Tag: sewing for beginners

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 🙂

 

Behind The Seams: Pleats 101

Hi Fashionistas!!! Hope you are well..

I have received a few questions about how to calculate the yardage need to create pleated skirts.. Before i get into that subject, I wanted to address pleats on a more basic level.. This is a sewing 101 tutorial of sorts, geared towards the beginner sewist, or someone who wants to brush up on their sewing jargon 🙂

I’ll be showing you examples of the following:

  • Pleats (Read below)
  • Box Pleats vs Inverted Box Pleats (Tutorial coming soon)

I’ll start with a definition, then a visual aid. I will also show you how to construct them.

Lets start off by looking at pictures of each.  Here are some pleats I free handed on these sleeves :

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Let’s have a look at some more pleats. This dress below has pleats on the neckline.

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And here is another one with pleats

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To learn more about what a pleat is and how to sew one, read below.

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Simply put, a pleat is fabric folded on itself. That’s it. Let’s have a look.

Here is a muslin sample of a pleat. One single pleatIMG_1446

If the fabric were flat, it would look like this. I have color coded this for you in blue and red, so you can see the parts that disappear in the fold of the fabric once the fabric is folded.

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After being folded, the red portion would be concealed in the fold.

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From the bottom, the pleat would look like this:

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On a pattern, a pleat is usually shown with a combination of a circle, squares or notches and a directional arrow showing you which direction the fabric needs to be folded.I do my pattern making per the industry standards for apparel production, therefore I use the notches for the pleats. You will see my pattern further into this post.

Here is an example of what you might see on a ready made pattern . This used circles, dotted lines and a directional arrow.

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Now that you have the theory down, lets move on to the construction.

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I have a muslin sample here . I have transferred the markings from the paper pattern. We have 2 notches and 1 directional arrow. We shall call these notches A and B. Note that the arrow is pointing in the direction of B. This means that when we construct the pleat, we need to make notch A meet notch B. In other words, the pleat will be facing notch B. You can also think of it this way. Notch B is stationary, and notch A is moving to meet Notch B. Make sense? Now lets see this is action

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Pinch the notch A and make it meet notch B

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Secure the pleat down with a pin, catching all three layers of fabric. Then do a basting stitch close to the edge of the fabric to secure the pleat in place and remove the pin. Voila! You have a pleat!

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While you can make pleats like I showed you above, I am going to show you my preferred method of making pleats, because sometimes the pleats can tend to shift, especially if you are using slippery fabrics. So if you are working with slippery fabrics or want a more tailored look, use the method below. This is the one I recommend, but itrequiress more effort, so I wanted to show you quick method as well.

We will start with the same notches A and B

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Then instead of pinching the notch A, fold the fabric such that notch A overlaps notch B, with the right sides of the fabric together. You are essentially picking up notch A and placing it exactly on top of notch B

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Secure the pleats by placing a pin in the fabric about 1/2 inch away from the notches.

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Then take it to the machine and stitch down 1/2 inch on the notches and also backstitch 1/2 to secure the pleat down. This step will ensure that your pleats stay in place.

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Next, press the folded edge

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Then lift the fabric and fold it away from the notches as shown in pic below.

At this point, your pleat is done!

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You can press the pleat down just a little bit on the top if you want more poofy pleats…

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Or you can press the pleats all the way down if you like..

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Let me know if you want the paper pattern available for download so you can do a practice run. I can scan it and upload is here.

That’s it, folks! I will leave you with this inspiration picture. What can pleats do for you?! 🙂

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In the next tutorial, I will cover box pleats… as seen on this skirt.

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Have a lovely day! Talk to you soon!

XOXO

Vatsla. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Little Black dress for May

Hi Fashionistas!

I hope you are doing fashionably well! The month of May is typically a busy month for my family and I. We celebrate Mother’s day, my birthday and wedding anniversary all in the same month.

Typically, we take our annual trip around this time.. but honestly, this year it seems like we have just been taking it one day at a time. So given its my birthday month, I figured I would sew up a cute Little black dress.

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The fabric is a textured double knit. I like that this fabric is sturdy like a ponte knit, but has more than a moderate stretch. I love the way this dress feels on! I’ll be making my daughter a matching skater skirt soon!

