Category: What I made

About what I made and how I styled it

Yellow Seersucker Cold Shoulder (CopyCat) Top

Hi, Fashionistas!

I was so excited to sew with a beautiful yellow seersucker I found at Fabric Mart recently.  Here is the top I made:

You see, I have been the slowest to catch on to the cold shoulder trend. I know, it’s been around for a while and is continuing into fall fashions.  I was meeting my hubby for pizza one night and had some time to kill. So I decided to do some window shopping when I saw and tried on this RTW top.. and loved it. 

So.. I made a pattern… and found the perfect fabric.

And made my own version! I really do love the tent shape of this top. It is very different than the usual type of garments I make and wear, which typically tend to be more fitted.

 

 

Yes, that’s a pen in m hair 🙂  My kid has two most frequently asked questions lately..”Mommy, why do you have a pen in your hair?” and “Mommy, are you talking to yourself again”? #momlife

 

I drafted a facing and modified the sleeves a bit by removing the band at the bottom and hemming them instead

I also made the straps a fixed length as opposed to adjustable.

Overall I am pretty happy with the way the top turned out.  I topstitched all around the neckline to ensure the facing was sitting down. 

 

I actually started making another version in a white cotton, but that one is still a work in progress. I may or may not get to wear that one this year!

I hope you enjoyed this make!  I am going to work on some maxi dresses next! Fall is coming!! Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather. I sure am!

See you soon

XOXO- Vatsla

Tailored Denim Shorts- Simplicity 8391 Review

HI, Fashionistas!

Happy end of summer! Hope you had a lovely summer and are enjoying cooler temps! My kid started pre school this week and I am REALLY enjoying the structure that comes with drop offs and pick-ups and planning my day around it.

So I am hoping to catch up on sharing some summer sewing projects with you. One of my favorite makes this summer was this pair of tailored shorts. They are so simple yet so chic. Sometimes easy projects can be so rewarding to make.

I have always wanted tailored shorts made in denim, a dressy pair of shorts if you will. So here is what I came up with based on my inspiration picture 🙂 I am recommending some pressing tools towards the end of the post if you want to go for a more tailored look on your garments. 

How do you plan your sewing projects? Do you browse patterns on sale, and get inspired based on what you see in the pattern catalogs, or do you look for a pattern to match your inspiration picture or your sketch? I typically tend to find my inspiration from people watching or Pinterest, and then go hunting for the perfect pattern that can either be sewn out of the envelope or modified to match my inspiration picture.

Here is my inspiration picture

It was not too hard to find a pattern for these shorts, I needed to look for a pattern that has a slant pocket so that I could add the gold shank buttons like my inspiration picture. I found Simplicity 8391 view D.

I wanted my shorts to have slightly more wearing ease than the inspiration picture. I also wanted them to be slightly longer.  I did make a muslin to get the fit perfected, but other than that, I did not need to make any pattern alterations. I cut the size 6, which was larger on the hips.  After I made the muslin and tried them on, I ended up removing ½ inch from the side seams.

For the fabric, I chose a denim that had 1% spandex in it. Personally, I like to work with wovens that have a small amount of stretch. In my opinion, it makes the fitting easier because you have some flexibility when the fabric has some stretch.  My happy place is 1% to 2 % of spandex in the fiber content of the fabric.

Here are some more pictures of the shorts

Loving the slant pockets.

Here is the back and side view:

And a view from the side 🙂

 

Sewing Tips

Here are some sewing tips I would like to offer when making a tailored pair of shorts:

