Get Up & Go Skirt for Oktoberfest

black german heel kick b

OK, so this wasn’t REALLY made for Oktoberfest, but it’s that time of year, right?  Sorta?  And doesn’t this skirt totally make you think of the Black Forest?  It’s obviously the vintage trim that makes it feel so German…

black Kona cotton Get Up and Go Skirt

To a certain degree, this particular version of the Get Up & Go Skirt was a design challenge.  I wanted to see if, with the simplest of fabrics, I could still make this pattern look fabulous.  And jubilee!!  It does!!

solid black Get Up and Go Skirt from Whipstitch

This is an absurdly simple skirt of Kona cotton in black (the best-selling fabric of all time, I’m told).  This stuff sells for something like $6 a yard almost everywhere, and you can always use a coupon.  Which would take the total cost for this skirt down to around $5 if you bought your fabric on sale.  (Heck, even full price plus thread it would only be around $10!)

black skirt and white blouse a classic Get Up and Go Skirt look

Pairing it with a simple white cotton blouse was pretty much a no-brainer.  Doesn’t get more classic than that.  And this felt breezy and chic to me, but not forced.  I am so not about looks that try too hard.  I’d much rather feel urbane and pretty in something that’s ALSO easy to wear.  Hello, elastic waist!

red vintage trim on black Get Up and Go Skirt

Now, I won’t argue with you that it’s the trim that makes the skirt.  This was something I bought from a sales stall years ago, with no idea how I would use it, just the feeling that it reminded me of my super-early childhood living in Germany (we moved to the States when I was 4) and that I desperately NEEDED to have two yards of it.  Which, clearly, I DID, because now it is the perfect thing to complete this skirt.  It’s topstitched around the hem, with the raw ends tucked under at a seam to disguise them.  So simple!

Makes me want to DANCE!

dancing black Get Up and Go Skirt

You can get a copy of the Get Up & Go Skirt, a Learn As You Sew pattern with embedded video in a tablet-friendly PDF pattern, right HERE!

Tula Pink’s Bumble: Peached Poplin for the Whole Gang

bumble riffled overmost

I already shared how awesome I think Tula Pink’s mini-collection, Bumble, is.  It’s PEACHED POPLIN, you guys.  It is this incredibly super-soft cotton base cloth that feels not-quite-fuzzy to the touch.  Imagine the softest sheets in the nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in, put them on steroids and multiply by five.  And that’s what peached poplin feels like. SO soft. SO, SO soft.

at play in tula pink bumble peached poplin

It’s also just a tiny bit lighter than most quilting cottons–slightly less thick, and that makes it FLOATY.  It drapes and hangs so much more like an apparel fabric, and makes the most lovely pleats and gathers.  Gah!  I just love sewing with this stuff so much.

Which is why I have MORE projects to show you!  Go, Bumble, go!  Not just for babies and nurseries–for the whole flock of kids!

boys playground pants in tula pink bumble

We’ll start with my boy, the (very) reluctant model.  I could tell he had ZERO interest in letting me take these photographs when he told me it would be illegal for him to change into these shorts in the backyard.  ILLEGAL.  And then, once he’d changed, he arrives with the muddiest, muddiest feet you have ever seen outside the canine realm.  Sigh.  But the shorts!  Look fabulous!

bumble boys shorts

Or they would, if they weren’t backward.  You can hardly tell in these photos, but those are slash pockets on the back.  Except they belong on the front.  Whatevs, he was happy enough.  (Turns out the shirt was backward, too.  Silent protest?)  This is my same go-to self-drafted shorts pattern that I listed with my Back To School for boys post.  They’re just so quick to sew up, and once you have the pattern in one size, you can really whip them off the machine in about an hour.  Plus, he likes the way they fit, and will willingly dress himself in them for school each day.  Just, you know, not when Crazy Mommy wants photos (again).

bumble hexies skirt

For our older girl, I made a simple 20-minute skirt.  This fabric is so lovely to work with, and easy to draw up into a casing, but even so I reduced the panels from the two suggested in the printable to 1.5, instead.  I think it makes the volume a little more manageable.  Not only did THIS child put the skirt on willingly, she asked if she could LEAVE it on when we were done, citing it’s “ooooh….soft!”ness and that it would be awesome to climb the slide in.  Love.

