Esme Cardigan

The Esme Cardigan is a fun, fashion-forward cardigan pattern perfect for medium or heavyweight knit fabrics with minimal stretch. The oversized look and dropped shoulder seams are right on-trend, and this would be a great project for beginners!

Named esme cardigan

The cardigan is made with a black and white metallic boucle knit from Stylish Fabric. Sadly, this fabric is no longer available on their website. I think this cardigan would look best sewn with knits that look more dressy as opposed to casual. Heavily textured fabrics, wool, or wool blend knits would be great options. However, an Esme sewn in a casual cotton sweatshirt jersey or cotton French terry might look more like your grandma’s house coat and less like a chic cardigan. FYI, B&J Fabrics’ website has a huge selection of wool knits and textured novelty knits right now. They are perfect for the Esme. Stylish Fabric still has a few heavier knits in stock too.


My measurements indicated I was a size small by Named’s sizing standards, but I decided to cut out the extra small based on the finished garment measurements. This pattern has a lot of ease!

I made several small changes to this pattern. I shortened the length to hit just above the knee, and also made a slight high-low hem. The back is 2.5 inches longer than the front. Also, I eliminated the seam that originally joined the upper and lower front pieces, and I changed the pocket style from in-seam pockets to welt pockets. This particular Named PDF pattern has seam allowance and stitching lines marked which made pattern hacking easy.  For the welts, placket and cuffs, I used the wrong side of the fabric, and I love how it turned out! I wish all fabric had a beautiful wrong side!


My pockets are two inches narrower than the original in-seam pockets. I was able to use the same pattern piece for the pocket bag, but I trimmed the sides down to match the new pocket width. Sewing welt pockets in knits uses the same process as inserting welt pockets in woven fabric; just make sure you use interfacing made specifically for knits like a fusible tricot! Use a pressing tool, a clapper, to get a crisp, folded edge on the welt.


I hemmed the cardigan by hand using a catch stitch. It stretches nicely with the knit.


I used corded button holes on this knit for and added stability and because they look amazing on thick fabric. Larger buttonholes tend to appear wavy or saggy on knits after they are cut open even with the appropriate interfacing. The cording also gives the buttonhole more of a 3D look as some buttonhole stitching gets lost in chunky knits.

Esme cardigan named patterns
Come back next week for a tutorial on corded buttonholes! Until then, I’ll be enjoying this early Charleston spring weather.

Waxed Canvas Duffel Bag 

img_6576I almost always sew exclusively for myself, but I’ve felt so generous lately, I’ve decided to make my husband something. I have been wanting to sew with waxed canvas for a while, and the Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studios was the perfect project to try this fabric. I looked at fabric that came pre-waxed, but I elected to wax my own fabric because I found some heavyweight canvas duck cloth and matching quilting cotton for the lining on sale at Joanns. Hardware and cotton webbing were purchased on Etsy.

img_6520I used Otter Wax (purchased on Amazon). In case you are wondering, Otter Wax contains beeswax and plant-based ingredients. Not otters! There are several methods you can use to apply the wax. A quick You Tube search on “how to wax fabric” will show you there are other ways to apply the wax successfully without following Otter Wax’s directions.

However, I elected to not follow any of these directions.  I cut out my pattern pieces as usual, and then, I applied the Otter Wax to each piece by rubbing a light coat of wax onto the fabric. Then, I ironed the fabric using a press cloth to protect my iron from getting waxy. Repeat this process until waterproof. 


Towards the end of waxing all of the pieces, the press cloth got saturated with wax and wax ended up getting onto my iron, but it wiped off very easily while the iron was still hot. If you don’t have fabric to use as a press cloth you can apply wax to the right sides of each pattern piece, arrange them wax sides together and then iron.

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Be sure to cover your ironing board unless you want all your clothes to be covered in wax henceforward! I used scraps of duck cloth and it worked great.

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Waxing all three bags used two 2.25oz bars of Otter Wax. After ironing, your pieces are ready to sew immediately. The newly-waxed fabric does not need 24 hours to cure, unlike other methods. I sewed up the bags using a denim needle, and there is no waxy buildup inside my machine or even on the needle!

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img_6579The Portside duffel is huge, and perfect for a weekend-long trip.  Also, the dopp kit (aka toiletry bag) is roomy too (see photo at left). I stuffed 10 pairs of socks in it for the photo!

Both the duffel and the dopp kit are lined with navy and white arrow-print fabric.

Only a few minor modifications were made to the pattern. One, I only used 1.5″ webbing instead of using two sizes, and two, I used a buckle slider instead of two d-rings on the duffel strap.

I am so jealous of my husband’s new luggage set! I need to make one for myself now. In the future, I’ll try lining the dopp kit with oilcloth or vinyl so make-up spills can be wiped up easily. Also, I will make the pouch out of clear vinyl for a TSA-friendly liquids bag!

