May 2009

tiesFeatured: Silk ties by Terrence Dobbs

Make Dad your own specially-designed tie for Father’s Day.

Fresh from the Hamptons, Terrence Dobbs will inspire you with his ‘Father & Son’ ties.

You will need:

  • 1 square yard [meter] of fashion fabric (try something silky)
  • coordinating thread
  • kraft paper


This tie is drafted by height.

The four major parts of the necktie draft equation are the length of the tie from the big tip to the knot, the knot itself, the tie around the neck, and finally the tail end of the tie that is hidden behind the front of the tie. The length should be reasonable so that when one tip is touching the belt buckle, the other tip can be securely held in place in the carrier on the back side.

Height = measure vertically from top of head to heels.

Neck measurement = measure around base of neck.

Tie Width = 3.5 – 4 inches [9-10 cm] (it can vary on current fashion)

Tie Knot = 5 inch allowance [12.5 cm] (Half-Windsor type)

Take a length of kraft paper and fold it lengthwise. (You may glue 2 pieces together if needed).

Along the fold, plot the following:

draftA-B = 0.30 of the height

B-C = neck measurement + ½” [12mm]

C-D = knot allowance

D-E = 0.30 of the height – 3” [75mm]

Square 90° across from foldline at all points.

F-C =  0.75 of tie width

G-C = C-F

Join F and  G with a straight line.

H is mid-point of F-G.

I-C = C-D

J-I = C-F

K-A = tie width; square up.

L-K = K-A

M-L = K-A

Join M to J with a straight line.

Join L to H with a straight line.

Using a set square placed on line L-H, square a line from A to locate N on line M-J.

Join L-A and L-N with a straight line.

O-E = 0.50 of the tie width

O-P = E-O

P-Q = E-O

Join Q and  F with a straight line.

Join P and  H with a straight line.

Using a set square placed on line P-H, square a line from E to locate R on line Q-F.

Join P-E and P-R with a straight line.

Join F to J with a straight line.

At B and D, draw a 1” x 1” square [25mm X 25mm] with one of its sides positioned on the foldline.

Add 3/8” [1cm] seam allowance around the perimeter of the tie pattern.

grainlineCut out the tie pattern and open the folded paper.

Extend line F-G across the pattern piece. Cut through line F-G.

Draw a grainline through opposite corners of the square box at B and D.


layCut 1X self for upper portion of tie.

Cut 1X self for under portion of tie.

Cut 1X self for carrier – 6” X 2 ½” [150 mm X 65mm]

Tip: A rotary cutter is ideal for cutting fabric on bias grain.


1. Make a carrier loop 6 inches by 1 ½ inches [150mm X 40mm].

2. With right sides facing, align and match upper and under portions of tie together at center seam. Pin/baste and stitch seam using a ¼” [5mm] seam allowance. Press seam open.

3. With right sides facing, align and match each tie end along raw edges. Pin/baste and sew each tie point using a 3/8” [1cm] seam allowance. Press seam open. Grade and trim points. Turn tie right side out.

Tip: A wooden chopstick lets you get into tight corners when pressing a seam open.

4. Fold the tie fabric with wrong sides together; align and match raw edges along length of tie. Baste both layers together.

This tie is self-lined. Select which side of the tie will be the face side.

5. Fold the tie carrier in half to form a loop and secure it 10” [25.5cm] from the front tip on the face side of the tie. Sew it to the seam allowance.

6. With the tie face down, fold the basted raw edge 3/8” [1cm] over the center of the tie along its length. Herringbone stitch along the raw edge catching only the top layers of fabric.

Tip: Use waxed thread and a new needle whenever doing hand-stitching.

7. Place the folded edge over the basted raw edges and align to center (careful  not to stretch fabric).  Slipstitch along folded edge, catching only the top layer of fabric to complete the tie.

8. Without touching the  fabric, gently steam the tie  shape. Let fabric cool before handling. (Do not press the tie.)

22w369-LARGEFeatured: Imperial Dog Palace from Victoria Trading Co.

Creature comforts for the one who leaves no doubt who rules the roost.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 yd. [0.9 m] of upholstery fabric, 54”[138 cm] wide
  • Approx. 1 yd [0.9 m] of ticking, 54” [138 cm] wide
  • 1 closed-end zipper, 26”[66cm] long
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1 ½ yds. [1.2m] to 2 yds. [1.8 m] upholstery felt (kapok), 24” [61cm] wide
  • Kraft paper

DIMENSIONS: Approximately 26” X 22” X 4″ [66 cm X 56cm X 10 cm]


bed draft

Seam allowance is included


Cut  1X in upholstery fabric and ticking.


Note: Construction of the pet bed is the same for both the exterior cover and the padded cushion with the exception that the ticking will receive the kapok stuffing and the upholstery fabric with have an inserted zipper.

  1. On both short ends between X and O, turn under ½” [12mm] and press flat.
  2. zipperFor the exterior cover, center the zipper between X and O and align the foldline along the zipper teeth. Pin/baste zipper in place and topstitch fabric to zipper tape.
  3. Fold fabric with right sides together (RST), and repeat to other side of zipper. Note: If the zipper is shorter than folded edge, center zipper placement and stitch up seam at both ends of zipper.
  4. For kapok cushion, fold ticking with right sides together (RST). Stitch 1 ½” [40 mm] seam at X and repeat at O. Topstitch folded edges between X and O.
  5. With ticking RST, align and match side seams. Pin/baste and sew side seams using ½” [12mm] seam allowances. Press seam open.
  6. miterFold each notched corner and align and match the raw edges to form a miter. Pin/baste and sew seam at each corner.
  7. Turn the ticking right side out.
  8. Layer the upholstery felt in a high loft slightly larger in dimension to the ticking. Stuff the layers inside the cushion and slipstitch the opening closed.
  9. Repeat Steps 5 to 7 for the exterior cover. (Remember to open the zipper so you can turn the cover right side out.)
  10. Insert the kapok cushion into the exterior cover.
V283627 victoria's secretFeatured: Victoria Secret Peasant Skirt

You’ll this easy-to-sew skirt…XOX.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 ½  to 3 yds. of fashion fabric (depends on fabric weight and width)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Heavy-duty topstitching/upholstery thread


Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso (just above navel level)

Hips – measure around the fullest part of the seat, about 8” [20cm] below the waistline.

Finished Skirt Length – measure vertically from waist to desired hemline.


This is a simple block draft. You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to determine the dimensions of the panels you are going to cut.

(This also will help you determine how much fabric to purchase.)

Designer Tip: If you wish to use a printed fabric, look for a print that has been “railroaded”, that is the print runs along the fabric’s length. That way, you needn’t piece the fabric together to create the tiers.

XOX Block Draft

xox 1

Measure the hip. You may round up the measurement to the nearest ½” [12mm].

O = (hip measurement + 2” [5cm] ) divided by 2.

Next, determine the desired length of each tier; divide the finished skirt length by the number of tiers you desire. You may round up to the nearest ½” [12 mm]. The featured model from Victoria’s Secret has 3 tiers and is approximately 21″ [53.5cm] long.

X = (finished skirt length + 2 ½ ” [6.5 cm] ) divided by 3.

For example: for a size 14 hip measurement of approximately 38” [96.5 cm] and the finished skirt of approximately 21″ [53.5 cm] long, the tiers are 7 ¾ ” [19.5 cm] long.

Again, you may round your answer a little if needed; this is not exactly rocket science.

O = 20” [51cm]

X =  8” [24 cm]

Time to plot and cut.

Determine if the fabric print runs up-and-down OR railroaded (sideways) on the surface.

Now to add fullness to each panel width.  Gathering is usually a 2:1 ratio.  (If you choose a thin/lightweight fabric you may need a greater ratio.)

layYou will cut 2 panels to make each tier. (skirt front & back).

Plot a 2” [50 mm] band across the fabric’s width OR length. (see  layout diagram)

Set up XOX block as illustrated.

Top Panel = 1 block

Middle Panel = 2 blocks

Bottom Panel = 3 blocks

Designer Tip: Short on fabric? Try cutting the second tier in a contrasting colour or fabric.

xox 2

Now you have all of your skirt pieces and are ready to start sewing!

*Designer Tip: Embellish your tier panels with flat ribbons or braids if desired.


1. Attach the pair of 2” [50 mm] bands together at one short end to create a drawstring. Fold along its length and press flat. Open the fold and turn in raw edges ¼” [6 mm]. Refold and edgestitch along the length on the open side, then along the fold side. Knot each end.

