We’re moving closer to The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019.   Check out the challenge rules and dates here.  Be sure not to miss the prizes lined up for the challenge!  Today I’m introducing you to the fabulous team of ladies who will be joining me here on Elizabeth Made This and on YouTube February 18th-24th for 2019 The Day and Night Dress Challenge blogapalooza.  It’s a crew of vloggers and blog and all of them have different perspectives that’ll bring a fresh voice to this challenge.  Without further ado, let’s meet the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers & vloggers.

Meet the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers & vloggers

Elizabeth– Elizabeth Made This

Picture of  Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers

Hey it’s me. Sew something creative is my credo and DIY is deep in my blood. I’ve never met a bottle of fabric dye I wouldn’t use, pattern-hacking brings me joy, and pushing the envelope in refashioning is what I am always striving to do!

Alethia– Sew Much Talent

Picture of  Alethia of Sew Much Talent for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Sew Much Talent

Alethia is our fearless leader in the Facebook group Sew Much Talent. She’s always teaching, always mentoring, always encouraging others to sew beautifully, no matter where they’re starting from. She regularly does work for The Lydia Project, which is a charity helping women cope with cancer.

Tonya–Sew So Petite

Picture of  Tonya of Sew So Petite for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Sew So Petite

Tonya is a petite sewist who’s always stitching up classic style with a twist.  Don’t miss her previous Day and Night Dress Challenge makes. Her sleek cocktail dress from last year is a great representation of her elegant style!

Anita–Anita By Design

Picture of  Anita of Anita By Design for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
Image from Anita by Design

Anita of Anita by Design hardly needs an introduction, and I’m positively thrilled that she’ll be joining us here as a blogger for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge. No doubt her chic style and her Sewing with a Plan will be guiding much of her projects for the challenge!

Linda–Elle Gee Makes 

Picture of  Linda of Elle Gee Makes for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Elle Gee Makes

 Linda’s blog, is always chock full of the coolest projects.  She always does such a remarkable job recreating designer looks that jive with her Oregon weather.

Laquana– Made by Laquana 

Picture of  Laquana of Made by Laquana for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Made By Laquana

Laquana is another fellow admin in Sew Much Talent, and I’ve loved watching her craft grow.  She’s positively fearless behind a sewing machine!  Her Same Fit Done Thick series, where she looks at ready to wear and then adapts the styles and patterns to fit her–a must see for the curvy sewist or those looking to adapt patterns. 


Picture of  Maria of Velosews for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Velosews

Maria gets the Ultimate Trooper for participating in last year’s challenge while she was recovering from foot surgery. She’s regularly sewing up beautiful colorful garments like this blue jumpsuit with her couture knowledge and generally making Australia a happier place no doubt! 

Akram–Akram’s Ideas 

Picture of  Akram of Akram's Ideas for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Akram’s Ideas

Akram‘s vintage style and sweet heart make her such a fun YouTuber to watch. Her recreation of Day and Night Barbie’s style for last year’s challenge was hands down one of the most creative and joyful interpretations I’ve ever seen!


Picture of  Mesha of Keamesha for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from KeaMesha

I’m always happy to see Mesha’s garments pop up in Sew Much Talent. Her easy everyday style shines through so well in everything that she makes. I cannot wait to see what she styles up for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge!

Sue–I Love 2 Sew

Picture of  Sue of ILove2sew for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from I Love 2 Sew

Sue is one of my fellow Fabric Mart Fabricistas.  She always is pattern-hacking up a storm, and making sweet projects for her grandkids like these fun dinosaurs.

Dawn–Duelling Designs 

Picture of  Dawn of Duelling Designs for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Duelling Designs

Dawn is the brain behind That Sewing Blab.  She and Myra Rentmeester, Dawn is there every Tuesday interviewing some fantastic people in the sewing community. Her cocktail dress from last year’s challenge was truly exquisite.

Nateida–Natural Dane

Picture of  Nateida of Natural Dane for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers

image from Natural Dane

Nateida has become a good vlogging friend. She’s been finding her classic style for her and her husband 1 garment at a time. In February she’s running her #BHMPatternDesigners.

Viv–Stitches and Seams

Picture of  Viv of Stitches and Seams for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Stitches and Seams

Viv is another vlogger who’s become a dear friend. She spearheaded Sew Man Pants and she’s been sewing up a whole lotta dresses since last year’s challenge after vowing that she wasn’t a dress girl!

Gillian–Crafting a Rainbow

Picture of  Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
picture from Crafting a Rainbow

I’m so Gillian is joining in for another round of The Day and Night Dress Challenge!  You might know her from the Sewcialists blog in addition to her own blog. I love how she’s been mixing up her signature style lately diving deep into Kibbe body types.


Picture of  JeTua of Life of Robertswife for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers

JeTua is another I’m so glad will be joining us again for The Day and Night Dress Challenge. JeTua’s kindness and her elegant yet polished everyday looks are always welcome! This tie-dye dress is way up my alley!

Meg–Cookin’ and Craftin’ 

Meg and her bright fresh style are always a delight, and I’m excited to see how she’ll be pairing her dress for The 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge. I’m excited for her own Twists and Ties Challenge!

Helena–Gray All Day 

Picture of  Helena of Gray All Day for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Gray All Day

Clothes Making Mavens has always been one of my favorite sewing podcasts, and being able to have one of the faces behind that, Helena here again for the 2019 Day and Night Dress challenge will be too cool. Her laid back style of her cocktail dress for last year’s challenge was one of my favorites! I’m expecting big things from Helena as her jackets are awesome!!!!

Renata–The Twilight Stitcher

Picture of  Renata of The Twilight Stitcher for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from The Twilight Stitcher

I’m serious looking forward to seeing Renata’s accompanying pieces for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge. The Twilight Stitcher herself, and the originator of The Little Red Dress Project is an ace when it comes to styling her handmade garments!

Myra–Myra Lorraine 

Image from Myra Lorraine

Myra‘s easy casual style will no doubt bring a different twist to the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge. Besides being one of the most encouraging voices in the sewing world, she is co-hosting the #BHMPatternDesigners with Natural Dane.

Karina–Lifting Pins and Needles 

Picture of  Karina of Lifting Pins and Needles for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Lifting Pins and Needles

We missed out on having Karina of Lifting Pins and Needles last year with a move to a new country! I’m looking forward to seeing her creative, expert drafting and alteration skills come into play in the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge ans they did here on this asymmetric dress.