  • Use pressing tools to get that crisp look on seams, edges, and hems. I like to use a tailors clapper and press cloth to get defined, crisp seams. I have described both the tools below:
  • Tailors Clapper: I like to use a tailor’s clapper .When pressing my seams. A clapper is made of wood and it helps to seal in the heat and the steam from the iron and gives you that impeccably tailored look!
  • Press Cloth: While pressing, I like to use a press cloth and give the seams a good amount of heat and steam while pressing. A press cloth will help eliminate shine and protect your fabric. I like to use a sheer press cloth so I can see what I am pressing, but a scrap piece of muslin will do too!
  • Gravity Feed Iron: I am going to list this one as “optional” only because while you don’t need to invest in a gravity feed iron, it a gravity feed iron is definitely a professional tailors iron. A good domestic iron with steam when combined with a clapper and press cloth will also elevate your sewing, but put if you can add this to your sewing room, I HIGHLY recommend it. They are very sturdy and can last you 5 to 10 years!
  • Sewing Shank buttons: When sewing on shank buttons, you can stabilize them by sewing a small two hole or four hole button on the back. You would loop your thread through both the buttons. This will prevent the shank buttons from drooping. I used shank buttons with a 3/4 inch diameter on the front and four hole buttons with a 1/2 inch diameter in the back.

Simplicity 8391 Pattern Review and Suggestions

This pattern is easy and simple to use.  The instructions were pretty clear and straightforward. I noticed that the shorts instructions did not include applying the waistband, so you will need to refer to the skirt instructions (view B) on applying the waistband.

While making the muslin I also realized that it was best for me to replace the pocket facing fabric with a thinner cotton in a similar color as the fashion fabric. Once I had attached the pocket and pocket facing to the shorts front, that was 3 layers of fabric. Once the short front was attached to the shorts back, that was 4 layers of fabric and was noticeably bulky. So when I cut the actual fabric, I cut the pocket facing in a dark blue cotton sateen as opposed to the fashion fabric. I am glad I did that!

Overall, I am pretty pleased with this pattern, and now that I have the fit perfected, I will probably trace this pattern onto thicker pattern paper and hang it up on a garment rack for re-use!

I hope that you found this pattern review helpful and enjoyed reading this post! What has been your favorite summer make and what are you planning for the fall? I am planning on doing a lot of cardi’s and lose coats for the fall/ winter. I have pretty much decided that my uniform for fall is going to be black and denim and I plan to sew more outerwear.. but more on that later.. 

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

Pattern Making Tutorial: How to Draft an all in one facing

Hi, Fashionistas!

I wanted to share a recent sewing project with you and show you how to draft all in once facings for patterns that don’t have one included. Drafting small pattern like these are a great way to get familiar with pattern making!

Here is the dress I made. I drafted the all in one facing using the steps outlined in this tutorial.

You may have noticed that most times commercial patterns have separate neck facings and separate arm facings. I prefer all in one facing because they allow you to clean finish your neckline and armholes on a sleeveless garment in one go. They look professional as well.

Before we get started drafting, let’s have a look at the front of the all in one facing. Here is what my front facing looks like after I cut it out:

Here is an example of what my back facings looked like. The center back seams on this picture are overlapping, however, there is a center back opening on this pattern that allows for a back zipper:

Now that we have had a look at the garment and the facing that lies underneath, let’s jump into the tutorial! I will be showing you this method using a miniature pattern. I’ll demonstrate with the front bodice pattern

Step 1: Cut out your bodice pattern. If you have a dart that falls on the shoulder seam or a french dart that falls close to the armhole, shut it close using tape.

Step 2: Keeping the original pattern as flat as possible, trace around the side seam, armhole, shoulder, and neckline and center front. In order to keep your original pattern flat, you can place weights or pin the pattern down on top of pattern paper.  Your traced pattern should look something like this.

Step 3: Next we need to freehand the shape of the bottom of the facing. In order to do this. measure down 3 inches on the center front, and about 2 inches on the side seam, and connect the two using a shape as shown below.If you have a french curve, you can use that to draw such shapes, but free handing works as well!

Step 4 : Copy all the markings from your original pattern to your facing pattern. For example, here I have shown the grain line, fold, CF  for center front. I have also added the name of the pattern piece, which is “front facing” and indicated how many pieces to cut, which is my case is “Cut 1 on fold”

If you were to lay your newly drafted facing pattern on top of the original pattern, it should match

The steps to draft the back facing are exactly the same. Here is what the back facing looks like:

Step 5: Make sure the side seams on the front facing and back facing match up and you will be sewing these up. This step is called “Truing”

<Insert pic here>

A few things to note about facings. Facings do not contain darts, or princess seams. If your pattern has darts, tape them shut as shown above in the pictorial. If your pattern has princess seams, you would tape the princess seams together overlapping the seam allowance.