20 minute skirt close up hexies

I mean, seriously.  How many skirts let you RUN in them, but also feel fabulously soft when you do it??  And this little knit tee from Target happened to coordinate so well with it.  So now, she’s decided what she wants to wear to school tomorrow, too.  If we can keep her brother’s muddy feet away from her, at least.

tula pink bumble collection overmosts with ruffle

For the littlest, who is not only willing to have pictures taken but who actively poses for the camera (I actually had to ask her to STOP posing), I made up a pair of Overmosts.  Gah!  How much do I love this pattern?  I mean, I have literally NEVER made a pair that I didn’t love.  I added a ruffle to this one, and I confess to a certain amount of back-patting.

peached poplin ruffle on tula pink overmosts

See how beautifully the peached poplin ruffles up?  The “peached” part doesn’t refer to the color–it refers to the texture, where it’s slightly “buffed” and has a little peach fuzz on the surface (get it?).  And when you cut that on the bias and fold it in half, then make a ruffle?  Good grief, it’s so sweet.  This mini-collection has been marketed as a nursery collection, but with our kids, I have totally found that older kids appreciate that softness and texture, too.

overmost back view

The lightness of the fabric was also a really great match for the elastic at the back of the waist on the Overmost, too.  I think I might want to add a small loop on one strap to pass the other strap through, so they don’t slip around, though.  Something to consider as I polish off the Overmost re-boot!

pink bumblebee overmosts with ruffle

Obviously, this is the short version–the OverMOST version, if you will.  The pattern has a long version, too, an OverALL, but I stuck with shorts for us.  We are still having 70-degree days this time of year, so she’s playing in these in the afternoon sun as we speak!

20 minute skirt in tula pink bumble hexies

Man, that is the MAGIC of sewing.  You combine fabric and pattern, and you end up making memories and sharing an emotion.  Because even though our boy wasn’t thrilled to model, he was still feeling the rock-and-roll:

rock and roll shorts in tula pink bumble

Bumble is OUT!  It is available at the links above and most independent fabric shops.  If your local shop doesn’t carry it, let them know you’re looking!  There are only a handful of prints in this collection, and it’s not too late to order it from the manufacturer.

Have fun sewing, y’all!

Win the NEW Overmost and Pinafore Patterns OR Any Whipstitch Online Class with Kids Clothes Week!

tula pink bumble preschooler pinafore

In the wake of all the fun of sharing the new Learn As You Sew series and introducing the Get Up & Go Skirt with you, I have even more exciting stuff to share!  The Overmost and Pinafore, my very first two patterns that I ever released in PDF form to the general public, are getting a MAKE-OVER.

overmost 4t

The Overmost is one of my favorite styles to sew, and one of my most popular patterns ever.  As I was developing the Learn As You Sew series, it was only natural for me to think about how this pattern might look in that format!  I originally created the Overmost pattern way back in 2009, and PDF patterns have come a long, long (LONG) way since then–I would really like everything I do to continue to be to the very highest standard I am capable of producing, and for me that means giving this much-loved pattern an overhaul.

The Pinafore

Like the Overmost, the Pinafore is a really classic style that has sold well over the years–but since this pattern was created around the same time, it could use some sprucing up, too.  Which is exciting, because I love that these two designs have been so popular and continue to have something to offer to folks sewing for their children.  I want to always, always create designs that will stand the test of time, that have a unique and appealing look but that can also be adapted to your own needs easily, and be used to sew for the widest range of circumstances.

overmost 12m

One of the things that makes the (kinda giant) amount of work necessary to re-format these patterns worth it is that the Overmost is so unisex, and works great for boys and girls–there are a zillion amazing girl patterns out there, but so few that are awesome for boys that go beyond tees and pants, and I am truly honored that I can offer something that will enter into the realm of boys patterns to fill a gap.  So being able to re-format this pattern is a project that has been near and dear to me, that I’m super excited to offer.

girls dress bodice buttons buttonholesAnd I won’t say TOO much, but there’s a THIRD pattern for girls that will be available at the same time the Overmost and Pinafore re-release.  It’s another really classic, adaptable style that I think you’ll love and get a ton of use from.  Plus, it’s got a great twist to the pattern pieces that I’ve never seen in another pattern that I’m pretty tickled to show off to all of you.

What this means for YOU:

In the short term, what this means is that the Overmost and the Pinafore will NOT be available temporarily.  I’ve pulled the PayPal buttons from the pattern detail pages (but have left the pages live for you to view).  I know that means that some of you will be inconvenienced because you want the pattern NOW, but I’d rather not continue to sell the current format when the new format is being completed.


The good news is that TODAY, over on the Kids Clothes Week blog, you can WIN ALL THREE of these patterns!  You’ll get all three designs sent to you BEFORE they’re available to the general public in a few weeks, in their new, fancy, spruced-up format.  Whoo hoo!!  PLUS, there are TWO winners, and also up for grabs is free registration in ANY Whipstitch e-course–so if you’re not quite sure you’re up to sewing these patterns yet, you can take the Essential Sewing course; or if you want to work on your stretch fabric skills, you can hit the Sewing Knits course; or if you are thinking you want to start up your own crafty business, take the Crafty Business Basics course!  Lots of fun stuff over on their blog as we head into Kids Clothes Week–go HERE to read today’s post and enter the giveaway!  Each of the two winners can choose either the pattern pack OR the e-course–so much to pick from!

overmost 2t

Thanks for the excited response and support for these Learn As You Sew patterns, everyone.  I’m feeling really grateful and so excited to unveil them to all of you–and couldn’t be more happy that they’re being so well-received!  Here’s to what’s coming next!!

Rainy Fall Get Up & Go Skirt

green plaid jean jacket

Seems like in most of the US today, it’s rainy and windy and a little bit cold.  Starting to feel like fall!  And while those of us in the Deep South don’t believe for a second that it’ll stick–we regularly find ourselves in short sleeves on Halloween–it’s nice to start to look at our autumn closets and see a whole new range of possibilities.  Scarves!  Jackets!  Sweaters!  SWEATER VESTS!!  That’s right.

get up and go fall plaid 2

This was one of the first skirts I sewed from the Get Up & Go pattern, because my on-going obsession with All Things Plaid demanded it.  I’ve had this yarn-dyed cotton in my stash for AT LEAST six years, and was thrilled to find the perfect project to pair it with.  When I realized that it ALSO matches my sweater vest and boots flawlessly, well…magic, people.  This is how magic happens.

in seam pocket go skirt gr plaid

Although it’s not included in the pattern, I did add an in-seam pocket to this skirt.  I love the versatility, and it’s so simple to add to any pattern–there’s a template and instructions in the Pockets E-Book that will apply directly to this skirt.  I like to place my pockets high enough that the upper edge can be trapped beneath the waistband in the front, so they don’t flop around and get lumpy.

Get Up and Go Skirt a Learn As You Sew pattern

And just to remind everyone that it is virtually impossible for me to go more than 7.3 minutes without making a ridiculous face:

Whipstitch Get Up and Go Skirt for fall

The design of the Get Up & Go Pattern makes it easy to match stripes and plaids, with a simple side notch that can be placed on your pattern repeat to get your fabric design to line up.  Read more about using notches in this post, and on sewing with plaids in this post, and remember that the Get Up & Go is a Learn As You Sew pattern–which means there’s a video embedded in the PDF that specifically walks you through how to use and cut notches to make them work for you as you sew!

I really love that the format of this pattern makes it SO clean and efficient to learn new skills, right when you need them.  I had such a great time shooting each segment, and putting them all together to make a really cohesive sewing journey for this pattern.  You can get your own copy right HERE, and get sewing right away!!

jump for joy for the Get Up and Go Skirt

The Get Up & Go Skirt Pattern is HERE!

Get Up and Go Skirt sewing pattern from Whipstitch

I am so excited today to introduce you to the very first Learn As You Sew pattern: the Get Up & Go Skirt!  This is Series 1, Pattern 1 in the Learn As You Sew Pattern Series, and it’s a great place to start sewing garments–or to find a great, classic style no matter how much sewing experience you have!

green plaid jean jacket

Learn As You Sew Series 1 focuses on FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS, so this pattern is designed to emphasize core sewing techniques like finishing seams, making straight hems, and working with waistbands.  At the same time, it’s a really fun pattern that’s easy to style and easy to wear, so no matter how much clothing you’ve sewn in the past, it’ll make an awesome addition to your wardrobe!

Get Up and Go Skirt in Lotta Jansdotter blue

This skirt has my dream construction: a flat front waistband with an elastic back that’s SUPER comfortable.  It’s also finished on the inside with a fun, clean technique that means that this unlined skirt has very few exposed seams, which keeps it soft and irritation-free on your skin.  Since it has an elastic back, it also has NO closures to worry about–no zippers or buttonholes to install!  That makes it super fast to sew up, and you’ll find yourself making way more versions than you might’ve guessed.  I have made this design up in so many great fabrics: lots and lots of quilting cottons, linen, chambray, flannel, seersucker, you name it!  And I’ve got so many variations to share with you in the next couple of weeks.

black german heel kick b

Besides being a super easy style to wear, this skirt is a great place to showcase fabrics you love or trims you’ve been hoarding.  I busted out some treasured embroidered ribbon for this black number (which is just black Kona, but it looks so great!) and love, love, love swishing around and getting to enjoy it now.  So much better than leaving your fabulous trims and treasures in a drawer!

