Hemp Shirt...by Client Request

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Recently I was discussing a client's wardrobe needs. He told me about a favorite shirt that he has had for many years that is now nearly in shreds. He asked if I would design a similar style, this time from hemp. This shirt is the result...
...its slightly rumpled "distressed" look is entirely intentional.

I suggested buttons on the chest pockets,
but the client opted for open pockets.

Made from a cotton/hemp blend from Hemp Traders, the fabric was  distressed by washing it several times in hot water with a splash of vinegar.

After the shirt was sewn,

it was distressed further by "sanding" random areas

Fabric from Hemp Traders
Interfaced with Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing from
~Fashion Sewing Supply~

Holiday Tops for the Divas...

Monday, December 15, 2008
Willow's Snowflake Crossover Top

This Cross-Over Top made for my niece Willow, will be perfect during the holidays...and the winter beyond. Made from cotton/lycra knit, it features an embroidered snowflake on the shoulder.

SEWING NOTES: Ottobre Design pattern, #29 from issue 01/05..that I modified slightly. Shoulder seams stabilized with PRO-SHEER ELEGANCE Fusible Interfacing
from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Bella's Snowflake Cross-Over Top

Of course I made one for Bella too! This delightful cross-over top is constructed differently from the one above, and is more suitable for a 7 year old.

SEWING NOTES: Ottobre Design pattern #9 from issue 03/04...slightly modified.
Shoulder seams stabilized with PRO-SHEER ELEGANCE Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.


Saturday, November 15, 2008
These fabrics speak to me of the colors of fall... tart cranberries, colorful mums, and bright falling leaves.

A wonderful cotton/lycra knit with subtle texture and a deliciously soft cotton corduroy print make a perfect pair for this set.

SEWING NOTES: Ottobre Design Turtleneck pattern, and the Farbenmix "Tomke" Blouse pattern. Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing used to stabilize the Turtleneck Collar and Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing used to stabilize the over-blouse collar and front facings.

Twisted "Draped Cowl" Tutorial

Thursday, November 13, 2008
This is a quick stylish variation on a drape-front (true Cowl) silhouette that can be done in just minutes!


First, start with a drape-front cowl (photo #1) already in your wardrobe, or make one with the many patterns that exist for this style.

As shown In photo #2, turn the garment inside out and flip the facing up to expose the wrong side of front of the top.

Next, pinch some fabric near center front, twist it a bit, and hold the “pinched” fabric with a rubber band, as shown in photo #3. Later, if you want to make this design change permanent, the 'twist' can be stitched. Or just remove the band, and you have your original draped cowl!
Note: A small clear "ponytail" band works well for this!

Now turn down the facing to cover the banded fabric, as shown in photo #4.

As shown in photo #5, when the garment is turned right-side-out, the twisted detail becomes a new interesting design feature of the top!

Where you pinch and band the fabric is totally up to you: higher, lower, to the left or right of center, etc. There are infinite possibilities for design variations like these.... Have fun!

Time for "Soft Cozies"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

As the days turn chilly in Western New York,
it's time for "Soft Cozies"
...the name my nieces give to the various fleece tops
I design and sew for them this season, every year.

This Lilac fleece "swing" tunic features a curved bodice seam that is decoratively top-stitched and adorned with sweet flower shaped shell buttons. Starting with an Ottobre pattern, I liberally made design changes to suit the soft flowing look that I wanted this garment to have.

Popular Pockets...Free Patterns for you!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some of my most popular shirts have featured my "Cigar Pocket"
and the "Angle Edge Pocket".

I get many questions about them, so while I had these pocket patterns out on the cutting table, I snapped this pic to share them with you. As you can see below, the dimensions are shown on a grid. The pocket hems are meant to have a double turn of 1", and are drafted with a 3/8" seam allowance. On the "Cigar Pocket", a one-inch slot is made by topstitching the pocket on the straight side, after the pocket is sewn to the shirt.


Denim plus Eyelet Twill Tape = Cool Jeans

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Starting with Ottobre patterns, and modifying them to include my own design details, this outfit will make a nice addition to Willow's fall wardrobe.

Sewing Notes: Black Denim fabric from GORGEOUS FABRICS. Cotton knit fabric from Fabric Bliss. Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing in black from ~Fashion Sewing Supply~ used in waistband. Eyelet twill tape from Lucy's.

Stripe Play

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some fun with stripes on this top for Willow. Made from the cotton/lycra knit fabrics seen below (from The Fabric Fairy), using an Ottobre Design pattern that I modified with abandon!