2. xox 3With right sides facing each other, sew the side seams together on each pair of panels using ½” [12 mm] seam allowance. Edge finish each of these seams with an overlock machine if you have access to one, otherwise trim with pinking shears to keep the raw edges from unraveling. Press seams open. There are now 3 “loops” of fabric, one for each tier.

3. hemAt this point, sew a narrow double-rolled hem around the entire bottom edge of the lower tier. Press up 1/2″ [12 mm], open the fabric back out, and press the raw edge in to meet the first crease. Sew the rolled hem.

4. Edge finish the upper edge of the top tier. Fold 1 ¼” [30 mm] to the inside and press to form a casing for the elastic. Turn raw edge under ¼” [6 mm] then stitch about 1″ [25 mm] from the fold all the way around.

5. On the top edges of the middle and bottom tiers (and with right sides facing up), sew a wide zigzag machine-stitch over the heavy-duty thread all the way around the seam allowance.xox 4

6. Starting with the bottom tier, grasp the heavy-duty thread ends and start pulling gently to form gathers in the fabric. When the circumference of this edge matches that of the lower edge of the middle tier, stop and tie your thread ends together to keep everything in place. Then slide the gathers around until you are happy that they are distributed fairly evenly.

7. Flip the middle tier inside out so that the right sides (the face of the fabric) are facing each other and pin it to the bottom tier — the bottom edge of the middle tier (the edge without the gathering) should match up to the top gathered edge of the lower tier and the right sides should be together. Pin/baste this seam just below the zigzag stitching. (basting is your friend on this project!) Now, flip it right side out and check your gathers and re-adjust if necessary. Machine stitch this seam along the basting; then remove the heavy-duty thread and basting.

8. Repeat the procedures from Steps 6 and 7 to attach the middle tier to the top tier.

xox 6

9. Serge or pink the gathered seam allowances you’ve just sewn to finish the raw edges.

10. On the outside edge of the ‘waistband’ casing, open 1” [2.5 cm] on one seam carefully with a seam ripper. Thread the drawstring through the top casing. (Alternatively, you may use elastic in the casing, if desired)

cape1Featured: Escada Wrap

Here are my favourite bold colour combos for cosy sueded fabrics for those of you planning your new wrap for the spring/summer season. Just in case it looks intimidating, rest assured this is a patternless fashion design (a simple block draft) where the beauty of the fabric shines and bold colour is the star.

You will need:

  • 1 yd [90cm] of fashion fabric, 60” [150cm] wide in colour A*
  • 1 yd [90cm] of fashion fabric, 60” [150cm] wide in colour B*
  • 12 yd. [11m] of double-side flat braid, 2” [50mm] wide
  • Matching crochet yarn (pearl cotton or wool) to make 11 tassels
  • Coordinating thread

Designer Tip:

* Analogous colour schemes – use any colour that lie adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Your choice of hue may be any tint, shade, or tone.

  • color-wheelRed + Orange
  • Red + Violet
  • Yellow + Green
  • Yellow + Orange
  • Blue + Green
  • Blue + Violet

DIMENSIONS: Approx. 60” X 60” [150 cm X 150cm].


Cut each fabric across its width to create two pairs of panel equal to 16” X 60” [40.5cm X 150cm].  Alternatively, if you desire a longer wrap, cut the panels along the fabric’s length to the desired finished length. (You will need to purchase extra fabric).



1. Make 11 tassel from yarn. (I used black embroidery wool) Make the cardboard template equal to twice the length of the finished tassel and fold it in half. Wind yarn around template as thick as you desire. Tie off across top and cut through bottom with scissors. Wrap more yarn around the top end and create a tassel.

