Category: RTW Fast

RTW Fast 2015

How To Make a Custom Dress Form for A Fraction of the Cost!

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Hi Fashionistas!

So I know I have mentioned this a few times before that I want a custom dress form. I have also mentioned to you that custom dress forms can run you upwards of a thousand dollars.

I was looking about a year and a half ago and I found a solution that I think will work well! It requires purchasing a foam insert that looks like a dress form and altering the cover that comes with the form to fit you like a second skin. And Voila! You have a custom dress form. It does require some surgery on the dress form foam insert as you will have to shave off some parts and pad up some parts to make it like you.

Here are the two steps to create a custom dress form for a fraction of the cost. I will outline the steps 1st and then we will go over all of the details and links as well

  1. Choose a Uniquely You dress form. This is the more economical version. This form also completely customizable so you can shave it to your size, or pad it up and also control where the waist sits
  2. Create a custom cover to fit your body like a second skin and prepare your form and insert it inside the custom cover. I will show you how this can be done using an online class

Now let’s talk about the steps in detail.

This is a method I am using to create my form. I purchased the Uniquely You dress form after much research about 1.5 years ago, but I was pregnant then and decided to wait. Please note that this form comes in many sizes and before you buy one, you will need to decide which size is right for you. The best way to do this is to check the sizing chart.

There is a class on Bluprint called Fitting Essentials: Customize Your Dress Form that shows how to create a custom form using 3 types of dress forms, including this one. This is taught by Judy Jackson and she goes over 3 methods. I watched only the sections that apply to my dress form type. I’ll go over some of the pros and cons on this class in a little bit. The one I am using is the one on the right.

As I mentioned before, this dress form comes with a cover, and you have to alter the cover to fit you like a second skin. Once you do that and alter it, you insert a strong zipper on the center back of the cover and insert the form inside it. I love seeing a visual of things so I have included a youtube video that shows the final result.

As you can see this is a bit of a process, but in my opinion so worth it to have something custom. I personally own 3 professional dress forms and neither one of those match my measurements. Now if I were to throw them all in a box together and shake it really hard, maybe I would get back one dress form that matched all my measurements 🙂 And professional dress forms can be so costly. I have paid from $150 to $400 for mine and they still don’t match, so having a custom dress form that costs less than a professional dress form is definitely worth it to me.

Here are my 3 dress forms that don’t match my measurements! Custom form coming soon!

Lets go over some of the pros and cons of this class:

Pros: If you sew, you may already own a dress form, and if you don’t, you have a range of options from the uniquely you, adjustable (which you can use coupons on at Fabric stores) or a professional dress form. These vary in cost and you are can look at options that fit your budget. If you already have a dress form, you could customize it. Judy delivers the class in a very nice and easy to understand manner. You have the ability to ask questions, which is also very nice compared to some online courses that give you access to a private facebook group, but the instructor is not as responsive. You do not need to be an expert seamstress to create your own form! The sewing is simple and the instructions are clear! All lessons are easy to consume, ranging from 2 to 28 minutes, so even if you watched one at a time as your schedule permits and then apply them, you won’t find it overwhelming. I actually prefer watching classes from start to finish. It makes me feel excited!

Cons: If you are intending on watching the entire class, the information can be a bit overwhelming because the methods used for the dress forms are different based on your choice of form. I would suggest deciding on your dress form based on your budget (or what you already own) and then watching the segments specific to that dress form. Luckily, you can pause, fast forward and rewind with ease. I would also say that if you are using the foam option, be patient . I know from all the reviews I have read that getting the form to squeeze into the form and zipping it up is a challenge and you will probably need someone to help you. So if you are sewing solo, you may want to consider one of the other two dress forms.

Another really good thing about this dress form is that it is pinnable, so you can drape directly on the dress form. Bluprint has a special right now where they are offering an annual subscription for $100 and you get a free project box included! 

This includes access to hundreds of sewing classes including this one!

Once again, the direct link to the class is here–> Fitting Essentials: Customize Your Dress Form

The class will walk you step by step on how to measure your form and how to shave off the excess, which I found very helpful since the instructions that come with the form are spare. Also keep in mind, that if you are using this form, then you will need to build a stand for it. I am Ok with doing that since I can figure out the DIY part. Once again, if you are not wanting to do that, consider one of the other two dress forms.

I hope that you found this article helpful. I personally tried the duct tape form many years ago and I found that added a lot of bulk as I had to wear a t shirt and then have duct tape wrapped around me. It was also not pinnable, so I find this to be a better option.

Let me know what you think about this idea! Right now I cannot think of the next class I will try, but maybe something to with finishes, like a class that shows how to do different types of seams, or even one that shows tailoring details like welt pockets for example. I love making samples in muslin and putting them in a binder, kind of reminds me of being in school 🙂

Take care,


Sewing Review 2018- And Happy New Year!

Hello. It is the last day of 2018. As I type this bog post, I am sitting in bed with mixed feelings. 2018 has been an interesting year for me. The most amazing thing happened in 2018, I created new life. My lovely son, Connor Jay Watkins arrived. I tried my best to hang on to my sewing. I have done some sewing this year, but it has been the bare minimum. Life has been a bit of a haze this year. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of good times, but also a lot of challenging times. I accept it all as my portion and I thank God for all I received, good and bad. My portion is perfect for me.

Moving on to sewing. At the end of the day, as a mom of a new born, and a wife and mom of a 5 year old, my craft was really all that was truly my own. And although ideally I would sew slowly and enjoy it, my projects in 2018 (with the exception of the green kimono) were quite rushed. BUT.. I still sewed. I have always been loyal to sewing. I sew in my good times, and I also sew in my bad times.

So I want to share with you what all I blogged about in 2018.. and then let’s chat about sewing in 2019. Shall we?

Baby Shower Dress with Statement Sleeve

Maternity Dress , and one for Jazz

Green Kimono

This is my favorite make of 2018, yet the least worn. Seriously, where am I going to wear this thing? I wore it once. Lol. But loved it.

Statement Sleeves Top M6886 Modified

Red Skirt which was self drafted

White Lace Skirt

White Cotton Skirt

Black Maxi

Black tie Back Top

Black Cowl

Mommy and me- One of my favorite makes!

Floral Skirt

Mommy and Me Skirts

And lastly, I cannot believe that I never blogged about this skirt! Its GORGEOUS!! But I did share it here briefly.

Well, that wraps up 2018 sewing for me! I will continue to work on sewing. Next I am making something with a black textured double knit. I am also starting work on a custom dress form. Connor has stopped nursing and I am getting back to my pre-baby bod. I have a class in mind that I will take to get started on the dress form construction. I will share more about that in the near future.

Have a WONDERFUL New Year and talk to you soon.



How are you?

Hi Fashionistas!

How are you doing? Are you sewing much over the summer of taking a break? I made a few things but have not had a chance to blog about them yet. I’ll be sharing them over the next couple of months.

I made this shift dress and documented a tutorial on how to draft an all in one facing, something I will be sharing on the blog soon.

Here are a couple other garments I made: denim shorts, this fabric is from Joanns.

Tent dress, scuba knit from Fabric mart

I wanted to drop in and say Hi! because I miss you! Let me know what you are working on over the summer. Did you hear that Craftsy is moving to a subscription model in 2018? Any thoughts on that? I know many of us take classes on that platform.. wondering what your thoughts are?

Talk soon!



Pattern Fitting Class is $12 Today only

HI Fashionistas!!

Public Service Announcement to all my sewing buddies!

Craftsy has one of its biggest class sales ever. This fitting class is on sale for just $12. One of the biggest issues I hear from home sewists is how to get pattern fit.

This is a one day only deal! You also get a vogue pattern, so the price is a great bargain.

I’ve had my eye on this class for a while.. but y’all know I love my discounts! I just bought the class and have been watching it this morning. Here are some screenshots of what is inside the class. You will definitely get a good understanding of how to tweak the pattern to fit you without having to make multiple muslins. Isn’t fitting one of our biggest sewing woes?! To get this amazing deal for just $12, click HERE

I have been watching this class at a coffee shop this morning 🙂 I am including some screen shots of what’s inside

Check out the fit on that gorgrous cocktail dress .. and that looks like a silk taffeta!

I like that she is using a copy of the pattern to explain all the concepts. This is typically more spare than the commercial pattern, and in my opinion easier to follow as it is less overwhelming. You might have noticed that in my tutorials, I also use traced copies of the patterns to make it easy to follow.

I also love that there is an entire chunk of the class dedicated to fitting the garment on a real human being. This is so practical and offers how to address real fit issues.

I also like to read reviews.  Here is one that had me sold!

Perfect for altering patterns without a hassle

I have watched several classes both here on Craftsy and on You Tube concerning pattern alterations. I have probably watched about 6 or 7 in all….but this is by far my favorite. She could write a book titled GEOMETRY FOR DUMMIES and this is what I needed. I can’t wait until I attack all of my patterns. This lady has a gift for teaching (coming from a retired teacher) and is very good at making everything visual. She does comparisons at the end as to what happens when you use her methods, the patterns methods, and eyeballing it. What a difference. That alone made me want to try her methods. I highly recommend this class….not just for beginners….but for anyone with even advanced experience. I am intermediate by definition and learned a lot.