SEWING NOTES: Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing from
Fashion Sewing Supply used to stabilize the front cross-over band. Ottobre Design pattern from issue 01/05 used as a "block" and changed to make this design.

More Indulgence...

Friday, September 19, 2008
I ask you...is there anything more exciting to those of us who "create" than getting a box full of fabulous fabric? This arrived on my doorstep yesterday from The Fabric Fairy.com....

While I usually do most of my fabric shopping at the Ultra-Fabulous Gorgeous Fabrics, a friend gave me a gift certificate for this particular fabric.

Of course, this box of goodness arrived while I was working feverishly on our new website for ~Fashion Sewing Supply~ and I really did try to hold off digging into it right away. I continued to work on the new website while all this fabric was being pre-washed. But alas, I succumbed to creative urges, and made this bright fun Hoodie for my niece Bella as soon as the fabric was ready!

Is the new website finished? Uhhh...no. But it will be soon, I promise....really......!
But we continue to take orders through the original ~Fashion Sewing Supply~ site while the new one is under construction. However, I suspect I'll need to take another sewing break this weekend.....>smile<

Sweet Sewing Indulgence....More for the divas!

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Cute Corduroy For Bella...

I have been indulging in personal sewing between "basic blue shirt" client orders...and having such fun! This outfit for Bella is made from buttery soft berry print and striped cotton baby-corduroy, with a simple "lettuce" neck top of fine gauge sweater knit to complete the "look".

While not totally of my own design, the following patterns were "tweaked" to get the exact style-lines I wanted:

Ottobre Design Skirt- Issue 04/07, #14
Ottobre Design Top- Issue 04/08, #37
Abracadabra Pattern #47- Hooded Vest/Top

Sewing Notes: Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply used to stabilize the striped band of the hooded vest. Pro-Stretch Elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply used in the skirt waistband.

Sewing For the Little Divas

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This outfit, made for my niece Willow was such fun to sew!

The striking striped tunic is a marvelous Farbenmix pattern, "Vijona", made from a cotton/lycra knit. The skirt is a lightweight denim, and I used a pattern from Ottobre Design issue 04/08, #37. An evening of sewing resulted in a fun new outfit!

SEWING NOTES: Soft and flexible Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing used to stabilize the shoulder seams of the tunic. Pro-Weft Fusible used to interface the skirt waistband. Both products from Fashion Sewing Supply.

"Folded Band Collar" Shirt with Bias Detail

Sunday, August 24, 2008
This may be the last short sleeve shirt that leaves my studio this summer!

"Folded Band Collar" Shirt with Bias Details

An original design by Pamela Erny,
made from lusciously smooth Swiss Cotton.

The design features of this shirt include a "Folded Band Collar",
Front Bias Inset, and an Angle-Edge Pocket.

Sewing Notes: Imported Fabric, Interfaced with Pro-Tricot from Fashion Sewing Supply, Buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Men's Shirt of Cool, Comfortable, Distressed Linen

Sunday, July 27, 2008
An original design by Pamela Erny, This slouchy Distressed Linen men's shirt is meant to be "Casually Couture"...its slightly rumpled look is entirely intentional.

Slouchy Linen Men's Shirt by Pamela Erny

Design features include a Band Collar, Decorative Seaming with bias details, Comfortable Sleeves that drape in soft folds, a Spade Hem, and Metal Buttons.

Sewing notes: Linen Fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics, Collar interfaced with Pro-Weft Fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply, Buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply.

How to use The Collar Turning Clamp Tool To Make Perfect Collar Points

Friday, July 25, 2008

There are 2 ways that I use the Collar Clamp Tool to turn perfect collar points.

The method you choose will depend on the size of your collar, your fabric, and what you prefer and works best for you after trying both methods.

Method One ~

First, from the wrong side (obviously), fold both "point" seam allowances together, toward the collar and pinch them down with the Collar Clamp Tool. The jaws of the Collar Clamp Tool "click and lock" so the seam allowances are held securely and will not shift.

Next, simply lift one layer of the collar and turn it "up and over" the
Collar Clamp Tool.

After turning one side of the collar over the
Collar Clamp Tool, the tool is now inside the collar, still holding the seam allowances....and forming a perfect point. Simply "jiggle" the handle of the Collar Clamp Tool to open and release. Remove the tool and press your perfect collar!

Notice how nice and sharp the point of this stretch poplin collar is...even before pressing, and with the tool still inside!


