Choosing Easy Sewing Patterns for Beginner Sewing Success!

Choosing Easy Sewing Patterns for Beginner Sewing Success!

Sew confident beginning sewing angela wolfHopefully you had time over the weekend to spiff up your sewing room. My Craftsy class Sew Confident: Essential Techniques for Beginners” has officially launched and we are already just shy of 500 students. Very Exciting!


First things first, congratulations to Tracey McKoy from Baltimore, Maryland. Tracey¬†was last weeks lucky winner and has already joined us in the Craftsy classroom. Guess what else I found out? She enjoys fishing! Good thing Craftsy drew her name or you might think I was swayed ūüôā

Let’s Giveaway Another Class!

Angela Wolf sewing for beginners Crafty

There was such a¬†HUGE response to the class giveaway, I am going to giveaway another Sew Confident Craftsy class! To enter this time, simply leave a comment below telling me why you would love to win this class, ¬†joining students from all over the world – 1 random winner will be drawn Friday at¬†midnight, EST … Good Luck! ūüôā

Wondering what’s covered in the class? Here is a link to the trailer video and as promised a SPECIAL 50% DISCOUNT if you would like to join us today.

Beginners Guide to Fashion Sewing

Let’s get started! In case you missed last week’s message, the series for beginner sewing starts now.

Part 1. Choosing a Pattern

What’s the big deal about finding a pattern anyway? Scan the pattern books, find a cute cover photos, and you are ready for sewing success, right?

Angela Wolf fashion seiwng patterns for beginners

If only we can all be so fortunate, but in most cases the scenario pans out a little differently. I recall sewing my first pair of pants. The pattern¬†cover showed a tall, elegant model (more…)

Creative Serging: Flatlock Stitching with Crochet Thread

Creative Serging: Flatlock Stitching with Crochet Thread

Decorative Serging:

The serger can do so much more than simply finish fabric raw edges. Using crochet thread or yarn in the upper looper can create an entirely different look! This is a great way to restyle or embellishment fabric or a garment.

How to sew with creative serging - Angela Wolf

I am using the Brother Serger:  3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper.   The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread.  The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside.  The backside looks like a ladder stitch.  (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).

How to sew with creative serging - Angela Wolf

I started with the Kate Skirt Pattern. ¬†I added seams to the front and center back, but you could just pencil in a line with tailors chalk – it doesn’t need to be a seam to add the flatlock decorative stitch.

How to sew a creative serged seam with Angela Wolf

Here is the back view. ¬†Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even (with the zipper), I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. ¬†That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. ¬†I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice ūüôā

Setting up the Serger:

  • Set your serger up for a 3-thread overlock: ¬†I am using a serger from Brother¬†and the standard setting for the needle and looper tensions are 4. ¬†When I give you new tension numbers you can compare this with your serger, if your serger has manual tension dials. ¬†If you are serging with an air-threading serger, like this¬†Babylock,¬†set up your serger for the 2-thread flatlock – wide.
  • Thread the upper looper (or the only looper for the 2-thread flatlock) with a decorative thread. ¬†Use standard poly serging thread in the needle and lower looper.


Decorative Thread Ideas:

Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:

  • Stitch Width: 5mm
  • Stitch Length: 2-4mm
  • Needle Tension: ¬†Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
  • Upper Looper Tension: ¬†Decrease ¬†to 2 – 3
  • Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
  • Disengage the knife

These setting serve as a guide.  It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.

Blind Hem Stitch Foot

See if your serger had a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use the standard foot.

There is a setting on the foot that moves to the plastic or metal piece to right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric.  Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.

Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line.   Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).

Flat lock stitching with Angela Wolf

The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric Р half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric.  In fact the stitch looks really messy coming out of the serger!

flat lock stitching with angela wolf

Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.

flat lock stitching with Angela Wolf

Pretty simple, but so fun!  Have you ever tried this before?  I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.

Be sure to share photos of your creative serged project ūüôā¬† #angelawolf


Angela Wolf





Sewing Your Own Wardrobe and ONLINE CLASS SALE on!

Sewing Your Own Wardrobe and ONLINE CLASS SALE on!