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If you want to make this, see the “Behind The Seams” section at the end of this post. I have included details of pattern, fabric, and how to draft the flounce.

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This really is a quick and easy project. I made this the same day as the fabric arrived. I had NO intentions of sewing that day, but I had just picked my kid up from preschool and as soon as I saw that box on my porch, my plans changed.

 

Here is the back view. Just check out the photobomb! She thinks she is such a diva! 🙂 Hehe

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For the makeup, I kept is simple yet bold. A red lip and dark eye makeup. That’s it!

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PATTERN: I used Mccalls M6886, one of the easiest and simplest patterns out there. I cut view C, shortened the sleeves, chopped off the skirt where I wanted to add the flounce. I self drafted the flounce. Drafting a flounce is exactly the same as drafting a peplum. So use my tutorial HERE and instead of using your waist measurement, use the circumference of wherever you chose to insert the flounce.

I have modified this pattern so many times before.. I have a hard time sewing a pattern out of the envelope. I am like that person who ALWAYS has to customize their meal at a restaurant.. 🙂 Here are the other garments I have made using Mcalls M6886

FABRIC: The fabric is a textured double knit that can be found HERE

SEWING: This is an easy project. If you don’t like inserting sleeves in the round, you can use my tutorial HERE to add sleeves the easy way. I used my serger to sew this up. You can use a sewing machine with a ball point and a stretch stitch as well. I cover hemmed the neckline and sleeves and left the hem on the flounce raw as it will not fray. If you don’t have a coverstitch machine, you can do a beautiful cover hem using a twin needle. See my tutorial on that HERE

I hope you enjoyed my DIY project and that this inspired you to sew 🙂

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 Announcement and Pattern Giveaway!

On Sunday night, I was working on a supply list for a tulle skirts tutorial I am working on, and it occurred to me… why not host a sew along? I remember many years ago, I wanted to make a three-tier tulle skirt (it’s still on my bucket list). Back then I did not have the confidence to make garments. I looked everywhere for an easy to follow tutorial and didn’t find anything that satisfied me. Some were much better than others, but the finishing always confused me.. I was overall just intimidated by handling tulle..

Since then I attended fashion school, completed an internship and have made a quite a few tulle skirts, like the hot pink one featured here…Once we are done with the sew-along, you will know how to make one of these skirts below!

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This one shown below that I made last-minute for a friends photo shoot

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WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this sew along, you can learn how to:

  • Gather tulle the easy way (no pulling strings or using dental floss to gather!)
  • pattern selection, taking measurements and adjusting the pattern to fit
  • sew and press seams, and sew a circle skirt from start to finish
  • Apply a straight waistband
  • Install an invisible zipper
  • Finishing technique – stitch in the ditch
  • Finishing technique- how to hem a circular skirt

You can then re-use these techniques in making other garments and make all types of skirts! For example, if you learn how to apply a waist band on this skirt, you can apply a waist band on shorts and pants! If you learn how to apply a zipper on this skirt, you can apply a zipper on any garment! This project will not only build your skill set, but also your sewing confidence!

The Sew Along start date is September 1st. I will publish a supply list on Tuesday September `1st , so you have one week to get your supplies before we jump into cutting and sewing on Tuesday September 8th!

When I publish a supply list, I will also publish a schedule for the sew along. Based on your skill level, you might be able to jump ahead. In general, we will follow this schedule:

TIMETABLE /SCHEDULE

Part 1: Supply list along pattern suggestions

Part 2: Prep and cut pattern, gather tulle

Part 3: Sewing up majority of the Skirt

Part 4: Sewing and attaching the waist band

Part 5: Finishing techniques (Zipper and heming)

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

PATTERN GIVEAWAY!

Since different pattern companies and fabric stores have pattern sales at different times, I wanted to go ahead make a few pattern suggestion. You can use any circle skirt pattern really. Here are some suggestions: Simplicty 1200 , Mccalls M7197. You can use any circle skirt pattern instead. Just remember that we will be making a midi length and I suggest something that has a straight waist band, two side seams and a centre back seam. Lets keep it simple! I will be using Mccalls M719 to make my tulle skirt.

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I also have three extra Mccalls M7197 patterns that I will be giving away today. I have two in the size 14-22 range and one in the size 6 to 14 range. So if you are interesting in winning this pattern for the sew along, all you have to do to enter the giveaway is a leave a comment below with which size you would like to win. You can enter now through August 24th. Three winners will be announced August 25th!

I can’t wait to sew along with you. Hope to see you soon!

-XOXO

-Vatsla 🙂

 

 

 

Pattern Making using Painters Tape!

I recently saw this on pinterest I believe, and was curious. I have created some patterns from RTW, but I usually use a method that requires poking several sewing pins into the garment along the seams lines.  I was wanting to sew yesterday but didn’t have a pattern for jeans so decided to give this method a try! See below for step by step instructions on how. Let me start by saying that I work out of my kitchen. I pattern make on the kitchen island and sew in our music room. So if you see any tomatoes, melons, pots and pans in the background, please excuse them. I promised them their five seconds of fame 🙂

So this is a very basic method. Not technical at all. You grab a roll of painters tape and create an outline for each individual pattern piece. To create the outline, I tore off small pieces of painters tape and placed them on the stitch line or seams. The image below if of the front leg. My aim here is to flatten the front leg and paste the tape on it, such that I can get a one-dimensional rub off of the leg.

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Next, I filled in the outline with more painters tape:IMG_8072

 

 

Once this was done, I was able to peel off the tape, and it came off as one big chunk. I then placed it on pattern paper and made sure it was flat.  Next, I used this nifty measuring gauge to add a half-inch seam allowance all around. The dotted line became the outline of my pattern piece for the front leg and I used the dotted line as a guide to cut out the pattern. IMG_8074

This is what the pattern looked like after cutting it. Say hi to Poochie!!!IMG_8080

And my kid wanted to make an appearance as well. Love this little stinker..IMG_8083

You can leave the tape on if you like, but I pulled it off and added a grainline, name of the pattern, and how many to cut. I added an awl punch at the crotch. I didn’t care to add notches, but typically I would. This pattern is so simple that I did not bother. IMG_8087

That’s it! That’s all you have to do to create a pattern. Repeat this step for all patterns pieces on your garment and you can replicate your favourite garment over and over again.

Now the back I did slightly different because the pant leg on the back is usually wider than the front leg as you can see below.

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To overcome this , I first taped just like I did the front leg. I re-used the tape from the front because I hate wasting and killing the environment, so I try my best to re-use. I was not too careful about taping at first. Then I went in with a pen and outlined along the stitch line to get the accurate shape.IMG_8091

This is what the back looked like when I was done with the portion of the back leg that sat flat. I still had to tackle the part of the back leg that extends beyond the side crease to the side seam.IMG_8096

For this I flattened the pant leg, allowing me to tape all the way to the side seam. My finger is pointing to where the side crease was . That’s it! IMG_8097

I did the same with the back yoke, waist band and pocket. I also tried drafting the pocket but it was not as accurate as using painters tape. IMG_8098

Here is the waist band. It’s a contoured waist band as this is a low-rise pair of jeans. Be sure to make CF and CB on the waist band as the waist band has an extension and this can be confusing while sewing. I also recommend using notches to match up the Centre Front, Centre Back, and side seams.IMG_8100

If you liked this tutorial, check out the rest of my tutorials HERE

The one thing I have to figure out is adding the front facing fly before I can cut. To make things super simple, I am going to go with a mock fly zipper and use this pattern as a base.

I am hoping to finish the pattern today and then cut and sew hopefully tomorrow. I would be beyond excited if I can get this completed this week. I know there are some amazing sewing divas out there that pop out a new garment every other day,  but I have to be realistic about my sewing goals, given all my other commitments.

Anyhooz- tell me what you think about this method. Have you used it? If so, do you love it? Or do you have another preferred method? I prefer this over cutting up the garment. It wastes tape, but its more green than cutting up the garment and wasting it. There are so many poor people in this world that could use old clothes, so I really don’t want to destroy any garments.  I’ll be back with my white skinnies soon .Send me some sewing motivation <3

 

Update: I made my skinny jeans using this method and you can see there HERE

-XOXO

-Vatsla.

 

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