The First Backpack I Sewed + What I DId Wrong

I have a great winter backpack that made with leather and some material that reminds me of wool. It took me a while to find this backpack; I looked for a backpack, but nothing appealed until one day I was in a shoe store and saw these man backpacks. I was like those are the backpacks I want, where can I buy them, duh just purchase a men bag.That what I did and am still happy with the purchase. So why am I blabbing about this backpack when it obvious that I didn’t sew it? It was a great winter bag, but it felt odd to use during the summer. I wanted a summer backpack in addition to my winter one.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.

 

How I Got The Idea

Despite always wanting a summer backpack I never really look for one. It seemed a bit ridiculous to buy a backpack when you already have a good one. Nothing would have been done except for one day when I was looking for something to sew. I started pulling random fabrics out and found this lovely blue and white striped fabric. It was amazing fabric it just seemed wrong to use it for clothes. So what could I make that wasn’t clothes that I would still use. A backpack of course. And that how I got the idea

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
The instructions I wrote out.

Finding A Pattern

Once I had the idea, I started googling backpack patterns. I couldn’t find a pattern I wanted to use so it was decided to make one basing it off the backpack I already had.  To make the pattern pieces, I simply measured a piece of the bag and drew it on paper. The pattern was easy to make as most of the pieces of a backpack are rectangles. After making the pattern, I wrote down some instructions. (If I’m making a pattern I always write some instructions because otherwise, I do stupid things, like forgetting to put lace on a lace sweater.)

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
All my pieces cut out.

The  Outside Pocket

After the pattern was made and the pieces were cut out. The backpack went together in about two days. I start sewing the backpack with the outside pocket. This was harder then I expect mainly due to the fact I want it lined and with no raw edges showing. To make that happen, I ended up inserting the zipper and at the same time enclosing the lining. (Sorry if it sounds odd that was the least confusing way to put it.) Once my zipper was inserted all I had to do was sew it on. I sewed it to the front by topstitching it down.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
Choosing a zipper
I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
Mine finished zipper

Straps And Handle

The next thing I sewed was the straps and handle. They were quite easy to sew, and I attached them to the back piece. To figure out where exactly to attach them, I would pin the straps in place then try it on. I wanted them to withhold a certain amount of abuse, so when attaching them, I kept sewing back and forth.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
My straps ready to be attached.

Putting It All Together

I decided not to bag the lining on the inside for two reasons; I wanted the lining to stay flat against the bag and bagging the lining would be harder. That meant the lining was installed at the same time as the other pieces. I started with sewing on the bottom of the backpack. Before I sewed on the top piece, I inserted the zipper. This meant I had one piece to work with instead of having two that I would have to try to keep the aligned. I pinned the top piece in place, but it didn’t reach the bottom section. I added about 4 inches to the bottom piece on both sides to make it connect. Once I had the extra bottom pieces in place, it was a simple to sew on the top piece.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about this backpack, click though.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.
My top zipper

Finishing The Seams

Yay, I’m done well not quite. The backpack was together, and all I had to do was finish off the seams inside. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I bias bound the first seam and while I was careful with sewing it on it stilled looked messy. I wanted all the stitching cover and not just raw edges enclosed. So I did the second seam with ribbon. If I were an excellent sewer, I would have taken the first seam bias binding out and redid it. However, I wasn’t sure if a ribbon would look better then the bias binding especially since I had been so careful with that. I sewed the ribbon on making sure to cover all the stitches. The ribbon looks great mostly due to the fact it was wider than the bias binding.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my fist backpack, click though.
My messy bias bound seam.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.

Final Thoughts On My First Backpack

I enjoy making this backpack and have ideas to make more. There some things I would like to do differently next time. I would make sure not to sew on the lining while inserting the top zipper; this will make it look cleaner on the inside and could be easily done. Another thing I would have done differently is made the outside pocket in a contrasting colour or a least make the stripes go a different direction. Right now it’s a bit overwhelming. But enough with all this, I should have done. It was my first backpack, and I’m quite proud of it.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my fist backpack, click though.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.

