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Archive for the ‘handmade wardrobe’ Category



Sew What Skirts- Straight Skirt, originally uploaded by Indie House.

I was so excited to create this skirt, so empowered by the idea of drafting my own pattern custom fit for me and now that it’s done…. I feel slightly let down. See how the skirt flares out by the side slits? It isn’t supposed to do that! It should fall straight the way it did here.

Self Drafted Skirt Pattern

It didn’t start flaring out until I sewed the seams on the slits so that must be what is causing it except I followed the directions exactly so it shouldn’t do this. I don’t know if it’s the material or if I should draft it differently next time… The skirt fits well at the waist follows my hips but isn’t skin tight and then it flares. It’s perfect except for the flare and I don’t know how to fix it.

Flare aside the directions were concise, informative and easy to follow. I drafted my pattern using the back of christmas paper (a neat tip from the book) and didn’t have to tape copy paper together. My only “complaint” is that the book teaches you how to put in a regular zipper and attempt to disguise it instead of teaching you how to put in a hidden zipper. While hidden zippers are a bit harder, especially for beginners, they are a necessary skill and create a more polished look.

I will definitely make more skirts from this book, including straight skirts but without the side slits, and I totally recommend it if you are looking to try out pattern drafting and skirt making.

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Self Drafted Skirt Pattern, originally uploaded by Indie House.

When I reviewed Amy Butler’s Barcelona Skirt I said your money would be better spent buying Sew What! Skirts because it teaches you to make a variety of skirts including an A-line like the Barcelona. But I said that never having attempted to draft my own pattern and I will admit the idea of doing so was a bit intimidating. After all people spend whole semesters or even years learning the art of pattern drafting- how much could I learn from a book?

The answer is quite a lot. Of course it helps that skirts are relatively easy to make in their simplest form and as your skill and confidence grow you can build on the basics taught in the book. My first attempt was the “Polka Dotty,” a simple straight skirt with side zipper and two side slits. I made mine in a nice, slightly stretchy dark denim.

The glory of drafting your own skirt pattern is that you are creating a skirt that will be ideal for your body so accurate measurements are key. I suggest having a friend do the measurements.

You will need:

A tape measure
pen and paper
Marker

Step 1:

You will need to measure your “waist,” hips, and the distance from waist to hips. Where you put your waist is entirely up to you, I placed mine about an inch below my belly button. Since this is arbitrary I suggest making a small mark on your skin with the marker.

Step 2:

Measure your hips. This measurement should be taken at the fullest point of your hips, usually indicated by where your buttocks protrude the most. Again place a small mark on your skin indicating where you took this measurement directly below where you placed the mark for your waist measurement.

Step 3:

Measure the distance between your waist and hips. If you decide not to use the marks it may be hard to get an accurate measurement because you may have forgotten where exactly you defined your “waist.”

Step 4:

These measurements will become the building blocks of all you future skirt patterns so accuracy is key. To these measurement you will add your seam allowance and ease.

Most commercial patterns use a 5/8 in seam allowance but you may find it simpler to use 1/2 in. If you find the skirt is to tight you could reduce the seam allowance but be careful there is a reason most seamtresses use 1/2- 5/8 in allowance.

The amount of ease is entirely up to you, your body shape and the type of skirt you are drafting. For my straight skirt I wanted it fairly form fitting but not skin tight.

To recap:

Waist = waist measurement + seam allowance (SA)+ ease then divide by four (for fabric cut from a folded fabric)

Hip = hip measurement + SA+ ease then divide by four

Waist to Hip = waist to hip measurement + SA at waist

Length= desired length + hem + SA at waist

Step 5:

Draft pattern using these measurements.

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Burda 7834, originally uploaded by Indie House.

I love my new blouse I just wish I could take a deep breath without worrying about busting a seam! Yeah it’s a bit tight around the rib cage, I made a size six which fits most of my measurements, too bad lower rib cage isn’t a measurement I could have factored in.

That said I still planning on wearing this shirt ALOT. It’s totally whimisical with the deep purple Lecien fabric and the orange polka dots. I don’t think I’ll be blending into the crowd on this one.

By now darts are a breeze for me but lining up the points when piecing the top front and bottom front was a bit harder. If you look closely you can tell mine isn’t quite right it should look like this-



nani iro top, originally uploaded by dorathy.

There isn't a whole lot of skill involved it's a matter of playing with the placement and then pinning it when it is "just so" and possibly hand basting before you stitch it. Oh well you can't really tell on mine unless you are up close.

The skill I did need to master was sewing curves! I got stuck when it came time to put the right side of the collar against the right side of the upper front, baste, stitch and then turn. When you read it and look at the fabric you think the curve of the collar should be matched with the curve of the blouse but it's actually the opposite. You should lay them together like this-

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So that when you stitch them together and turn the collar out the curves will match.

