Perfect Pant Skinny with a mini skirt overlay quick look

Make a great pair of skinny pants with a mini skirt overlay!

The Perfect Pant Skinny with a Mini from Christine Jonson Patterns is a great casual and sport look. In this quick video, we show you up close how the skinny and the mini look together! You can make the skinny pants with or without the center front seam, you can make the pants capri length or full length. Here are a few other options for the Skinny with a Mini:

  • Make the mini skirt in a contrast print fabric to go with solid no-seam skinny pants
  • Make the mini skirt in a textured stretch fabric such as stretch pleather for a great urban look. Wear this with moto boots and a moto jacket for extra edge. Or you can make the front outer leg panels in stretch pleather with ponte knit inner leg stretch panels for a mixed-look legging.
  • Make the pants without the seam in a PolartecPowerStretch and add a contrast PowerStretch skirt to the top for a very cozy winter running, bicycling, snowshoeing or nordic (cross country) skiing pant. 
  • Make the leggings capri length and add a contrast print legging or contrast print mini skirt over it for a great casual look for dance, running or yoga.
Perfect Pant Skinny with a Mini Skirt Overlay

A look at the Princess Wrap top from a new perspective, as a maxi dress!

How to pattern hack a favorite top sewing pattern into a dress sewing pattern

Making your favorite tee shirt pattern into a dress pattern is very simple. You'll need a long straight edge ruler, a tape measure and some paper (taped together newsprint, a roll of art or craft paper or even pattern tracing paper or interfacing will do.)  In our video, we explore the Princess Wrap top - the #1 best selling top from Christine Jonson Patterns- and how you can alter it to become a dress!

Quick no-pattern one-yard Poncho Kimono Top FREEBIE!

This quick no-pattern one-yard poncho kimono top is inspired by one designed by Christine Jonson Patterns Customer Experience Manager, Ann Siegle

This graceful top uses a selvedge-to-selvedge piece of drapey woven fabric like rayon, silk, silky poly, georgette or knit fabrics like rayon jersey, silk jersey.  It’s easy to make, perfect for beginners and makes great gifts!

Kimono Poncho Top Free Sewing Pattern

Check out our recorded video on our Facebook group to see this pant and top in action on a size 12 model. 

To sew this, you’ll need to take a few measurements first.

1)    Hip circumference

2)    Desired top length – the version shown in the example is high hip, at the hip bones, but you can go as low as mid-hip

3)    Desired neckline opening (from 12” to 14”  - the example is 12”)


Once you have your measurements, you’ll want to add 2” to 4” to the hip measurement and divide by two (so if your hips measure 40” you’ll add 2” to 4” – 42-44” and divide by 2, or 21-22” to get the measurement for the hip opening at the bottom.

Cut your fabric from selvedge to selvedge with 3/4” seam allowances both top and bottom. If your desired top length is 17” finished (example, high hip on Ann), you’ll cut 18.5” x two panels x the entire width of the fabric, or just ever so slightly OVER one yard of fabric!

Mark the center front of your fabric panels. Divide your neck width x 2 and mark that on either side of the CF, so if you’re using 12” wide, mark 6” on either side of CF.

Do the same for the hem opening, marking on either side of the CF, or 10.5” or 11” on either side of the CF mark for the hem.

Placing fabric right sides together, using a ¾” SA, seam from the sleeve hem edges to your first mark on the top edge, creating the shoulder and over arm seam. Backstitch for security. Skip over the neck opening and backstitch at your neckline edge marking and stitch to the sleeve hem. Press this open. Fold the SA under on each side and press. Topstitch. This creates a finished flat-felled looking seam on the shoulders AND finishes the neckline at the same time!

Repeat this for the bottom hem, using your hem opening markings.

Turn the top right side out and press the rectangle flat.

Mark 6” up from your hem where the hem openings begin and stitch, backstitching at the top of the 6” marking for security. This creates your “sideseam”.

Slip the top on and enjoy!

If you are wearing this top with the Christine Jonson Perfect Pants, you do not need to wear a camisole, as the top of the waistband will come up high enough under the top to cover any belly!


Click on this image to enlarge it

The Kimono Top looks great shown here with the Perfect Pants Classic Wide Leg (or the Perfect Pant Skinny or the Perfect Pant flare!):

Adding a ruffle peplum and hem to a simple knit tee sewing pattern

You can easily add a ruffle peplum or ruffle hem band to a simple knit tee sewing pattern. In our example here, Sharon sewed the Christine Jonson Patterns Three Tees cut-on cap sleeve version with a ruffled peplum:

Ruffle Hem Sewing Pattern Cap Sleeve Tee

1) Decide where you want your hem to fall

2) Cut two bands on the fold 1.5 to 2x the width of the tee shirt pattern, (on the fold),  X your preferred depth (6-8") So if your tee shirt measures 12" at the hem (on the fold), you would cut a band 18" - 24" wide (on the fold) e x 8" deep (or whatever depth you prefer, plus hem allowance.) You can easily do this right below your tee shirt pattern on the fold by just marking and cutting the band AS you cut out your tee shirt! 

3) Sew the tee as instructed in the pattern instructions. Do not hem the tee just yet.

3) Using a basting stitch, gather the band to match the tee. It's helpful to evenly distribute the gathers, then stitch over your basting stitch with a regular stitch

4) Matching side seams, sew or serge the gathered band to the tee

5) Press the band hem up and topstitch as if it were the tee shirt, using the tee shirt instructions

Purchased a downloadable pattern? Worried about your printer cutting off the border? Here is a quick tip.

Working with downloadable PDF sewing patterns

What if you're working with a downloadable sewing pattern and your printer cannot print to the edge? Many printers have a 3/4" top or bottom 'border' where the paper grippers are, and some have a side border of 3/8". If you're printing PDF patterns, some of the pattern may not print and you might have a hard time figuring out how to line up the pieces of paper so that you're keeping the correct size. Our video explores how to handle this.

Downloadable sewing patterns like the Perfect Pants, shown here, can easily be printed, matched and taped up even if your printer cuts off one of the borders. Putting it up on your window or glass door like this is an easy way to see how the pattern lines up as you tape.

Downloadable sewing patterns like the Perfect Pants, shown here, can easily be printed, matched and taped up even if your printer cuts off one of the borders. Putting it up on your window or glass door like this is an easy way to see how the pattern lines up as you tape.

How to sew a sun protective SPF Swim Tee from a Raglan Tee shirt pattern

Sew a Swim Tee from an existing tee shirt sewing pattern

Swim tee shirts or rash guards are popular summer beach, pool, kayak, sail and paddleboarding wear. They protect you from the sun without needing sunscreen, or offer an extra layer of sun protection over your swimsuit. Making swim tees from your favorite sewing pattern is easy. There are a few very important fit notes to take, before you dive in and cut out a swim tee.

Swim fabric has 'snappy' recovery. This means that the fabric snaps back to hug you tightly. A snappy fabric in the same size as you usually cut out will fit snugger than a looser knit fabric. You want a snug fit in your swim tees as swim fabric stretches when wet.  Using the Perfect Sizing Worksheet, you can actually calculate what size you should cut your swim tee so it's not too snug but not too loose. There's even a handy Excel version so you don't have to do the calculations. You'll also want to know the tissue pattern measurements of your tee - these are the exact tissue measurements of the pattern pieces themselves.  Following the worksheet's instructions, select your perfect size.

How much SPF is there in swim fabric?

According to an article by REI, nylon lycra has 'good' sun protection because of it's molecular structure. Poly/lycra has excellent sun protection because of it's molecular structure. And then there are special SPF fabrics that are woven tighter, and tested to create a specific SPF that can be measured. In our practical experience, though, most nylon/lycra swim contains a high SPF. You can think of this as the tan lines you see when you've been wearing your swim suit, which is made from nylon/lycra. That skin on your bum under your suit hasn't ever seen the light of day, and is pretty light compared to the rest of your skin.

Choosing swim fabric can be up to you - with so many great nylon/lycra swim fabrics out there, be sure to choose a quality fabric. And buy a little extra (a yard or so) and you'll have enough to make a matching swim suit too!

Designing for Swim: what style of tee should you make?

Ideal tee shirt patterns include those that have high jewel or round necks. The neck is an area that is particularly sensitive to sun and doesn't get shielded by hats the way face skin does. You could choose a standard set-in sleeve or a raglan sleeve. Raglans offer more ease of shoulder movement for things like surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing. But a swim tee made with a set in sleeve is a great day-to-evening shirt; pop it over your swim suit and add shorts, a skirt or wide leg beach pants and you're ready for dinner! It looks polished enough to wear off the beach or pool deck but yet still provides SPF for late-day sun.

Sleeves are a consideration, they should be somewhat snug fitting so they don't flop around when you are swimming or paddling. Swim fabric stretches when wet.

You can feel free to have fun - color block your tee by making the sleeves, body or neckband out of contrast print or solid fabrics. Swim should be fun to sew as it is to wear!

Construct your swim tee the same way you would usually. Definitely use stretch stitches like the "lightning" zigzag (a long zag and a short zig makes it look like a straight stitch, but it stretches) or a standard zigzag for hem finishes and topstitching.

Christine Jonson Patterns Raglan Swim Sun Tee Sewing Pattern

In the video below, we explore how we planned our swim tee's color blocking and styling:

In the next video, we sew together our swim tee! You can see this video by joining the Christine Jonson Sewing Circle on Facebook (it's free and fun!)

What patterns did we use?

We used the Raglan Tee from Travel Trio Three, but you could also use the standard banded neck set in sleeve of Travel Trio One. The latter is more tee shirt and less rash guard styling for more versatile wear.

You can also apply Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) although take care to practice on a scrap first, as the tee must withstand some heat under a press cloth to apply the HTV graphics.  Think of surf-related artwork or a fun back-of-neck personal logo or high hip logo.

Travel Trio One - 1204
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Travel Trio Three 226
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How to alter a sewing pattern tee shirt or tee dress neckline to match a tee you love

Altering a tee shirt neckline for either a dress or a tee is an easy update that will let you change your tee styles from a round neck, to aVee neck to a scoop, to a deep scoop, to a bateau or boat neckline using your same favorite tee shirt pattern!

In this series of videos, we'll explore the edits needed to alter a tee shirt neckline on a tee shirt dress. We'll make both front and back neckline variations, we'll 'trace' a favorite tee shirt to get our sample neckline.

Alterning a neckline on a sewing pattern to match a favorite tee

You'll need:

  1. A French Curve ruler or a flexible curve
  2. Your favorite tee shirt
  3. Your favorite tee shirt or tee dress sewing pattern. We'll be working with the Christine Jonson digital pattern downloadable A-Line Dress which features a round neckline.

Copying a favorite tee neckline:

Fold your favorite tee shirt in half lengthwise, so the center of the tee shirt neckline is on the fold.

Lay your Flexible Curve along the neckline from the center front to the shoulder point. Make sure you have the curve smooth and even along the edge of the neckline. If it has a band, measure along the seam joining the band to the body of the tee.

Lift the curve and move it over to your paper pattern. Lay one edge of the curve on the CF of the pattern, and the other at the shoulder seam (the CF is the more important placement). Trace this curve. You now have your favorite tee's shape. Bear in mind, if your tee has a band, like a V-Neck, you'll need to cut a straight band piece on the cross grain out of your fabric and sew a band OR you can simply make a copy of the upper bodice of the tee/dress front and back and make a full-bodice facing (this is the method we discuss in the videos below.)

Front necklines can be altered, as well as back necklines!

In our example videos, I show how to create a deep scoop back neckline. This style of back is popular right now, usually worn with a crochet racer-back bra that is meant to be showcased. You can even add a trim band connecting the back shoulders (creating a triangle of open back) if you wish.

In this video, we review the basic A-line dress and what we'll be doing in our next video to create a custom neckline.

Fabric Stash!

Fabric STASH

by Judy Baum

“Stash [prob. a blend of store & cache] to put away in a secret or safe place, as
 for future use – n. [slang]  1. a place for hiding things2. something hidden away”

That’s the definition of the word stash from my Webster’s New World Dictionary. Are you wondering why I felt I needed to know a clear and decisive meaning of the word? For one thing, being a baby boomer, ‘stash’ to me has a completely different connotation than that in the sewing world, and I wanted to make sure I knew what I was writing about. I have a small confession to make: I don’t sew. (Oh, but it feels good to have that out in the open for everyone to see. You can’t believe the looks I get from people when they hear I work for Christine and, horror of horrors, I’m not a sewer…but that sounds like another article). 

