Apparel sewing

Our favorite ways to mark…

How do you transfer pattern markings to your fabric? We have a few favorite ways…

My absolute favorite marking tool is Tailor’s chalk. It is a waxy square of white chalk. The kind we use is not very chalky or dusty. Quality Tailor’s chalk should feel like candle wax. It leaves a white mark on your fabric so it is not the best choice if you are working with light colored fabrics. The best part about this chalk is that you can use the blade of your scissors to sharpen it so that you always have a nice, clear, sharp mark.

The con of Tailor’s chalk: it does sometimes leave a stain. No matter what type of marking tool you use, you should always test it on a hidden portion of your fabric first. Tailor’s chalk tends to leave a dark stain on silks.

Another way to transfer your markings is with disappearing ink. We use a double ended pen – one side disappears on its own in a few minutes (perfect for marking where to stop your seam or a quick button placement) and the other side goes away when moistened with water. The inks are purple and blue respectively so this makes them great for light colored fabrics and a perfect compliment to your Tailor’s chalk!

When you find yourself working with very fine fabrics or a textured fabric that may not show markings very well (sequins, velvet, faux fur) you can use tailor’s tacks! Some people only use tailor’s tacks and completely forgo the pens and chalks. That’s fine, too… they just take a bit more time. Tailor’s tacks are like markings with thread… Find a quick tutorial below!

Quick Tailor’s Tacks

20121010-105947.jpg With the pattern still pinned to your fabric, insert needle threaded with contrasting thread into marking. If you have two layers of fabric, you will be stitching through both layers… Leave a thread tail about 3″ – 4″ long.





Create a loop by stitching into the same spot again. If you are sewing through multiple layers of fabric, your loop should be larger then the one pictured here (3″ or so in diameter). I like to have more rather then less… So if in doubt, make your loops large! You can always cut off any extra.





Snip the center of your loop and snip off your needle, leaving a 3-4″ thread tail.





Gently lift your pattern tissue off of the fabric. You will be left with several threads sticking out of your fabric, centered around your marking. Here is where you’ll stop if you are marking through only one layer of fabric. These threads should remain in your fabric for the duration of your project. They are simple to remove when you finish, even if you catch them in your stitches!



  Carefully, lift the top layer of fabric to reveal 1 – 2″ of your tacks.





Snip the threads between the layers.





Now you have two markings! The longer you make your thread loops and tails in the previous steps, the longer your thread tacks will be. I prefer small ones so that they don’t get in my way while I sew, but special care has to be taken sometimes to prevent them from coming out prematurely. Experiment with this method to see what works best for you! I have a friend who knots her threads together so that they don’t budge!

Summer Sewing Camp

Camps are filling fast!  There are still a few spots available  the weeks of:

June 26-29, July 10-13 and August 7-10.  9am-noon each day.

Seamsters will be making a pair of capris and matching top, along with matching headband and shoulder bag- all projects are beginner level, but Sewing 101 is suggested.  Learn how to take measurements, choose a size, read a pattern and lots of fun techniques while  finishing a whole outfit to wear this summer!   Limited to 8 students per session.

Also planned for the summer are Friday Kids & Teen Sewing Workshops.  Starting June 29th, 1-4pm weekly til August 3rd.  $45, sign up a week in advance and pay weekly.  A fun social sewing “club” setting, where students will be working on different projects with individual attention.  Several projects to choose from-give us a call for details!

It’s gonna be a fun sewing summer!





Introducing monthly group classes!

Everyone’s been asking for group classes, so here they are!

First Tuesdays will be Quilt Clinic.  We’ll be playing with modern quilting methods while making simple projects such as totes & zippered pouches.  The emphasis being on “play”, this is what helps our creativity-when was the last time you actually played and experimented with fabrics, color and thread?  October 4th we’ll be making a  tote using a couple different fabrics and in-line quiting-this really changes the look of fabrics when using different colors of thread-this is easy but very impressive!

Second Tuesdays will be Alterations Clinic, some months will have a specific topic as well, so bring something that applies, as well as some other garments to work on.  I’ll guide you on each step – hems, taking in or letting out, etc.   October 11 will be Hollywood hems, learn how to hem your jeans leaving the original stitching, very cool – seriously!

