Category: Sewing 101

Behind The Seams: Pleats 101

Hi Fashionistas!!! Hope you are well..

I have received a few questions about how to calculate the yardage need to create pleated skirts.. Before i get into that subject, I wanted to address pleats on a more basic level.. This is a sewing 101 tutorial of sorts, geared towards the beginner sewist, or someone who wants to brush up on their sewing jargon 🙂

I’ll be showing you examples of the following:

  • Pleats (Read below)
  • Box Pleats vs Inverted Box Pleats (Tutorial coming soon)

I’ll start with a definition, then a visual aid. I will also show you how to construct them.

Lets start off by looking at pictures of each.  Here are some pleats I free handed on these sleeves :

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Let’s have a look at some more pleats. This dress below has pleats on the neckline.

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And here is another one with pleats

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To learn more about what a pleat is and how to sew one, read below.

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Simply put, a pleat is fabric folded on itself. That’s it. Let’s have a look.

Here is a muslin sample of a pleat. One single pleatIMG_1446

If the fabric were flat, it would look like this. I have color coded this for you in blue and red, so you can see the parts that disappear in the fold of the fabric once the fabric is folded.

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After being folded, the red portion would be concealed in the fold.

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From the bottom, the pleat would look like this:

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On a pattern, a pleat is usually shown with a combination of a circle, squares or notches and a directional arrow showing you which direction the fabric needs to be folded.I do my pattern making per the industry standards for apparel production, therefore I use the notches for the pleats. You will see my pattern further into this post.

Here is an example of what you might see on a ready made pattern . This used circles, dotted lines and a directional arrow.

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Now that you have the theory down, lets move on to the construction.

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I have a muslin sample here . I have transferred the markings from the paper pattern. We have 2 notches and 1 directional arrow. We shall call these notches A and B. Note that the arrow is pointing in the direction of B. This means that when we construct the pleat, we need to make notch A meet notch B. In other words, the pleat will be facing notch B. You can also think of it this way. Notch B is stationary, and notch A is moving to meet Notch B. Make sense? Now lets see this is action

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Pinch the notch A and make it meet notch B

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Secure the pleat down with a pin, catching all three layers of fabric. Then do a basting stitch close to the edge of the fabric to secure the pleat in place and remove the pin. Voila! You have a pleat!

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While you can make pleats like I showed you above, I am going to show you my preferred method of making pleats, because sometimes the pleats can tend to shift, especially if you are using slippery fabrics. So if you are working with slippery fabrics or want a more tailored look, use the method below. This is the one I recommend, but itrequiress more effort, so I wanted to show you quick method as well.

We will start with the same notches A and B

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Then instead of pinching the notch A, fold the fabric such that notch A overlaps notch B, with the right sides of the fabric together. You are essentially picking up notch A and placing it exactly on top of notch B

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Secure the pleats by placing a pin in the fabric about 1/2 inch away from the notches.

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Then take it to the machine and stitch down 1/2 inch on the notches and also backstitch 1/2 to secure the pleat down. This step will ensure that your pleats stay in place.

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Next, press the folded edge

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Then lift the fabric and fold it away from the notches as shown in pic below.

At this point, your pleat is done!

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You can press the pleat down just a little bit on the top if you want more poofy pleats…

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Or you can press the pleats all the way down if you like..

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Let me know if you want the paper pattern available for download so you can do a practice run. I can scan it and upload is here.

That’s it, folks! I will leave you with this inspiration picture. What can pleats do for you?! 🙂

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In the next tutorial, I will cover box pleats… as seen on this skirt.

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Have a lovely day! Talk to you soon!

XOXO

Vatsla. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Behind The Seams: The Dress that never made the Cut

HI Fashionistas! Happy FriYAY!!!

So excited the weekend is here. I am so ready to unwind, relax and sew! We don’t always love sharing our  failures but here is a t-shirt dress I made that never made the cut. I made this dress last year and it didn’t make it past this picture. Looking back, this dress does not look that bad, but it went straight to the goodwill pile.

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READ MORE

Behind The Seams – Craftsy Class Review

HI Fashionistas!

Hope you are having a good week so far! This morning I woke up to an email from Craftsy and it got me so excited about sewing to Fall and winter. They currently have a few classes on sale for under $20 and I wanted to review one that I took last year that totally changed the game for me.

Last winter I knew nothing about coat making (except that I wanted to make one!) So I signed up for shape and structure  and was able to turn my inspiration picture into reality.

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Here is my coat. I also took tailoring class.  If you are considering making your first coat, or improving your coatmaking skills, I HIGHLY recommend these two classes.

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The instructor Alison Smith is an excellent teacher, I loved her method of delivery and she is prompt and thorough with her responses. I truly enjoyed studying with her.

I got this email this morning and it reminded me I promised to review this class a while back. Seriously.. where does the time . l’ll need to go back and watch the class to refresh my memory. That is another thing I love about these classes …you have lifelong access to them.

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Since this was my 1st time making a coat, I had to learn about suitable fabrics, setting in a sleeve, creating custom shoulder pads, using hair canvas, pad stitching etc.. These 2 classes taught me all that and more.. and upped my confidence.. I mean once you make a coat, you can make anything!

Here are some “Behind The Seams” pics of the coat…what goes inside a coat is just fascinating to me! What do you think?

 

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You can see all the details of the coat and two ways to wear it HERE

I also made this jacket.. the jacket could use improvements. They say that a picture tells a thousand words.. In my opinion, a picture hides a thousand flaws.. While a garment can look amazing in pictures, its only upon close inspection that you can find the flaws.. for example, the lapel on this one was sitting away from the body. I would like to make a blazer this year again.. and to improve on last year I am thinking of signing up for Modern Jacket Techniques to attempt another jacket to blazer this winter.

