Tag Archives: sewing

Polka dot pouches

This week (and the next couple of weeks) I’m lucky enough to teach some young people (most in their early twenties) who need to get more confidence, so that they can continue on to get an education, how to sew.

They are complete beginners and I’ve prepared a lesson-plan which should start them on sewing clothes, doing zippers and everything.

So I’ve made preparations, and started out by making these pouches, which I’ve made very detailed instructions for.

But today we started out with threading the machines, learning how to trace and add seam allowances, cut fabric on grain and finally sew the fleece socks. They loved them. And it was great teaching this group! They were so happy and interested and very very nice.

 Dot fleece socks made by one of my happy beginner sewist students!

Tomorrow we are going to make the oilcloth pouch, and maybe even start on the fabric one, that is lined…

P.S. A very important notice:

I’m in the process of redesigning my webshop. You can’t see anything yet, but what this means for you is kind of important – so please read this if you ever bought a pattern from the MariaDenmark | ShopONION.com site:

I’m moving my shop to a completely new (and much better and prettier) platform. Unfortunately this means that I can’t  transfer the user accounts or the order histories.

This means that you need to make sure that you have downloaded all the patterns (or instructions for Onion/Minikrea patterns) you have bought from me before March 29th!

Here’s how you can re-download any patterns/instructions you have purchased:

  1. Go to the MariaDenmark | ShopONION site and log in using your username and password.
  2. Click on Account (right side of screen, just under the header)
  3. Scroll down a bit and just under Pattern of the Month, find Personal Info and click on that. Scroll down a bit and make sure the e-mail address is correct!!
  4. Find My Digital Products and click on that.
  5. Now you’ll see a list of all the e-book patterns (or instructions for hard copy patterns) you’ve purchased.
  6. Next to each pattern/instruction is a SEND NOW button.
  7. Click on each of them (one by one) to get those instructions e-mailed to you.
  8. They should land in your e-mail inbox within minutes. If you don’t see them, check your unwanted mail folder!

I am so excited to get this new shop finished (but sorry for your inconvenience!) – I can’t wait to show you!


Stuff I sewed …

So you think I’m not sewing.

You are actually right. You’d think that being a sewing pattern designer and teacher would mean that you got to sew all the time. But in reality, most days are spend at the computer, writing, doing taxes, editing, preparing for workshops etc.. And then of course I sew samples and muslins of my future patterns.

But every once in a while I find a slot of time (and energy. Let’s be honest. Most days, it’s not time, that is the biggest concern. If I have time to watch tv or re-read yet another crime novel, I’d have time to sew) and get a bit of sewing for me done.

Anyway. Here are a couple of things I sewed over the last weeks:

First: Another Olivia Oversize Tee.

Olivia Oversize tee in slightly over-the-top animal print

Olivia Oversize tee in slightly over-the-top animal print

I love to wear my Olivias. They are soft and comfortable and look great. Love them, I say!

The fabric: I got this zebra/leo/black/white print a while ago (August, I think?)  when I was just popping into the local fabric store to get something completely different. This just had to come with me, but I didn’t get muck fabric (It was less than a meter) – I think I had thought it wanted to be a Day to Night top.

But  as you know, plans change, and I had just enough to make a short sleeved version of the Olivia, only I had to make the narrow sleeve ribbing instead of the wide.


Second: Dress trousers.

Notice the left inseam at the thigh. I really need to get the ripper out

The pattern is one I drafted for my trouser-fitting workshop. They are simple slacks with back darts, straight legs and a zipper at either centre back or the side seam.

The fabric is a lovely grey-ish rayon/wool blend. It ravels all over the place and is very fluid, but drapes nicely.

The story: I wanted to tissue fit and pin fit these trousers (instead of just using my already fitted pattern to create the trousers I wanted) to practice and to remember how hard it can be to fit  sometimes.

See - it's even worse from the back. But you know.. Ripping! Hate it!

See – it’s even worse from the back. But you know.. Ripping! Hate it!

I followed the method I talk about in the trouser fitting series and had the pattern tissue fitted. Then I cut it with plenty of seam allowance, sewed the centre front and centre back seam (including the invisible zipper) and pin fitted. As you can see, I slacked a little when I sewed it up, though, the lines on the left back leg is probably because I accidentally kind of lifted up the back inseam at that side. Well. It’s close enough. I should rip it and redo it, but really. I’ve had enough for now:-) Maybe next week…

What am I sewing-for-me next, you wonder? I think I’m going for a batch of new Birgitte tees. And I have a Burda blazer ready to cut as well. And maaaaayyyyyybe just one more Olivia!



