Category: Tutorials

Tips and tricks on sewing and patternmaking

Tulle Skirt Pattern Winners Announced

 

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For those who will be participating in the Tulle Skirt sew along, I had hosted a giveaway that ended last night.  The winners have been announced below.

Pattern Size 6 to 14: Renee C

Pattern Size 14 to 22: Natasha and Martha Mcintosh

Congrats Ladies!!!

Please submit your mailing address to fashionbehindtheseams@gmail.com so I can get these mailed this week. Or you can use the contact form below to do the same.

CONGRATS to the winners and I can’t wait to get started! The sew along starts September 1st and we have 35 people signed up to sew with us!

It’s not too late to sign up!  To join, you can either subscribe to the blog here or sign up by joining this Facebook group

This is the skirt we will be making.

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Tulle Skirt Sew Along Announcement and Pattern Giveaway!

On Sunday night, I was working on a supply list for a tulle skirts tutorial I am working on, and it occurred to me… why not host a sew along? I remember many years ago, I wanted to make a three-tier tulle skirt (it’s still on my bucket list). Back then I did not have the confidence to make garments. I looked everywhere for an easy to follow tutorial and didn’t find anything that satisfied me. Some were much better than others, but the finishing always confused me.. I was overall just intimidated by handling tulle..

Since then I attended fashion school, completed an internship and have made a quite a few tulle skirts, like the hot pink one featured here…Once we are done with the sew-along, you will know how to make one of these skirts below!

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This one shown below that I made last-minute for a friends photo shoot

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WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this sew along, you can learn how to:

  • Gather tulle the easy way (no pulling strings or using dental floss to gather!)
  • pattern selection, taking measurements and adjusting the pattern to fit
  • sew and press seams, and sew a circle skirt from start to finish
  • Apply a straight waistband
  • Install an invisible zipper
  • Finishing technique – stitch in the ditch
  • Finishing technique- how to hem a circular skirt

You can then re-use these techniques in making other garments and make all types of skirts! For example, if you learn how to apply a waist band on this skirt, you can apply a waist band on shorts and pants! If you learn how to apply a zipper on this skirt, you can apply a zipper on any garment! This project will not only build your skill set, but also your sewing confidence!

The Sew Along start date is September 1st. I will publish a supply list on Tuesday September `1st , so you have one week to get your supplies before we jump into cutting and sewing on Tuesday September 8th!

When I publish a supply list, I will also publish a schedule for the sew along. Based on your skill level, you might be able to jump ahead. In general, we will follow this schedule:

TIMETABLE /SCHEDULE

Part 1: Supply list along pattern suggestions

Part 2: Prep and cut pattern, gather tulle

Part 3: Sewing up majority of the Skirt

Part 4: Sewing and attaching the waist band

Part 5: Finishing techniques (Zipper and heming)

FACEBOOK GROUP:

I have set up a Facebook group for the sew along. This will be a place for Q&A, posting pictures of our progress, sharing inspiration pics and of course proudly modelling our final skirts! You can follow the sew along by either subscribing to my blog here or connecting with me and others in the Facebook group. You can join the FB group HERE

PATTERN GIVEAWAY!

Since different pattern companies and fabric stores have pattern sales at different times, I wanted to go ahead make a few pattern suggestion. You can use any circle skirt pattern really. Here are some suggestions: Simplicty 1200 , Mccalls M7197. You can use any circle skirt pattern instead. Just remember that we will be making a midi length and I suggest something that has a straight waist band, two side seams and a centre back seam. Lets keep it simple! I will be using Mccalls M719 to make my tulle skirt.

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I also have three extra Mccalls M7197 patterns that I will be giving away today. I have two in the size 14-22 range and one in the size 6 to 14 range. So if you are interesting in winning this pattern for the sew along, all you have to do to enter the giveaway is a leave a comment below with which size you would like to win. You can enter now through August 24th. Three winners will be announced August 25th!

I can’t wait to sew along with you. Hope to see you soon!

-XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

 

 

Pattern Making using Painters Tape!

I recently saw this on pinterest I believe, and was curious. I have created some patterns from RTW, but I usually use a method that requires poking several sewing pins into the garment along the seams lines.  I was wanting to sew yesterday but didn’t have a pattern for jeans so decided to give this method a try! See below for step by step instructions on how. Let me start by saying that I work out of my kitchen. I pattern make on the kitchen island and sew in our music room. So if you see any tomatoes, melons, pots and pans in the background, please excuse them. I promised them their five seconds of fame 🙂

So this is a very basic method. Not technical at all. You grab a roll of painters tape and create an outline for each individual pattern piece. To create the outline, I tore off small pieces of painters tape and placed them on the stitch line or seams. The image below if of the front leg. My aim here is to flatten the front leg and paste the tape on it, such that I can get a one-dimensional rub off of the leg.

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Next, I filled in the outline with more painters tape:IMG_8072

 

 

Once this was done, I was able to peel off the tape, and it came off as one big chunk. I then placed it on pattern paper and made sure it was flat.  Next, I used this nifty measuring gauge to add a half-inch seam allowance all around. The dotted line became the outline of my pattern piece for the front leg and I used the dotted line as a guide to cut out the pattern. IMG_8074

This is what the pattern looked like after cutting it. Say hi to Poochie!!!IMG_8080

And my kid wanted to make an appearance as well. Love this little stinker..IMG_8083

You can leave the tape on if you like, but I pulled it off and added a grainline, name of the pattern, and how many to cut. I added an awl punch at the crotch. I didn’t care to add notches, but typically I would. This pattern is so simple that I did not bother. IMG_8087

That’s it! That’s all you have to do to create a pattern. Repeat this step for all patterns pieces on your garment and you can replicate your favourite garment over and over again.

Now the back I did slightly different because the pant leg on the back is usually wider than the front leg as you can see below.

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To overcome this , I first taped just like I did the front leg. I re-used the tape from the front because I hate wasting and killing the environment, so I try my best to re-use. I was not too careful about taping at first. Then I went in with a pen and outlined along the stitch line to get the accurate shape.IMG_8091

This is what the back looked like when I was done with the portion of the back leg that sat flat. I still had to tackle the part of the back leg that extends beyond the side crease to the side seam.IMG_8096

For this I flattened the pant leg, allowing me to tape all the way to the side seam. My finger is pointing to where the side crease was . That’s it! IMG_8097

I did the same with the back yoke, waist band and pocket. I also tried drafting the pocket but it was not as accurate as using painters tape. IMG_8098

Here is the waist band. It’s a contoured waist band as this is a low-rise pair of jeans. Be sure to make CF and CB on the waist band as the waist band has an extension and this can be confusing while sewing. I also recommend using notches to match up the Centre Front, Centre Back, and side seams.IMG_8100

If you liked this tutorial, check out the rest of my tutorials HERE

The one thing I have to figure out is adding the front facing fly before I can cut. To make things super simple, I am going to go with a mock fly zipper and use this pattern as a base.

I am hoping to finish the pattern today and then cut and sew hopefully tomorrow. I would be beyond excited if I can get this completed this week. I know there are some amazing sewing divas out there that pop out a new garment every other day,  but I have to be realistic about my sewing goals, given all my other commitments.

Anyhooz- tell me what you think about this method. Have you used it? If so, do you love it? Or do you have another preferred method? I prefer this over cutting up the garment. It wastes tape, but its more green than cutting up the garment and wasting it. There are so many poor people in this world that could use old clothes, so I really don’t want to destroy any garments.  I’ll be back with my white skinnies soon .Send me some sewing motivation <3

 

Update: I made my skinny jeans using this method and you can see there HERE

-XOXO

-Vatsla.

 

French Sailor Inspired DIY Dress- Navy Blue and White Stripes

The 4th of July totally inspired me to sew with stripes and I decided to make a dress inspired by the French Sailors shirt. Initially I thought I would make a boat neckline, but ended up going with my very favourite scoop neck.  Here is what I came up with.

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Love Love LOVE the three-quarter sleeve length on this and the fitted silhouette. I actually wanted more ease to begin with but i never feel “put together” unless I have a good fit.. so I took it in some.IMG_7794

Here is the back view. I think this pattern is simple and sews up beautifully but definitely has a good amount of ease. The last time I sewed with this pattern, I ended up adding a centre back seam to accomplish a better fit. I skipped that step here becuase I would have to match up the stripes on one more seam (“Ain’t no body got time for dat”) 🙂

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I previously made a high low black dress HERE using the same pattern . I already had the pattern cut up so I ended up re-using it. This is an easy pattern to sew up and is great for beginners.

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I actually started making this on the 4th of July, but finished it yesterday while my kiddo napped. I took her to a local kids library and wore her out. She slept extra long so mommy could sew!

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I did not have to do much to style this dress. It is so chic on its own! I threw on some nude pumps and these beautiful silver meenakari earrings that are a gift from my mum. I kept the makeup fairly simple with a dark eye and nude lips.IMG_7806

Here is my inspiration pic for this dress, minus the midriff. Mine turned out pretty nice, me thinks..

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Hope you all had a lovely 4th of July! We celebrated freedom by having some friends over and lighting kids sized fireworks and cooking out! I was super delighted to serve up veggies from my garden!

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PATTERN: I used Mccalls M6886 view C . I did not do any pattern alterations. The dress was bit on the waist, so I took it in by one inch on each side and pegged in the hem about an inch on each side as well. I cut the size 6

FABRIC: I used a seasonal knit from Hobby Lobby. You can find similar fabrics HERE, HERE and HERE. The fabric I used was fairly thin and kind of see through. To get around that I undelined all the pattern pieces with a tissue knit before sewing them together.

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Underlining a fabric totally changes its body and drape. I liked it a lot better when it was thicker. If you are a beginner, I suggest using a thicker knit, or double knit or a ponte knit if you can. They are more stable than the thinner knits and makes sewing easier!

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SEWING: The dress is easy to sew. You can use this technique to sew the dress up. For the hem, you can use a twin needle or a cover stitch. I used a coverstitch machine to finish the hem and neckline.

You can also see another version of this dress I made HERE.  The rest of my sewing tutorials can be found HERE.

I hope that this inspired you to create something! Until next time,

XOXO

 

Easy DIY Ruffled Lace Tank Tutorial with Linen Pants

Hello and Happy May! Hard to believe it’s May already! Its my birthday month and I am going to celebrate all month long by sewing!

I wanted to share with you a really quick and easy DIY project. This is a ruffled tank with a lace embellishment around the neckline. I made this tank about three years ago and it has been a wardrobe staple ever since. Simple instructions on how to make your own below!

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I like this look with or without the nautical belt. This is such an effortless look, yet it is stylish and chic. I mean, we are talking a tank top and linen pants, but the lace around the neck and arms make this tank so dressy and dainty.

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Love the fact that these pants are not only wide leg, but they have a bit of a flare towards the bottom. The pants are unlined. I did not make these pants, but I did alter them to fit. IMG_6922*

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This tank top is so versatile and it can be worn so many ways! I have worn this tank top so many different ways. I wore it pre-pregnancy:

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I wore it during my pregnancy, it stretched as I did!

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I even wore it to my pregnancy shoot! I wore it with jeans, maxi skirts, shorts, and I am still wearing it today!

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I wore it for Mothers Day brunch last year (what’s with that look on my kids face? Must be poop-face :))

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Easy DIY instructions below for anyone that is interesting in getting this look:

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SUPPLIES: Any tank top, lace trim. You  can find lace time and fabric and craft stores like Joanns, Hancocks and Hobby Lobby.

SEWING:

Step 1: Start with a flat piece of lace trim and then create pleats in the lace about 1.5 inches apart as shown below. IMG_1415

IMG_1413Once the lace is pleated, it can easily be bent into a curve as shown below:

Step 2: Place the pleated trim on the neckline from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Fold the lace under on the edges for a clean finish. Pin in place.

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Step 3: Sew the pleated lace onto the neckline from shoulder seam to shoulder seam and fold the edges of the lace under for a clean finish as shown below:

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Final Step: Wear it and show it off!! What a super simple diy project. This would be so cute to wear to brunch with jeans and a string of pearls, or for a shopping day out with the girls! The tank I used was a $8 tank I had picked up from Old Navy many moons ago. This would also look so cute in black. Instead of using lace, you can use any fabric trim, or even scrap fabric! This is also such an easy and cute DIY for mommy and me outfits. I think I might just make one for my kid!

To view the rest of my tutorials, click HERE

I hope you enjoyed this DIY and I  hope this inspired you!! Have a lovely rest of the week.

-XOXO

 

Behind The Seams : The Power of Pressing & Pressing 101

HI Folks!

Today we are taking a tour behind the seams (literally)! I want to spend some time on a topic I used to hate as a beginner: pressing while sewing. It is very important to incorporate pressing while sewing as opposed to pressing after finishing sewing. There are so many components to a garment like facings, seams, darts, lining etc. and its very hard to get inside the garment and press it correctly after the fact, Pressing as you sew will not only make your garments look professional but it will also make the construction process a lot easier as the fabric will behave and co-operate. Think of pressing as sculpting the fabric to comply. Heat and steam are your best friends when it comes to sewing!

I have documented how to correctly press a seam in three easy steps below. Pressing will take your garment from homemade to professional. Before we get started, I want to show you what a beautifully pressed seam looks like:

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In my many years of sewing , I have noticed that a lot of sewists tend to skip over this very important step. Why? Because as creative people we are eager to get finished and see the end result. But in sewing garments, there is no such thing as instant gratification. To demonstrate the importance of pressing every seam while sewing, I have sewn up two miniature size bodices cut from the same pattern.   On the garment on the left, I pressed the princess seams after I sewed them up . On the right is the exact same garment, without the pressing. As you can see on the right, the seams are very 3- D and wrinkled. We want our seams to look more flat and wrinkle free as we are sewing.

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Given that sewing is such a long process from getting inspired, to sourcing the fabric, to either pattern making or buying the pattern, cutting the pattern, cutting the fabric, sewing it up, making final alterations etc before you can actually put it on, what’s another step right? If you have sewn up even one garment and ignored the pressing step, I want you to repeat after me: “Pressing is an integral part of sewing, I will press EVERY dart and seam after I sew it”. Trust me, sewing and pressing must go hand in hand, they are eternal soul mates. Details below on how to correctly press a seam…

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Pressing any seam is a three-step process.The technique is essentially the same for a curved seam, but you want to press the curve using a tailors ham or seam roll.

Step 1: With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, press the seam while giving it steam. The steam will loosen up the fibres in the thread and in the fabric and allow them to relax, getting rid of any puckers or wrinkles.

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Step 2: With the right side of the fabric facing the ironing board and wrong side facing the sky, finger press the seam allowance towards the desired side and then press it while giving it steam.

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Step 3: With the right side of the fabric facing the sky and wrong side facing the ironing board, press once again using steam. In this step, you want to ensure that there is no fabric overlapping on the seam. To ensure that, pull the fabric taut while pressing as shown below:

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Optional Step (For difficult fabrics or heavy fabrics)

If you have a fabric that does not respond well to pressing, or if you want really crisp seams, you can use a tailors clapper as the final step. To use tailors clapper, you can steam press as shown above and then press the seam with the clapper. The clapper absorbs the excess moisture and locks in the heat. It helps flatten the seam and you will have a crisp seam in the end.

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Here is the final seam.

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I hope this helped you learn something new about the importance of pressing! Happy Tuesday and I would to hear about what you are working on next 🙂

For more tutorials, click HERE

-XOXO

 

 

Behind The Seams: How to draft a peplum

Hi Everyone!

Looks like Tuesdays might end up being “Tutorial Tuesdays”. A few days ago, a fellow sewist shared this picture and asked how she could draft the peplum for  a blouse.  I have documented step by step instructions below on how to draft a peplum.  Peplums are really easy to draft and you need only one measurement: your waist.

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First of all I want you to think of a peplum as a baby version of a circle skirt, because that is essentially what it is. A peplum sits on the waist and looks most flattering when worn on the natural waist, which is the smallest part of the torso. The natural waist for most women is slightly above the belly button.

Some more examples of peplums….

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And here is the famous Victoria Beckham Sheath dress that you can buy for $3145… or you can learn this DIY and make your own!

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Peplums are found on blouses, dresses, skirts, jackets and come in all shapes and sizes. I have seen peplums with gathers, box pleats, inverted box pleats and many more variations.

Follow the steps below to draft your very own peplum! I  took this pictures in a rush, so excuse the free hand sketching. It’s not fancy, but if you understand the technique, then that is all the matters!

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You will need the following measurements: waist (Measurment A) and desired height of peplum (Measurement B) ,Pattern paper, tape, scissors and drafting pens or pencils.

Step 1: Draw a rectangle using measurement A and measurement B

IMG_6525Then draw lines shown in blue that are somewhat equidistant.

IMG_6526Step 2: Cut along the blue lines almost to the top, but don’t cut all the way. This allows you to spread the pattern.This is called the Splash and Spread Method

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Step 3:  Tape down the original pattern at the top. This is still our original waist measurement. On the bottom of the pattern, you will start spreading the pattern as shown below. You could insert one inch in each opening, or 2 inches for a fuller peplum. Tape down the bottom of the pattern after you have spread it.

 

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If you want a fuller peplum, you can spread the pattern even more as shown here

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Step 4: Next add seam allowance so this can be sewn up properly. Also add a hem on the bottom. I have shown this in red. This is the pattern for the front of the peplum

 

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To draft the back, all you have to do is fold the pattern above in half and add a seam allowance along the centre back to accomodate the zipper.

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Hi-Lo Variation:If you are going for a hi-lo peplum in the back, you can simply extend the centre back by your desired measurement (green line) as shown below before adding the seam allowance (shown in red)

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It was fun making it and trying out a different kind of peplum, but I think I will go back to my favorite style, which is this white one and this blue one, that I left drafted using this tutorial. If you want your peplum to have a stiff hem like my white peplum below, consider sewing in some horse hair braid to the hem. I used a one inch HHB you can find HERE

 

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Want to learn more about pattern making in a way that makes sense? Check out Suzy’s pattern making classes HERE. Suzy is brilliant. I learned everything I know about pattern making from her.

I hope this helped! If you have any questions, leave a comment and sign up for more sewing tips and tricks below!

-Vatsla 🙂

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