I really love the ruffle and the skirt hanging on the bias.
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!
It is a pleasure to post on my blog the Zero-Waste Apron Tutorial by Danica the owner of Sew Liberated, my fellow "Sew Indie Month" pattern company. It is a very feminine, and easy to make apron. I love and will make one.
I really love the ruffle and the skirt hanging on the bias.
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!
I had the privilege of interviewing Lisa owner with Stef of Paprika Patterns
It is a unique Indie pattern company designing clean and clever sewing patterns.
- What is your background and for how long have you been sewing?
My educational background is something very different from sewing - I have a Masters degree in Philosophy and a Bachelor in Environmental Science. But I’ve been sewing since I was 15. We had a high school play for which we had to make our own costumes. My grandmother sewed and she helped me. I was sold - I asked a sewing machine for my 16th birthday and have been teaching myself since. It started getting serious five years ago when i decided to stop buying clothes and make them myself for a year. I never stopped after that year. I’ve taken a year of pattern making classes two years ago, which I’ve picked up again this summer. I intend to finish the whole course to get my dressmakers diploma.
Why did you decided to create your own pattern company?
-I had already been sewing a lot and creating my own patterns, even though I had no idea on how to actually draft patterns. We were planning to go on a big trip for about a year, and we were looking for ways to earn some money while we traveled. My husband is a web designer so it was easy for him. That’s when I decided to pursue my passion and start Paprika Patterns. I learned as much as I could at the pattern making course the year before we left, took a photography course and learned the ways of Illustrator. As it turned out working and traveling is not easy so Paprika only got it’s real start once we had settled in France.
-What is your process: do you drape first or do only pattern drafting?
I start with pattern drafting. I don’t have a dress form as we live in a yurt so we don’t have that much space. The course I took also focuses on flat pattern making so it’s the way I know. Well the first step is sketching my idea, then drafting the pattern for myself, sewing it up and tweaking the design a few times. Then I draft it to my standard block measurements that I use for Paprika. Then it’s on to grading and testing.
-Are you translating your patterns in several languages?
I’m not, but it’s definitely something i’d like to do! French would be the first, I’ve found we have a lot more french followers now that we live in France, and the fact that our patterns are in English prevents them from buying them.
-I love your tutorials on your website, do you also teach?
I don’t, I haven’t found the opportunities where I live. I also need to improve my French first. I’ve taught some friends how to sew and I do love it, so I hope I get to do that in the future.
I just finished the Jasper Dress, the drape collar is very cool, what was you inspiration for this collar.
I’m not sure - inspiration usually comes from different things. I had drafted big collars for myself before, I love them. And the tab is something I saw on some other garment. I think it balances out the design.
-I like that you have different pattern/cup size, do you have requests from customer for larger sizes?
I didn’t have specific requests, as I decided on this before we officially started. I had been following a lot of the discussions about pattern sizes and cup sizes. When you’re just starting you have the freedom to create your own size range, and I found that the standard ranges don’t reflect actual women that well, especially in the larger range. The average cup size hasn’t been a B for some years, so it made more sense to me to draft the larger sizes with a C. It’s more work, but it means less work for those who sew my patterns.
-Can we have a idea of what will be the next designs?
I’d like to have a full range of garments - tops, skirts, dresses, pants. The pants are coming next spring. For this winter I’m going back to my favorite, the sweater dress. It’ll probably have a big collar too, even though the design will differ from the Jasper.
Thanks Lisa for talking to me.
Well I a French women living in US, I am hook by Paprika patterns. Well design thoughtful patterns, with instructions easy to follow . Very comfortable dress.
The bundle 2 is still available until Sept 12. It features patterns from 10 designers! It's pay what you wan but the more you pay the more you'll receive.
And 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to Women for Women, an organization which helps women dealing with violence, marginalization, and poverty due to war and conflict.
Stay tuned for more interviews and some great tutorials from some of your favorite pattern designers and hopefully some new companies you haven’t heard about before, during All September: Sewing Indie Month.