2.  Sew one panel of each colour together (I used double-sided microfibre sand-washed silk) with wrong sides facing. Press seam open.

wrap 1
3. Sew each pair together with wrong sides facing, allowing one end of seam to be open for 35” [89cm]. Press seam open and seam allowances flat on face side of fabric.
Apply flat braid (I used black grosgrain ribbon) over the seam allowances of the three seams.

wrap 2

4. Sew flat braid to edge of center opening in fabric, folding ribbon in a mitre at the turn.

wrap 3

5. Sew flat braid to perimeter of fabric, beginning and completing at the center slit opening and miter ribbon braid at each corner.

wrap 4

6. Attach a tassel to corners of wrap and at each seam intersection. (6 total on front hem and 5 total on back hem)

sundress2Featured: Simplicity

The button-front “chemise” sundress— the quintessential of summer attire – is easy to wear, unrestrictive and yet not without that “sophisticated look”. This summer, you’ll find the sundresses  will be both elegant and appealing. And I am sure that because of its easy patterndraft, this lovely addition to your summer wardrobe will inspire you with your favourite fashion fabric.

You will need:

  • 1 ½ yds. [1.5 m] of Fashion fabric, 60” [150 cm]wide
  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.2 m] of Fusible interfacing 24” [60 cm] wide
  • 12 buttons, 7/8” [22 mm] dia., line 34
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper


Bust – measure around fullest part of chest, just under the arms.

Hips –  measure around fullest part of seat, about 8” [20 cm] below waistline.

Back waist length – measure distance from nape of neck to waistline


sundress draft

A-B = back waist length

B-C = 2 times back waist length (or desired finished length**)

B-D = 4” [10cm]

Square across all points.

D-E = 1/2 of hip or bust measurement (whichever is the greater)

Square up and down from E to locate G, H.

I = half distance of A to B.

Square across to locate J.

I-K = 2” [5cm]; square across to locate L.

J-M = 3” [7.5 cm]

N = half distance of I to J.

Square down from N to locate O, P, and R.

N-Q = 1” [2.5 cm];  I-S = 1” [2.5 cm];  join M to Q.

T = half distance of B to P.

Square up and down from T to locate U and V.

L-W = 3” [7.5 cm]

H-X = 3” [7.5 cm]

Join W and X with a straight line.

Measure 1” [2.5 cm] on either side of P. Shape sideseam by joining Q and R with a smooth curve passing through the points on either side of P.

Measure ½” [12 mm] either side of T. Make a shaping dart by joining U and V with a smooth curve passing through the points on either side of T. (optional)


Trace out A-G-K-L.

Add ½” [12mm] at K and L. Join new points with a straight line.

Divide rectangle horizontally with 1 ½” [4 cm] intervals (3 in total) to create the pintucks.

Each pintuck is ½” [12 mm] wide with 1” [25 mm] spacing. (see diagram)


Trace out on fold S-Q-R-O-C for the dress back.

Trace out J-N-O-R-Q-M for the dress front.

Trace out L-W-X-N for the front placket.

Trace out on fold K-L-J-I for the dress facing.

Add ½” [12 mm] seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

Add 1 ¼” [ 32 mm] hem allowance to dress back and fronts.

**Design Note: This patterndraft can be shorten to waistline for a smart summer camisole.


sundress layCut BACK 1X self on fold

Cut FRONTS 2X self

Cut FACING 1X self on fold; 1X interfacing on fold

Cut PLACKET 2X self; 2X interfacing.

Cut PINTUCKS 1X self on fold

Cut 2 SHOULDER STRAPS =  16” long X 1” wide

[40 cm x 2.5 cm]


  1. Make 2 shoulder straps ¼” [6mm] wide.
  2. Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of dress facing and both placket pieces, following manufacturer’s directions.
  3. Make the pintuck border. Beginning at the top edge, turn under 1 ½” [4cm] and press. Stitch ½” [12 mm] parallel to folded edge. From stitching, turn under 1” [25mm] and press. Stitch ½” [12mm] parallel to pressed edge. From stitching, turn under 1” [25 mm] and press. Set aside.
  4. Stitch the suppression darts on the back piece. (optional)
  5. Stitch fronts to back along side seams. Press seam open.
  6. Align and match bottom edge of pintuck border to top edge of dress. Pin/baste with right sides facing together. Machine stitch. Grade seam allowance and press upward.
  7. From face side, baste along seamline (while tucking in the seam allowance) to complete last pintuck. From last pressed fold, stitch ½” [12 mm] parallel to seamline.
  8. Press all pintucks downward on the face side of the dress.
  9. Set shoulder straps in place on front and back. Baste to top edge of border.
  10. Align and match dress facing to top edge of dress ensuring the straps are caught in the seam. Pin/baste in place. Machine stitch the seam. Grade seam allowance and press to one side. Understitch facing. Finish bottom of facing by turning under ¼” [6 mm] then topstitching. Turn facing to inside of dress.
  11. With right side of placket to wrong side of dress fronts, pin/baste placket to each front (allowing for seam allowance at top and hem). Stitch seam and press to one side.
  12. On opposite side of placket, turn under seam allowance and press flat. Fold the short ends of the placket back on itself and stitch across top and bottom. Trim corners, then  turn plackets right side out. Align the pressed edge to the row of machine stitching and topstitch closed.
  13. On the right front placket, divide the length equally for 12 1-inch [2.5 cm] vertical buttonholes spaced 3 inches [7.5 cm] apart from the top. Position the first buttonhole 1″ [2.5cm] from the top of the dress front opening.
  14. On the left front placket, sew on the buttons.
br-wool-cloche-hatFeatured: Cloche hat from Banana Republic

