L' Etoffe Fabrics: San Diego, California

Sustainable Fashion Fabrics and Trims for Fine Garment Sewing

Fold Over Petersham Grosgrain on Stretch Corduroy

sewing tipina celayaComment

If you haven’t discovered my fold over petersham grosgrain it’s time to arrive. When stuck on how to finish an edge because turn turn stitch isn’t gonna cut it — allow me to suggest a fold over binder. This works on both casual and especially on brocades, sequins, and lace/sheers. On the following example I used it to trim a sample pocket opening. When working with stretch wovens even if you face it sometimes the edge stretches out and just doesn’t look clean.

Recommended Steps:

  1. fold in half and steam/ steam curve if relevant

  2. stitch down onto wrong side first, remember the raw edge will be your former seamline (cut away seam allowance

  3. tidy up fabric edge if needed to facilitate fold over if using a bulkier fabric

  4. fold over to right side, steam one more time, stitch down or for a couture look hand prickstitch

Make Nine Update: I work well under pressure.

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Decided to make the DP Studio Le 100 Tailored Jacket out of a light weight cotton denim floral print - before I decided to dive into fully tailoring it in a wool.

Dp Studio Le 100 Tailored Jacket 2 Piece Sleeve.

Dp Studio Le 100 Tailored Jacket 2 Piece Sleeve.

Also, I just got in a fab double faced satin stripe black cotton shirting or I may use the faux leather cotton shirting. Pattern is on reorder arriving soon.

New And/Or Notable Jumpsuit Patterns - Not Mainstream

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From Atacac, I think I need to put all my other sewing projects on hold to roll one of these out. PLEASE check out this project:

Disclaimer: I own Center for Pattern Design

5 Yards, bias cut, great for evening and bridal or whatever a house dress. Available for a limited time in paper pre-order:

Will be available as a download shortly.


French Fold Shrug Zero Waste Pattern From Diane Ericson

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This is actually from an older post I wrote for Sew Expo 2018.

The Future Is Now: Zero Waste for Home Sewing


All sewers (in my opinion) have various idiosyncratic ways of buying, using, and storing, fabric. For me, this practice crystallizes around an anxiety of discarding any and all fabric waste. No matter how small the remnant, swatch, or bit of fiber - I am sure that one day a masterpiece will be formed with the aggregate of my horde of fabric scraps. Large black trash bags, big plastic bins, stuffed in a corner, pinned on the wall, I have scraps everywhere. When does the insanity end! If you are like me we have two choices - start creating with the scraps amassed or create without producing any scraps in the first place. Either way what we are talking about is a global movement called “Zero Waste” - the reduction of waste sent to the landfill through an improved design on our use/reuse of resources in daily life - which has now begun to take hold in home sewing practices.

Beginning of the French Fold Shrug sewing pattern from Diane Ericson

Beginning of the French Fold Shrug sewing pattern from Diane Ericson

As a sewing instructor and fabric shop owner, I meet a lot of new sewers everyday who share their history and memories of sewing with me. Maybe a relative was a fine dressmaker or they enjoyed sewing clothes for their children and then one day it all stopped. During the 80’s and 90’s garment manufacturing became very inexpensive as production was outsourced primarily to China and other regions where labor costs and environmental oversight were/are nil. Today I find the recent resurgence in garment sewing is fueled - not out of economic necessity - but because women enjoy it! They don’t want to look like a cookie cutter, they want clothes that fit, and they want to wear something that expresses a unique facet of their personality.

If you are returning to sewing after a pre-internet hiatus you will find the pattern industry has changed drastically with scores of independent patterns lines, pdf downloads, shop copies, blogs, and instagram pages. Within the pattern madness Zero Waste is also quietly making a name for itself by answering so many of our contemporary garment sewing needs.


With Zero Waste sewers discover new ways of cutting garments that produce little to no scraps and also new projects for using scraps, new techniques for fitting, and overall a wonderful creative outlet. Below I have listed some thoughts, techniques, and tools, for those interested in exploring this approach further:

You can throw out almost all you think you know about conventional fitting techniques - darts, folds, tucks, pleats, have no standard placement.

Decide if you want clean and minimal or handmade and artsy

You will be working with 1, 2, or max 3 pattern pieces

Slashes are your new friend, develop a toolbox of finishing techniques for cleaning up raw edges

When fabric shopping always look for reversible/double faced fabrics - trust me. There is no right and wrong side, both sides will most likely be visible.

Hand finishing is fun!

Materials like fold over binders, tapes, ribbons, and a selection various hand sewing threads like sashiko, silk button hole twist, and #50 silk tailoring thread will be helpful.

Visible mending - and you will find lots of inspiration.

More general resources:

Much has been written on the subject of Zero Waste fashion design so that a quick internet (and especially on pinterest) search will result in many resources. In the garment manufacturing industry (which is viewed by many to be one of the most polluting) some pioneering names to know include Holly McQuillan, Julian Roberts, and Timo Rissanen. Also projects like and are inspiring a new generation to become more conscious of how and what we consume - in part by supporting a movement in making, repairing, and reducing.

Dp Studio Le 603 Pattern: Working with Border Prints and Piping a Peter Pan Collar

Tutorialina celayaComment
Paisley Border Print Cotton Voile Designer Surplus

Paisley Border Print Cotton Voile Designer Surplus

This is a great refined summer sewing project for a light cotton voile border print. The first step is to complete the piped collar and stand. Stylearc has a really straightforward tutorial on constructing the collar and stand here. For the piping I have some quick tips below:

First, interface both sides of the collar if you are working with sheer cotton - the seam allowances will show through if you don’t. I used a medium weight siri (buy here).


Sewing Tip:

When you sit down to attach the piping to the upper collar - start sewing (try not to use pins) and right before you reach the curve of the collar - stop, drop needle into fabric, clip the length of piping that will wrap the curve, clip about 1/2 to 3/4 into the tape, if you clip too far the notches will prevent a smooth curve, continue to sew SLOWLY placing the piping around the curve as you sew - make sure to stitch close to the piping as this line will be the guide.


When you sew the under and upper collars together, place the upper piped collar on top of the under collar using the stitching line (that attached the piping) as your guide. This will give you a perfect piped edge with no tape showing.


Don’t be discouraged to try challenging patterns!


Dp Studio dp's Le 5002 Tunic Dress with Plunging Neckline

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Click photo for fabric link

Just in case you are new to Dp Studio patterns they have a great easy to sew line called dp’s. They are affordable and offer really nice stepping stones for those looking to acquire new fashion garment sewing skills. You will not find many of the simple construction techniques in American home sewing patterns. Some points to remember when working with Dp Studio patterns:

  • Seam allowances are 1 cm

  • Sizing is pretty true to what you would find walking into a designer boutique or a J Crew store. Each pattern includes european sizes 36 to 48. For example for the bust sizes 32 1/4” to 43.7,” for the waist 24.7” to 35.8",” and hip 35.4” to 46.5.”

  • Instructions are in both English and French and are printed on a sturdy paper packed in a box.

Some tips on the Le 5002:

  • Clip all your notches and make a note of their purpose. For example, on the collar the notches will tell you which end is for the shoulder seam and which is for the center front. Make sure you notch the sleeves and their facings making sure you recognize which side is the front and back.

  • When in doubt baste - it will save you time and sanity. After you stitch one length of the collar to the dress and are ready to fold over the second half to topstitch - baste it in place first - don’t try to jump the gun.

  • If you would like to extend the tunic into a dress you must cut, extend, and add the hem piece (see photo below) that will angle the hem to be folded up to fit properly. This will make a difference.

    Let me know if you have any questions about this pattern. If it is sold out, I will be restocking shortly.


Make Nine 2019

Sewing Challengeina celayaComment

I don’t usually participate in challenges but since moving back home to So California from Oregon - I need a new wardrobe and FAST!!!! Yes I am late to the game so will be double timing in the next 6 months. I look forward to offering any tips on the patterns I have selected. (This list is not exhaustive).


My Make Nine 2019 - The List:

  • dp’s from Dp Studio, Le_5002 Tunic/dress with low-set sleeves and plunging neckline

  • Dp Studio Le 100 One Button Suit Jacket

  • Susan Khalje Couture Boatneck Top

  • Tessuti Coni Tunic

  • Dp Studio Boiler Jumpsuit, Jacket and Pants (counts for 2 items)

  • Dp Studio Le 913 Bustier

  • Dp Studio Le 602 Asymmetric Shirtdress

  • Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Smaller Dress # 41 - free download here

My choices for Fall/Holiday Sewing Wrap - Up

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Next Level Sewing

Wool Petersham Fold Over Binders in colors!

Wool binders are an easy way to finish edges when you don’t want to fold and turn raw edges especially when working with thicker fabric. Below is the Kyoto Vest suitable for beginning to advanced sewers and it’s is one pattern piece! By Tessuti Patterns - download or order the pattern online here


I have some beautiful Italian woolens in stock that are blouse weight, some soft enough to forgo lining, other slightly heavier for dresses as well. I love working with wool because I love tracing all my lines with basting, fitting, and steaming accordingly.

Quick Piping Tip

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Piping is a standard at L’Etoffe Fabrics. It just makes life a little bit better -

So just in case there was any piping anxiety out there I am posting just a quick piping tutorial - primarily for straight edges. Will add curves soon - when time allows. For this example I have used linen piping and denim. I used just a regular straight stitch foot and I stitched directly on the piping (going slow). If you have a half foot this is ideal, I find that piping feet that are too specialized don’t give you the control to stitch where you want to - just my experience.

  1. First, stitch the piping down to one side of your seam (red stitching) preferably adjacent to the piping stitching or closer to the piping. The point here is to give you a guide by which your final stitching will be placed.


2. Sandwich both layers of your seam together.


3. Flip over and stitch either directly over your previous stitching or a hair closer to the piping.


Tip: DP STudio Le 916 Asymmetric Cardigan Dress Straps

Tutorialina celayaComment

If you get stuck on how to close the self lined straps, I hope this will help clarify the process. It's easy don't worry.

Once you have stitched the armholes and necklines - turned and presssed them - and stitched shoulder seams of the lining and dress together you are ready to close up the straps. This may seem like a puzzle at first.

1. First, with the dress right side out, reach inside the strap and pull out the

first side to close - right sides together and stitch closed.

2. Now, from the bottom of the dress reach

inside the dress/top, between the lining and the exterior

dress fabric. Grab onto strap from the inside and pull outside. The dress

will now be inside out.


3. Stitch the second side closed (inside you will see the other side of the

closed strap) and turn to the right side and press. That's it!

DP Studio Le 001 Hoodie Project Finished!

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Includes kangaroo pockets, with or without hood, sleeves are extra long cut accordingly.

Sew Expo Puyallup: Center for Pattern Design CB Topcoat Pattern

sew expoina celayaComment

Hello everyone, many of you inquired about the muslin coat I had hanging on the rack at Sew Expo. They are back in stock and can be purchased here:



seam allowances are 5/8

the collar is self drafted, the sample has a 3.5" finished height

only one size is included

finished width across bust without overlapping is 58"


Balenciaga was known for his sculptural skills while draping a design since he molds fitting tools, such as darts, directly into the design lines of the garment and this coat is an example of that technique.  The front of the coat appears to be a simple rectangle but the dart fullness has been eased into the dropped yoke sleeve seam which is cut-in-one with the back. The back is fuller with a deep pli de souplesse (fold at the armscye) which allows it to be easily worn over other garments.  The coat has two main pattern pieces and does not require a lining or closures.  Sizing is 'medium' but the size range is from 8 to 16.  The Egg hat is not included. The coat can be laid out as shown in the pattern diagram included, without nap, on 4 yards of 45" fabric folded crosswise to 2 yards. You may be able to do it for less on 58" or 60" depending on your own adjustments for length.  

Early in his career, Balenciaga worked with Madeleine Vionnet to learn many of her draping techniques in crepe fabrics and then went on to practice them in the more firm and moldable fabrics popular in his day.  He learned how to make a design, like this coat, appear simple, when, in fact, it was quite complex.  This coat is reminiscent of Vionnet, reminding us of her unusual seaming and shaping.  After Balenciaga closed his house, Salvador, his tailoring assistant, taught his methods and this pattern was an example from those classes.


Sewing Club Spotlight

It's A Kit!ina celayaComment

Sue made a great linen knit t-shirt from Dp Studio Le 506 Asymmetric Sweatshirt. She has posted a review here. What is cool about this pattern is that you can make it in a stable knit or woven. All sizes included from 36 to 48 or bust 83cm to 111cm but could easily go larger.

Rainbow Batik Toddler Craft Apron - Free Pattern!

free patternina celayaComment

This is a very simple apron to stitch up. I would say it fits kids from about 3 to 5 years old. If you make your own bias tape I like to first sew it onto the backside then fold over to the front and zig zag down. This prevents the need to made the final stitching look perfect. I used gold metallic thread from Sajou (in stock). The apron without self fabric bias requires only 5/8 a yard. I recommend a yard if you want to make bias strips in the same fabric.

Cut one body piece on the fold. Required lengths for double fold bias strips are as follows: 2 x 45" for the neck/waist ties. 6" across the top and 40" for the bottom curved edge. For the bottom edge I have given you a generous length so you can get the around the curve, I recommend as you stitch when you get close to the curve clip the bias tape a couple of times - this will help you if using a tight fabric.

The pocket is 9" by 5". Of course customize and make it yours! This is a perfect gift.

download free pattern



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Sew House Seven: Sequined Toaster Sweater #1

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Pattern: Toaster Sweater version 1 from Sew House Seven

Fabric: 1 1/3 yard sequined jersey = 37.80, 3/4 yard black rayon ponte 12.40

Time: 2 to 3 hours

Cost: $50

Notes: Debera who made this - likes to double the height (length) of the neck band so it can fold over allowing for a more stable neckband. Yes, working with sequins is easy. Just use your serger, assemble like you usually would but a 4 thread stitch is preferred and wear glasses just in case a sequin gets thrown.

Working on posting a kit for this....but the fabric may not stay in stock. contact the shop for a custom order