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and that you will try your hand at some pattern making!

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

Self Drafted Dolman Top for Summer

Hi, Fashionistas!

Summer is in full effect and we have had some really hot days.

I sewed up a couple quick summer tops. I wanted something basic but cute, to wear with shorts, skirts, or jeans. So I decided on two summer tops. The first one is in a gray jersey knit. This fabric is so soft and comfortable. I ordered one yard and that was enough and I have a little bit leftover fabric.

This is seriously the most comfortable thing in my wardrobe right now.

I self-drafted this top. The drafting took about 30 minutes. The sleeves are dolman, which means there is no setting in the sleeve, which also makes the sewing very quick. I have previously published a tutorial on drafting a dolman top and I will link that below.

Also, I  love the clean cover stitch on here.  I used my Brother Coverstitch machine, which I absolutely love and have been using for over two years

I drafted cuffs for the sleeves and a band for the waist.

Here is the back view. I made the neckline on the front and back exactly the same, and gave it a boat neck shape, which is one of my favorite.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest make. Next, I am working on creating a custom dress form cover for myself. A custom dress form is something I have wanted for a very long time. I’ll be sewing up my custom shell using this online class on Craftsy, but instead of using a commercial pattern, I plan on creating my shell from my custom sloper, which can be drafted using this Bodice Sloper Class

So lots of sewing and fitting for me in the near future, but a custom dress form has been a life long dream 🙂 I’ll share my progress with you once that is done.

Here is the tutorial on how to create a dolman top pattern from any tee that has set in sleeves. Hope you enjoy!

See you in July!
XOXO
-Vatsla

DIY Striped dress: Mccalls M6886 Modified

Hi, Fashionistas!

I wanted to share a sewing project with you that I made for Easter but never blogged about it. Here is the dress I made. The bodice is Mccalls M6886 and the skirt is self drafted. I’ll show you how below:

I wanted to make something with stripes. Stripes are so chic and never go out of style. I chose to make a dress with a scoop neck, fitted bodice, three-quarter sleeve and a pleated skirt. For the bodice, I chose McCalls M6886, mainly because the pattern is something I have in my stash and I use often. I can also cut the size I need straight out of the envelope, and it does not need any alterations. You can use any bodice from your pattern stash! 

At first, I kept the bodice the same length as this top I made previously. It hits at about the low hip and would let me decide the positioning of my waist seam at a later time.

Once I had the bodice sewn up, and moved on to making the skirt, I measured the bodice from the neckline along the center front.

I  typically like my waist seam to fall on the natural waist, which is the smallest part of the torso. Then I marked the waist seam and chopped off the bodice excess after marking my 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Next, it was time to move on to the skirt, and do a small amount of math (nothing super technical) to determine the placement and size of the pleats.

While this is not a fixed formula, I want to share my thought process that you can use to create your own version of this dress!

Here is what I did next, I took a flat measurement of the waist on the bodice. This was 14 inches, excluding seam allowances

Then I took my fabric and folded selvage to selvage. Next, I decided how long I wanted the skirt to be. For me, that was 19 inches. To this, I added measurements of 5/8 inch on top for seam allowance and 1  inch on the bottom for hem allowance.  I used this final measurement to cut the fabric to where it looked like this:

Now I took a flat measurement of the folded fabric across the top. This was 32 inches, excluding seam allowance.  I then cut the fabric into 2 pieces by cutting the fold. This gave me a skirt front of 32 inches and a skirt back of 32 inches.