I always wanted a summer backpack but couldn't justify buying one so I made a backpack instead. I based the pattern off a backpack I already owned, I made pattern pieces, cut out my fabric and started sewing it together. I first worked on the outside pocket.... If you would like to hear more about my first backpack, click though.

I now have a backpack for summer as well as winter and love them both. Have you ever sewed a backpack?

How I Take A Picture And Turn It Into A Garment

I use Pinterest a lot when looking for sewing projects. You can search for women sewing pattern and get hundreds of results. Somedays, as your scrolling through the results you find exactly what you want, the only problem is when you click through it’s a store, not a sewing pattern. So how can you use a picture instead of a sewing pattern?

Fell in love with a picture instead of a sewing pattern. No worries in this post I take you though using pattern hacking to get your dream garment. So are you ready to turn your picture into a sewing pattern.

Why Do You Love It

The first thing to do is to figure out what makes you love it so much. Is it the fabric and the styling, or is it the shape and the structure of the item. Once you know what makes you love it, you can work on recreating it. If it’s the colours and the styling it can be very easy to recreate with the right fabric or accessories. But if it’s the shape things can get a bit trickier.

Pattern Hacking

Your first step to recreating it would be figure out what the very basic form is, so let’s say it wrap pencil skirt. The basic shape would be the pencil skirt. The thing that makes it more than just a pencil skirt is the fact it wraps around.Once you know that all you have to do is find a pattern for a basic shape and add the unique feature.

That sounds confusing so let me explain it better. Using the example of the wrap pencil skirt again, you would need to find a pencil skirt pattern. This pattern can be bought or made of clothes you already have as long as you get a pattern Now you can hack the pattern to fit your needs. Want to make the pencil skirt a wrap skirt maybe you should instead of making it as wide as the waist make it one and half times as wide as the waist.

Planning Out The Pattern

Since your pattern hacking the instructions you have might not work now. So you have to plan. Think through your pattern and the instructions you might have. Then think what will I have to do differently here. After thinking it through, write it down step by step. First I’ll sew the side seams then I sew the darts, etc. Don’t forget to write a rough outline of your instruction out.

Sew The Pattern

The next part is what you been waiting for sewing.  All that left to do is sew the pattern. ( That made it sounds easy it not always that way) When sewing the pattern try to stick with the plan you made but don’t be completely rigid. Sometimes when sewing you might see a better way to do something, there is nothing wrong with adjusting your plan as you sew.

So the next time you fall in love with a picture instead of a  sewing pattern remember, you can take a picture and turn it into a sewing pattern.  So test your skills and challenge yourself to some pattern hacking. If you hacked a pattern lately, I would love to hear how it went. Share in the comments below.

How to turn an old shirt into a new tank top

I have been wanting to do more refashioning lately so last week I went to a couple of thrift stores. I only bought a few things of which this was one. Now when shopping for refashioning items you have to keep a couple things in mind. The fabric should be good quality with no funny stains or smells. To make sure you have enough material for your refashion try to always buy at least one size up from your size. This shirt fit all those requirements so I bought it.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

Before Turning The Shirt To Tank Top

It was nice fabric and it was a 1x so I had plenty of fabric to work with.  The colour is a nice bright red which I really like. I want to make something more every day (so not a dress) and I thought tank top. I wear a lot of tank tops in the summer so I could see this one getting lots of use. So here how I turn the shirt to tank top.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

First Thing Take Off Sleeves

If you want to make a shirt into a tank top the obvious first step is to take the sleeves off. And that is what I started with. I carefully cut off the sleeves by cutting away the serge seam part. If you were to do it on a woven I would leave the serging on. But this shirt was knit and wouldn’t fray. Once your sleeves are off it time for the next step.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

Next Take In Side Seams

If your shirt too big this is the faster way to fix that. When you take in your side seams remember to match your armholes and your hem. You want them to look even. Depending on how big your shirt is you might have to take in a lot. I took in approximately 3 inches on each side.Since this shirt was really big it requires me to take an extra step.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

Take In The Shoulders

I had to take on the shoulders because the neckline was really low. My shirt was long enough for me to easily take in the shoulders without making it too short. When taking in shoulders the most important thing to do is to make sure it matches at the neckline . Since I match it with the neckline my armholes ended up a bit off. I simply cut them back into the right shape.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

And Finally Finished Armholes

I had tried to keep all the edges finish and it paid off. All I had to finish was the armholes. I knew this knit didn’t fray and last week when I try to bias bind a knit armhole it was a lot of work for a shoddy armhole. This week I didn’t want to go through all that trouble. Instead, I folded the armhole under and stitch it with a twin needle. Quick and it looks good. It these things that make me love knits.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

This tank top was an enjoyable make as I didn’t run into any real problems. Everything went together smoothly and looks good. No regrets about not taking more time to finish it properly. And I have a new tank top how cool is that.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

 I had a very big shirt and I want a tank top. what to do? Turn the shirt into a tank top. Come see how to turn your own shirt to tank top.

Did you ever turn a shirt to tank top? If you did I would love to hear about it.

My Very Stripey Black And White Stripe Dress

This stripe dress was the first piece of clothing that I made completely in under two weeks. (Yes I’m a slow sewer and becoming a sewing blogger didn’t really change that.) It was also the first thing I made using my dress form. I based this striped dress off a piece of fabric.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

The Fabric I Used

I used a thick black and white stripe knit. I had only one piece which I was worry that it wasn’t big enough. Since the skirt would use the most fabric I cut it out first. After cutting out the skirt I cut the remainder of the fabric into 3 strips and a rectangle with a few scraps.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

 

Coming Up With The Design

Once I had the fabric cut I just played with it on my dress form. I drape 4 different tops taking pictures of each one. Looking at the pictures I knew which design I prefer the only problem was I hadn’t managed to make a back on that design . I then played with the design until the back was covered. Now I did had a design to work off but I had no idea I how to sew my stripe dress. To make things easier I decide to sew it all onto a base layer.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

Sewing The Top Of My Stripe Dress

I had some cheap white knit so I trace a tank top and use it as the pattern for the base layer of my stripe dress. Once I had that I could start sewing the stripes together.The first thing I sewed was the square piece of fabric on the top front. This piece of my fabric would provide  normal neckline and make sure I had straps. After I had the first piece I just sewed the others strips on at an angle.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

 

In between sewing each piece I would put the top back on the dress form and pin the piece in place. I made sure to pin it so there would be enough fabric to go around the back. Once I had it pin I would flip it up and draw a line along the bottom of it. I then would make two notches on both pieces so was I took it off the dress form I could match it up again. Then I took it off the dress form, match up the lines and pin it in place. When it was pinned for the second time I could sew it in place. This process would then repeat.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

The back was harder than the front as I didn’t know what I wanted. I ended up basing my design off a strip that cuts across the centre. I had planned to have a strip of fabric wrapping around the top where it met the skirt. So after deciding on those two pieces it was easy to fill in the rest.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

Attaching The Skirt Of My Stripe Dress

At first, I gather the skirt and attach it to the top. It looked awful. It wasn’t gathered enough so there was flat spots and fit was awkward. I show it to my mum and she noticed a  tiny little pleat that I made by accident and suggested pleating it instead of gathering.So, I took it apart and pleat the skirt on the sides. I really like that look so I hemmed it with a twin needle. It turns out really nice and you can barely see the stitches because they are on top of a black stripe.
I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

Finishing The Neckline Of My Stripe Dress

After hemming it all I had to do was finish the neckline and armholes. This part was extremely frustrating. I ended up stitch picking the neckline twice and even now it’s not really flat. If anyone knows how to make a flat knit neckline I would love to know. The armholes were easier as I just copy the neckline. The inside of my stripe dress is a mess. It has lots of seams and stitches and messing up the neckline didn’t really help with keeping it neat.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.
I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.

I had one long piece of stripe fabric and wanted to make a striped dress. To make my stripe dress unique I ran the stripes in different directions.
My dress and the left over fabric scraps.

