Category: Behind The Seams

Sewing or Design Quick Tip

My Favorite Black Pencil Skirt (replicated)

HI Fashionistas!!

It’s been a minute! I miss you all!! The last month or so has been CRAZY! I welcomed the month of December by breaking a rib! Apparently you CAN break a rib by coughing too much! I have not finished a garment since my winter coat, but that was a big one, so a break was well deserved!!

As my 2015 Ready To Wear Fast is coming to an end, I have been thinking about what all I have learned from it. I can honestly say that I have learned the importance of well-fitting wardrobe staples. Here is one of my favorite staples: The black pencil skirt.  This is a RTW piece I have owned for a few years:

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The things I LOVE about this skirt:

  1. The fit. It fits beautifully
  2. Wearing Comfort: The fabric is a woven with some stretch
  3. Style: Its high-waisted, which is always flattering
  4. The hemline. This hits me just below the knees and is quite appropriate for me, a thirty something momma of one

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t has a slit in the back, which is a must for a fitted pencil skirt. I love this skirt paired with my self drafted DIY leopard top

I also dressed up the skirt for Christmas Eve service last year. DSC_0980

Because I loved this skirt so much, I decided to replicate it in a different fabric. So I created this DIY denim skirt below

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It pretty much has the same fit. The fabric I used is a stretch denim that I had left over from fashion school. I had about a yard and it was just what I needed! I paired it with the DIY Frankenpattern top

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Because my denim was a lot thicker than the black fabric, the self faced yoke/ waist band actually acted as a bit of “tummy control”.  On my version, I added an invisible zipper instead of a regular version of the RTW skirt. I love invisible zippers. They instantly make your garments look high-end!

I wore it to Thanksgiving dinner last month with this DIY ruffle top I made

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I also wore this to work a LOT with a crisp white button up shirt:

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If you want to replicate your favorite garment, keep reading!

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I have two preferred methods of copying an existing garment. I have tested and tried both and they work perfectly for me!

My preferred method to copy woven garments is the painters tape method that I documented a while back  This works great for wovens with or without stretch.  I have used this method to copy for my favorite skinny jeans HERE. The white jeans were copies from the skinnies on the left

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For knits, my preferred method is documented HERE. I have used this method plenty of  times with great success.  The ruffled top on the right was copied from the leftFotorCreated

I hope this helped! While I would never ever encourage copying another designers work by using this method, I feel comfortable using it for my personal sewing. I am guaranteed to get the perfect fit over and over again and it is very rewarding to sew for yourself when the clothes fit and look good!

I am so glad I was able to come hang out with you again! Please comment and let me know what you are working on! With a broken rib, most of my sewing has been put on hold, so I would like to vicariously sew through you!

Happy Holiday Sewing everyone! See you soon!

XOXO-

Vatsla 🙂

 

 

 

 

Pattern Making Tutorial: How to copy a Ready to Wear Peplum

Hi Fashionistas!!!

Peplums never go out of style! I recently got a request to demonstrate how I would create a pattern from a high low peplum on the ready to wear garment. I filmed this video for one of my readers and wanted to share if with you in case you find it helpful.

Here is the peplum I used for the demo. I made this one a while back by repurposing a dress and you can see the details of this top HERE

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The video below talks specifically about how to create a pattern for a peplum, along with a high low variation, but the same technique can be applied to any pattern piece. For example, you could use the same technique to create a pattern for a bodice front and back. If the video does not open for you, you can view it HERE

 

If you prefer to draft the peplum from scratch, you can see my simple tutorial HERE

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!!

I am currently working on my winter coat. Its my biggest project of the year! I made and fitted the muslin today. I am hoping to cut into the yummy fabric this weekend.

Hope you are having a WONDERFUL weekend.

XOXO-

Vatsla 🙂

 

Tutorial: How to Hem a Circle Skirt or Circular Hem

There are more than one way to hem a circle skirt, but here is my go to method. I use this method on all my circular hems and end up with a nice and crisp hem free of wrinkles.

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I also used the same hemming technique on the black circle skirt above and the silk dress below I made for Easter earlier this year

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Tutorial below…

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I am using a miniature pattern for the sake of this demo.  You will be hemming in the round, since you will close up all your seams before hemming. I am using a small sample, but you get the point..

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Step 1:  Serge all around your hem. This will give you a guideline to press the serged part of the hem under and also give some weight to your hem.

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Step 2: Finger press the serged portion of the hem towards wrong side of the fabric  and top stitch it down around the circumference of the hemIMG_9292

Give your hem an overall good press. The hem will look like this on the correct side of the garment. At this point you see only one row of stitching as shown below. IMG_9294

Step 3: Repeat Step 2! In this final step,  finger press the hem over one more time to conceal the serged portion. This will give you a nice and clean finish on the outside AND on the inside of the garment. IMG_9297

Give the hem a good press. I use heat, steam and my tailors clapper at this point. I always use a press cloth. Here is what the inside of the garment will look like. You will see two visible rows of stitching on the incorrect side. IMG_9299

On the correct side of the garment, you will see only one row of stitching.

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As you can see, the hem is nice and crisp, and has no wrinkles!IMG_9304

Here is an example of the issue you have probably run into when trying to hem a circle skirt…IMG_9305

If you don’t have a serger, you can replace step 1 with the following: Mark the distance you want to turn under (I would do 3/8 inch, same as the width of my serged portion) and press, proceed to step 2. It is going to be easier to work with if you use a serger in step 1.

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The basic concept behind why this method works is simple. If you look at the diagram below, the dark blue line is the raw edge of the garment. The turquoise color line represents the final hemline after the garment has been hemmed. The pink shaded area in between is what is called the Hem allowance.

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The dark blue line is a larger circle (circumference measurement C) than the turquoise line (circumference measurement A). So if you try to turn the hem allowance under in one go, you will never get a perfect hem because C will always be larger than A. However, by doing this in multiple steps, we reduce the discrepancy between C and A in iterations. The stitching also helps. If you eliminate the stitching in step 2, you are likely to see wrinkling.

I hope this helped you! If you liked this tutorial, then check out the rest of my tutorials HERE

Let me know what you think of this technique, and do you have another go to sewing technique for hems? Leave me a comment and let me know!

-XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

Winter Cape Completed: Falling in Love with Wool

Hello Fashionistas!!

Sewing with wool has been on my bucket list forever. To be specific, a wool cape, a winter coat and a french jacket.

Earlier this year when I launched my blog I thought about all the sewing projects I would like to make. It was a reasonable list… twenty-one items in all.. and number six on the list was a wool cape, which has now been crossed off my list 🙂 Design details at the end of the post if you want to sew up your own version of this!

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It’s finally DONE!!!!  I am so in love with the final product. I have been working on this for the past three days while my kid naps 🙂

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I wanted something unique so I chose a vintage pattern. I wanted a superior fabric and I wanted to work with 100% wool. I picked a camel/taupe brushed wool that was such a pleasure to work with.

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On my version I only used two buttons as opposed to four. I also eliminated the waist tie and styled the cape with a leather belt instead. This is a big cape, so to create a good proportion, I used a wide belt. 

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Here is side view and back view. The fabric drapes beautifully!

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Check out my signature accent.. on the back of the collar… It’s all in the details!

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The cape looks different when worn without a belt and I like that look too!

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I am simply in love with the sleeves and they make me feel like a butterfly! I chose a floral lining. Isn’t it adorable?

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As I was wrapping up pictures, my kid decided to join the party. I had some leftover fabric and cut a small cape for her as well, but have not sewn it up yet. That’s next on my list…

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I learned a good bit about working with wool.  I had it pre-shrinked by sending it to the cleaners. I learned that is takes special care to avoid overpressing and shine. I also mastered the art of perfect top stitching! What a joy..This project required more work, but the end result was so worth it.. This cape will be in my wardrobe for a long time..

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PATTERN: Vintage Simplicty 9669, view 2. It’s a fully lined cape. I cut the size Medium which is for a bust size 34 to 36. The only pattern alteration I had to do was to remove about 3/4 of an inch from the Centre back. I also eliminated the centre back seam and instead cut my back pattern piece on the fold of the fabric. I like to simplify sewing where I can. Eliminating the centre back seam saved me about 5 minutes of pinning and sewing and bout 10 minutes of pressing the seam…

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I did make a muslin and did a fit analysis on my dress form an myself. This is a outerwear garment so I left a good amount of ease on the pattern to accommodate a shirt and possibly a sweater underneath. Initially I had considered shortening the cape by a couple of inches but once I made the muslin, I decided against it.

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SEWING : I learned a lot about sewing with wool by making this cape. This was my first time working with a wool and it was truly a pleasure to sew up. I quickly realised that pressing wool can be tricky. I am used to working with muslin and cottons and by habit, I used a hot iron, a good amount of steam and pressure.. AND my tailors clapper and that resulted in shine and over pressing. As you can see below.. The seam allowance was causing the impression and lightening of the wool color. I always like to sew up samples with some scrap fabric and press them before I take the iron to my garment. I will be writing a detailed article on what I learned about pressing wool without damaging it. That is coming to the blog soon!

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This project was a labor of love. It was time-consuming. Not only because it included some trial and error as I was working with something new, but also because I was broadcasting live some of the tips and techniques of sewing as I was discovering easy ways to work with wool and having those “Aha” moments…I really enjoyed connecting with other sewists while working on this project.

I also experimented till I discovered an easy and practical way to master top stitching. That is coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned! Since there are so many little details about this project I want to share with you, I will be doing a “Behind The Seams” blog post about it soon.

FABRIC: I used a soft 100% brushed wool. It has texture, so I had to take extra precaution while pressing. The fabric is indeed luxurious. Since I knew that this garment would be an investment piece, I wanted to use the best fabric I could find in my budget. Local fabric stores like Joanns and Hancock only had wool blends with a low percentage of wool, but I found an array of pure wool fabric on Fabric Mart Fabrics at very good prices. And if you want a super yummy 100% wool, check out the selection of wools HERE

That’s all for now.. I am taking a one day break before jumping into my biggest project of the year… a Melton wool winter coat….with hair canvas, shoulder pads, sleeve heads… and all that jazz!

 Hope you enjoyed reading this! Leave me a comment and let me know what you are working on… And if you like this vintage cape.. add it to your bucket list!

Until next time.. 

 XOXO-

Vatsla 🙂

Tulle Skirt Sew Along Part 4- Attaching the waist band

Heloooooo ev one!!

For those of you who are participating in the Tulle Skirt Sew Along, here is part 4 – we will be attaching the waist band today! For those who are not participating, these instructions can be used to attach a waist band to any garment!

Back to our pattern pieces, today we are working with 4 – Front waist band and 5 – Back waist band. Go ahead and cut of the fabric pieces per the instructions. Transfer notches as well.

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For this demo, I am using muslin because it is easy to write on. Since muslin does not have a right or wrong side,  I will be using my sharpie to write on the correct side of the fabric.

I have cut out all the pieces of the waist band and as you see we have 2 sets. Basically a waist band has one side that faces the body and one that faces the world. That is why we have 2 sets. We will be interfacing one set- the one that sits against the body.

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Now that you have all the pieces cut out and laid out- we will be interfacing the wrong side on one of the sets. It does not matter which set, since they are identical,

Time Saving Tip: Instead of cutting out the interfacing using the pattern, I use this time-saving technique: I interface all pieces at once and then cut along the outline.

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Always use a press cloth while applying interfacing. I am using fusible interfacing. I lay out my fabric pieces such that the wrong side of the fabric is facing the adhesive side of the interfacing. Then I cover the fabric with a press cloth and fuse using steam and heat. A presscloth is nothing more than a piece of scrap muslin.. or you can even use any scrap fabric that is cotton. IMG_9055

Next, we are going to construct the waist band. With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, pin the back pieces to the front piece on both sets as shown below.

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Then go ahead sew up seams you just pinned and press them. Press the side seams towards the centre back seam as shown below. The arrows indicate the directions in which you should press the seams. DO NOT SKIP Pressing.. if you do, your garment will look home-made.. and you don’t want that! To see how to press seams, read my tutorial HERE

Now your pieces should look like this–

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Now that we have sewn the backs to the fronts, we should have 2 pieces of fabric , One that is interfaced, one that is not interfaced. Place the interfaced waist band and the non  interfaced waist band on top of each other with the right sides facing each other and pin along the top of the waist band and stitch.

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The next step is really important. We need to press this baby so we can get a really nice crisp fold on top of the waist band. There is a trick to this..

With the wrong side of the waist band facing the sky, finger press the seam open

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Then using your iron and steam, press this seam open

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Next, flip the waist band so the right side of the fabric is facing the sky. Then press the seam with heat and steam

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Now go ahead fold the waist band with the wrong sides together and press the fold of the waist band again. It will be nice and crisp!

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Next, we will remove bulk from the seam by trimming the seam allowance. What I do is flip the waist band, wrong sides out and trim as shown

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Now are waist band is finally beginning to look like a waist band! wohoo!!!

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Now the final part is to attach the waist band to the skirt..

If you have been following along in the sew along, you should have 2 pieces now that look like this: WB and skirt

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Next, we are going to attach the waist band to the skirt, which is the final part:

With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, place the NON interfaced part of the waist band to the skirt at the waist seam. I like to start by matching and pinning the side seams, then I pin the centre back, centre front, and randomly pin in the middle. Use your notches to make sure you are pinning the waist band and skirt correctly.

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This is where we will stop for now.. L@@K.. Its beginning to look like a tulle skirt! We will close up the waist band after we attach the zipper, which is coming next!

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That is it for now! I’ll see you soon with the next steps where we insert our invisible zippers and hem this baby up.

If you have any questions about these steps, leave a comment , email me or contact me in the facebook group dedicated to this sew along

FACEBOOK GROUP:

I have set up a Facebook group for the sew along. This will be a place for Q&A, posting pictures of our progress, sharing inspiration pics and of course proudly modelling our final skirts! You can follow the sew along by either subscribing to my blog here or connecting with me and others in the Facebook group. You can join the FB group HERE

See you soon!!!

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

Tulle Skirt Sew Along part 3 (sewing up majority of the skirt)

For part 3 of the tulle skirt sew along, we will be sewing up majority of the skirt and attaching the tulle overlay to the satin skirt. In order to explain the next steps to you, I will be using my miniature dress form and a miniature skirt.

By now you should have all your pattern pieces cut out. Today we will be using pattern piece 1 and 2, which are the skirt back and skirt front. Lets take a minute to look at these two pattens  pieces.

1 is the back of the skirt, and you will be cutting 2 pieces of fabric from this using your satin.

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2 is the skirt front, and we will be cutting one piece of fabric on the fold of the fabric.

IMG_8891And just in case we have any beginners here, I want to make sure everyone understands the following terms:

CB is centre back as shown below

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CF is centre front as shown belowIMG_8892

SS is side seam as shown below:

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Now let’s get to sewing!

Step 1: Cut our your fabric pieces 1 and 2, and you should have 3 fabric pieces as shown below

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Step 2: With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, sew up both the side seams

This is what the skirt should look like from the back and front

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Step 3: Press both the side seams towards the CB. Pressing is very important in this skirt and in making all tailored garments. Read my tutorial on pressing seams HERE

Now your skirt should look like this after pressing

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If you have a serger, this would be a good time to go ahead serge the side seams, hem, and centre back seam. If you do not have a serger, you can skip this step.

Step 4: Using your ruler or measuring gauge, measure 5/8 inch in from the CB and mark it. This is the 5/8 inch seam allowance that will accommodate the zipper. I have shown this mark in orange.

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Now go ahead mark another mark that is 1/2 inch away from the 1st mark.  I have shown this mark in purple. Mark these on both the skirt backs. We are marking these because we want to make sure the tulle will not get stuck in the zipper. In the picture below, the orange mark indicates where the zipper will be inserted and the purple mark indicates where the tulle will be attached. This will ensure that the tulle is always 1/2 inch away from the zipper

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Step 5: In the picture below,  I have pinned the tulle to the skirt, starting at the purple mark and ending on the purple mark. IMG_8922

 

When you are pinning the tulle to the purple mark, make sure you fold the tulle under by 1/2 inch so that the tulle is nice and neat. Pin all along the waist to secure the tulle.

Step 6: Using a basting stitch, secure the tulle to the skirt. Make sure to back-stitch when you start stitching and when you end stitching.Since this pattern calls for a Seam allowance of 5/8 of an inch, make sure you are making your basting stitch about 1/4 inches from the edge, but no more than 1/2 inch away. This way we can be sure that this basting stitch will get hidden inside the seam allowance when we attach the waist band to the skirt.

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Your skirt should now look something like this:

 

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That is it for now! Next week we will tackle the waist band application, zipper insertion and hemming! Those will be the final steps!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

Video Tutorial – How to gather tulle EASILY using a gathering foot

For those of you who are participating in the FBTS Tulle Skirt sewalong, there were some questions about how to gather the tulle, and whether or not to cut it, so to clear up the confusion, here is a step by step video tutorial on how to gather the tulle.  Watch how I gather 10 yards of tulle in 5 minutes. …

Also- I am going to push back part 3 of the sew along by 1 day so that everyone can catch up.. so I will be posting part 3 (sewing up majority of the tulle skirt) tomorrow, Sept 11.

If you are not participating but hate gathering tulle, watch this video… you are welcome!

Hope this helps! I cant wait to see your skirts!

-XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

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