DIY wide knit headband: video tutorial + pdf pattern!

DIY wide knit headband

Download your DIY wide knit headband pattern PDF here!

A brand new year always feels good. But so do disgustingly easy freebie patterns that take no time to finish at all. Even better is that you may even be able to complete this with some kind of stretchy fabulousness that you already have in your fabric stash. Oh, and don’t even think that you will be measuring ANYTHING for this, because I’ve already made a cute pdf pattern piece for you that is ready to be printed and cut. Only ONE pattern piece. That means only ONE single sheet of letter-sized paper to print out.

New Year = WINNING.

Oh but wait, there’s more! Not only are the written instructions included in the downloadable PDF, I’ve also created a video tutorial for this pattern making it THAT much easier for people who sew at any level.

YOU get a video tutorial. And YOU get a video tutorial.

EVERYBODY GETS A VIDEO TUTORIAL!!!!!!!!!!

AND, as I mention in the video, if you can follow the instructions to make this wide knit headband then you already know the EXACT steps to making your own circle scarf or infinity scarf. Click here for DIY circle scarf video tutorial.

I know you guys. You are so welcome!

Be sure to share your finished headbands with the hashtag #wideknitheadband on Instagram or Twitter so we can all see your awesome finished projects!

Enjoy + Happy New Year!!!! ^_^

xo, Raven

kielo wrap dress with sleeve modification

kielo wrap dress

The Kielo wrap dress, by Named Patterns.

kielo wrap dress

Close-up of Kielo wrap dress tie detail + my knit fabric from Girl Charlee. Notice the gold flecks (threads) in the fabric!

kielo wrap dress pattern pieces

Laying out the 4 pattern pieces on my new large cutting table! (Only 3 pieces if you exclude the sleeves.)

kielo wrap dress

Fin.
(Well….almost!)

Hello from Vietnam! If you’ve been keeping up with my instagram you’d know that I’m on the other side of the world! One of my oldest friends from elementary school has found the love of his life in Hanoi and I couldn’t be happier to be here to celebrate. And that’s where this Kielo wrap dress comes in. I wanted to wear a nice dress for the wedding that was appropriately chic for the occasion while being able to throw this dress in my luggage without worrying about silly things like wrinkles. Hanging this up in a hot shower room = problem solved.

Am I the only one that feels that clothes look about 100% better on the human it’s made for verses the dress form? This time I do stand corrected – I absolutely LOOOOVE how this Kielo wrap dress draped on my form.

(Sidenote – it’s times like these I wish I had a catchy/cutesy name for my dressform. Oh well.)

But how this dress decided to look on ME!? Not all the fireworks that I had invisioned in my mind, to be completely honest. I’m pretty confident though that I’m the harshest critic of my work that I know of. But even that being said, there’s a couple of things that bring me to that final conclusion:

1. This fabric. It looks nice, but do you notice the chevron faintly peeking through in the last photo? This could be a problem. I’m wearing this dress to a wedding today, and I really don’t want to find out later what happens to all photos taken with flash while wearing a black bra underneath this dress. I am already committing to black drugstore tights while the average weather here in Hanoi has been around the mid to low 70’s F during the day and no wind. To camisole or not to camisole? That IS the question.

2. And this fabric (part deux). Did I mention I ordered this specialty knit online? I have come to find out first hand that Girl Charlee is fantastic, and they have quite the selections of knits online to choose from. Only problem is, I’ve never been the no-look no-feel type of fabric purchaser. The screenshot looked great and the amount of stretch the fabric description gave seemed perfect, but if I had handled this fabric in person I definitely would’ve passed on it. Between the sheerness, lack of enough stretch and the just so-so drape, I know I could’ve chosen other suitable options.

Despite my complaints, I do really like the style of this dress! It is a great beginner’s pattern, and I think it looks extra sophisticated with the FREE added sleeve modification pdf pattern + instructions. More on my actual thoughts on the pattern later, but truly not bad for my first go at this pattern.

