Category: Behind The Seams

Sewing or Design Quick Tip

Pinterest Inspired Hi-lo Dress using Mccalls M6886

Hello Fashionistas!

Today is my sewing day, but I have to admit, I woke up with no idea of what to make. Usually I wait for Thursdays with anticipation. I plan my project in my head, make a sketch or two, start working on my pattern and cutting around the middle of the week. Not this week. As a mom of a naughty toddler, I find myself growing more and more tired each day. Seems like terrible twos have come early in my home. But I made a commitment to myself that I would sew every week. So today I am looking for a quick project that will take me no more than 2 to 4 hours to complete.

I want to make a reversible hi-low dress with grey on one side and black on the other. If I can get two dresses out of one, why not? 🙂

I am feeling inspired by this dress I saw on pinterest. It’s a t-shirt dress, so has a casual element to it, but the hi-low hem makes it interesting.

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I am debating between sleeveless and short sleeves. I really like the ribbing around the neckline. It makes the dress a bit more casual, which will be appropriate for the fabric I am using. I plan on using this jersey knit below

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I also like this hi-low dress, but mine would have a longer hemline in the front. I would like for the hem to hit right above the knee. I don’t care for the long sleeves though, because warm weather is finally here! Yay!

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Since time if of the essence, I will be using the McCall M668 as a base instead of drafting my own pattern. Don’t let the ugly print on the envelope fool you. I have seen some amazing dresses made with this pattern. I will be using View D if I go for sleeveless, or view C if I go for sleeves. The only pattern alteration I will be doing is lengthening the hem on the centre back and shortening the hem on the centre front, and of course blending the hem at the side seams.

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As always, I am going into this project with a plan in my head, but I could end up with something completely different. I better go grab my scissors and get to cutting while baby naps.

See you soon in my next post. Until then, Happy Sewing!

XOXO

How to hem knits using a twin needle

HI Folks,

Last week I did a tutorial on how to attach a sleeve and a lot of people found that helpful.  I received a request from a fellow sewist to do a tutorial on hemming knits using a twin needle, which you can see below.

This is what a twin needle looks like. It has two needles as the name suggests and it allows you to create a cover-stitch without using a cover stitch machine.  You can find this needle at fabric stores or online. For knits, make sure you are using a stretch twin needle for best results

For the purpose of this demo,  I am using a red thread on the left needle, green thread on the right needle, and yellow thread on the bobbin.

Step 1: Replace your regular needle with a twin needle.

Step 2: Adjust the needle position to make sure it does not hit the metal on the presser foot. Lower the needles manually using the handwheel to make sure the needle wont break once you start sewing.

Step 3: Threading the needles: This is a very important step. If this is not done correctly, the threads can get tangled up and cause a lot of frustration.

The left spool will be placed exactly where you place the spool when you are sewing with a single needle. The right spool will be placed where you normally place the bobbin before winding the bobbin. You will need to place an extra spool holder on top of the bobbin winder. See illustration below

Be sure to thread the left needle before you thread the right needle. If you thread them together and treat both threads as one, you will have tangling. The left needle will be threaded EXACTLY the same way you thread a single needle, so go ahead thread as normal. For the right needle, thread it exactly the same as the left needle EXCEPT the very last step. The last step of threading a needle is passing the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. You will skip this step for the right needle. Please note that your needle bar guide might look different than mine, so refer to your user manual in case yours doesnt resemble mine.

In Summary:

Left Needle: Thread this as normal, passing the thread through the needle bar guide

Right Needle:  Thread this as normal, but do not pass the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. In the illustration below I am using red arrows to show you how to thread the left needle and green arrows to show you how to thread the right needle.

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While this step is pretty universal, refer to the user manual of your machine as well.

Step 4:  Place the fabric under the presser foot with the hem folded under. Lower the needle manually once to secure the fabric. Then grab the two top threads and tuck them underneath the presser foot to avoid tangling.

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To start hemming, back-stitch twice to lock the stitch and then forward stitch. When you get to the end of your stitch, back-stitch again. This is what the hem will look like on the correct side of the garment:

This is what the hem will look like on the backside of the garment. Of course you will use the same color thread. I used different colors for the sake of the demo.

This finish can be used on necklines, armholes, sleeves, hems at the bottom of shirts, dresses, skirts etc. In this case, you will be sewing in the round. I recommend backstitching at the start and end regardless of what you are hemming. Always try the hem on scrap fabric before hemming your garment because all fabrics are different and you might need to adjust your tension accordingly.

I used this technique to hem the neckline, sleeves and bottom of this top:

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To see some garments I have hemmed using this technique, click HERE or HERE. To see other sewing tutorials, click HERE. You can find a stretch twin needle HERE.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful.  The twin needle is also used on woven fabrics as a decorative stitch. The same steps above would apply to a woven using a non stretch needle. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I will be doing more tutorials in the near future, so please subscribe to my blog if you are interested. Also, please let me know what other topics/ tutorials you would find helpful.

See you soon!! Happy Sewing!

XOXO

How to attach a sleeve (The easy way)

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Hello everyone and Happy Tuesday!

I am currently working on my project for the week and wanted to share a trick that makes attaching sleeves a lot easier. If you are new to sewing, you might find the traditional method of “setting in a sleeve” a bit intimidating. The method below is the easiest way to attach a sleeve since it does not require you to sew the sleeve at the underarm seam and then sew the sleeve into the armhole. Please note that this technique only works on knit fabrics. If you are a beginner, I am including some tips and tricks at the end of this post, so be sure to check it out!

Step 1: Pin and sew the shoulder seams, with the correct side of the fabric facing each other

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Step 2: Pin and sew the sleeve cap to the armhole from side seam to side seam.

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Step 3: Placing the fabric right sides together, pin the entire underarm seam and the side seam as shown below:

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Step 4: Make one continuous stitch along the underarm seam and the side seam. And VOILA! You are done!

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Another reason I like using this technique is that it makes alterations a breeze. Let’s say you made something using a new fabric that you have not worked with before. If it ends up being too big, you can easily take in the sleeve and the side seam in one go, instead of picking up the dreaded seam ripper and removing the sleeve and then re-attaching it. If you are using a serger instead of a sewing machine, using a seam ripper is no fun!

To sew up any garments that are made with the knit (stretchy) fabrics, I prefer to sew using my Brother 1034D serger. I have been using this one since 2013 and I really love it. It’s a great machine at an entry-level price!

If you don’t have a serger, don’t worry! You can use your sewing machine with a couple adjustments!. I highly recommend using a stretch stitch (or a narrow zigzag stitch) on your sewing machine and also be sure to use a ballpoint needle. This needle is a lot sharper than your universal needle and will make sewing with knits a breeze! If you use a standard universal needle with a stretch fabric, you might experience bunching and ripping.

Once I am done sewing my garment, I go back and hem the sleeves, neckline, and bottom hem.  Personally, I love to use my Brother 2340 CV Coverstitch machine that I have been using since 2014. I got it for my 36th Birthday (self-gift) and It was the best gift ever!! It is an entry level cover stitch machine at a great price. If you don’t have a cover stitch machine, don’t worry!! You can hem a knit garment on your sewing machine, you just need to have a special needle attachment called a twin needle.

Here is the finished top I made using this technique. It is so easy to sew up! You have to try it!

I really hope that I inspired you to sew up something new. Sewing is not hard, I promise. It can be frustrating at first, but with every sewing project, you are going to not only gain skill, but you will also build confidence. I am still learning new techniques every day.  I watch sewing and patternmaking classes on BluPrint  in my spare time. I feel like there is so much to learn.

See you next time and until then, I’ll be hiding behind the seams 🙂

-Vatsla 🙂

ps. You can see my tutorial on how to use a twin needle

You can also see my review of the BluPrint learning platform here

 

 

Behind The Seams: Overcoming my fear of (animal) print

Hello Ladies and Gents!

I have been a bit unsure about what my next sewing project should be. I know that leopard print is not currently en vogue, but something has been telling me to sew with this beautiful leopard print that I have been hoarding for three years.  Typically I shy away from all prints. I only wear solids. I have only sewn with prints twice. But… this RTW Fast is all about challenging myself, so I am going to attempt to sew with a print.

Here is the fabric I am working with:

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It’s a polyester double knit at 58 inches wide. I have four yards of this, so the possibilites are endless 🙂 I like leopard print, and have worn it as an accent (purses, shoes, belts), but never as a garment. I always thinkg that it would be too loud. Since I dont have my imaginary personal stylist on speed dial, I decided to go to pinterest for inspiration.

A maxi skirt, worn with black….

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I love the idea of doing a fitted top instead, something like this with 3/4 length sleeves, but if I go for this look, then I have to make that skirt too 🙂 Love the look below.

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Here is the gorgeous Mrs Beckam in a calf length pencil skirt, once again with black. This is so elegant.