go skirt chambray patch pocket

The Get Up & Go Skirt is also a great place to play with POCKETS!  Because the skirt is largely a flat-front blank canvas, it’s easy to add pockets of all shapes and sizes (you can find instructions for seven really awesome ones in the Pockets E-Book).  Perfect way to showcase your treasured buttons that are gathering dust!

skirt landscape anna maria

With over a dozen of this skirt in my own wardrobe (no exaggeration), I’ve also found it to be super easy to dress up or dress down.  I have versions I’ve worn to nice dinners out with my husband’s business associates, and others that I’ve worn to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning when I didn’t bother to wash my hair.  I’ve styled some with lots of accessories, and thrown on others over my swimsuit to head to the beach.  It’s a truly seasonless design that lends itself to so many different looks!

Get Up and Go Skirt for fall

I really hope you’ll love this skirt as much as I do.  I’ve worked hard to make the instructions as versatile and clear as possible–with options to work through the PDF as an e-course, as a pattern with video guidance, or as a quick-start pattern for those who are more experienced (learn more about the format of the pattern in this introductory video).

Get Up and Go Skirt with nautical style

More than anything else, I want you to HAVE FUN sewing!  This pattern is intended to be a big part of that, no matter HOW much sewing you’ve done or how many garments you’ve made.  I want to lead you through the construction with joy and maybe some laughs, and have you come out the other end with a pattern that you’ll love to sew and to wear, again and again and again.

Get Up and Go Skirt for spring

The Get Up and Go Skirt is available NOW!  It comes in sizes XXS to XXL, and requires very little yardage to sew up.  If you can sew in a straight line (more or less), you can make this skirt, and I really, really hope you do.  You can share you finished skirt on Facebook, Flickr or discuss it with other folks in the brand-new Get Up & Go Skirt forum!  You can buy the pattern TODAY through my online shop, where you’ll also find all the videos for the pattern and a whole lot more.

Hooray, hooray!!  It’s Get Up and Go Day!!

Special thanks to Nicole Stadler for taking many of these photos!  Join me at the next Atlanta Sewcial to meet Nicole and see examples of her long-arm quilting.

Introducing: Learn As You Sew Patterns

learn as you sew on green ellen baker background

Eeeeep!!  I’m am excited and nervous to share with you a project I have been working on for close to a year: my new pattern series.  I’d like to introduce you to Learn As You Sew Patterns!

plaid flannel landscape

I’ve been designing sewing patterns for close to ten years.  I started out making them for myself when I couldn’t find what I wanted in the pattern catalogs.  Then, I made them to manufacture for my children’s clothing boutique company.  It wasn’t until I started teaching sewing that I began to think about what sewing patterns looked like to new sewers, folks who had never used them previously.  And it changed the way I looked at the patterns on the market.


The last five years has seen a HUGE explosion in PDF patterns.  I released my very first PDF pattern, The Overmost, in 2009 and the difference between what a sewing pattern on the indie market could look like then and what they look like now is astronomical.  I began to think about re-designing the Overmost–not the garment, but the actual PDF.  What would it look like?  What features would I want to include?  What would benefit a new or beginning sewer the MOST in a pattern that they download and sew from the internet?

learn as you sew video iconOne of the biggest things I find that has benefitted my students is the use of video.  I love, love, love to make video for sewing, and over and over hear back from students online that it is such a great, adaptable, versatile means of learning nearly anything–and that used well, it can make the difference between someone loving sewing and someone walking away from their machine once and for all.  Not everyone has a local shop where they can learn in person, and for some of us, even if we do have a local shop our schedules don’t line up with the class schedule–we’d be much more likely to take a class at our convenience, when the kids are in bed.

That was the major motivation for launching my e-courses in 2010, and building a new e-course site last year.  I love teaching e-courses and have met some truly amazing people through them!  But not everyone will take an e-course–some are concerned that they won’t complete the content, others are concerned that they won’t like the format, and some just don’t really “get” the idea of an online class.

I wanted to develop a format that would reach THOSE people, the ones who didn’t feel comfortable taking an online class, but who still want to learn to love to sew.

Along the way, those two goals converged.  I have a feeling it was while I was driving along the interstate, since I seem to do even more brain-leaping there that I do in the shower.  What if….what if there was a PATTERN that included VIDEO?  Not an online class, really, but a pattern that allowed you to move BACK AND FORTH between the instructions and videos to guide you?

That’s how the Learn As You Sew Pattern Series was born.

skirt landscape anna maria

These patterns are TABLET-FRIENDLY, which means they’re meant to be a true digital pattern.  Rather than printing the entire file and following along the written instructions, you’re invited to print just the pattern pieces and then view the pattern instructions on your tablet (or computer).  There are embedded videos throughout the PDF that guide you through every step of the construction process.  Just click on any step where you need some extra help, and you’ll be whisked away to video of that specific step, where you can see up close and at the machine exactly what happens next.  I think it’s an amazing way to sew through a pattern, one that gives you a familiar interface with friendly video, and makes every pattern feel like personalized instruction.

black german heel kick b

The first pattern, the Get Up and Go Skirt, is part of Series One: Foundational Skills.  Each grouping of Learn As You Sew Patterns is a Series, and each Series includes three patterns that build on one another to drill down on a specific set of concepts.  The patterns in each series can be used alone, if you really only love the one design, but work best when all sewn in order, so that you’ll firm up your technique and try new sewing tricks you’ve never tried before!

These first three patterns walk sewers through basic sewing skills, allowing you to really drill down and cement those techniques before moving on to more challenging garments.  We’re sewing straight lines and working with elastic and making casings and finish off seams and sewing clean hemlines.  Other patterns in this series of three focus on French seams, bust and waist darts, making drawstrings, making and applying bias tape, and so much more.  I wanted to build a catalog of wearable, classic shapes that really TEACH as you sew them.

in seam pocket go skirt gr plaid

These patterns aren’t just for new sewers, though!  They’re intended for ANYONE who wants to make a great, chic garment that they’ll really wear, again and again.  Because how much fun is it to sew and then hang it in the closet? No fun at all.  So these patterns also include a Quick Start guide that allows more experienced sewers print a list of instructions to check off and get going.

The video below walks you through more of the features of these patterns.  It’s one of the introductory videos included in the Get Up and Go Skirt, which will launch TOMORROW here on the blog.  I hope you love what you see, can’t wait to hear what you think, and am excited to share this new sewing journey with you!

Tomorrow, I’m excited to release the Get Up and Go Skirt pattern and share more details with you about the first pattern in this series!

The green fabric featured behind the Learn As You Sew logo is from Ellen Luckett Baker’s Framework collection, and is available here!

Join My Patternmaking Master Class on BurdaStyle!

patternmaking no banner

I have a new online class available!  I’ve teamed up with BurdayStyle to teach patternmaking as a Master Class, over four weeks, and all online!  I’m really excited to launch the course–registration is open now and you can come join the fun!

flat patternmaking ecourse samples

“Flat” patternmaking is different from other methods of making patterns in that it doesn’t involve any draping–you won’t be taking pieces of fabric and placing them on a form (yours or a mannequin).  Instead, by taking measurements and then plotting them on paper, you’ll be able to create a 2D version of the garment’s shape RIGHT THERE on your paper.  It’s such a fun, enjoyable process–and the best part is that once you learn the basics of how to draft on paper, you can make limitless variations.

skirt drafting class

This class is designed to teach you just that: the basics.  We start with how to measure your body accurately, then do some practice with the various rulers and patternmaking tools that are best suited to drafting on paper.  From there, we jump into five different garment projects: a pencil skirt, an A-line skirt, a basic knit tee shirt, a raglan sleeve tee shirt, and a strappy sundress.  Each pattern builds on the skills you develop in the patterns you’ve already made, and after we draft each one, you’ll get the chance to sew it up and see how small changes on paper can translate to big changes on fabric!

I love, love, love teaching online and I’m so delighted to work through the BurdaStyle interface to offer this class.  I hope you’ll join us starting October 27!  Link to register is here.

Have fun sewing, everyone!

Tula Pink Bumble: the Return of Peached Poplin

tula pink bumble pink bees on aqua pinafore

If you’ve been sewing for more than six years or so, you remember the old Heather Ross fabrics–Mendocino and Lightning Bugs, all those incredible hard-to-find collections that were SO SOFT.  That particular fabric substrate, the actual cloth the fabrics were printed on, is called peached poplin.  And it is BACK.  DID YOU HEAR ME?!?!  IT’S BACK!!

sunny day tula pink bumble preschooler pinafore girls

Many of us were downright obsessive about this fabric.  The softness was legendary.  The drape for garments was unparalleled by other fabrics in the quilting industry at the time.  Its uses were wide-spread: quilts and blankets, garments, home goods, you name it.  And now bits and pieces of it are hoarded worldwide because it is just different than anything else that was out before or after.

Until now.

Tula Pink, bless that woman, has worked to bring back this substrate with Free Spirit Fabrics (who printed Heather Ross’ designs at the time) and make it available again.  She’s releasing a brand-new mini-collection called Bumble, all in amazing nursery-friendly prints and colors.  Most of it has just begun hitting stores in the past 24 hours, and you should TOTALLY run get your hands on some, no lie.  Two reasons: one, it’s awesome, and you’re going to sew the crap out of it; and two, the more the market demands this substrate, the more likely Free Spirit is to continue to produce future collections using it.  So for all of us, seriously, snap this collection up and dream BIG!!  Peached poplin for everyone!!

girls pinafore in tula pink peached poplin

I have a whole HOST of projects made using these fabrics to share with you, thanks to the generosity of Tula herself, who gave me advance yardage and allowed me to play with it.  (I may have had one of those moments, where you try to act totally cool and hip and fail utterly, because she handed me this incredible fabric and I panicked and didn’t know what to say.  Total dork moment.  I actually had to pinch myself to avoid squealing.)

We had this whole conversation where she was showing prints from Moonshine and I said, “Whatever happened to that substrate they used to use for Heather Ross’ fabrics?  That stuff was so awesome!” and Tula said, “Funny you should mention that…”  She already had yardage from Bumble at the time, and I could hardly believe it.  If only all wishes came true so quickly.  (For you Tula collectors & afficionados, this is also the substrate that Tula’s Hushabye collection printed on, so in some ways, Bumble is Hushabye Part Deux–in the best possible sense.)

tula pink bumble peached poplin pinafore

This is my Pinafore pattern, which I have always, always loved.  All my girls have worn versions of this shape over the years, and I find it to be constantly the MOST versatile garment in their wardrobes.  They wear it alone as a dress, over a tee as a jumper, over pants in the winter, with a dress underneath as a true pinafore, with a skirt underneath to make it poofy, over shorts with no tee in the summer for a cute out-to-dinner outfit, I mean seriously, I have yet to find the fabric or occasion unsuitable for this garment.

tula pink bumble preschooler pinafore

Sewn up in this peached poplin, I swear, the Pinafore feels like jammies but looks SO cute and put-together.  Our youngest was delighted to put it on, despite the fact that she has decided that Four is the new Three and is crankity grumpy in the afternoons these days.  I mean, the fabric is just SO SOFT.  Did I mention that part?!?  And the bees….  They’re awesome on the bolt, but trust me: when you start to sew them up, they transform, and become something even more amazing.  I can’t explain it, and it really doesn’t happen with every fabric, but these designs become MORE when you cut the pieces out and begin to sew.  It’s magical.

Bumble is juuuuuust arriving at most shops, and if your favorite local shop or online retailer isn’t planning on carrying it, TELL THEM!!  Most retailers welcome feedback from customers, and it’s not too late for shops to order this collection–it’s smaller, which means most shops can carry all the prints affordably, and it really will help us to get this awesome peached poplin back on the market.  Which needs to happen, like, yesterday.

pinafore pattern from Whipstitch

The Pinafore pattern is available here, but I should point out that it’s scheduled for a facelift this fall to make it a little more up-to-date.  If you have purchased the Pinafore in the past, or want to purchase it now, you’ll receive a credit for your full purchase price toward the new pattern when it comes out!  Keep your eyes peeled for the updated pattern sometime in November–it’s a great shape for holiday sewing!

Coming next week: another five or six (or more) projects using this Bumble peached poplin.  You can get sneak peeks of those on my IG feed!

Back to School Wardrobes: Clothing for Boys

Back to School Wardrobes: Step Three

No, I haven’t forgotten about sewing for back-to-school.  I am just milking the fortunate climate here in the South that allows me to continue to dress my children in their summer clothes while I polish up a new pattern release (woot!! next week, you guys!!).

The past few days have given us a peek into cooler temperatures, though, and I’m returning my machine to thinking about sewing up new things to get our kids through the fall and the bulk of the school year.  Next up: our boy!

Back to School Wardrobes Planning List

When I was first designing children’s clothing for a local design co-op, making clothes for girls was easy for me: I am one of three girls, I had two daughters of my own, and I was accustomed to sewing my own clothing (I’m a girl, too, after all).  But designing for boys just STUMPED me.  I thought all boys were willing to wear was graphic tees and cargo shorts, because that was all I ever saw them wearing.  Once I began to teach sewing classes and talk to other moms about their boy children and how hard it was to find good clothing for them, I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t that boys would only wear those things–it’s that those were all moms were able to find on the shelves at stores.  Add in the “themed” nature of most of these clothes–dinosaurs or trucks or sports, with the all-time-classic dinosaur-in-a-truck-with-sports-equipment tee (which I saw in real life, no lie)–and it’s pretty slim pickings out there.

flannel scarf for boys

I feel very, very strongly about boys (all children, really) having the freedom to move and climb and play and run in their clothing.  Even as a family who change out of our “nice” school clothes and into play clothes at the end of the school day, I still recognize how much HARD play goes on during the school day, and want our kids to have that movement in their garments.  And wanting it for my boy isn’t gender stereotyping–Harvard has released details of the most ambitious longitudinal study ever conducted that indicate that boys whose mothers really embrace their “boyishness,” who don’t just permit but revel in their antics and exploits, their very “boys will be boys”-ness, are the ones whose sons grow up to the most successful adult men.  Not just financially or professionally successful, although that’s certainly part of it, but with the greatest long-term physical health, the highest level of self-described happiness and satisfaction with the outcome of their lives, and the longest and happiest marriages.  I want that for my son, and don’t think that my sewing is too small a place to seek it out.  If by the act of sewing clothing that gives our boy the room to move, the freedom to fall out of trees and run far and fast, the doesn’t-even-think-about-it comfort of well-sewn clothing in which he can do ANYTHING, if my sewing those things for him gives him even an inch more happiness by the end of his life, then the hours I invest here are not in vain–even if I won’t see the results of that for decades.

Sewing, my friends, is never a small thing to do.

whipstitch | lobster boy shorts

So a good, classic, adaptable wardrobe of basics for our boy is a must, and I really can’t rely on the shops to provide that.  In addition, my taste being what it is, I like to see him in lots of retro-styled stripes (we all tend to go back to what we knew in our childhood, really, which explains my mother’s fetish for cowboys and Elvis and my penchant for horizontal-striped ringer tees and wrap skirts–behold, children of the 70s, unite!!) and a mock-fly pant with a long break (I like them to almost drag the heel of their shoes in the back–so sue me).

This, then, is the list I’ll be pulling from over and over the next few weeks.  I confess that while many of these are indy patterns by designers I love, others are my own self-drafted designs, because sometimes you just see what you want in your head and you can’t accept anything else.  (Some of my self-drafted patterns are scheduled to be put together for sale down the road, but not all of them; feel free to let me know if you see something you’re really grooving on, and I’ll move it higher up in the queue.)

made by rae flashback skinny tee

Let’s not beat around the bush: if you’re looking for a great retro-styled tee, the Flashback Skinny Tee is a surefire bet.  I love Rae’s styling on this one, and the long-torsoed fit.  Add in long sleeves, and we’ll need about half a dozen of these this fall and winter.  I have hoarded some striped jerseys from Girl Charlee with exactly this shape in mind for him.  He’s much (MUCH) more willing to wear a tee that I’ve sewn than a button-front shirt, which makes me weep since I adore him in a little collared shirt, so I feel good about making a mountain of these for him.

oliver and s schoolbus tee

I also love the Oliver + S Schoolbus tee–it has a slightly boxier shape and a higher neckline, and works great under sweaters or layered.  I have some novelty knits and solids I’m planning for this one.


I’ve been working with my go-to pants pattern for years–since at least 2008.  I had it nearly perfected, and then our house flooded and all my patterns were destroyed.  Grgh!!  I started over from scratch in 2010, and am pretty sure I’ve finally gotten it just right.  I use it for shorts and for pants, and love that it has a flat front, elastic back waist and a mock fly.  Getting that perfect balance between a low rise (my kids are Below the Belly wearers of all waistbands) and good coverage in the bottom when they’re bent over to play is HARD, so I’m unlikely to find love for another pants pattern any time soon.

Our boy has a boatload of new $9 jeans, but I still want him to have a bottle green pair of cords, plus something of the navy chino persuasion.  I’ll be using this pattern for those–and I encourage you, if you have a favorite pair of pants that your kids wear, to trace those and make your own pattern, or to explore Dana’s or Rae’s pants patterns.  They’re all great ways to get good pants!


Despite his reluctance to wear a button-front shirt, there’s just no way around the fact that a boy has to look a little more spiffed up once in a while–or, let’s be honest, the fact that there are some really AMAZING print fabrics out there that we all want to sew up!  I wonder if this Prepster Pullover might be a happy medium for us.  I have this great Alex Henry animal skeletons print that I know he’ll love, so maybe I can find a way to break him into the woven shirts by luring him with his favorite things.

patterns by figgys beach bum hoodie

I also really like the idea of this Beach Bum Hoodie–and wonder how it would work as a shirt in a woven print?  Or a nicely textured solid?  I want it to have a little more length, but I think a tee under the hoodie layered as if it’s two shirts (rather than a shirt and a cover-up) might be just the ticket for inside the classroom during the school day.

