Saturday, May 17, 2008

TIBI Knock-Off: Finished

This is the final version of my TIBI knock-off!

What is really cool is that it can worn over a tissue-weight black t-shirt when it is cooler:

Finishing the sleeves – I debated a lot whether to serge the armscye or to Hong Kong finish it. I ended up choosing to bind the armscye. How I did it: First I stitched a second row of stitching 0.25” away from the armscye seam and cut 1/8” away from this second seam. I cut bias strips of the lining fabric, pressed them in half and then in quarters lengthwise and applied them to the armscye.

I really love this top and know that will wear it a lot!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Waistcoat, a Fashionable Alternative to a Blouse!

My TIBI knock-off is done but I am waiting for a sunny day to take photos of me wearing it outside.
Meanwhile, I started work on another project – a waistcoat.
Having worn way too many vests throughout the early 90s, I didn’t think a waistcoat would ever capture my attention again. Well, never say never, I guess! I’ve recently come across these photos of K. Beckinsale and V. Beckam in Marie Claire magazine:

What makes me think that this trend might just work for me is that both ladies are wearing their waistcoats with jeans, an item I have quite a few of and absolutely love to wear! I also fancy the fact that the waistcoat can be worn without a blouse, or with a simple tank underneath.

One would think that a waistcoat is such a staple garment that it would not be hard to find a pattern for. Well, not so… I found it really difficult to come across a pattern for a fitted waistcoat that can be worn as a blouse. As a matter of fact, the only pattern that fit the description was a Burda WOF 2/2008 one.

Also, it does not hurt that I love Cidell’s fantabulous rendition of this pattern:

I am not sure if I am going to incorporate the armhole frills in my waistcoat and if I don’t, if I would keep the lapel as is or would opt for a notched lapel or no lapel at all.
The muslin will decide the fate of the frill/lapel!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Knocking Off a TIBI Blouse

My current project is a knock-off one. I am knocking-off a TIBI top, a label designed by Amy Smilovic.
I saw this top at and really liked it, however, there are only so many occasions it can be worn at because as you can see in the pictures, it is fairly evening-wear. So, I thought I’d make it in a fabric that would render more casual look to it.

It took two muslins to get the pattern ready but the patternmaking process was fun.

The original top is made from: shell: 55% cotton 45% poly, lining: 100% acetate. Since I wanted to keep the design but change the purpose of the top to a more casually styled garment, I chose:
- for the shell: charcoal heather doubleknit rayon blend 4-way stretch from
- for the lining: black rayon lining.

I am keeping it true to the original design with the exception that I decided to onit the back closure (in the CS seam below the neckline) because the muslin proved I could slide my head through the opening with no issues.

Construction: I have already thread traced the shell and the lining. I have never actually thread traced a garment before, at least not in its entirety. This time I chose to do so just to see how it goes. My conclusions: 1. it is time consuming and 2. it is worth it, especially for the rayon lining.

The original top is fully lined and so will be my knock-off. The lining of this top is made partially as a true lining and partially as an interlining. What I mean is that the linings of the bodice and the one of the sleeves are made separately from the shell, then attached to the bottom hemss of the shell and the sleeves. From that point I am going to treat the lining as interlining and baste it to the armscye and neckline.
I am hoping to finish it by tomorrow night and post some photos of the finished top.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Make Maternity Pants That Have Style

When I was pregnant, I had this big problem with finding maternity pants that 1. don’t look too “maternity” and 2. don’t break the bank.

The two major reasons why most RTW pants did not fit me were: 1. pants would not stay up because my belly was sticking up a lot to the front and 2. the more affordable retailers did not even produce maternity pants in my small size.

So, after figuring out that only pants that cost upwards of $150 would look good on me, I decided to try and draft my own. I started out with drafting a pair of pants according to my hip measurement.

If you do not know how to draft pants, then just get a trouser non-maternity pattern according to your hip measurement (the waist measurement really doesn’t matter).
Make the muslin leaving the top 3” from the side seams unsown and sewing only about 3.5” from the front crotch.

Another way to go is to buy a pair of not maternity pants that fit you at the hips and have a front closure, remove the waistband and unstitch the top 3” from the side seams, undo the front closure, remove the zipper and keep only about 3.5” from the front crotch sewn up.

Start out by figuring out how the pants fit you in the hips and thighs and do the alterations necessary.

Next, you have to establish where the upper (I will call it waistline for lack of other word) line would be. Simply draw on the muslin a line that is just under the lowest part of your pregnant tummy and follow to the back aiming at hitting the waist at the CB. A fitting buddy or even a willing husband/bf would be helpful. Transfer the markings to the pattern.
Here is the scetch of the front and back of the pants:

Then you have to figure the extended panel. I used a tank top (with similar stretch qualities as the jersey I had), pulled it over the waistline and chalk marked on the tank top the shape I would need (not so much the shape at the waistline because that was easy to draft but actually the length of the panel in CB and CF and the width).
Here is the sketch of the maternity panel:

The maternity panel is simply sewn with one side seam, then the top is folded under 2” and zigzagged, elastic is inserted and the panel is attached to the pants. The elastic I used is 1.5” wide.

Here is a close-up of the extended panel attached:

Note on fabric:
- Main fabric: You want to get a fabric that has some stretch to it. Although you don’t necessarily have to do, it would be more comfortable, especially of the fit in the thighs is more body conscious. I used stretch corduroy but would advice on using a material that has more drape, it would render a more elegant look.
- As far as the fabric for the extended panel, use fabric with 4-way stretch and one that is nice on touch because it would be rubbing against your already stretched out skin on the tummy.

The details for the pants I made are: trouser fit,flared from knee to bottom, inseam side pockets, one back pocket, cuffs and edgestitched front and back crease.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hello to All Sewing Fashionistas

I have been contemplating about starting a blog about my sewing adventures for some time now. I have been postponing it because I was not sure I would have enough time to do it properly. I decided to go on with it though and see what happens. This blog will be about sewing, fashion, shopping, and other things I obsess about!

Some Sewing Projects from the Last Year