Alina Sewing and Design

Introducing Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Packs

chi-town-chinos-exp-packsEarly on in designing the Chi-Town Chinos pattern, I envisioned turning it into knee-length shorts or pants. When I had the original pattern in testing, I specifically asked two of my testers to lengthen them to knee-length (they had to for religious reasons anyway). What we found is that there was a lot of tapering needed and pattern re-drafting involved before we could even get to fitting. This made sense, of course, but I wanted it confirmed before I put the work into additional pattern pieces. Confirmed: this wasn’t going to be a quick tutorial I could share on the blog.

I hit the drafting table again and am back with brand new pattern pieces that allow for unique fits, while still allowing you to use the waistband, fly, and pocket pieces from the original pattern. Both sets are very different pattern pieces below the front pockets!

So, without further ado, I am thrilled to introduce you to two brand new expansion packs for the Chi-Town Chinos pattern! (more…)

Introducing Chi-Town Chinos Sewing Pattern!

Introducing Chi-Town Chinos Sewing Pattern!

One year.

Friday morning (July 1), my first sewing pattern–and with it, the Alina Sewing + Design Co. pattern shop–officially launched! I have been working toward this goal for almost one year to the day.

In July of 2015, I had this idea that seemed a little bit crazy at the time; I didn’t have the time to create, package, and ship my handmade items anymore, but what if I had a digital product to sell? What if I turned my already-created patterns for products into the product?

I had delved into the world of indie (independent) sewing patterns, and I knew what kind of market existed. People like me love creating. We are excited about it. And we also want the directions to go with creating something beautiful we see. I get emails and questions all of the time asking for more specific tutorials of finished products I’ve posted here (people are finding me on Pinterest, I think).

Since I am primarily a stay-at-home mom, this now gives me the ability to work on building and creating one finished product that can sell over and over again. For now, I’m only selling PDF patterns (not printed patterns), and they are emailed automatically to customers. No shipping and no packaging on my part.

Don’t get me wrong–at this point, the number of hours invested in creating patterns is still a lot higher than creating and shipping finished products. I have hundreds (and hundreds) of hours and hundreds (and hundreds) of dollars invested in just getting the doors “open”, so to speak. It will be a few months before I recoup my investment and start getting paid for my time. But the pressure is a lot lower. I’m not drowning under orders needing to be fulfilled, or feeling like I need to keep up production numbers. I can work on something privately until it’s ready–the only pressure I feel is really from myself.

Anyway–enough transparency from me on the subject for today!

Without further ado, I introduce my first sewing pattern: Chi-Town Chinos Shorts + Skirt Pattern.

ChiTownChinosFeatImgView A is a shorts pattern and View B is a skirt pattern.

buy-pattern-button---blogCTC featimg backThere are four different back pocket options:

  • angled pockets
  • angled pockets with pocket flaps
  • rounded pockets
  • rounded pockets with pocket flaps

chitown-pocketsOr, you can leave off the back pockets (and belt loops) for a more dressed-up, clean look!

The pattern was tested by women in Canada, France, Bahrain, Portugal, Australia, and nearly every time zone in the US. They ranged in skill level from I-just-started-learning to I’ve-been-doing-this-since-I-was-born. They gave me such well-rounded and thorough feedback! The end result is something I feel very confident and excited about.


Most changes made from testing were to the instruction manual–I ended up adding sections on How to Make a Muslin, How to Lengthen or Shorten a Pattern, an expanded Fitting section, and a re-written section on how to sew the front pockets. Overall, the instruction manual provided the greatest learning curve! But I’m very grateful to my testers for working out the kinks before everything went live.

There were very few changes needed to the pattern itself–one main change was inseam length. It was 3″, but now it is 4.5″. (The chambray shorts above are the original inseam length, the green shorts above are the new inseam length.) I saw most testers prefer the longer length, and since there are shorten/lengthen lines for the inseam already, it made sense to start at a more universally-preferred length.

There are also lengthen/shorten lines for the rise on both the shorts and the skirt, and the skirt length (and again–there are now illustrated instructions in the pattern on how to use these lines).

I will have a sewalong starting on July 11–see the full schedule below!

  • July 11 : Part 1 : Inspiration
  • July 13 : Part 2 : Supplies
  • July 18 : Part 3 : Customizing the Pattern
  • July 19 : Part 4 : Fitting + Finishing
  • July 20 : Part 5 : Prepwork
  • July 22 : Part 6 : Front Pockets
  • July 25 : Part 7 : Fly Front
  • July 27 : Part 8 : Back Assembly
  • July 28 : Part 9 : Waistband, Center Back Seam, Inseam, Side Seams
  • July 30 : Part 10 : Belt Loops, Bar Tacks, Hemming, Front Closure

I’ve clustered posts that are going to be quick, and spread those that you will need time for–especially those of you who only sew on the weekends. I’ve also given you time to order and receive fabric after the supplies post. The sewalong will be FULL of photos for both views. While I think the instruction booklet and its illustrations are extremely in-depth, I know some of you prefer to work from photos, so this is for you.

Be sure to sign up to receive blog posts in your inbox below so that you receive sewalong posts immediately!

I’ll be back on Friday with full tester photos, too. Stay tuned!


Below you will find the list of links to each blog post in the sewalong. If you have any questions, absolutely feel free to e-mail me.



Oh dear…I have been absent from here for weeks now. I feel as though I am always apologizing for my absence and delays in posting! Business has been booming, which is enough to keep a girl (or two, including Amy) busy. But…we’ve had a little something else going on. It’s basically the ultimate DIY project. It’s not furniture, home, sewing or upholstery-related. You see…about 10 weeks ago, Cowboy and I found out we were going to be welcoming a little baby into the world. SURPRISE! At least we were. 🙂


We’re just starting our 15th week and there’s really only a very slight bump to prove it! But then again, baby is only about the size of a lemon, so we can’t expect a first pregnancy to show very much or very early, right? (Excuse the pasty white glue sticks that are my arms and legs. Kansas has yet to give us Spring for more than a day or two at a time. We had SNOW last week!)


I know the bump is WAY more noticeable to me because, well, it’s my body. Comparing it to the classic “I just found out I’m pregnant and feel the need to document the flatness my stomach may never see again” photo (haha!), you may see a slight difference. 🙂5wks

Since finding out 2.5 months ago, I’ve been journaling our initial reactions, our thoughts as we processed, our family’s reactions, and I’ll be sharing them with you in chapters over the next few days. Lots of opportunity for TMI and for getting to cry along with us as you watch our families find out. 🙂

In other news, you guys knew we had a lot on our plates this year already, right?! The packers come three weeks from today to begin boxing up our belongings. The truck will come two days later to load up the boxes and furniture and then we’ll all start the trek out to Virginia. We still have no idea what day our stuff will be arriving, but who needs to know that, right? June 10, Cowboy will begin orientation for residency and three weeks later, the 90-hour work weeks begin.

This is shaping up to be a very adventurous year ahead of us! We know that the Lord is in complete control of the details and the timing, and we’re excited to take it on (with His strength, patience, mercy and grace, of course)! Nobody can say our second year of marriage will have been boring… 😀

P.S. Answer to FAQs below…

–No, we will not be finding out the gender. We want to be surprised!
–No, I don’t have a “feeling” either way, girl or boy…although I truly DO NOT crave sweets (they really don’t appeal at all), so I guess it COULD be a boy… 🙂
–No, we don’t have any names picked out. We haven’t even started “looking”!


Everyone, meet Amy. Amy, this is everyone!


Amy is a 20-something mom to Brady and wife to Jimmy. Brady made his entrance into the world eight months ago (which is crazy to me that it’s already been that long!).

A few months ago, Amy & Jimmy made the move to the community group that Cowboy (and I, by extension) lead. They have been at our church for a couple of years, but happened to live just a couple doors down from where our group meets, so they decided to join us a few months ago!

I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my nanny job ended at the end of January when the youngest started school full-time. In the Lord’s providential timing, I was almost immediately flooded with upholstery jobs. By the end of January, I was booked through the end of May and had a wait list seven people deep!


A few weeks ago, Amy asked some of us girls in group to pray over her need for a part-time job where she could make some extra money that would work with having Brady or would be flexible with Jimmy’s rotation schedule. Almost immediately, light bulbs started coming on! Here I was, knee-deep in a tight schedule of jobs (I crammed as much in there as I could) where I had no leeway and was started to feel overwhelmed.

I grabbed her afterward as we were cleaning up some dishes and mentioned my idea to her…she called me the next day to see how soon we could start and the rest, as they say, was history!


Amy is a nurse by education and trade, so my line of work has been full of new information for her! So far she’s learned how to strip old upholstery off of furniture, thread a bobbin, thread my machine, cut on the bias, sew piping, and hand-sew cushions closed. I have to say, for someone who had never sewn until three weeks ago, I’m pretty blown away by her ability to learn and adapt quickly. She’s an extremely hard worker and she’s been a huge help to me! (AND she’s awesome to hang out with! It can be kind of boring to work by yourself in your house all day long!)