Third Tuesdays will be project classes.  Easy stuff  like skirts, accessories, wine totes, applique pillows, and more!  October 18 will be a skirt workshop-I am in love with all the maxi skirts at Anthropologie and just can’t get enough!  I”ve made two so far, using our fabulous Amy Butler Challis.  Flowing fabric like challis, stable knits or soft cords would be perfect!

November classes will include a fun quilted zippered pouch,  open alterations clinic and  a quilted wine tote.  Stop in to see the class samples – I’ve been having lots of fun working on them!  And, of course, your class suggestions are always welcome-if you see a project you’d like to learn, let me know!

Remember to sign up early and bring a friend!  Each session is $35 and meets from    6-8:30pm.  We do have a minimum of 3 students to hold the classes, and payment is due upon registration, which must be made at least 5 days in advance, you’ll also get your supply list and homework at that time!  Class sizes are limited.  And, don’t worry – we still have lots of time open for private lessons!

Many of the projects require you to cut and prepare before the class-that way we can get sewing faster!!  You can always stop in to prep your class projects in the studio, too,  just call ahead and we’ll make room for you!  Group classes are for intermediate seamsters, you should be familiar with your machine and  sew confidently. Private lessons are suggested for beginners.

You are encouraged to bring your own machine & sewing kit (be sure all your tools are labeled!

Tuesdays just got fun!


Figgy’s Trunk Show!



Hi all! Megan here… I’m sure most of you already know my obsession for finding great patterns for boys and cool ways to make handmade wearable for little ones. Rex (my 2 year old boy) is my little muse – and such a good sport about it!

Last year I came across a great pattern line called Figgy’s. A great collection that blends style and ease! I’ve posted before about my love for the Dappers and the Tee for Two. Now I am super excited to be able to get my hands on the samples that will be arriving for the trunk show at Stitch! I can’t wait for you to see the pinafores, jackets, and vests!

Stop in August 15th – 29th to get a peek at the samples and pick up a few patterns! You’ll love that the patters come with all sizes and styles for boys and girls in one envelope! My favorites include the Vien Jacket, The Dapper Dillengers, and the Beach Bum Shorts!

Rex is modeling the long sleeved Tee for Two here made from two recycled tee shirts from his older brothers!

Need more good news? Figgy’s new book, Sewing for Boys will be released in August and available at Stitch, too!

Generation Next 1

Have you seen the fresh new patterns at McCall’s? I’m so excited to see some familiar faces with patterns of their own!  As you know, I frequent NY often to visit my son (how convenient-huh??)  and love to stop in Williamsburg to visit all the fabulous local talent showcased in boutiques up and down  the hip streets in Brooklyn.  A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Patty, at Flirt.  They have the coolest fashions, and also have a sewing workshop called Home Ec, where they teach sewing.  Don’t ask me how I found them, it must have been my fabric radar!!

I just picked up a copy of Vogue Patterns sewing magazine and was thrilled to read about her, among other fabulous seamsters, featured on their pages.  You have to check out their skirt pattern, as well as patterns from Marcy Tilton, Rebecca Turnbow, Melissa Watson and Megan Nicolay.  All of them are very cool and trendy.  I love finding patterns that showcase similar ready to wear designs as H&M, Anthropologie, Eileen Fisher, etc.

And don’t miss the article on Sewing Lounges!!  It’s so great to see so many like minded seamsters sharing their skills as we do right here at Stitch Cleveland.   There’s Helen at Seam Divas in Vancouver, Michelle, Gina and Lupine at Modern Domestic in Portland, Citycraft in Dallas,  Diana at Make Workshop in NY and so many others!!

So, get your sewing machines out, open up that fabric stash…and get sewing!  Sewing is def not a dying art!  Stop in and take advantage of Free Sew sessions, schedule a few private lessons or check out our class listings.  We’re here to keep sewing alive and want you to join in the fun and hang at your local sewing lounge, Stitch Cleveland!

Alterations Clinic

This coming Saturday, Jan 8th, 1:00-4pm.  $30.   Bring your garments-pants, skirts, jackets, etc. and learn how easy it is to alter them yourself.  We’ll walk you through each step and show you the techniques that professional tailors use.  With basic sewing skills you can do many alterations yourself.   Learn how to use the blindstitch machine and serger, too!  Please call to register by Thursday, this workshop size is limited to give  each student  individual attention on their garments.

I have a jacket that desperately needs a new lining, so I’ll be giving you an overview of replacing a lining in a jacket, too.  Next month we’ll be doing a workshop on just that.