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.

 

 

 

Pattern Fitting Class is $12 Today only

HI Fashionistas!!

Public Service Announcement to all my sewing buddies!

Craftsy has one of its biggest class sales ever. This fitting class is on sale for just $12. One of the biggest issues I hear from home sewists is how to get pattern fit.

This is a one day only deal! You also get a vogue pattern, so the price is a great bargain.

I’ve had my eye on this class for a while.. but y’all know I love my discounts! I just bought the class and have been watching it this morning. Here are some screenshots of what is inside the class. You will definitely get a good understanding of how to tweak the pattern to fit you without having to make multiple muslins. Isn’t fitting one of our biggest sewing woes?! To get this amazing deal for just $12, click HERE

I have been watching this class at a coffee shop this morning 🙂 I am including some screen shots of what’s inside

Check out the fit on that gorgrous cocktail dress .. and that looks like a silk taffeta!

I like that she is using a copy of the pattern to explain all the concepts. This is typically more spare than the commercial pattern, and in my opinion easier to follow as it is less overwhelming. You might have noticed that in my tutorials, I also use traced copies of the patterns to make it easy to follow.

I also love that there is an entire chunk of the class dedicated to fitting the garment on a real human being. This is so practical and offers how to address real fit issues.

I also like to read reviews.  Here is one that had me sold!

Perfect for altering patterns without a hassle

I have watched several classes both here on Craftsy and on You Tube concerning pattern alterations. I have probably watched about 6 or 7 in all….but this is by far my favorite. She could write a book titled GEOMETRY FOR DUMMIES and this is what I needed. I can’t wait until I attack all of my patterns. This lady has a gift for teaching (coming from a retired teacher) and is very good at making everything visual. She does comparisons at the end as to what happens when you use her methods, the patterns methods, and eyeballing it. What a difference. That alone made me want to try her methods. I highly recommend this class….not just for beginners….but for anyone with even advanced experience. I am intermediate by definition and learned a lot.

Alright, I am back to watching the class before I have to pick up my kid. Let me know if you end up getting this. I typically do a muslin, and while I don’t do multiple muslins, I almost always to one muslin and then about 2 alterations to the muslin. I am excited about stepping away from as many iterations! HERE is the link again, if you decide to check it out.

 

On Thursday I am sharing with you how I save TONS of money on sewing patterns, and also my process of taking an inspiration picture and turning into a wearable garment! So see you on Thursday!

 

XOXO

 

-Vatsla.

 

Craftsy Class Sale Today! Any class is $19.99

Hi Fashionistas!!

Hope you are well. I wanted to let you know that Craftsy has a sale.  You can get any class for $19.99 with the coupon code below.

Click HERE to get any one class on your wish list for only $19.99.  You will need to use the coupon code below:

The latest class I enrolled in is the one that helps working with sheers, you can see my review HERE 

I also love the pattern making classes I previously reviewed HERE and often go back to reference them.

Do you have any classes on your wishlist? Let me know if you end up taking advantage of the sale.

Talk 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

How to Draft a Petal Sleeve : Tutorial

Hi Fashionistas!

I have been meaning to film this quick video on how to draft a petal sleeve or tulip sleeve, but for some reason, it’s taking the longest.  I’ve been trying to film overhead so I can give you the best possible angle so you can see the pattern making. I’ve also been trying out new equipment like a new audio recorder. To be honest, I am not very tech savvy and even editing a video in I movie intimidates me! So I am back to doing it the simple way. I took a bunch of pictures and I will just walk you through it! It is very easy!

Before we jump in, let’s have a look at a sample I made from the pattern I drafted for this demo. A petal sleeve is a two piece sleeve where you as the designer chooses whether the back overlaps the front, or whether the front overlaps the back.  You can see examples of both below

 

Now let’s jump into the drafting!

Step 1: Take any basic sleeve. If this is your 1st time drafting a petal sleeve, pick a basic sleeve that does not have much design detail. In other words, stay away from a sleeve that already has gathers, tucks, pleats etc..

Before we move forward, let us look at the anatomy of the sleeve. As you can see below, we have the double notch indicating the back of the sleeve, the single notch indicating the front of the sleeve, the grain line and also the shoulder notch. The shoulder notch is the location where the sleeve connects to the shoulder seam on the bodice. On commercial patterns, you may see a circle instead of the shoulder notch.

Step 2: Trace 2 copies of your sleeve pattern. If you have a needlepoint tracing wheel, you can use this to trace. If not, you can also place a semi-opaque paper on top of your original pattern and trace it that way.

Be sure to copy the notches onto the copies of the sleeve.

Step 3: Measure 2-3 inches out from the shoulder notch along the shoulder cap and mark a new notch. I have shown that in black. We will be creating the back petal sleeve in this step

Using either free handing or a french curve, connect the corner where the side seam and the hem meet to the black notch on the opposite side of the sleeve as shown below.

Cut along this curved line. This below is now your back petal of the sleeve. The double notch on this patterns indicates the back of the sleeve.

Step 4:

Flip the piece you just drafted on step 3 and place it on the 2nd copy you traced in step 2.    Now trace the curve on the 2nd copy of sleeve as shown below:

Cut along the newly traced line.

This is the front of the sleeve.

 

Now if you match the sleeve front and the sleeve back at the shoulder seam, you have a brand new petal sleeve! Be sure to copy the grain line over to both pattern pieces!

That is pretty much it!

If you overlay the 2 new sleeve pieces on top of the original sleeve you traced from, you will notice that it matches perfectly. The fit of the sleeve is not impacted by this pattern changed and you can decide whether you want the front to overlap the back or for the back to overlap the front!

Sewing Tip: If you are using a knit, you can hem the petals individually as you would normally hem a knit by turning it under. If you are sewing with a woven, I highly recommend lining the sleeve for a clean finish. You could self-line or line with an interesting bright fabric or print lining for a pop of color!

Here is a sample I sewed up with this pattern:

 

I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful. Now IF I figure out how to work this monstrosity of a gadget below, I will turn these images into a quick slide show and do a voice over and make a quick video for those of you who are like me and get confused by a lot of words.

 

Talk soon Fashionistas. Let me know. did you find this helpful? What else would you like to see?

Thanks!!

Vatsla 🙂

The Seamstress Tag

Hello!!

I told you last week I was trying to upload the seamstress tag to youtube and I was having so many technical difficulties!

I did get it uploaded that night and wanted to share it with you. Its a set of 12 questions that I answered. I will include the video here and also the 12 questions below! If you are unable to open the embedded video, you can find it HERE

Here are the 12 questions. I had so much fun filming this, although I have to say it’s strange seeing yourself on video!

SEAMSTRESS TAG QUESTIONS
1) Who are you?
2) When & why did you start sewing?
3) What is your favorite or proudest make?
4) What is your most disastrous make?
5) Where is your favorite place to go fabric shopping?
6) What is your most used pattern?
7) Your most dreaded sewing task is…
8) And your favorite sewing task?
9) What is your favorite ‘sewing entertainment’?
10) Printed or PDF?
11) What sewing machine do you use?
12) Do you have any other hobbies?

So I have been busy sewing and photographing new items. Seems too busy lately, I think I need a mental vacation!

How are you and what are you up to? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from my sewing peeps!

XO

Vatsla

%d bloggers like this: