Category: Tutorials

Tips and tricks on sewing and patternmaking

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.

 

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

Who Wore it Best? 80’s Prom dress turned Minnie Mouse!

HI Fashionistas!

Hope you are having a good week so far! My daughter turned three last month and we celebrated by having her friends over at a bounce house. She requested a pink Minnie Mouse dress for her birthday and I had exactly what I wanted to make in mind. A few weeks before her party, I was out shopping at Estate sales, which is a hobby of mine. I came across this prom dress from the 80’s that screamed shoulder pads and sleeve headings. But I saw the potential. All I could think was Minnie Mouse 🙂 So I did some nip and tuck and gave this dress a makeover.

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READ MORE

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. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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