Eli–Cat in a Wardrobe 

Eli of Cat in a Wardrobe will be bringing her effortless style and beautifully tailored garment making skills to the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge. If she does anything close to as cool as this dip dyed dress, it’s going to be great!


Picture of  Alex of Sewrendipity for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Sewrendipity

New to the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge but not at all to the sewing world, Alex of Sewrendipity has been bringing high fashion into her sustainable wardrobe. I loved watching her on The Great British Sewing Bee, and her Fabric Shops directory is a must see for traveling sewists!

Claire–Penguin and Pear

Picture of  Claire of Penguin and Pear for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Penguin and Pear

Claire is a new to me vlogger, but I’ve been instantly charmed by her humor and her grit. She’s created her own challenge called 12 Patterns Plus which is an inclusive size challenge for all of 2019.

Lori–Girls in the Garden

Picture of Lori of Girls in the Garden for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge bloggers&  vloggers
image from Girls in the Garden

Lori joining in the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge feels a bit full circle for me. She hosted a wardrobe challenge many many years ago, and her casual style coupled with expert sewing knowledge has inspired so many! Her podcast Sew Forth Now was the very first podcast I ever listened to!

How excited are you about  this crew?!!!


  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     
Picture of  logo for the 2019 Day and Night Dress Challenge
Post me!!!!!!
collage of logos for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

When I was looking for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 Sponsors, I really wanted to partner with some people that really reflect the spirit of this year’s challenge. There’s some old friends from previous challenges, and I’m really excited to share some new faces among our amazing sponsor list today. So let’s look at what’s up for grabs!

The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 Sponsors

All of the prizes will be for participants in the community challenge which is running all the way until March 17th. You have until then to post a picture of each your day and night looks to Instagram tagging me @elizabethmadethis with the hashtag#dayandnightdresschallenge. After that, all winners will be chosen randomly for prizes.

To create your day and night looks, pair a dress you already have with 2 new garments or accessories that you will sew. Anything is game here, and I can’t wait to see people’s creativity come alive with this new spin! Make sure you check out the official challenge post for all of the details of the challenge!

Anita by Design

Anita by Design logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

The lovely Anita of Anita by Design is generously sponsoring a $50 gift card to LA Finch Fabrics for one winner.

I so wanted Anita to be a part of this challenge this year not only because she’s one of the kindest people out there, but also because we’re thinking a lot of the same thoughts about our wardrobes lately. Do not miss her Sewing With a Plan series!

Fabric Mart

Fabric Mart logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

I’m glad to welcome Fabric Mart, a longtime supporter of the challenge among The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors! This year, Fabric Mart will be offering 1 Julie’s Picks Membership.

Since the goal of this year’s Day and Night Dress Challenge is to help you create a flexible wardrobe, a Julie’s Picks Membership can be a huge help. Every month, Fabric Mart sends a swatch booklet with helpful sewing hints and pattern suggestions. It’s not always easy to shop for fabric online! Swatches can really help you look at the projects you already have and shop for new fabric without wondering will this actually match?

My Daily Threadz

 My Daily Threadz logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Shari of My Daily Threadz is offering 1 of her multicultural sewing planners to one winner. The artwork in these planners is just beautiful and she’s done such a remarkable job of putting together a planner that’ll help you organize all your thoughts about your sewing projects and life in general!

Sew Plan It planner cover from My Daily Threadz
image from My Daily Threadz

Athina Kakou

Athina Kakou Patterns logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Athina Kakou, the brain behind Athina Kakou Patterns and last year’s SMYLY challenge is offering 1 copy of her Sewing Your Dream Wardrobe E-book. I love her mission she has in this book to help you, “
curate your current wardrobe, [and] also offer you all the tips and tricks to fill it with clothes that you will actually love to wear everyday “. What more could you want?!

picture of tablet with Sewing Your Dream Wardrobe e-book
image from Athina Kakou

Style Sew Me

Style Sew Me logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Eryn of Style Sew Me is offering 1 copy of her Madison Cardigan + Style Book for one winner. If you’ve never seen how expertly Eryn styles all of her patterns and outfits, go treat yo’self to her fantastic blog and learn from a master!

Madison Cardigan line drawing and modeled photo from Style Sew Me
image from Style Sew Me

Seamwork Patterns

Seamwork logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Seamwork Patterns is offering 1 pattern to 5 winners. Winners can choose any pattern from Seamwork OR Colette’s impressive library of patterns. I’ve always loved how Seamwork and Colette do such a great job of focusing on helping people build a wearable wardrobe. Seamwork’s Design Your Wardrobe series and in the past Colette’s Wardrobe Architect both dive deep into thinking about how you go about planning. Definitely a good read!

Fabric Magpie is also offering a £25 voucher to their shop to 1 winner. Boz always does such a great job of curating beautiful fabrics to make memorable garments. Kids are welcome to participate in this year’s challenge too! I know my daughter would be all over a dress in this hot air balloon print!

Emmaline Bags

Emmaline Bags  logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Emmaline Bags is offering a $25CAD gift card to their shop to 1 winner. One of the things that I’m most excited about this year’s challenge is being able to encourage sewists who like not just garment sewing, and I can think of nothing cuter to go with your chosen dress than one of Emmaline Bags’ Necessary Clutch Wallets! I love how they have hardware kits like this one to go with their patterns.

Clover Convertible Bag from Emmaline Bags

Sew Sweetness

Sew Sweetness logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Speaking of awesome bag patterns, Sew Sweetness is offering 1 $80 gift certificate to their shop for 1 winner.

If you don’t know, Sew Sweetness is another great name out their making bag patterns that yield professional looking results. If you’re a bag maker, you will never be at a loss trying to find a cool bag for any occasion from Sew Sweetness. I think an Appaloosa would be a great addition to your dress!

Appaloosa bag pattern from Sew Sweetness
Appaloosa bag pattern from Sew Sweetness


patternreview logo  logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Patternreview is offering a $50 gift card to their shop to 1 winner. If you’re looking for advice on any given pattern, Patternreview is the place to be. Plus, their contests are constantly pushing sewists to grow in their skills and have fun together! I know Wardrobe Sudoku forever changed how I look at my own closet!

Wardrobe Sudoku grid for Patternreview's Wardrobe Sudoku contest
My Wardrobe Sudoku grid

Minerva Crafts

Minerva Crafts logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Minerva Crafts is offering a £100 Fabric Hamper to 1 winner for the challenge. I’m so glad to have Minerva Crafts as a part of The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors. They have some truly beautiful fabrics that aren’t always easy to get in the US, and their international shipping is crazy reasonable! Here’s a peek from my project I have coming up for their Blogger Network at the end of the month:

scalloped embroidered denim collar
adventures in self drafting!


sewalicious logo  logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Sewalicious is offering a £30 gift card to their shop for 1 winner of The Day and Night Dress Challenge. If you can’t tell from their logo or their whimsical graphics alone, Sewalicious is one of the most fun shops I’ve seen out there offering modern fabrics and accessories to sewists. I love their cactus pincushion kit and their line of sewist themed jewelry by Jazzy Menagerie. This measuring tape necklace is one of my favorites that I wear!

measuring tape necklace from Sewalicious

DG Patterns

dgpatterns  logo for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors

Last but certainly not least, DG Patterns is offering a $50 coupon code to 1 winner for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019.

DG Patterns always has such fresh pattern ideas and so many of them can easily make up a truly flexible wardrobe. I’d love to see the Soledad dress + the Leslie Cardigan as a combo! 

So those are all the prizes that are up from The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 sponsors. A giant thanks to all of the amazing people who are donating their fabulous products for the sewing community here!

I cannot wait to give these out!


  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 logo

It may sound daunting to start thinking about your sewing projects in terms of building a flexible wardrobe. I mean you already have to think about good construction, right fabric choice, pattern alterations, fitting and the list goes on. And yet, I know how many of us (hand raised here!) have gotten to the end of a challenge only to have yet another garment that you’re not going to wear. My dear hope is that by the end of The Day and Night Dress Challenge, you would walk into your closet and be able to see, ok, this dress goes with this and this and this too. So let’s break down how you can start building a flexible wardrobe.

Sew a flexible wardrobe

What is a flexible wardrobe?

flexible wardrobe example of a knit dress styled with a chenille motorcycle vest for winter
knit dress + motorcycle vest + tea=my life!

A flexible wardrobe could mean a lot of things to you. It could mean that you have some pieces that you can wear year-round. Maybe it means that you can mix and match everything that you own. Ultimately, in a flexible wardrobe, you have some pieces that you can match with at least one and as many other items as you can. But this doesn’t have to be restrictive or boring. You won’t hear me telling you to get rid of your whole closet or be done with sewing your own clothes when you have 7 interchangeable pieces.

Start with a dress

flexible wardrobe in play with Sew Over It Lulu dress styled with cowl scarf
Sew Over It Lulu dress with cowl sweater and Converse because…Momming

Today we’re going to start with thinking about 1 type of garment–a dress and how it is that you might pair that garment with other garments. This will help you start thinking about creating your day and night looks for The Day and Night Dress Challenge, but beyond that, I hope it’ll give you a framework for evaluating future sewing projects you might have in mind.

So here are 5 things to think about with dresses when you’re thinking about sewing a flexible wardrobe:

1. Think about your life

What sorts of hats do you wear in your life? Are you a teacher, a Mom, a business person, do you like looking super sharp or are you pro casual all the time?

Give a name to all the styles that make up how you dress in your day. For me, my typical week is a whole lot of Mom Style, Teacher Style, and periodically Church Style. Some others might be Work Style, Going Out Style, Weekend Style. Write down all of your style categories your everyday life fits into.

You could even have subcategories within your style groups: I know my own Soccer Mom Style requires a whole different look than my regular Mom Style and particularly depending on what time of year it is. Which leads me to point 2.

woman wearing orchid sweater dress styled with purple hoodie
A hoodie + a sweater dress is perfect for battling Colorado wind, morning cold and bad hair on soccer Saturdays!

2. Think about the weather

Maybe you live in a climate with really consistent weather. Oh you tropical island people! Probably wherever you live, there’s at least some unpredictability with the weather. Here in Colorado, it’s not uncommon to have a snow day followed by a really mild day or a whole lot of wind on what otherwise would be a pleasant day. How I wear a dress in winter is going to be totally different than how someone in a full-on Canadian winter handles it.

A flexible wardrobe considers the weather.  Here a boiled wool coat is paired with leggings and sneakers which is not nearly warm enough for a 40 degree day.
You chose…poorly with the sneakers on this 40 degree day. The scarf did save me though!

Write down any kind of weather challenge. Brainstorm any kind of solution that might help you with that challenge. And then write down garments or accessories that will smack help deal with that.

Here’s a couple examples:

Weather challengepossible solutiongarments/accessories to pair with your dress
fickle Winterlayering on top, under dressesjackets, sweaters, fingerless gloves, scarves, detachable cowls, coats, ALL.THE.LEGGINGS
burning hot sunsleeveless airy dresses, but also, light layers in breathable fabrics to avoid sunburnlinen overshirt, cotton short sleeve bolero

3. Think about your work and hobbies

A flexible wardrobe requires mixing pieces that work for your hobbies. 
 Woman playing violin while wearing orchid sweater dress styled with printed rayon t-shirt
You’ll literally never see me wearing woven tops while playing violin.

Do you have any physical needs in your wardrobe during the day? I know when I was in a classroom, wearing pencil skirts was mighty impractical being up and down and sitting on my knees on the floor for much of the day. In my violin life, knit shirts and dresses keep my upper body free to move while I play.

And most jobs have some sort of norm for how you need to be dressing.

So next, write down any specific ways that your job or anything else you do might affect your wardrobe choices.

4. Color is Queen

Not all colors go with all colors. Putting colors and mixing prints is a skill that takes time to develop. A black dress does NOT go with everything. You know this instinctively, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with color. Here are some good basic categories and qualities of color that work well together. It’s good not to mix categories. To give you an example, a muted red is going to look weird with a bright fuschia, but it’ll look great with a grey.

  1. Muted: colors with grey added to them
  2. Pastels or tints: pure colors with white added to them
  3. Analagous: colors next to each other on the color wheel
  4. Monochromatic: various shades of the same color
  5. Jewel Tones: pure saturated colors–think Crayola bright in all their full glory

Color is the most visual and maybe the most interactive component in a flexible wardrobe. I don’t want you to write anything down here yet. You need to look with your eyes! Nancy Zieman said this really profound thing once on a Sewing With Nancy episode:

“Make visual decisions visually”

Nancy Zieman

First take your dress, and put it against a neutral background–a white board, a wood floor–whatever you have. If you have a dress form, use it!

