Monday, November 23, 2015

8 Years, 100 Patterns, and a TDD, YCMT and KAM Snaps Giveaway!

 See this?
It’s not just a doll pattern.

It’s my 100th sewing pattern.

One. Hundred. Patterns. I can hardly believe it myself. This along with Tie Dye Diva’s eight-year anniversary this year really has me thinking about all the changes over the years.

When PDF sewing patterns first made their debut, the customer base for them was small. Not all, of course, but many, PDF users were relatively new to sewing, and wanting to make clothes for their own children or to sell as "custom boutique" on eBay (because etsy was still a little start up almost no one had heard of). The focus of many PDF patterns was a quick and gratifying sew, with simplified techniques and detailed instructions so even a newcomer could enjoy finished ruffle pants, or a dress, in a matter of hours. Most users wanted patterns with no buttonholes or zippers and no techniques needing repeated practice such as bound plackets or seams enclosed within a lining. They wanted to work with quilting cottons and not less-familiar knit fabrics (which were mostly available only in solids and not easy to find anyway).

Kim Christopherson had the vision to create You Can Make This, a marketplace of PDF craft and sewing patterns in July, 2006. [affiliate link] The website opened with about 12 designers and 25 products. I joined them as a pattern author in 2007, and I can say without a doubt Tie Dye Diva patterns would not be here today without them.
Me, Kim of YCMT, her twin sister crafter/quilter Kris Thurgood, Carla of Scientific Seamstress (one of the original YCMT authors!), and Heather of Goosie Girl, who is also a YCMT author.

This is one of the early Tie Dye Diva patterns that is still “in print” (as PDFs go). It was released in 2008. High-key photography (with the white background) was soooo popular!

Fast forward to today - how far we have come! The PDF sewing pattern community has exploded. Pattern designers number in the hundreds and PDF users are from all walks of life with all sewing backgrounds, experience levels, and needs. PDF patterns look a lot more like traditional paper patterns in their garment design and construction techniques. The You Can Make This website has hundreds of designers, and thousands of PDF patterns.

Download Sewing Patterns Today!
Hand-held KAM snaps pliers and set-in-snaps have opened up a whole new world for seamstresses who still shy away from buttonholes. Several years ago, the main alternative to buttons was sew-in snaps, which require some fiddly hand-sewing to apply. I chatted with Judy at KAMSnaps about the early days of, which was at about the same time as the early days of Tie Dye Diva patterns. Judy said,
"Back then, not many people knew about KAM snaps or even thought of snaps much at all.  Hand-held pliers weren't on the market yet so the only way to install KAM snaps was with the table-top presses, which were much more expensive back then than they are today.  I don't know what people were using instead of snaps--maybe velcro or sew-on buttons. 

KAM snaps became much more mainstream with the advent of the KAM pliers because it meant users could now install snaps with a relatively inexpensive tool.  Now it seems like somebody in every sewing or crafting group knows about snaps!"
Our Perfect Party Dress pattern, with perfectly matched KAM snaps!

I know, right?  Now seamstresses of all skill levels love the option KAM snaps provide to make a quick work of a closure  - no buttonholes needed.  Custom-printed knit groups and websites have made adorable, trendy printed knits easy to get.

Tie Dye Diva patterns has grown and matured too. We focused on the very beginning seamstress for many years. Early patterns reminded the user to backstitch at the beginning of each seam to lock the stitches! Now we have patterns for all levels of seamstresses, with plenty of buttonholes (but no-buttonhole options included of course!) zippers, and patterns for knit fabrics. We include more advanced techniques that give a beautiful finish, along with quick-finish instructions as an alternative. (A few simpler patterns are being updated right now to include both more complex and quick finish options and to specifically refer to set-in snaps as a closure option.  If you already own one of these patterns that does not include a placket/enclosed waist seam, you can see step-by-step instructions here on the TDD blog.)

Our Butterfly pattern with enclosed bodice, continuous placket and yep, KAM snaps!

I'm beyond blessed to have been able to do what I love for so long and am grateful to every supporter who has helped me continue and grow in this business for these 8 years and into the future! We are celebrating with a big GIVEAWAY from Tie Dye Diva, You Can Make This, and KAM Snaps! Enter to win a $35 gift certificate from Tie Dye Diva, a $25 gift certificate from, and this amazing KAM Snaps starter kit from - pliers, 200 snaps in 20 colors, all in an organizer case!

I'd love it if you'd join the TDD mailing list, and I think you'll love it too. I send it less than 4 times a year. You can sign up here.

But, you do NOT need to join the mailing list to enter the contest. Just leave a comment to enter and be sure I have a way to contact you if you win. Contest runs through midnight Friday November 27. The winner will be randomly drawn Saturday morning. Contest is open worldwide. Any unclaimed prize will be redrawn after 48 hours.

Ready? Leave a comment to enter, and be a pal and share with your sewing friends! Good luck!

