also great for holding pieces together that might be too thick for pins, or with materials such as vinyl or leather that pins will leave holes in.

You can also use Wonder Tape*.  We are going to use it later in this lesson when we add the velcro to our pouch but Jenn over at A Jennuine Life talks about using it in place of pins during her Tiny Sewists Series.   This is a great follow along series, especially for younger kids.


The pouch we are making today is a great way to learn pivoting since it has a few different points to address.  There are right angles at the corners but also, the point at the top of the flap, and the also the wider point at the bottom of the flap.  To help Ryleigh learn where to stop stitching and pivot I added some dots using an erasable pen.   They will be on the inside, so not visible, but its nice to know it can removed if needed.  We also mark where to start/stop to leave the opening for turning.


I think the most difficult thing we tackled here is remembering to keep the needle down before lifting the presser foot but once she started remembering that, things went pretty smooth.

We clipped the corners and discussed that we clip those to help reduce the bulk when its turned.  Then using a knitting needle, the pouch was turned and she worked the corners out, being careful not to push too hard to avoid going through the fabric.


Ironing…this part made me a little nervous but its something that she needs to know.  I kept the steam off for now until she is a little more comfortable and i think that helped her from being afraid of it.  She learned to smooth out the fabric first and then iron with slow motions keeping her other hand out of the way.  She did an amazing job!

Using the overlock foot that came with the machine, she top stitched the bottom edge that we had left open to turn the pouch.  While it may not be the fully intended purpose, it works great for helping line up stitches along the edge of a fabric, and i think really helps instill a little extra confidence.


For the closure we went with velcro, this was a great way to introduce the zig zag stitch. Since a straight stitch and zig zag will really work for almost all sewing projects, I’m only focusing on those with her right now.  It will be a lot of fun to play with the over 200 decorative stitches on the Sparrow but first we master the basics.  This machine is super easy for her to make changes to the stitches.  It’s making my job pretty easy 🙂


Using the same overlock foot, she carefully went around the velcro like she’s been doing it for years.  Definitely impressed me!


Back to a little more top stitching and pivoting to finish up the pouch and she’s done!


She’s so proud of  her work, which is honestly the best part of our lessons!!


UPDATE- tutorial now listed here!

*Affiliate links.  I am careful to only share links to items we actually love and use.  I enjoy sharing my favorites with you all and appreciate your support by clicking on them.

A New Pattern Designer and A Late Tutorial – The Pocket Full of Posies Skirt


So this was scheduled for yesterday but it never posted… SO here we are again, with a late Tuesday Tutorial.  I am so excited to share this one with you though because its for a brand new pattern from a new designer.  Meet Elliedactyl.  Annelise has been in the sewing world for quite some time and I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few sew-alongs with her in the Backstitch Back Room.  Now she’s venturing off on her own and she has nailed it with this first pattern.


The Pocket Full of Posies is a knit skirt with 2 HUGE side pockets… what girl doesn’t have a million things to carry around with her?  I mean i’m ready for this in my size even!

I wanted to share with you today how you can take some old t-shirts and recycle them to use for the pockets.  This is perfect for a school spirit skirt like i’m showing here, or even a camp shirt, special group or just that tee that you can’t bear to part with from your younger days.  Your possibilities are endless.


The easiest way to get the best use from your shirt is open it up from the back.  This gives you the widest possible piece of fabric and helps eliminate having to piece anything together.   You will want to cut straight up the back, and across both shoulder seams so that it opens up flat like the picture below.

After you have it laid out, you take  your pattern piece and lay it out so that your graphic is centered and cut it out just like you would traditional fabric.


Once your pieces are cut just follow the pattern directions as written for a game stopping skirt!


Tutorial: The Twisted Headband

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Fabric headbands are such a trend right now.  One thing I wanted to do was make something that used elastic instead of just knit to really make something that would span a larger size group for each one.  I am actually able to wear the same size as my 7 year old if I wanted to share (or if she would share I should say, haha!)

Big thank you to Hallå Fabrics for providing the fabric for this tutorial.  I originally designed the tutorial for their chat page and i’m happy to be sharing it here also.  I highly recommend you check out their page, this and other great free tutorials are listed there (plus lots of gorgeous Euro fabrics!!)

Cut out your 3 pieces using this following cutting guide. These are just suggested sizes and you can always adjust the length of the elastic if you find they aren’t working for your child or yourself.

Fold in half right sides together and stitch along the long side.  Then turn right side out making 3 tubes.

We are not cutting the elastic yet. Feed one side through the smallest tube and stitch at the end to secure.

Push the fabric to one side and now measure your elastic and cut using the following guide- Elastic Chart- DO NOT CUT YET
NB-4 — 4″
5 -10 — 6″
11+ — 7″

Stitch at the opposite end to secure. It should look like the last picture.

Line up the seam so that it goes down the center of each of the 2 larger tubes. Lay one out with the seam up and the other across with the seam DOWN.

Fold the bottom one over so the short ends meet and lay the gathered piece in the center with the seam UP.  Wrap the wider tube around the elastic.

Stitch 1/4″ from the edge, going back and forth about 5-6 times to secure. Go slowly so this doesn’t shift.  Trim the end to about 1/8″ seam allowance.

Now lay the short ends together for the other side and follow the same steps to enclose the other end.

After both ends are wrapped and secured you can pull the sides up to cover the unfinished end.

As you can see this method leaves a nicely finished product with no ugly closing or having to do any hand stitching (which I despise if you didnt know! )

If you prefer to have something with a bit thinner band at the base you can also modify it to only use fold over elastic as in the next few pictures.  You would follow the exact same instructions as above.  I did also make this one a bit narrower so I cut it at 3.5″ x 14″ instead of 4.5″ as directed originally.  The beauty of this is after the first few you can definitely adapt to make it fit the way you like best.

For the thinner elastic, I found it stayed a bit neater if I closed off raw edge after pulling it through.  You can see those stitches in the last picture.

Day 4 of our Homegrown Tank Sew Along – Beyond the Pattern


I hope you’ve been sewing with us this week!!  Now that you have the basic construction down, let’s look at an easy modification.  Adding a fabric panel to the front of the skirt.  (If you weren’t following the sewalong be sure to check out this tutorial first –

Lets get started… Measure the width of your panel. Subtract that from the provided width of your skirt piece. So for my size 4, the skirt was 48″ I reduced it to 34″ because my panel is 14″.


With right sides together stitch the side of the panel to each short end of your skirt piece so that its fully connected making a tube.


Line up the seams from the panel and mark the ends (this is your center front and center back)


Line up those clips/pins and then mark the ends again so that its split into 4 quarters. We want to be sure that the panel is centered in the front. I do this BEFORE I gather to ensure i’m marking evenly. I would normally mark with pins so that when I gather I can leave the marks there.


I prefer to have the panel less gathered than the rest of the skirt so its more visible. The easiest way to do this is gather the skirt and panel separately.  So I start gathering at one edge of the panel and go around to the other edge and stop. Then run gathering stitches across the top of the panel.


Now mark your bodice into quarters also. The side seams should match up and then mark the centers.


I’m missing the next picture so I apologize but as you clip/pin your skirt to the bodice as you would in the regular pattern, take note to also be sure your panel edges are equal distance from each side seam. I usually clip/pin this one more time in that spot to be sure it stays even. Now attach the skirt and your finished!!


Thank you so much for sewing along with us!! I had a blast and I love seeing all the awesome finished dresses!!  Be sure to enter your photos into the albums to be included in the Backstitch giveaway AND enter below for a giveaway from me!!


Little Lizard King – Homegrown Tank Dress/ Blue Ribbon Dress Mashup!! (and tutorial)

With summer fast approaching my daughter asked me to make a few dresses for her with strappy tanks, easy enough right?  Well, the catch is that she also wanted ONLY knit used and there hasn’t been a pattern released that was what she wanted so I decided to mashup a few to make it just right.  I’m sharing with everyone today since it seems this style has been a trend lately, and what little girl doesn’t want a new dress??


So I mentioned this was using a few Little Lizard King patterns, the Homegrown Tank and the Blue Ribbon, you can find both here.

This is pretty simple – let’s start with the bodice.  Your going to chose your size and follow the pattern directions as they are for the tank portion.

For the sash, you’ll move to the Blue Ribbon pattern and use the same size you cut out for the bodice and use the measurements for the KNIT sash.   You will sew the short ends, right side together to make a tube, then fold wrong sides together and press.  You should end up with a sash that is about an inch less than the width of your bodice.  (EDIT – I added a little clarification on the sash HERE)


For the knit skirt, lets go back to the Homegrown Tank pattern.  We’re going to use the same length that is indicated but for the width of each piece, take the width of your finished bodice (just laid flat) and multiple 2.5.  (for example a size 7 is 13″ so i’ll be cutting 2 pieces 32.5″ long)  NOTE: This will not change on the larger sizes, you will still only cut 2 pieces.

ALSO because knit is so much wider than a woven its very possible to cut this piece as ONE on the fold, which is what I normally do.  Just be sure to make a mark or pin at the fold for when you gather and attach.

Make a tube with your skirt piece(s) (so down one side seam if you cut on the fold, 2 if you didn’t) and then gather the skirt.  I love using elastic in my bobbin when I gather for this.  I like that it preserves the stretch at the waist without having to pull out your gathering stitch PLUS it gives it a nice recovery.


Take your sash and line up your side seams with the side seams on the skirt (or with the mark you made if you only have 1 side seam).  Turn the tank inside out and put the gathered skirt inside the tank with right sides together, sandwiching the sash between the bodice and skirt.   I personally prefer to do it this way so that while I serge the gathers are facing up.  This lets me keep an eye on them so they don’t bunch up funny anywhere while i’m attaching.


Attach the skirt to the bodice then turn right side out and VIOLA!

Little Lizard King was nice enough to provide BOTH patterns for me to give away to one lucky reader!!  Enter below!

Check out the followup to this post here – with quick modification to really make your dress stand out –


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Patterns were altered and this tutorial published with permission from Little Lizard King.

Perfect 10 Blog Tour

blog tour header

One of the best ways that I make time to sew for my own kiddos is pattern testing and/or reviewing.  Miss R has needed some new shirts so I was really excited to help Cassie at Little Lizard King test her newest pattern.  I was even more excited when she suggested I join in the blog tour to share one of my tiny changes in a tutorial.


This is the 4th shirt i’ve made since I started testing this pattern few weeks ago, we loved it that much!!  And there are so many variations to mix and match (10 to be exact), you could make it a hundred times and it wouldn’t look the same.  For this one she picked this sweet floral print from Riley Blake.  I’ve had the large floral for awhile now but the tiny little coordinate just showed up in a scrap swap with some girls from Pattern Revolution.  (that might be a little hint at an upcoming post over there 😉 )

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She loves the little heart pocket, can you tell??


My personal preference on 3/4 sleeves is a wider band at the hem.  I love the bolder look there and its a nice way to accent a different fabric.  So i’m going to share a few steps to make that little adjustment.


You can really make this any width you want but for the size 6, the pattern calls for 1.75″ x 7.5″ for a normal arm band, I just adjusted that to 4.5″.




And now you’re all set to go back to the pattern and attach to the sleeve as directed.


Here’s there rest of the Perfect 10 tour – be sure to follow along, there’s more tips and tricks coming up!

The Perfect Ten Knit Top Blog Tour

Friday, February 13th: Kickoff release with Little Lizard King, special tutorial by JAB Creations

Saturday, February 14th: The Cutest Babe on the Block with Harper Creek Boutique

Sunday, February 15th: Sweet and Stylish with Beri Bee Designs

Monday, February 16th: Oh Sew Chic with Daydream Believers

Tuesday, February 17th: Puppy Love with Stitched by Crystal

Wednesday, February 18th: A Knit Panel and Flutter Tutorial by Chasing Mermaids

Thursday, February 19th: A Colorblocking Tutorial by That’s Sew Kari

Friday, February 20th: Sassy Style with Blink: Life & Clothing and a Tour Wrap up with Lily Shine Boutique