You didn’t really think I did a muslin first, did you? Lol.

Anyway, I must start getting ready for the wedding! Pics to come. Xo

burda style magazine turtleneck top pattern

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Burda Style magazine (September 2012) Turtleneck top, pattern #104A

burda style magazine turtleneck top

This pattern is 1 of 10 from the ‘Swinging Sixties’ pattern collection in Burda Style Magazine, 2012.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

My freshly traced pattern pieces!

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Front.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Back.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Small cowl neck detail.

Let’s just continue with my sewing-ALL-the-knits obsession, shall we?

So I currently have two quite involved sewing projects on the table that have lots of pattern pieces and notions that I’m not too familiar working with. Did I mention that I need both projects completed by the end of this month? Even still, sometimes you just need a quick win. Like an easy, no-fuss project that you can start in the morning and wear by the afternoon/evening.

So that didn’t really happen with this top because I decided to start looking through my old Burda magazines at eleven o’clock at night, BUT it was still fast! And if you’ve ever worked with (or downright struggled with) a pattern out of a Burda Style Magazine, you already know that it’s a different world from your average big 4 pattern experience. Tracing a pattern admist millions of lines, adding your own seam allowances, and then finally putting your project together with a total of two small paragraphs of instruction. It can be a feat!

I decided to use the knit I just purchased that I mention in this video + make an easy wardrobe staple to add to my Fall wardrobe options. A slightly fitted turtleneck top with only four pattern pieces? YES please.

However after I traced/pinned my new pattern pieces the night before, genius me misplaced the magazine with the pattern instructions the very next day! But instead of panicking, I just realized that I could totally wing this project and put them together without it. I’ve made enough garments just to know exactly how it should be assembled. And even though this isn’t the hardest of pieces to make, I couldn’t help but be incredibly proud of myself!!

I’ve never been consistent with sewing, but I’m always impressed by how much I’ve really learned over the years. And I still look forward to trying new patterns and learning more techniques. Sewing is the best!!

Sewing pattern review – Simplicity 1072

simplicity1072Pin this! ^_^

Look at all of those teeth. So much cheesiness, as per usual. Genuinely excited how well this easy-to-sew knit project came out though. SRSLY.
simplicity1072a

I did not one or two, but I actually did (attempted) THREE of these knit tops!! The middle one happened to be a disaster, but I learned something new that day. I can listen to music or have the telly on in the background while I sew, but obviously NOT Periscope.

I managed to sew the neckband inside-out AND sew wrong pieces together while listening to one of Regina’s (of www.byregina.com) amazingly informative and hilarious scopes! If you are seriously interested in motivation and help pumping up your blog and overall brand, she’s definitely your gal.

Despite the epic fail, there are no regrets! The blunder actually motivated me to get MORE fabric and try another one since I was really pleased how the first one turned out. I fear knits no more!

Check my new pattern review video below for a detailed look at this pattern – I highly recommend this one for a quickie addition to your Fall wardrobe this season!

Pattern Review of Simplicity #1072

simplicity1072bOh you know. It’s just me and my bad self 😉

Welp that’s about it for now, but I hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Talk soon! xoxo

P.S.– If you’re at all interested in like seriously awesome and helpful info to help out your blog/brand, I’d highly suggest checking out Regina’s scopes. See her previous scopes here on Katch.me/byreginatv AAAANNNNDDD follow me on Periscope too (@diyraven)! Seamsters unite!

P.S.S.– Does this last knit top look a little Star Trekkie to you??? Lol.

 

Starting with easy to sew knits

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I love wearing knits. Jersey knits most especially.  I could live in tees, sweater tops and sweater pants without regrets. They pair so easily with jeans (my other favorite thing) and they have so much give in their fabrics. I say all of this to confess that although my feelings for knits is a life-long loving relationship that cannot be broken, I have much apprehension sewing with knits and other stretchy materials.

