Tag Archives: tutorial

Thurlow Sew-Along: Sewing the Front Pockets

29 Oct

Ok folks! D-Day has arrived, time to get workin’ on some trousers!

A quick note: You’ll notice that I didn’t post a sew-along schedule. This is because I am not sure how frequent (or infrequent) the posts need to be! I plan on working each full step per post, with a few days thrown in between so everyone can get their pants rolling, but do let me know if you’re feeling like everything is moving too fast and you need a minute to catch your breath :) Of course, these posts will always be here for future sew-alongers! So please don’t feel like you have to rush through to appease the Thurlow Gods :)

Today we are sewing the front pockets of our trousers, sections 2-3.

We start with the pocket facing and pocket piece – 7 & 8.
Finish the curved edges of both pieces, as shown.
If you have not already decided how you would like to finish your raw edges, consider this your kick in the butt! As you can see, I serged mine (what can I say – I’m a lazy seamstress at heart), but no worries if you don’t have a serger. Sunni has a whole mess of seam finishes right here and any of these will work. Personally, I think those bound seams look super yummy. Do what you want, though!

Grab your front pocket lining – piece 9 – and lay your pocket piece & facing on top, with the right sides all facing up and the weird notches & crannies all matching.

We are going to stitch these pieces down to the pocket lining, veryyyy close to the edge, as indicated by the dashed lines. The whole point of this is so when we put the pocket lining in the pants, you will only see the facing pieces from the outside.
Also: horse butt.

Grab a trouser front and lay it out, right side facing up.

Place your pocket lining over the trouser front, right sides together, matching the diagonal line. Stitch all the way across with a regular 5/8″ seam allowance.

Trim, grade, and understitch this seam.

Flip the whole thing back and give is a good press. If you would like, you can topstitch the pocket at this point.
What we are looking at now is the WRONG side of the trouser front, with the right side of the pocket lining facing up.

Pick up the loose end of the pocket lining…

And fold it along the fold line (this should be indicated by notches), matching the edges at the opposite side.

Sew the bottom of the pocket lining only, as indicated by the red dashes. Finish this seam.


Baste pocket edges along the top and side.

If your pocket has a little bit of ~body to it, that’s ok! It’s not supposed to lie completely flat :)

You should end up with something like this.
Yay! A pocket!

Yay! A pocket facing!

Now that wasn’t so hard, eh? :)

We’ll start on the welt pockets in a few days (dun dun DUN!). If you have any questions, do let me know & I’ll do my best to answer :)

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Thurlow Sew-Along: Adjusting the Pockets

23 Oct

This is gonna be short & sweet!

When I sewed up my first pair of Thurlows, the only complaint was that the back pockets weren’t deep enough to accomodate my phone or wallet. Which, I mean, back pockets pretty much ONLY exist for a phone or wallet as far as I’m concerned.

Original Thurlow pocket
Can we all just step back for a second and have a moment of silence for this tragedy that is unfolding.

Original Thurlow pocket
Measuring the pockets shows that they are only about 2.5″ deep. If this is all gravy in your world, do solider on with the unaltered pattern. If not, I hope you saved a bit of tissue because we have pattern pieces to slash and tape!

Modified Thurlow pocket
Here is my modified pattern piece. What you want to do is add length both above and below the fold line, to ensure that the pocket still folds up properly once we stick in the pants (hurr durrr). This is pretty easy – just slash a straight line above the fold line, tape in a gob of tissue paper (or you can use regular paper, IDGAF. I use tissue since I have tons on hand & it makes everything easy to fold back up!) and then repeat below the aforementioned fold line. To fit my iPhone, I added 2.5″ to each slash.

Modified Thurlow pocket
When you’re done hacking, fold the tissue on the fold line (notice that the bottom matches up to the top notch – not the top of the tissue). This is how deep your pocket will be. My phone fits, yay!

Modified Thurlow pocket
And here is an action shot, courtesy of my second pair of Thurlows.

If your muslins are ready, go ahead and cut your fabric – you did prewash… right?! ;) If you are planning on making your trousers in a plaid or striped fabric and fancy a bit of bias-cut on the welts & waistband (because YAY for not having to match those parts!), Liz has a great tutorial on altering pattern pieces for a bias grainline. For the actual matching at the side seams and everywhere else, Check out Tasia’s tutorial for matching plaids. If you are smart & opted for a solid, non-directional fabric – lucky you! You can just follow the cutting layout included in the pattern :)

We will start sewing on Monday!

Underlining: The Why & How

15 Jun

I’m currently working on the madness that is Simplicity 1803 (seriously thinking about calling this dress The Disaster Dress, if that means anything) and I thought I would share a few of my trials & tribulations with y’all. I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a tutorial for underlining (or even just asking wtf underlining is exactly), and while I haven’t been able to fulfill those requests in the past – but today is your lucky day! Underlining day, yaay!

First up, let’s talk shop. What exactly is underlining? Some people tend to confuse it with lining; this is incorrect. Lining is a duplicate garment that hangs separately inside your dress (or skirt, or pants, or whatever) that covers all seams for a nice clean finish. It is constructed separately and generally only attached by a few seams – perhaps a neckline, or the waistband of your skirt. The hem usually left free-hanging for ease for movement. Consider lining the inception of sewing – a garment within a garment (see what I did there?).

Underlining is when you sew two pieces of fabric together & treat them like a single piece – kind of like some relationships (ahhh I’m on a roll today here). Since the underlining is actually sewn to the back of your fashion fabric, the seams do show & the inside of the garment doesn’t necessarily have that clean finish.

Underlining is wonderful for a variety of reasons – you can use it to stabilize your fashion fabric to give it a bit more body (like with my Bombshell dress), to add a layer of opacity to an otherwise sheer fabric (my Swiss Dot Violet really benefited from a batiste underlining), to add a layer of warmth to a coat (the lining of my Lady Grey is underlined with cotton flannel), or even to brighten up your fashion fabric a notch (look at the difference underlining made on my Gingham Peony!) If you were concerned about the integrity of a delicate fabric – lace, or vintage, or… I dunno, vintage lace – you could underline every piece for additional strength. Underlining has lots of uses, it’s awesome!

For my dress in question, I am using this pretty black eyelet from Mood. The whole thing is quite see-through so I knew ahead of time that it would going to need some kind of backing to keep certain places under cover. I originally planned on just dropping a whole lining in the thing & calling it a day, until I realized that you would see every single seam through the eyelet – and by every single seam, I mean eyelet seams & lining seams. I’m using Bemberg Rayon here (LOVE!!!!!) and that stuff frays like nobodies business. I started imagining little shreds of turquoise popping out all over the place & it gave me the willies.

So I decided to underline instead. An added bonus is that it totally negates the two issues I was having with the individual fabrics – the Bemberg was sliding all over the place, and my sewing machine was throwing a giant fucking fit every time I tried to sew over the textured eyelet. By sewing the two fabrics together, the Bemberg stays put & provides a layer over the eyelet that keeps the needle from freaking out. Yeah!

This process is pretty easy. I’m almost embarrassed to even post this.

Cut each pattern piece from both your fashion fabric & preferred underlining fabric (as I mentioned here, I’m using Bemberg Rayon – which is traditionally a lining fabric, but it’s main job for this dress is opacity). The pieces should be mirror images of each other. I like to go ahead & snip all my notches, it makes things easier to match up. Don’t worry about your pattern markings (the kind you use chalk or tailor tacks or whatever for) just yet.

Place the underlining on the wrong side of the fashion fabric. If your underlining has a right side, make sure it is facing the wrong side of the fashion fabric (so when you flip the whole thing over, both right sides should be facing up). Pin everything together – I used these tiny silk pins because my lining shows pin holes.

Then you just sew the lining to the fabric! Here are some tips:
- Yes, you can sew it by machine. I chose to sew by hand because the rayon is super slippery & I wanted it to shift as little as possible. It also makes ripping the basting stitches out MUCH easier. If you sew by hand, you want to keep things as flat as possible – sit at a table! It’s very mindless work, so feel free to watch a movie (or two!).
- Sew giant basting stitches using one strand of thread. Pick something contrasting so it’s easier to pull out the stitches after you sew the seams. I used orange thread; I thought it was pretty haha.
- Try to stay well within your seam allowance – you can see that mine is less than 1/4″ from the edge. I think this makes it easier to pull out the stitches (it’s not anywhere near the 5/8″ SA, so I’m not actually sewing over the basting with my machine) and it hides any pin-marks that may get left behind on delicate fabrics.
- You may also notice that I did not sew along the bottom edge of the piece. Call me lazy, idgaf. The basting for underlining is really there to hold the pieces together until they are properly sewn. I’ve found that I can usually get away with omitting the bottom hem & any seams that extremely short (such as the point between the princess seam & the armscye). Play around & see what works for you!

Next project involves eyelet... And a ridic amount of underlining, ugh
(sorry about the crappy Instagram picture!)
For super precise darts, thread trace the dart legs through both layers after you have basted the pieces together. This keeps the fabrics together while you sew the dart, and eliminates any weird bubbling that may otherwise happen.

Here is the other side of my underlined piece. Cute!

Now that you’ve got your pieces all basted together, you can treat them like one piece of fabric. You can transfer your fabric markings to the underlining side of the fabric so it doesn’t show on the front. Sew as you normally would, and make sure to pull out your basting threads as you sew each seam.

Here is how my bodice is looking as of this morning
Since this is an underlining, and not a proper lining, you will still have to finish your seams & deal with facings. My seams are serged; my facing is a simple cotton broadcloth as the eyelet was too bulky.

I love the subtle peek of turquoise :D

I am including this picture because it looks like a uterus, and that is funny to me.

So that’s it! Hopefully this brings a light to some of the mystique :) As always, let me know if you have any questions!

Tutorial: The Jenny Belt

17 Apr

Floral Minidress
When I posted my Floral Minidress, I got the most shit-flipping in regards to the turquoise belt I was wearing. I don’t blame anyone for this – it’s an awesome belt. Lots of people asked where I originally scored it – and I’m sorry to say that it was a purchase from a vintage store in New Orleans (nyah nyah nyah).

Occasionally I like to do nice things for other people, so I trekked down to the fabric store & picked up some supplies to see if I could duplicate the turquoise belt. And it worked! And now I’m going to share my tutorial – and pattern! – with the rest of the internet. Don’t say I never do stuff for you :)

Jenny Belt

I’m calling this the Jenny Belt because it’s a very 80s design, and Jenny is (to me) the most 80s name there is (well, other than Tiffany). Also, my first name is Jennifer. So yes, I named this belt after myself, technically. Wow that’s kind of awkward. Anyway, feel free to use the pattern as many times as your heart desires – but please don’t make it to sell. I want this to be free to everyone so let’s just be fair here, okay? Okay.

Let’s start by looking at the original inspiration.
Turquoise belt measurements
I left the yardstick there so you could see the actual size of the belt – a little over 26″ total. My waist is 26.5″-27″ (depending on how much I eat that day) so obviously this belt doesn’t need to stretch much to fit. The back half is elastic, but you don’t want to put too much stress back there or else you will distort the flow of the front.

Please note that I am writing this tutorial for a me-sized belt – i.e., one that will fix a waist of approximately 26″-28″. If you need your belt to be larger or smaller, you will need to adjust the elastic (and possibly the pattern pieces) accordingly.

Jenny Belt - supplies
Belt fabric: I used fake leather, but you can use whatever you want! Make sure your fabric does not have any stretch and is sturdy enough to handle belt-stress (or else plan on interfacing that sucker!). I have 1/4 yard here, but I think you could feasibly get by on much less… 1/4 yard was just the minimum cut at my particular store.
3″ Elastic: 3/8 yard was enough for me. If you can find 4″ elastic, even better!
1 1/2″ Button
Jenny Belt Pattern

Jenny Belt - pattern
Print the pattern at 100% – it should fit exactly on a sheet of regular ol’ paper. If you need to double-check the measurements, the length at the widest point should be approximately 8.5″. Cut out your pattern pieces – including the button hole. No seam allowances necessary!

Fold your leather in half, right sides together, and place your pattern pieces on the straight grain. You can pin around the pieces to keep the layers together, but be mindful that the pins will leave holes when you remove them. I used weights to keep my pieces down while I traced around the edges with a piece of chalk.


Cut out your pieces, including the button hole. You may need to use a smaller pair of scissors to get in there.

Now is a good time to make sure your button fits in the button hole.

You should have 4 pattern pieces – two with a button hole, two without.

Stack your pattern pieces, wrong sides together. If you are using interfacing, it should be sandwiched between the pieces. Don’t worry if your pieces don’t *exactly* match up around the edges, we will trim them after sewing. Remember – no pins! They will leave holes. If you absolutely need to hold the pattern pieces together, you can use paper clips or binder clips.

The pink lines indicate what sides you should sew – leave the last edge open, as this is where you will be inserting the elastic.

If you are using fake leather, you may want to lengthen your stitch a bit.

Sewing fake leather is fairly simple – the material is thin enough that most machines should handle it with no issues. If you have problems with the material sticking to the bottom of your presser foot, place a piece of tissue paper under the foot (on top of your leather) and sew as normal. I found that I only needed the tissue paper to get the seam started, and then I didn’t have any issues with sticking. Hold the material taunt (but don’t pull it!) to keep everything flat & pucker-free. Play around and see what works for you!
Sew the three sides (indicated by the pink line) and don’t forget the button hole!

When you are finished sewing, the tissue paper should rip right off.

If your edge are uneven, give them a little trim.

Stick the elastic in the open end of the belt, about 1/4″ deep.

Both ends of the belt should be mirrored – i.e., pointing in the same direction.
Haha I had to fold the elastic in half to get it to fit in the picture, but you get the idea.

Sew the elastic into place, making sure to back stitch at each end. Again, use tissue paper if you need it!

Sew the button on (as indicated by the X marking on the pattern piece).

And you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? :)

Jenny Belt & Turquoise belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt Tutorial (Flickr Set)
Jenny Belt Pattern

That’s all! I hope this tutorial is clear enough for everyone :) If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
And, of course… you make your own Jenny Belt, I’d love to see it!

Conquering Knits: A Self-Help Guide

23 Feb

Chevron Renfrew

So you wanna sew some knits, huh? Maybe you picked up the Renfrew pattern and haven’t worked up the courage to slice into the pattern tissue yet. Or maybe you’ve been romanced & wooed by all the amazing printed knit fabrics out there. Or maybe you’re just ready for a new challenge that doesn’t involve zippers! Whatever you reason, it’s time to talk knits. Get a coffee and get comfy, this is gonna be a long ‘un.

First off, let me say something very important.

Knits are not scary or super difficult to work with!

I don’t know who is responsible for freaking out millions of sewers to be afraid of knit fabrics, but I wish I did know so I could stick some needles in his (or her!) face. Knit fabrics are actually MUCH easier to work with than a basic woven fabric. Yes, you have to pay special attention to the grainline, but aren’t you doing that anyway with your other sewing projects? ;) Yes, knits do curl up – but they don’t unravel! Yes, you have to use a special stitch & needle to keep your seams from getting too wavy and/or snapping – but what’s so scary about that?

Here is what is so awesome about knits. I made you a list.
- Don’t wanna hem? Don’t hem! That shit ain’t going nowhere.
- No tedious fitting! Cut your size correct size based on the pattern measurements and let the stretch of the knit do all the work handling those sexy curves you were blessed with.
- No zippers, buttonholes, or closures in general! Pull that shit over your head and get on with your life!
- Finding the grainline is easy – just follow the direction of the greatest amount of stretch.
- Knits are great for using teeny tiny scraps – you can piece the hell out of them (call the seams a ~design feature~) and use them for things like side panels, cuffs and collars, contrasting yokes, colorblocking, insets, creating stripes, pockets, etc. As long as you are paying attention to that grainline, you are pretty much limitless with what you can make!
- You are not limited to *only* using knit yardage to make tshirts – use your pattern to resize a large shirt! Add zippers and hoods or just play with the colors to jazz it up!
- While you don’t need a serger to sew knits, it’s your bestest excuse for buying one :)

Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about your new life with knits, let’s talk about those stitches.

Whether or not you plan on using a serger to sew up knits, you will want to keep a pack of Ballpoint Needles on hand. These are perfect for knits because the tip is slightly rounded, which means they push between the loops of the fabric, rather than pierce little holes to make their way through – this is bad for knits!

Stripey - topstitching
You may also want a twin needle for topstitching – especially if you don’t have a coverstitch machine (Does anyone here have a coverstitch machine? Can I borrow it?). Twin needles are awesome because they will do a perfect row of double stitching on top, and a neat little zig-zag on the bottom. You can get these in all sizes, weights – including ballpoint! – and stitch widths. I use them in place of the zig zag for my top stitching, as I think it looks a little more professional. Keep in mind these are for topstitching only; the stitches they produce are not strong enough to handle seams. You do need two spools of thread to use a double needle; wind some thread onto a bobbin if you don’t have a second spool on hand.

Special stitches are used to construct knits (assuming you aren’t using a serger – if you are, high five!) – you want the stitch to stretch with the fabric, or else you’re going to hear a lot of popping when you pull on your new tshirt. A straight stitch won’t do. And by “special stitches,” I am referring to the good ol’ zig zag stitch. If you want to make your seams a little more sturdy, adjust the zig zag width to be slightly more narrow – but not too narrow, or you’ll make the stitch too dense to actually stretch. Play around with a few scraps of your fabric and see what works best for you.

If your machine is computerized and has the ability to end a stitch in the “needle-down” position, go ahead and engage that – it it helpful for stretching as you sew, without risking pulling everything off the sewing machine. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, just turn the handwheel until the needle is down before you start pulling on your fabric.

If you have a walking foot or dual feed, these are also very nice for keeping the knits from getting too ripply. If you don’t have anything like that, no worries! You can still sew up some pretty knits :)

stripery dress with pink colorblocks

Knit Tips!

When sewing with woven (aka non-stretchy) fabrics, you can kind of fudge the grainlines. It’s not ideal, but the garment will still work as long as you’re not trading bias for straight. With that being said, this does NOT work with knits! It is important to place your pattern on the fabric according to the stretch direction (if you’re not sewing up a 4-way stretch jersey or whatever), otherwise you may not be able to get that shirt over your head.

You want your stretch to run horizontally across the body, not vertical. For neck/sleeve bands, the stretch needs to run the length of the band. I know this sounds really “Well no shit, Sherlock” but you’d be amazed at how many failed knit projects I chucked in the trash due to not figuring out where stretch was necessary. Learn from my mistakes.

Sewing on knit bands with a serger

Using the stretch to your advantage is the easiest way to get your knit garments looking supa fly. I am a big fan of foregoing an actual hem on my knits and just making little neck and arm and hem bands to keep everything nice & clean. However, these can really make or break a garment – especially if they end up too loose & floppy when sewn in. The bands need to be a bit shorter than the edge that they are being sewn onto, especially when dealing with necklines & arms. This allows the band to curve nicely and lie flat, without the use of additional stitches to hold it down. If you are sewing up your Renfrew top with something more stretchy than a stable knit, you will want to cut your neckband pieces down an inch or so to take advantage of that nice stretch. When you sew up your pattern, carefully stretch the band to fit – you should just be able to pull gently. It helps to sew with the band on top, so you can control how much you pull.

If you do want to make a hem on your knit that doesn’t involve bands, you can do a nice basic hem using your twin needles. Patty’s Knit 101 post has a lot of great info for this!

Knit - stabilizing shoulders
Make sure you stabilize your shoulders – otherwise you will risk stretching them out. A little piece of twill tape or clear elastic is perfect for this. I like to pin mine to the back, centered on the seam, and then top stitch with a double needle. Quick and gets the point across!

PROTIP: Knits look wavy when they are laying flat on a table. This does not mean you failed at sewing. Nine times out of ten, when you put the garment on, the fabric will stretch to accommodate and smooth itself out. Don’t stress unnecessarily over a wavy seam!

white/purple plaid sweater dress

I think that about covers the basics – really, the best way to learn is to just jump in & play around with fabrics & stitches! Try starting out with something really basic & easy – the Renfrew is a great, hand-holding pattern. You could even use it to resize a larger tshirt, which will help you get more comfortable with stretchier fabrics & that zig zag stitch. Don’t worry if your first few attempts leave a little to be desired – it takes practice!

Fabric Stash - knits
A giant stash of knit fabrics to play with doesn’t hurt either :)

I am by no means a professional, but I’ve definitely sewn up my share of knit fabrics :) Have any questions you don’t see covered here? See any designs you want a tutorial on? Leave a comment & I’ll see what I can do!

Tutorial: Using Bias Tape As A Facing

22 Feb

Continuing with my sewing-for-the-wrong-season theme (spring, please get here now!), my current project is a simple little gingham sundress. As I mentioned yesterday, I am using the Peony pattern sans sleeves – summer dresses don’t need sleeves! Here is my inspiration, if you wanna be inspired too!:) I squeezed this out of a sale remnant (1.5 yards @ 44″, if you’re curious!), which left no room for facings. That’s fine, I guess, because I don’t really feel like drafting facings for those arm holes. Onto the next best thing – bias tape!

Bias tape is a great alternative to facing – whether you are working with a fabric that is too thick to use as a facing, or too uncomfortable to wear next to the skin, or maybe you just want something lightweight & unfussy! It gives a nice clean finish with considerably little effort. I personally like to make my own bias tape – the Coletterie has a great tutorial on how to do this – as I find the packaged stuff to be too stiff and bulky. Making your own bias tape also gives you all kinds of options – contrasting colors, patterns, something to give the inside of your garment a little pop! Yellow bias tape would be so fun with this dress! I had to make do with what I had on hand, though, so mine is white.

Here is my method for sewing in a bias tape facing – I understand there are different ways to do this (such as Colette’s Sorbetto top), so use what you will!

You are going to start by sewing up your garment as usual – should seams, side seams – as we are going to insert the bias tape in the round. If you are using bias tape to face the neckline, insert your zipper as well. I’m just focusing on the arm holes here.

Trim down the seam allowance minus the width of the fold of your bias tape – in my case, my bias tape is 1/2″, so the folds are 1/4″. I trimmed off 1/2″, as the seam allowance for this is 5/8″.

Open up the bias tape and fold under 1/2″ at the beginning. Press.

On the right side of the garment, pin the opened bias tape right sides together around the arm hole, matching the raw edges.

Sew the whole thing down, positioning your needle in the crease of the bias tape. Don’t sew over your pins!!!

Clip the seam allowance every 1/2″ or so to ensure that the tape will lie smoothly. Be careful not to clip into your stitching. If your main fabric is bulky, you may want to grade down the seam as well.

Now fold the bias tape over so it is on the wrong side of the garment and carefully pin into place.
You can sew the tape down on your machine, or by hand (like I did). Sorry the picture doesn’t show so well! I slip-stitched to the underlining only, to keep the stitches from showing on the right side.

Give your arm holes a good press with the steam iron to ease out any wrinkles.

And you’re done!


My next dilemma – how to trim up this dress! I do want to incorporate some yellow, so I pulled out all my yellow notions & threw them in a pile in the middle of my sewing table. I have buttons (1/2″ and giant 1.5″!), tiny rick-rack, wide lace, a scant piece of piping (enough for maybe a neckline or a waist), seam binding, and of course the petersham that is choking poor Dolly. The petersham is probably going to turn into a belt, since I only have a yard of it. What would you do? Jazz it up, or keep it simple?

Look! A Mini-LT! (and a tutorial to make your own)

10 Jan

Look! I made a creepy line-drawing of myself!
mini LT!
Isn’t it just the cutest thing you ever did see? Ok, maybe not… it’s kind of creepy lol.

I was inspired to make one of these after reading chapter 2 of the Colette Sewing Handbook, A Thoughtful Plan. It is suggested that you make your own croquis to aid with planning out future sewing projects.

This is not normally something I would use – garments look sooo different on a bunch of stylized croquis than they do on normal ol’ bodies, plus, I’m pretty ~aware~ of how my body looks – so I didn’t see much of a point. But now little mini-me’s are popping up all over the internet, and I’m a sheep at heart so I took some pictures and drew out my own. Mine has a little outfit (bathing suit?) because I feel a little creeped out at the idea of a nakey me floating around the internet.

The book suggests printing your picture & tracing around the lines to create the croquis – which is fabulous, but I don’t have a printer at home and I was a little skeeved at the idea of printing out a picture of my undie-clad body on the office printer (or at Kinko’s! Oh God!). Hence, the all-digital LT.

And guess what? The process was pretty easy, so I made a bunch of screen shots so I could share the tutorial with you :) And the best part is, you don’t have to have Photoshop :) I used GIMPshop, which is a FREE software that is very similar to Photoshop (except free). Yay!

First, you are going to want to take a picture of yourself – in something very form-fitting (like leggings or a tank) or just undies. My actual picture was taken in a tank top and undies, hence why I picked a different picture for the tutorial :) But you – you are going to want to wear something that shows your shape!

Some photo tips that I wish someone had pointed out to me:
- Stand in front of a plain (preferably light) backdrop. The less noise you need to edit out of the background, the better! This also makes it easier to see where you figure ends & where the wall (or whatever is behind you) begins.
- Make sure the camera is pointed straight at you, and not at an angle. My first croquis did not heed this warning, and as a result, she hashad very short legs (Had. I deleted her lol). Apparently I take my pictures at slightly MySpace-esque angle, which is great for outfit photos but not so great for croquis.
- Ensure that there is plenty of light & use a flash if necessary! It doesn’t matter if the picture is “blown out” or you are making a derp face – we are just dealing with the lines here, anyway.

Ok, so you’ve got your picture – tutorial time! These pictures are also located on my Flickr in their own set if you feel so inclined. Click through any picture to make it bigger if you need to!

I decided to use this clover picture as an example, saving y’all the pain of viewing an undies shot. You are all welcome. And again, I’m using GIMPshop. It’s free! And please note that I am by no means a professional when it comes to digital image manipulation – I just kind of hacked my way through until I came up with something suitable :)

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(I know, it should be “Croqui” not “Croquis,” my bad. I did not realize until it was TOO LATE!

I made myself wear the Pastille dress:
mini LT pastille
In the future, I will be drawing the actual clothes with a pencil & a piece of paper. It is hard to adjust the lines of the garment in GIMP to correspond with the lines of my body.

At any rate, I’m excited about my new little friend :)

Now – go print out a million little images of yourself & draw up a new wardrobe! Yay!

tutorial: how to insert a fly-front zipper

13 Jun

here is the fly-front zipper tutorial i promised y’all! it’s not perfect by any means – i’m still learning zippers myself! but this is a pretty easy, tried-and-true method that delivers great results.

you want to start with the front of your shorts (or pants!), sewn together up to the point where the bottom of the zipper will reside. we will be working flat – no back or side seams yet. this makes the insertion much easier and quicker.
Continue reading

mini-tutorial: bound seams

9 Feb

i just love bound seams – i think they are so pretty and neat and add a really nice touch to an otherwise simple garment.

i am currently slogging away at simplicity 2412 and, god, has this pattern been a lesson in patience. from the initial tracing, to decoding all the weird pinholes and perforations (verdict: unprinted patterns really aren’t that scary, but i wouldn’t recommend them to a total beginner), to the multiple pattern adjustments (taking 9″ off the bottom and the dang thing is STILL too long! and omggg so much unnecessary ease!)… at least the actual construction is going together fairly smoothly!

i decided to bind my seams for a few reasons:
- this dress is seersucker. who wants to line a seersucker anything? talk about defeating the purpose!
- out of all the garments i’ll be working on this spring, this one has very few seams and they are all straight – perfect for this kind of finish
- i have the most gorgeous lipstick red rayon seam binding. GORGEOUS. it was crying to be used!

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mini-tutorial: invisible hems

8 Dec

let me preface by saying that i LOVE a good invisible hem. not that horrible weak shit provided by the “blindstitch” hem a sewing machine does (i had to put that in quotes because they aren’t even blind and they look horrible and tacky and ugh ugh ugh h8 machine-sewn hems ALL OF THEM), but a dainty hand-sewn invisible/blind hem ♥ so classic and clean, the mark of true craftsmanship.

don’t even get me started on machine-stitched VISIBLE hems ew ew ew

anyway, this process mystified me for a long time:
first it was “LOL WHY I AM GONNA DO THAT, THE MACHINE IS GOOD ENOUGH AND IT IS FASTER” (yeah, if you want your finished piece to look extra suzy homemaker. gross, i bet you used quilting cotton to make that, too).

i don’t think hand sewing is boring anymore, not even after putting hours of padstitching into my lady grey. i guess i see it as the difference between “homeade” and “handmade.”

i’m hemming a gorgeous black 50s cocktail dress (another spoil from closet case vintage ehehehe), so i took some pictures to maybe de-mystify the process for some of y’all.
and also to point out why, when someone asks me “oh, can you hem this, i know it’ll be quick bc you have a sewing machine!” i tend to snarl and spit and spout profanities.

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