Happy Homemade Sew-along // what you’ll need

Everything sew-along:
Announcing . . .
Where to buy the book
Hoodie Inspiration
Mixing it Up


Oooh, the sew-along starts in less than a week!  We’re in major preparation mode now and today I’m going to talk about what materials you’ll need to make the pull-over parka.

But first, did anyone try out some hoodie ideas with the sketch I provided last week?  Yuki and I had fun coloring a few in and trying some different combos.

Yuki's Hoodie // you & mie

Yesterday, I posted on Instagram one of the combos I’m considering.  And I also just added my favorite of Yuki’s hoodies in the flickr group.  You definitely want to check that out.  If you’ve got a sketch, don’t forget to share it!  #happyhomemadesewalong

ANYWAYS, moving on to materials.  Do you have your fabric picked out yet?  I’m guessing that some of you do and some of you don’t.  And that’s fine!  If you’re in the latter group, we’re going to help you figure that out today!  Meg is sharing with you some suggested fabrics types and an amazing selection of prints she rounded up.  And I’m going to tell you how much fabric you need along with any other materials required for this project.  Shall we get started?

First, you need to figure out what size you’re going to make.  Here’s the size chart included in the English version of the book to help you determine the appropriate size.

Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids size chart

The first number in each box is in inches.  In parentheses is the measurement in centimeters.

Most Japanese sewing books follow the same format: Pictures of all the projects in the first half of the book and instructions in the back.  In the Japanese version of the book, the pull-over pictures are on page 22 and 23.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

You can see the directions are on page 54.

In the English version of the book, the pull-over is on page 24, with directions on page 60.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

Flip over to your directions page and in the top left corner is wear you’ll find a lot of the basic information that you need to begin.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

The pullover parka hoodie is labeled pattern “S.” The first section tells us which pattern pieces we are going to need.  In the Japanese book, it also tells you that you can find the pattern pieces on “Side A” of the pattern pages.  We can skip this information for now – we’ll be diving into that part next week.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

The next section is about the materials you’ll need.  Japanese patterns don’t really give you suggested fabrics.  Instead, it lists the fabric used in the samples in the book.  So for example, while some patterns might suggest, “light- to medium-weight fabric such as quilting cotton, shirting, linen or voile,” Japanese patterns might say something like, “floral print cotton” or in this case, “herringbone cotton” or “tartan cotton.”  This information can be useful if you want to replicate the book version, but as far as recommendations, they aren’t very helpful.  Luckily, Meg is here to help you out with fabric suggestions!

What you should pay attention to though, is the number next to the fabric.  Here it says, “40 in (102 cm) herringbone cotton.”  That first number is the width of the fabric.  Be sure that the fabric you choose is at least the same width as the measurement listed here.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // you & mie

This section has a ton of numbers, so it’s a little hard to separate what’s what, but I’ve color coded it to make it easier.  Based on these numbers, here’s what I’d recommend buying for each size (I rounded up a little).

Size 2: 1 and 1/4 yards
Size 4: 1 and 1/2 yards
Size 6: 1 and 1/2 yards
Size 8: 1 and 2/3 yards

The other materials you’ll need are:
Fusible interfacing: 2 x 3/4 in
Cotton tape: 44 in
1/4 inch wide elastic: 2 and 3/8 in

The cotton tape is used to create a drawstring at the bottom of the pull-over.  You can use twill tape, bias tape, cording, ribbon, etc.  If you use bias tape, you’ll want to sew it shut along the open edge.

cotton tape

Besides fabric and notions, there a few other things that you’ll need to gather before you can begin.

  • Tracing paper.  The first thing we’re going to need to do is the find and trace the pattern pieces we need.  You’ll want as large of sheets as possible, like this, which can be found at most art stores
  • Ruler and pencil.  I’m assuming you already have one, but since we’ll be adding our own seam allowance, you’re not going to be able to do that without a ruler.
  • Safety pin.  It will come in handy when threading the cotton tape through the casing.