Place different colors next to it and take note of any that just make it sing. You could use swatches of fabric, actual yardage of fabric, or anything with color like paint chips from the hardware store. Which ones make an impact? Are there any that you want to throw across the room they’re so wrong? I like all of the above for different reasons, but the organza has my heart and imagination.

Now, write down those happy making colors.

If you were using fabric, set aside the winning fabrics. You can even cut a little swatch of the fabric and staple it to a project page if you have a sewing planner.

5. Find a sewing pattern that brings it all together

So far, you know what dress you’re going to pair with a new garment. You’ve thought about your lifestyle needs you have in your wardrobe, the weather challenges you face, and what colors make that dress jump for joy. Your last step in sewing up a flexible wardrobe is to find a pattern that will bring all these elements together. Brainstorm all your ideas for any possible sewing patterns.

If you can’t find a pattern straight off the top of your head, it’s okay to write down an idea for the perfect pattern. You can easily go searching for something like a “cocoon cardigan pattern” or “cropped sweater pattern” later!

Create your own flexible style by combining your favorite garments.  Purple faux leather jacket + printed rayon tee shirt + sweater dress
Who knew this jacket would become probably my favorite outside of this denim jacket?

My faux leather jacket is a good example of ticking all the boxes. I can’t violin in it, but it keeps me warm in fall and spring, I can pair it with most dresses and I feel darn cool in it. Originally it was for cosplay, but it’s easily become a staple in building my own flexible wardrobe.

Keep experimenting!

Wardrobes are things that are ever changing. We grow bigger, we grow smaller, clothes wear out, get dated. As sewists we hold ALL of the style cards, and the more we can think about making pieces that work in harmony with each other, the more of a flexible wardrobe we will create.

flexible wardrobe example with one dress styled 3 ways
Pin this image

It’s BACK!!! I’m happy to announce The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 today! I’ve been so glad to host this event for the greater sewing community online, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will come of it this year! Let’s jump into what this challenge is all about this year!

The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019

Your official graphic for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019

Every year, I have two goals for The Day and Night Dress Challenge: #1 make it bigger and better. I’ve met so many people through this challenge, and I so love and get excited about seeing how everyone takes the same idea and takes it a totally different direction. So why not have more people be a part of that?!

My #2 goal with The Day and Night Dress Challenge is to make it different each year. If it’s a challenge for other people to participate, it should be a challenge personally for me to try and figure out how to shake things up. And boy howdy, I’m putting this challenge in the blender this year. So what’s going on with The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019?

The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019: The theme!

So last year, I had the theme of Coffee and Cocktails in about 5 minutes. This year, I was literally drawing the graphic before the subtitle came to me. Which is….

1 Dress 2 Looks

The theme of The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 is 1 Dress, 2 Looks. I know what you’re thinking. This is the Day and Night DRESS Challenge and we’re not making dresses? Nope. Read on friend!

Here’s the thing. I just bet that you have a dress hanging out in your closet that’s not getting a lot of wear. Maybe you wore it once for a wedding and then it got buried under last season’s t-shirts. Perhaps you’ve always liked it but couldn’t figure out how to wear it. Maybe you love it, but it’s only appropriate for about 2 seconds of the year before your weather turns on you.

Whatever the case, that dress needs some help. Some styling help.

Be your own stylist with The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019

So let’s take that dress that you aren’t wearing. The challenge for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 is to pair that neglected dress with either another garment or an accessory to give you your day and night looks that have always been a part of The Day and Night Dress Challenge.

Step 1: Find your dress

Say you have a sleeveless dress. It’s winter here in the US. As I write this it’s about 20 degrees outside. How can you make that dress like this blockprint linen dress make it into cooler months?

sleeveless blockprint dress
Favorite linen sleeveless blockprint dress

Step 2: Create your day look

Per tradition for The Day and Night Dress Challenge, you must create 2 different looks. The “day look” is how you might wear your dress in real life. How is this dress going to hang out with a friend? What will this dress look like if you’re going to the grocery store or to work?

Sew Over It Lulu dress
Sew Over It Lulu dress with cowl sweater–add those layers!!!

For a day look, you can pair that sleeveless dress with a wool jersey t-shirt underneath the dress. A coat could work, so could a sweater or cardigan. If you wanted to go the accessory route instead, you could make a scarf or a hat. And if you have a dress that’s plenty warm thank you very much, you could make a handbag. There’s many ways to play here whether you want to take on a big giant project like a tailored coat or something you could make in about 30 minutes like a scarf.

So what about your “night look”?

Step 3: Create your night look

So your “night look” for the Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 needs to incorporate your dress with a different extra garment or accessory to that you and your dress could go out to a nice night out. You can go as fancy as you want here (wedding, opera, cocktail party whatever), but it need not be the case. If a nice dinner out is you and your husband getting a quiet dinner without the kids, your dress can come along for the ride!

lace dress
My night look for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018

Let’s use an example. Here’s my cocktail dress from last year’s Day and Night Dress Challenge. I love this lace and the coral slip underneath definitely puts it into dinner out category. My hubby and I even got out for sushi last year for my birthday in it:

For this dress, I’d love to add a long trench coat. The lace is a bit too nice to cover up entirely, but a trench coat gives you some options for still creating a cohesive ensemble. I love this blue trench with this funky dress.

Maybe you live in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s currently summer. Maybe your night look then just needs a quick little sequin bolero. This challenge has always been about making clothes work for you and your lifestyle. So here’s the official rules:

Official rules for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019


The challenge:

Take a handmade dress you haven’t worn in a while and create 2 looks:

  • Day look: Pair your chosen dress with 1 extra item (jacket, coat, hat, scarf, handbag etc) to create an ensemble for your regular everyday life.
  • Night look: Pair your chosen dress with 1 extra item (jacket, coat, hat, scarf, handbag, etc) for a combination that you might wear to a nice night out to dinner or anywhere else that’s a little more classy.

Things to note to be counted as an official entry:

  • Your extra items must be something that you’ve made from now until March 17th when the community challenge ends.
  • Post a picture of your day look and your night look to Instagram between now and March 17th. If you’re shy, you can totally post a pic of your dress form donning your looks!
  • When you post your looks, tag me on Instagram @elizabethmadethis with the hashtag #dayandnightdresschallenge to be entered for a prize.
  • Prizes will be drawn randomly from the pool of entrants after March 17th.

