Category: Tutorials

Tips and tricks on sewing and patternmaking

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 🙂

How to hem knits using a twin needle

HI Folks,

Last week I did a tutorial on how to attach a sleeve and a lot of people found that helpful.  I received a request from a fellow sewist to do a tutorial on hemming knits using a twin needle, which you can see below.

This is what a twin needle looks like. It has two needles as the name suggests and it allows you to create a cover-stitch without using a cover stitch machine.  You can find this needle at fabric stores or online. For knits, make sure you are using a stretch twin needle for best results

For the purpose of this demo,  I am using a red thread on the left needle, green thread on the right needle, and yellow thread on the bobbin.

Step 1: Replace your regular needle with a twin needle.

Step 2: Adjust the needle position to make sure it does not hit the metal on the presser foot. Lower the needles manually using the handwheel to make sure the needle wont break once you start sewing.

Step 3: Threading the needles: This is a very important step. If this is not done correctly, the threads can get tangled up and cause a lot of frustration.

The left spool will be placed exactly where you place the spool when you are sewing with a single needle. The right spool will be placed where you normally place the bobbin before winding the bobbin. You will need to place an extra spool holder on top of the bobbin winder. See illustration below

Be sure to thread the left needle before you thread the right needle. If you thread them together and treat both threads as one, you will have tangling. The left needle will be threaded EXACTLY the same way you thread a single needle, so go ahead thread as normal. For the right needle, thread it exactly the same as the left needle EXCEPT the very last step. The last step of threading a needle is passing the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. You will skip this step for the right needle. Please note that your needle bar guide might look different than mine, so refer to your user manual in case yours doesnt resemble mine.

In Summary:

Left Needle: Thread this as normal, passing the thread through the needle bar guide

Right Needle:  Thread this as normal, but do not pass the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. In the illustration below I am using red arrows to show you how to thread the left needle and green arrows to show you how to thread the right needle.

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While this step is pretty universal, refer to the user manual of your machine as well.

Step 4:  Place the fabric under the presser foot with the hem folded under. Lower the needle manually once to secure the fabric. Then grab the two top threads and tuck them underneath the presser foot to avoid tangling.

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To start hemming, back-stitch twice to lock the stitch and then forward stitch. When you get to the end of your stitch, back-stitch again. This is what the hem will look like on the correct side of the garment:

This is what the hem will look like on the backside of the garment. Of course you will use the same color thread. I used different colors for the sake of the demo.

This finish can be used on necklines, armholes, sleeves, hems at the bottom of shirts, dresses, skirts etc. In this case, you will be sewing in the round. I recommend backstitching at the start and end regardless of what you are hemming. Always try the hem on scrap fabric before hemming your garment because all fabrics are different and you might need to adjust your tension accordingly.

I used this technique to hem the neckline, sleeves and bottom of this top:

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To see some garments I have hemmed using this technique, click HERE or HERE. To see other sewing tutorials, click HERE. You can find a stretch twin needle HERE.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful.  The twin needle is also used on woven fabrics as a decorative stitch. The same steps above would apply to a woven using a non stretch needle. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I will be doing more tutorials in the near future, so please subscribe to my blog if you are interested. Also, please let me know what other topics/ tutorials you would find helpful.

See you soon!! Happy Sewing!

XOXO

How to attach a sleeve (The easy way)

Hello everyone and Happy Tuesday!

I am currently working on my project for the week and wanted to share a trick that makes attaching sleeves a lot easier. If you are new to sewing, you might find the traditional method of “setting in a sleeve” a bit intimidating. The method below is the easiest way to attach a sleeve since it does not require you to sew the sleeve at the underarm seam and then sew the sleeve into the armhole. Please note that this technique only works on knit fabrics

Step 1: Pin and sew the shoulder seams, with the correct side of the fabric facing each other

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Step 2: Pin and sew the sleeve cap to the armhole from side seam to side seam.

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Step 3: Placing the fabric right sides together, pin the entire underarm seam and the side seam as shown below:

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Step 4: Make one continuous stitch along the underarm seam and the side seam. And VOILA! You are done!

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Another reason I like using this technique is that it makes alterations a breeze. Lets say you made something using a new fabric that you have not worked with before. If it ends up being too big, you can easily take in the sleeve and the side seam in one go, instead of picking up the dreaded seam ripper and removing the sleeve and then re-attaching it. If you are using a serger instead of a sewing machine, using a seam ripper is no fun!

For hemming knits, I prefer a twin needle instead of a zig zag stitch.

You can see my tutorial on how to use a twin needle HERE

UPDATE: Since writing this tutorial, I invested in a cover stitch machine and love this baby!

UPDATE: The finished leopard print tee can be seen HERE

 

See you next time and until then, I’ll be hiding behind the seams 🙂

-Vatsla

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