1411999771918_wps_7_Victoria_Beckham_seen_arr Here is another pencil skirt look I like, with white and denim, I would probably extend the length by a few inches on my version. This is so cute with nude pumps and denim.

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As I was browsing through all these images, I was still unsure of whether I should sew with leopard print, and then I saw THIS…..

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I think the print above is a jaguar print, but you get the point. How cute is this outfit? That would look SO cute on my daughter.. so this picture has me sold. I am still not sure what I am going to make for myself, but  I am making this adorable peplum dress for my toddler. It is just so stinkin cute. Well. I will have my first “Mommy and Me” post coming up soon.

I hope that everyone is getting ready to have a wonderful relaxing. I plan on being in my studio sewing for myself and my mini me. I’ll see you soon with my finished projects.

Happy Friday!!!

XOXO

Behind The Seams: Catching up on UFO’s

Happy Thursday peeps!

Thursday is my sewing day, I sew every Thursday without fail. This week I am tackling a couple UFO’s (Unfinished Objects).

I decided to focus on these two, mainly because it freezing out and also because I can wear them together.

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I started working on this full sleeve top a while back. It’s a copy of a top I loved, but over time, it took too much wear and began to look hobo chic 🙂 So I decided to copy it. I created a pattern for it using my own version of the rub off technique. I am not a big fan of sewing with knits, so needless to say the project never got finished. I never finished the hem and it has been sitting in my sewing studio ever since. Since, I have conquered my fear of the twin needle and learned how to hem knits without the use of a coverstitch machine.

Here is the original top that I loved. Rest in peace my beloved. I cut this baby up to be able to replicate the pattern. I felt so horrible doing it, but it was the easiest way to clone her!

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I love the cowl neck on this top. Cute and functional. Cowl necks never really go out of style.  My paparazzi hubby took this pic while I was shopping for groceries. He is so sneaky, but this shows the cowl neck so well. I just love the way it drapes.

 

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Here is the unfinished version:

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For the pants, I chose to finish up this Pair of pants I started either earlier this year or late last year. The fabric I chose is a gabardine. Personally I don’t like using commercial patterns, mainly because in the time it takes to alter the pattern, I could draft up my own. Not to mention, the muslin making is added time. I often omit muslin making when I am using self drafted patterns.

I am working with Burda 7122 View D: High Waisted Pants.  I already made a muslin, did the fit analysis, altered the pattern and sewed up the shell. I have to admit, these pants are super long, so I need to chop off a good amount of length. I am 5′ 4″ and even with a decent sized heel, these pants are way too long. I am pretty much done with these pants, except the hem and re-applying the zipper.

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I’ll be busy sewing today. Also a dear friend asked me to be part of a photoshoot for her business and asked that I wear a tulle skirt. I do have a tulle skirt that I recently made but I am not crazy about the way it turned out. I got inspired to make a pink poofy tulle skirt for tomorrows photo shoot.. I actually already have the tulle gathered…but still need to make the skirt.. So off to the fabric store I go! I’ll be sewing late into the night.

Do you have any UFO’s in your closet? If you sew, I know you do!

I’ll be back soon with the finished products. Untill then, happy sewing!

XOXO

Behind The Seams: Valentines Day Dress

Hola Peeps!

So this week I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on. I am in a bit of a sewing slump to be honest. Baby and I have both been sick and it just hasn’t been a creative week. But… It’s Wednesday and this is when I start thinking about my sewing project for the week.

I heard its Valentines Day this week and I thought about making something for the occasion. I usually don’t do much for V-Day, but I am on a RTW Fast and I have so much in my life to celebrate, so this year is going to be a celebration of love, and I must dress for the occasion. I have also been nagging my husband to buy me chocos and flowers. Just had to throw that in there, in case he is reading 🙂

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So… A few weeks ago, I saw this really interesting fabric. It’s a dark red woven fabric, with a small amount of stretch to it. I loved the color of the fabric, but I was really drawn to the texture more than the color. I love texture on fabric. I thought I would make a skirt with it, so I only bought one yard for a pencil skirt, but I am finding myself wanting to make a dress instead. I have already drafted the pattern for the skirt. It’s a simple below the knee pencil skirts with two front darts and two back darts. Now all of a sudden I want to make a dress instead. I want a dress with a peplum, but I don’t have enough fabric, so I am debating between making a pencil skirt, or a strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice and pencil skirt. To me this is one of the fun parts about being creative. I often end up doing something different from I first imagined. Note to self: Always buy at least two yards of fabric.

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I also have another fabric that I was using a couple of years ago. It is a red lace overlay over muslin. I really like that as well. It is a UFO (Unfinished Object). I had cut out the fabric from the dress and was ready to sew it up, but I was pregnant at the time and had started gaining weight, so never finished it. Right now I am not sure exactly what I will end up making by the end of the week.. but it’s either a red dress or red skirt, or a lace dress or lace skirt.

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Excited to work on this project! I’ve never worn a red pencil skirt, so I am excited about the finished product!

Happy V Day Peeps. Hope everyone is celebrating their loved one!

XOXO

Behind The Seams: What I am working on

 

My next project: a fitted tee with 3/4 sleeves.

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I usually don’t sew with knits, because I am one of those people who finds knits intimidating. This is unusual because most people find knits easier to work with as they are more forgiving. They stretch and hug the body so the stitching doesn’t have to be perfect. Wovens don’t behave the same way, and every little imperfection and pucker stands out. So why do I prefer to work with wovens? I guess because I am more technical than artistic. I treat patternmaking and sewing more like a science than an art. I need my fabric to behave itself and be predictable. This is something I can never get from a knit fabric, especially given that every knit stretches and drapes differently.

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But.. I am on a RTW Fast  and I would like a nice comfy and somewhat dressy tee.. so I decided to make one.  The pattern is self drafted. I am going with a scoop neckline, which I find very flattering, and 3/4 length sleeves.  I have 2 jersey knits in my fabric stash. One is grey, more like a thick t-shirt material and the other is a light brown. I am not sure which one I am going to use yet. Maybe I will make one in each color. Not sure how I am going to dress it up, but i might add a double bow to the left shoulder or some ruffles.

Another problem I have with knits is that I never hem them! I cant begin to tell you how many knits I have in my closet that I never hemmed. Mainly because I don’t really like a zigzag finish, have never had luck with a twin needle, and don’t own a coverstitch machine. I am going to give a twin needle another try on this project. If that doesn’t work, then hey.. I am getting the coverstitch machine.. a good excuse right?! Valentines day is right around the corner,,, so it would be the perfect gift to self 🙂

Behind The Seams: What I am working on

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are having a good week so far!

I am currently working on my next sewing project for this week.  I have been wanting a black and white polka-dotted skirt for the longest and have been unable to find the fabric locally. I am sure I could easily find it online, but I love the experience of going fabric shopping and being able to touch and feel a fabric before purchasing. I also find it very inspiring to be surrounded by yards and yards of fabric.

Since I never have luck finding that particular fabric in the apparel section at my local fabric shops, I browsed the quilting section, which has a huge selection of cotton prints. The only challenge with this is that the fabrics are usually a lot narrower than apparel fabric and it’s not ideal for fashion design.

The fabric is a bit on the stiff side so I am going to pre-wash is and see how it turns out. I highly recommend pre-washing all fabric before cutting to allow it to shrink. This is going to be a 3/4 or full circle skirt with a straight waist band and an invisible zipper.  I will be doing a 2 part tutorial on how to draft and make this skirt, so if you are interested, then stay tuned!

XOXO

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2015 RTW Fast Announcement and New Blog!

Hello Everyone!

I have a very special announcement to make.

I have decided to observe a RTW Fast (Ready to Wear Fast) for all of 2015.  I got inspired by Sarah from GoodBye Valentino. It’s such a great idea.

So here are the basic rules of the RTW Fast:

Refraining from buying ALL clothes including outerwear, dresses, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters, coats, fitness apparel, jeans and bathing suits. Shoes, socks and under garments are permitted

I am allowed to repurpose/refashion my old clothes (and I am sure hubby wont mind if I steal some of his nice shirts :)) I am also allowed to wear whatever is currently in my closet, but to build my wardrobe, I have to sew instead of buy!

I have been meditating on this for a few weeks now, wanting to be sure that I can go through this. I went to stores and tested myself to see if I could stay away from the clothing racks.

I think the hardest time of the year will be when its spring and all the new spring clothes come out.. I am sure I will have withdrawals and temptations then, but hey…I can always just eat a bucket of chocolate ice cream to satisfy my cravings

Yay guys.. I am so so excited.. I will be sewing up a storm and blogging about my journey. I love to sew but I don’t really attempt projects like bathing suits, tanks, sweater or outerwear,,, This will definitely push my creativity.

I am so happy when I am in my studio. I’ll be blogging about my journey here, so please subscribe! 🙂

XOXO

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