Maybe I’ll start seeing other Portside Travel Sets at the airport soon! Happy sewing!

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Sequin Party Pants

Usually, the hubs and I go to a black-tie event for NYE, but this year we have plans that require more casual attire. I wanted to be comfortable, yet still festive, so I made some sequin jogger pants!

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I used the Anima Pants pattern from Papercut, but I modified the pattern to include a lining by taping the pocket piece to the leg piece before I cut the lining fabric. img_6355For reference, I made an XS, but next time, I’ll make a full seat adjustment because the bum is a little snug. Also, I decided to leave the cuffs off the bottom because I liked the dressier look.
The pocket lining does not show at all because the pocket opening was interfaced with a 1″ strip of fusible and it was understitched.

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I also thought this style would look awesome with a black velvet or silk satin ribbon going down the side seam like tuxedo pants, but I thought of this too late into the construction process. Maybe next time!

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I bought the rose gold sequin mesh fabric over a year ago from spandex world, and the lining is a sheer, tissue-weight black knit from Joanns. The pocket lining and waistband were cut from scraps from my fabric stash and are a 2-way stretch poly spandex blend. I was planning on using black petersham ribbon for the drawstring, but I haven’t purchased any yet. I wish I would have omitted the buttonholes for the drawstring because I like the pants without it.

This was a relatively quick project, unlike the dress I am drafting now. I can’t wait to share it in a few weeks in the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This. Bloggers create a casual day dress and a black evening dress, and share their results mid-January. For more information, check out Elizabeth’s blog!

Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files

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These are the warmest, softest pajamas I own. And since they have a collar, I still feel decent enough to answer the door when the doorbell rings unexpectedly.

The “Carolyn Pajamas” pajama pattern is from Closet Case Files. I cut my regular size based on my measurements and made no alterations to the pattern. I used lilac cotton flannel by Robert Kaufman from fabric.com with store-bought white piping. The fabric is thick; I feel like I’m wearing a flannel blanket. Also, I have washed the pjs a couple times now with no signs of pilling!

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Usually, it is easier to install homemade piping because the store bought variety does not have a 5/8″ seam allowance. I figured out a little hack that makes pre-packaged piping install much easier by using the blind hem foot. Line up your fabric as usual on the 5/8″ line on the throat plate, place the piping under the blind hem foot, and the foot will automatically shift the piping into the correct position. It worked great when I was sewing the piping around curves as well. Bernina does make a piping foot (number 38) that is better suited for this purpose, but the blind hem foot is fine for the occasional piping project.

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The hand-embroidered monogram was a nice touch that ended up taking as much time to do as the set of pajamas themselves! On the plus side, the monogram is significantly softer than machine embroidery. I traced out a design onto the fabric before cutting using a water-soluble marking pen. I used a padded satin stitch to get the 3D effect on the whole design, and I used an awl to poke holes for the eyelets before embroidering them. Here is a closeup before the pocket was cut out.  Sorry about the stray dog hair.

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This was another sewing success thanks to Closet Case Files! I want to make at least one more set in flannel so I can stay extra cozy this winter, and maybe one light weight cotton poplin or cotton lawn set with shorts in the spring.

One last shot of Tex, the dog-hair-generator, and me modeling our new flannel attire. I made his jacket too.

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Glam Kelly Anorak

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I love this pattern! I felt like I had struck gold when I finished this jacket, mostly because Heather Lou from Closet Case Files makes such great patterns. The Kelly Anorak is beautifully drafted with great instructions, and my finished garment fits better than anything I could buy ready-made.

I had to shorten the front and back pieces at the waist by 1/2 in because I’m 5’5″ and this pattern is intended for some one slightly taller. Also, I lowered the drawstring placement by about 3/4 in.

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Don’t look too close, because the drawstring casing on the right side doesn’t perfectly line up with the left when the jacket is zipped, and I didn’t notice until I was installing the hardware. I meticulously and painstakingly marked and double checked the symmetry of the right and left sides before installing the zipper and everything was perfect! However, I think the fabric shifted since I can’t use my walking foot with zippers. I highly recommend hand-basting the zipper before machine sewing so you can ensure the left and right yoke seams, drawstring casing, and pockets stay perfectly aligned!!

I used Robert Kaufman Ventana Twill fabric from fabric.com. When it came in the mail, I worried the fabric wasnt heavy enough. The fabric is approximately 7-8 oz, but now I don’t know if I would sew this jacket with anything thicker. The front facings and zipper flap are all interfaced and heavier fabric might be too bulky (even when grading seams). Also, the armholes are cut high (which I love), but they might be too tight with thick twill or denim. The shiny gold hardware and two-way riri zipper was from pacifictrimming.com.

I already have some plans for my next Kelly and can’t wait to get started! Stay tuned!

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