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You can see all the details of this jacket and how I styled it two ways HERE

I hope this review helped. Is anyone up for making a coat and jacket this year? Let me know.. I’ll be making mine and would love to hear about yours.

 

XO-

Vatsla. 🙂

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

 

Little Black dress for May

Hi Fashionistas!

I hope you are doing fashionably well! The month of May is typically a busy month for my family and I. We celebrate Mother’s day, my birthday and wedding anniversary all in the same month.

Typically, we take our annual trip around this time.. but honestly, this year it seems like we have just been taking it one day at a time. So given its my birthday month, I figured I would sew up a cute Little black dress.

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The fabric is a textured double knit. I like that this fabric is sturdy like a ponte knit, but has more than a moderate stretch. I love the way this dress feels on! I’ll be making my daughter a matching skater skirt soon!

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If you want to make this, see the “Behind The Seams” section at the end of this post. I have included details of pattern, fabric, and how to draft the flounce.

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This really is a quick and easy project. I made this the same day as the fabric arrived. I had NO intentions of sewing that day, but I had just picked my kid up from preschool and as soon as I saw that box on my porch, my plans changed.

 

Here is the back view. Just check out the photobomb! She thinks she is such a diva! 🙂 Hehe

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For the makeup, I kept is simple yet bold. A red lip and dark eye makeup. That’s it!

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PATTERN: I used Mccalls M6886, one of the easiest and simplest patterns out there. I cut view C, shortened the sleeves, chopped off the skirt where I wanted to add the flounce. I self drafted the flounce. Drafting a flounce is exactly the same as drafting a peplum. So use my tutorial HERE and instead of using your waist measurement, use the circumference of wherever you chose to insert the flounce.

I have modified this pattern so many times before.. I have a hard time sewing a pattern out of the envelope. I am like that person who ALWAYS has to customize their meal at a restaurant.. 🙂 Here are the other garments I have made using Mcalls M6886

FABRIC: The fabric is a textured double knit that can be found HERE

SEWING: This is an easy project. If you don’t like inserting sleeves in the round, you can use my tutorial HERE to add sleeves the easy way. I used my serger to sew this up. You can use a sewing machine with a ball point and a stretch stitch as well. I cover hemmed the neckline and sleeves and left the hem on the flounce raw as it will not fray. If you don’t have a coverstitch machine, you can do a beautiful cover hem using a twin needle. See my tutorial on that HERE

I hope you enjoyed my DIY project and that this inspired you to sew 🙂

Until next time!
XOXO

-Vatsla

 

 

 

DIY Box Pleated Circle Skirt

Hi Fashionistas!

 

Here is my latest sewing project: A super voluminous box pleated circle skirt made with a bottom weight fabric that has texture and looks embroidered. The skirt is self drafted/free-handed. Details on how to make the pattern are on the bottom of this post.

 

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For a casual look, I chose to pair this skirt with a loose and flowy top.
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For a more dressed up look, I chose to pair this skirt with my favorite button down and some tan pumps
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Here is a view of the side and the back:

 

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This skirt was fun and easy to make. I would not recommend this as a beginner project, but if you have made a circle skirt with a waist band before, then this is a good project to make. While is not difficult or advanced, it is time consuming. Read below if you want to draft and make your own (or take a commercial pattern and use that)

 

This skirt has a good amount of twirl factor, and the movement is just gorgeous.. To get this volume, I basically drafted a full circle skirt for myself. Then I cut 3 full circle skirts from the pattern. All pieces were a half doughnut cut on the fold of the fabric. I ended up with 6 panels (6 half doughnuts) that I seamed together. After that I free handed some box pleats on the waist. I did not measure or calculate. I just added pleats that are about 2 inches on the top. I also drafted the waist band. If you want to draft your own circle skirt, watch my video:

I used about 5 yards of this fabric. It is a cotton/lycra bottomweight with the look of embroidery on the surface. I have some leftover and will be making a dress for my daughter soon.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I love this skirt. I might not wear it very often but this will be in my wardrobe for a very long time and I will definitely wear it to the next dressed up girls night out!
Sew you next time!
XOXO-Vatsla.

All About Circle Skirts

HI Fashionistas!

I am so in love with circle skirts lately..full circle skirts in particular.. I have been all over Pinterest looking for sewing inspiration for my April project.

I want to experiment with muslin and make a really full circle skirt. Here is my favorite so far. I believe this one is 2 full circle skirts drafted with half the waist measurement to achieve this amount of fullness. It might even have some box pleats added into it.  You could also accomplish this look by using Mccalls 7022, although you might have to add box pleats to the pattern. I’ll know more once I have created a mockup..

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I also love this bright floral one:

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And this one in tulle is simply adorable. This is a full circle skirt with a tailored waistband..Check out the tutorial at the end of the post to see how to attach a tailored waist band to a skirt..

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Here is the only circle skirt I have ever made. This one is probably somewhere between a half and a three-quarter circle skirt in fullness. I drafted this one:

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I also drafted the skirt of this dress. This is also a full circle skirt:

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If you want to learn about drafting and sewing circle skirts, see more below..

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If you want to draft your own circle skirt, here is a tutorial you can use:

Circle skirts can be a bit tricky to hem at 1st. Check out this tutorial for hemming a circular hem:

How to hem a circle skirt/ round hem  Click HERE

 How to attach a tailored waist band to a skirt  Click HERE

I hope this inspired you to sew! Let me know what you think about circle skirts. I wasn’t a big fan of these when I started sewing.. but now I am totally in love. They are one of the easiest to draft and sew and if you have a go to pattern, you can quickly whip one up in a few hours.

I am also thinking of making one in denim soon! See you with my next sewing project and happy sewing until then!

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 🙂

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