 Now my goal was to create some pleats on the skirt pieces so that 32 inches would match closely to the 14 inches. For this, I did some simple math and I find that easier to demonstrate on paper. The 1st thing you need to do is decide the placement of the inverted box pleats on your bodice. To do this, I took my bodice and pinned the center front, shown in green on the diagram below (point A). I wanted the placement of the inverted box pleats to fall on my princess seam. For me, that is 3 inches from the center front. So I pinned points B and C on my bodice. The measurement of AB and AC are 3 inches each. When the skirt is attached to the bodice, the inverted box pleats will con-inside with points B and C shown on the bodice in the diagram below

Now that you have placed your pins, you can set the bodice aside. You can also make notches at these points if you prefer.

Now let’s move on to the skirt! I will demonstrate the sewing on a small piece of muslin, that mimics the shape of the skirt on a miniature scale. This will make it easy to demonstrate how I marked and constructed the inverted box pleats.

Because the bodice is 14 inches and the skirt is 32 inches, let us take the difference of the two measurements to decide how much excess we need to eat up in the form of inverted box pleats. 32 minus 12 is 18 inches. Since we are adding 2 invested box pleats, placed at each princess seam, we need each invested box pleat to eat up 9 inches each (18 divided by 2). Make sense so far?

This is all the math you will need to do, now we can do some markings on the skirt and then we are ready to baste the pleats in place! I am showing you the markings on paper below, then we will move on to a sample of sewing the inverted box pleats on muslin! Let’s go over the markings on the diagram below. A is the center of the fabric. AB and AC are 3 inches from the center of the fabric. This is done so that the pleats will coincide with the princess seams on the bodice. Now the final marking is going to be 9 inches from points B and C. This is because we decided that the excess each pleat needs to eat up 9 inches. Measurements BE and CD are 9 inches each. This is all you have to mark on the skirt. You would use pins to mark as I did, or you can make notches in your fabric, whatever you prefer.

Now let us move on to the final step in this pictorial, which is the constructions of the inverted box pleats! By definition, an inverted box pleat is two pleats that are facing each other. If you have never sewn inverted box pleat before, I will show you in muslin below.

On the muslin below, I have marked points A,B,C,D and E.

Now for the construction of the 1st inverted box pleat. pick up the fabric at point D, and place it on top of point C. now make a small stitch as shown to secure the pleat down. This stitch is usually 1/2 inch long.

I have highighted the stich in orange below:

Flip the fabric such that the wrong side is facing up. Now we are ready to flatten the area between C and D and create our inverted box pleats. You can now finger press the excess down on the wrong side of the fabric and distribute it evenly on both sides. now press this down into place.

Now pin this down. You have successfully created the 1st inverted box pleat! Now do the same on the other side of the skirt using points E and D. When you are done, Secure the pleats down by using a basting stitch 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. At this point, your skirt front should look like this:

next steps in construction are as follows:

  1. Create pleats on the skirt back using the same method.
  2. Sew up the side seams
  3. Attach the skirt to bodice matching up the center front, center back, side seams and make sure the points B and C on the bodice match the points B and C on the skirt!
  4. Hem the garment

This is it! I inserted pockets in my dress, in which case, you would want to add the pockets before step 2!

Here are some more pictures of my dress.

I styled my dress with a black belt and black open toe pumps. This ensemble is perfect for summer!

I hope you enjoyed reading this and this encouraged you to try some free handing of your own! While I like using patterns, I also like being independent of them. Many times I run into accidental inventions and those are the best!

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

How I save tons of money on sewing patterns: Free printable

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I either draft my own patterns or use store-bought patterns and tweak them in some way to put my own spin on them.

A lot of times I will start with an inspiration picture I find online. And then I go on the hunt for a sewing pattern that I can use as a base. Then I start the process of changing the pattern or mixing it with patterns that are self-drafted.  Regardless, I never pay full price for patterns, EVER. I’ll be giving you a free printable that I use to save money. Keep reading!

I don’t know about you, but it hurts my soul to pay retail price for patterns. This little voice inside myself is always saying to me “Imagine how much fabric you could buy instead”.

Here is a perfect example of what I do. I found my inspiration pic shown below, Then went out and found a pattern for the bodice that I could use as a base. Then I mixed it with a self-drafted pencil skirt and VOILA! I had the dress of my dreams!

