I bought an amazing new book+cd at Barnes and Noble a couple of months ago. It’s called Twinkle Sews, and is basically a selection of clothing patterns (and artsy photographs) from the designer of the Twinkle line of clothing. I don’t know much about the clothing line, so whether or not these are the actual deigns from the line, I don’t know. But I do know this much: I. Love. It. Immediately, I wanted to make almost every outfit in the book, but I finally chose an easy-looking skirt called Skyline Skirt. It’s a simple style with clean lines and I had the perfect fabrics for it.
I took photos every step of the way to document my very first Twinkle Sews project and to give a little review of sorts. For the most part I love the book and the patterns are easy to follow. I did find a few mistakes that could lead to trouble with your design, especially if you’re not very experienced, but I’ll point them out along the way. Enjoy!

Each pattern in this book is presented in pdf format on the included cd. You just insert it into the computer, open the file and print the pattern you want (8X11.5 paper). For example, I wanted the Skyline Skirt, size 16. So I printed the file SkylineSkirt_16.pdf. Easy! That particular pattern didn’t have too many pieces, but my second one sure does! I don’t remember how many off-hand, but it seems like it was somewhere between 30 and 60. These don’t take very long to piece together, though, and then it’s just the matter of cutting them out, which has to be done no matter what pattern you’re using. 😉

I don’t think the book has a section telling you how to cut the paper patterns and piece them together, so I’ll include a little info about it here. Sorry if this is getting too long and drawn-out!

First, cut along the dotted lines. These usually run parallel along two or more sides of the paper, sometimes less. Once these are cut off, piece the papers together using tape. There will be a partial circle with a number in each corner of the paper (usually). These match to the other three partials with the same number on the other papers. It’s not difficult to get the hang of, and goes fairly quick once you get started.

The book, cd, 3 pattern pieces for “Skyline Skirt” and the un-pieced, uncut paper for my next project: the Dark Secrets top.

(In this pic)I like the skirt……..the sweater? Not so much……. It reminds me of the sweater Lizzie McGuire’s grandma gave her. Please tell me that I WON’T think that this is a cute top in a couple of months or years from now! The way my taste in clothing has changed recently…..I’m afraid. lol

There are only 8 “steps” for the Skyline Skirt, but some of these, in turn, have more than one step to them. This pattern calls for a zipper which is not my area of expertise. The last(and first) zipper I sewed, caused me grief, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the instructions for each pattern, they do assume that you know what you’re doing in the sewing world, and that you have at least a basic knowledge of sewing techniques. But no fear: there is a whole chapter at the beginning that takes you through terms and instructions that you’ll need for the patterns and any other sewing you may do in the future. Honestly, I’ve been sewing for several years and, in some cases, making my own patterns, so it’s always a bit hard for me to say whether or not a real beginner would understand the instructions as well as I do. They seemed very thorough, though, at least in the beginning chapter. The steps for each individual pattern are a little more vague, assuming that you remember techniques from the beginning of the book. You may have to reference back from time to time.

Also, the sizing is a bit difficult to understand, or at least it was for me. In the beginning chapter it explains how to do some simple calculating of your measurement + given amount for ease + given amount for seam allowance. The amounts for each of the last two are actually given right there in the first chapter. Once you know this number you are supposed to match it up to the included sizing chart. Sounds simple, right? Well, at the beginning of each pattern, it tells you whether to use your bust, waist, or other measurement to figure your size for that particular article of clothing. In addition to that, it will sometimes say “use such-and-such amount for ease, plus such-and-such amount for seam allowance”. And those amounts will be different than in the beginning chapter. Or sometimes it will only give you the ease amount before the instructions. Sometimes neither. I just found it a bit contradictory, but when in doubt, go with your instincts and maybe choose a larger size just to be safe. It’s much easier to reduce it down by using large seam allowances or cutting some off, than it would be to make it larger once the outfit has already been partially sewn. I used a size 16 for this skirt, but had to make it smaller…….more on that later.

The instruction pages

Cutting out my fabric pieces

I used an applique-look cotton paired with a medium-weight red linen. I’ve had the linen for years, and more recently bought the cotton thinking it would make a cute skirt. I am so glad that I hadn’t sewn anything with it yet! 🙂

My main skirt pieces:

The one BIG mistake with this pattern

Okay, see how I cut the pieces out? With the numbers, words, etc. facing up when I pinned them to the fabric. That is the usual way, right? Well, not here……just look how the paper and fabric pieces slant down from right to left. The photo shows them slanting from left to right. What’s with that? Ggggrrrrrr…….. :-S So after cutting 16 pieces out one-by-one, I had to re-do all of the green cotton pieces by flipping the paper pattern over when I cut them out. Fortunately I was able to turn the red pieces over and use them the opposite way. That’s another thing to watch out for. The book doesn’t say anything about whether to cut the patterns out with the fabric folded in two, or laid out flat. Normally I cut with my fabric folded, so as to get two pieces done at once. But thankfully I realized before cutting, that you need each piece of this pattern to be cut exactly the same…in other words, if I cut them on folded fabric, I would end up with two peices, one the mirror image of the other a.k.a flipped. For this design, each piece needs to be an exact duplicate of the one before. No room for flipped pieces here! That’s something to definitely watch out for.

More on the skirt project later…….