~ Method Two ~

First, from the wrong side (obviously), fold up about an inch on the under-collar, then insert one "jaw" of the open Collar Clamp Tool inside the collar as shown below.

Next, push the Collar Clamp Tool up inside the collar, with the inside "jaw" as far into the point as it will go.

Then fold the collar point seam allowances towards the collar, and pinch them down with the visible "jaw" of the Collar Clamp Tool.

Now, turn the collar right sides out, up and over the Collar Clamp Tool as shown below.

This is how your collar will look after turning it right side out over the
Collar Clamp Tool. Release the clamp by gently "jiggling" the handles, remove the tool and press your perfect collar!

Notice how nice and sharp the collar point is, even with the tool still inside!

Collar Turning Clamp Tool is available at ~Fashion Sewing Supply~.
Description: Custom Manufactured especially for sewing uses, the Collar Clamp Tool tool is 6" in total length. The serrated "jaws" are 1.75" long, and the tips are very small...about 2 tiny millimeters. The tool is solid stainless steel and has 3 graduated "clamping pressures" that lock, holding the fabric securely, until you are ready to release the "jaws."

Well...Gee.....I'm Honored!

Sunday, July 20, 2008
My dear sewing friend Liana bestowed this honor on me...thank-you Liana! If you are one of the 2 people out there who have never seen Liana's fabulous blog, Sew Intriguing you are in for a real treat!

Now, It's my turn to pass the "Excellence Badge" to (up to) 10 (only ten?!?) blogs I thoroughly enjoy and think deserving of the Excellence award. If they choose to, they can display the Excellence logo on their blogs, and nominate others as well.

Here are my picks, in no particular order:

Lori's Blog, Girls in The Garden, is a wonderful blog filled both with her fabulous sewing and photos of her amazing garden. She also produces a thoroughly entertaining and informative Podcast, Sew Forth Now, that also deserves an Excellence Badge.

Teri's Blog, Mermaids, is always a delightful read. She is both a talented sewist and gifted writer who gives her readers a glimpse into her family life, along with a lot of wonderful sewing!

What can I say about Ruth and Jessica's Blog, Sew Chic, except that it is a visual treat, filled with information and some of the best sewing I've seen on the web.

Kathleen Fasanella's Fashion-Incubator is THE blog for learning how professional Design Entrepreneurs take their ideas from concept to the factory floor. She also has some of the BEST Sewing Tutorials ever written on her blog...and it's a fun read too!

Loretta G's Blog, Fitting Tips! is filled with the author's extensive knowledge of sewing which she generously shares in an equally friendly and informative way.

Sigrid's Sewing Projects, is bursting with sewing knowledge and fabulous tutorials that highlight the author's considerable talent. Then she decided to collect the best sewing tutorials on the internet and put them all in one convenient place in another blog, Sewing Tutorials. What a great idea...thanks Sigrid...both of your blogs are Excellent!

Ann Steeves is class act with sass. Her blog is filled with sewing knowledge, and more. She and her blog are both Gorgeous Things !

What can I say about Londa and her blog, Londa's Creative Sewing Chatter, except that both are wonderful! Visit and read about sewing, creating, embellishment, and much more written in her delightfully special style!

Summer Sewing For the Little Divas!

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Made for my 9 year old niece Willow, this knit top from an Ottobre Design pattern (03/08, #37) features a Cotton/Lycra print fabric with a curved inset of stretch lace.

Cap Sleeve Top with Lace Inset

SEWING NOTES-- Lace Inset stabilized with soft and silky
Pro-Tricot Interfacing.

This outfit for my 7 year old niece Bella features a fun style from Ottobre Design (01/08, #14). The top is made with knit fabric and accented with beads and applique. The white "skort" of my own design is made from stretch cotton sateen and features decorative topstitched seams.

Aqua Floral Top and White Skort

More of my recent designs for children can be seen here,
My Flickr Photostream.

Classic Sleeve Placket

Monday, May 26, 2008
Today I offer you a page from a vintage sewing book, "Dressmaking Made Easy", 1941, McCall Corporation....because it has been difficult for me to sew anything more complicated than children's garments recently because of particular medications I need to take.

This is the way I was trained to sew a sleeve placket (also known as a "gauntlet") by my mentor, an "old world" Tailor with exacting standards of excellence. I still use this method almost every time...a placket with 2 separate pieces, the overlap and underlap. By using 2 pieces, I find I have more control to fold and press most accurately. Additionally a 2-piece placket offers more design opportunities, such as using different fabrics for the over and underlap....even changing the top (peak) of the overlap...perhaps making it square, curved (rounded), and more.

By offering this method, I am not implying it is the only way to sew a sleeve placket. I know at least 4 other ways to accomplish this task...but this is the method that produces the best results
for me with most fabrics.

The measurements I choose to use most often: Underlap-- about 1.75 inches wide x 6.25 inches. Overlap-- about 2.50 inches wide x 8" to the top of the "peak". Measurements include 1/4 inch seam allowances and 1/4 inch "edge-folds". Make a sample to see if you like these measurements...if not...feel free to change the height and width.

IMPORTANT-- When you enlarge this diagram to see detail (by clicking on it), please take notice on the first step, that ALL edge-folds are pressed BEFORE the laps are stitched to the sleeve slit.



Sunday, May 11, 2008
Professional Sewing Supplies are now available from the finest Fashion Workroom Suppliers at Fashion Sewing Supply ...Featuring Many Kinds of Premium Quality INTERFACING, PRO-STRETCH ELASTIC , The Collar Turning Tool, Professional seam Measuring Gauge, and More new products coming soon!

Please visit Fashion Sewing Supply for more information.

NOT ON OUR MAILING LIST YET ? Join the 1500+ sewing enthusiasts who are and Never Miss a SALE or New Product Announcement!
Click here to EMAIL~Fashion Sewing Supply~ and send us your contact information.

Various Designer Workroom Sewing Supplies

We must purchase large quantities of the professional sewing supplies that we use at the ~Off The Cuff~ design studio including some that we have milled to our own specifications. Now we offer these same sewing supplies to you directly from our own stockroom in amounts that are appropriate for your individual home sewing needs.

Please visit
Fashion Sewing Supply for more information.

How to Sew a Classic SHIRT COLLAR- 2) Attaching the collar-unit to the neck-edge.

Saturday, May 10, 2008
Continuing with the construction of the shirt...it's time to attach the "Collar Unit" to the neck-edge.


After gathering the fronts to fit the back shoulder (yoke)...the front, back, and yoke are completed and ready for the collar.

Match the center-back of the raw edge of the collar stand to the center-back of the garment's neck edge. Pin to hold.

Next, Match the center-front edges of the stand and blouse

Now, begin to stitch them together. Start at the edge and continue to stitch towards the center back, only for about ONE INCH. Then check to make sure the CF edges are still exactly even. It's much easier to remove one inch of stitching and re-align the edges now, rather than discover they are not even after the entire collar-band is stitched to the neckline!

Repeat on the other CF edge, then stitch the entire stand to the neckline.

Then tuck the seam allowances up and under the folded edge of the collar stand

Continue to tuck the seam allowances under the folded edge of the collar stand, just barely covering the stitching line. You may find that using a glue-stick is helpful to hold the folded edge in position.

Next at the machine, with the outside (right side) of the shirt facing up, begin to edge-stitch the band (collar stand) starting at center back as shown. Then continue to edge-stitch completely around the entire stand, ending where you began.

Now admire how nice your finished collar looks..inside and out!

( Interfaced with PRO-WOVEN Light Crisp FUSIBLE INTERFACING from www.Fashion Sewing Supply.com )

How to Sew a Classic SHIRT COLLAR 1) Assembling the Collar Unit.

Monday, May 5, 2008
I usually sew the stand to the collar before attaching the complete "collar unit" to the neck-edge of the blouse. Please note that all collar seam allowances, the stand seam allowances, and the neck-edge seam allowances have been trimmed to 1/4" for ease of construction.

 Apply interfacing to  just one of the long collar stands.

Here is one piece of the collar-stand...the one that is not interfaced.  I have pressed up 1/4" on the straight edge of the stand as shown:

Next, I took an extra step and quickly basted this piece to the "UP-side / TOP side/ Right side / Public side" of the collar. This stand piece will be the "inner band" when the shirt is complete.

Then, I made a "collar sandwich"....with both the interfaced stand and the stand without interfacing matched right-sides-together, and the collar between them. I stitched them together along my previous line of stitching...using very small stitches when sewing the curved edges.

Here is a close-up of one end of
the stitched collar unit
ready to be turned and pressed.

After turning and pressing, here is the finished "Collar Unit"....ready to be sewn to the neck-edge of the blouse!

( Interfaced with PRO-WOVEN Light Crisp FUSIBLE INTERFACING from www.FashionSewingSupply.com )