How to make your t-shirts (etc..) look High Street cool!

Do you ever feel that your handmade garments are looking a bit too, well, handmade?

So the other day I was wearing the Olivia Tee I’m wearing on the picture on the right.januar_14-20

My 18 year old bonus-daughter (who is a fashion addict) said: “That’s a cool t-shirt! New? Where did you get it?” (well, obviously she said it in Danish, but it translates into something like that…)

So i asked her what she liked about it and obviously it’s the shape (which I love too) and the way top is flattering – but she also likes the print – and we figured out that the print really is what makes this kind of boring dark grey tee stand out.

So I wrote a newsletter about it – but then I thought I would share it on the blog as well – so here it is:


Here we go, taking great care into fitting and sewing our new top/dress/skirt.
We make sure to press and everything, but still it seems like the final garments lack something.
What is it? I find that it’s often the little details that does it. Or the bigger details.
And quite often it’s some sort of print on the front or back, that makes all the difference!
So today I’m going to show you how you make that print using fabric paint and either screen print or stencils!

You will need:supplies

  • Something to print on (like a t-shirt)
  • Fabric paint (sometimes called fabric ink)
  • Stencils (which you can easily make yourself)
  • OR Screen print templates (that you buy from hobby shops)
  • OR Screen + stencils (also easily made)
  • An iron, some newspapers and a sponge

Screen Printing

Screen printing gives the most detailed and often most professional results.
Also you can use your screen print many times.I get my screen printing templates (which includes mesh) at the fabric store or hobby store. But you can easily make your own screen print frame (using mesh fabric stretched over an old picture frame or an embroidery hoop) + stencils and – for the very detiled print – decoupage glue.The process of creating a screen printing design can be seen in these tutorials [link][link] and [link] which I found via a small google-ing session (the methods are a little different, but I like them all – and especially like the simpleness of the first one)For the store bought template I’m using below, I don’t need the frame as the mesh is already included.

PicMonkey Collage

1. Place your t-shirt (I used a Birgitte Basic Tee in rayon jersey) in front of you. Put a newspaper or some cardboard inside the t-shirt – to prevent the paint from bleeding through.
2. The fabric paint I used was a little thick, so I watered it down a bit for it to be able to go through the mesh. Pour the paint onto your screen and drag it using a piece of plastic or cardboard to distribute it evenly all over the design.
3. Lift off the screen and let the paint dry (it says on the bottle that my paint should dry for 24 hours).
4. Iron the motive through a pressing cloth. On my paint it says to iron for 5 minutes. It depends on the paint  – read the label!


Stencils are templates which you can buy pre-made or cut out from paper, vinyl or cardboard.The one I’m using today, is a free design I found by doing a search for free printable stencils. I found it [here].
I printed it, cut it out using an excacto knife – and then I was ready to go.stencil

1. Cut your stencil and place it on a t-shirt (this one is a kimono tee) that already has a newspaper inside it (as explained above). Tack it down with some tape or temporary fabric glue (like patchworkers use). I didn’t use the glue this time (I couldn’t find it ;-)), but it works really well!
2. Use your sponge (or a brush) to paint inside the motive. Use an up-and-down motion so you don’t accidentally smear paint under the stencil.
3. Lift off the stencil (and throw it away if it was made from paper). let the fabric and paint dry for as long as it says on the paint bottle.
4. Iron the t-shirt through a pressing cloth for as long as it says on your bottle.

P.S. Did you know that I have released 2 new patterns this month? It’s the Olivia Oversize Tee (the one I’m wearing in the pic) and the Pernille Pencil Dress. I have a special offer going on until March 1st, (you save 35%) if you want them both - it’s right here

Time Flies!

Yes, time flies when you are having fun!

I am very busy teaching, writing new patterns, drafting – and even occasionally sewing.

And I’ve started my new year by planning a very exciting 2014 – and getting new logo, new pattern layout and professional photos done. In other words – I’m getting ready to rock!:-)

My new logo. Get ready to see it everywhere!

My new logo. Get ready to see it everywhere!

