Thursday, May 4, 2023

3 Ways to Wear the Tauko Magazine Aurora Wrap Dress


Tauko Mazine Issue No. 7 is out now. This is the Aurora Wrap Dress sewing pattern designed by Abby Huston (@abby_sews). I was given my choice of an advanced copy of one of the 12 designs in issue 7.  I jumped at the chance to sew the Aurora because I knew it would be versatile in any season. 

The Aurora is an apron style wrap dress that overlaps in the back and the strings wrap around the waist to tie in the front or back. There is a bust dart, thin shoulder straps, and front patch pockets. The flexible fit of the wrap style allows you to wear most any layer under the dress from tanks to tees to button up shirts. The apron front is full coverage allowing you to wear it on its own as a sundress. 

I'm wearing the Aurora with a Fibre Mood Norma Blouse here. I love the puffed sleeves with this silhouette. The fabric of the blouse is very thing and semi sheer. I usually wear it with a cami underneath, but the apron front serves the same purpose. 

I can't remember what size I sewed and have already managed to misplace the pattern pieces. But I do remember that I used the darts for the next size down. It's a pretty easy style to paper fit the darts before you cut the fabric. And by that I mean, hold the pattern piece up to your body and compare the darts to your actual bust. I ended up shortening the straps a few inches (a very easy alteration) to get the darts at the proper height. Next time I would lower the waist tie (might still lower it on this dress) and the pockets about 1" to compensate for raising the bodice a bit. My only major alteration was to add a good 6" to the length. The original design hits at about knee length. There was one small error in the length of the back facing, it was easy to fix on my own, but check the errata on the website for guideance.

This design has full coverage in the front so you can wear it as a stand alone sundress. The minimalist styling adds to the carefree summer scenario playing out in my head. I imagine throwing this on after the beach or pool so we can have a drink or run some errands on the walk home. Or, tossing a few beers into these enormous pockets to sip while we bbq out back. 

The fabric is a lightweight cotton blend from my stash. It's fine, and seemed like it would have a decent drape, but it's a bit more stiff than I envisioned. A midweight linen would be perfect for this style. Something with a bit of texture for interest, and a little swish when you walk. 

When I first put this dress on, I had that put on an apron and get stuff done feeling. This is a more practical everyday outfit for groceries, school pick up, and getting stuff done. I'm wearing the Aurora with Penny Socks, and a new Rio Ringer Tee (pattern from True Bias). 

You can order Issue 7 of Tauko Magazine from their website, or find a list of brick and mortar stockiest. The magazine comes with with large format printed pattern sheets. If you order online you also have the choice of adding digital copies of the pattern pieces. I received my copy of this pattern for free, but my thoughts are sincere.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Black Linen Matched Set with Ashton Top

It's celebration season. What are you wearing? 

I'll be wearing sneakers, elastic waist pants, and...pearls?! If relaxed sophistication is a look, then that's the target I'm shooting for. The pieces are black linen full length pants, a delicate linen button up, and matching black vest. Accessorized with smooth pearl jewelry and a nubby sherpa fleece bag. Mixed textures, and tailoring held together with a severe black and white palette. 

Maybe I'm sporting a fancy gym teacher vibe, but this outfit is in it for the long haul. 

The Pants: This my standard self-drafted pattern that I have made more than 15 times. FIFTEEN! And, they never let me down. They are pretty much perfect for holiday parties. They're relaxed and still put together, with an elastic waist so I can eat all the cookies, and generous pockets so I can take a couple home. Relevant to no-one but me, I lifted the rise by 1/2", and went with a full length, rather than cropped. I'm gonna say they're perfect now, but I don't want to limit their evolution. The fabric is a linen blend from Joann, purchased for expediency alone. It's nothing remarkable as a textile, but has a good balance of body and swish for these pieces. 

The Top: This is the Ashton Top from Helen's Closet. I made this top when I was on a bit of a matched set kick this summer. By the time I finished it was full on fall and I needed another layer. Luckily, the Ashton Top is roomy enough to wear as a vest. I don't remember what size a sewed, but I do remember that I raised the arm opening a bit. The Ashton is a rock solid woven tank pattern. I've tried a few others and like the fit and construction of this one the best. It's sewn up in a matching matching linen blend from Joann.

The Button Up: This is the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio. You can read about it here. It's a closet staple and a pattern I've sewn 5 or 6 times. 