So now, I’ll let you get to know her a little better!

Amy, what is your….

Favorite color: PINK!
Birthday: December 24 (Christmas Eve baby!)
Favorite childhood food: crab rangoon
Favorite food as an adult: hummus! (She got excited about that one.)
Least favorite chore: dishes
Favorite chore: dusting
Favorite form of exercise: Zumba (I need to try that out!)

If you…

Had 30 minutes to do anything, what would you do? Drink coffee while reading a book
Had the chance to change your first name, what would you change it to? My middle name is Noel and I’ve always really liked it, so I would probably go by that!
Could stay a certain age forever, what age would you be? MAN! I don’t know…these questions are hard! I like all of the different experiences that each age brings.
Could learn how to do anything, what would it be? Probably speak all languages. “Hello, my name is Amy and I’m OMNI-lingual.” (OK, we’re seriously laughing over here! Oh, hold on…I think she’s injured herself…….OK, we’re good…I shouldn’t interview her while she’s stripping furniture.)

Now for some random…

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble? When I was learning how to play piano, I mastered the Entertainer…so much so that I eventually decided to see how fast and long I could play it. Every time the ice cream truck would come, I would run to the piano saying, “I can do it faster!” I played it until everyone in my house was yelling at me to stop!
What is something you’ve learned in the last week? I’ve really been learning to let go of the control we think we have and be willing to however God wants my life to go! It’s always such a relief to let God carry the burdens. (Easier said than done, friend, I know!)


How lucky am I to have her around?!? Both of our husbands start their first year of residency this summer, so we’ll both be moving, meaning this partnership of sorts is temporary. BUT, their top choice for residency is in North Carolina and if they get in, they’ll only be three hours away from us in Portsmouth, VA! Their match day (when they find out which residency they got into) is next Friday, the 15th, so say a little prayer for them! (And cross your fingers for me…I would love to have a friend that close!!)

FREE Antique/Vintage Chairs!

A few months back, this lot of antique and vintage chairs found their way into my possession. And they’re hanging out in my garage, begging for love and attention. They’re just the bare bones–if they even have a seat/seat back, the guts are falling out of the bottom. BUT, they’re so unique and SO beautiful…they’re in the perfect stage to be completely customized for someone.

MYU Antique Vintage Chair Deal

So since I don’t want to move them across the country in a few months, I’m offering them up for free–all you have to do is pay for the materials and labor. Paint, stain, distressing, waxing, fabric…you customize every detail!

The middle three are rocking chairs and the two on the ends are regular chairs. And actually, the middle guy is already sold for a client’s nursery!

Consider this the preliminary introduction–check out the album on our facebook page to see lots of detail shots!


Meet Monroe.

Antique Chair 1

And Serena (my personal favorite).

Antique Chair 5

Winston. (Who’s already sold!)

Antique Chair 7

This is Sadie.

Antique Chair 10

And, finally, another favorite, Isybella.

Antique Chair 13

Make sure you check out the facebook album to see the rest of the pictures!


P.S. If you are a hardcore DIY-er and want to fix/finish and upholster the frames yourself, you may buy the frames for $99. (Still a steal for antique frames!)

New in the Shop :: “The Stephanie” iPad Case

A few months ago, I sat down to make my list of Christmas gifts I wanted to make and buy. Mostly, I erred on the side of handmade. For my step-mom, specifically, I knew I wanted to make an iPad case. I hadn’t made an iPad case before, and she had mentioned wanting a Vera Bradley case for Christmas, so I nonchalantly asked her over lunch one day to sit down and tell me which styles of iPad bags she liked best out of what I had pulled up online. She was unknowingly telling me exactly what she wanted for Christmas, haha! *cue sneaky face* It worked beautifully AND she had some good ideas that I did implement (having a more “fancy and expensive” option and then also having a more “simple and affordable” option for people to choose from).

So, I drafted some patterns and launched the “fancier” design last month. And now that Christmas has passed, you get the simple option!

Without further ado, I introduce you to The Stephanie iPad/Tech Case. 🙂

The Stephanie Collage

They are lightly padded for protection and have a front pocket for pens, paper, power cords, glasses or whatever else you may want to carry. The theme for this batch is polka dots, anchors and paisley. And a little unique, fun feature on this batch is that they all have vintage zippers! They’re going to be priced at $24.50, so they’re priced to sell! Get them while they’re hot! 😉


Happy Tuesday, friends!




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