Sunday, November 9, 2014

Altering & Tailoring

Since most clothing is mass produced, retail stores cater to “average” body types. If you are a petite size, plus sized, or really tall like me, you might find yourself shopping at specialty shops.  However, even if you fall into the “average” category or have a body shape which doesn’t necessarily fit into the mold, you will most likely find that you need to adjust or customize store-bought clothes according to your particular body. Every body is different and whether you are sewing brand new garments or adjusting ones you own or purchase, knowing how to alter clothing can come in super handy.

Every-day Alterations
Simple alterations such as hemming, taking clothes in/out, or adjusting darts might seem minute, but a tiny adjustment can make a huge difference and drastically improve an ill-fitting garment. And what’s even better is that anyone can easily learn how to take up or release a hem on a pair of pants or a skirt (at times, a sewing machine is not even necessary!).

Besides mastering tricks when constructing a garment, I believe every sewer/seamstress should be as good, if not better, at tailoring a piece of clothing simply because the main focus in this process is fit. Popular tailoring techniques include: waist adjustments, adding darts, changing, adding or removing sleeves, and adjusting shoulders. Depending on the amount of adjustments, you will most likely have a garment that fits you exclusively.      

Other common mending/repair alterations include: fixing broken zippers, patching up a rip, blind-sewing a tear, or replacing a lining. Accidents happen, and you’ll save time and money if you know how to fix these boo-boos on your own.

Curious about learning how to alter your clothes? Send me your questions and comments below!

Make It Yourself: Gym Shorts Into Dressy Duds

It's not too warm outside here, but it must be HOT somewhere! If you're a DIY lover, live in a sunny place AND if you're absolutely tired of your workout shorts, turn them into to-die-for shorts with sheer panels. You can rock these dressy duds to the club with a crop top and pumps or to the office with a tucked-in blouse and loafers. Go on, show off those long stems you've got!     


1 pair of gym shorts
¼ yd sheer mesh fabric
marking pencil
measuring tape


To create high-waisted shorts, take in/adjust the side seams accordingly. The process will vary whether your shorts have an actual waistband or an elastic one.  


Mark the placement of the sheer panels with a marking pencil by measuring on the side seams of the shorts. Use the same measurement to guide your measuring tape along the hem and mark around the pant legs which will be the cutting lines.


Cut pieces of the sheer fabric to make inserts for front (2) and back (2) of the shorts. Sew together (or serge – depending on the fabric of your shorts) the front and back pieces. You should end up with a tubular piece of mesh for each pant leg. 


Cut on the cutting lines. (Keep the bottom pieces of the pant legs.)


Sew/serge the mesh inserts to the shorts. Then sew the bottom pieces of the pant legs to the mesh. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sewing Menswear

Let’s face it – most of the sewers out there belong to the female species. Gals who love to sew usually sew clothes for themselves or their girlfriends, and once in awhile they might whip up a men’s tie or a fancy handkerchief for accessorizing.
If you want to explore the menswear realm, whether you are a lady or a gent, begin by using this easy guide:

Starter Projects

Start with a vest or a pair of shorts and then slowly transition into making trousers, a dress shirt, or a jacket. Much like any other sewing project, you’ll gain confidence and develop skill along the way. You can also try altering a few garments, as opposed to making a piece from scratch, to familiarize yourself with various patterns.   

Fitting a Garment

If you cannot get access to a man dress form, sew something for your guy friend (or boyfriend, brother, dad, etc.) to get used to fitting a garment on a men’s body. Unlike the curvaceous body of a woman, men can do without darts and defined waistlines. In a sense, this will make it easier to fit men’s clothing in certain areas.   


The most common techniques you might want to practice for casual or formal attire include: tailoring techniques, flat-felled seams, buttonholes, zipper installation, edge stitching, and top stitching.

Research resources and tips before you attempt a new project. And practice! - That’s always a key ingredient. Good luck!    

Monday, August 11, 2014

Make It Yourself: Tank Top Into A Headband

Take your silk jersey tank and transform it into a chic-a-licious head band! Use Jennifer Behr’s chevron headband (pictured here) as inspiration to make your own headpiece.


1 tank top
1 black plastic headband
glue gun
hand sewing needle

Step 1

Cut pieces of the tank top to use for the headband. Keep aside two small rectangular pieces (1 ½” x 1 ½”) which will be used to finish the ends of the headband later on.    

Step 2

Take the headband and start wrapping the fabric around until the headband underneath is fully covered. Use the glue gun to keep the fabric in place. 

Step 3

Use another piece of the tank top fabric to start shaping the tucks and folds of the headband. Once you’ve achieved the desired look, use the hand sewing needle and thread to sew a few tacks to keep the shape.