Angela Wolf Pattern Collection Butler TrenchThere is only one reason I have not moved South¬†in order to enjoy¬†beautiful sunny weather all year round¬†… jackets and boots!¬† This is the time of year I rearrange my wardrobe, bringing out all the cute jackets I finished last March and never had a chance to wear (remember in the fashion industry we are always designing a season ahead).¬†¬†¬†Of course while I am pulling out the fall wardrobe, out come the fabulous boots.¬† I LOVE shoes!¬†¬†¬†I¬†sew all my own clothes, I have to find something to shop for besides fabric ūüôā

Speaking of sewing all my own clothes, about 15 years ago I set a goal of only wearing clothes I had sewn myself.  It was a great idea, but hardly possible.  I spent all my time sewing custom garments for clients and I could never find time to sew for myself.  You know, like the shoemaker that wears worn-out shoes.  Those of you that are in the sewing business know exactly what I am talking about.

Once¬†I started¬†designing a ready-to-wear line and a pattern collection for the home sewer, I found a perfect reason to sew for myself.¬† Someone has to test the fit, right ūüôā¬† Over the last few years I have been adding my label to¬†the closet with jeans, tops, jackets, dresses, skirts, slacks, ¬†…¬†In fact last night after admiring my organized closet (now is the time to admire, it never seems to¬†stay that way very long), I realized I finally accomplished my goal!¬† Every garment carried¬†the Angela Wolf¬†label.¬† I could hardly believe it!¬† In fact, once you get going on sewing for yourself, the outfits flow in much faster than you think.¬† Have you ever had the desire to sew¬†all your own clothes?¬† I challenge you to try.¬† I am going to celebrate¬†this accomplishment¬†and try to focus on doing the same for the spring wardrobe swap.¬† I feel a 2014 wardrobe sew along coming on … what do you think?
Vote for me for Craftsy's blogger awards!
In the last post, I mentioned how thankful I am to all of you readers and a special thanks to those that¬†voted my blog into the finals for the category sewing – best instructor blog¬†for the 2013 Craftsy Blogging Awards.¬† Voting in the final round is still going on, so make sure to vote for your favorites again¬† (hint, hint). ¬† I couldn’t think of a better way to thank you than give away a¬†few online classes, which I will do over the next few weeks.


Not everyone can win, so I asked my friend¬†Deepika – founder¬†of¬† – to place all my online classes on sale for the rest of the month.¬† In case you haven’t visited the site, is a great website for learning and connecting with other garment sewer’s.¬† I offer quite a few classes there, including sewing jackets.¬† No, my jacket patterns are not ready to launch yet, so this is the next best¬†thing.¬† The next few giveaways will be for my online classes.¬†¬†The first one is¬†Create a Jacket Muslin on PatternReview.¬† Creating a perfect fitting muslin is the most important part of sewing a jacket.¬†¬† If you would like a chance to join my class on sewing a muslin where I offer fitting tips, solutions, and you can even upload photos of your muslin for personal fitting advice, simply share a comment about your experience in fitting jackets.¬†¬†Never sewn a jacket, even better reason to start with the muslin class (a random winner will be chosen and announced next Friday).¬†¬†Speaking of jackets, have you been watching season 5¬†on It’s Sew Easy and following along as I sew a jacket?¬† If your PBS doesn’t carry It’s Sew Easy, you can catch a new episode every week on their website.

Good Luck ūüėČ


Angela Wolf

Pintucking with a Serger / Overlock Machine

Pintucking with a Serger / Overlock Machine

angela wolf serging samples5craftsy blog angela wolfI¬†am having so much fun finding ways to use my serger, more than¬†simply finishing the edges in my garments!¬† With over 5,000 students in¬†the Craftsy class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics , many of you are already expanding your serger use.¬† I was thrilled to see Craftsy¬†posted a few of my videos on YouTube … below you will see how to add pintucking.¬†¬†A great embellishment on home dec and apparel.¬† The video shows you how to change the settings on the Brother Project Runway Serger¬†5234PRW (although it¬†doesn’t show you how to remove the stitch finger, so check your manual and don’t forget that part!)¬† In fact,¬†no matter what serger¬†you use, pull out the¬†manual and set the serger¬†to a rolled or narrow hem.¬† I am showing you how to do the pintucking¬†using a blindhem foot.¬† If you don’t have that¬†foot, a standard foot works fine.¬† Just¬†serge straight¬†ūüôā

Speaking of manuals, lets take a vote … how many of you have read through your entire serger¬†manual?¬†¬† I must confess, until last year I only scanned the pages referring to threading ūüôā¬† Enjoy xoxo Angela


Elastic Thread Ruching on a Coverstitch plus FREE SERGING CLASS!

Elastic Thread Ruching on a Coverstitch plus FREE SERGING CLASS!

