Category: Sewing 101

Behind The Seams: Sewing Athletic Wear!

HI, Fashionistas!

Confession: I don’t love sewing with knits. I know, I know.. I have sewn with knits a bunch, but I still don’t love it.  Why? Probably because of fear. I can work with a woven garment all day, sew, drape, do flat pattern making (for wovens) and never thing twice. But knits intimidate me. Why you ask? Because every knit is different. Some stretch a bit, some stretch a lot, some stretch 2 ways (selvage to selvage), some stretch 4 ways (along both the cross grain and the straight grain). There is a lot more that needs to be taken into account. There is negative ease, stretch percentage, elasticity and many more things you have to take into account.

Anyways.. I recently had the opportunity to make athletic wear for a new fabric that is making its debut next month. I ordered the fabric, but I decided against making athletic wear.  I’ve recently started working out and I’ve been fascinated by all the interesting and intricate athletic wear worn by women. I mean, I own a  sports bra, and a few basic workout pants. In the past, I never thought about work our wear being fashionable, but it is! I’ve been mesmerized by the different cuts, color blocking, patterns and the use of mesh. There is decorative cover stitching and top stitching, something I have never done on knits. I use my cover stitch to hem, and that’s about it. While I have drafted a gusset (the diamond shaped fabric insert typically sewn into the armholes and crotches of athletic wear), I have never sewn one. So, I decided that I would learn from my last experience, which was making this DIY Silk Top, and learn to work with my cover stitch machine before jumping into sewing athletic wear.

I’ve been eyeing this class on craftsy that shows all the functions a cover stitch machine can do, so when I got a coupon code today I jumped on it

Here is the cover stitch class I just purchased. The coupon code is below.  You can get any class for $14.99. Yipee!!! You can view their sleection of sewing and pattern making classes HERE

Don’t know about you guys, but I love myself a nice deal! If you have considered pattern making classes, see my review of all the pattern making classes HERE

I have this cover stitch machine. Like I said, I have only used it for hemming, but this machine has a lot more to offer. So I am jumping into learning mode RAT now. 🙂

So I am off to my studio to watch the class while I sew. I am currently doing muslin making for a peplum I am making. I’ve been asked so many times why I make a muslin, whether I always make one etc, so I am currently working on a Muslin FAQ blog post that I will publish either next Tuesday or the following Tuesday, so stay tuned for that!

I hope you all are having a fabulous week. What do you have planned for the weekend? Hubby and I are going to go see some land for a potential lake house- so exciting. That,  and Church, the usual Sunday stuff. I am hoping to wear this peplum to match this dress I made for my daughter a few weeks ago. We are expecting temps in the high 70’s

This is coming to the blog soon! Talk soon!

XOXO-

Vatsla.

Flow Away Like a Butterfly!

HI Fashionistas:

My latest make is a beautiful flowy and drapey self-drafted circle top that makes me feel like a beautiful butterfly.  The colors on this fabric are so vibrant, and the color combination on the fabric is one of my favorites:

This fabric might have been the most beautiful fabric I have ever touched. It is a silk cotton blend, feels so soft to the touch. Has more body than a pure sheer silk, and while it was slightly more stable because of the fiber content, I did have some challenges that I will talk about in this post.

Here is a view of the back and side view: 

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So in love with these sleeves!

Here is the fabric I selected.  It is abstract, if you look at the large pic of the fabric air drying, you will see it has large butterflies. So when I ordered the fabric, I knew I had to make large flowy wing-like sleeves!

I did not know exactly how to pretreat this fabric since I typically don’t work with delicate fabrics.  I wasn’t sure if this needs to be pre-shrunk, or whether it should go to the cleaners. So I asked the fabulous Erica Bunker, who is a seasoned seamstress and has worked with a range of fabric types. She suggested I wash and press it. I did not have the heart to throw this fabric in the delicate wash in the machine. So I hand washed it. And that was so much fun.  I love to touch and feel fabric. Something about hand washing the fabric made the creation of this garment a lot more personal 

I let the fabric air dry overnight.

The top was freehanded, no pattern. I will show you a sketch so you know how to make your very own top: I declare this as the laziest pattern in the world if you decide to make a paper pattern. I just drew on the fabric itself.

On the neckline, I did a bias tape. It came out beautifully. Here is a closeup of the neckline/ neck finish.

I had just the right amount of bias tape sitting around. I did attempt to make bias tape from the silk itself, but it was not stable enough.

Now lets talk about hemming this top- I ran into some challenges here. I tried the rolled hem foot on my industrial, and I could just not get comfortable enough with it. If I were doing a rolled hem on a straight hem, that would not be an issue. But hemming circle hems can be challenging as is. Add in the slipperiness of a silk, and that makes the hemming more difficult.

So upon the advice of my mentor. I tried the rolled hem on my serger. His name is Sergio, and for the most part, he is good to me. But he just shred the silk to pieces.

It’s not his fault. My thought is that an all purpose thread was too heavy for this fabric. So I resorted to YouTube land and found out that you can add stability to silks by roll hemming 2 layers. So I tried that and it worked. I folded over the hem and rolled hem. I disengaged the knife and then trimmed really close to the hem as shown here. The hem is more “lettuce edgy” than I would like, but I can live with it.

Honestly, I meant to take this online class about sheer fabrics, but time got away from me. Now you know this is the next class I am buying.  I studied with Sara Alm at Apparel Arts and she is brilliant. I probably would have saved a lot of time and trial error had I taken the class!

They say that rolled hem is the ideal finish for sheers, but I think I would have preferred a bias tape finish on the hem as well. I might come back at a future time and apply the bias tape to the hem.

Overall.. I love this top. It’s light and fresh for spring! I paired it with white skinny jeans. I have not worn these in months and I definitely had to jump up and down to squeeze into them!

I ordered 2 yards of this fabric. What I loved about this project is that the amount of waste was very little. I used a majority of the fabric to make the top from, which is one big circle (donut) and the remaining fabric was used to create an infinity/ circle scarf.  I love an all white outfit for spring with a pop of color. I’ll share the scarf with you soon! It’s my new favorite!

The sleeves, the neckline, and the print are my favorite parts of this butterfly top.

I hope that you enjoyed reading about this make. I am getting started on my Mommy and Me Easter make after this one.

Hope you are having a fabulous week.  See you with my next make.

XOXO

Vatsla

Cardi Refashion and How I styled it

Hi Fashionistas!!

Remember the sweater/ cardi I was altering last week to make it fit me? It turned out really nice and I wore it to Church last Sunday. I really like easy outfits. This was so easy to style. Since the cardi had a built-in fur collar, I kept the rest of the outfit basic. I paired it with a black pencil skirt, one of my favorite garments in my wardrobe and a tank top.

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The cardi has an attached fox tail fur on it. I was surprised to find genuine fur on a Bebe top. Oh, not sure if I mentioned, this cardi was thrifted. I found it in San Fran earlier this year when I visited. While I would never purchase a new fur, I love giving new life to old furs. It is extremely soft and warm. The day I wore it, it was cold and rainy, so I loved wearing this. It kept me nice and warm (and stylish!)

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Not the best lighting and pics- I usually do my own pics outdoors, using a tripod and remote- but it was raining and cold. I don’t know about you but I don’t think most men are equipped to take pics. I don’t like asking my husband.. so here are some selfies for you! I love that this entire outfit can look like a black dress without me having to have the perfect black dress.

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I wore it like a wrap cardi, and as I mentioned in my previous post HERE, it needed a brooch or belt . I used a gorgeous pearl brooch that was another vintage find. I just love repurposing. The 3/4 sleeves are elegant. The cardi has been altered to fit like a dream.

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Oh hello thread hanging from my slit- where are my thread clipper? 🙂

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I completed the outfit with my absolute favorite faux snakeskin shoes. I honestly treat these are my nude pumps. They are so comfortable compared to a stiletto. Lots of support , thanks to the thicker heel, and a bit of platform.

 

Would you say that I have a shoe problem? Yikes…

You know you have a shoe problem when…… These beauties are going to be on the blog today 👠👣 #shoes #shoes #shoestagram #fashionbehindtheseams #shoeaddict

A post shared by ✂️Fashion Behind The Seams✂️ (@fashionbehindtheseams) on

 

Here is the before and after from last week

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Well.. That’s all I have for now. The 2nd half of December is seriously busy for me. I am wrapping up an online course, making a 5 piece outfit for Christmas, 2 pairs of matching mommy and me jammies and a red dress. I better get to work NOW. Bye loves! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, and if you are not, take on a sewing project for instant gratification and happiness!!! I swear sewing is better than therapy! 🙂

 

XOXO

Vatsla.

 

Saturday Night Sewing

Greetings Fashionistas!

I am in my happy place right now. Really- I am writing you from my sewing ma-sheen 🙂 This is where I am the happiest, this is where I feel 18 years young again. As if I don’t have a care in the world. Nothing matters when I am here. Just my music, my fabric, my machine.

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I haven’t been sewing in the past couple weeks (Boo!). Why?!! What’s wrong with me? Have I really been doing dishes and cooking dinner all week?  Actually, I didn’t do much this week. I just slowed down. So I have nothing to show for. And that is OK. I enjoyed my week. I enjoyed my daughter. I enjoyed a guilt-free cheeseburger with fries, a coke and washed it down with a milkshake. That is so unlike me.. but it was the best thing I have “eated” in a while :)))

Do you ever complete a 10-minute project and not only get that hit of dopamine, but also a new addition to your wardrobe? This sweater was a size L Bebe sweater. I am a size S, but I had to have it. So I purchased it knowing that it would sit in my studio for years before I got to it. It was a simple 5-minute alteration.

I tried the sweater on, eyeballed it and decided I need to take in an inch on the sleeves and the side seams. Pretty simple. I have previously explained this in a tutorial HERE. It literally took 5 minutes.

Here is the sweater after…

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Here is the before.

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To take it in, I did one continuous stitch starting at the wrist, all the way up the sleeve, and then down the side seam. I took in about an inch on each side. It’s the same method I explained HERE

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I ended up using Sergio (my serger). I haven’t used him in a while since I’ve started using my industrial for knits. Mainly because I sew with stable knits most of the time.

The fit is not bad. It needs to be belted.. or “brooched” since there is no closure.

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I love this cardi! I plan on wearing her to Church tomorrow.. with a black pencil skirt. I wore something similar to Christmas Ever service 2 years ago. Geez.. where does the time go?!!!

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Anyhooz.. I hope you are guys are well and enjoying December! I’ll post pics soon of the final look!!! Have  a wonderful weekend!

 

XO-Vatsla

 

 

Sewing Quick Tip: The Gathering Foot

HI Fashionistas!

Every girl has her favorite shoes, and believe me, I have more shoes than I need. But today I wanted to share with you, one of my top 3 sewing feet and why I love it so much.

When it comes to garment construction, the right sewing tools can make all the difference. While you don’t need a fancy sewing machine (a basic machine with a straight stitch and zig zag is just fine), using the right sewing feet can make all the difference. They take your sewing to the next level!

Here is my first favorite: The gathering foot

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This is a small sewing machine accessory but can make gathering a breeze!

 

I have gotten such good use out of this one. You can use this with knits, with wovens, with tulle (YAY) and also with chiffon, organza, netting.. the possibilities are endless.

I used it here to make the ruffles on this DIY top I made last year.

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This little foot  makes beautiful ruffles when paired with the right fabric and the right amount of tension on the machine.

You can control the “tightness” of the ruffles by changing the tension. See my video on this

I also use this foot to gather tulle, which makes gathering a breeze. Here are a couple tulle skirts I made using this technique HERE

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Most people who work with tulle mention how beautiful tulle is, but what a pain it is to gather. Not with this foot! Check out how I gather tulle easily at the rate of 2 yards per minute!

 

What about you?

  • Do you have a favorite foot?
  • Have you used the gathering foot?
  • Do you recommend a foot to make my sewing more fun/efficient?

I hope this review helped. I’ll be sharing my other favorite two sewing accessories with you soon!

 

Oh! I also made this tulle dress with the gathering foot..

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XO-

Vatsla. 🙂

ps. I’ll be posting the progress of my projects on my FB page as always

Behind The Seams: Dresses for Haiti

HI Fashionistas!

Happy Monday! I wanted to share with you a couple of dresses I made a few weeks ago. I am just getting around to photographing these pillowcases dresses:

 

Initially, I had purchased this sheet set to create pillow cases for my daughter.. and a fitted sheet to match. I re-purposed the adult size pillow cases to make smaller pillowcases. Jazz didn’t care for them at all. She insisted on having her boring white pillowcase back.  So I re-purposed them yet again into pillowcase dresses. This is my 1st time applying bias tape on the arms and neck. It isn’t perfect, but I am sure it will be perfect for some little girl. Besides, perfection is over-rated and exhausting. I wake up every morning aiming to be an “imperfectionist” 🙂

 

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Here is the back view

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I used pink bias tape on the 2nd dress. On this one, I topstitched the bias tape as opposed to stitching in the ditch and it didn’t ripple.

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I know that these are going to girls that have nothing to wear, lace is obviously not needed, but I want them to feel pretty. So I added this vintage lace . I created ties for the waist with leftover fabric. I am so in love with the lace. I found that lace at an estate sale..

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Here is what the dress looks like without the tie.

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A little bit of backstory on these dresses. I have been wanting to sew for charity for a while, but it never happened. After I moved into the basement studio, I have been in here so much sewing, might as well sew some more 🙂 I met a couple from Haiti a month or so ago, who told me they send barrels of clothes back to Haiti. I took their contact info, but then misplaced it. Fast forward a few weeks, I finally hired some help to come watch my daughter so I can work on Mondays. Her church does a lot of outreach work, including sewing dresses for girls in Haiti. I jumped on the opportunity. She is taking these to her Church to be mailed. My hope is that I can contribute one or two dresses a month.

I have been sewing for another little girl….My darling Jazz! I made her a beautiful dress from an 80’s prom dress, here is the before.. I will post the outcome soon. It turned out so pretty. She loved it.

 

I will see you soon with the before and after of the Minnie mouse dress.. and you can vote on who wore it best 🙂

Until then!

XOXO

Vatsla 🙂

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