jacket detail

One of my fantasies this year is to manage to pull of a PUFFY VEST.  Is that crazy??  I started pricing out rip-stop nylon and batting to quilt it, and wondered if maybe it was going to be waaaaay more expensive than just buying one–until the Hanna Anderson catalog arrived, and I saw that one could easily pay $69 for such a garment, and I surely won’t do that.  So I’m thinking I’ll adjust and re-purpose the jacket pattern from my Sewing Clothing for Kids e-course to make it.  Something in the forest green family in rip-stop, an exposed chunky plastic zip (maybe a contrasting color?), and little snap-closed welt pockets, yes?  I should preface this by saying that given the progress on my men’s sport coat, I might want to cut the size 8 for my six-year-old boy, just to make sure it’ll still fit him when I’m done.  Ahem.


I’m also kinda grooving on this cowl-neck shirt for outerwear.  Right?!?  Especially for game days: watching them or playing them.  Our boy will avoid wearing a heavy winter coat if at all possible (y’all, he’s NAKED every chance he gets, so just sleeves is a victory some days), hence the vest and this sweatery-sweatshirty-top.  I have some sweatshirt fleece I’ve been saving in a lovely oatmeal color that would work great, with maybe an orange contrast?  And I bet this one would be good in a soft fleece–it’s easy to find loads of it on sale this time of year.

terrific boys neck tie

For special events (maybe holiday photos??), he’s also going to need a tie.  We’ve done bow ties in the past, and I’ll be honest, my husband and I both totally melt to see him in one.  But this year, I want to see how we do with a standard neck tie.  This pattern is FREE and quick and should work with whatever dinosaur or super hero fabric he’d like to choose–because if he can’t add a little personal flavor with his ties, where can he?

overmost linenFinally, I’m working on a pair of overalls for him–this was him, four years ago, in his Easter Overmosts.  I can’t even process how little and CHUBBY he was then.  All gone, baby belly.  Sniff.  As a bigger boy, though, I think there’s still a place for a good pair of overalls–in our case, in a heavy Robert Kaufman ticking for railroad overalls.  I’m most of the way through sewing those already, so maybe they’ll be the first pattern you get to see all sewn up!

There are other great sewing patterns for boys out there–these just cover the garment categories we most needed to hit.  What other patterns have you made for boys that you really extra love?  Or what patterns have you seen that you’re wanting to try?  I’m open to suggestions–hit me with ‘em!


Now Available: The Pockets E-Book!

Raise your hand if you love POCKETS!!

Whipstitch ebook guide to sewing pockets

Back in 2012, I created a 14-page printable workbook to accompany a practical workshop in pockets, one of my very favorite details to add to sewn projects.

flat piping on shorts slant pockets

Originally written for Sewing Summit, this workbook features step-by-step photos and instructions for constructing SEVEN different styles of pocket.  I loved every minute of putting this together and teaching from it, and now I’m making it available to everyone!

pocket pieces

Pockets are dreamy, and they’re an exceptionally simple and quick way to add both functionality and visual detail to a project–I especially love them on garments, like dresses and skirts, where they’ll stand out and take your sewing from looking ho-hum homemade to looking hoo-ah handmade.  Learn to make patch pockets, lined pockets, slash pockets, zipper pockets, in-seam pockets, flap pockets and welt pockets–all with full-color photographs to guide you and clear written instructions as you go.

elastic skirt pocket

Use the guides and instructions on these pages to cut your own pockets–or use the included templates to create duplicates of the ones pictured.   That’s right–this guide includes both the guides for all seven styles AND printable (or traceable) templates to make your own.  You can even enlarge or shrink them to adapt the pocket styles to your own needs!  There are classic shapes and quirky ones, and fun shapes and simple ones.  In-seam pockets and patch pockets, slash pockets and welt pockets, zipper pockets and more.  All of them are clearly explained and photographed in full color.

pockets workbook screen capture

This is a downloadable PDF file that you can save to your desktop or print as a reference.  You can also add it to your tablet, where you’re able to zoom in on the images for incredible detail and keep right next to you as you sew as a handy reference!  I loooooove my tablet, and often work with it next to me as I sew.  Having this workbook as a reference that can be printed is awesome–but it’s even better when I can add it to my iPad newsstand and access the content digitally, where I can make the images as large as I need to get the detail necessary to really get the sewing done right.  I’m so excite to offer this e-book to you with those features in place!

I hope you’ll love using this workbook as a guide and a reference.  I poured a lot of love into it–and some whimsy, too, like a word search and a “quiz”–and can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it.  For a short time only, it’s on 40% discount, too!  Hop over to the Whipstitch shop and click to buy for just $5!