Sewing Indie Month (SIM) is a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns and the people who sew them. The month is packed full of fun interviews and informative tutorials. It also includes a sewalong contest with exciting prizes and has grown to include bundle sales, where you can get select patterns at outrageously low prices.
I just made the skirt from Maison Fleur.
This pattern is part of the Sewing indie Month bundle sale.
What’s special about this sale is that you get to decide how much you’re going to pay and 20% of proceeds go to the charity Women for Women!
Maison Fleur Skirt
It is a very fun pattern, very good instruction. This skirt would be a very good pattern for people who want to improve their skill in sewing curve, angles bias!
I made it in linen which made the perfect skirt for these last very hot summer days in San Francisco Bay Area.
Hey look what I just made!
The VNA top From my fellow designer Fehr Trade part of the SIM bundle 2.
OK the pictures can be better, I can lose 10 pounds (working on it!)
It is a very easy top to make, and I was able to use some of the fabric of my stash.
This pattern has a different approach than regular top, it is fun and interesting!
This top can be done in an hour!
I use my serger and my coverstitch machine to do the seam and the binding. Love my toys!
Check it out the Sewing Indie Month, bundle sale 2 at
Cool Patterns, Cool Prizes!
I just received the print out of the pattern and it looks great !!
I am now ready to ship paper patterns!
Don't miss the free shipping (us only for now)
It has been a long process but it is finally there.
I will post more pictures in the next few days!
The paper version in in print and will be available soon
(tutorial by Kate & Rose for SomaPatterns)
I am please to post a tutorial of a peasant blouse from Kate & Rose. The Zero-waste concept has been around for centuries, even if it was not called that name. Not wasting fabric was important when fabric was expansive and people didn't like wasting anything. Enjoy the Hungarian Peasant Blouse Pattern and Tutorial, and Thank you Kate.
Sylvie, thank you for the opportunity to post this tutorial! Zero or low-waste sewing is important to me - not least because I grew up in Cold War-era Hungary. My grandma was an incredible recycler-upcycler-reuser, she could figure out so many ways to use things rather than throw them away. I know that one of the goals of SomaPatterns is to make patterns that reduce fabric waste, which is something central to folklore sewing, and also very important to me. Part of my uniform as a creative professional and mom of two little kids is The Peasant Blouse.
It's easy to wear, easy to make - I own a huge variety, and keep making them over and over. I’m going to show you how to make one of the most classic styles, which looks a lot like the style you’re most familiar with when you think of a peasant blouse.
But there’s a twist: I’m going to show you the old-school way to do it, the way it was made of homespun linen in Eastern European villages, India, Rennaissance-era Italy, and much longer ago... It’s a way to make clothes that’s been around for many hundreds of years, before easy access to scissors that let you cut curves easily, before people stopped worrying about wasting fabric by cutting curved pattern pieces. I mean,
if you made the fabric yourself, you’ll probably want to use every last scrap of it, wouldn't you?
A very folksy way to look at things: make a blouse by tearing off rectangles of fabric and sewing them together. [Figure 2]
I’m from Hungary and in Hungarian-speaking villages, this kind of blouse would most often have been made up of a 240 cm (95") length of fabric that's 70-72 cm (28") wide. None of the fabric would have been wasted. It would be one-size-fits-all so it would
have a LOT of fullness to, you know, fit a lot of body types. It’s quite easy to adapt the design for a more contemporary look, and draft a pattern for a blouse you'll actually want to wear. In fact it’s so easy I’m almost embarrassed!
A word of caution: this isn’t classic patternmaking but, rather, folklore sewing, which is to say we try to make do with what we have on hand and don’t worry much about going by the book. Because... there is no book.