The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019 schedule:

  • The blogger/vlogger post-a-palooza will take place from Monday, February 18-Sunday February 24th right here on Elizabeth Made This.
  • The community challenge runs from January 3rd-March 17th. See above rules for entry.



  1. Find your lonely dress in your closet! Sew up 2 extra pieces to coordinate with your dress for a day look and a night look.
  2. Let other people know about it.  Use #dayandnightdresschallenge on Twitter and Instagram and follow the Day and Night Dress Challenge Facebook group.
  3. Keep reading here to find out the latest.  Follow Elizabeth Made This on Instagram andFacebook.
  4. Post a picture of your newly styled dress and extra pieces in your day look and your night look to Instagram to enter yourself.  Don’t forget to tag me @elizabethmadethis and use the #dayandnightdresschallenge.
  5. Grab the graphic below and post it on your site and/or repost on Instagram:     
Post me!!!!!!

It’s a New Year, and though we all know that New Year’s Resolutions are not always the things you stick to, there’s something about wanting to revisit what’s working and what you’d like to change when January 1st strikes. I’ve personally been wracking my brain for months trying to figure out how to make Elizabeth Made This a more useful place for everyone who visits here. Writing about my own projects have served me well for a long time, but how can I reach more people–no, how can I HELP people learn to sew? Wow, long intro there, and this is going to be a way different post, but here’s how I’m shifting my blog focus in 2019.

standing on my head

“If I should suddenly start to sing or stand on my head or anything, don’t think that I’ve lost my senses, it’s just that my happiness finally commences…”


Shifting my blog focus in 2019

A brief history

Before I tell you where I want to go, it’s useful to know where things began around here.  I wrote my first blog post in 2007? Who knows? It was so long ago, but the point is that I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I love sewing. A lot. And writing about it gave me a way to work out what I was learning. But I’ve had no clear direction for forever. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different things, but I’ve never consistently written about anything.  I’ve gone through times of total blog silence and frenzied productivity.  But as I’ve seen my own knowledge about sewing and my skills grow, I’ve come to this slow realization that I don’t want to keep on writing about only MY projects forever.  So now what? How do I even begin shifting my blog focus?

First comes teaching

kids' choir

Teaching is the first element when it comes to shifting my blog focus. I really loved my job as an elementary music teacher.  I taught 1st-6th graders for 7 years before my oldest son was born.  Teaching was so not natural to me.  In both my undergraduate and graduate music education programs, I felt like a total phony.  All of my peers seemed to have had private lesson studios since they were in high school.  I nearly passed out the first time I stood on the podium to conduct a rehearsal.  But I kept on.  I had WONDERFUL mentors in both programs who kept encouraging me to keep trying.  Direct quote from one of my teachers: “Elizabeth, if you can just break out of your shell, you’ll be a wonderful teacher.” 

And I plugged on at this thing that was so foreign to me and I got better at it.  To the point that I absolutely can’t see the world without looking through the eyes of a teacher.  And when I see a student connect the dots, wow.   Joy confetti everywhere in my head!  You can ask my kids, but after my violin students go home for the night, it takes me a while to come down off of Teacher Mountain.

ruffle sweatshirt

So yeah, teaching is going to become a big part of Elizabeth Made This.  I want to be that coach who comes alongside you and encourages you to keep working through a problem.  Keep an eye out for helpful sewing advice, pattern hacking tutorials like this ruffle sweatshirt, refashioning, DIY projects that you can make for yourself, and talk about creating a handmade wardrobe that makes sense for your everyday life.

Next comes writing

Writing is so at the heart of shifting my blog focus too! If I have a regret, it’s that I got into making videos on YouTube before I was really ready for it.  It did remind me that I love love love teaching, but it also split my focus and turned it away from writing.

So while blogging as a method of communication is not for everyone, I can’t let go of it simply because writing is something that’s always been a part of my life.  There’s probably a book deep down in me somewhere!

I won’t be saying no to video for forever, but any video work I do in the future is going to support all of the content that I’ll be creating here on Elizabeth Made This.

Creativity is the most important piece of the equation

slip dress from scarves
While not my favorite make of 2018, definitely a fun concept I went for

It’s taken me a long time to come to the tagline of “Sew something creative”, but that really is my goal.  I am a creative person with a capital C and truly want others to be able to see how that creativity comes about and how they can apply it to their own sewing.

DIY is so the core of everything I do.  I’ve had loooong conversations with friends about pattern hacking, refashioning, and fabric dye and blockprinting and applique and all the ways I otherwise abuse fabric in an effort to make something unique.  I want to show more of that process and demystify it for you.  If I can’t convince you that Rit DyeMore will change your life, I will have failed!!!!

colorblocked boiled wool coat
Colorblocked boiled wool coat made with Rit DyeMore


I can’t forget about story in shifting my blog focus. Sewing your own garments is not an activity that exists in a box.  Those garments go somewhere–they live your life, they do what you do.  I want to hear those stories from other people.  I want to tell those stories in pictures and in writing.  Those pictures are the ones I want to take–not just the ones that show the finished product.

A New Year, a real focus

So with that in mind, I’m plowing into 2019.  I’m announcing The Day and Night Dress Challenge tomorrow, and I’m shaking it up massively this year.  I think it’ll be an interesting turn.  Perhaps it’s been too long that I’ve tried to be other people instead of just letting myself look at sewing the way that I see it.  If you’ve read this blog for a long time, I want to thank you for sticking with me through a lot of terrible pictures, stream of consciousness and general blog squirrels.  And if this is your first time here, all I can say is, let me prove this year that I can help you sew something creative!

What will your 2019 look like in your sewing life?

shifting my blog focus

Winter is upon us and this is the time of year that I start loading up the layers in a vain attempt to keep myself warm. So today I’m going to show you how to make this DIY ruffle sweater. It’s an easy pattern hack meets girly style! Let’s get hacking!

yellow ruffle sweater

DIY ruffle sweater

For this ruffle sweater pattern hack, you’ll need a t-shirt pattern that you love. There’s umpteen million choices here, but I’m using Burdastyle 2-2011-106. It’s a great little basic round neck tee that I’ve used before for this Hummingbird tee.