I do like the garment and can see myself wearing it lots this summer and into fall. If I did it again there are things I would do different like have the pleats pointing the right way. And maybe using a thinner bias binding as to not add too much bulk. What are your thoughts on my stripe dress? Have you ever created something that you made up as you went along?

How I Increased My Sewing Confidence With A Pillow

This week I started to panic about what I would post. I want to post something sewing related as I feel I haven’t been doing enough of it lately. The problem with that was I wasn’t near done on the refashion I was working on. (Since I wrote that a day ago I also quit that project). And though I have been working on multiple projects I also quit most of them. I wanted something that would come together quick and I would actually enjoy. So I made a pillow.  Not because you can never have too many pillows, but because I had one on my do to list forever.

 Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.

Let me give you a bit of backstory, about a month ago I made two pillows for the couch in my attic – they were great pillows. I probably wouldn’t have considered making another one except I already own an ugly one. So this pillow had a feather form which is the best as they never get flattened out. I like the size it was, so all I had to do was copy the cover. Easy-Peasy right, well it would be except for the zipper. This  pillow had a lapped zipper and side panels so it would be more complicated than my usual four-seam pillow. So what did I do? I kept putting off making a new cover for that pillow.  So when I need a simple project,  not only would this pillow qualify but it would also be knocking another thing off my to-do list.

Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
The pieces of the old pillow taken apart.

I first stitch picked the pillow apart. It didn’t take as long as I was expecting due in part to the ability to just rip the seams. There were a few places I had to stitch pick but I was expecting to stitch pick the whole pillow, so it did go faster than I expected. Once it was all nicely taken apart I used the pieces as a pattern and cut out my new fabric. Everything was squarish so this part also went faster than I expected.

Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
Cutting out the pillow in my new fabric.

Since I stitch picked it apart I did have a pretty good idea of how it went together. So I started with the lapped zipper. This zipper was the reason behind me putting off the project. Funny thing is it wasn’t hard, in fact, it was the easiest zipper I ever did. Since the zipper I had wasn’t it long enough I put it in the middle and lapped it like you normally would. I had thought to get all complicated and sew the ends together underneath until I had a brilliant idea. I would continue with the lap onto a piece of fabric. So instead of trying to sew the ends together, I added strips of fabric to the ends of the zipper then treated it as one long zipper. You can see the  fabric if you open up the zipper but that shouldn’t happen too often.

Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
My lapped zipper.
Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
The finished zipper, you can see the fabric peeking through

The next thing I did was sew all the sides together leaving me with one long strip of side and a front and back panel. I then sewed the long strip of side to a front panel, made the strip and continuous loop and sewed the other panel on. All I had left to do was serge it so I serged those two seams and voila, I was done.

Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
The inside seams serged
Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
The finished corner. I think it works out quite well.

Now I ‘m going to be one of those annoying people and say I sewed it in an afternoon. And I really did and it was just the perfect project for a quick win. I am really glad and now all the pillows on the couch go together. It was great and I did clean up the attic so now I feel more ready to get back to my other sewing projects. So do you ever do that? Sew something simple for a quick win?

Lately, I been quitting every sewing project I started. I want to change this and I though a simple sewing project would help. My project a pillow.
All my pillows together.

Seeing the above picture I think I should jazz up my pillow a bit.  I do like the colour but it is a bit plain. Do you have any ideas of how to make it more interesting?

 

The 6 Things I Draped On My New Dress Form

The other day I show you my new dress form (if you missed it click here). And today I want to show you what I been doing on it. I never had a dress form before so I also never draped before. I just started playing with fabrics so I don’t know if this is how your suppose to drape. I have tried pattern drafting before and heard how draping was a lot more fun to do. And it is, draping is also easier as you can see immediately where the fit off. I’m not planning on making any of theses guys I’ve draped. Also, this dress form isn’t my exact size, more specifically my waist, not that narrow. So what did I end up making?

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
Still a work in progress here.

The first thing I work on was this thing. all I really did here was  the excess fabric at the neck was bothering me so I made little shoulder pleats.And though they were pretty cool but I didn’t know how to drape a garment around them. So I just did that little pleats.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
A close-up look of those pleats.

The next thing I did was based on my fabric. The fabric was orange and a greenish blue in rough stripes It also had this weird fringe thing going on so I used the wrong side. I ended up pleating the top so all the orange was hidden. They pleat I also used to fit the top. In the ended, it looks rather crazy but I would try something like this again. In better colours and with more regular stripes.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
I started the pleating at .the neckline
 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
Pleating on the bodice.
 I been practicing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
The finished dress, with the orange peeking through on the skirt

The next thing I draped was a very fitted polka dot top. It wasn’t as hard to get the perfect fit as I thought it was. If the fit not perfect you’ll see it and it very easy to correct it with a couple of darts. Another thing that made it easier was the raised side seams. They seem like no big deal at first but they are so handy.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
The fitted polka dot top with an imperfect fit.

The next thing I did wasn’t really draping as it more just wrapping the fabric around the dress form. It is a knit fabric so I didn’t really have much trouble. I base the design of the amount of fabric I had since it had this long strip off to the side.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
I used the wrong side as the right side was a bit overwhelming.

The next thing I did was also a knit but I did do a bit more with it. It has black and white stripes. I didn’t really base the design off that I did a bit of gathering from the shoulders to the waist. It does look overwhelming with all those stripes and all the excess fabric I didn’t want to cut it off.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
These stripes and gathers are so confusing.

The last thing I draped was more gathers and a bit of pleating at the top. It made from a stiffer transparent blue fabric. It is a bit bluer than the pictures show.

 I been praticing my draping on my new dress form. I draped some crazy things and others that got me thinking how can I make that in real life. Click though to see them all.
It funny how you can only see it when it two layers.

That all the pictures I have today. I did be doing some more draping and this time, I will try to make it into actual garments. I also am working on making a cover for my dress form so when I drape it will be more my size. So which one is your favourite? Or do you think their all meh?

My New Awesome Dress Form + Useful Review

Today I was going to write a post about the draping I’ve been doing lately. Then I realise I haven’t told you guys about my dress form. I had it for over two weeks already, so this post is a bit overdue. But as people say better late than never. I started looking at dress forms around Christmas; when I first looked I thought I’ll diy it, then I though an adjustable one and finally a one size professional dress form. So what made me go with a professional dress form?

 Looking at a dress form not sure which one to get? I was there not that long ago.Want to know why I chose what I did and why that one? Just click, though.

DIYing A Dress Form

I look at many options for diying a dress form. At first I though a duct tape dress form, it seemed easy enough to make, all you had to do was to get someone to wrap your torso in tape. When I started digging deeper into duct tape dress forms, I found some negative reviews. That the duck tape would stretch if you stuffed it too full  and that your pins would get sticky.  Another option I consider was to make a plaster mould and then make a polyurethane dress from the mould. I show what I wanted to do to my mom and she told me that if I’m willing to spend a bit of money I should buy an adjustable one.

Adjustable Dress Form

That made sense to me so I started looking on at adjustable dress forms. They appealed as I would be able to get my custom shape and still have a fairly good form that was pinnable. The two main issues I had with adjustable dress forms. I’m petite, so most of the women dress forms were too big for me even on the smallest settings. After a bit of searching, I manage to find a couple adjustable dress form that would have work. They were a bit more pricey than I had wanted.

My other issue with adjustable dress form was the quality wasn’t good. People said it was hard to adjust, unstable, that it felt cheap.That they weren’t strong enough to handle draping and it would never be your exact side. All this combined with them being more expensive than I thought at first made me drop the whole dress form thing for a few months.

 A Professional Dress Form

Every now and then while I was sewing I would think wouldn’t a dress form be nice right now. After getting an email which told me get my rear in gear and start draping some clothes (at the beginning of the year I used future me to email myself reminders of my new year resolutions, of which draping a garment was one), I bit the bullet. Last time I look at dress forms I was reading every review out there trying to figure out which one would best.

This time, I thought screw that I’m going to get a good one and I’m not going to worry about it. I read Gretchen review and though that looks like a good dress form I’m getting something like that. Now, I  don’t have the same model as her and I didn’t use the same company but it where I started my search for a good dress form that I could afford. I ended up buying a PGM missy half bottom form.

Dress Form Review

The dress form I order was the  PGM Industry Grade 601 Missy Half Body Dress Form with Hip & Collapsible Shoulder in size 2. This dress form is pinnable but not straight down you do have to go at an angle. It has bumped outside seams and marking for the waist, centre front. And it also has an iron cage and you can  raise and lower it. To see which one my bought click here.

Where I Bought It

I bought it online from onlydressformcanada.com. They do ship from Canada which meant I didn’t have to pay customs duty or tax. All their prices are still the US dollar. The biggest problem I had was their website wouldn’t let me order. I would go and try to order my dress form and it would just say processing endlessly. They do have an option of live chat support and when I clicked on that I was told to wait for a few minutes so I ended up closing that. I found their phone number and called them but nobody answer.Now,  I was getting ticked off as I want to know if my order had gone through or not. Unfortunately, I didn’t have more time to chase it as I had to go to work.

When I came from work I had an email asking if I still had questions since I closed the live chat. I told him the problems I had and he said my order didn’t go through so I tried again. It still didn’t go though so I ended up email him with what I want and he sent me a PayPal money request. This time, it did go though and was shipped. Though I didn’t like how it wasn’t that easy to contact them, once I got in touch they did take care of all my problems.

Looking at a dress form not sure which one to get? I was there not that long ago.Want to know why I chose what I did and why that one? Just click, though.
The pieces of my dress form.

Setting Up My Dress Form

Once I received my dress form I saw it was all pieces in a box and didn’t have a guide with it. A quick google search later and I found a guide on how to set it up. The set up was fairly simple, the hardest thing being putting my dress from on the pole. When I stepped on the pedal I could raise and lower my dress form. I did that about ten times before the fun started to wear off. Another cool feature is the collapsing shoulders they also were really fun to try out.

 Looking at a dress form not sure which one to get? I was there not that long ago.Want to know why I chose what I did and why that one? Just click, though.

The Quality Of The Dress Form

When I was taking the pieces out of the box I was struck by how heavy the metal things were. The dress form itself feels solidly built and is cover in some nice linen. I have tried draping a few things on it and it felt like it could handle what ever I threw at it. The wheels are also really nice not just the having of them but also the quality. Overall I would say this is a well-built dress form that should last for years.

 Looking at a dress form not sure which one to get? I was there not that long ago.Want to know why I chose what I did and why that one? Just click, though.
The inside of the dress form

The Size Of The Dress Form

It’s funny at first having a dress form look exactly like me was a big priority now it doesn’t bother me that it not. Obviously, the dress form isn’t exactly my size, I do think that the bust and bottom is a pretty accurate representation of a real person. I do plan on making a cover for it to make it more my size but for now it doesn’t bother me that much.

 Looking at a dress form not sure which one to get? I was there not that long ago.Want to know why I chose what I did and why that one? Just click, though.

What Dress Form Should You Get?

I do think that spending the money was well worth it.  And for me, it isn’t worth buying an adjustable at half the price when for twice that you could get something like this that in my opinion is way better. I think if you do want to drape that you should invest in a good quality form. If you want a dress form to look exactly like you make your own but even then I don’t think it will completely erase trying things on.

Whew, that was a long post. What dress from do you have and would  you buy it again? Don’t have a dress form which one would you buy or would you make one?

 

A Common Sense Guide For Sewing Machine Problems

As a sewer, you probably have had many frustrating days. One of the most annoying would be when your sewing machine has problems. This not only will take some time to fix if you’re not careful it could wreck your project. After many frustrating days, I know what to do when my sewing machine has problems. Here is my common sense guide to sewing machine problems.
Having problems with your sewing machine. I can help. Click thought to get your common sense guide for sewing machine problems.

Know Your Machine

To prevent and easily fix sewing machine problems, know your machine. When you first get your machine I would dedicate some time to figuring it out instead of just starting on a project. I learnt the hard way after getting my first project ruined by my sewing machine. It might seem like an annoyance to take the time to learn how it works but it will save you time in the long run. What had ruined my first project was major problems with my tension. How I fixed it, was threading the bobbin the other way, the right way. It would have saved me so much time and frustration if I would have just sat down and played with my machine until I learned all those little things about my machine.

The Power Of Rethreading

Knowing your machine doesn’t mean it would always work perfectly. If it starts giving your grief  the first thing I would do, is rethreading it completely. Rethreading your sewing machine can eliminate your sewing machine problems. This is something I always hated doing, how long it would take to take it out and putting it back in fix the problem. Instead, I would look and see if it was threaded properly and it usually did look good.  Then I would go and fiddle with my machines settings trying to fix the problem. Let’s just say it easy to rethread the machine, then messing up your settings and now having to fix your settings as well as rethread the machine since that was the problem.

When Rethreading Doesn’t Work 

I used to think rethreaded means that the problem fixed.So I would go right back to sewing on my project most times it works but the times it didn’t I would have to do lots of careful stitch picking. Don’t do that; test it on a scrap first. If the problem still there try adjusting your length and width. If you do this all on scrap  you won’t wreck any good fabric and it will save you time.

Manuals Are Super Helpful

If you’re not sure what the problem is I would refer to your manual.  Mine even has a list on the back of common problems and how to fix them. If you don’t have a manual I would google it. And never take anything apart that you’re not a 100% sure you know how to put it together again.

Take A Break

Now the might be times when nothing is working.  If you’re having a day like that take a break.  You might be thinking that not going to help, I need to get this done. From my experience, taking a break and getting rid of the frustration can work wonders. Some days just aren’t good for sewing. So take a break  and  come back to it when you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the problem. In a refreshed state it is amazing how much easier the sewing machine problems become and sometimes they might disappear altogether.

What do you do when your sewing machine has problems?  Is there somethings you always check? Share in the comments below

My Fantastic Lace Dress

Chambray and lace dress.Welcome, my new lace dress. I made this lace dress as I had the lace skirt lying around and decide it was time to something with it. I knew I didn’t want it as a skirt. I had tried that before but never wore it cause I didn’t like the length. I then thought of a dress and this got made creative juices flowing. I quickly came up with this sketch. Now I had an idea of what I wanted to do I’d looked for fabric. I held the skirt up to the few different fabrics but none of it went. My mum the suggested that I should use jeans. Now I didn’t want to use old jeans again and deal with different washes of jeans and never being able to cut a big enough piece . So I went to the fabric store instead and bought this chambray type fabric.

The sketch for my lace dress.
The sketch for my dress.
The pattern I used for my lace dress
I used the top of this dress pattern as a pattern for my lace dress.
Finding my pattern pieces for my lace dress.
Finding my pattern pieces.

It took me a day or so to get to the fabric store so in the meantime I found a pattern for my lace dress. At first, I thought I would copy one from a top in my closet , I made the muslin but there were lots of problems. I really didn’t want to deal with fitting the muslin forever, so I let it go (aka I gave up on that pattern). I then went and look through the Burda style magazines and found a pattern I liked. I traced the pattern and sewed it up with muslin. This muslin was a bit too big but quickly taking in a few seams fixed that. I then marked the adjustments back on the paper pattern and we were good to go.

The sketch and fabric for my lace dress.
My sketch with the fabric
 All the pattern pieces cut and ready to go for my lace dress
All the pattern pieces cut and ready to go
Marking the dart for the top of my lace dress
Marking the dart.

Once I had both the pattern and the fabric it was time to get to the actually making. I cut the pattern out with my rotary cutter, it makes cutting curves so much easier. I then started sewing it up. The lace dress went together fairly fast and I didn’t  run into any big problems. I did have to sew an invisible zipper in the side seams which took awhile to figure out. Then I made cap sleeves by taking the pattern piece and cutting it shorter. I bias bind bother the armholes and the neck hole, I used grainline tutorial and it worked like magic. My neckline is flat there no awkward gaping and it looks so neat and professional on the inside.

The back top of my dress with all the darts sewn.
The back top of my dress with all the darts sewn
My center back seam
My center back seam
Ironing one of the many bindings in my lace dress
Ironing one of my bindings
My finished neckline binding on my lace dres
My finished neckline binding

I gather the skirt and bias bind the top edge. I then attached the skirt to the bodice. this went smoothly. The skirt does do this sudden poof outward which I don’t really like but I was going to wear it with a belt anyways. Other than that I really happy with this lace dress. It’s  great and I can’t wait to wear the lace dress in public.

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It slightly poofs where the skirt and top meet up.
It’s slightly poofs
 The front of my lace dress
The front of my lace dress
 The side of my lace dress with the invisible zip
The side of my lace dress with the invisible zip

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An Awesome Jean Jacket Made From Old Jeans

A Jean Jacket Sewn Entirely Out Of Old Jeans.One of the things I love about Pinterest is how easy it is to find inspiration. After being on there for a few years, though, sometimes it seems like the same old images that show up. That what happen last year when I wanted to make some clothing out of my pile of old jeans. I search Pinterest for recycled jeans project, refashion jeans, upcycle jeans. What I got was a lot of jean skirts, jeans that were made into shorts or jean quilts.

Upcyled jeans into a woven back jean jacket.

It not that all these projects were bad ideas, my problem was that most of the jeans were a way too big for me or very small. Also, they were all in that pile because they either  had holes or were stained. I needed a project that I could make with smaller pieces. Then during one of my endless searches, I found it. A woven jean jacket made from recycled jeans.( You can find it here I didn’t want one that was all woven, I just wanted it woven on the back. I had a fuzzy idea of what I wanted so I got to work.

Weaving the back for my refashioned jean jacket.

I copied the pattern based off  a jean jacket I already owned.My idea wasn’t fully formed at that point. I didn’t know what I wanted for the front or how I would finish it off. The only thing I knew was how I wanted the back. So I started from there. Sometime during  when I was cutting or weaving the strips for the back  I got the idea to make the front from strips too.

The back woven and cut out. This was for my refashioned jean jacket

The front I just sewed the strips together side by side. Which created a subtle striped effect.

Refashioned jean jacket. Made by naterjane. click thought to see more of her projects.

I worked on the jean jacket on and off. It was a frustrating. My back was very fragile and I ended up sewing a piece of fabric behind it then sewing every inch or so on the woven back to it.

Refashioned jean jacket with woven back. Made by naterjane. click thought to see more of her projects.

I sewed the front and back together and then it was time to attempt the sleeve. I only want 3/4 length sleeves as I don’t like long sleeves  and it would also save me from having to make a hem. After much frustration, I finally made a sleeve pattern. I cut it from one piece of a jean with the inside seam from jean showing.

Refashioned jean jacket. Made by naterjane. click thought to see more of her projects.

Now it was just the finishing touches. I finished off the front placket by cutting an extra wide strip and folding it in half then attaching to the other strip. For the bottom of the jean jacket, I used a waistband from one of the jeans.  I was so close to done I could taste it; now all I need was a collar. I didn’t want to spend  time messing around with making one, so I bought an old jean jacket from the thrift store and took the collar off. I then reattached that collar to my jean jacket.

A closer look at my refashion jean jacket. To see more pictures click though

To tidy up the edges a bit I bias bind  where the waistband connects and the front placket piece. I was also planning on binding the edges of the front stripes but I had trimmed them earlier and so I wasn’t able to bias bind them. I ended up zigzagging the edges and leaving it at that.

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I really love this jacket and wear it lots. It is now is my only jean jacket and a great addition to my closet. This  is also was one of the first things I sewed and wore in public.If someone asked where my jean jacket came from I could proudly say I made it myself.

Have you ever sewed something that was completely made out used fabric? I’ll love to hear your storeys’.