OK, let’s get started! First, gather your supplies:
- measuring tape
- scissors or rotary cutter or cutting device of your preference, a quilting ruler might come in handy too
- fabric - traditionally you would of course use linen, hemp or cotton but really, use anything you want. I prefer lightweight fabrics with some drape and a soft hand like
cotton voile, lightweight silks or rayon, lightweight linen -
- thread, sewing machine, and - if you like - a bit of embroidery thread
We’ll begin by taking some measurements. You’ll need your bust circumference, the length you’d like your blouse to be in the center back, and the length you’d like for your sleeve. Wear something with a neckline you like and measure the desired sleeve length starting at the neckline. [Figure 3]
My bust is 36” (91.5 cm); I’d like the blouse to be roughly hip-length, which for me is 23” (58.5 cm), and I wanted a 3/4-ish sleeve so the sleeve length from neckline to sleeve hem should be about 22” (56 cm).
We’ll need a few more measurements: for the width of the sleeve, the width of the cuffs, and the neckline of the blouse.
To measure for the sleeve width, make a circle of the tape, slip it over your hand and adjust it so it comfortably encircles your arm around your shoulder and armpit, and
For the cuff, tighten this circle and fit it loosely at the point where you’d like the sleeve to end, making sure it’s wide enough to go over your hand.
For the neckline, lay a large circle of tape around your shoulders, roughly where you’d like the neckline to be. This is why it really helps to wear something with a neckline you like, you can just use it as your guide. (I really like the front neckline of this old leotard left over from my flamenco-dancing days - though obviously the low back is entirely unsuitable for a blouse ;) [Figure 4]
My armhole width came to 15” (38 cm), my cuff 10” (25.5 cm), and my neckline 32” (81 cm).
Now let’s turn these measurements into pattern pieces. Here are the pattern pieces we’ll need with the traditional proportions and pattern piece sizes [Figure 5]:
We’ll use our own measurements to personalize them. Take half your bust measurement (for me - 36:2=18"), we’ll add to this number to create nice fullness. I like far less bulk than the average peasant blouse so I’ll only add 4" (10 cm). You can arrive at your own preferred number by the highly scientific method of laying your favorite blouse flat, measuring it across the bustline, and comparing it to your bust measurement. By this method, the width of my bodice pieces
comes to 22" (56 cm), and the length will be the center back length I wanted: 23” (58.5cm).
Let’s do the sleeves. Take the measurement you took round the armhole, we’ll add to it to create comfy and cute fullness in the sleeves. Peasant blouses will add at least 1/2 to this measurement (mostly more than that), but 1/2 extra works out to a pretty nicelooking
sleeve so that’s what I’m going to use. My armhole measurement was 15” (38cm), I’ll add 7.5 (19), so I have 22.5” (57 cm) for the width of the sleeve. The sleeve
length I wanted was 22” or 56 cm.
We’ll also need underarm gussets (two squares sewn into the armpit area) to shape the flat and motionless sleeves and bodice to our 3-dimensional and mobile bodies. The pattern in Figure 5 used 10cm by 10 cm (4” by 4”) squares for the gussets, another common size is 15 cm by 15 cm (6” by 6”). I prefer the larger ones because they work better with skinnier sleeves.
We’ll finish the sleeves with cuffs: I measured 10” (25.5 cm) so I’ll take that plus twice the width of the seam allowance for the length, and I’ll use 4” (10 cm) for the width because it looks nice (and also, that’s how my fabric worked out).
Finally, the neckline binding: 32” (81 cm) plus twice the width of the seam allowance will be the length (for me that’s 32 7/8” or 83 cm), and 2-3” (5-7 cm) in width, 2 1/2 is what my fabric allows. One last thing: I didn’t add seam allowance to the sleeves and bodice pieces because I felt they were plenty wide enough the way they were, but you most certainly can, if you prefer. About seam allowance: my (fairly stern) grandma taught me to sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance and now I feel like I’m wasting fabric if I use more. Plus, by now I can eyeball 1 cm anywhere and why would I waste that skill?
