Winter Cape Completed: Falling in Love with Wool

Hello Fashionistas!!

Sewing with wool has been on my bucket list forever. To be specific, a wool cape, a winter coat and a french jacket.

Earlier this year when I launched my blog I thought about all the sewing projects I would like to make. It was a reasonable list… twenty-one items in all.. and number six on the list was a wool cape, which has now been crossed off my list 🙂 Design details at the end of the post if you want to sew up your own version of this!

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It’s finally DONE!!!!  I am so in love with the final product. I have been working on this for the past three days while my kid naps 🙂

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I wanted something unique so I chose a vintage pattern. I wanted a superior fabric and I wanted to work with 100% wool. I picked a camel/taupe brushed wool that was such a pleasure to work with.

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On my version I only used two buttons as opposed to four. I also eliminated the waist tie and styled the cape with a leather belt instead. This is a big cape, so to create a good proportion, I used a wide belt. 

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Here is side view and back view. The fabric drapes beautifully!

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Check out my signature accent.. on the back of the collar… It’s all in the details!

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The cape looks different when worn without a belt and I like that look too!

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I am simply in love with the sleeves and they make me feel like a butterfly! I chose a floral lining. Isn’t it adorable?

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As I was wrapping up pictures, my kid decided to join the party. I had some leftover fabric and cut a small cape for her as well, but have not sewn it up yet. That’s next on my list…

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I learned a good bit about working with wool.  I had it pre-shrinked by sending it to the cleaners. I learned that is takes special care to avoid overpressing and shine. I also mastered the art of perfect top stitching! What a joy..This project required more work, but the end result was so worth it.. This cape will be in my wardrobe for a long time..

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PATTERN: Vintage Simplicty 9669, view 2. It’s a fully lined cape. I cut the size Medium which is for a bust size 34 to 36. The only pattern alteration I had to do was to remove about 3/4 of an inch from the Centre back. I also eliminated the centre back seam and instead cut my back pattern piece on the fold of the fabric. I like to simplify sewing where I can. Eliminating the centre back seam saved me about 5 minutes of pinning and sewing and bout 10 minutes of pressing the seam…

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I did make a muslin and did a fit analysis on my dress form an myself. This is a outerwear garment so I left a good amount of ease on the pattern to accommodate a shirt and possibly a sweater underneath. Initially I had considered shortening the cape by a couple of inches but once I made the muslin, I decided against it.

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SEWING : I learned a lot about sewing with wool by making this cape. This was my first time working with a wool and it was truly a pleasure to sew up. I quickly realised that pressing wool can be tricky. I am used to working with muslin and cottons and by habit, I used a hot iron, a good amount of steam and pressure.. AND my tailors clapper and that resulted in shine and over pressing. As you can see below.. The seam allowance was causing the impression and lightening of the wool color. I always like to sew up samples with some scrap fabric and press them before I take the iron to my garment. I will be writing a detailed article on what I learned about pressing wool without damaging it. That is coming to the blog soon!

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This project was a labor of love. It was time-consuming. Not only because it included some trial and error as I was working with something new, but also because I was broadcasting live some of the tips and techniques of sewing as I was discovering easy ways to work with wool and having those “Aha” moments…I really enjoyed connecting with other sewists while working on this project.

I also experimented till I discovered an easy and practical way to master top stitching. That is coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned! Since there are so many little details about this project I want to share with you, I will be doing a “Behind The Seams” blog post about it soon.

FABRIC: I used a soft 100% brushed wool. It has texture, so I had to take extra precaution while pressing. The fabric is indeed luxurious. Since I knew that this garment would be an investment piece, I wanted to use the best fabric I could find in my budget. Local fabric stores like Joanns and Hancock only had wool blends with a low percentage of wool, but I found an array of pure wool fabric on Fabric Mart Fabrics at very good prices. And if you want a super yummy 100% wool, check out the selection of wools HERE

That’s all for now.. I am taking a one day break before jumping into my biggest project of the year… a Melton wool winter coat….with hair canvas, shoulder pads, sleeve heads… and all that jazz!

 Hope you enjoyed reading this! Leave me a comment and let me know what you are working on… And if you like this vintage cape.. add it to your bucket list!

Until next time.. 

 XOXO-

Vatsla 🙂

Easy One Hour Dolman Top

I copied my favorite Dolman Top. It is getting chilly here and I wanted something warm and comfy. I am so in love with this sweater knit dolman top I purchased sometimes last year. I decided to create a replica using a double-knit I had in my fabric stash.

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The double-knit is a thick material. It feels like sweatshirt material. Its warm and comfy. This HAS to be the most casual piece I have ever made. I usually stick to tops that are more on the fitted side. but I also like my sweatshirts!

Here is a close up of the original:IMG_9259

I did not even create a pattern for this one, since it is so easy to recreate. I simply folded my fabric and placed my original top on it. I cut around the outline eyeballing the seam allowance. I have a 3/8 inch seam allowance all over and a 5/8 inch hem allowance on the sleeves, neckline and bottom hem.

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One of the main reasons this is such a simple top is that there is no separate sleeve to sew.  As you can see below, the bodice and sleeve are one,

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I like how to the stripes on the side create a chevron pattern…

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PATTERN: This is what the pattern would look like if you used a commercial pattern

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I simply traced my original tee as described above in the post. If you want to do it the way I did, but dont have a dolman top in your wardrobe, you can take any t shirt you own and do it this way: I have shown the original tee in blue and how you will trace around it in red to create your pattern. My front and back bodice are exactly the same with the exception of the neckline, which is lower on the back .

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FABRIC:I used a double knit from girl Charlee, but I used the wrong side on the outside of the top, as I loved the texture and I also liked the color better as compared to the correct side of the fabric.

SEWING : This was pretty simple to sew and can be a one hour top. There are only 4 seams to sew: 2 side seams and 2 shoulder seams. I completed the hemming with a coverstitch. You could also hem using a twin needle.

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far.Let me know what you think of this easy project.

Until next time!

XOXO

-Vatsla.

 

Cozy and Comfy : DIY Cowl Neck Top


It finally began to feel like fall at the beginning of October, and I pulled out one of my favorite black cowl neck tops. I made this a while back, so it’s not a product of my 2015 Ready To Wear Fast. However, its been getting a lot of wear lately.

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What I LOVE about this top: It’s so easy to wear. It’s casual, yet stylish and the fabric is super soft. I also love the full sleeve length. The sleeves are actually longer than my arms and I love that because I can pull them over my hands on those chilly evenings..

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I cannot remember exactly when I made this top but it might have been in 2014 or even 2013. Although.. I was pregnant in 2013.. so it was probably made sometime last year

I copied the pattern for this top from a RTW top I owned previously. I loved it SO much that I wore it all the time. To the point where it was falling apart, so I created a pattern and copied my old beloved top . Here is the original. This picture is old! October 2012 in Paris!!!

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Love the drape of the neck.. and here is how it looked from the front:

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Because I couldn’t let go of it, I created a pattern from it.. and sewed up my own version. It’s an easy top to sew. There is no hemming the neck since the neck is essentially like a neck-band, sewn similar to the shoulder band on this black off shoulder top I made.

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My fabric is a bit slinky with a 4-way stretch, so it drapes slightly differently… but overall I am ver happy with it…


I also paired this top with a dressy pair of pants I made last winter. I LOVE an all black look for winter…The pants I made are Burda 7122

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I also wore it with a DIY tulle skirt I made last winter.. I cannot believe I agreed to do a photoshoot in this skirt while we had snow on the ground. Brrrrr…..

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So as you can see, this top is pretty versatile, it can be dressed up or dressed down. This is going to be one of my wardrobe staples for fall and winter…


Design details below if you would like to make your own!