A buckled cloche for Spring.  Easy-peasy and pretty!

You will need:

  • Graph paper
  • approx. 1 yd. of fusible interfacing, 45″ wide
  • approx. 1 yd. of bottom-weight or upholstery fashion fabric, 54″-60″ wide
  • approx. 1/2 yd. of lining fabric, 45″ wide
  • approx. 3/4 yd. of grosgrain ribbon, 2″ wide
  • 1 belt buckle, 1 ½” wide
  • coordinating thread


This hat draft is a medium size for a head circumference of approximately 23” [58.5cm].



Grid: 1 square = 1 inch [25 mm]

Add ½  inch seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

Trace out and cut pattern shapes on fold of graph paper.


Cut the crown side 2X; lining 2X ; interfacing 2X

Cut the crown top 1X; lining 1X; interfacing 1X

Cut the brim 2X; interfacing 1X

Cut the belt strap 2X; interfacing 1X

Cut the sweatband (grosgrain ribbon) 24” long  X 2″ wide.


1. Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of each crown piece and to one of each of the brim and strap pairs, following manufacturer’s directions.
2. On each brim piece, pin and baste CB seam with right side together. Stitch seam using a ½” seam allowance and press open.
3. Layer the 2 brim pieces with right sides facing together and align the CB seams. Pin/baste outer edges together. Sew around the perimeter of the brim.
4. Grade and trim the seam allowance and turn brim right side out. Press outer edge flat.
TIP: Due to fabric thickness, it is important to grade the seam allowances as you sew. The bulk will reduce the headfitting measurement. You may also take less of the seam allowance to account for the bulk.

5. Topstitch outer edge of brim.  (I use the width of the presser foot as a spacer.) The more stitching you put, the stiffer the brim. Set aside.
6. Layer the belt strap pieces with right sides facing together. Align and match up raw edges and pin/baste together. Machine-stitch across one short end and along the 2 long edges. Grade and trim seam allowances and turn strap right side out. Press outer edges flat. Topstitch around perimeter of the strap. Set aside.
7. Pin/baste the side pieces to the top section, with right sides facing together. Ease the straight edges into the curved ones. Machine-stitch the 2 side seams of the crown portion. Press the seam open. (You may need to clip the seam allowance to get it to lie flat.) Turn the crown right side out.
8. Repeat the same method for the hat lining. Insert the lining into the hat crown with wrong sides facing together. Baste lining to crown around the circumference of the crown.
9. Align the CF and CB and the Xs of the crown and the brim. Match up these points, pin and basting with right sides together. Machine stitch the crown section to the brim, using a ½” seam allowance.
10. Sew in grosgrain ribbon as a “sweatband”. This should equal the head fitting measurement. Lay the ribbon on top of the seam allowance along the top of the brim and edge stitch along the ribbon edge. Overlap at CB. Grade and trim  the seam allowance . Turn the ribbon up into the crown to conceal the raw edge of the seam allowance and tack to CB of hat with hand stitching.
11. On the left side of the hat exterior above the seamline of the brim, handstitch the open end of the belt strap to the center of the crown side piece using a narrow seam allowance. (Do this with the belt strap pointing to the front of the hat.) Fold the strap back onto itself and slip on the buckle. Wrap the strap around the hat’s crown and slip loose end into the buckle. (Add punched eyelets if you are using a pronged belt buckle).