Tried & True Patterns Part II

With spring in the air, we’ve been busy getting new spring and summer fabrics in stock, priced and ready for your shopping pleasure! This is also a great time to feature Bini’s tried and true favorites, as they are perfect spring and summer casual basics to add to your wardrobe.


Playful and fun, Bini’s favorite patterns are easy to wear and provide a canvas for the variety of fabrics Josephine’s has to offer. She loves to combine prints, dive into her stash, and make use of a one yard piece of Libery of London cotton whenever she can.

This first tried and true pattern is a self-drafted tank top with bias binding. It requires just one yard of fabric in size small. Ask Bini about tracing this pattern to try for yourself! Come see more samples in the shop.

                                             Some favorites from Bini's Tank Top Class!  Making a year round favorite is a fun way to jump into Spring sewing!!

                                            Some favorites from Bini's Tank Top Class!  Making a year round favorite is a fun way to jump into Spring sewing!!

             A Liberty of London and lace combo for one of Bini’s signature tank tops.

            A Liberty of London and lace combo for one of Bini’s signature tank tops.

Another staple in Bini’s wardrobe is the Burnside Bib pattern from Sewhouse Seven. This is a pattern that can be made from many different fabrics to suit the season. She has made versions in wool, cotton and linen. The pair pictured below right is made in a charcoal gray wool. 

Bini is so fond of this pattern that she made a pair in linen for her sister-in-law and co-owner, Dana!

The Burnside Bib and other Sewhouse Seven patterns are available at Josephine’s. 

If you are in the Portland area, please stop in and share your own tried and true patterns!

Tried and True Patterns, Part I

I am not a speedy seamstress. I wish I was, but I’m too meticulous and, thankfully, I enjoy the process.  Once in a while, though, I need something fast, made with a pattern I’ve already altered and with familiar construction.  That’s where our “tried and true” or “TNT” patterns come to our rescue.  They are familiar, but with a change in fabric, sleeve, pocket, or length, we can make them look new again without starting all over from a different pattern.

Each of us here at Josephine's has our own style and favorite TNT patterns. We’re going to let you peek into our closets to see some of our favorite TNT patterns and the garments made from them.



I’m a fan of simple shapes, as you can see from my TNT garments pictured below.


The first of my favorites is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. As you can see, I’ve made a sleeveless version in rayon (fabric from Josephine’s), one in linen (Fabric Depot) and a sheer version in embroidered organza (Emma One Sock).


My second TNT is the Esme Tunic from the book, Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. My black and white check version was made with fabric from my stash and followed her pattern as written.  My second one, however, was made with some changes. I replaced the neck facing and sleeve hems with velveteen bias binding. I also drafted a new pocket to show off the velveteen lining.


Designer Kayla Kennington is the source of my last TNT, Vogue 9188. This pattern challenged me to learn to sew bias garments. One is made of a rayon (Mill End Store) and the other is a cotton/linen blend from my stash.



Judith’s tried and true patterns allow her to play with interesting fabric combinations and couture details.


Her three blouses made from Butterick 5684 (out of print), by designer Jane Tise, showcase the different sleeve and front placket options, as well as Judith’s masterful fabric combos.  The sleeveless one, as well as one of the long-sleeved versions, combine silk and Liberty of London cotton prints from Josephine’s.


A vintage Vogue western shirt pattern, Vogue 8976 (out of print), is Judith’s second TNT favorite. She made each version unique with designer details like Liberty of London contrast piping and the embroidered design at each end of the pockets on the luxurious cream colored Viyella version.


Coming up in my next post…Bini and Dana’s tried and true patterns, so stay tuned!

Josephine’s Dry Goods is hosting a

“Sew Social”

and you’re invited!

Meet other women who love to sew, be the first to see our new spring fabrics, and enjoy some refreshments.

Date: Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: 2609 SE Clinton St.  Portland, OR


Day Four

This day began with Kathryn leading us through her couture method for setting a sleeve into a jacket or coat. Did you know tailored sleeves are sewn in by hand with a backstitch? There is always more to learn when it comes to sewing and that is one of the big reasons I sew. Kathryn’s sleeve tutorial for Emma One Sock can be found here.

                         Kathryn sets the sleeve into Shams’ coat.

                        Kathryn sets the sleeve into Shams’ coat.

Later in the day, Diane shared her tips for refashioning garments, encouraging us to ask questions as we work that don’t have “yes” or “no” answers. When removing a sleeve from a garment, be sure to mark the sleeve front and back; leave seam allowances attached to the bodice.  When designing a garment, she encouraged us to focus design interest on areas of our body we want others to see rather than covering up areas we would rather hide.

Day Five

This last day was one of packing up and coming together to share what we had gained from our week long time together. None of us wanted the retreat to end and the farewells were reluctant ones. This experience far exceeded my expectations. I learned so much from both Diane and Kathryn.  I also learned more about myself, my abilities and the direction I want to take my future sewing.  Perhaps, best of all, was meeting some of the sewing bloggers I’ve followed for years and making new sewing friends from across the US and one in Vancouver, BC.  I hope to cross paths with many of them again.

I highly recommend trying a sewing retreat or joining our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild, Columbia River Sewing, to experience the camaraderie of sewing with and learning from others.

If you find yourself attending a DOL retreat (and I hope you do) or just visiting Ashland, here are some of my favorite places:


Hither – great for breakfast, lunch and sweet treats

NW Raw Organic Juice Bar – bowls, salads, juices

Plancha – casual Mexican

Star Sushi

Pie + Vine – Italian

Martolli”s Hand Tossed Pizza –pizza slice and salad lunch combo


The Web Sters – yarn, fiber, jewelry and hand knit garments

Sew Creative – fabrics, primarily quilting cottons, notions, patterns & Valdani Perle Cotton

Avant Garb – fashion re-sale

A variety of clothing and shoe stores along Main St.

Great sewing blogs by my fellow DOL attendees:

Gayle Ortiz at

Shams at

Margy Houtz at

Wendy Franzen at

Diane Ericson at

Kathryn Brenne newsletter at

Hopefully I haven’t left anyone off this list!


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                              Farewell Ashland – I’ll be back!

                            Farewell Ashland – I’ll be back!

 Design Outside the Lines (DOL) Retreat - Part I

Sewing is normally a solitary pursuit, like many creative endeavors.  In the past, women would gather for quilting bees to share their love for sewing, the latest news, and homemaking tips. Today we can sew communally by getting away on a sewing retreat. I recently returned from a week in Ashland, Oregon where I attended my first Design Outside the Lines Retreat hosted by Diane Ericson, with guest instructor Kathryn Brenne.  The theme for this fall retreat was “It’s all in the Details:  Coats & Jackets”.

Diane is a gifted teacher, artist and designer. She is all about expressing your own creative sensibility in the garments you make and wear. She blogs and offers her patterns, stencils etc. on her website,  Kathryn teaches couture sewing at her Academy of Fine Sewing and Design near Ontario, Canada, and designs patterns for Vogue Pattern Company. She also writes articles for Vogue Patterns and detailed sewing tutorials for Emma One Sock, an online fabric retailer, which can be found here.  The two of them made a complementary and dynamic teaching duo.

Each day of the five day retreat combined demonstrations by Diane and Kathryn, sewing time for our individual projects and time to explore the charms of Ashland.  The town offers plenty of shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and, of course, Lithia Park for inspiration.

Day One

The day began with a much anticipated trunk show of Kathryn’s garments, many of them straight from the pages of Vogue Patterns

In the afternoon, Diane talked about making fabric better. How can fabric possibly get any better? Well, she showed us how she fuses or stitches pieces of fabric together, then cuts the resulting fabric into the desired shape or size. This pieced fabric can be used for embellishment or an entire garment as shown below.

Day Two

Diane dazzled us with shaped seam construction, interesting collars, and ways to add shape to a garment with godets. Her motto is “do more with everything” as you can see from the photos below.

I thought I knew a fair amount about needles and thread until Kathryn shared her tips for matching the right needle and thread to various fabrics and applications.  Other couture tips, like knotting, thread tracing and choosing/applying interfacings completed our afternoon session.

Day Three

This was a full day of learning to make wearable art jewelry from fabric scraps and found objects, as well as working with leather to make “one of a kind” closures.

By the end of day three, our own projects were well underway and our heads were so full of ideas that sleep was hard to come by!  Stay tuned for DOL, part 2, for the final few days of this wonderful getaway.


It’s my favorite time of year here in the Pacific NW. Trees are putting on their fall finery and so are we! Temperatures are getting cooler and coats are coming out of our closets. Those of us who sew are fortunate to have so many options for making our own fall/winter coat wardrobe. Here are a few of my favorite casual styles:

J Crew is featuring this quilted vest in Liberty of London Catesby Floral,

but I envision the Grainline Tamarack jacket in one of these wool/Liberty of London combinations.


