Titchy Tips: Top Ten Uses for Twill Tape

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Today I want to share some great ways to use twill tape in your projects. I use twill tape to finish the split side seams in the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt. While I was working on the pattern I discovered an amazing source for twill tape in all colours of the rainbow and couldn’t resist ordering several yards. This got me thinking – what other uses are there for twill tape? I thought it would be the perfect topic for a Titchy Tips post.

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Before we get started though let’s cover a couple of details.

What exactly is twill tape?

It is a flat woven ribbon that has a distinctive herringbone weave and feels a lot more sturdy and durable than other types of ribbon. It can be made from cotton, linen, polyester or wool. Just like other types of ribbon it comes in all sorts of widths, colours and designs.

Where can I buy it?

I found it difficult to find a source in the UK where I could buy small quantities in a variety of colours at a reasonable price. In the end I searched on Etsy and found ichi… my love, a great shop for all kinds of trim in all colours of the rainbow. In addition to selling several colours individually they also sell a set of 3/8″ twill tape with a yard each of 22 different colours for £8.80 and the service has been fantastic. I also bought a 3/4″ twill tape set from them, which is shown in the top picture, but they don’t seem to have that in stock at the moment. I have been very happy with the quality and it’s so soft.

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Another great source is twilltape.com, who sell a wide variety of colours at very reasonable prices. You need to buy in larger quantities though. One great service that they offer is custom printed twill tape, which I will talk about more below.

You can also search Etsy and find a lot of printed twill tape with a wide range of designs. The Inky Pot offers a lovely hand printed range.

OK, so now we’ve covered what twill tape is and where you can buy some, let’s look at the top 10 things you can do with it.

TOP 10 USES FOR TWILL TAPE

1. Split side seams

I love the look of split side seams on sweatshirts and T-shirts, it just adds such a lovely little detail. Using twill tape here gives such a clean finish to the split side seams on both the inside and outside, as you can see in the photos below from the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt tutorial.

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2. Stabilise seams

This is quite common on store bought T-shirts and helps to stop the shoulder seam getting stretched out of shape over time. It is especially helpful for seams that are cut on the bias of lightweight stretch fabrics. Professor Pincushion has a helpful Youtube video showing you how to do it.

3. Bag handles

Wide twill tape is a great option for bag handles and straps as it is so sturdy and strong. I love the contrast of the twill tape against the knitting in this knitted tote that Meg of Elsie Marley made. Her post was part of Twill Tape Week at Crafterhours and you can read more about the tote here.

Knitted tote by Meg from Elsie Marley

4. Drawstring

Twill tape is perfect to use for drawstring on waistbands and cuffs. You need to fold over the ends about 1cm twice and then sew them down. It would also work well for drawstring bags or anywhere else you might want to use drawstring.

5. Tags and labels

Plain twill tape can be used for tags for holding up tea towels and pot holders. It is also suitable for handmade clothing, for example add a loop to the back of a jacket for hanging it up or sew a folded piece into trouser to indicate the back. You could step it up a notch though and add your own designs to create clothing labels. There are many techniques you could use to do this, such as stamping with fabric paint or using transfer paper.

Another option is to buy some custom printed twill tape, which is what my friend Stacey from Boy, oh boy, oh boy did. You can read more about her labels here.

Custom twill tape labels from Boy, oh boy, oh boy

6. Bunting (Binding)

In some cases twill tape can be used instead of bias binding. It works particularly well for bunting – just fold the twill tape in half, sandwiching the fabric triangles in between, then sew in place. The Cottage Garden bunting below, from Homegrown & Handmade on Etsy, is a great example.

Homegrown & Handmade

You could also use it to bind edges or to finish seam edges.

7. Accessories

There are so many different ways you could use twill tape for accessories. Turn it into a hair accessory organiser, layer some in a photo frame for an easy way to display pictures, make keyrings or garlands. You can find a lot more ideas on the Crafterhours twill tape Pinterest board.

8. Make casings

Since twill tape is durable and doesn’t fray you can sew it down to form a casing for drawstring or elastic. Don’t forget to leave a hole to insert those though.

9. Decorative

Use twill tape anywhere you would use regular ribbon – sew it onto clothes for decoration, use it to add details such as tabs on sleeves or wrap gifts with it. The options are endless here, you just need to use your imagination. For example, you could add a creative back pocket detail like Christine of Heidi & Finn did on some Small Fry Skinny Jeans.

Back Pocket Detail from Heidi & Finn

10. Sturdy ties

Twill tape is ideal for strong ties – for aprons, hospital gowns or even cables. Melissa from A Happy Stitch has a great tutorial for an apron with twill tape ties here.