When lining up curves I like to pin the two edges first so you don’t get overhang or not enough fabric of any one side. That seems to happen when you start from one side and pin your way around. Then I put pins in any other key places like seams.

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Then I will alternate sides placing pins to evenly distribute the fabric. As I put the fabric through my machine I let it curve until right before it goes under the needle. If you try to force the curve straight it’s going to come out all wonky. When it should look like this

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And then turned out

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All in all it’s a pretty easy pattern that can be completed in a couple hours. When using two different fabrics it calls for a yard of each but I only had a 1/2 yard of the orange dots so all my facings are white Kona Cotton. It’s a great way to save some money and stretch your favorite prints.

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canonjuly09 081, originally uploaded by Indie House.

How fabulous is this skirt?!

So easy to dress up or down, for work or for play and the perfect slate for the bright accessories I like to wear.

Want to see more pictures and find out more about making it? Check out my full pattern review at Fashioned by Meg on Monday.

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Study Hall Skirt, originally uploaded by Indie House.

It seems like some of you may be a ready to move past quilt making and back to garment making so ask and you shall receive!

This weekend I saw a posting by Meg asking for pattern review volunteers. I immediately signed up after all I already had the pattern, fabric and notions and now I would have the motivation to finally get it done. We settled on mid-July to post the review on her blog but it looks like I will be traveling fairly extensively for work starting next week so I need to get this finished before then. Once it’s done Meg can post at her leisure (don’t worry though I’ll let you know when it’s up).

If you are interesting in reviewing a pattern it looks like she is still looking for volunteers.

I can already tell you the Study Hall Skirt is going to be more involved than any skirt I’ve completed in the past. There are nine pattern pieces and almost every pattern piece corresponds to two pieces of fabric.

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Once you get it all cut out the next step is to zig zag or serge three sides of almost every piece. That step alone took 20-30 minutes!

It will be worth it the end though, how cute is this one?!



study hall skirt, originally uploaded by sofia sweetheart.

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Simplicity 3835, originally uploaded by Shear Delight.

Now this is an easy summer dress! A handful of pattern pieces, a zipper, some interfacing and you have yourself a really cute dress.

I made a size 8 and it fits really well except the lower arms. To give you an idea of sizing I generally wear a size 4 or 6 in storebought clothes. Do you think I have fat lower arms? I cut out a size 8 and could not get them up my arm so I redid the seam at a 1/4 inch and I can wear it but it’s still tight. The next time around I’m going to extend the lower arm pattern piece out by at least a 1/2 an inch.

The pattern pieces for the body and arms are the same with different cut lines for the different styles so it’s very easy to mix and match the design elements. I opted for the longest length in the arms so I could have those stylish doodads and the longest length so it could be worn for work. I’ve also noticed that many women will make the mini version and find it’s to short to be worn as a dress and end up pairing it with pants. I wanted a dress that could be worn as a dress and this fits the bill quite nicely. If it’s to long you could easily hem it but its a little harder to add length!

I made this out of Alexander Henry fabric that I bought on sales at Jo-Ann’s partly because I didn’t want to invest in expensive fabric the first time around and partly because I wanted to see if I could pull off an all over pattern like this. It turns out I really like it!

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Ever since I saw this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew I’ve been wanting to try it and I bought this fabric a couple weeks ago but never got around to making it until today.

The instructions are clear, concise and come with quite a few pictures. I skipped the arm divots and pockets as unecessary and the ruffles so that I could wear the top with a cardigan for work.

Skills needed: pleats and edge stitching

The pleats are simple but you may want to practice edge stitching pleats on a scrap piece of fabric. This design element is front and center on your top so if you mess up it will unfortunately be very obvious.

All told this took about an hour and I did get stuck once. The instructions for attaching the chest band and body of the top don’t come with accompanying pictures so here is what I did.

I lined up the raw edges of the body and the unfolded edge of the chest band (remember in step 3 you folded down one side of the chest band 1/4 inch and ironed it) and stiched a 3/8in seam.

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Press the seam towards the chest band and it will look like this.

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Now fold the chest band in half and bring the 1/4 in folded edge to the inside of the top like this.

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Sew along this edge, remember this stitch will catch both sides of the chest band, the body of the top and be visible on the outside. I used my 1/4 inch foot as a guide.

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I didn’t bother to determine where my straps were going to go until after trying the top on and ultimately decided to make the back straps come in to the center. I would recommend doing it this way so that you know how the straps will ultimately look and lie on you before sewing.

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I think it adds a little interest and helps me to remember which side is the front!

Her instructions for attaching the straps were a bit weird as well. I thought just stitching where the straps were attached to the band looked wierd so I pinned the straps on and then top stitched around the entire top of the chest band securing the straps in the process.

And the last change I made was to the straps, I omitted ruffles or bais tape so I folded the straps in half, right sides together, stitched a 1/4 in seam along the raw edges and then turned it right side out- to easy.

For not a lot of work I really like the result.

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