Pattern storage tip

      Having trouble labeling and storing those homemade patterns? This was my “necessity is the mother of all invention” solution. I simply traced my original sketch of the garments I had made my pattern from onto a ziplock bag and stored the muslin draped or paper pattern pieces in the bag. No re-drawing a flat. No need to transfer patterns. No huge Manila envelopes for undersized patterns.  All delight!
    
    
   

Whatch Workin on Wednesday

IMG_3242LaLove Designs Skinny Trousers!!!!! Yay! 

These are one of the items on my current wish list. Most of the things on that list I’ve decided to make myself. I love, love, love buying clothes, but when it’s all said and done, it’s much more fulfilling to wear what I’ve made. (Mostly because if I’m wearing something cute, people always ask me if I’ve made it and It really stinks to have to say no.) I changed my original wide leg trouser pattern block, then made these in muslin and found out the pattern was way off. So I changed the pattern and went ahead and cut these out with that pattern. It was pretty close…close enough that I don’t regret not doing a second muslin mock-up, but not so close that I didn’t have to do quite a bit of seam ripping and pattern alteration. Oh well! Now I have a working pattern from which to make-wait for it….FLORAL CIGARETTE PANTS! (Like the ones below.) I can’t wait. I’ll have to make the leg a little narrower for those, but that won’t be very much trouble. 2015 Floral Pants For Women - Street Style Trends (19)Ok, that easy chic outfit is really spectacular, but back to the pants I’m making today. I still have the button and hemming to do, but that’s what afernoons are for.

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IMG_3245IMG_3246This fabric is adorable! I am and forever will be crazy in love with plaid! This is a very subtle plaid that looks like a gray solid from far away. These pants will go with everything! That’s the way I justify my clothing and shoe purchases, and that’s what I’m using to justify the time taken to make the pattern and sew these babies.

Leave it in the Comment Section:

How many of you make your own patterns? Do any of you know how to do it, but prefer to use store-bought patterns for the sake of time? I’m very curious to know.

Hope this inspires you guys to keep on sewing!

Turn a T-Shirt into Leggings!

IMG_2622T-Shirt into leggings- Why not, right?

Upcycling T-shirts is all the rage these day. One needn’t wander any farther than Pinterest, Craftsy, or just a good, old-fashioned Google search to stumble upon oodles of ideas: tank tops, boy shorts, purses, rugs. You name it; crafters have probably thought of a way to make it using repurposed t-shirts.

When repurposing garments, I typically like to take them completely apart and use the fabric, not too much of the stitching. That way, it’s like making something from scratch, which I feel better about. That’s not to say I haven’t cut off ugly sleeves, shortened hems, and revamped old dresses and other articles of clothing. That can be really fun and definitely makes great before and after shots, but my preference is really to design from the ground up.

Upcycling is a great way to get your feet wet in the sewing world. Whether you’re brand new to sewing and just want to get in some practice or you’re an experienced seamstress and are just looking for economical projects, it’s a fantastic option. And as my followers know, you don’t even need a machine to get started sewing clothes. I used my serger for this project, which made it super fast, but if you don’t have a machine, aren’t comfortable sewing knits yet, or if you just love the artistic goodness of the hand-stitched look, whip out your needle and thread and read a couple of my tutorials and posts on hand sewing knits to get started!

Baby T-shirt Tutorial

Upcycled Tank Top

Little Girl’s Tank

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

    A Pattern (If you don’t have one, use a pair of leggings as a guide to make one. Just add seam     allowance.)

    One or multiple T-shirts

    1/2 Inch elastic for the waistband

    Thread

    A sewing machine, serger, or hand sewing needle

    Scissors

Step 1: Prepare or make the pattern. I used a pair of yoga pants to make this pattern.
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Step 2: Cut out the fabric. I used a cool graphic tee and one with a contrasting color for the foldover waistband. Ideally, I would like these leggings to be a little longer since my daughters are so tall, but since this t-shirt is very soft and thin, I decided these would be for Spring/Summer wear anyway and they’d be fine as capris.

I kept the hem at the bottom for ease of sewing and because I don’t have a cover stitch machine that will do that type of hem yet. I like to avoid the zig-zag stitch for knits if I can. Another option for taller kids would be to use another t-shirt and extend the pattern. Just sew the extra piece to the bottom of the pant legs before sewing the pant. IMG_2623

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Step 3: Cut the elastic. You can measure the waist of the pants you made the pattern from, follow the pattern package directions, or measure your child’s waist. I prefer the third method. That way, you get a wonderful fit the first time around.

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Step 4: Sew the pants together. I don’t have step-by-step pics for the sewing portion, but if you’re a sewing newbie, feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

My favorite way to sew pants is to sew the inseam and outseam (this pattern only has one seam per leg, so I just folded each leg over and sewed that seam) and then turn one leg right side out and put it inside the leg that is right side in, so that the right sides of each leg are facing each other and sew the crotch seam, being careful to match the inseam up on both sides. (Click here for an easy tip on how to do that well.)

If there’s a waistband, sew it on with the elastic inside. If there’s no waistband, sew the elastic together at the ends and roll the top of the pants down over it to make a casing and sew, using a zig zag stitch or cover stitch.

   For an example of an elastic casing, click on the picture below.photo 10

Do not sew the waistband or crotch with a straight stitch, because the threads will break as soon as the pants stretch! I wouldn’t recommend sewing the vertical seams with a straight stitch, either. With knits, your stitches must allow for stretch, or your kid may be looking at a pretty embarrassing day at school.

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The Moral of the Story:

If you have more time than money, upcycling is a fabulous way to pursue a hobby and get in your sewing fix.

Also, make use of that zig-zag stitch, please! Friends don’t let friends rip their pants.

Who Loves Pants? This Girl!

 

IMG_1805It’s become a running joke in my house that the only things I wear are jeans and sneakers, but the only things I buy are dresses and stilettos. That rings especially true in winter. I have a ton of cute fall outfits pinned on Pinterest, and almost all of them make me freeze to look at. Seriously. I’m ALWAYS cold. So while I would love to make a winter outfit with a cute burgundy skater skirt and funky tights, (I’m really digging the ones in the pic below right now:)  I’m leaning on my old stand-by. PANTS!

And who doesn’t love a good trouser, slack, or jean? Nobody, that’s who! I haven’t made a trouser pattern since fashion design school, and back then, I fit the measurements of the dress form we used. I found my figure has changed since then, so I had to do a pattern block from scratch. (It’s not as easy measuring yourself as it is a dress form or someone else, I’ll tell ya that much!) This picture is of me measuring my hips and finding out that I finally have some! Say it with me…YAY! I’m a 38 instead of a 36 inch hip now, which is proof that I do have a butt now. Sort of. Of course, the down side to that is the inevitable tummy issue. (Can I call it inevitable if it could be prevented by exercise, but I just don’t do it?)

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Now, unless you’re a total pattern nerd like me, the pictures above and below won’t excite you. If, however, you geek out a little over the pastime, you’ll share my butterfly-y glee. I had planned to be a patternmaker after school and work up from there. I strongly believe designers need a real sense of how clothing fits together. But long story short, life had other plans and now I’m making pants out of my living room. That may not sound very thrilling, but it is to me.

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I got so far as to cut out the muslin for the test fit. Nothing in the patternmaking world comes off without a hitch straightaway, so I know I’ll have to do some changes to this pattern block in order to use it for real patterns. But palazzo pants, 70s style trousers, and slim line tuxedo pants here I come! It won’t take long to sew the muslin together, so I should be posting my progress soon.  In the meantime, let’s all tip our slouchy hats to Miss Marlene Dietrich, my absolute fashion fave for making men’s slacks Oh So Cool for women!

See, I’m pretty casual. It’s no makeup Monday for me pretty much week-round. I sometimes wear makeup. I occasionally do my hair. I wear dresses on every full blue moon that falls on the 13th of May. If you see me wearing makeup…with my hair done…in a dress, I think an angel is actually getting his wings. Or something like that.

IMG_1798The moral of the story?

Pants are pretty spectacular! Although, I think that’s pretty much the moral of every story. I may be biased. The End