If you don’t have a favorite tee-shirt, here’s some other choices:

Fabric choice

You’ll want to choose some cozy fabric for your ruffle sweater! I’m using a sweatshirt fleece, but a sweater knit, french terry, or wool jersey are all great options too.

If you’re using a t-shirt pattern designed for more stretchy knits like rayon jersey, cut a size larger than you would normally. Sweatshirt knits typically don’t have as much stretch and definitely not the recovery of stretchier knits. If you’re going Team Lazy here, you could also get away with just adding a little extra seam allowance at the sides.

ruffle sweater infographic

1. Make the Crossover front piece

ruffle sweater pieces

To start, trace off a copy of your front pattern piece. For this project it needs to be a full piece. You can trace a full piece or go the lazy route by using your traced half as the altered part and just overlap your original piece at center front when you cut. When I’m pattern hacking, I’m all about Team Lazy!

Next, draw a curve from the middle armhole down towards the hem. It should crossover center front 1-2″ from the bottom of the hem. For this style, you want to reduce the hem allowance to 3/8″ since we’re going to add the ruffle.

To finish the front piece, add a seam allowance beyond your line that you drew and cut away the excess. You’ll need to cut 2 of these.

2. Measure for the ruffles

Next let’s make the ruffles. Take a measuring tape and measure on your pattern piece along the curve you drew. Multiply this X2 to get the length of your ruffle. Cut 2 ruffle pieces the length you need X 2.5″ wide.

Do the same thing for the back piece. Measure along the hem line, multiply X4 to get the length of the back ruffle (X2 if you’re using a full pattern piece). Cut 1 ruffle that length X2.5″.

3. Cut the ruffles

Cut 2 front ruffles and 1 back ruffle

4. Gather and hem the ruffles

Hem the ruffles by pressing up 5/8″ to the wrong side on the long edges. Topstitch the hem down with a double needle, zigzag stitch or a coverstitch.

Gather the top long edge of the ruffle by first sewing 2 rows of long stitches close to the top edge. From the wrong side, pull on the bobbin threads to gather the fabric. Repeat for the ruffles.

5. Sew on the ruffles

With wrong sides together, pin the gathered edge of the ruffle to the cut edge of a front piece. Adjust the ruffle to fit, then sew the ruffle to the edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Repeat for the second ruffle and the back piece.

Stack the front pieces with the right front on top of the left and baste the armholes and neckline together. Trim away any ruffle from the armhole area so that the ruffle is flush with the armhole.

yellow ruffle sweater

*A note on the left front ruffle*

If you’re using a closer fitting t-shirt pattern as I am and your fabric is a little bulky (mine is!), you might want to have the left front ruffle end just past the point that it crosses over CF. You’ll still get a ruffle hem, but it won’t add extra bulk underneath the right front. But check your pattern. A looser fit tee might be just fine with that second ruffle.

6. Finishing up

After that, sew your shoulder seams, side seams, neck binding and sleeves as you would for any other t-shirt.

yellow ruffle sweater

Styling your DIY ruffle sweater

ruffle sweater flatlay

How do you wear something like this? I’m wearing mine with slim motorcycle leggings and boots. Other options would be to pair it with a nice cozy scarf and a pencil skirt or even over a knit dress. Leggings + a longer tunic under the ruffle sweater might be cool too. Or jeans! Always the jeans!

Winter dressing is all about layering! Have a look around your closet and don’t be afraid to experiment. For other styling posts, check out how I styled Sew Over It’s Lulu dress.

ruffle sweater

Make a DIY ruffle sweater yourself!

If you make this ruffle sweater yourself, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to let me know about it on Instagram or you can email me!

Pin this image
boiled wool coat

Hi all! I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and lovely times with family! I’ve certainly enjoyed hanging around in pjs with my family and wearing my pompom jacket! Today I’m over on the Fabric Mart blog talking about this colorblocked boiled wool coat and sequin cardigan.

faux suede trim

There’s dye! Suede trim makes an appearance, scraps become a zipper tassel, and I consider how sequins can be a part of your everyday wardrobe. Go check it out!

toddler sequin skirt and sequin cardigan

Next up tomorrow:

ruffle sweatshirt

Is this t-shirt pattern hack. It’s quick and easy and it’s the kind of top you’ll want to rescue out of the dirty clothes to wear again!

Do you have any post Christmas sewing plans?

ugly Christmas sweater

I can’t say that I ever participated in the Ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon growing up.  Yes, I did DIY a Santa hat with lots of lights for orchestra performances in junior high, but an ugly Christmas sweater?  Nope.  So the past several years, I’ve seen more and more of these absurdly over-the-top creations ranging from funny to tacky to even vulgar.  While I’ll pass on the last category, I’m definitely embracing the tacky and over the top with this pompom laden no-sew ugly Christmas sweater.  Let me show you how I made mine and how you can make one for yourself!

Pompom no-sew ugly Christmas sweater

Find a sweater as your base

To make this sweater, you’ll need a sweater as a base to hold all the pompoms.

ugly Christmas sweater

Any style of sweater will do!  You control how many pompoms are on your final sweater, so a cardigan, vest, long-sleeved, zippered style will do.  The only thing is that you want a sweater with a reasonably closely knit structure.  More open-knit sweaters will be difficult to work with because the pompoms won’t have enough structure to latch onto.

I chose a short sleeved cardigan for mine.  It was a little bit too large for me, so I spent time first taking in the sides a little bit and taking in the neck significantly through a series of darts.  The more closely fitting your sweater can be, the better because the pompoms are going to add an unholy amount of bulk to your sweater!

Make a crazy number of pompoms.  And then make more.  And probably more still.

ugly Christmas sweater

Next, you want to start making pompoms.  I found this tutorial on YouTube helpful.

Get ready to go through a crazy amount of yarn.  1 reasonably sized skein yielded between 5-10 3″ diameter pompoms.  Bulky yarns work really really well for this.  Chunky wool and wool blends are ideal, though I liked the bulky acrylics too.  My least favorite were the thinner acrylic yarns, though I used them too for the color (olive with gold flecks!!).

Consider some unconventional places like thrift stores as you’re gathering yarn.  I was able to find several quality yarns (cashmere for change!) at my local thrift store and also ReCreative in Denver.

ugly Christmas sweater

In total, I think there’s close to 100 pompoms on my sweater.  I initially estimated about 60, but they really take up less space than you think.  The good news is that while this sounds like a big undertaking, it’s pretty mindless work.  You can wrap and tie them up in the dark while you’re watching a movie.  Trim several up at a time while you’re waiting for water to heat up for your tea.  

All this yarn reminds me of my favorite sweater refashion of all time!

Get the pompoms ready

This is a no-sew project, but you’re still going to need a needle with a large eye.  An upholstery or darning needle will do the trick.  It’s not for sewing, it’s for helping thread the pompoms through the sweater base so you can tie them.

ugly Christmas sweater
Thread your yarn through the needle

If you made your pompoms the right way, there should be some long tails that survived through all the trimming process.  If you cut them off or forgot to put them on, let me show you how to fix it. 

ugly Christmas sweater
Run the yarn right through the center of the pompom

First thread your needle with about 12″ of yarn.  You want to use a yarn that’s of the same weight or heavier than the pompom itself.  This way it’ll support the pompom no problem.  Put the needle point through the center of the pompom and pull it through so the yarn is centered in the pompom.

ugly Christmas sweater
Happy square knot

Make a nice square knot (right over left, then left over right).  You want to have 2 of these strands through the middle for a total of 4 long threads in each pompom.

ugly Christmas sweater

Now we tie!

ugly Christmas sweater
Place the pompom where you want it

Thread one of the tails through the needle, then poke the needle end through the sweater.  Repeat with another tail, making sure that the second tail is at least 1″ away from the first.  This will give the pompom a wide base of support.  On the wrong side of the sweater, tie a very secure square knot.  Repeat with the second set of tails.  

ugly Christmas sweater
Tail #1 to the wrong side
ugly Christmas sweater
Both tails on the wrong side. 
ugly Christmas sweater
Tie a firm square knot.

Trim the tails on the inside, leaving about 1″ away from the knot.  If you want, you can tie some of the tails to other tails from other pompoms for more security.

Add the next pompom right next to the last, covering up all the surface of the sweater.  Keep tying on more pompoms until you’re thoroughly satisfied.

Tips for pompom tying   

ugly Christmas sweater
A dress form makes it easy to tie and see how pompoms will sit
  1. Use a dress form or a really patient model:  It’s pretty difficult to know how the pompoms are going to sit.  What’s covered on a person might have big holes when you’re working on the floor.  Tying is going to take a couple of hours, so a dress form will really help you see where pompoms are going to sit when you’re wearing your creation.
  2. Square knot: At some point you’ll have to tie square knots upside down.  Some parts of the sweater will just be awkward like that.  Be sure you’re still tying proper square knots.  I lost a couple pompoms and had to redo them when I accidentally tied the similar but totally unsecure granny knot instead.

Make it your own

ugly Christmas sweater

The variations on this kind of pompom ugly Christmas sweater are endless.  Make it in several shades of the same color or vary several different colors for a colorblocked effect.  Or place pompoms at random as I’ve done.

This is not a serious garment!  Be as crazy as you want!

The over-the-topness of it all is a bit like this totally 80s refashioned sweater!

ugly Christmas sweater

Styling tips for your pompom ugly Christmas sweater

ugly Christmas sweater
  • Keep it simple and fitted: your pompom ugly Christmas sweater has a crazy amount of volume.  Balance it out with a simple t-shirt and slim fitting jeans or leggings. I’ve paired mine with some olive motorcycle leggings, a cream t-shirt, and black boots.  There’s a long necklace in there too somewhere!
  • Be ready for reactions: Fair warning–people will want to hug you or poke you/otherwise get in your space when you don a sweater like this.  Have a good sense of humor about it and defend your space if it’s weirding you out!  

Go big or go home

So while this look is a little bonkers, sometimes it’s okay to go way over the top.  

ugly Christmas sweater
pompom trimmings make sweet confetti too!

So by now, you’ve got a good idea of how to make your own pompom ugly Christmas sweater.  We’ve talked about what sweaters work well for this project, you’ve seen how to tie all the pompoms on your sweater, and now you have some ideas ideas about how to wear it.  Whatever you do, own this look, and most of all, have fun with it!

ugly Christmas sweater
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Christmas is a time of making memories with your family, and we all have our favorite traditions this time of year.  I love how things like making cookies and ornaments and sewing simple gifts can get everyone in your family involved.  And though it’s work to do so, sewing things for others is a wonderful way to show them your love and still get to do something that you love!  Today let’s talk about how to start a handmade Christmas tradition with your own DIY family pajamas.

How to start a handmade Christmas tradition with DIY family pajamas

family pajamas

Why DIY family pajamas are an easy gift win

One of the reasons I love making DIY family pajamas is that my kids almost always need new pajamas.  By the time December rolls around, pajama bottoms are looking like high waters, and last year’s flannel is looking pretty shabby.  

And if you have family members who are tough to shop for, pajamas can be an easy solution.  There’s little fitting involved, they sew up quickly, with all those good holiday fabric sales, you’ll have no problem in finding a fabric that matches the interests of all your family members.  

I got all my flannel this year from JoAnn on Black Friday for $2.50/yd.  That’s a pretty low price to pay for the fun of donut flannel.

family pajamas

DIY family pajamas workflow

family pajamas
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  1. Plan ahead: Hopefully by now, you’ve planned ahead, and if you haven’t be sure to grab my Holiday Sewing Project Planner when you sign up for my newsletter.  It’ll help you plan out what you need and organize your supplies for your gift sewing spree.
  2. Wash all your fabric:  No one likes shrinking pajamas!
  3. Prep your patterns: cut out pattern pieces, have them handy.  Find some awesome pajama pattern ideas here!
  4. Batch cutCutting all your DIY family pajamas in one session is the way to go.  It’ll save you mega time both mentally and physically!
  5. Assembly-line sew: When everything is cut, sew as many seams as possible in one sitting.  Don’t bother cutting threads between pieces.  Just sew.  Then when you need to press seams, press as many as possible. Ditto for the serger.  You won’t believe how quickly your construction process will go!

Involve your family in stitching up your DIY family pajamas

Just because you’re making DIY family pajamas doesn’t mean that you have to sew things in secret behind closed doors at midnight!  Actually, you’ll probably stress yourself out doing that.  So how can you involve your family in your pajama making time?

Let your family choose their fabric

family pajamas
Uncut flannel makes pretty awesome blankets too!

My kids and I have a tradition now.  We go to the fabric store the week before Black Friday and everyone gets to pick out a fabric that’s calling their name.  I always have them choose a backup in case fabrics sell out or get moved around in the stores.  They get really excited over being able to pick out their fabric.  And if you’ve ever gotten the meh face in reaction to someone opening up a handmade gift you’ve made, you know the value of someone liking what’s going to come their way!

If you’re sewing for family far away, have them look online for fabric that they like.  You tell them the fabrics to choose from, and they can find their favorite.  Or simply find 1 fabric that everyone will love.  I know Laquana made up pajama bottoms for her family this year in a happy gingerbread people print with the idea that who couldn’t love gingerbread people?  Exactly!

Let your kids sew family pajamas too!

family pajamas

Your kids may or may not be old enough/interested in sewing, but you can still involve them in the process.

Younger kids can help place pattern weights when you’re cutting fabric or handing you pins while you sew.  Everyone can pick out their own buttons.  Older kids can help sew.  I know my two oldest would have a hard time with the tops, but pajama bottoms are well within their abilities.  Plus, siblings can help sew for other siblings.  It’s good to teach kids to make things for others!

And even if you’re kids aren’t helping with the sewing, just hanging out in the sewing room together can be a sweet experience as a family!  Put some music on, have them bring a project in your room, and enjoy your time together.

Traditions are wonderful things to give

family pajamas
When everyone GETS the punchline! #winning

When it’s all said and done, wrap up your DIY family pajamas (or not) and enjoy making family memories together.  Pop all the popcorn, make all the cookies, watch movies together, read books as a family.  Christmas is in part about just loving your family, so do that. In pajamas!

There’s still time to make something handmade for your family!

Today we talked about why DIY family pajamas are an easy gift win, we broke down a good pajama making workflow, and we chatted about how to involve your family in your gift sewing process.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this handmade Christmas family pajamas series. 

If you’re not making full on pajamas this year for your family, I encourage you to try your hand at some kind of handmade project. Even a quick 7-minute zipper bag, upcycled fingerless gloves make great gifts and they’re perfect for last minute. 

What are you making for your family this year?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

family pajamas
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So far in my Holiday gift sewing series, I’ve talked about sewing for others without going crazy.  I also shared some great pajama patterns for everyone on your sewing list.  Today, I’m talking about why you should batch cut your gift sewing.

Why you should batch cut your gift sewing

Q: What is batch cutting, and why do I want to do it in the first place?

Batch cutting is cutting out literally a batch of the same project.  I suppose you could cut out several different projects.  Anytime you can cut out several projects at once, you stand to save yourself time later, so it’s all good! 

For my purposes, in making pajamas as my gift sewing project for my family this Christmas, I cut out all the different sizes that I needed.  The best batch cutting happens when you can cut the same pattern out in multiples.  

Whatever your project, cut it out as many times as needed for all the people on your list.

batch cut
Project deets from my Holiday Sewing project Planner.  

Is there anything I need to remember when I batch cut?

There’s two things you might want to consider before you batch cut your gift sewing:

If greater than 1, do not pass go, do not collect $200 before sewing yourself out of the basket!
  1.  Commit to sewing up your batch before you do other projects: this requires some discipline!  When you have stacks of cut projects, they can weight you down mentally.  And if you bag them up in any way for another day, you might forget about them entirely.  This can lead to the dreaded U.F.O. pile.  Unfinished objects are no fun to sew.  So that stack gets done A.S.A.P.!
  2. Make sure you’re organized:  Have all your pattern pieces ready to go, all your notions in one place, and enough space to contain all your batch cut efforts.
batch cut
Patterns all cut/traced and ready.  It’s go-time!!
batch cut

Easy steps to batch cut success

While it’s true that it takes a certain amount of time to cut 1 project, it often doesn’t take twice as long to cut a second version of the same thing.  Weird, I know!  Let’s break down how to batch your projects!

  • Have all your pattern pieces ready to go.  Set interfacing on your ironing board.
  • Set out your fabric on your table.  Lay out your pattern pieces, pin or weigh down pieces with weights.
  • Cut all your pieces.  Mark any pieces that need marks.  
  • Set any pieces that need interfacing on the ironing board in a pile.
  • Repeat cutting with the next fabric.  Add more to the interfacing pile.
  • Fuse all your pieces with interfacing at one time on the interfacing.  This will save you time of cutting out interfacing again, fusing it, then trimming it, and it doesn’t waste as much interfacing as you think.  
  • Trim away the extra interfacing around the pieces.
  • Set each project in one pile.  If it works for you, you can put them in a basket or a plastic bag, just make sure you’re not going to let that bag go into the black hole of forgetfulness!
batch cut

Bonus tips to make you a batch cutting wizard!

batch cut

Stack your pattern pieces the way you will sew them.  Put a pin in to remind yourself which seam you’re sewing first.  You can see here the fronts and backs are stacked right sides together at the shoulder.  Repeat for as many pieces as possible!

Okay this is super bonus advanced:  Consider cutting all your fabric out at the same time.  This will work best if you cut your pieces in one layer rather than on the fold.  Home sewing patterns are set up for us to cut on the fold, but flat cutting will be more accurate.  And you can only do this if you’re cutting 1 project that’s the same size.

  • Stack all the fabrics you need to cut. 
  • Take the time to line them up carefully.  Use your best judgment on how many thicknesses of fabric you can accurately cut through.  In industrial settings, they use giant saws, but at home, it’s just you and your trusty scissors/rotary blade.
  • Make sure you have enough room to flip over pieces when you’re flat cutting.
  • Weigh down your pieces with pattern weights/canned goods/rocks/anything heavy!
  • Use a rotary cutter if you can for the best accuracy and speed!
batch cut
Pattern weights + rotary cutter = lightning!

Kiss your brain!  You just saved yourself a bucket of time!

By now, you should have some good ideas on how the batch cutting process can save you some time.  We’ve talked about what batch cutting is, things you need to remember when you batch cut, easy steps to batch cutting success plus some more advanced batch cutting tips.

Do you batch cut your projects?  I’d love to know how batch cutting saves you time!

And don’t forget to pick up your free Holiday Sewing Project Planner.  These little worksheets will have you all planned up in short order for a relaxing batch of sewing for others!  Just click on the pic below to sign up for my newsletter and the planner will zoom its way to you!

batch cut