Step 4

Take the two rectangular pieces of fabric and glue them onto the ends of the headband. Fold in and glue to the ends for a smooth finish.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How To Replicate A Garment

If you own a piece of clothing that you would love to have an exact copy of, whether the original is just past its prime or you simply lust for a duplicate made out of a different fabric, you, my sewing friend, are in luck because I’ve got a few tips for you!
Before you begin prepping your project, keep a few things in mind which will assure you have the least amount of speed bumps along the way.


You can easily make a new pattern out of your existing piece without taking the garment apart by transferring it onto paper. Carefully use a tracing wheel to trace around each panel, label the pattern pieces and add seam allowance, and you’re good to go! The pattern is, of course, reusable, which is an added bonus.   


To ensure the new garment you will sew will drape the same way as your already existing one, plan accordingly. If you are thinking of making a total copy of your garment, choose a similar fabric. On the other hand, if you want to sew the new garment out of a different fabric, pick any fabric, just similar in weight.


Research your fabric to find out if you require any special tools or notions, then grab them on your next fabric store run. Adjusting your machine settings for the kind of fabric you are using will make a significant difference in the final product. You can test the tension and thread length on a test piece before you begin.

Hope your cloned garment comes as close as possible to the one you already own!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sewing Clothes For Your Body Type

Whether you follow the latest trends or set your own, knowing which garments suit your body shape is key to feeling comfortable in your own (clothed!) skin.  And if you just happen to sew your own clothes, then you absolutely know that every pattern may not be the right fit for you. Since everyone is a different shape and size, identifying which styles of clothing will complement your frame comes with ease if you are familiar with your body type.

The most common body types are pear (or bell), apple (or triangle), banana (or straight), and hourglass. Next time you’re picking up a pattern, keep a few things in mind according to your body type:


If you have a larger bust and/or broader shoulders than your hips, make darker coloured blouses and jackets. Pair that up with a pant or skirt with interesting patterns to create an overall balance. 


Hips broader than shoulders? Sew brightly coloured tops and dark or neutral bottoms. Give strapless dresses a try – to show off your petite shoulders, of course!  


If your waistline is not defined and the top and bottom of your body are almost the same size, add dimension by making voluminous clothing such as gathered skirts or shirts with puffy sleeves. Include a belt with your outfit which can help create an illusion of a more distinct waist.


You have a defined waistline and even width of shoulders and hips, which means  you can wear patterns on top and bottom to keep a balance throughout. Try sewing a pencil skirt to flaunt your curves.   

The tips mentioned here are nowhere near “rules” you have to live by. You can simply follow them to enhance your figure by giving it some balance. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Learn To Sew At Your Own Pace

Now that you’ve completed the Introductory Sewing class at The Sewing Studio, are you wondering which course to take next? Introductory Sewing 2 could be just what you need!

Building confidence on the machine and honing your skills is your main goal and Introductory Sewing 2 offers just that! You will get guidance and assistance on new patterns and explore a variety of garments. Your instructor will review topics you’ve covered in Introductory Sewing such as: fabric fundamentals, laying out, cutting, and marking your fabric, as well as adjusting a pattern. Once you’re ready to go, you can jump into making a skirt, a pair of pants, a jacket or even a dress! A list of recommended patterns will be provided so that you can choose a style all your own.  And who knows – if you’re dedicated enough, you might even complete more than one piece in class.

Introductory Sewing 2 allows you to dictate the pace and difficulty of the project. Since you are used to the sewing machine and can pretty much kind-of-sort-of navigate your way through a pattern after completing Introductory Sewing, IS2 is a great stepping stone before you try to tackle an advanced class.

Register for an Introductory Sewing 2 class today and sew up a storm!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Repurposing Your Clothes

Who doesn’t love shopping for new clothes? You get to try on skirts, pants, and tops and figure out how these brand new items will fit in with the rest of your wardrobe. What if I told you to skip the store and go shopping in your closet?! Crazy, right? Not really! Everyone always has clothing waiting to get dumped right around spring cleaning time, exchanged at a clothing swap, or lent out to a BFF – and you know those clothes are probably never going to be returned (maybe years later, if you’re lucky!). Repurpose these forgotten garments and turn them into something you’ll wear over and over again. Here’s how:

You and your denim button up shirt have been through so much: windy summer days, casual Fridays at work, and don’t forget about the great recovery from that hot sauce stain! Keep that baby around and recreate it into a skirt with an elastic waistband or a fringed vest. You’ll get to keep a piece of something you already love and wear it as a totally new garment.

That pencil skirt is your trademark, but let’s face it – it sure could use a little special something to freshen it up. Sew a fun belt to add to your classic skirt or add side seam slits to make it more interesting.

I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely have a retro section in my boudoir. I love mixing oldies with current pieces for a one-of-a-kind look. You can even try utilizing pieces of your old school gear to add character to modern ones.

Repurposing your clothes can be a fun way to explore your imagination and get creative with your wardrobe. You’ll get to keep your favourites and make (somewhat) new pieces. Well, I’m off to use my Fresh Prince of Bel-Air shorts to make funky lining pockets in a jacket. Gotta go!