Another favorite is the zip front Minoru jacket with its wide collar, optional hood, raglan sleeves and flattering elastic waist – perfect in our cheerful Liberty Capri canvas.


From Vogue’s new fall patterns, comes the sporty, ¾ length version of the baseball jacket, V9275. This pattern is perfect for one of our Italian wool plaids or checks.

If you are a novice at matching checks/plaids or just want a refresher, this tutorial from Grainline Studio is a great reference and will insure your success.

Do you have a coat project underway?  We’d love to see what you are sewing and are here to help whenever we can. You are always welcome to come sew on our Bernina machines and get our assistance. Open Sew studio time is available by the hour or with a discounted punch card.

Happy Sewing!


More Reasons to Take a Sewing Class


  • Many experienced people choose to join sewing groups because they are looking for inspiration and want to help others learn how to sew. Even someone who has been sewing for years can benefit from spending time with others who share their hobby.
  • Making crafts for yourself and for gifts is fun and affordable. You can give them away as gifts which save money, but you can also sell them to make money, as well.
  • Learning to sew will leave you never having to rely on a seamstress to do alterations for you or your family. You can save money by doing these alterations yourself.
  • Joining a Portland sewing class is also a great way to learn the basics. You won't have to jump right into using a sewing machine, either. You'll be able to learn hand sewing and other techniques before moving onto the machine.
  • Joining a class helps you meet new people! When joining our sewing class, you’ll find individuals just like you, learning to sew and gaining knowledge.
  • If you learn to and then like making alterations you can turn it into a side business. This will be a good way for you to keep working on your craft and make money at the same time.


Reasons to Take a Sewing Class!

Have you been thinking of taking a Portland sewing class? If so, now is the time. Our fabric shop is proud to offer new classes for all types of sewists. From beginners to more experienced, you'll find something for everyone. 

If you're having trouble committing to a class, consider the following benefits and reasons why a Portland sewing class would be great for you!

  • Creativity is a great way to keep life interesting. Why not take a sewing class so that you'll be more encouraged to create?
  • Making your own outfits, quilts, tablet holders and more are great ways to express your creative side.
  • You'll be able to make wonderful gifts for friends and family along the way during the class and once you’ve become more experienced!
  • At times, we need a creative outlet to help us relieve stress and relax from work or life. Learning to sew is a great way to do this.
  • It’s fun to choose various types of fabrics, patterns and make anything you'd like. Our fabric shop has all the luxurious and beautifully made fabric you'll ever need when taking a class and venturing on your own!
  • As a beginner, you won’t have to struggle with not understanding how to start sewing. You won’t even wonder where to find tools or what materials you might need to begin your journey. The class will go over everything you need to get ready for creating!
  • Taking a Portland sewing class might be the encouragement you need to start learning your new hobby.
  • Trying to learn on your own might be overwhelming and difficult. However, with a classroom full of beginners just like you, you will be encouraged and inspired!

We hope this information inspires you to sign up for the next Portland sewing class in your area! With gorgeous fabric just waiting for you to create with it, you’ll be happy to learn how to sew and meet new people in the process! To learn more benefits of taking a sewing class, visit back with our next blog soon!

We are proud to offer you a way to bring your visions for projects to life both at home and in our Portland sewing class! We hope you'll join us for an upcoming learning session, soon. 

Contact us if you have any questions about our fabric,  accessories or Portland sewing class offered by Josephine's that we also offer. We strive to inspire your creativity with the highest quality fabrics and classes in the area.

Ultimate List of Fashion Magazines for Inspiration, Part One

One of the most difficult parts of having sewing as a hobby is to continually find inspiration and ideas that help you create beautiful projects. For those that love creating garments to wear and staying in fashion, we have compiled a list of all the great fashion magazines all over the world! These magazines are great for helping us all find new ideas and projects we'd like to try, in addition to staying up-to-date with all the trends! Be sure to read over the list below, as well as check back regularly to see more of our list in other blogs!

Read More

Creations from Fabric Scraps Part One

Those that sew know how many containers of scrap fabric are collected over time. There's no way to avoid having scraps after creating a project. Most of the time, we all can to save them for one reason or another. Sometimes, we just save them for a rainy day. Today, we offer a few ideas on how to use this fabric in Portland OR for gorgeous projects!

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Reasons to Learn to Sew!

Learning to sew is fun! It's also practical and educational. For those on the fence about whether or not you should take a sewing class, be sure to consider the following reasons why learning to sew will be beneficial for you. If you're looking for sewing classes to start, call our fabric shop in Portland!

Read More