Author: Anne

Sewing for Beginners: the items you need

When it comes to sewing for beginners, where to start with your notions and other items can often be a big questionmark. Needles, thread and? Let us help you get started. 

A list of sewing notions every beginner needs

No. 1.  a Seam ripper 

Every sewist needs a seam ripper. You develop a love hate relationship with this item but you can’t do without.  If you’ve made an error in your stitching, unpick them and voila. You’re ready to start over and forget it ever happened.   

No. 2. Fabric scissors 

We can’t cut our fabrics without a fabric scissor. Yes there are these handy rotary cutters but you’ll still need the scissors now and then. Fabric scissors are designed to cut through all sorts of fabric. They are extremely sharp. Note that there are a lot of different kind of fabric scissors. take your time and find the one you like and need for your project. and tell the family to not ever use them! 

No. 3. Tape measure 

A tape measure is a must for all sewits. Measuring your sizes, lengths and fabric is one of the most important things you need to do before starting your project. Always measure twice before you start cutting. It will save you a lot of time and money (fabric). The last thing you want is sew up a nice item, only to find out it’s to be too small or too big.  

No. 4 Magnetic pin holder 

You could use a simple pin cushion or cup, but if you are anything like me you’ll tip over the cup and have your pints all over the desk or floor. With a magnetic pin holder I do not have that problem and picking the pins up is a matter of seconds.   

No. 5. Chalk or washable markers 

With almost every project you’ll sew you will need to add markings on your fabric. A regular pen will not wash out and destroy your fabric. Chalk, or some washable markers won’t ruin your fabric.  

No 6. Thimbles / Band-Aids

By the time you get more experienced you can put the band-aids away or at least put them further away. You’ll be working with sharp objects. So obviously one day you’ll prick your finger. Or cut it with a rotary cutter like I do.  It’s not a big deal, but bleeding all over your gorgeous fabric is. Use a thimble when hand sewing, and keep a few band-aids close.

No 7. Cutting mat 

This item is up for debate but in my opinion if you don’t want to ruin your table or floor, I suggest investing in a self-healing cutting mat. Note that you need the green mat (for sewing) and not the blue one if you are using a rotary cutter or you’ll destroy your blades in no time.  

No. 8 Thread

A basic cotton thread to begin. It is recommended to get a pack of variety colored thread so you’ll have a thread that matches colored fabrics.

no. 9 Needle threader 

Also one for debate. If you have a steady hand like me you’ll manage without. If not this might just be your new favorite thing ever. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.   

No. 10 Lots of lovely fabric 

You’ll learn that hoarding fabric is a hobby on it’s own. Find some good stores near you and add a few great online stores to that. Purchase a few beautiful fabrics but also purchase some fabric to practise on first. In time your stash will grow.

No. 11 a sewing machine

Yes there it is, so be able to sew you need a good sewing machine. I suggest to not start with a cheap one. If you want to start your sewing journey on a good way, find a better sewing machine. Having a tight budget, get a second hand machine. There are some great groups on Facebook where you can find great second hand machines. 

No. 12 Patterns

When starting to sew, start with a good sewing pattern. You could buy one of those sewing magazines but their explanation is limited. Looking for more guidance, buy a PDF pattern. You can start using some free ones before buying. 

Find our PDF Patterns here. 

No. 13 Printer

When starting to sew with PDF patterns, having a printer is needed. This, unless you have a copy shop nearby. Want to be a little more green? Consider using a beamer. 

Let us know if you liked this list and what other lists you’d like us to write for you.

xxx Anne

Tutorial: Papilio Top

Sarah Schuurmans tested the Papilio for us and decided to get creative. She changed the dress into a top and skirt. We asked her to share her tutorial with you.

Thank you Sarah!

Adjust pattern pieces.
The front, back, and side panels need to be lengthened. To determine how much to lengthen, use a well-fitting shirt or shirt pattern. Line up the shoulder panels of the pattern and see how much you need to lengthen. Add the length you need at the bottom of all 3 pattern pieces.

You also need to lengthen the sleeve. I used the cuff for this as the length of the sleeves, with cuff the length was perfect for my daughter. I folded the cuff in half and glued it to the sleeve pattern piece. I added an extra 1 cm because I wanted the sleeves to be a bit longer, so she can wear the shirt longer.
Optional: I widened the side a little bit because my daughter still has a baby belly.

On the dress, it falls under the first tier, but of course not with the shirt. To make sure her belly fits well, I widened the side panel a little more.

Cut out all the pattern pieces from the fabric.

Assemble:

  • Sew the shoulders of the front and back panel together and those of the side panels.
  • Finish the convex side of the ruffle with a rolled hem
  • Gather the ruffle as described in the pattern.
  • Mark on the front and back panel where your ruffle should end. For size 86, I marked 18 cm from the bottom of the shirt on both sides of the front and back. You do this so you know exactly where your ruffle should end and so it stops at the same point everywhere. See for yourself what looks best for the size you are making.
  • Attach the ruffle to the front and back panel, and then attach the side panels. (How to do this is described in the pattern.) Also, attach the sleeves and sew the sides together.
  • Next, sew on the neckline and hem both the bottom and the end of the sleeves by 2 cm. Your shirt is now ready.

Tutorial: Papilio Skirt

Sarah Schuurmans tested the Papilio for us and decided to get creative. She changed the dress into a top and skirt. We asked her to share her tutorial with you.

Thank you, Sarah!

Print out the pattern pieces for the skirt. There are three tiers.

Cut out the pattern pieces from the fabric. Also cut 2x extra tiers 3″- 8 cm wide and the same length as the top tier.

Assemble the skirt as described in the pattern. You can choose to add or omit pockets.

Place the 2 extra 3″- 8 cm wide tiers right sides together and sew the short sides. Next, fold this strip in half, wrong sides together.

Sew the double-folded tier all around to the top of the skirt. Leave a small piece open. This is where we will pull the elastic through.

Cut a piece of elastic as long as the waist of the model (+ seam allowance). Pull the elastic through the tunnel using a safety pin. Sew the ends of the elastic together.

Next, close the part you left open to pull the elastic through. Your skirt is ready.

Note: the skirt is longer than the dress because you added a waistband. It falls over the knee. If you want a shorter skirt, use a length 1 or 2 sizes shorter than the width.

Tutorial: Add bands and sequins

Lauren is here to show you something fun.. Lauren added bands and sequin to our Potens Sweater PDF sewing pattern. This sweater has a lightingbolt colorblock. Adding sequin works for this upcoming season. This style is something I’d wear myself. Now you can make yours. Follow the directions below, and do not forget to show us your result in our Facebook group or tag us on IG (@Sofilantjes_anne).

Say hi to Lauren on IG and thank her by following her account.

Add bands to the Potens Sweater.

Adding bands is a very straightforward process. To keep the length the same, you have to account for the length of the band, plus seam allowance (and subtract from the hem allowance). I prefer a band that is 2-3″ tall. The seam allowance accounts for 3/8″ of that on each side when the band is folded in half, so whatever height you decide on, you want to use this formula: Finished Height times 2 plus seam allowance times 2. That total number is the height of your pattern piece. If you want to keep the length of the shirt the same, you have to remove this from the bottom of the shirt and sleeves, which also includes a 3/4″ hem allowance. So you’ll want to remove the hem allowance and the height of the band you’ve chosen BUT add back in a seam allowance of 3/8″.

For the width of the pattern piece, the simplest calculation is to measure the opening (bottom of sweater or bottom of sleeves) and multiply by 0.85 to get a piece that is 85% the size of the opening, and then remember to add in a seam allowance of 3/8″ on each side. Now that you’ve calculated your hemband and wristband pattern pieces’ height and width, you can start cutting. Sew and attach them as you would any band.

Now that I’ve told you the correct way to do it, let me tell you the quick and technically incorrect way I did it because I was set on making an oversized sweater. First, I wanted to make this Potens out of a sweater knit, and I wanted it to be comfortable over a shirt. I decided to size up in the chest by 2 sizes. This size coincidentally corresponded with my child’s height size, but I decided to add bands on top of this for extra length, a more oversized look, and longer wear. I followed the same steps I described above to determine the dimensions of the band pattern pieces. I would say that the torso length of the sweater is a bit longer than I intended, but the sleeves are just what I intended. Also keep in mind that I am working with a size 12 height, which means that a random 2 inches added in band length is less impact than if you are making a size 3. Think through how you want your Potens with bands to fit and look, and use these hack directions just as a general guide to get you to realize your vision. And have fun with other medium weight fabrics!

Use reversible sequin fabric for the lightning flash

Full disclosure: I have never sewn with sequin fabric before! As with my first hack, I had a vision of what this might look like, and I took some risks. I’m sure you can improve on this hack with my tips as a starting point. 

I prepared to sew the Potens pieces with lightning flash. Pieces 10b1 and 10b2 (the lightning flash) would be cut from the sequin fabric. You do NOT want to use your fabric scissors on sequin fabric, as it will dull them. I started with kitchen scissors, but I realized quickly that I could easily cut through the sequins using a rotary blade against a ruler. (Prepare for a sequin explosion in your sewing space as you begin to cut!) The rotary blade is dulled, but you could replace it. You can even keep the dulled blade and label it “sequin” for your next project. Be sure you arrange your pattern pieces so that the sequins go the same direction in both pattern pieces, using the direction of stretch marking as a guide.