Wovens and other extremely stable fabrics are just so easy to work with, but knits scare me a little bit. They feel unpredictable under my sewing foot, and after I sew a decent line of stitching on a knit, it pops and breaks under the natural stress and stretch of the material.

But, to be frank, I know that I just haven’t done my homework. I never use the right needles and I have never bothered to do the correct finishing on knit hems. And after meeting with my sewing buddy in Dallas this last weekend, she swears to me that it’s seriously not as bad as I make it out to be.

I really really want to start wearing my own clothing for the everyday, and what I enjoy wearing on most occasions are knit-based items. Admitting my fear outloud to another person that sews was actually my first step in getting the proper help that I needed. Next I took a crash course by looking at these three brief videos, by Sarai of Colette Patterns, introducing you to the difference of knit fabrics and a quick overview on how to work with them – here’s video 1, video 2 and video 3 if you are interested! She also includes a chapter from her latest book about sewing with knits to download for free via PDF (!!!!)

Lastly, I just went to my neighborhood fabric store (JoAnn’s, of course) and selected a $1 easy-to-sew Simplicity pattern. I also took advantage of the Veteran’s Day sale and chose enough fabric to make two sweatshirts.

The last photo is how I left my sewing desk before I had to leave for my 4-day work trip. But come next week, we’ll see how well this pattern really turned out!

BRB.

Sewing pattern review – Simplicity 1165

simlicity1165

As with most projects that I start, I usually end up completing them several months later for one reason or the other. This naturally means that the masterpiece that I have created is actually out of season. So here I am looking like Summer when it feels like Fall.

However, my elation will not be deterred!! Check out these fancy pants made of loud (and proud) floral rayon fabric.

simlicity1165a

simlicity1165b

Also, I love reading pattern reviews because they prove so helpful before I start my own pattern project. I appreciate the time that other seamsters have taken to share awesome outfit pictures and write detailed reviews of the great and not-so-great things about said sewing pattern. I’ve contributed a few of my own over the years too.

However, I thought I’d take this idea further and make a simple pattern review video instead! There’s no substitution for video sometimes, especially when it comes to seeing how clothes really move on the body.

I plan to do more of these because I feel like these prove helpful to some. Take a gander at my quick pattern review of Simplicity pants pattern #1165.

simlicity1165cNew Ikea project desk and my sewing machine that I haven’t seen in nearly 4 months!

simlicity1165d100 pounds of sewing supplies from home that I finally got around to shipping to myself from Houston!

I know it’s been a while, kids. I’m ever-so-slowly trying to get my life here settled in San Diego. Remember when I transferred to Seattle for work? Yeah, well after 4 months, I just transferred to San Francisco!

Oh the adjustments. But at least I’m working in the same state that I live now AND my sewing life is finally here with me!

More to come. xo.

 

Cropped Kimono, Simplicity pattern #1318

kimono1
Editorial shot (not really) live from my hotel room in Sioux Falls, SD

kimono2
Close-up print + lace detail

kimono3
Wingspan (shirt tucked to show crop length)

kimono4
Obligatory back shot

kimono5
Bonheur. (French for ‘happiness’)

 

I’m making it a point in 2015 to try to sew more for myself regardless of all the other things that get in the way. That means hand sewing or project planning on both work and fun travel days. Days at home mean quality time on my machine. No excuses.

It has been so tiring – but so fun!

If you follow me on Instagram (@diyraven) you’ve already seen a sneak peek of the box pleated skirt (Butterick #B5929) that I’m making out of one of the fabrics that I purchased on my last Japan visit. I’m almost finished, but I had to complete this kimono ASAP before my trip to Abu Dhabi/Dubai coming up this week after my 4-day work trip!

In the UAE it is required for ladies to dress modestly in public (covering shoulders to knees), but most long sleeves I own are for cold weather only. Dubai is going to be pretty blazing hot, so (at the last minute of course) I dug out this recently purchased Simplicity pattern from my collection. I bought 1.25yds of a light, silky polyester fabric and lace trim from JoAnn fabrics and got to work that evening on this kimono.

Even though I was a bit hesitant how the cropped version would look and although I had a couple confusing moments during the construction of this little garment, I’m so pleased with how it turned out! I’ll be able to cover up all my tanks and skimpy tees without being offensive NOR having a heat stroke. It also won’t hardly take up any space in my luggage.

That last statement is actually the most important because I really need the extra space to bring back new FABRIC!!

Priorities.

if I were a boy

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backless1

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 1. YES! Those are indeed (baby) dreadlocks – nearly 7 months in!
NO. That is NOT armpit hair.
2. Fabric I scored back in June from JoAnn fabrics via their small ethnic collection.
They had me at hot pink + gold detailing.
3. I hate making bias tape, but I hate the look of stiff store-bought bias tape on
beautiful fabric even more. The struggle is always worth it.
4. Business in the front. Party in the back.
5. As pointed out by a male friend via my Instagram upload of this photo, it totally
looks like I’m pissing on the wall.  Artsy polaroid attempt ruined.

As always, I intended to make this top in time for the appropriate season. Luckily (or not so luckily) Texas doesn’t really have seasons.  So although other places in the United States are making their transition into Fall, we are still busy in the South either getting our tan on or dodging raindrops. Basically, this top is super perfect for the now. Big half-moon window in the back and all.

Allow me give more credit to the backside of this pattern – this. back. is. absolutely. SICK.

That detail alone makes the top for me.
Oh. This is McCalls pattern #6702, version A.
If you aren’t traveling a lot for work or in the middle of a major move, it should be a relatively quick sew? A few focused evenings and it should be knocked out. It’s labeled as Easy, so it definitely wasn’t terrible.

And yeah. Go ahead and scroll up to revisit the last pic again. It totally does look like I’m relieving myself on the wall, doesn’t it!??

:/

a finished top + new travels ahead

toronto top1toronto top4toronto top3toronto top5Simplicty pattern #1694, version E.
French seams on chiffon are definitely the way to go!

I’ve been trying to focus for seriously the past hour on giving the dirty details on the makings of this shirt. My mind is totally elsewhere though.

Because I’M LEAVING FOR JAPAN IN A WEEK.

So so many loose ends to take care of since I’ll be there for about two weeks. Already starting to pack since I’m only taking carry-on luggage with me. I must not forget to get my rent and other stupid bills together before I go. I would totally worry about my plants, but since they already died about two months ago (R.I.P.) that’s one less thing to take care of. I’m kinda freaking out about my HAIR because I totally can’t be bothered with all that while I’m there. But I’m going to the local Beauty Supply tomorrow to buy some hair weave [sigh] and attempt to do this style on myself in the next few days….

For better or worse, I’ll show pics before I go. NOT excited about doing this either. Last time I had any type of braids in my hair was….middle school? Wayyyy long ago. And I totally didn’t put them in myself – No Way! But thanks to YouTube, I think I gots this *cracking knuckles*

But seriously, let’s talk a moment about this shirt.

  • Simplicity pattern #1694 is an easy project that could technically be finished in a single day. It took me longer, of course. I tend to take lots of Instagram stalking and looking-in-the-refrigerator-for-what-I-don’t-know breaks. But it makes for a simple flowy shirt. Be forewarned it’s a loose, boxy cut. Not form hugging or acquainting much at all!
  • This is the fabric I just purchased in Toronto on my last trip. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough fabric to finish, hence the bright pink satin-y piece I placed in the back. I think it’s a nice contrast though + I’m in love with the single center-back pleat!
  • First time working with chiffon fabric. Naturally, I was scared. BUT Oona and Miesha left some helpful tips in the comments of the previous post – SO VERY HELPFUL!! Thanks ladies!
  • I secretly wanted to make a quick and easy project to wear for my trip. Now that I’m finished though, I’m not sure that I’ll be taking it. However, my Rainbow Brite plaid/chambray shirt is sooooo coming with me!

Definitely more before I go. Have a great weekend!