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PATTERN: I used a self drafted pattern , but I have seen many commercial patterns that can be used.

FABRIC:I used a lightweight black knit from Joanns Fabrics.

SEWING : This was pretty simple to sew and can be a one hour top. There is no hemming the neck since the neck is essentially like a neck-band, sewn similar to the shoulder band on this black off shoulder top I made. I actually left the sleeves and hem raw because this knit does not fray at all.. and I am happy with it the way it is. There are also no sleeves to set, because raglan sleeve with a cowl neck.

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far. I have reserved the month of October for learning all I can about the art of tailoring. I will be making my first tailored coat ever. Its a lot of new information, so I have been reading and researching like crazy! What are you up to? Any fun sewing projects? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Until next time!

XOXO

-Vatsla.

 

 

Black Off Shoulder Top – Fall sewing is in full swing!

Hello Fashionistas!!!

I have missed you! I made this top late last week and I’ve been wanting to write about it, but we have had no internet at the house since Friday. So I am blogging from the public library! Finally I can share my latest creation with you! As always, design details at the end of the post if you would like to make your own!

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I was inspired by a member of one of my facebook sewing groups to make this top. I felt that black would be a good color given the season change. I used a soft ponte knit and kept the sleeve length at three quarters length, which is my preffered look for knit tops.

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I styled this black and white outfit with this gorgeous black hat with white top stitching. It’s getting a little cooler here and I am in love with hats… wearing hats makes me look forward to bad hair days 🙂IMG_9165

.I paired the black top with these white jeans I made last month using this rub off method.

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So the one pattern alteration that did not work in my favor was that I reduced the height of the shoulder band by about one inch. Perhaps that is the reason the band wants to roll up. I did top stitch the band down on both arms as you can see in the picture below.

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Here is the back view. It really is a cute top. IMG_9201

Design details below…

 

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PATTERN: Simplicity 1613 , but I left out the shoulder straps.

FABRIC:  I used a black ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. You can find their selection of ponte knits HERE. Very nice and soft to work with. If you have ever been frustrated working with knits, try a ponte knit or a double knit.

SEWING: Easy, two hour project.  I coverstitched the hem and the sleeves. Because of the shoulder band, no hemming was required on the neck, which is great 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know what are you sewing for fall or planning to sew?

If you liked this , you can also read about my previous project also with a ponte knit HERE

I hope our internet ir restored soon so I can blog regularly again. Time warner cable is supposed to come tomorrow but its one of my two days off this week and I don’t want to give my precious time to the cable man. I will be out enjoying coffee and breakky with my dear friend instead.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and has a good week planned!

See you soon with me next sewing project!

XOXO

-Vatsla

Tulle Skirt Sew Along Part 4- Attaching the waist band

Heloooooo ev one!!

For those of you who are participating in the Tulle Skirt Sew Along, here is part 4 – we will be attaching the waist band today! For those who are not participating, these instructions can be used to attach a waist band to any garment!

Back to our pattern pieces, today we are working with 4 – Front waist band and 5 – Back waist band. Go ahead and cut of the fabric pieces per the instructions. Transfer notches as well.

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For this demo, I am using muslin because it is easy to write on. Since muslin does not have a right or wrong side,  I will be using my sharpie to write on the correct side of the fabric.

I have cut out all the pieces of the waist band and as you see we have 2 sets. Basically a waist band has one side that faces the body and one that faces the world. That is why we have 2 sets. We will be interfacing one set- the one that sits against the body.

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Now that you have all the pieces cut out and laid out- we will be interfacing the wrong side on one of the sets. It does not matter which set, since they are identical,

Time Saving Tip: Instead of cutting out the interfacing using the pattern, I use this time-saving technique: I interface all pieces at once and then cut along the outline.

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Always use a press cloth while applying interfacing. I am using fusible interfacing. I lay out my fabric pieces such that the wrong side of the fabric is facing the adhesive side of the interfacing. Then I cover the fabric with a press cloth and fuse using steam and heat. A presscloth is nothing more than a piece of scrap muslin.. or you can even use any scrap fabric that is cotton. IMG_9055

Next, we are going to construct the waist band. With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, pin the back pieces to the front piece on both sets as shown below.