Other tips online suggested that I should remove the sequins in the seam allowance, sew down the center of a row of sequins, or cut the tips off the sequins in the seam allowance with scissors and then pick them out. I will try these tips the next time I would like sewing one shirt to take me fourteen hours. (To be honest, I started and realized it would take me way too long.) I do think that if I had followed this advice, it would help when I am flipping to the other color of reversible sequins. The way that I sewed it, some of the blue sequins are caught in the seam allowance, so they cannot flip to red sequins.)

Sources on the internet said I could sew through sequins with a sharp needle, but to look out for needle breakage and replace the needle after sewing the sequins. This sounded like a great starting point to me! Fortunately, my sewing machine is a workhorse and had no issues with the needle going off course or breaking while I was sewing. I sewed all the sequins on my sewing machine to spare my serger! 

Once I had sewed the lightning flash, I assembled the front of the shirt per the pattern directions. However, I realized that the inner front of the shirt was going to be scratchy with the back of the sequin fabric touching my son’s skin. To solve this, I printed out pattern piece 9 from View B of the Potens pattern. I cut a piece of jersey fabric using pattern piece 9, and I placed it over the four lightning flash pieces but on the wrong side/inside of the shirt. Before sewing it down, I used my kitchen scissors to trim the sequined seam allowances at top and bottom of the flash so the pattern piece 9 completely covered the sequins, encasing them. I then topstitched this piece down, sewing from the inside and using a stretch stitch. (Remember, your bobbin thread will show on the front of the shirt if you sew from the inside.)

From this point, I sewed the rest of the Potens Sweater as normal! 

I’d love to hear your sequin sewing tips if you have tried sequins before. If you are inspired by either of these hacks, please post your finished products in Sofilantjes Patterns Sew and Show

Tutorial: Add a ruffle to your Gemma

Jessica Pieneman made a tutorial for you. She added a ruffle to the Gemma bodysuit sleeve. This tutorial will also work on the Gemma top. Let’s show you how.

Don’t forget to visit her Social Media to thank her.

When cutting out the pattern pieces, include two straight strips for the ruffles.

To do this, measure the length of the top of your sleeve and multiply it by 1.5x (or more if you want more effect). I used a height of 4″- 10 cm to leave a ruffle of 1.5″- 4 cm.

Fold the strips lengthwise with wrong sides together, and gather those strips so that you end up exactly with your sleeve.

Now place the strips between the sleeve pieces and sleeve openings right sides together and sew in place.

The ruffle is now in between.

When sewing the side seams, place the ends of the ruffle neatly in between and sew together.

Finish the sleeves and sew the leg band as described in the instructions. And ready is your Gemma Romper with ruffle!

Enjoy your make!

A New Baby is Born

We are celebrating the birth of a new Sofilantjes baby. The Gemma Bodysuit. You asked us for a Gemma in baby sizes so here it is. A lovely bodysuit with three sleeve options. Long, short and short with fold over cuff. With great bum coverage and a well fitted body your baby can play and sleep perfectly.

Short sleeve:

Long sleeve:

Fold over cuff:

The Gemma bodysuit release sale runs from October 20, 00.00 CET (Oct. 19, 6 pm EST) through October 24 00.00 CET (Oct. 23, 6 pm EST) and is €4,99  – excluding taxes, no code needed.  You can get your copy using the links below.  If you are a Sofilantjes Sew and Show member, join us to show off your Gemma Bodysuit.

Français: https://www.sofilantjes.com/product/debardeur-body-gemma/

Nederlands: https://www.sofilantjes.com/product/gemma-romper-nederlands/

English: https://www.sofilantjes.com/product/gemma-bodysuit-english/

Flora or Callens?

Some of you have been asking about the differences between the Flora Flared Pants and the Callens Leggins. To answer your questions, see below.

As you can see, Flora is a pant designed for French Terry fabrics. It has a fly, pockets, and only one length. The Callens is a legging explicitly intended for a jersey or likewise fabrics. Sports lycra works amazingly well, and combined with the added gusset; your little one is ready to move freely without ripping the crotch—pictures of both pdf patterns are below.


Tutorial: Add a bow to the Callens legging

Who want to add a little exta to their Callens legging? Use this tutorial to make your leggings look extra special. Follow the directions below, and do not forget to show us your result in our Facebook group or tag us on IG (@Sofilantjes_anne).