Here are my personal pattern pieces [Figure 6]:
This is where we can begin economizing! You may or may not have enough fabric to fit all of these pattern pieces in exactly these sizes. Some of the measurements are nonnegotiable: the bodice width, the sleeve width, the neckline length and the cuff length, but others are much more open to interpretation. I used a vintage sari of mysterious fabric make-up for my blouse, with a width of 42” (110 cm). I wanted to use the border print at the bottom of the blouse, and on the cuffs and neck binding, but then I didn’t have quite enough fabric to fit the full length of my sleeve pieces, so I made them a bit shorter. I wanted to be all traditional so I added extra width to the cuffs and neck binding and folded them under instead of using interfacing (because you’re unlikely to find interfacing in a very traditional peasant blouse). To assemble the blouse, stitch the side seams, leaving 24-25cm or 9.5-10" open at the top. It’s the width of the gusset (15 cm or 6”) plus the area where you’ll attach the sleeve (another 10 cm or 4”- roughly). Insert two adjacent sides of each gusset into the opening at the top of the side seams, matching the corner to the point where you stopped stitching. Sew from the center points outwards. [Figure 7]
Stitch the sleeve seam, leaving 20 cm or 8 inches open at the top, just like you did with the bodice.
(I finished the seam allowances together but you can finish and press them apart, if you prefer.) Line up the open portion of the sleeve seam with the armhole you created, making sure that tip of the gusset fits into to the end of the opening in the
sleeve seam. [Figure 8]
Stitch, then repeat on the other side. Finish seam allowances and press towards the sleeve. Traditional dancewear is also often topstitched on all seams but my fabric was a little thin for this.
Next we’ll create the neckline. First, cut a small vent (4” or 10 cm long) on the front bodice. It’s starting to look like a blouse, isn’t it? I finished this opening by rolling under the edges for a kind of rolled hem. (Traditionally it’s finished with decorative handstitching with contrasting thread.) [Figure 9]
Gather the neckline to the length of the neckline binding. Line up binding with neckline, leaving 1 cm seam allowance on either end. Stitch one edge of the neckline binding to the neckline on the right side. Press, then fold binding under twice to cover
all the raw edges and press in place, also folding in the seam allowance at the ends of the binding. Topstitch all along the neckline and press again. I also added a loop-andstring closure, using some pretty variegated Valdani embroidery thread that matches the colors of the blouse, twisting six strands into a thicker string. Very folksy looking, right? [Figure 10]
To finish the sleeves, fold the cuffs in half and stitch along the open edge. Press seam allowances open. Gather the sleeves with 2-3 rows of gathering stitches to the length of the cuffs. With right sides together, stitch one edge to the gathered sleeve hem. Press to set the seam, then fold under twice to create a binding that covers all raw edges, the same way as the neckline binding. [Figure 11]"
Oh hey whaddya know! It’s a peasant blouse!
You can of course change and modernize the look any way you like. If you want to make a tunic or night gown or smock dress (OK - not that modern) and would like to add more fullness towards the bottom of your garment, you can easily do so by cutting
two more long rectangles of fabric, cutting both in half to form right-angled triangles, and sewing them to the sides of the bodice pieces before closing the side seams.
Or you can get yourself some funky fabric and make a HUGE underarm gusset to make a batwing blouse! [Figure 13]
Part of the Indie Pattern month, we interview each other, and this id the interview of Lolita Patterns:
1) How do you get inspired when you create a new pattern? What comes first, the pattern or the idea?
I love perusing fashion sites and seeing the latest collections. I also check out lots of Japanese lolita fashion sites and check out catalogs and stores for fashion forward professional wear. I am constantly finding parts of different garments that I can see looking amazing put together in one garment. I generally see a great piece of professional wear that can use a little spicing up and use elements from a lolita fashion piece to add some flair. The combinations have turned out wonderfully so far!
2) What is your preferred method of creation – draping or drafting? How do your ideas come alive?
All the patterns are drafted in a base size for the smaller sizes and a base size for the larger sizes. Next comes a lot of test sewing in these two base sizes! I usually sew each sample a different way to see which way ends up with the best finished product. Then I know exactly which methods I want to use when I write the instructions. Then fit sessions in both sizes and re-tweaking the fit and draft until it fits the base sizes perfectly! Then the pattern gets graded and sent to testers.
3) What influences your work, magazines, fashion show?
I get most of my ideas from fashion web sites, catalogs and fashion magazines. I love looking at catalogs for ideas...some of my favorite patterns have come from such a basic start with great added details.
4) There are lots of steps involved in the pattern release process. What part of the development do you look forward to the most? And here is where I really put you on the spot-what is the least enjoyable part?
My favorite parts are definitely designing the original pattern concept and sewing my versions. I always have so many ideas for variations and fabric that I have in my stash and it seems like such a long time from the original concept until the time I get the pattern graded into my size so I can sew it up! The concept is the first part and sewing up my own version is usually the last part.
My least favorite part has got to be cutting and taping together all the tester and final PDF patterns. I don’t feel comfortable sending them out to testers or for sale until I have confirmed that the PDF tapes together correctly and is in the correct order with no glaring errors. That means I get to put together the PDF’s in both sets of sizes once for the testers and then once for the final version! 4 times per pattern!
5) What is your background? Is it more industry or couture
I have an undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design and learned a great deal from that education. However, I did not use it right away! I was in the cosmetics industry for several years and then went to law school and became a criminal defense attorney. Also during this time I got my Masters in Business Administration. Throughout those years, I never forgot my love of sewing and sewed tons of items. When the right time presented itself for me to combine my love of sewing with my business knowledge, I jumped on it!
6) What challenges have you faced that were unexpected?
One of the main challenges I face is figuring out how to work at home and be as productive and immune to as many distractions. I really have to stay on my toes to keep the balance! I love staying at home with my dogs and working in my pajamas, I just have to be careful. Some days I can waste the whole day away being distracted by chores around the house, and other times I can spend 15 hours straight on the computer editing patterns/instructions when I get in the zone! I’ve been getting much better at balancing how to work at home…just took some practice.
7) Creation takes a lot out of a gal. At the end of the day, do you make anything for yourself?
Sometimes I feel guilty making something for myself when I know there are more samples or instructions or patterns I could be working on. But I have since figured out a system. When the pattern is at the grader, or out to testers, I have free time to sew anything I want! I have a big checklist for each pattern so I know exactly what needs to be done and when. I make sure that everything I can possibly do before grading is done prior to it being sent out, so that I literally cannot feel guilty about anything while it is gone since there is nothing else to do for that pattern! (yes I know I can work on another pattern…but this is my system and it is working! Plus I love sewing for myself and using all kinds of patterns…it’s how I fell in love with sewing in the first place. I’m not going to give it up!) And I do the same thing for when the pattern goes to testers. I make sure everything possible is done so that when the pattern is with testers, I can sit back and sew up things for myself. The funny thing is, I so often dream up using my patterns with fabric from my stash and all these different versions I can make. This happened recently with Gunmetal…I keep making so many versions! But I definitely still have tons of other patterns and makes that I am just as excited about making.
8) What is the story behind the name Lolita Patterns? And the Logo?
The name Lolita Patterns comes from the type of fashion that the patterns are inspired by, Japanese lolita style fashion. The logo has a fun skull to show the gothic type of lolita style and a bow to show the contrast of the girly sweet/romantic lolita side. There are also needles to represent sewing that lace through the letters. Our pattern packaging also corresponds with our logo by using the same bow as the closure to the envelope and sweet scallops as trim.
We also use a thicker weight of paper for the envelope and add a metal clasp behind the bow to ensure durability of the envelopes. I used to hate it when my envelopes would disintegrate after only a couple uses!
9) Do you have new patterns coming soon?
I do! In fact we have a new pattern being released on Monday! It is a great all-around basic with a beautiful twist…and all the tester versions have been so unbelievably gorgeous I can’t wait for the release!
Early this year I received an invitation from Mari Miller, the designer of Seamster Patterns, to participate in a blog event that would eventually include 21 indie designers. The goal was to learn more about each other, promote friendships, and give us an opportunity to share in our spirit of cooperation with the sewing community.
We have all conducted interviews and written tutorials for each other that will be posted every weekday throughout the month, including four sew-along in four different style categories. And just for you, we have collected over $1000 in prizes!
I am a bit late in the game, but will catch up
Next Post the interview of Lolita Patterns
Check out the cool Prizes