Behind The Seams: Repurpose with a purpose

HI everyone!! I missed you last week!!

I managed to do a quick tutorial but last week was a tough one, so unfortunately, my sewing had to take a backseat. I made a commitment to myself that I would sew every Thursday without fail. So I did go into my studio late Thursday night and gathered up some tulle, but that was about it!

Well I am back on track and ready to get to work this week! So…. the 1st thing I am going to work on this week is a blue peplum top, and I am planning on re-purposing this dress instead of making it from scratch. Do you have an unwanted knit dress in your wardrobe and want to sew-along? Design details below…

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This is a dress I bought sometime last year and never wore. I tried it on once and it was big on me. I meant to take it in, but I just don’t think I am going to wear it. So…  I am going chop this baby up and re-construct it. I am going to preserve the hemming on the neckline and sleeves and I will be using the fabric from the skirt to create the peplum. I want a full peplum and this is the overall look I am going for:

 

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PATTERN: For the base pattern, I will probably use a self drafted pattern I used HERE. I wont touch the neckline as it is beautifully hemmed.

Peplum: I will self draft the peplum using this technique that I documented HERE

SEWING: After I de-construct the top at the sleeves , side seams and waist, I will resize the sleeves and top and then re-attach the sleeves using this easy method I documented HERE

I am truly hopeful that I will also be able to make a pair of skinny jeans or capri pants to go with this peplum. Ambitious for a day of sewing, but a girl can dream, right?

Are you sewing something? I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Until next time, Happy Sewing!!

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 will be writing more about her in my 5 part series about women who inspire me.

Have questions? You can ask in my FB group HERE

If you liked this tutorial, check out the rest of my tutorials HERE and also like my Facebook page to stay tuned for more!

I hope this helped! If you have any questions, leave a comment. Once I have more time, I will update this post with better pictures.

Hope you are having a good week.

-XOXO

 

 

Black Hi-lo dress inspired by Pinterest- Mccalls M6886 modified

Hola Folks!! Hope you are having a wonderful Friday. I am so ready for the weekend!

Earlier this week I posted about a hi-lo t-shirt dress that was inspired by pinterest. I really did not have any time to go shopping so I was at the mercy of my fabric stash. Well.. I started off wanting to make a reversible grey and black dress, but that did not happen. I ran into SO many issues with the grey dress, it seemed like the sewing Gods were very angry with me.

I will save my rant for later, let me show what the black dress looks like. Design details below if you are interested in making your own version

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I had this slinky knit in my fabric stash.. I had about 2 yards I think, so it was long enough to make the back floor length. I really like where the hem hits on the front.

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I accessorized with this shoulder bag that also works as a clutch.

 

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Here is the dress that inspired my project.. I think my version comes pretty close, although I couldnt replicate that pose…. even though I tried 🙂

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Moving onto the DISASTER dress. I had so many issues with the grey dress. For starters, since I used a commercial pattern, it had a ridiculous amount of ease in it. It took multiple alterations to get the right fit. The area around the arms had so much excess fabric, that I ended up detaching the sleeves, taking in the shoulder seams and re-attaching the sleeve. But check this out, I attached one sleeve inside out and both sleeves backwards. If that wasnt enough, my serger started acting funny and the side seams looked like they had teeth coming out of them. Lastly, the hem line was a bit too short.. and well after I put on the garment, it just didn’t feel right. I was still determined after all these issues, so I decided to hem the neckline and sleeves and be done with it. Well, as I started to hem, my one and only twin needle broke. I was still determined to finish, so I decided to try the stretch stitch on my machine. Well that was a disaster too.. and the dress now looks like a craft project gone wrong. I mean.. a 4-year-old could probably do a better job.. Oh well!!! We all have failures in life.  I do believe all things happen for a reason.. so I am finally getting a cover stitch machine this weekend. As for the dress, I am too embarrassed to even give it to goodwill… I think I will repurpose the fabric .

Anyways, back to the black dress…..

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PATTERN: I used Mccalls M6886 view C as a base, then did the following pattern alterations: 1) shorten the hem in the front 2) shorten the sleeves and add bands to make it more dressy 3)  lengthen the hem in the back 4) turn the back into a-line instead of pencil

If you are interested in seeing a step by step tutorial on how to do this alteration, let me know and I will be happy to document it.

FABRIC: I used a jersey knit. You can use any knit fabric

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. For the bottom hem, I serged but I did not hem as I didn’t feel it was necessary.

I hope that this inspired you to create something! Until next time, Happy Sewing and Happy Friday

XOXO

Pinterest Inspired Hi-lo Dress using Mccalls M6886

Hello Fashionistas!

Today is my sewing day, but I have to admit, I woke up with no idea of what to make. Usually I wait for Thursdays with anticipation. I plan my project in my head, make a sketch or two, start working on my pattern and cutting around the middle of the week. Not this week. As a mom of a naughty toddler, I find myself growing more and more tired each day. Seems like terrible twos have come early in my home. But I made a commitment to myself that I would sew every week. So today I am looking for a quick project that will take me no more than 2 to 4 hours to complete.

I want to make a reversible hi-low dress with grey on one side and black on the other. If I can get two dresses out of one, why not? 🙂

I am feeling inspired by this dress I saw on pinterest. It’s a t-shirt dress, so has a casual element to it, but the hi-low hem makes it interesting.

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I am debating between sleeveless and short sleeves. I really like the ribbing around the neckline. It makes the dress a bit more casual, which will be appropriate for the fabric I am using. I plan on using this jersey knit below

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I also like this hi-low dress, but mine would have a longer hemline in the front. I would like for the hem to hit right above the knee. I don’t care for the long sleeves though, because warm weather is finally here! Yay!

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Since time if of the essence, I will be using the McCall M668 as a base instead of drafting my own pattern. Don’t let the ugly print on the envelope fool you. I have seen some amazing dresses made with this pattern. I will be using View D if I go for sleeveless, or view C if I go for sleeves. The only pattern alteration I will be doing is lengthening the hem on the centre back and shortening the hem on the centre front, and of course blending the hem at the side seams.

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As always, I am going into this project with a plan in my head, but I could end up with something completely different. I better go grab my scissors and get to cutting while baby naps.

See you soon in my next post. Until then, Happy Sewing!

XOXO

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

Leopard print (Rawrrrr) and DIY Circle Skirt

Hello Beautiful People!

I posted last week that I was approaching my next sewing project with skepticism. I decided to pull out a leopard print double-knit fabric from my stash and make something with it. I really wanted to do a form-fitting, below the knee dress but I was afraid that would be too much print. For someone who has never sewn with prints, I decided to ease into the world on animal print by sewing something small. I decided to make a scoop neck tee and here is what I came up with. Design details below if you are interested in this DIY

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I paired the top with a pencil skirt I wear often. While I like this look and its well-balanced and harmonious, I have to admit that I am turning into a bit of a sewing snob. If I didn’t make it, I don’t have as much fun wearing it. And while pencil skirts are fun, circle skirts are SO much more fun! So for my second look, I paired this top with a  DIY circle skirt I made earlier this year.

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Here is a closeup of the top. For the neckline, I once again used the twin needle. But I am one step closer to buying a coverstitch machine. 🙂 Oh! I just realised there is a giant hexagonal orb on my skirt. Time to clean that lens!IMG_6322

 

If you are still reading this post, then i present to you, my favorite look with this new top. The beauty of fashion is that a good outfit not only makes you look good, but also makes you feel good. And that brings me to the final look I put together with this top. I LOVE a nice and comfy pair of jeans. Denim is like the chocolate cake of the fabric world. It makes you feel good every single time 🙂 Here is my favourite look:

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And can I just tell you that I am in LOVE with these obnoxiously oversized sunglasses? 🙂

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And finally folks, Its FRIDAY Wahooooooooooooooo!.Life is short, Fridays are even shorter, so be silly, eat a lot of ice cream and have a wonderful, relaxing and fashionable weekend 🙂 I’ll see you in the next blog post 🙂 Design details below for those who want to DIY the top or skirt!

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PATTERN: I used a self drafted pattern for tee and the skirt. You can use M6886 (easy) View B and chop if off at the waist. You can find the pattern HERE The circle skirt I self drafted and you can learn how to draft it HERE

FABRIC: I used a double-knit polyester from my fabric stash. You can use any knit fabric really.

SEWING: This tee is very easy to sew! I did a tutorial on how to sew this top HERE. It is an easy project and great for beginners. If you have any questions, let me know!

I hope that this inspired you to create something! Until next time, Happy Sewing and Happy Friday

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

Have questions? You can ask in my FB group HERE

You can also see the rest of my tutorials HERE

I hope that you found this tutorial informative and interesting! I will be adding more tutorials and tips and tricks, so if  you are interested, please subscribe to my blog for more!

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

XOXO

 

 

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