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Then go ahead sew up seams you just pinned and press them. Press the side seams towards the centre back seam as shown below. The arrows indicate the directions in which you should press the seams. DO NOT SKIP Pressing.. if you do, your garment will look home-made.. and you don’t want that! To see how to press seams, read my tutorial HERE

Now your pieces should look like this–

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Now that we have sewn the backs to the fronts, we should have 2 pieces of fabric , One that is interfaced, one that is not interfaced. Place the interfaced waist band and the non  interfaced waist band on top of each other with the right sides facing each other and pin along the top of the waist band and stitch.

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The next step is really important. We need to press this baby so we can get a really nice crisp fold on top of the waist band. There is a trick to this..

With the wrong side of the waist band facing the sky, finger press the seam open

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Then using your iron and steam, press this seam open

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Next, flip the waist band so the right side of the fabric is facing the sky. Then press the seam with heat and steam

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Now go ahead fold the waist band with the wrong sides together and press the fold of the waist band again. It will be nice and crisp!

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Next, we will remove bulk from the seam by trimming the seam allowance. What I do is flip the waist band, wrong sides out and trim as shown

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Now are waist band is finally beginning to look like a waist band! wohoo!!!

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Now the final part is to attach the waist band to the skirt..

If you have been following along in the sew along, you should have 2 pieces now that look like this: WB and skirt

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Next, we are going to attach the waist band to the skirt, which is the final part:

With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, place the NON interfaced part of the waist band to the skirt at the waist seam. I like to start by matching and pinning the side seams, then I pin the centre back, centre front, and randomly pin in the middle. Use your notches to make sure you are pinning the waist band and skirt correctly.

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This is where we will stop for now.. L@@K.. Its beginning to look like a tulle skirt! We will close up the waist band after we attach the zipper, which is coming next!

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That is it for now! I’ll see you soon with the next steps where we insert our invisible zippers and hem this baby up.

If you have any questions about these steps, leave a comment , email me or contact me in the facebook group dedicated to this sew along

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

See you soon!!!

XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

New Frankenpattern white top- M6886 meets M7046 (plus DIY Denim Skirt)

M6886 and M7046 have been hanging out in my pattern stash for way to long. They fell in love, got married, and now they had a baby.

My latest creation is a Frankenpattern: This white knit top with ruffly- circle sleeves. Design deets at the end of the post, if you would like to make your own!

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The top is a frankenpattern.  I took the sleeves from Mcalls M7046 and the bodice from TNT Mcalls M6886 and combined the two. While I love the soft and romantic sleeves on M7046, I didn’t care for the ruched and gathered bodice. All that does is add bulk to the garment.. so I wanted to keep the bodice fairly simple and let the sleeves have all the attention.

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Btw, If you have been following me since I started blogging, you might remember these high-waisted wide leg pants I made a while back. Now that the temperatures are dropping, I can wear these again.

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I am so crazy in love with these sleeves. This might be my new favorite. I am going to wear it as much as I can before it gets cold.

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Before I move on to this GORGEOUS denim skirt, let me just say that the top is a two-hour project. Start to finish. The sleeves aren’t an exact match but if you are like me, you are pretty good at “wingin it”. So make this blouse NOW :)))))

ok- Now for the denim skirt. There are two stories behind this denim skirt.. I love telling stories so here goes. Once upon a time, many moons ago, when I worked in the corporate nerdery,  I was uptown and walking through some food festival to grab lunch where I saw this absolutely gorgeous girl dressed in nicely tailored pencil denim skirt and a crisp white button down, and a simple string of pearls. She grabbed my attention and I was in LOVE with the outfit. How can two such simple fabrics. cotton and denim make such an amazing outfit? So… I wanted my own… That was a million years ago..

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Now on to the 2nd story. I made this skirt last-minute because I had to go to work one day… and like every woman on this planet, I walked into a closet full of clothes and said “I have nothing to wear”. So I picked up some leftover fabric I had sitting around since the days of fashion school and whipped this up. I copied the pattern from a black skirt I have.

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The skirt has a wide waist band, is high-waisted and pretty form-fitting. There are no darts, because this is a stretchy fabric.

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I have gotten a lot of wear out of this skirt, mainly because is dressy and comfortable at the same time. I wear this to work a good bit…. with a crisp white button down 🙂

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PATTERN: McCall M6886 for the bodice combined with Mcalls  M7046 for the sleeves.

FABRIC:  I used a white ponte knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. You can find their selection of ponte knits HERE

SEWING: Easy, breezy, beautiful. Two hour project. I left the sleeves raw. No hemming. I used this way of attaching the seams. I picked up the sleeves on the shoulder cap and placed them closer to my neck on the shoulder seam and tacked them down. This made them look more lifted and not so droopy.

Hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Are you moving on to fall sewing or still holding on to summer like me?

-XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

Tulle Skirt Sew Along part 3 (sewing up majority of the skirt)

For part 3 of the tulle skirt sew along, we will be sewing up majority of the skirt and attaching the tulle overlay to the satin skirt. In order to explain the next steps to you, I will be using my miniature dress form and a miniature skirt.

By now you should have all your pattern pieces cut out. Today we will be using pattern piece 1 and 2, which are the skirt back and skirt front. Lets take a minute to look at these two pattens  pieces.

1 is the back of the skirt, and you will be cutting 2 pieces of fabric from this using your satin.

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2 is the skirt front, and we will be cutting one piece of fabric on the fold of the fabric.

IMG_8891And just in case we have any beginners here, I want to make sure everyone understands the following terms:

CB is centre back as shown below

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CF is centre front as shown belowIMG_8892

SS is side seam as shown below:

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Now let’s get to sewing!

Step 1: Cut our your fabric pieces 1 and 2, and you should have 3 fabric pieces as shown below

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Step 2: With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, sew up both the side seams

This is what the skirt should look like from the back and front

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Step 3: Press both the side seams towards the CB. Pressing is very important in this skirt and in making all tailored garments. Read my tutorial on pressing seams HERE

Now your skirt should look like this after pressing

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If you have a serger, this would be a good time to go ahead serge the side seams, hem, and centre back seam. If you do not have a serger, you can skip this step.

Step 4: Using your ruler or measuring gauge, measure 5/8 inch in from the CB and mark it. This is the 5/8 inch seam allowance that will accommodate the zipper. I have shown this mark in orange.

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Now go ahead mark another mark that is 1/2 inch away from the 1st mark.  I have shown this mark in purple. Mark these on both the skirt backs. We are marking these because we want to make sure the tulle will not get stuck in the zipper. In the picture below, the orange mark indicates where the zipper will be inserted and the purple mark indicates where the tulle will be attached. This will ensure that the tulle is always 1/2 inch away from the zipper

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Step 5: In the picture below,  I have pinned the tulle to the skirt, starting at the purple mark and ending on the purple mark. IMG_8922

 

When you are pinning the tulle to the purple mark, make sure you fold the tulle under by 1/2 inch so that the tulle is nice and neat. Pin all along the waist to secure the tulle.

Step 6: Using a basting stitch, secure the tulle to the skirt. Make sure to back-stitch when you start stitching and when you end stitching.Since this pattern calls for a Seam allowance of 5/8 of an inch, make sure you are making your basting stitch about 1/4 inches from the edge, but no more than 1/2 inch away. This way we can be sure that this basting stitch will get hidden inside the seam allowance when we attach the waist band to the skirt.

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Your skirt should now look something like this:

 

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That is it for now! Next week we will tackle the waist band application, zipper insertion and hemming! Those will be the final steps!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

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