The Bag: This is the size large Tether Pouch. It's my favorite size for going out without kids (and sippy cups, and toys, and crayons). It fits all of my essentials. I used a few scraps of Michael Miller Organic Sherpa Fleece. I'm not entirely sure you can still buy this fabric, I've seen a lot of listings like this one. It's a low pile, fine textured cotton fleece that is thin enough to sew the zippers as usual. I did round the corners a little more than specified to decrease bulk. It's a knit, so I did fuse it with mid-weight interfacing for rigidity and structure. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

How to add a decorative tag to the Wholecloth Project Bag

Adding a decorative tag to the Wholecloth Project Bag is a fun embellishment and a great way to identify bags made from the same fabric. I made this set of Project Bags as reusable Christmas wrap. They're an easy way to wrap bottles of wine, sweatshirts, and pajamas, or a fitting presentation for hand knits. You can add these to your easily add these tags in a few simple steps. I've whipped up a quick tutorial, you'll find it below. 

The following is a tutorial for the tag embellishment, and is meant to be used with the Wholecloth Project Bag sewing pattern. 

Instructions. Prepare your Wholecloth Project Bag pattern piece as described in the pattern instructions. 

Prepare the tag. Cut a rectangle of fabric that is 3" x 2 1/4". Press a 3/4" fold into each short side of the rectangle, so that wrong sides are touching (left diagram). Press. Fold in half perpendicular to the previous folds, so that the edges of the previous folds are hidden (right diagram). Align edges, press.

Attach the tag. Position the prepared tag 1 1/2" from the upper right notch, as shown.  Align the open edge of the tag with the raw edge of the main fabric piece. Pin in place. Assemble the Project Bag beginning at step 1 of the Wholecloth Project Bag pattern instructions. 

A few notes on how to handle the tag during bag construction:

Step 8 - press the tag seam allowance toward the bottom of the bag on the wrong side of the bag, and press the portion of the tag on the right side toward the bag opening. 

Step 10 - Trim the tag seam allowance  with the lowers seam allowance in Step 10. Complete the bag as instructed. 

Step 14 - be sure the flap of the tag on the right side held clear of the topstitching.

Share your project.



Saturday, December 3, 2022

Fall Celebration Outfit

I'm tempted to call this post "an outfit to go with my bag" because that's exactly how it came about. As I immerse myself in bag sewing I try to keep the big picture in mind. The big picture, of course, being the one that goes on Instagram. And, in that big picture my bag isn't just hanging on a hook (although I like that picture too), but it goes with a great handmade outfit. So, here we have a Mini Wholecloth Logan Bag to go with my outfit.

Bag Details:
Of course, you can find the Wholecloth Logan Bag sewing pattern in the Wholecloth Patterns shop. It's a drawstring bucket backpack with a front snap pocket, and an inner zip pocket that comes in two sizes. This is the mini. The fabric is Cotton + Steel In Bloom On The Way canvas in Night. I love the black on gray abstract print, as you may have noticed from the matching Tether Pouches in the background. (Tether pattern is in the shop, just sayin'.)

Outfit Details (sort of):
I'm not going to rehash the specs of old makes here. As someone who has been sewing my own wardrobe for years I'm always looking for ways to make new outfits out of old clothes. Here we have two older pieces, a Sallie Dress from Closet Core Patterns, and a cowl neck sweater from a self-drafted pattern you've seen plenty of here. I rarely wear these pieces. The dress is a bit low cut for my taste. I made it in a hurry (in 2016!) and neglected to confirm that the deep V was within my comfort zone. I'm making it work for the pictures, but it doesn't really work for me in real life. I've morned the unwearability of this dress for years (six of them!!). The rayon jersey knit fabric has such nice drape and movement, that I really want to wear it all summer long. There in lies the problem. I had this flawed dress firmly in the warm weather category, when I really just needed to reframe it as a cold weather dress. Easy.

This fall when I opened up my closet a flash of rust caught my eye (probably as it was falling off the hanger) and my mind leapt to pumpkin spice, crunchy leaves, and my mother's birthday party.  I could have this delightful skirt swishing around my stockinged legs all winter long with the right layers. 

Enter the self-drafted sweater. I made this in a hurry (no blog post or photo evidence, but in 2019) when I needed a black top. The fabric was a bit flimsy for the outfit I had in mind, so I never (really, never!) wore it. Somehow these two imperfect pieces work perfectly together, and have been worn more in the last two months, than in all their other years combined. 
I'm not sure there is a moral to this story. By all means, purge your closets. I tend to hang on to all clothing, especially things I've made. Maybe I should have moved these pieces on long ago. I'm pretty pleased to have them now, because they go so nicely with my bag. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Tether Pouch Hardware & Supplies

It often seems like the most (tedious, or is it just me?) time consuming part of a new sewing project is getting all the materials in same place at the same time. Particularly with bag sewing, the right hardware, clasps or zippers can really make the finished bag something special. I've assembled some kits to make supply buying for the Tether Pouch easier. They are meant to be modular, so start with what you have. You can buy single kits to fill in holes in your stash, or multiple kits to make a whole set of pouches. Now, let's go over all the bits and pieces needed to sew a set of Tether Pouches.


The Tether Pouch has a swivel clip and/or D ring on each component so you can easily attach them to each other. These pieces can change the aesthetic of the finished pouch. Classic metal hardware is my favorite. It's what I used for my samples, and what I've stocked in the shop. I'm currently stocking silver and antique brass finishes. Let's go over the options. 

The single Tether Pouch kit has 1 swivel clip and 1 D ring. It's just enough to make one Tether Pouch in any size. 

The single Tether Pouch & wristlet kit has 1 swivel clip and 2 D rings. It's just enough to make one Tether Pouch and the wrist strap. 

Add 2 single pouch kits and you'll have the hardware to make the set of 3 pouches and the wrist strap. 

The Tether Pouch belt strap kit has 1 length adjuster, 1 D ring, and 1 swivel clip. Combine this kit with a length of cotton webbing (below) and you'll have what you need to make the complete waist strap. 

The Tether Pouch pattern specifies 1" hardware, but you can easily substitute other sizes. I like the simple classic style shown on these samples, but there are tons of fun styles available online. Try Craft Me Studio on Etsy, or Wawak for more diverse hardware choices. If you don't have time to wait for shipping, Joann usually has basic bag hardware in stores. 


The Tether Pouch strap kit includes 2.25 yards of 1"cotton webbing. This is enough to make 3 pouches, a wrist strap and a belt strap with a little left over for strap length adjustments.  I like the natural look of the cotton webbing used on the sample pouches. It's in the shop in natural and black.

You can use nylon or cotton webbing for the Tether Pouch. Or, you can make your own strap from fabric using the instructions included in the Tether Pouch sewing pattern. Joann has a decent selection of webbing in stores. Zipper Zoo has a fun selection of decorative webbing online. 


The Tether Pouch zipper kit includes 3 zippers of the same size. This is enough to make a single pouch. The size small uses 5" zippers, the medium 7", and the large 9".  These are metal zippers with a donut pull, and are stocked in silver or antique brass metal finishes.

You can use any kind of zipper for this project. Nylon for a sportier look, or zipper tape to make supply buying simple. Be sure your zippers are the right length. You'll be sewing as close to the ends as possible, and starting with the correct size will save some heartache (i.e. broken needles). Zipit on Etsy has tons of zipper options, and a large selection of metal zippers. Zipper Zoo and Wawak have lots of choices for zipper tape (also called zipper by the yard or continuous zipper roll). 


I hate to put fabric last in this list, but you can use most anything, and this pattern takes so little fabric you probably already have something in you stash, or scrap bin. The Tether Pouch calls for a sturdy woven as the main fabric. I recommend 8oz/yd or heavier. If you're on the lighter side, I recommend reinforcing the main pieces of your pouch with medium weight fusible interfacing, such as Pellon 931TD. Don't over think it, use what you have.  

I don't usually prewash bag fabric because I want to preserve as much of the new fabric stiffness as possible. I would spot clean rather than machine wash most bags (except for some all fabric tote bags), so shrinkage isn't an issue. The cream and tan stripe pouches shown here are made from an old cotton canvas tablecloth that is probably around 9oz/yd. The dark print is Cotton + Steel cotton canvas. At 6oz/yd, I did reinforce it with interfacing. 

I just made, but have not yet shared, a set of Tether Pouches in Ruby Star cotton canvas. I love the fabric so much I may frame them instead of use them. The prints have metallic gold accents on part of the design, it's looks great with metal zippers and bag hardware. I reinforced the Ruby Star (just under 7oz/yd) with medium weight fusible interfacing so they hold their crisp shape over time. Hawthorne Supply has a great selection of Ruby Star cotton canvas. I just saw this purple color way of a Jen Hewett design and I'm gonna have to make another set of pouches!

Each pouch can be made with 1/4 yard or less of main fabric. It's a great opportunity to use precuts of the latest fabric release or scraps from your last pants project (Blackbird bottom weights anyone?) to make a new pouch. And, now I'm imagining one in corduroy...or denim...

The lining fabric couldn't be simpler. Any lightweight woven will do. Some of mine use Kona Cotton, and some use an old sheet. It's an ideal way to use the bits and pieces left from a special Nani Iro or Liberty print. 

Even after all these words, the take home message is this: start with what you have. Then fill in any holes with this handy list. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

New Tether Pouch Sewing Pattern

Introducing the Tether Pouch sewing pattern! The Tether Pouch is a 3 zipper pouch with a swivel clip and D ring at each edge so you can attach it to anything, and attach anything to it. The pattern comes with 3 sizes of pouch that you can layer up or carry individually. An adjustable belt strap and wrist strap are included in the pattern, so you can wear it as a wristlet, belt bag, or cross body. 

