Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gathered Skirt with Waistband, Exposed Zipper, and Pockets; Oh My!

This is my official go to summer skirt this season.  

I love the simple high waistband coupled with the curved opening pockets and a partially exposed brass zipper.  I just love it.  Pair it with a tee and some flats for the day or some pumps and a fitted blouse for a dressier ensemble.  Either way, you can't go wrong. 

Want to make your own?

See my little lovie peeking out the window on the right?

Exposed zipper.. here we come!

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to sew a basic high waisted, full skirt with a partially exposed zipper.  For my skirt, I added a pocket.  If you choose to add a pocket to your skirt, I've provided links showing you how to do that.  If you don't want to add pockets, you're skirt will be done in no time. : ) 

 PS. Don't be intimidated by the length of the tutorial or the fact there is a zipper, if I can do, you can too.. promise! ; ) ) 

Here's what you will need:
  • 1.5 yards of main fabric (striped fabric above)
  • 1.25 yards of lining fabric (probably only need 1 yard if not doing pockets)
  • 1 zipper (I used a 9 inch jeans zipper I bought at Joanne's)
  • Small piece  of coordinating tightly woven fabric to stabilize your zipper.  (This should be 3 inches wide by 3 inches longer than the length of your zipper) 
  • Interfacing (enough to cover your waistband plus a bit more for the zipper)
  • Fabric Marker
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Thread

Click below to see the full tutorial.

Adding a Curved Pocket

Adding a Curved Pocket

Doesn't every skirt need pockets? I think so.  : )

Here's a tutorial on how to sew a perfect curved pocket.  Unlike the hidden pocket tutorial found here, this pocket is ideal for pants, or any form of skirt (fitted or full).  It is a bit more labor intensive then the side pocket, but the finished product adds some visual interest, which I just love. : )

Ps. Stay tuned for the entire tutorial on sewing this striped skirt above!

Here's what you will need:

  • Small amount of lining fabric 
  • Bias strips or contrasting fabric to make a bias strip (instructions below).  I used my lining fabric.
  • scissors
  • pins
  • fabric marker
Click below to see the full tutorial!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to Sew an Exposed Zipper

Sewing a Partially Exposed Zipper

Exposed Zippers. I see them everywhere.  

Want to know how to add a partially exposed zipper (just the teeth show) to any article of clothing?  

What I like about this technique is that there is no visible stitching lines around the zipper and you don't see the entire zipper tape.  It gives the zipper a clean and polished look while looking a bit more sophisticated then a fully exposed zipper. 

Quite honestly, I've done quite a few invisible zippers in my day and I must say that this exposed zipper was much easier than the invisible ones.  I didn't even have to use my seam ripper once while sewing this. : )

The first thing to keep in mind is that sewing an exposed zipper is oh so different than sewing a traditional zipper.  So forget everything you learned about putting in a zipper! 
Here's how to sew a partially exposed zipper.. 

What you need:
  • Zipper (I used a jeans zipper)
  • Small piece of tightly woven fabric that coordinates with your skirt.
  • Interfacing
  • Fabric Marking pen
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread

1. Cut a piece of tightly woven fabric 3 inches wide and 3 inches longer then your zipper (this will be called stay fabric from now on).  Add interfacing to the stay fabric.

2. Serge, overlock, or zig zag stitch around all four sides of  the stay fabric.

3. Next you will mark your sewing lines on your stay fabric. Place your stay fabric so that the interfacing is facing up.  Place your zipper 1/2 of an inch below the top of your stay fabric.  With your fabric marker, mark the stay fabric where the bottom of your zipper ends.  You want to mark just below the bottom stop of the zipper.  (The bottom stop is the metal part at the bottom of the zipper that stops the zipper from coming apart.)  You're done with your zipper for the moment. 

4.  Next, draw a line down the middle of your stay fabric to just below where the zipper's bottom stop will be.  

5. Now, with your skirt right side out, pin the stay fabric onto your skirt with right sides together (interfacing should be facing up).  You will need to place your stay fabric so that it starts 1/2 an inch above the top of your skirt.   Be sure to pin this stay fabric on straight.  You don't want the zipper to be crooked or slanted! 

6.  Now it's time to sew the stay fabric on your skirt.

Again with your skirt turned right side out, begin by basting down the middle line of your stay fabric. Be sure to stop sewing where you marked the bottom stop of your zipper.  (Ignore the other sewing lines below).

7.  Next,  you will sew (not baste) a long rectangle that is 1/4 inch away from both sides of the basting stitch you just sewed.  To do that, start at the top of your skirt and sew (not baste) a line 1/4 of an inch to the left of the basting stitch you just sewed.  When you reach the end of the line, keep your needle down and pivot the fabric; sew across the bottom line, then pivot and turn and sew up to the top of the skirt keeping the seam consistently 1/4 of an inch from the middle line.  

8.  Now you will cut your skirt to make the opening for your partially exposed zipper.  Carefully slash down the basting stitch.   1/4 of an inch before the bottom of the basting stitch, cut a very small upside down V.  Be careful not to cut any seams. 

9.  Flip the stay fabric to the inside of your skirt.  Fold down the extra 1/2 inch of stay fabric at the top of your skirt so that the ends are hidden.  See the (blurry) photo below. 

Press the entire opening flat. 

10.  Time to pin the zipper to your skirt. Turn your skirt right side out again.   

With your zipper zipped up, place the zipper in the opening of your skirt.  Pin the zipper in place at the top and the bottom.  You will do the bulk of the pinning from the inside.

Turn your skirt inside out.   Carefully pin the zipper to the stay fabric only. This will give you a clean finish with no visible seams around the zipper.  I used quite a few pins to make sure the zipper would be sewn on straight.  You could also use fusible web or iron on hem tape to keep the zipper in place before you sew. 

11. Time to sew the zipper on.  

You will sew the zipper on just to the stay fabric; again this will give you a clean finish without any visible seams around the zipper. 

This is a bit difficult to explain, so I'll do my best.  To  sew the zipper just to your stay fabric, open up your stay fabric and push the entire skirt to the opposite side. (See the photo below.)  If this doesn't make sense, don't hesitate to ask me.  I'm having a hard time explaining this. : )

Using a zipper foot, sew about 1/8 of an inch away from the metal part of the zipper.  Sew down one side, then across the bottom, and then up the other.  Pivot the foot with the needle down as you turn.  Keep the bulk of the skirt away from your stay fabric as you sew so you don't accidentally sew your skirt fabric into the zipper.  Also, be careful not to sew the metal teeth.  

Now for added strength, sew another line 1/8 of an inch away from the edge of the zipper tape

And that's it.  You're done! Here's the zipper from the inside (prior to ironing or clean up).

And the outside:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Add a Hidden Side Pocket

I am constantly loosing things. (Think cell phone, car keys, and anything else that should be much too important to loose.) 

I need pockets.  

Really big pockets.

I need pockets that can hold all of my soon-to-be-lost-if-I-don't-put-them-in-my-pocket items.  

Are you with me? : )

Here's a really quick way to add a hidden side pocket to a skirt or whatever else you may be making.

This pocket is wonderful for a full gathered skirt because it is basically hidden along the side seams of your skirt.  I would not recommend this type of pocket for a pencil skirt or something fitted, as the pocket will gape open.

 Here's how you do it..

In addition to your skirt panel pieces (front & back), and waist band piece, you will need to cut 4 pockets shaped like the ones I cut below. (They look like dog ears.)

Make sure the pocket will be big enough to carry your essentials. 

Next, serge, overlock, or use a zig zag stitch around your four pocket pieces so they will not fray. 

Next, with the right side of the front skirt panel facing up, place one pocket piece where you want your pocket to be, right sides together.  Be sure and leave enough room at the top for whatever waistband you will be adding.  The straight edge of your pocket should line up with the side of your skirt panel; see photo below. 

Do the same for the other side of your front skirt panel.

Pin the last two pocket pieces to the back skirt panel in the same way.  Be sure that the front pocket pieces and the back pocket start the same distance from the top of your skirt panel.

Sew just the pocket pieces to the individual skirt panels using the same seam allowance you will use to sew the side of your skirt.  

Iron all four pocket pieces out. (See photo below)  

Place your front and back skirt panels right sides together.  It should look like your skirt has two ears.  : )

Sew your side seams along the dotted line below.  When you get to your pockets, sew around the pockets.  

Flip everything right side out and you're done.  

Wasn't that easy?

Ps. I can't wait to show you the skirt I made with this fabric!


Monday, May 21, 2012

DIY Summer Shorts to Pants, Finished Edge

It's almost summer time and the temp is rising.   

Grab a pair of your old jeans, and let's turn them into a new pair of shorts that is perfect for the upcoming heat!

I showed you how to make a pair of rolled hem shorts here.  This tutorial makes shorts that are a bit different because they have a finished edge, which I just happen to love. 
It looks a bit more polished, in my opinion. : )

Ready to make your pants into jeans?
Click below to read how..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIY Anthropology Tee.

Hey, I'm up and running again after a bit of some computer problems. : )

I just finished up a top that I am just crazy for.  

The inspiration for this top came from this lovely number at Anthropology.com.

I adore that it is a super simple tee in the front with a very feminine surprise in the back.  Very well designed.

 I just love it, but with the low reviews (reviewers say it was waaay too big) coupled with the price, I just couldn't bring myself to purchase. 

So I made my own out of an old t shirt and some chiffon fabric. 

Anthropology's version cost $88. 
Mine cost me $5 plus an evening with the old sewing machine. (Fabric from Hancock Fabric)
Not too bad, yeah? : )

This shirt is so comfy, and spices up my day to day wardrobe perfectly.  
Paired with some skinnies and some flats, I'm good to go. 


So I went from this...

to this in just a few short hours. : )  


The dolman style sleeves makes this super quick and pain free.  
Ready to make your own?   I'll show you how..

Just click below to expand the entire tutorial and to see this top dressed up. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5 Minute DIY Newborn Cocoon from Sweater.

This one is for all you photographers out there.
  Have you seen those adorable newborn cocoons? They are all over the place and have been for a while.  Most of these lovely cocoons are either hand knit or crocheted. I made mine just a bit different; and I must say that I love it. Alot.  

I made this lovely in under 5 minutes using one of my old sweaters.
These not only make for a killer newborn prop, it would also be a great gift for a new mom or a photographer in your life.

Want to make one too?
Let's go. : )

 What you will need:
  • Old sweater with a ribbed trim (preferred).  For the comfort of the baby, stick with a cotton sweater.  You really don't want the little one to break out from an itchy cashmere, wool, or angora sweater. : )
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or serger
  • Thread.
FYI, Because every sweater will stretch differently, I will give you dimensions for the cocoon when stretched fully. Your finished cocoon will be 15 inches wide and 15 inches long (at it's longest point) when stretched fully. We will add 1/2 inch seam allowances.

Here's how you do it:

First stretch the bottom of your sweater as wide as it can go.  Measure16 inches along the bottom of the sweater.  Mark with your fabric marker the beginning and end of the 16 inches.

Now stretch your sweater from the bottom to the neckline. Measure 15.5 inches from the bottom of the sweater up.  Draw a small mark to show where 15.5 inches is on your sweater.

Using your fabric marker, draw a slight curve like the one pictured below.  

Cut your cocoon out. 

Put right sides together. 
 Set your machine to a stitch suitable for a knit fabric.

Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew or serge your cocoon rounding at the corners (see below).  Be sure to leave the bottom of your cocoon open.

Flip your cocoon right side out. And that's it;  you're done.

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