[EDITED: Contest is closed, congratulations to commenter #94, Crescendo Gal! I'll be contacting you via email about your prizes!]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Designer Swap: TDD Sews The Acorn Tee from Sew Like My Mom

What fun it was to sew someone else's pattern for the Designer Pattern Swap! I got lucky enough to be paired with Sew Like My Mom, and chose this adorable Acorn Tee pattern. It's a unisex, semi-fitted tee with a stylish twist - a working snap-front placket and includes sizes 12 months to 8.

I had just bought this video-game themed knit from Sweet N Charmed Fabric and it was the perfect marriage. I knew right away how I'd make the placket. Wokka wokka wokka ...

[The eye is a KAM snap, with Sharpie details that are not holding up to wear. Anyone have ideas for how I can make the details on the snap more permanent? Comment, please!]

We love the working placket!
The slender 6 year old I sewed for is a 5 chest, tippy-top of 6 height on the size chart, and I made a straight size 6 because, lazy. I did omit the pattern's cuffed sleeve and extended the sleeve to the pattern's final length (with just a little math), as personal choice since the fabric could border on pajama-ish. The cuffs will be great for another time! The pattern was a quick sew and the fit is great.

Thank you Sew Like My Mom for this opportunity to sew up such a fun and stylish tee!

Now ... here are YOUR opportunities!

First, in celebration of Lily Bird Studio sewing up my Opal Knit Flutter Top and Dress Pattern in the Designer Swap (you can see her pretty top at her link), Opal is on sale for only $5 through tomorrow!

Second, enter to win a big bundle of PDF patterns from all the participating pattern makers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 13, 2015

Riley Blake Lulabelle Blog Tour and Inseam Pocket Tutorial

Welcome to our stop on the beautiful Lulabelle Collection blog tour! I hope you're enjoying the fresh colors and sweet designs in this collection. I had so much fun sewing it up, and the talented designer, Dodi Poulson, was wonderful to work with while we prepared for the blog tour. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for your chance to win some of these beauties!
I chose to sew with Lulabelle Main, with its adorable birds, birdcages, and flowers, and the Bowtie print as an accent, both in the Mint colorway. The fabric was provided to me free of charge so I could bring you this tutorial, but all opinions are my own. And look how cute the selvedge is! "Squirrel!"

I chose our Sugarplum Skirt Pattern just to show how easy it is to take this special-occasion skirt pattern, leave out the optional underskirt, and make it in these pretty cottons for every day wear! And every day wear made me think ... SQUIRREL! No wait. POCKETS!

So let me show you how to add inseam pockets to any pattern. It's much easier than you might think. You'll need only scraps of same or coordinating fabric for the pockets, a pocket pattern, and a few minutes of your time.

How to Add Inseam Pockets to Any Pattern

First you'll need a pocket pattern piece. I grabbed the inseam pocket pattern piece from the Tie Dye Diva Hello Hoodie pattern, which is easy for me to do because I have all my patterns right here at hand, but you can easily draft your own if you don't own Hello Hoodie. It's not an exact science, just make a downward-sloping "D" shape big enough for the wearer's hand and be sure it's at least 4" finished on the open end so you can easily get your own hand in there to check for treasures before you do the wash!  Be sure to add seam allowance.

Cut 4 pockets, 2 reversed so that you have two matched pairs. Finish the edges all around. I've used a narrow 3-thread stitch on my serger, but you can also zigzag the edges or using pinking shears. Also finish the side edges of your garment pieces, be it pants, skirt, or whatever.

Place the pockets at a comfortable height for the wearer. The Sugarplum Skirt has a wide flat front waistband that finishes at 2" wide. I guessed at a good height for this girl's size 5 skirt and measured about another 1.5" down on my skirt fabric *but I wish I hadn't*. They came out a little low, so next time with this pattern I'd just set them 5/8" from the top edge to allow for the seam allowance. With right sides together, stitch a pocket piece to each side edge of your garment piece. You want to use a seam allowance that is 1/8" less than you will be using for your garment side seams. For the Sugarplum Skirt, the seam allowance is 1/2", so I am sewing pockets at 3/8". Repeat for front and back.

Press the pocket toward the seam allowance. Do not turn the seam allowance under - press only the pocket.

Lay the garment front and back right sides together, aligning the pockets. Sew down the side seam going around the pocket. Press the seam allowance toward the front of the garment.

Finish the garment per pattern instructions.  Fill with hands, treasures, etc. and enjoy!

Photo by Rock Princess Photography

The bow instructions are included with the Sugarplum Skirt pattern. I love how this clever Bowtie print (look closely! There are little bows.) coordinates with the main.

Lulabelle is shipping in late November and you can find it soon at Hawthorne Threads and wherever you buy your favorite Riley Blake fabrics.

You can find the Sugarplum Skirt pattern on the Tie Dye Diva Patterns website.

Don’t miss out on the great giveaway that Dodi is offering this week. Simply go to and leave a comment to win Lulabelle Fat Quarters and/or check out Lulabelle on Instagram @sashgal to win 5, ½ yard pieces of Lulabelle. (Rules for the Instagram contest will be posted there.)  Contests will end at 12:00 p.m. (pacific )on Saturday the 14th with Riley Blake doing a wrap up for the tour! Winners will be chosen after the close of the tours. Best of luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Welcome the Ringmaster! New Girls Top and Pants patterns from Tie Dye Diva

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the Ringmaster! Two new Tie Dye Diva patterns debut today in One Thimble digital sewing magazine! This post contains affiliate links.

Ringmaster Top pattern is an unlined, hip-length top. Enclosed elastic in the side panels gives it a gentle A-line shape. Back closes with a button and loop - no buttonholes needed.

Tester photo by Hot Fudge
Tester photo by the Crafty Contessa

Tester photo by Missy Mae's Closet
The Ringmaster Top pattern is advanced beginner/intermediate level and includes sizes 12 months through 9/10 years.

Ringmaster Pants are capri-length pants with a flat front and gathered elastic back. Faux-wrap panels can be trimmed with ruffles (no serger needed!) or trim.

Tester photo by Her Grace Boutique
Pull-on style for easy self-dressing and comfortable gathered back. The Ringmaster Pants pattern is confident/advanced beginner level and includes sizes 12 months through 9/10 years.

Tester photos, L to R: Lily & Bea, Angie K., Nic B.
Special thanks to tester Sam and I Designs who got these adorable Ringmaster shots at the circus to go with One Thimble's Issue 9 'vintage circus' theme.

The Ringmaster patterns debut today as part of One Thimble digital sewing magazine and also can be purchased separately or as a discounted set of 2 patterns.

Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoy the Sew!

(groaan... I know. I couldn't help it!)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's Not SCARY: Sewing a Zipper

Zippers....You asked for it and here it is!  Sewing a zipper is NOT SCARY! Installing a zipper is a more advanced skill than buttons and loops or even buttonholes, but a zipper has it's place.  Special occasion fabrics are not always suitable to sewing buttonholes. Or perhaps your wiggly toddler doesn't like being still long enough to button buttons, slide up the zipper and you're done!  If you're ready to tackle a new skill, here's how to add a zipper to any pattern.  I'll be using Tie Dye Diva's Perfect Party Dress, but the same method can be used for any number of Tie Dye Diva dresses.

First, adjust your back pattern pieces.  If the pattern is written for buttons, subtract the overlap, but be sure to leave seam allowance.  Also, if the pattern does not include a center back skirt seam, add one.

When sewing the bodice, follow all the pattern instructions except for one.  Do not sew the center back seams when attaching the main bodice to the bodice lining.  Below you see the neck and armholes are sewn, but not the center back.

Serge each raw edge of the center back skirt seam.  Sew right sides together leaving about 3" un-sewn at the top.  Be sure to back-tack to secure your stitches.  Press this seam open.

Continue sewing as per the pattern instructions.  When attaching the bodice and skirt match the raw edges of the bodice and skirt while keep the lining free.  A zipper allows for enclosing the seam on the bodice so we will do that also.

Now, we are ready to install the zipper.  Press the seam allowance (1/2") to the inside on the center back.

In preparation of sewing the zipper, I prefer to trim the top edge of the zipper tape to about 1/2" 

Turn the dress right side out.  We will be sewing from the right side for the rest of the zipper installation.  Pin (or use Wash Away Wonder Tape or washable glue stick) the right back side with the folded edge right along the edge of the zipper teeth. 

zipper open  for better visibility

Using a zipper foot sew about 1/8" from the folded edge until flush with the start of the skirt back seam.  Be sure to secure your stitches at both the start and end of this line of sewing. 

A zipper foot

The zipper foot allows for sewing right at the edge of the zipper teeth.

Half way done!  Now, close the zipper and lap the left folded edge just past the stitching on the right side. Pins and Wash Away Wonder tape are very helpful at this point.  Take a moment to make sure that the bottom edge is smooth and that both the waist seam and top edge match up.

It is correct that the folded edge of the bodice will extend past the teeth of the zipper. Here is what it will look like on the inside.

Again using your zipper foot, sew the left side of the back bodice, guiding the edge of the zipper foot along the ridge of the zipper teeth. As you near the bottom stop with your needle in the down position and raise your presser foot.  Slide the zipper pull up, closing the zipper, and continue sewing.  At the end of the skirt opening pivot the dress 90° and sew across the bottom of the zipper (yes, you can sew through zipper teeth), again remember to secure your stitches with a back-tack.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed a zipper!

To finish off the dress slip stitch the lining to the zipper tape. On the lapped side of the zipper the lining will need folded in more than 1/2" to prevent covering the zipper. Add a hook and eye closure to the top of the zipper.
What a pretty inside finish too!

Lastly, secure the lining at the waist by topstitching from the right side of the dress. This will be familiar to you from many Tie Dye Diva patterns.  Enjoy your Perfect Party Dress (or any number of other Tie Dye Diva dress patterns) with a zipper!  Make getting a wiggly, impatient toddler dressed a jiff!