My plan is, that 2014 will be the year that I can make a living working for my self full time – i.e. no fabric store, no teaching IT and English. Just patterns, workshops and other things to do with sewing that I can’t speak of yet…

So. Since I always seem to be too busy to sit down and write a proper blog post (and take pictures etc)  – I made a video for you. Here’s what I look like and how my English sounds. Don’t judge me too hard:-)

The video was recorded a while ago – but that’s just my life at the moment for you:-)

What do you think of this format? Do you enjoy watching videos? Should I make more? I was thinking of recording something where I show you different techniques as well as just blabbering……

P.S. I’ve started implementing the new logo and pattern layout into the older patterns, but it’s going to take me a while. However – I did already finish the update of the Birgitte Basic Tee – and also updated the pattern itself (it has a much better side seam line now) and graded it up to 4XL!
If you already own it, you can redownload it (go to your account and find it under ‘digital products’. If not – you can buy it – I highly recommend it :-)

The Great London Trip!

It’s been almost two weeks since I was in London, already – Now I better tell you something about it!

First of all – I had a fabulous trip! I stayed at an airbnb which allowed me to live at Portobello Road for a forth of what it would have been had I stayed in a hotel – and also, it was a great experience, staying with locals! I highly recommend!

Portobello Green

Saturday I met up with Karin from Sweden. We’ve known each other for a long time and met at the first Patternreview European meet-up. We had coffee and then walked through Portobello Road looking at all the great stalls and shops. (My host later told me that there is a really good fabric vendor there (close to the Portobello Green) who has his stall up on Fridays! He apparently buys fabric from design houses in France and sells cuts at a really good price. Next time I’m going to go there on a Friday!!!) And we stumbled across yarnbombing at Portobello Green! We had to hug the trees!

Then we went to Islington (Angel tube station). What a lovely area! We walked around a bit and browsed the shops and stalls and suddenly we were right in front of the Loop yarn store! We had to go in, of course – having heard so much about it – and we might also have shopped a tiny bit…

Next up was Ray-Stitch. Great shop – and I got some pins etc and was very tempted to get some liberty jersey. I didn’t though, and now I so regret it. It was lovely and in greenish and teal toner. Would have been absolutely perfect for me!

Anyway.. I was there to meet Stephanie from Starcross Sewing for an interview. She is doing this thing where she sews from a new indie pattern company each month and then interview and review the products. Go visit her – she is having a give-away of one of my patterns!

Stephanie and me

The rest of the evening was spend with wine and dinner and when I returned home to my room, my host and her friends invited me to have cheese and wine with them. That was really interesting and they were very kind. I went to bed soon though because Sunday was the big Patternreview meet-up!

First of course I had to figure out what to wear:
prday outfit
Words can not really convey what a Patternreview meet-up is like. And neither can pictures, I’m afraid. It’s like being with your bests of friends and you just talk and talk and talk and have a great time. We started out talking about sewing but eventually we were covering other subjects such as husbands, driving, politics and pubic hair (yes, really, but that was a lot later and after a Gin & Tonic or two…)..


But before that, we were at the V&A and spend some lovely hours sitting outside in the sun and having lunch and just talking sewing. Later we went to Liberty’s (yes, I bought a piece of souvenir fabric) and after that some of us went to a pub for some drinks (and this is where the talking evolved somehow).. You can hear about the V&A – and my interview with Deepika from Patternreview in the latest episode of the twinneedle podcast.


I am so happy I finally got to meet Deepika – founder of Patternreview.com. We’ve known each other and talked via e-mails and on Skype for ages, and strangely it didn’t feel like we were strangers at all. It felt like we were friends, who had just seen each other last week, and will see each other again in a couple of weeks.

More wine and dinner on Sunday evening (a great Turkish restaurent in Lamberth!) and Monday I spend walking around London (I love doing the London Walks!) and then met up with Karin again for a lovely afternoon tea, before I caught the flight back home.

tea time

Can you tell I had a great time? I only wish I had been able to meet Rachel (House of Pinheiro) and Karen (Did you Make That) and Winnie (Scruffy Badger) and other bloggers as well. Well, I’m hoping to come back to London in January. See you then?

Sunday was Sewing-For-Fun day!

Sunday I squeezed in some sewing for fun. I just had to use the leftovers of the fantastic (but maybe slightly over the top) animal print fabric – the one I also used for the drape skirt.

So I made a quick Kirsten Kimono Tee.