Let me get back to what I’ve observed in talking stash with sewers. I’ve found that almost a physical transformation happens to seemingly normal people when they start talking stash (remember, these seemingly normal people are sewers). A big smile spreads across their face, eyes begin to sparkle, and the mouth opens with stash stories pouring forth uncontrollably. Everything from “I just moved my daughter into the smaller bedroom because I needed more room for my sewing” (right, we all know what that means) to “Yes, I have a stash, you want to make something of it?” (this is said usually after the spouse cracks wise) or “I don’t know why I’m buying this; I could open my own store with what I have already, but the fabrics in this collections are so wonderful” (Christine likes to hear that one) to “it’s just an efficient way to save money—by having everything on hand, you eliminate those extra trips to the store that waste precious time, energy, and gas and just let the creative sewing process begin.”  One lady in Georgia asked me to hold off shipping her order for a few days because “her son was in town to do some turkey hunting and she just didn’t want to be razzed by him when the order arrived” (I’d say it’s a safe bet that this is a stash household).

Your studio, sewing room, extra bedroom, basement, upstairs, downstairs, under the stairs could all be stash spots. We even know of a woman who has converted her garage into a sewing area; but the one thing these places all have in common: they are hideouts for the stash. Are your closets, cabinets, and drawers all full of stash? And don’t forget to check those plastic bins that are stacked to the ceiling. Whether you’re an old hand at sewing or new to the craft, I’ll wager somewhere in your sewing work area is the beginnings of a stash.

Sewing down your stash

by Ann Siegle

Sewing down your stash can be a problem, especially if you're a sewist who buys fabric with 'something in mind' - the problem is, unless you're willing to transfer that idea of what that fabric should be, to something else it could be, you'll keep accumulating stash!

  1. Once a quarter, sit in your closet and evaluate your wardrobe
  2. See if there are things you don't wear because you don't have something to wear with them
  3. Ask yourself if there are gaps in your wardrobe for your current lifestyle (aka, it's summer, you need shorts and skirts, or your workplace is more casual, you need more casual work clothes)
  4. Take those garments with you to your stash
  5. Pick out three fabrics that work well with that garment
  6. Pick out three sewing patterns that work well with that fabric AND that match your current lifestyle need. Sewing a fancy dress (unless you have a fancy-dress event coming up) does not do your wardrobe any good
  7. Commit to sewing those three items in the next 45 days by breaking each pattern into a series of 15-minute steps (laying out your fabric and cutting might take two 15-minute sessions.)
    1. Map out each 15 minute step and assign it to a day (on your calendar application). Set a reminder in your phone
    2. Sew for just those 15 minutes (unless you really want to continue on) and no more, on the day and time assigned
  8. Enjoy a refreshed wardrobe that works, a stash that is reduced and a feeling of accomplishment!
Stash fabrics, and in particular remnants, seem to weigh on many sewists, literally. If you plan to sew and sew your plan, your stash will go down (and then you can get more!)

Stash fabrics, and in particular remnants, seem to weigh on many sewists, literally. If you plan to sew and sew your plan, your stash will go down (and then you can get more!)

Sewing with knit fabrics: sewing a knit dress with asymmetrical neckline

The Christine Jonson Patterns Princess Dress is a fit-and-flare dress with a unique asymmetrical neckline that looks like the neckline that the character Deanna Troi wore on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's a beautiful neckline that is made easy to sew by the addition of a bodice-length facing that can also be used to make the dress sleeveless as well.

The dress looks great as a short skater-length dress, above the knee (shown in a summer print, maxi length (shown in brown) or midi (shown in brown print.) It's an incredibly versatile dress that can go from winter long sleeve version in a waffle-textured knit under a faux-sherpa suede vest or puffy vest to summer all by itself, with either a cap sleeve or sleeveless.

The fit-and-flare of this dress is immensely flattering on all body shapes.

The One-seam Wrap is a cute addition to the dress or can be worn over any dress or even made in a sport knit for yoga or dance wear. It can be made with the sleeve in the pattern envelope or it can be made with the open draped cuff from the Wrap Dress sewing pattern.

In this video, we show you how to sew the clean-finished neckline:

The inner neck of the Princess dress will have a very tight trim with notch/slash cuts (close to but not across the seam line) and interfacing, to hold the neckline shape. The photo above shows just how close you need to trim to achieve a good result on the neckline. It's not hard to do at all - use a pair of short-tipped clipping scissors (not your long dressmaking shears) to do this. 

The inner neck of the Princess dress will have a very tight trim with notch/slash cuts (close to but not across the seam line) and interfacing, to hold the neckline shape. The photo above shows just how close you need to trim to achieve a good result on the neckline. It's not hard to do at all - use a pair of short-tipped clipping scissors (not your long dressmaking shears) to do this. 

In this video we explore how this dress goes from summer to cooler summer to fall with sleeves and a vest:

Princess Dress & One Seam Wrap 1117
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