Ruching with Elastic Thread on a Serger / Coverstitch Machineelastic ruching chainstitch angela wolf serging overlock6

Loose flowing tops are right on trend right now, here is a quick way to add a little flair and fit with one of my favorite serging techniques; ruching with elastic thread.  Add the ruching to the sleeve edge, hem or neckline. This is so cute and really easy!  This ruching can be done on a sewing machine by winding the elastic thread in the bobbin, threading the machine with any silk, cotton, or polyester thread, and stitch with a narrow zigzag. What about serging with the chainstitch?  The chainstitch is found on coverstitch machines or sergers with the added coverstitch function.

elastic ruching chainstitch angela wolf serging overlock4

SET UP THE SERGER / COVERSTITCH MACHINE    For this sample I am using my  Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed
.  Thread the machine like you would for a chainstitch:  use thread in the needle and elastic thread in the looper.  Be patient with the elastic thread, but it will go through the machine just fine ūüôā         

Adjust the tension:

  • Loosen the needle tension  (loosen by 2 notches)
  • Tighten the looper tension (start by tightening 1 notch)

When adjusting the tensions, my coverstitch has a standard setting at 4 –  so adjust the tension on your machine accordingly.  Then simply run the edge of the fabric through the serger.  The photo’s below show you the front and back side of the first row of stitching.

Elastic Ruching with a Coverstitch Mahcine

Back side of elastic ruching

elastic ruching chainstitch angela wolf serging overlock3

Put the fabric back in the machine, line up the previous row of stitching with the edge of the presser foot and stitch.

elastic ruching chainstitch angela wolf serging overlock5

elastic ruching chainstitch angela wolf serging overlock6

That it! I usually ruch 2 – 6 rows depending on the design.  Another idea is to ruch the waist on a skirt – the elastic ruching makes a great waistband and then you wear the waist high or low.  I will dig up a photo of my silk bathing suit cover up that is sewn like this.


Speaking of using a coverstitch and overlock machine – I have a class on Craftsy called Creative Serging – Beyond the basics.  I am giving away a FREE CLASS to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to take the free class.  Click over and “‘like” my facebook page and you will get 2 entries.  If you leave a comment on the facebook page you get an extra entry as well (that’s 3 entries total :)).  One name will be drawn randomly on August 1st.  I know many of you are already in my class as we are just under 5,000 students, awesome!  For those of you that are already enjoying the class, leave a comment as to what you like most about the class and I will include you in the next giveaway (trust me, it will be good :))

If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, here is a coupon for big savings on the class.  Good luck!!!!!!   Cheers ūüôā  Angela

creative serging angela wolf

“Contemporary Couture Jacket”  Online Class on

“Contemporary Couture Jacket” Online Class on

Angela Wolf sewing couture jacketA well-made jacket can show off an outfit to its best.  Join me on PatternReview  for the fundamentals and fine points of creating a contemporary couture jacket (hint: my version of the traditional Chanel jacket).

You’ll love the comfort and style of this jacket… it feels more like a sweater! It’s the perfect topper for jeans or more formal dress.¬† This couture jacket is a must-have for the modern lifestyle!

The class offers 12 videos with 2 hours and 45 minutes of HD video.  There is also a 164 page PDF file with photos and close up details of every step.

  • Selecting fabric and lining.
  • Creating a 3-piece sleeve, laying out the pattern, and cutting the fashion fabric.
  • Attaching fusible interfacing, finishing the edges, and cutting the lining.
  • Using a couture technique to quilt the lining.
  • Sewing a jacket with a plaid.
  • Preparing and hand-stitching the lining.
  • Sewing the sleeve vent and attaching sleeves.
  • Covering shoulder pads.
  • Trim ideas, including a tutorial on how to crochet your own trim!
  • Closure options including custom covered buttons.
  • Pockets with a couture touch.
  • And last but not least, adding the prestigious weighted chain.

¬† Join me ūüôā

[vimeo w=500&h=281]

Thinking you don’t have time for a few hours of hand-stitching a couture jacket?¬† Why not bring the jacket with you!¬† Seriously, I hand-stitched the lining on this jacket while fishing (see the finished jacket below).¬† The lining is hand-dyed (and not with fish blood and guts :))¬†¬†¬† Fishing and sewing might be an odd combo, but it worked.¬† How about you, any fun sewing stories that can beat fishing?¬† Now be nice ūüôā¬†¬† Cheers xoxo Angela

angela wolf couture jacketAngela Wolf patternsAngela Wolf Patterns

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