Fun Sunday sewing: A v-neck kimono Tee (I just changed the neckline) - oversized by adding about 1.5cm to each side seam.. Made from the last scrap of the OTT animal print. Love it!

Alterations: I changed the neckline into a very deep V – and also added about 1.5 cm to each side seam to get the oversized look. I thought this drapey and thin viscose (rayon) jersey was perfect for an oversized tee.

It’s a little on the short side, but works fine. No one is home to help me take pictures these days – and I couldn’t be bothered with the tripod (or with doing hair and make-up), so this Iphone thing will have to do… (I found out that if I’m waiting for the perfect time and for the perfect pictures, I never get around to blog. Big surprise…)

P.S. If you want the Kirsten Kimono Tee pattern and don’t see it popping up in the right corner of the screen (it doesn’t work well on phones, for instance) – just go and subscribe to my newsletter via this link instead. Does the same thing:-)

The Draped Skirt Tute

Great news: It turn out that the draped skirt works well with tights for winter too! I wore the grey one all day yesterday around the house – and it’s very comfortable. Yay!

Do you want to make one now? – It’ll take you less than an hour!

Here’s how:

1. Cut a piece of nice jersey (not too heavy, ponte knits won’t work) the width of your hips + seam allowances and twice the length you want the skirt to be + twice the seam allowances (if you are making a casing instead of adding ribbing, remember to add something for the casing as well.)
For me that was 96 cm wide (I folded the fabric and measured out 48 cm) and 102 cm long.

2. Snip mark the fabric at the fold (opposite of where the seam is going to be) at each end.


3. Sew the seam (using a stretchy seam), right sides together and press. You now have a long tube.

4. Fold the tube into a double layer, wrong sides together. The folded edge is your hem.
5. Now we turn the outer layer of the skirt half way around the inner layer. This is where we need the snip marks. You simple turn the outer layer so that each snip mark aligns with a seam. Pin or baste or both:-)


6. We now have a messy twisted blob instead of a simple tube:


7. Finish the waist by either sewing a casing and inserting elastic or by adding ribbing (with or with out elastic). I added ribbing by cutting ribbing 14 cm high and about 10% less than the waist wide, sewed the centre back seam of the ribbing, folded and pressed it wrong sides together and sewed it on with a 5 cm wide elastic in between the ribbing layers.

8. You are done. :-) Yay! Wear the skirt with sandals or ballet flats in summer and with tights and boots in winter.

drape skirt collage

Happy Sewing! :-)

The Last Skirts of Summer!

How are you? It’s been some time, but teaching season has begun here – and I’ve been lucky enough to get quite a few classes and workshops at the community college. Besides teaching a bit of fitting, sewing and knitting, I’m teaching English and IT for senior citizens, and I love being able to wear my teaching wardrobe (with high heels!) again!

So I have been sewing a tiny bit for fun (and I didn’t take any decent pictures because I just wanted to sew!) – and just before summer ended (it ended last week, FYI), I decided I needed some new summer skirts. You know – the very last minute kind.
skirts by MariaDenmark

First up: The drape skirts.

You have seen these. They were all over the place last year, and I’ve seen some in stores this season as well. I like the drape – and when I finally figured out how to make them, I had to make a couple. Seriously – They took like 30 minutes each to make.

The first one ended up a little on the short side. I hadn’t taken into consideration that the drape actually takes up some of the length… As much as I love that one, I’m not really able to wear it outside the house – and especially not at the fabric store where I bend over a lot:-)

I really like the grey one with the ribbing (the others I just make a casing with elastic), and will try it out wearing it with tights – I don’t know if it will work or if it will get stuck. But anyway – I’ll let you know, and it’s great for wearing when it’s really warm!

As I said – really simple to make… Do you want a tutorial Tutorial HERE :-)


Secondly: The 50’s skirt muslin

I’ve had this pattern in my head for some time and had made the first draft of the pattern. I hadn’t had time to work much on my own patterns this summer, so I decided to see if I could make a wearable muslin from it. The aqua twill was perfect – even though it wrinkles somewhat easily.

I’ve made some alterations to the pattern and now I’m ready to try a winter version – in a herringbone wool with a satin lining.It would also be brilliant in a fake leather, don’t you think???



Here’s Edith: (you could win fabric!)


After months of drawing, drafting, cutting, printing, sewing, muslining, correcting, sewing and finally grading and writing (and you guys waiting), Edith is ready!

I was first inspired to draft and sew the Edith blouse, when I was looking through a photo album with pictures of my paternal grandmother (“Farmor” in Danish) from the mid 50s. So I named it after her.

This is one of the few pics I have at home of my grandmother Edith in the mid 50s. She's on the left with my uncle standing and my father in the stroller. It's her sister wearing a dress with a rounded lapel and collar on the right.

This is one of the few pics I have at home of my grandmother Edith in the mid 50s. She’s on the left with my uncle standing and my father in the stroller. It’s her sister wearing a dress with a rounded lapel and collar on the right.

Unlike what you see in tv series and movies, the dresses my farmor and her sisters wore were not as moviestar elegant and had much less width in the skirts. But the rounded collar and lapel details were really flattering and was just what I wanted. I didn’t intend then to make a pattern to sell, but when the people on twitter said they wanted one, I decided to give it a go.


Relaxing after the photo shoot. That’s my bathroom window behind me – with shampoo bottles etc.. ahem…

And here she is, finally!

So what is she like? Why should you make your own Edith?

Well, she is an absolutely timeless blouse or shirtdress, with softly rounded collar and lapels and is very flattering to all body shapes. She gently skims the curves, and you can wear her anywhere for any occasion – with out ever getting tired of her company.

Wear the blouse with skinny jeans or trousers for work or play and the knee length dress for a night out or for shopping, depending on your fabric choice. Put on a close fitting  cardigan to match the style in the autumn and winter. For hourglass or pear body shapes: Wear a belt with the dress to emphasise your tiny waist.

So how can you get this lovely pattern? As always, it’s available on MariaDenmark | ShopONION.com, on Craftsy.com and on Patternreview.com.

Oh, and I promised that you can win fabric!

That’s right! If you like the blouse I’m wearing at the picture above, you can win enough of the exact same fabric (95 cm of red polka dot cotton poplin) to make your own + some extras!


Here’s how: Talk about this pattern and/or share this blog post link (you can use the buttons at the end of this post) on Twitter, Facebook or on your blog and leave a comment telling me you did so before midnight CET August 10th 2013, and I’ll draw a winner randomly next Sunday..

WoW! It’s June allready! – More Me-Mades

Important notice for anyone who already got the Birgitte Basic Tee: Go download it again! I made a new and prettier better version of the pattern sheet (and so much easier to assemble!) and also updated the instructions.

Well, times flies when you’re having fun – as they say. And I AM having fun. Rambling ahead…

I’m very busy at the moment with translating gigs, drafting for others (getting paid to do so)  and teaching a great big bunch of T-shirt Workshops at night. Not that much time left for my own patterns – not to mention sewing or blogging about it.. (and then of course, there are still days in the fabric store…)


{And then the cat needed surgery – and I did sew: I sewed her a shirt/cape to keep her from biting the stitches – I present: Super Cat}

But I AM having fun! I get to make money talking, writing and drawing about sewing. And that is exactly what I quit my school teaching job for!


{One of the most worn combinations – jeans (or me-made shorts), Me-Made tank top and cardigan. Here at the hairdresser with my hairdressers Zanni (in the US tee) and Belinda}

Anyway. The Me-Made-May. I did a little better than last year in that I actually wore Me-Mades every day of May. But I didn’t do posts about it – or even upload to the Flickr Group – and that was sort of the point. But here is my sum-up:


Yixi, an online acquaintances and long time customers became a RL friend when she visited me in Denmark in May. The crazy eyes/smile is just me being super excited – and not very photogenic… I’m wearing me-made tank top

I wore a lot of me-made t-shirts and tank tops with jeans (not me-made) and shorts. I only wore my wide legged trousers once, and the skirts only appeared a couple of times as well. But my Minoru rain-jacket was a staple throughout May as was all my knit fabric dresses – Especially my Audreys – they were great when I needed something a little more dressy – like when I actually left the office in my house..

So, anyway. I hope you are still here – and I also just want to let you know that I’m in the process of editing all my pattern sheets (finally got a hang on how to fix the width of the lines) to make them prettier, easier to use and a lot easier to assemble. For now I’ve (as I said in the beginning of the post) edited the Birgitte Basic Tee and if you already bought it (in my shop or at Craftsy.com) you should re-download it. Go ahead!