Get the pattern:

Tether Pouch Sizes

The Tether Pouch sewing pattern comes with 3 sizes of bag. The small carries just the basics and finished measurements are 5x4". The medium is my favorite size for quick errands and finished measurements are 7x5 1/2". The large holds all day essentials and finished measurements are 8x10". The waist and wrist straps have 3 suggested size options that are easy to customize to your preferred length. 

Tether Pouch Fabric
The Tether Pouch looks great in any medium weight rigid fabric such as canvas or denim. It also works well with pleather. I prefer a fairly rigid bag that stands up to daily wear. If you're using something that is less than 8oz per yard I recommend reinforcing it with medium weight fusible interfacing on all of the main fabric pieces. The Tether Pouch is a great project for using up scraps, or piecing and quilting your own custom combination. The lining can be made with any light weight woven fabric such as lawn, broadcloth or quilting cotton. 

Tether Pouch Supplies
Hardware is a great way to add personality to your Tether Pouch. The possibilities are endless for zipper and clip combinations. Use metal or plastic for very different styles of the same design. Already have swivel clips and D rings of a different size? Use them. This pattern is my jumping off point for sewists to add their own personal spin on their finished Tether pouches. Cotton webbing adds nice texture and contrast to the bag, but you can also make your own fabric straps in a few easy steps included in the pattern instructions. 
To kick off your Tether Pouch sewing I've got a selection of hardware, zippers, and webbing in the shop! 
Shop the kits:

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Friday Pattern Company Heather Blazer

This matched natural linen Heather Blazer and shorts has been a long time coming. I made the shorts last summer because the pattern is self-drafted and I can whip it up without any major decisions slowing me down. I got a little hung up on the Friday Pattern Company Heather Blazer. First I guilted myself into thinking I had to muslin, spoiler alert, I didn't and it turned out fine. Then I waffled over the lining. Why is a good lining so hard to find?!  Nonsense, lead to time wasting and then the seasons changed without a linen blazer. But sometimes some time away is all you need to work through your hangups. This time, I jumped right in. 

The Pattern: The Heather Blazer by Friday Pattern Company is an oversized, lined blazer, with big patch pockets, a notched collar and single button closure. As I said before, I got hung up on muslining, but after comparing the finished garment measurements to mine, I figured it was a pretty good bet that I would like it without modifications. The pattern is written for a B cup (which I am), and there are no darts or fitted elements that could cause problems. I sewed a straight medium. The only modification was to take 2" from the length. I started with a paper fitting (just held up the pattern piece with the seam allowances folded over to see where it fell), and determined I needed to remove 1" so the jacket wasn't longer than the shorts. I took 1/2" above the waist and 1/2" below. In the end I shortened the hem another inch so you can just see that shorts under it. Next time I would take a full inch above the waist. I ended up raising the button/buttonhole too. 

The Fabric: This is European 100% Linen from in Natural. I bought it last year with this jacket in mind and ordered a little extra for the shorts. I've sewn with this fabric in other colors, so I already knew I liked the weight, drape, and durability. I love the linen rumple texture it gets after washing. The front for the jacket calls for a full sized fused interfacing. Would do something different next time. The linen and the synthetic interfacing are at odds with each other, and the front of the jacket is a little stiff. Was trying to stretch my boundaries when I picked this rather light color, but I think I'll make another darker version for when I feel content in my rut. 

The lining fabric is Cotton + Steel Picnic Lawn Sunday Dress also from I thought the dots would be a neutral enough print to wear with most anything. But, it's not quite neutral enough. I find myself choosing tops based on the tiny slivers of lining print at the sleeve, which was not how I wanted this to work. Otherwise, the fabric is a solid choice for a jacket lining, and works well with the weight of the linen. 

The Outfit: The tank is an Ogden Cami by True Bias. I made it last summer and it's a wardrobe staple, even in this bold print. The shorts are my standard self-drafted pattern, made in the same fabric as the jacket. I wear some version of this pattern all summer (and most of the spring and fall, and now that I have a corduroy pair, most of the winter too). I just can't be bothered to wear something that doesn't fit just right. Eventually, the fashion pendulum will swing far enough that I have to change, but not yet. 

Jacket Fabric: European 100% Linen in Natural from
Jacket Lining Fabric: Cotton & Steel Picnic Lawn Sunday Dress Navy from
Tank Pattern: Ogden Cami by True Bias
Tank Fabric: Block Print from Etsy
Shorts Pattern: Self-drafted
Shorts Fabric: Same as Jacket