Category: Sewing Quick Tip

Tailored Denim Shorts- Simplicity 8391 Review

HI, Fashionistas!

Happy end of summer! Hope you had a lovely summer and are enjoying cooler temps! My kid started pre school this week and I am REALLY enjoying the structure that comes with drop offs and pick-ups and planning my day around it.

So I am hoping to catch up on sharing some summer sewing projects with you. One of my favorite makes this summer was this pair of tailored shorts. They are so simple yet so chic. Sometimes easy projects can be so rewarding to make.

I have always wanted tailored shorts made in denim, a dressy pair of shorts if you will. So here is what I came up with based on my inspiration picture 🙂 I am recommending some pressing tools towards the end of the post if you want to go for a more tailored look on your garments. 

How do you plan your sewing projects? Do you browse patterns on sale, and get inspired based on what you see in the pattern catalogs, or do you look for a pattern to match your inspiration picture or your sketch? I typically tend to find my inspiration from people watching or Pinterest, and then go hunting for the perfect pattern that can either be sewn out of the envelope or modified to match my inspiration picture.

Here is my inspiration picture

It was not too hard to find a pattern for these shorts, I needed to look for a pattern that has a slant pocket so that I could add the gold shank buttons like my inspiration picture. I found Simplicity 8391 view D.

I wanted my shorts to have slightly more wearing ease than the inspiration picture. I also wanted them to be slightly longer.  I did make a muslin to get the fit perfected, but other than that, I did not need to make any pattern alterations. I cut the size 6, which was larger on the hips.  After I made the muslin and tried them on, I ended up removing ½ inch from the side seams.

For the fabric, I chose a denim that had 1% spandex in it. Personally, I like to work with wovens that have a small amount of stretch. In my opinion, it makes the fitting easier because you have some flexibility when the fabric has some stretch.  My happy place is 1% to 2 % of spandex in the fiber content of the fabric.

Here are some more pictures of the shorts

Loving the slant pockets.

Here is the back and side view:

And a view from the side 🙂

 

Sewing Tips

Here are some sewing tips I would like to offer when making a tailored pair of shorts:

  • Use pressing tools to get that crisp look on seams, edges, and hems. I like to use a tailors clapper and press cloth to get defined, crisp seams. I have described both the tools below:
  • Tailors Clapper: I like to use a tailor’s clapper .When pressing my seams. A clapper is made of wood and it helps to seal in the heat and the steam from the iron and gives you that impeccably tailored look!
  • Press Cloth: While pressing, I like to use a press cloth and give the seams a good amount of heat and steam while pressing. A press cloth will help eliminate shine and protect your fabric. I like to use a sheer press cloth so I can see what I am pressing, but a scrap piece of muslin will do too!
  • Gravity Feed Iron: I am going to list this one as “optional” only because while you don’t need to invest in a gravity feed iron, it a gravity feed iron is definitely a professional tailors iron. A good domestic iron with steam when combined with a clapper and press cloth will also elevate your sewing, but put if you can add this to your sewing room, I HIGHLY recommend it. They are very sturdy and can last you 5 to 10 years!
  • Sewing Shank buttons: When sewing on shank buttons, you can stabilize them by sewing a small two hole or four hole button on the back. You would loop your thread through both the buttons. This will prevent the shank buttons from drooping. I used shank buttons with a 3/4 inch diameter on the front and four hole buttons with a 1/2 inch diameter in the back.

Simplicity 8391 Pattern Review and Suggestions

This pattern is easy and simple to use.  The instructions were pretty clear and straightforward. I noticed that the shorts instructions did not include applying the waistband, so you will need to refer to the skirt instructions (view B) on applying the waistband.

While making the muslin I also realized that it was best for me to replace the pocket facing fabric with a thinner cotton in a similar color as the fashion fabric. Once I had attached the pocket and pocket facing to the shorts front, that was 3 layers of fabric. Once the short front was attached to the shorts back, that was 4 layers of fabric and was noticeably bulky. So when I cut the actual fabric, I cut the pocket facing in a dark blue cotton sateen as opposed to the fashion fabric. I am glad I did that!

Overall, I am pretty pleased with this pattern, and now that I have the fit perfected, I will probably trace this pattern onto thicker pattern paper and hang it up on a garment rack for re-use!

I hope that you found this pattern review helpful and enjoyed reading this post! What has been your favorite summer make and what are you planning for the fall? I am planning on doing a lot of cardi’s and lose coats for the fall/ winter. I have pretty much decided that my uniform for fall is going to be black and denim and I plan to sew more outerwear.. but more on that later.. 

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

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!

 

XOXO

 

-Vatsla.

 

Gathered Maxi Skirt in Chiffon

This is my very first time making a gathered maxi skirt. I chose this beautiful and summery print. The fabric is a chiffon. I see gathered maxi skirts everywhere but never thought to make one prior to this. 

This is my second time working with chiffon. The first time I failed miserably, so it has taken me a long time to pick this type of fabric up again! This time around I took an online class on working with sheers. I’ll include that information for you and also some tips and tricks  I picked up to make this project a success.

