Category: Tutorials

Tips and tricks on sewing and patternmaking

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. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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.
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