Welcome to Yesterday’s Thimble!

Do you live in Memphis, TN and want to learn how to sew? I offer personal classes tailored to your needs. Before you contact me, please read the Student FAQ, Tuition FAQ, and About Sewing Classes.

Also, we offer gift certificates!

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If you don’t live nearby, you might enjoy our multitude of sewing articles! If you’re looking for beginner-friendly help, check out the how-to guides in Sewing Basics.  More advanced specialized techniques can be found under Tutorials.

For a glimpse into the creative process, take a look at my Sewing Diaries. Many are for historical costuming, but there’s also home decor and crafts, modern garments, and even a few doll costumes! You might also enjoy the Articles I’ve written on a variety of topics related to sewing and costuming.

There’s also my blog (below), where you’ll find sewing hints and tips, book reviews, studies of antique fashion plates, and commentaries on sewing, fashion, and historical costuming.


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Frixion Pens

Earlier this year, I talked a little about various methods for marking fabric, such as chalk pencils, marking pens, and so forth. (Sewing Tools: Things to Know Before You Buy) Frixion erasable pens are quite popular these days, since the ink is heat sensitive and will vanish when you press your garment. The thing is, you have to be careful to test them first, because the marks don’t always disappear. I’ve encountered some disbelief as to this fact, so here is an example.

Frixion Erasable Pens

Frixion Ink Doesn’t Always Disappear


See the white smudge at the top corner? That’s where I’d marked the pivot point. You can see another white dot near the end of the seam on the right. This is AFTER I’d pressed the fabric, so those marks shouldn’t exist. Now, in this case, it’s the lined yoke of a doll skirt, so it’ll be totally enclosed and no one will ever see these wayward marks. But what if you’re marking darts? Or any other kind of marking that might be visible from the right side of the garment?

In judging sewing competitions, I’ve seen many garments where there are visible chalk or ink marks at the dart points, buttonholes, and other areas. Not all of these were sewn by beginners, so it’s a common problem.

Solution: Always test your marking method! Make sure the ink or chalk will disappear before you use it. Yes, even Frixion erasable pens. If you can’t find a pen or pencil that vanishes properly with your fabric, try tailor’s tacks.

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Buying a Sewing Machine

Brother Sewing Machine

What kind of sewing machine do you need? What features should you look for? How much should you spend? Here’s a quick guide to choosing a sewing machine.


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Quick Fashion Tip

You know how some ladies’ slacks have fake back pockets? Sometimes, those pockets aren’t actually fake. They’re simply basted shut. Don’t ask me why, I’ve no idea! But several times, I’ve had to carefully unpick the stitching holding the back pockets closed.

How can you tell if they’re fake pockets or not? Check inside the pants. If there are pocket bags, the pockets are real. You can use a seam ripper to quickly undo the basting.

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Sewing Tools

ThreadNot all sewing supplies are created equal! Before you rush out to buy everything you need, there’s a few things you should know.


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A Year of Sewing: 2017


Every year, I post an illustrated list of the various projects I completed throughout the past twelve months, to help me keep track of what I’ve done. Here’s 2017’s.


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Liberty of London

Gift BagOn a recent trip to England, I visited the home of some of the most amazing cotton lawns in existence: Liberty of London. Are you wondering what it was like?


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3D Floral Pillow Diary

RosebudHave you seen those designer pillows with three-dimensional flowers on them? Aren’t they just gorgeous?! Follow along in this sewing diary as I make one for myself.


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Il Muto Ballet Costume

Il Muto Ballet CostumeSeveral years ago, I embarked on a journey to create doll-sized replicas of all the major costumes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. This is the sewing diary for one I just completed: the mint-green and pink Romantic-style ballet costume worn during the mock-opera “Il Muto.”

I’ve entered it in the Foundations Revealed 2017 costume competition! Only members are eligible to vote, but anyone can view the entries and leave comments. Enjoy!

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A Year of Sewing: 2016

Hobo BagLast year, I made a list of every project I’d completed during the course of the year. Since it feels like I never finish anything, I found it encouraging to see all the things I’d sewn. So, this year I’ve done the same. Here’s my list of completed projects from 2016.

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Faux-Suede Handbag Diary

When I found a gorgeous faux-suede in olive green, with copper foil accents, I knew I had to make something beautiful from it. I decided on a hobo bag!


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