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I hope that has given you a lot of inspiration for things to do with twill tape. Share in the comments if you have any other ideas.

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Willow & Co Glamping Tour

Visit the Willow & Co blog today to find out the two guests that I chose to go glamping with me. This is day 5 of our pattern tour and all of our guests have made the most amazing outfits, so make sure you look at the other tour posts while you’re there.

Probably Actually

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Piece Out Tee

Piece Out Tee by Craftstorming

I am joining in with The Fashionable Type series today. This is a fun series hosted by the lovely Stacey of Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy. The idea is to use typography in fashion.

The Fashionable Type Button

I had so many ideas for this series – too many in fact. I just couldn’t make up my mind what to make. In the end I settled on the idea of a T-shirt that basically states the obvious and labels each pattern piece.

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The font I’ve used is the one I label my own patterns with. It’s a very clear, easy to read font. I wrote all the text out in Inkscape and printed it out onto transfer paper. Don’t forget to reverse the image before you print. Also, try not to iron any of your words on upside down! Fortunately I cut all the pieces out and ironed on the images before I sewed the T-shirt together. Initially I intended to make it look like I’d just picked up the pattern pieces and sewn them together. I decided it looked better to play around with the angles and sizes of some of the words though.

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The pattern is one of my own that I’ve been working on. It is called the Rowan Tee and will have a few other options in addition to the basic tee you see here.

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While I was making this T-shirt I kept thinking it seemed vaguely familiar. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I realised that I’d been channeling George Michael the whole time! I think hope the back ribbing for the neckband gives it a slightly less 80s feel though

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If you have been inspired by the series then you can add your projects to the linky party below. Also, don’t forget to visit Stacey’s blog as she has had an amazing giveaway each day of some of the best typographic products you can find.



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Titchy Tips: Sweatshirt Fabric Sources

TT

It has been three years this month since I first tried sewing. I tentatively started with a table cloth before moving on to sewing clothes for my boys, something that I still love to do. During those three years I have learned a lot, from a variety of places. I thought it would be good to give back and share some of those things with you, so today I am kicking off the regular series ‘Titchy Tips’.

For the first installment I want to share some of the great sources I’ve found for fabrics that are suitable for the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt. Keep reading to find some great discount codes for some of my favourite shops too!

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RECOMMENDED FABRICS

The recommended fabrics for the pattern are sweatshirt fleece, fleece, French terry and double knit. Unfortunately these seem to be the fabrics which have the least variety and you are often left with the option of solids or novelty fleece. Not that there’s anything wrong with these but it would be great to have a cool print every once in a while.

My preference for sweatshirts and hoodies has always been sweatshirt fleece. These are one of my favourite items of clothing as well, so I am quite picky. It is typically a lot easier to find fleece with prints so I am not going to focus on that today.

So what is sweatshirt fleece? It is basically a jersey with the finished knit on top where the purl side has been brushed. This makes it a bit denser and warmer. Until recently that is what I would search for but somewhere along the way I discovered French terry. One side is flat like jersey and the other side can be cross loops or brushed. When the back isn’t brushed it is generally more lightweight than sweatshirt fleece, so more suited for spring and summer than a cozy winter layer. As you will see though it does open up a lot more possibilities for prints. Both sweatshirt fleece and French terry can have varying levels of stretch in them, some with no stretch.

Another alternative is double knit. This looks the same on both sides and has very little stretch to it. The two striped Hawthorns that you can see in the lookbook were made using this type of fabric and you will be able to purchase it from Willow & Co very soon.

RECOMMENDED SOURCES

For the image below I have concentrated on places to buy prints. These are all shops I have purchased from myself and therefore feel happy to recommend. I have listed some other sources below, split by UK and US shops. Feel free to mention your own favourites in the comments at the bottom of the post.

Top sources of sweatshirt fabrics

1.  Cats (in three colourways)   2. Blue Owls (also in ivory)    3.  Leopard Khaki    4.  Red Strawberries (also in black and blue) – all from Bonita Fabric

5. Lovely Roses  6. Black Stars on White  7.  Blue Bunny 8. Zebra  – all from Land of Oh

9. Charcoal diamonds (also available in green)  10. Simply Apples in Aubergine (also available in red) – both from Kitschy Coo

11. Black and grey stripe (also available in blue and white) 12. Bright Stars (also similar print with polka dots) – both from Miss Matatabi

DISCOUNTS

I am very happy to share some discount codes with you. All of the shops above offer great value for money so these offer a fantastic deal.