If you saw my silk top, I mentioned some of the challenges I ran into. Since then, I took this online class on sewing with sheers and I was better prepared to deal with a sheer fabric. I do recommend taking this class if you want to take away some of the frustration of working with sheers.  

Here is the back and side view:

I used an invisible zipper on the center back. I was a bit worried about how fragile the chiffon is, but I doubled it up on the center back by folding the chiffon under. This gave me two layers of chiffon, which is more stable than one. I also have a full lining on the skirt, so the lining also added some stability. 

Here are some things I learned from this sewing project:

  • Never cut chiffon on the fold. Only cut one layer at a time!
  • Cut the fabric by placing it on top of paper. This stabilizes it and if the paper is a rectangle, you can use the edges of the paper to make sure your straight grain and cross grain are correctly aligned while cutting.

Here are some challenges I had with this project:

  • Keeping the fabric straight while cutting! It was challenging. 
  • My fabric around my zipper was a bit “ruffly”. Luckily for me, the skirt is gathered, so the imperfection is hidden. 

The skirt hit floor length with heels on, which is how I plan to wear it. I paired it with a white tee. Here are some pictures of the garment construction:


I drafted a straight waistband using my waist measurement. I top stitched two rows on the top of the waistband.

The skirt is lined.  The lining is an A-line skirt instead of a gathered skirt to reduce bulk.  For the fashion fabric, I gathered it manually and attached it to the lining. Then attached the lining to the waistband.  So the entire piece is self-drafted/ free handed.

This is the fabric I used. I hope you enjoyed this project!  I am working on a pair of denim shorts next- think dressy, tailored shorts in denim. 

ps- I also started a sewing newsletter, in which I share more sewing news, tips, and tricks! Sign up using the pink sign up box below !!

XOXO

-Vatsla

How to Draft a Petal Sleeve : Tutorial

Hi Fashionistas!

I have been meaning to film this quick video on how to draft a petal sleeve or tulip sleeve, but for some reason, it’s taking the longest.  I’ve been trying to film overhead so I can give you the best possible angle so you can see the pattern making. I’ve also been trying out new equipment like a new audio recorder. To be honest, I am not very tech savvy and even editing a video in I movie intimidates me! So I am back to doing it the simple way. I took a bunch of pictures and I will just walk you through it! It is very easy!

Before we jump in, let’s have a look at a sample I made from the pattern I drafted for this demo. A petal sleeve is a two piece sleeve where you as the designer chooses whether the back overlaps the front, or whether the front overlaps the back.  You can see examples of both below

 

Now let’s jump into the drafting!

Step 1: Take any basic sleeve. If this is your 1st time drafting a petal sleeve, pick a basic sleeve that does not have much design detail. In other words, stay away from a sleeve that already has gathers, tucks, pleats etc..

Before we move forward, let us look at the anatomy of the sleeve. As you can see below, we have the double notch indicating the back of the sleeve, the single notch indicating the front of the sleeve, the grain line and also the shoulder notch. The shoulder notch is the location where the sleeve connects to the shoulder seam on the bodice. On commercial patterns, you may see a circle instead of the shoulder notch.

Step 2: Trace 2 copies of your sleeve pattern. If you have a needlepoint tracing wheel, you can use this to trace. If not, you can also place a semi-opaque paper on top of your original pattern and trace it that way.

Be sure to copy the notches onto the copies of the sleeve.

Step 3: Measure 2-3 inches out from the shoulder notch along the shoulder cap and mark a new notch. I have shown that in black. We will be creating the back petal sleeve in this step

Using either free handing or a french curve, connect the corner where the side seam and the hem meet to the black notch on the opposite side of the sleeve as shown below.

Cut along this curved line. This below is now your back petal of the sleeve. The double notch on this patterns indicates the back of the sleeve.

Step 4:

Flip the piece you just drafted on step 3 and place it on the 2nd copy you traced in step 2.    Now trace the curve on the 2nd copy of sleeve as shown below:

Cut along the newly traced line.

This is the front of the sleeve.

 

Now if you match the sleeve front and the sleeve back at the shoulder seam, you have a brand new petal sleeve! Be sure to copy the grain line over to both pattern pieces!

That is pretty much it!

If you overlay the 2 new sleeve pieces on top of the original sleeve you traced from, you will notice that it matches perfectly. The fit of the sleeve is not impacted by this pattern changed and you can decide whether you want the front to overlap the back or for the back to overlap the front!

Sewing Tip: If you are using a knit, you can hem the petals individually as you would normally hem a knit by turning it under. If you are sewing with a woven, I highly recommend lining the sleeve for a clean finish. You could self-line or line with an interesting bright fabric or print lining for a pop of color!

Here is a sample I sewed up with this pattern:

 

I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful. Now IF I figure out how to work this monstrosity of a gadget below, I will turn these images into a quick slide show and do a voice over and make a quick video for those of you who are like me and get confused by a lot of words.

 

Talk soon Fashionistas. Let me know. did you find this helpful? What else would you like to see?

Thanks!!

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

picmonkey-collage

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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I drafted the pattern and facings:

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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!

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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.

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Here is the view from the side:

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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!

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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.

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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!

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

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