Left to right below: My inspiration pic found on Pinterest. Middle: a look at how to found a pattern with similar style lines and made a muslin to tweak it. On the right: My final garment with the Butterick pattern and self-drafted skirt. This is what I love to see. Bringing a garment to life. I will be teaching this process in an online course where I teach how to you can start with an inspiration picture or a sketch and then create a garment from it!

Anyways.. back to how I save tons of money on sewing patterns and how you can do the same. I have a pattern stash, one that is WAY bigger than my fabric stash. When the inspirations strikes, I almost always have a pattern on hand that can be used as a base pattern.  I do this by keeping a running list of all the patterns that catch my eye as I see people post about them on Facebook groups, Instagram etc. And If I like the pattern design, I quickly jot the pattern number down on a pattern sale tracker that I always carry with me. You can see what it looks like in the picture below. Know that almost all fabric stores (in the US) have pattern sales that are cyclical. When the sale hits the fabric stores, I get all my patterns at once.  This way I never ever pay retail for a pattern. I usually get all my simplicity patterns for 99 cents, Mccalls for $1.99, and vogue for $4.99. Ps. Do you know Vogue is on sale right now for $4.99?

The printable has 3 shopping lists and I usually use one list per pattern company per store. Example, I might use one list for Simplicity for Joann’s and one for Simplicity for Hobby Lobby.  You can also use the lists as you are browsing the catalogs! That way you can check off all the patterns you were able to get and carry over the ones you did not get for next time! Let’s face it, patterns are in high demand when the prices drop, which is why I go straight to the pattern drawers!!!

I would love to share this printable with you for FREE so you too can stay organized with your shopping lists and save money!

To download your very own copy and print as many times as you like, Click HERE

I hope you find this helpful, and if you do, please share this post with your sewing family and friends too!

See you soon!

XO-

Vatsla.

 

 

 

Gathered Maxi Skirt in Chiffon

This is my very first time making a gathered maxi skirt. I chose this beautiful and summery print. The fabric is a chiffon. I see gathered maxi skirts everywhere but never thought to make one prior to this. 

This is my second time working with chiffon. The first time I failed miserably, so it has taken me a long time to pick this type of fabric up again! This time around I took an online class on working with sheers. I’ll include that information for you and also some tips and tricks  I picked up to make this project a success.

If you saw my silk top, I mentioned some of the challenges I ran into. Since then, I took this online class on sewing with sheers and I was better prepared to deal with a sheer fabric. I do recommend taking this class if you want to take away some of the frustration of working with sheers.  

Here is the back and side view:

I used an invisible zipper on the center back. I was a bit worried about how fragile the chiffon is, but I doubled it up on the center back by folding the chiffon under. This gave me two layers of chiffon, which is more stable than one. I also have a full lining on the skirt, so the lining also added some stability. 

Here are some things I learned from this sewing project:

  • Never cut chiffon on the fold. Only cut one layer at a time!
  • Cut the fabric by placing it on top of paper. This stabilizes it and if the paper is a rectangle, you can use the edges of the paper to make sure your straight grain and cross grain are correctly aligned while cutting.

Here are some challenges I had with this project:

  • Keeping the fabric straight while cutting! It was challenging. 
  • My fabric around my zipper was a bit “ruffly”. Luckily for me, the skirt is gathered, so the imperfection is hidden. 

The skirt hit floor length with heels on, which is how I plan to wear it. I paired it with a white tee. Here are some pictures of the garment construction:


I drafted a straight waistband using my waist measurement. I top stitched two rows on the top of the waistband.

The skirt is lined.  The lining is an A-line skirt instead of a gathered skirt to reduce bulk.  For the fashion fabric, I gathered it manually and attached it to the lining. Then attached the lining to the waistband.  So the entire piece is self-drafted/ free handed.

This is the fabric I used. I hope you enjoyed this project!  I am working on a pair of denim shorts next- think dressy, tailored shorts in denim. 

ps- I also started a sewing newsletter, in which I share more sewing news, tips, and tricks! Sign up using the pink sign up box below !!

XOXO

-Vatsla

%d bloggers like this: