Tuesday, June 16, 2015

{Tutorial} High Waist Skinny Pants & Shorts: Part 2

Welcome back!! This is part two of the high waist shorts tutorial. You can read the fitting portion of the tutorial (part one) here!

By now you've fit your pants, removed excess seam allowance, and traced your new pattern pieces.

Sew your seat, inseam, and right outseam only. Finish the edges on your left inseam pieces. We're gonna add a zipper here eventually!

Now we sort of added height willy-nilly to our pattern pieces initially, erring on the side of caution. So lets' stitch that left side seam up to the widest part of the hip, and put these puppies on! (If you don't know where the widest part of the hip is, it should line up with that lengthen/shorten line you marked in part 1 - the one that intersects the middle of the seat seam.)
Mine have too high a rise in the front. I'm going to wrap my measuring tape at my waist, and secure it with a clip. Then mark a level line across my waist.

Trim off the excess.
Now mark 2 inches down from the (new and improved!) top of the shorts. We're going to cut our own custom waistband!
Cut off the waistband. Trace it (don't forget to add seam allowance!), and mark the grain lines.

 Cut one from exterior fabric, and one reverse from a lining fabric on the bias. Interface the exterior waistband! (I forgot to do this, and mine is rather unstable.)
Stitch the waistband exterior right sides together.
Iron the waistband, seam up.
Now grab your zipper! You're going to pop on your zipper foot and stitch the zipper, starting from the waistband, all the way down. The trick here, is lining up the top of the zipper with the very bottom of the seam allowance on the waistband. I marked those with pink tape above.
Lay your lining right sides together with the waistband. Stitch along the top seam, carefully missing the top notch of the zipper with your needle.
Lay your waistband lining down, right sides together, and fold up the seam allowance. Pin in place, so you can stitch down the zipper line. 
Clip the corners, and flip your waistband lining down. Tuck your seam allowance up and pin in place.
Top stitch all along the edges of the lining, zipper, and top of the waistband.
Isn't that pretty??
Your shorts might have an uneven hem after all our adjustments. Neaten the edge of one side, then overlap the two pant legs and trim the other leg to match. 
Try them on again, and find yourself a mirror.
Figure out how much you need to fold your shorts to get to your desired inseam. Then, fold half that first, and fold it up again. Repeat on the other side and adjust until it's level all around.
Stitch in the ditch inseam and outseam of your folded hem line. That's it!

You can add back pockets or belt loops if you want to, I blew through too much of my muslin to afford such details, but they'd be super cute!

Otherwise, grab your new high waist shorts and break out into a celebratory dance!! Enjoy :) 

Monday, June 15, 2015

{Tutorial} High Waist Skinny Pants & Shorts: Part 1


Ok, maybe not. I need at least a 3 inch inseam to keep my under-cheek from slipping out of the back of my shorts. BUT - Even if my hem isn't super high, my waist sure can be!

Who should wear high waisted shorts?

  1. Petites, or those with proportionally shorter legs, who want to "grow" the perceived length of their legs. 
  2. Anyone comfortable rocking a short inseam. If you find 3 inches or less is scandalous, this isn't a trend for you. Shorter inseams balance the higher waist. 
  3. Anyone with a waist that is equal to or smaller than their hip circumference. I don't care if you're a "rectangle" shape or an "hourglass" or a "pear" - you just have to be comfortable drawing attention to your waistline.  
  4. OR, ANYONE WITH THE CONFIDENCE TO ROCK THEM. Seriously. Confidence is 75% of  any "how to wear trends" formula. Styling and well-fitting garments share the remaining 25%. So lets move on to fit now, shall we??
High-Waist shorts not your thing?? This is a great guide for FITTING your skinnies too. Skip the height addition steps and right to grain lines and fitting!

Ok! Let's do this thing! In addition to the usual suspects (scissors, notions, machine..) here's what you'll need:
  • Something to mark your fabric. Chalk, pen, a row of basting stitches, do your thing, girl! (I'm using craft tape for VISUAL PURPOSES ONLY. It was awful to work with, and you're not blogging a tutorial, so please use something else!)
  • Muslin fabric with the same stretch/weight/make-up as your final version. This is very important!
  • Your Skinnies pattern pieces. I'm including fitting suggestions here, so you can follow along with the relevant steps below for your first ever muslin. BUT if this is your first ever muslin, do not attempt the high waist yet. You need to know how the original pattern fits you before you can modify it here or with the flat-front tutorial
  • Tracing Paper, Muslin, something to trace your finished pieces on so you can make these over and over again!
  • A zipper. I used a 7 inch zipper, but I'm short-waisted and petite overall. When in doubt - pick up a longer zipper. You can always shorten it, but you can never make it longer!
  • Fusible Interfacing - for a crisp finish on your waistband.
  • Leggings and a slim fit tshirt. 
  • A working pair of the original Skinnies all sewn up. (High-waist modification only)
  • So, obviously, you'll need the pattern too! Puchase it HERE.
This is a lengthy project, so I've broken it into two parts... First up: Fitting!

Use your working skinnies to measure from the bottom/front/center of your waistband, up to your waist. Err on the side of caution, and add an extra inch to give yourself some wiggle room. (My number here is 6") Hold onto this number - you'll need it in a bit...
Lay out your muslin and your pattern pieces. You'll be cutting these at the shortest inseam line regardless if these are your original muslin or your high-waist shorts. (Tapering legs to fit is easy, it's the pesky hip/bum/belly/thigh curves that we need to get right, first!)

Observe the grain line markings on the pattern pieces. Make sure these lines are parallel to the selvage (finished) edge of your fabric. Working first with your front piece, line up your ruler perpendicular to the grain line (Making a T shape) at the tippy top of your side seam. Mark this line.
Now, take the measurement from step 1, the one from your front rise to your belly button, and mark another line that same distance up from the front rise of your pattern piece.

Now measure the distance between those two lines, and repeat this process using THAT number on the back pattern piece. The top line is your new cutting line, You'll draw imaginary lines from the pattern pieces straight up to this line.
Cut out your pattern pieces with a generous seam allowance (I suggest at least 1 inch). You'll appreciate having this wiggle room later!

"Great, now onto sewing??" Not so fast! We've gotta mark up these pattern pieces! I marked the right-side, because when I become a distracted sewist, I make goofy mistakes like that. You should mark the wrong side of your garment, and sew it right-sides-together, too. 

Remember that grain line I pointed out earlier? You're going to mark that first. And the perpendicular line that intersects it just about in the middle of the seat curve.
"What?? Why?? I've already cut my pattern!" Well yes, but we haven't FIT it yet. You don't think your mid section is so easily fitted with a shapeless tube of denim, do you? Of course not! We've gotta hug those beautiful curves of yours! You just go ahead and mark those lines and THEN you can get to sewing. We'll address how to use these lines in a bit.
Per pattern instructions, sew your inseams and your seat seam. NOT your out seam.
Now go get your yoga pants and fitted t shirt on! (If you're like me, you already had them on anyway!)
Looking good, you!!

Now behold the fitting process. We're gonna grab our muslin, and put it on diaper-style.
Not my best look, admittedly, but it's essential for a couple of reasons. Let's revisit those grain lines to see why:

Most people are familiar with grain lines, and cut their patterns accordingly. Maybe you've heard that cutting on the bias can cause garments to hang funny. Maybe you've sewn with knits a bit and know grain-observation is a REQUIREMENT for the garment to stretch the right direction and  FIT your body. But this is woven. And maybe in your tetris-like cutting layout, you think you can twist a pattern this way or that way to save yourself a bunch of fabric - grain lines be damned!

No sir-ee! That's not how this works. Where there are grain lines, the designer has carefully, mathematically, considered where your garment needs the ease, stretch, strength and stability. Failure to observe grain lines is a recipe for pant fitting disaster. Your garment won't stretch where it needs to, have stability where it needs to, and the seams will pucker and distort if they do not meet where the designer intended them to. (All those pesky placement notches are starting to make sense, eh???) 

When we're fitting our new high-rise version, we have to remember these grain lines as we go.

Pin your seat seam in the front and in the back. Use your leggings' seat seam as a guide when you pin, so you preserve your "center" seam as you pin the sides together.We may need to take our seat seam in, but its' way easier to move pins around than to experiment with a bunch of stitches we'll have to rip!

Now look at those vertical lines (blue ones, here). Are they curving in? Are they curving out? They should be perpendicular to the floor.
Mine is tilting inwards slightly. I'll have to let out the pins at my seat seam so my blue grain line will point straight up.

Adjust the pins along the side seam until all orange lines are parallel to the floor (even that one that's asleep on the job up there!) and all straight grain lines are parallel.
That's better!

So, why didn't I have you sew the side seams up and then do this?? Because, you might come to find that... while your hip circumference measurements put you at a certain size, your weight may not be evenly distributed from front to back. If you've followed along my Capsule Wardrobe Sew-Along, you know already what a revelation it's been to find my back side measures a full size larger than my front. Maybe you have a big booty like me. Maybe you have sporty quads. Wherever your weight, whatever your shape, your side seam should be perpendicular to the floor. Pinning your side seam bit by bit lets you pull from the front or the back, only as much as you need for YOUR body. You will trim off the excess when you go to trace your pattern pieces.
This process takes time, and a sense of humor, but it will be so worth it in the end! Think of all those print pants you will be able to line up, and how sturdy those seams will be when, say, you go to peel a swinging kid off their sibling. That's peace of mind, right there!

I'll leave you here for now! If you're sewing high waist shorts, we'll meet back here for phase 2 tomorrow! 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Bundle Up

May Women's Bundle Up Sale

Jocole Ladies A-Line Shift Dress

Have you purchased the Women's Bundle yet?  If not, I hope these photos inspire you to buy the whole bundle from Bundle UP! and get sewing!  There are so many beautiful patterns to stock your summer closet with everything from shorts to dresses.  I can't wait to see what you sew!


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Modification Mashup - Crossover + Peplum

Ready for a fun mashup of the Crossover dress and peplum?? Because really...these two were just begging to be made together. Bonus? Printable pattern pieces for girls and ladies to be able to do the midriff banding. Because Jodi is just that awesome.

You can download the pattern piece HERE for free -- seriously, all sizes
(girls nb-14 AND the ladies xs-xxxl)
For this top you need the new Mix and Match Crossover top (women's or girl's), the Classic Sleeve (women's or girl's), and the Peplum top (womens or girls). (Although to be honest, it would be super cute with a skater skirt (womens or girls), too!!)
Ready for the super fast cutting and sewing? Because it really only takes MAYBE an hour to cut and sew the whole thing! You could make the whole thing with one fabric, mix it up with two fabrics like I did, or even make every piece a different fabric for something really fun and funky!
Cut out the mix and match crossover bodice.
Cut out the band for the middle using the free pattern.
Cut out the sleeve to the desired length.
Cut out the peplum.

Sew together, hem and bind as you desire! Voila! It takes almost no time at all!! And the end result is so fun and cute!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peplum Top >> Basic Tee Modification Tutorial

Peplum Tee

To go along with March 2015's Mini-Bundle that is on sale ONLY this month, we'll be featuring free tutorials on new ways to use the patterns that are included in the Mini-Bundle.  You can order it HEREnow through March 31st at 11:59pm.


I have the easiest tutorial for you today.  Seriously, the easiest!!!!

Do you have the Peplum Top pattern?  Jodi has made a pattern piece to fit on the bottom of the Peplum to make it a plain t-shirt, in all sizes!  Exciting!

Print out the "Band" pattern piece and cut the desired size.  Place the pattern piece along the bottom edge of the Peplum so that the fold line matches the Top Front (or Back) fold line -- you'll need to flip the pattern piece upside down.   You can see below that the pattern now looks like a regular t-shirt.

You can download the pattern piece HERE for free -- seriously, all sizes
(girls nb-14 AND the ladies xs-xxxl)

You will have Front, Back, sleeve and binding pieces.  Follow the pattern as directed except there is no need to add the Peplum skirt onto the t-shirt.  You have the perfect tee!  I made this one in swimsuit fabric so my "little" can wear it to the lake this summer.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March Mashup - Crossover + Herringbone Tutorial

To go along with March 2015's Mini-Bundle that is on sale ONLY this month, we'll be featuring free tutorials on new ways to use the patterns that are included in the Mini-Bundle.  You can order it HEREnow through March 31st at 11:59pm.

This tutorial is a super fun mashup between the new Mix and Match Crossover Bodice [soon to be released] ... of course you could always use the bodice from the Crossover Tunic &Dress and the Happy Herringbone skirting. With a fun bonus! Herringbone insert in the sleeves. (I KNOW! They are fantastic!!!)
So how do you make this adorable top?? Well, first you need three patterns - the new Crossover bodice for the Mix and Match series [soon to be released], the sleeve pattern, and the Happy Herringbone dress.
I didn't take pictures of ALL the steps...mostly because they are self explanatory and you just follow the directions/pattern.

First - cut out the M&M Crossover bodice.
Second - cut out the sleeves but make them two sizes too wide (but keep the correct length you need).
Third - cut out the pieces for the Happy Herringbone dress.
Fourth - Sew the shoulder seams of the crossover bodice and finish off the edges either with binding or FOE according to the directions.
Fifth - create the herringbone skirt ... this is the most time consuming part of this entire outfit. BUT the results are wonderful!!
Now this is where we deviate from what would otherwise be a fairly generic mash-up.
To make the sleeve you take the parts you cut off of the herringbone skirt to make it squared up.
Now take those strips and line them up so they are vertical instead of horizontal.
Put the right sides facing each other and sew them together. Then open up and top stitch the seam to one side. Make sure to top stitch the seam to the opposite side on the second one. (This is so the seam is always pointing towards the back.)
Fold the newly-sewn pieces in half along the center seam and place the sleeve pattern on top.
Cut the shoulder curve and the bottom of the sleeve for both arm pieces.
After both arm inserts are cut like this it's time to trim away the excess points on the sides and make the sides straight.
Notice that the center seams are on opposite sides of each other? That's so that a seam is always pointing towards the back.
Now take the sleeves you cut out earlier (remember, two sizes too wide) and lay them folded in half then fold the inserts in half along the seam again and lay them on top following the sleeve curve.
Cut the sleeve along the side of the insert. Place right sides together and sew. Open up the sleeve and top stitch.
You now have a nearly-complete, very fun and unique sleeve! YAY!
Sew the sleeve into the bodice.
Finish off the bottom of the sleeve (I chose to use FOE along the bottom of the sleeve just like I did along the edge of the crossover.)
Next you either sew up the underside of the sleeve all the way down the bodice and then add the sewn together gathered up herringbone skirt, OR you add the gathered up front of the herringbone skirt, the gathered up back of the herringbone skirt then sew up the underside of the arms and down the sides of everything.
Finally you hem the bottom of the herringbone skirt. A fun and beautiful new top!!

Want the whole look? The Skinny Minnie Pants pattern is here and the tutorial to modify the pants is here.
Happy sewing!!