Alright, I am back to watching the class before I have to pick up my kid. Let me know if you end up getting this. I typically do a muslin, and while I don’t do multiple muslins, I almost always to one muslin and then about 2 alterations to the muslin. I am excited about stepping away from as many iterations! HERE is the link again, if you decide to check it out.


On Thursday I am sharing with you how I save TONS of money on sewing patterns, and also my process of taking an inspiration picture and turning into a wearable garment! So see you on Thursday!






DIY Black Wool Cape

HI Fashionistas!

Hope you are doing well and enjoying the cooler temps. I’ve really been enjoying my fall sewing. I recently wrapped up this black cape with arm slits.


I had purchased something similar last month and while I loved the style, I did not love the fabric. The fabric was itchy and “synthetic-y” if you know what I mean. I simply love capes. So I decided to recreate the look in a nicer fabric. I chose this wool/cotton blend. It’s made of 100% natural fibers and is way more lux than the original one I wore here.


My cape is collarless and simple, this will allow me to wear it just the way it is, or accessorize with different collars/ neck warmers to maximize its use in my wardrobe. 

I added vintage gold buttons as you can see in the pic below. I knew I wanted some gold hardware on it but decided to keep it fairly simple. These are shank buttons I recently found at an estate sale.


Sewing quick tip: To stabilize a shank button and keep it from drooping, add a regular 2 hole or 4 hole button on the back. While you are sewing the shank button on the front, loop your thread through the regular button on the back. That will keep it from drooping.

My favorite look is with the fur collar, re-purposed from another coat, paired with long gloves. I found these while antiquing with a friend.


I drafted the pattern and facings:


I decided to use contrast bias tape on the inside of the garment. I made the bias tape, thanks to a YouTube tutorial. Using a bias tape maker is so simple, and you can create any color or use a nice print!



I recently purchased this set of bias tape makers and they are so fun and easy to use! I highly recommend them. On the hem of the cape, I used store bought bias tape and then hemmed it.


Here is the view from the side:


Here is a slightly different way I styled the same outfit. DIY Faux fur collar made by my mum in law with the cape on top, to show off those gorgeous buttons!


The cape is unlined. I decided to try the self-bound seam on the inside of the cape.  The fabric is on the medium side for a wool. I started off with drafting the pattern with 1/2 inch seam allowance, but given the turn of cloth, I decided to upgrade to a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  The seams turned out nicely, but there was a bit of waviness on the side seams around the shoulders.  Looking back, I think a hong kong finish would be nicer. But this is what I love about sewing, we learn something new with every project.



Pattern: I self-drafted the pattern for this one. Drafting a pattern for a cape is fairly simple, as is fitting. I studied pattern making with Suzy Furrer at Apparel Arts, a school she founded and runs. She is brilliant. Luckily offers pattern making classes on craftsy now and I am enrolled in all her classes for a refresher course.  I am linking her craftsy classes HERE in case you want to check them out.  For making upper body garments, you would want to start with the Bodice sloper class.  Then you would learn how to manipulate the sloper to create your own designs. I actually just re-ordered my textbook to go along with her classes.

This project was so fun to make! I want to make another cape for winter, so I’ll be looking for some more sewing inspiration.  What about you? What’s your latest fall project?

Lastly, I created a small sewing Q&A group that I hope will double as a sewing space for us to asks sewing questions and also get sewing inspiration from each other. You can join the group HERE

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween! See you soon!


-Vatsla 🙂

2015: A Year in Review

HI Fashionistas!!

I am so excited to be doing this post because this is my very first time doing it, since I started my blog in Jan of 2015! It has been so amazing being able to document what I made. Here is a run down of almost everything I made in 2015. Links to all projects are included incase you want to sew the look!

8 TOPS: 
Looks like I made more tops than any other category. And it makes sense because I am a mainly a SAHM. I live in jeans.. and prefer a cute and comfy top!

From left to right:
Actually there is one more that I have not blogged about yet, so total of 9 tops:
PicMonkey Collage






I am a bit surprised that I only made 4 skirts, given that I love skirts! I guess its time for me to upgrade my wardrobe and become more stylish!




Nautical shortsWhite Jeans, Black Pants, , Christmas PJ’s, Palazzo pants (since demoted to pajamas)


2 Outerwear garments:
Cape and winter coat
5 outfits for my little human


As you can imagine, it is close to impossible to get a picture in focus of a toddler.. but here is the best I got..