This tutorial was created by Jovita Angèle Schoffelmeer

Cut 4 rectangles.
2 rectangels as wide as the side stripe and as high as desired times 2. Add seam allowance. (For my size 7/122
I used was 6.5 x 11 cm)
The other 2 retangles cut 4 x 6 cm.

Fold the 2 largest rectangles right sides together widthwise, sew and turn.
Fold the 2 smallest lengthwise. Sew and turn.

The 2 smallers rectangles.

Fold the two strips lengthwise. Sew the short edges together to create a loop. Turn the loop so the raw egdes are turned inwards.

Creating the bow.

Fold the loop you created in the previous step around the large rectange creating the bow. Next sew the bow to the side stripe at the spot you prefer.

Continue sewing the side stripe according to the instructions of the pattern.

Don’t forget to be creative!

Tutorial: Straps to the Brueram Back

Ready to play with one of our oldest patterns? Create a whole new dress using this tutorial today. Your child will thank you. Follow the directions below, and do not forget to show us your result in our Facebook group or tag us on IG (@Sofilantjes_anne).

Marieke makes this tutorial; say hi on IG and thank her by following her account.

Cut your front pattern pieces – main and lining and where you see the little angle on the back straps- this is the shoulder line. Cut straight, 3/8″ – 1 cm above this point. (The 3/8″ – 1 cm extra is seam allowance). Repeat for the lining.

The front and lining originally have double back straps. For this version you’ll only need binding straps. 1 Set of back straps you can put aside, the back straps from the main front bodice you need for measuring how long your binding needs to be.

Tip: Measure the short side, the middle and the long side, add to each strap 3/8″ – 1cm extra (seam allowance) and subtract that number by 2. Sew a long binding strap in 1 time, you cut in the correct pieces afterwards. Use your back straps as a guideline.

I used a prefab binding with 1/2″- 1.2 cm finished width, or make it yourself.

Cut of the corners at the top by using the back straps as a guide to get the same angle as the original back straps.

Sew the neckline and the armholes as per instructions.

With main and lining front bodice wrong side out pull the straps through the shoulder openings. Line up the raw edges from the straps with the top raw edges from the shoulder openings and spread evenly. The straps are now sandwiched in between the main front bodice and the front lining. Sew with 1 cm seam allowance.

Tip: Baste the straps first with a long stitch, turn right side out and check to make sure you sewed them on correctly. If yes, turn them to wrong side again, stitch and finish the seams. A basting stitch is so much easier to remove when you accidentally make a mistake.

Turn right sides out and give it a good press. Continue with the original instructions.

25K Grand Giveaway!

We have something grand to celebrate! Our Facebook Group now has (almost) 25k members! It’s a huge milestone!

When I started Sofilantjes 8 years ago I never thought it would come to this. I never thought Sofilantjes would release 64 patterns and counting.

When Sofilantjes started, I was looking for a place where I could dream. A place to quiet my head. A place to be endlessly creative. What started with those things grew into a business full of friendships and fun. I am working hard and enjoying every minute. Every day I enjoy seeing your creations made using my patterns; that is why I do it.


For me, the ideal Sofilantjes pattern is accessible, quick, and perfect to make for us creative people with limited time. Beautiful results with just enough challenge. Dresses, shirts, trousers, and now even underwear.

Now, about the reason you are visiting this page: The Giveaway!

For this giveaway we had some great donations. But first let me tell you that we have more give aways specially for our Facebook group members. Go to the group and enter them to.

1st prize will be… (imagine the drumroll please)….. A brand new Bernette 33 sewing machine* from Bernina Benelux or an Amazon gift card (value $100 us). How to win this you ask? Follow the instructions below.

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*The winner of the Bernette sewing machine must live in the Benelux countries (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). If the 1st prize winner lives outside the Benelux, he or she will receive an Amazon gift voucher instead. A new winner will be drawn for the sewing machine who does meet the requirements.

2nd prize. Team Sofilantjes made a selection of pattern designers we like. Why just the few? Because we wanted to support these other wonderful designers. So who did we select? First we selected Bella Sunshine Designs, because we just love Melissa as a friend. Next we selected Bel’Etoile. We actually do not know her personally, but we feel a connection because of her personal story. Boo! Designs, she has the best swimsuit patterns and swim fabric! Tadah Patterns because she has great patterns for woven fabrics, and Misusu because of her unique style. Last but not least is Itch to Stitch. Kennis creates the most beautiful patterns for women. We’ll top it all off with a gift card from us. Are you already dreaming of all the items you can sew? I know I am. Enter below, quick!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3rd prize. Last but not least. Win 3 patterns of choice from us. Browse our shop and create your list now. Ok ok, do it after you entered the raffle copter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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