  • Get 12% off at Bonita Fabric when you use the code Laura12 at checkout (expires June 30th)
  • Kitschy Coo is offering £3.50 off with the code hawthorn (expires 8th of May at midnight GMT)
  • Land of Oh will give you 15% off when you use the code welcome15 (expires May 31st)

OTHER SOURCES

Although I have only featured prints for the shops above they also offer some great solids, including quilted knits, so take some time to look around.

UK

  • Tissu – a good selection of reasonably priced sweatshirt fabrics with the occasional print
  • Vend Fabrics – a wide select of sweatshirt fabric in solids. They also sell co-ordinating ribbing but I did not find the recovery very good
  • Neotrims – some unusual colours (sometimes with co-ordinating ribbing). I used the jade sweatshirt fabric for my Jade Hoodie
  • Dots n Stripes – stocks sweatshirt fabric with a few child friendly prints and some vibrant colours

US

I hope you’ve found this useful. Of course you don’t just have to use these fabrics for the Hawthorn – they are great for hoodies, cardigans, tops, trousers, baby blankets, bibs and burp clothes. Also, for those of you who are nervous to sew with knits this is a great fabric to start with. Just buy a couple of your favourites from the shops I’ve mentioned above and you’ll soon be back for more.

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Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt: Details

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Hi everyone. I have two posts up today about the Hawthorn pattern – this one is all about the options and details included in the pattern. My other post is over on the Willow & Co blog where I’m sharing some amazing sweatshirts that my testers made. Testing is such an important part of the process before a pattern is released and I’m so grateful for all the help and suggestions they gave. Listening to their feedback helps me to make the final pattern the best it can be so make sure to head over once you’ve read this post.

My initial idea for this pattern was a classic half zip sweatshirt. They are such a staple in my house. It made sense to add a full zip option too. I also wanted to include some special details that work for either zip option, like the split side seam and facings. While I had boys in mind with this design you will see from the tester photos that it works just as well for girls.

You can see all of the options in the sketches below.

Hawthorn Line Drawings

One thing the sketches do not show is the view from the inside. If you use the front and back facings then the inside of your sweatshirt will look just as neat as the outside. You can see the inside views of both the half zip and full zip options below.

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The photos below shows the subtle detail the back facing adds from the outside of the sweatshirt.

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In all the photos in this post Rowan is wearing a full zip sweatshirt in royal blue. It has inseam pockets and regular side seams. Casper has the half zip option in purple, which has split side seams. Both were made with sweatshirt fabric.

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You can see a close up of the split side seam below. The inside is finished with twill tape and I love how neat it ends up looking.

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The boys love wearing their sweatshirts and as we move into spring they are the perfect weight for an extra layer on the sunny but cool days we’ve been having.

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Craftstorming

I will be back later this week to discuss some great sources I’ve found for fabrics suited to this pattern.

Don’t forget to visit the Willow & Co blog to get inspired by all the Hawthorns my testers made.

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Willow & Co Wanderlust Collection

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The Wanderlust collection from Willow & Co launched a few days ago. It’s kept me so busy that today is the first chance I’ve had to post here. It has taken many months of hard work to get here and I’m so proud to be a part of this with all the other talented ladies involved. The collection of patterns is now available over at Willow & Co.

You can see our inspiration for the collection in this incredible lookbook:

The designer tour kicks off today and we will each be sharing more about our patterns on the Willow & Co blog. My contribution to the collection was the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt so I will be posting there on Tuesday and sharing some of the amazing versions my wonderful testers created.

Designer tour

I will be back here tomorrow as well to tell you all about the different options and details that are included in the pattern.

Craftstorming

Until then head on over to the shop to see the full collection.

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Ugly Vintage Pattern Challenge

frog dungarees

I am excited to be joining the Ugly Ducking Pattern Challenge today. This is a fun challenge set by Liz and Elizabeth from Simple Simon and Company where you take an ugly vintage pattern and try to give it some new life.

The ladies were generous enough to send me a pattern from their stash. I waited with great anticipation and nervously opened the package, wondering how bad the pattern could be. You might be surprised to hear that I was thrilled with what they sent. This is what I found.

Ugly Vintage Pattern

The envelope included patterns for dungarees (overalls) for children and matching ones for a teddy, plus a hoodie. I love how it says “Yes I can! Learn to dress myself.” If I was going to choose an outfit for my children to dress themselves it would not include dungarees, which can be very fiddly to get on!

As you can see, the styling is pretty bad but it definitely had potential. I have wanted to make dungarees for a long time so there was no question which pattern I’d pick. The first thing I did was consider what fabric to use. To protest against all the bright colours on the cover I decided on grey and settled on some yarn dyed linen in black to add some texture. I let Rowan choose the lining in the hope that he will be happier to wear them. He opted for the frogs from the Ed Emberley Happy Drawing collection. I had a Sailboat Top in mind for this fabric but with a bit of careful cutting I think I’ve managed to save enough to make one of those as well.

Frogs from Happy Drawing

While I was sewing I added rows of green topstitching on almost all the seams but chose to use regular thread instead of topstitching thread, so it would be more of a subtle detail.

Craftstorming

The next thing I did was work out how I wanted to alter the pattern. Those enormous leg pockets had to go and I wanted to add some other details. The pattern includes facings but I chose to fully lined these as I prefer the finish. I took the front and back pieces and separated each into three pieces for the main fabric and two for the lining. I also added inset side pockets and belt loops to the front, altered the patch pocket on the front bib and added patch pockets to the back legs. I had a lot of trouble finding adjustable dungaree clips that I liked so I went for buttons.

I made the size three and I’d say the sizing is pretty good. The pieces worried me as they looked massive but I think that was due to the 5/8″ seams, which I’m not used to. They’re quite long in the leg on Rowan but he’s a bit short for his age. I did a wide double hem so I can take them down as he grows. The buttons are also quite high up the straps so I can add more once he’s taller. It’s just possible that these might last him until he’s 5.

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I didn’t manage to post about Fashion Revolution yesterday but this is campaign that raises some very important issues. Visit the site for more information and to find out what you can do. To make up for missing it I have some photos of the insides of the dungarees today.

Frog Dungarees

I am so happy with how these turned out and definitely plan to make more in the future. I love dungarees on little ones, they’re just so cute.

Frog Dungarees Back View

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Willow & Co: announcing our release date

Willow & Co

You’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet over here recently. That is because I have been working all the hours I can to get everything ready for the first Willow & Co collection. The release date will be the 22nd of April. I am so excited to share everything we’ve been working on with you and to tell you more about my pattern, the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt.

You can find out more about the collection here on the Willow & Co blog. Stay tuned because we will be sharing some exciting release discounts.

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Small Fry Skinny Jeans Pattern Tour: Day 10

It’s the last day of the tour! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the different versions that have cropped up over the last two weeks. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has taken part in the tour and for all the support I’ve been getting for this pattern. It took several months of hard work for me to finish this pattern and it really means a lot to know you appreciate the extra details, like the flat felled seams. Don’t forget that the 20% discount code expires this Saturday (15th March) so if you’re planning to buy it now is a good time.

We’ve got a bumper line up for the last day that includes four amazing ladies that I’ve been lucky to get to know better over the last few months.

First up is the lovely Mie from Sewing Like Mad. Mie is a professionally trained seamstress and is very generous in sharing her knowledge. She has a bit of an obsession with colour blocking, which she used for her jeans to give a completely different look to any other pair on the tour.

Sewing Like Mad

I love everything Tasha from I Seamstressed makes. She has a knack for choosing unusual colour combinations and designs. She is also impressively prolific – she has made ten pairs of Fancy Pants Leggings in one day before. I was lucky to have Tasha as a tester for this pattern, when she made a pair for her baby son. Today she has made an adorable floral pair for her daughter.

i seam stressed

Caila from Caila Made lives in California with her three gorgeous children. If you’re still waiting for the end of winter then her photos will make you yearn spring to arrive. Caila writes in such an upbeat and friendly way that you feel she’s talking directly to you. I love the summery floral print Caila found for her jeans.

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Last but certainly not least is my very good friend Celina from Petit à Petit and Family. Whenever I send a pattern Celina’s way I wait impatiently to see what she creates from it. I certainly didn’t guess what she came up with for today. How fantastic is this remix for girls?

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Small Fry Skinny Jeans Pattern Tour: Day 9

It’s the penultimate day of the tour and I have two very talented ladies that I hugely admire sharing their jeans today. Caila from Caila Made will be sharing hers tomorrow.

Christine from Heidi & Finn is well known for her amazing patterns. I always love her take on other people’s patterns as well. She has a lovely understated style and often adds unusual details like you see in the photo below. It seems that Christine was pretty pleased with the skinny jeans pattern as she ended up making three pairs for her girls.

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Max from Max California has such a cool inimitable style. I first started following Max’s blog because of all the incredible clothes she made for her son so I was delighted to see her jeans were for him too. These are no ordinary jeans though – look at all that topstitching!

Max California

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