Tulle dress, leopard dress, Easter Dress, Christmas Eve service dress and Christmas PJ’s


There are also a couple other things that didn’t make it to the blog.. a skirt and a disaster dress.. so that is 2 more. So a total of 33 garments in 2016.. Not too shabby..More coming in 2016..
Thanks so much for reading this.. I so enjoyed writing about my sewing adventures in 2015.. The fun continues!!!


Hope you are having a wonderful start to the year!



Breaking my Ready To Wear Fast after 1 Year and 5 Days…



I am about to break my Ready To Wear Fast today after one year and five days.

I decided to observe the 2015 RTW Fast in January 2015, and that happened to coincide with the time I started my blog.

The last time I purchased clothes was December 28, 2014. I met a dear friend Kristina for breakfast and then we headed out on our shopping adventures.

Well, Its Jan 2, 2016 now and its been one year and 5 days. When I started the fast, I knew I had the discipline to not purchase a single piece of clothing in 2015. I took this fast mainly because it would help me accomplish my goal, which was to improve my skill, and learn how to make better garments. Looking back I can truly say that the fast made me push myself to expand my creativity.

Today, I can shop again.. but the questions is… do I want to shop? I am not surprised that I don’t feel excited about shopping. Do I really want to try on five pairs of jeans in hopes that one fits?

Maybe the excitement will hit me when I look at clothes on the rack, or when I actually try something on. The problem is, I cannot help but think about the fact that I know nothing about who made this garment, whether they were working under decent conditions, or whether it was made in a facility where people work for less than minimum wage, in inhumane conditions..

You see, the image of the “Last Embrace” is forever burned in my memory… If you don’t know what the last embrace is, it has to do with the Bangladesh Factory collapse a few years ago


My current feelings: I am going to go shopping, however I am not sure what I will buy. We shall see.. I don’t think I am going to go back to mainly wearing RTW, but I do feel the need to buy some basic layering items, some basic tees, maybe a pair of jeans.. but I will just have to report back on how it goes.

If I had to describe my current mood, I would say “Awkward” . It feels awkward and strange to be going shopping. I have not looked at clothes in over a year, I have not even browsed the garments racks, I have not been in a fitting room. It honestly feels strange.. As my dear friend Vik would put it “I am feeling some kinda way”…

Anyways.. I felt the need to come pen down my feelings..Now I am off to look for some wardrobe basics.. and for support, I am taking my mum along.. If nothing else, it will be a fun mom and daughter outing!

Happy New Year all!!!

See you soon!




Channeling my Inner Audrey Hepburn – with a touch of hot pink!

HI Fashionistas!!!

Can you believe it is the last day of 2015?! My very last sewing project for 2015 is this gorgeous Little Black dress. I just wrapped up the sewing yesterday. Well I also started sewing it yesterday, so this is my one day LBD. Always sewing at the last-minute 🙂

IMG_9952 - Copy

I drafted the pattern for this dress using my bodice sloper, which I had made many moons ago in Fashion school. I wanted something that would be a nice fit and flatter my figure. so what better than a custom drafted pattern?

If you are curious as to how I created a custom sloper, I studied with Suzy Furrer at Apparel Arts. She is an amazing teacher and luckily, she is now on Craftsy. If you are interested in making your very own sloper and designing your own garments, I HIGHLY recommend her Bodice Sloper class. Suzy is an excellent teacher, and takes the intimidation out of pattern drafting. She is also very responsive.


I wanted a classic look, so I went for a fitted silhouette. I drafted a rounded neck, and princess seams on the bodice, and chose a midi length on the skirt. This look is very classy and quite appropriate for a 30 something momma of one!

And while this dress is a simple LBD, there is a surprise hiding in the back! Doesn’t a splash of hot pink just want to make you smile? Me too 🙂



The fabric is a beautiful cotton sateen and the pink is a shirting fabric, both are from Fabric Mart Fabrics. The flounce looks different from every angle. Such a romantic touch to a simple dress 🙂


And can we just take a moment to admire these shoes? These are giving me life!


Here is a close up of the circular flounce. Isn’t she gorgeous? I drafted this flounce by measuring how long I wanted this to be on the centre back seam. I decided on 10 inches. Then I drafted a circle with a 10 inch radius, and folded it in half to get a half circle. I will be doing a detailed tutorial on how you can draft this flounce and insert it into any dress or skirt  pattern. Stay tuned!


Well my darlings, this is a great way to wrap up 2015. When I started this blog in January of 2015, I was excited about where my fashion adventures would take me. Today , on the last day of the year, I can look back and say that this has been a wonderful journey. I have got to know so many amazing women in the sewing community and have loved connecting with each and every one of you.

Happy New Year!!! I will see you in 2016 with my next sewing project! Until then, happy sewing!


Vatsla 🙂




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:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


Vatsla 🙂





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