Is it time to go shopping?  I’m going to start with my stash and see if I have anything there first.  Looking for fabric suggestions?  Be sure to check out Meg’s post!  She has rounded up a drool-worthy selection of prints to consider along with helpful suggestions on fabric types.

We’re getting close!  Sew-along begins in SIX DAYS!


Supplies: The Essentials

Before we start with any tutorials, I thought it might be useful to go over some of the things I find necessary for any sewing project.  Of course, you could probably get buy with just a needle, thread, and a pair of scissors, but these things make any project easier, faster and cleaner (more professional looking).

1. sewing machine – A standard sewing machine will do for most projects.  If you’re looking to buy a machine, unfortunately I can’t help too much, but I’d definitely do the research.  If you know anyone with a machine, ask if they like it and if you can try it out.  I wouldn’t go with anything super fancy or expensive (it’s just not necessary), but I would also avoid the cheapest “beginner” machines.  They’re just . . . cheap.  I actually do not own my own sewing machine yet.  I borrowed my mom’s for a long time, and now I’m using Hideko’s mom’s machine.  But, my amazing friends and family just pulled together and are going to get me a new machine for my birthday!!!  I can’t wait.

2. iron & ironing board – Hopefully this is something you already own.  Ironing (or pressing) is super important when you’re sewing, so never skip that step.  After you’ve bought fabric, you’ll want to wash, dry and iron it.  Before you sew certain seams, you’ll need to iron it.  After you sew it, you need to press it open.  Your everyday run-of-the-mill iron will work just fine.

3. cutting mat – There’s not a lot to say about this.  You need a surface to measure and cut fabrics, especially if you’re using a rotary cutter.  Get the biggest size that you can, keeping in mind that you’ll need room for storing it.  Mine is 18″x24″.

4. fabric scissors – Go and buy a nice pair of fabric scissors and make sure they are used for just that (and thread and ribbon).  These scissors have extremely sharp blades (so be careful!).  Cutting paper and other things dull the blades on scissors really quickly and you will not get clean cuts on fabric.  Apparently you can get these blades sharpened if you need, but I’ve never had to do that.

5. rotary cutter – This is a circular blade (think pizza cutter).  Paired with a yard stick, this makes cutting straight lines in a fabric a piece of cake.  It is also really useful for cutting through several layers of fabric without shifting the fabric.

6. yard stick, ruler, measuring tape – Get a good quality yard stick, either made with a hard wood or lined with metal.  The first yard stick I had was not meant for sewing and the rotary cutter would cut slivers of the ruler right off.  Measuring tape has only become necessary to me since I’ve started to sew clothing.  You’ll need it to measure your model.

7. pins – You’ll need pins to hold together pieces of fabric so they don’t shift as you sew.

8. marking pen – Not actually an ESSENTIAL item, but very useful.  This is used to mark lines on your fabric before you cut or sew.  I bought this two sided one because at the time I didn’t know what the difference was.  Disappearing ink fades with time (it’s air soluble).  Depending on the fabric, it could disappear as fast as 30 seconds, or it may never fade, so it’s really important to test it out on a scrap of fabric first.  Disappearing ink is also water soluble, so you can remove it with water.  The Mark-B-Gone is ink that is water soluble, so it’ll stay on your fabric until you remove it with a damp towel.  I used this ink when I tried quilting.  I was able to mark all the lines I wanted to quilt and they stayed for as long as I needed them to (which was a loooooong time) until I was done and washed them off.  You can also use water soluble pencils or marking chalk.

The thing on the very right is called an awl.  It can be used for many things, but I mainly use it to unpick stitches.  I was going to include it, but it’s not actually necessary.  Most people probably use a seam ripper, which is a useful tool to have, but since I don’t have one, I use the awl.  It can also be used for putting holes in thick materials like leather.

So that’s it.  It may seem like a lot, but they will make your sewing life much much easier!  I like to wait until I have a good coupon at Joann’s or they have a sale (and they always do) and then you can get most of these things for 40-50% off (except the sewing machine).  And trust me, you’ll use them A LOT and for a long looooong time.

Now that you have all your supplies, next time, we can get sewing!