Category: Tutorials

Tips and tricks on sewing and patternmaking

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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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. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

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:

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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!

XOXO-

Vatsla 🙂

 

 

 

 

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