Alina Sewing and Design

How to: Draft a New Neckline

drafting-a-new-neckline-illustrations-05I’m back, as promised, with a tutorial on drafting a new neckline on an existing pattern. I’m using the Panama Tee Dress in my illustrations, but the basic concepts in this tutorial are applicable to really any pattern. It’s quite simple and quick to do on a pattern with just a couple of pieces. (more…)

7 Tips for Sewing with Corduroy

corduroy-feat-imgHappy Tuesday, friends! And happy beginning of fall. What kind of projects are you working on for the new season?

I finished up a corduroy Chi-Town Chinos skirt last week and I am LOVING it. I’m wearing it here with my black gingham Cheyenne Tunic (blogged here). The fabric is this gorgeous micro wale corduroy in merlot from Style Maker Fabrics. (Side note: they are quickly becoming my favorite place to shop for apparel fabrics! You honestly can’t go wrong with ordering from them.)

Corduroy is a perfect fabric for this skirt! It will easily style over tights and boots with a sweater on top, transitioning it beautifully into winter.

I’m finding that a lot of people have never sewn with corduroy, so I thought I would bring you my top seven tips. It can be a sort of fussy fabric, but you shouldn’t worry about that. Let’s jump right in! (more…)

How to Make a “Faux-by” (Faux Moby Wrap) + How to Sew a French Seam (Full Photo Tutorial)

How to Make a “Faux-by” (Faux Moby Wrap) + How to Sew a French Seam (Full Photo Tutorial)

**DISCLAIMER: I created my wrap with a triple seam for security,  but know that this seam should be closely inspected REGULARLY.  Repair ANY sign of weakness. Your child’s safety while being worn is far more important than saving any amount of money.**

Hello, friends!

Does it seem a little dusty around here or is that just me? I guess that goes with having a newborn…blogging falls wayyy down on the priority list! Sleep becomes the focus of just about every hour. 🙂

Speaking of both the newborn AND sleep, I’ve found that I can combine both when I wear him. I have an Ergo that I LOVE, but I always hesitate to take it out of the car (because I forget to put it back in there and then I’ve found myself out and about on multiple occasions without it…no bueno…so it stays in the car now) and it also seems a little bit bulky for the house while he’s so small.

Around Thanksgiving, I started to consider purchasing a Moby Wrap. When we were at some friends’ house for Thanksgiving, she let me try hers on when I mentioned it. I was surprised to find that A) I LOVED IT way more than I thought I would, and B) it was only a blooming long piece of knit fabric! I stood there and said, “Ummm, yeah, I can make this for cheap. Can I measure yours?!” So I did. 🙂

Moby Wraps are one long piece of 100% cotton jersey knit fabric that is around 6 yards long (yes, YARDS) and 22 inches wide and tapers at the end (to reduce bulk when tying), then is serged around the edges. That’s IT.

So, I made THREE wraps for significantly less still than ONE name brand wrap would have cost. (I should mention that I took advantage of’s Black Friday sales, so all of my fabric was on sale!) There are other ways to do this, including no-sew options (just google it), but this is how I did it. I found that this method most closely matched the original product while staying the cheapest possible route.

Here’s what you need:

  • 100% cotton jersey knit fabric (this is the one I’m using in the photos below. I also ordered this one and this one, if you want some other options without searching high and low!). I’m 5’4″ and a size 2-4, so I only needed my wrap to be 5 yards long, so I ordered 2.5 yards. Increase to 3 yards if you need a longer wrap. Regardless–look for a 100% cotton jersey knit that only has a 20-25% stretch across the grain; anything else will be too stretchy and not as secure for your babe! Also, the heavier the fabric, the better (don’t order “tissue knit”)!
  • Fabric scissors
  • Coordinating thread (I used white for the purpose of the tutorial so that you could see my stitches…normally I would have used a gray thread for this fabric!)
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger/Overlocker (optional)
  • Yard stick
  • Bowl or plate that is 7″ in diameter (or cut out a 7″ paper circle to use as a template)
  • Water- or air-soluble fabric marker
  • Pins

**DISCLAIMER: I created my wrap with a triple seam for security,  but know that this seam should be closely inspected REGULARLY.  Repair ANY sign of weakness. Your child’s safety while being worn is far more important than saving any amount of money.**

Let’s get started, shall we?

How to DIY or Make a Moby Tutorial

(I want to note that the seam in the middle serves two purposes: 1) original Moby Wraps have a tag on them that marks the middle, which aids in tying it, so the seam marks the middle on these, and 2) it allows you to buy half the fabric!)

**DISCLAIMER: I created my wrap with a triple seam for security,  but know that this seam should be closely inspected REGULARLY.  Repair ANY sign of weakness. Your child’s safety while being worn is far more important than saving any amount of money.**

Sorry, no, I didn’t change out of my running pants or t-shirt…and I had no make-up on, so you don’t get to see my face. 🙂

As for how long this takes, it SHOULD take less than an hour. However…there’s a chunky little 8-week-old person living in my house that refused to nap yesterday and preferred to alternate between crying and feasting on his fist, so this took me a couple of days, working in 5-minute increments. 🙂

DIY Moby

P.S. These are the tension settings I used for my Brother 1034D. It took quite a bit of trial and error to get it set right for knit fabric, so I thought I’d share in hopes of saving you some time (and so I can remember next time)!

Brother 1034D tension setting for sewing jersey knitHappy sewing and Merry Christmas from ours to yours!

Alina-signature-1480Merry Christmas Baby

The Ultimate Power Moisturizing Oil Combo

Skin Oil 1

Today, I’m sharing my favorite power-oil combination! I keep each of these oils on hand for their various uses, and at one point, decided to combine them and their super properties. I apply it right out of the shower after lightly toweling off to lock in the most moisture, but it’s great for use throughout the day as well. I’ll let the individual oils do the talking and convincing, so let’s take a look at their properties and uses…

Sweet Almond Oil: high in vitamin E, extremely moisturizing–great for dry, itchy skin, and even eczema, great for sore muscles and joints and more, if a food-grade oil is taken internally!

Grapeseed Oil: Used to treat and great for…arthritis, edema, dermatitis, acne, wrinkles, dry and itchy skin, age spots, sun burns, chapped lips, wounds, bruising, stretch marks, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, chronic venous insufficiency, premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dandruff.

Coconut Oil: Oh, don’t even get me started! Coconut has been made popular enough by now that if you’re interested in this blog post, you are probably quite familiar with its uses and qualities. But, just in case you aren’t…The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties.

Vitamin E Oil: Best known for its antioxidant properties, which fight against free radicals that cause damage to cell structure. It provides protection against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, healing scars, including those from acne, intense moisturizing properties (best used with a carrier oil if used daily), minimizing brown spots and wrinkles and more!

Skin Oil 2As you can see, I use a small travel-size plastic bottle, but you can keep it in whatever you like. The only thing you eed to know is that sunlight can damage these oils, so if you’re not going to keep the mixture in a dark cabinet (like I do), then you need to store it in either a dark/opaque container OR a container that blocks UV rays (many of the bottles that these oils come in are treated to block UV rays)!

This mixture will keep for a long time, though I recommend mixing it in smaller batches that can be used within three months.

Skin Oil 3**Please note: I am not medically-trained or qualified to give medical advice for treatment of diseases or ailments. My knowledge is simply from my own research, so I encourage you to do your own research as well. I have included some of my informational sources (though this is not an all-inclusive list, these are the articles I used to put this post together). Please contact your doctor for their professional opinion in treating any specific problems you have or think you have!**

Sources for further reading:

Health Benefits of Vitamin E Oil for Scars

16 Proven Health Benefits & Uses of Coconut Oil

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Almond Oil


Fabric Quote Canvas (Upcycled Thrift Find)

Hello, friends!

I hope today finds you well and off to a productive start to your week. And, well, if not…that’s OK. Tomorrow’s another day. 😉

I finally finished a project last night that’s been in the works for awhile. A few months ago, I found a black & white canvas that was covered in what I considered “encouraging” sentiments. You know…like, “Follow your dreams,” or, “Be true to yourself.” I really like having “words” around me…especially those that are encouraging, so I brought it home. I tried to hang it and was swiftly stopped by an unhappy Cowboy. “Follow your dreams? What about following the will of the Lord?” he said. And I knew he was right. (His brother was there and quickly agreed with him…that one did not go over as well.) SO…the $5 purchase sat in my studio for a couple of months. Last weekend, I pulled it out and decided to give it a makeover. So, I pulled out a tube of paint (DecoArt Metallic Acrylic in “Glorious Gold,” if you’re wondering) from my stash, and painted away, giving me a beautifully gold slate to work with.

Quote Canvas 1

I love the sentiment of “Be open to whatever comes next.” If I have a glaringly obvious weakness, it’s that I don’t LOVE change. I do…but I don’t. You know what I mean? I just like my routine. And, if things are going to be changing, I like to be forewarned with enough time to prepare and adjust. Or, I like to be the one behind the change (which means I’ve had ample time to process it!). And, if you’re a regular reader or a friend/family member of ours, you know that we have A LOT of change happening in the upcoming year. Medical school ends, we move across the country (which entails not only moving our possessions but also moving my business), finding a new church, finding new friends, trying to launch my business there, J starting residency. All of that hard work to change and move and adapt everything and we might only be there for 12 months or less. And then we do it all over again. So, the reminder to be open to whatever comes next is EXACTLY what I need in front of me, especially during this season of life, lest I get too wrapped up in wanting to “know.” We never really know.

Anyway, if you’re wanting to recreate this look, here’s how I did it:

1. Figure out, in Word (or whatever word-processing program you have), what font and font size you need and want.

2. Print them out in a light gray to save ink. To save myself time and ink/paper, I only print one of each letter. (See how the quote is incomplete below? That’s because I only need to cut one out of paper, which I can then reuse to cut multiples from fabric.)

3. Cut them out of the paper and use that as a template to trace onto the back of your fabric (make sure the “right” side of the letter is facing the “wrong” side of the fabric, so you don’t end up with backward letters), and cut them out. Keep going until your quote is complete, then decide how you want your letters arranged.

4. Once you have everything arranged, use modpodge both on the canvas (underneath the letters) and then over the fabric letters.

5. Let it dry and admire your handiwork!

Quote Canvas 2.2Quote Canvas 2.1 Quote Canvas 3 Quote Canvas 4

I already had the paint, Modpodge and fabric, so my only cost was the $5 for the canvas! This idea definitely isn’t original–have you guys done something similar to this? I’d love to see them!

How to: Paint a Herringbone Pattern

First of all, I’m sure there are hundred of tutorials on this very thing and many of you will scoff at the fact that I even took the time to write this out because OBVIOUSLY you already know how to do this. Wellll….I wrote it anyway. 🙂 While sorting through before-and-after pictures of furniture I have re-done (for the upholstery & sewing services page!), I realized I had taken photos of my herringbone dresser during the painting process, but never had time to share. So, since I already have the photos, I’m writing the tutorial. I hope it’s helpful!

Let’s back up…some of you may remember the red dresser with hand-painted herringbone drawers I did back in April for The Red Barn Outdoor Market. Some of you might be newer than that. So, here she is…seriously one of my favorite pieces! It sold to a lady who was putting it in her son’s nursery, which makes it that much easier to let go of!

And this is what she looked like when I picked her up…

Not pretty, but she had good bones! So, I sanded her down and painted her red (with a coat of mint green underneath to peek through!). Unfortunately (or so I thought at the time) there was some graffiti in the bottom of one of the drawers, all done in permanent marker, and even three coats of Kilz Stain Blocker wasn’t doing the trick. So, I decided to camouflage it and really go the extra mile on the drawers! I thought about doing a chevron, but wasn’t sure if customers would be completely tired and over it, so I decided to go slightly different and do herringbone.

I sort of made it up as I went, but it worked well, so here’s how I did it!

  1. Choose your two colors. In my case, I wanted white and gray, so I painted the bottoms and sides in white.
  2. Decide how big you want your pattern to be. In my case, I made wanted the colors to alternate every 2 inches from top to bottom and every 4 inches from side-to-side. So, I measured out my pattern, marking every four inches on the top and bottom. Because I wanted to paint on one side of the tape first, I didn’t center my tape on the lines every four inches, but rather placed my tape to one side. It will look uneven! The concept is the same as if you were painting stripes on a wall. Once those “vertical” pieces of tape were in place, I marked every two inches down the side of the tape where I would be painting the herringbone. I then took smaller pieces of tape and placed them on a diagonal from one mark on the left to the next 2-inch mark below on the right Once I had everything taped off, I painted! It took two coats to get enough coverage, but I removed the pieces of tape while the second coat was wet and set them aside to reuse. You now have half of your herringbone!
  3. Once the second coat is dry enough to place tape onto (I waited until the next day so I wouldn’t have to worry about pulling it up), repeat the process, filling in between the first round of diagonals. You’ll now want to make your diagonals go down from right to left, opposite of what you did the first time. And make sure you’re painting the “off” rows, otherwise you’ll end up with a chevron, which is fine, but definitely not a herringbone. Your tape should look like this before you paint:

And voilá! Does that make sense? It was a pretty “quick” process once I had done my math and figured out what I was doing, so you might just have to DO IT for it to make sense, but I hope this takes some of the guesswork out of it and provides some direction!
Are you guys still loving chevron? After spending HOURS familiarizing myself with the construction of the herringbone, I feel a certain attachment to it, but it’s definitely not caught on in the fabric world (which, obviously is the main medium I’ve been working with lately). Well, I should clarify that I haven’t found any modern takes on the herringbone. Always a classic, I suppose. 🙂


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