Saturday, January 28, 2012

Simple Ballet Skirt- A tutorial

My oldest has been taking ballet lessons for the past 2 years and recently, one of her chiffon skirt came apart.

I decided to make her one since I've some left over chiffon from her last skirt project. The whole concept plus cutting and sewing takes me less than 1 hour!  Want to try? For affordable chiffon, pick them up at Jalan Sultan at $4 per yard.

Less than 1 yard of light pink chiffon of width 44"
Braided elastic band

1. Fold the chiffon so that the 44" side is folded up twice for ease of cutting.

I've used roller cutter and cutting board for better control.  The length to cut depends on how long you want the skirt to be. I went along with 13" including 2" for the waistband later on.

2. Open up the chiffon and align 2 short edges (13") together and cut a curve using the curve ruler as a guide. I cut mine to be 8" from the edge but you can adjust that to your liking.

3. I use the narrow hem option on my serge to serge the hem starting from the curve line.  As I don't really have a lot of thread in the same shade, I only replace the upper and lower thread as they will be more visible. See below on my setting.  Remember to remove the extension hook.  Read your manuals for details.

Here's how the narrow hem looks like. So neat.

If you have no serger, you can try using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine with the smaller stitch width. Try on scrap first before you sew the chiffon!

4. Overlap the front curve edges by about 6" and pin.

Sew a baste stitch to secure.

5.  Cut your elastic band to the desired size and overlap the edge by 1" and sew together.

6. Sew a gathering stitch along the waistband using the longest stitch and widest tension on your sewing machine. Adjust the gathers so that the size will fit your waistband.

7. Pin the chiffon to the elastic band, align raw edge of chiffon to the elastic band. Adjust the gathers.

8. Bring your needle down to middle of the elastic band, pull your chiffon taut and start sewing slowly.  Adjust the gathers as you go and pulling the elastic to fit the chiffon.  Your elastic band should be laid nicely flat below the chiffon. Take out the pins as you sew and remember to keep the needle down before you adjust the elastic band.

9. Then, fold the elastic band over to the wrong side and pin. Adjust the gathers.  Your raw edge should now be hidden inside the skirt.

 Sew along the bottom edge of the elastic band using a zig zag stitch.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Colour Block Skirt - A tutorial

Here's the simple tutorial if you would like to sew a simple colour block flare skirt.

Main color block - 1 metre of 45" width
Hem color block - 1/4" metre of 45" width
5" zipper
Stiff interfacing for the waistband
Some fabric covered buttons or hock/snaps

I've given the measurement accordingly to our size but you can adjust accordingly. I'm using the full width of the fabric so you only need to cut the length that you want! Easy.

The skirt will gathered a lot and make it very full. If you like it less full, you can adjust the width accordingly. Seam allowance (SA) is 3/8".  Please read through the whole instruction before you start just incase you missed the steps!

1 pc A = [Waistband width + SA] X (Waist + 2")
2 pc B = [Length of main skirt + SA] X 45" [for my 2 year old, I've cut the width to 33"]
2 pc C = [Length of hem + SA] X 45"

You need 1 pc of A and 2 pcs of B and C
A and C will be fold over lengthwise 

Blue & Yellow [my girl is a tall and skinny 7 year old]
A = 4.75" X 24 [interfacing = 2 X 23.25"]
B = 11.75" X 45"
C = 6.75" X 45"

Brown [I'm 160m tall with 28" waist]
A = 5.75" X 30" [interfacing = 3"X 29.25"]
B = 16.75" X 45"
C = 8.75" X 45"

Orange [chubby tall 2 year old]
A = 3.75" X 22" [interfacing = 1.5" X 21.25"]
B = 9.75" X 33"
C = 4.75" X 33"

1. Cut 1pc of A, 2 pc of B and 2 pc of C. Serge all the raw edges.
2. Fold A into half lengthwise with Wrong side facing and press to make the fold line. Fold in 3/8" on both ends to the wrong side and press.  
3. Iron the interfacing piece to one side on the inside of the folded waistband A, align to the folded edge. Your interfacing will be nicely encase within the folded edge. Set aside.

4. Align the side seams of the 2 pc of B together, right side facing.

 and sew with 3/8" seam allowance on one side. 
Press seams open. Do the same for 2 pc of C.

5. Slip B under C and align the long edge, Right Side Facing.  Pin B to C taking care to align the side seams that you have just sewn.

Sew with 3/8 SA to attach the hem color block to the main skirt.  Press seams towards the main skirt B and top stitch on the edge of B to keep seams down.

6. Align the other short edge of the skirt, Right Side facing and pin. Take care to align the hem color block so that they are inline.

Sew with 1" SA and press seams open for inserting of the zipper.

Centre Zipper Sewing
# If possible, use an invisible zipper for better results. I've used what I've on hand as I'm pressed for time. So I'm sharing how to insert a normal centre lapped zipper along the side seams.

7. Lay your zipper, Pull Tab face down along the seams that you've just sewn. The middle of the zipper should be in the center of the seam. Pin.

8. Using your zipper foot, start sewing from the left side, up to the bottom of the zipper (just before the end of the metal stopper) and then down to the right side towards the zipper tab.

Take note that you will need to pull the zipper tab up or down when you sew close to them. Go slower and you may need to adjust the pull tab as you sew. Just remember to keep your needle down on the skirt before you lift up the presser foot and adjust the tab.

Stop sewing just before the metal stopping and
sew over a few times at the end to secure before moving up.
this is how the zipper look like from the front. Neat!
9. Use your seam ripper and cut open the seams along the zipper teeth. Be careful not to cut beyond the stop line.

Try pulling your zipper tab up and down to check alignment.

10.  To fit the skirt to the waistband, you need to sew gathering stitch along the waist of the skirt.  Using the longest stitch width on your sewing machine and the longest tension, sew along the top of the skirt piece.

Then, pull the thread to gather the skirt more so you can fit them nicely over your waistband.

11. Once your skirt is ready, pin them to the waistband, right side facing, leaving about 1" free on one side to make the button holes later.

Like my chiffon skirt, I didn't want to leave pin marks on the waistband and 
the interfacing is quite stiff, so I've used paper clips. 
It really helped to stablise the thick gathers when I sew.

12. Using a slightly longer stitch width (I use 3), Sew the waistband to the skirt.

13. Flip the waistband upright so that Right side face out and topstitch along the edge of the waistband.

Notice the nice 1" waistband that is not sewn the skirt? This is for the button holes.
14. Sew the button holes on the flap or if you like, snap or hock or velcro, whatever that works for you and you are done!

Time to show off your new skirts!

This one makes me laugh!

Now, isn't she the cutest! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year!

Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year and it's starting to be a super long 2 days of visitation to relatives and friends' houses with good food and lots of conversation and traveling to do.

My house is more of less 'dressed' up for the occasions with the seasonal festive decorations to spice up the mood here.

Here's what my girl did with her father a few days ago.

Fire Crackers
 Fire Crackers! 2 strings of them.

We used Red paper packets and roll them up, stapled them and punch hole to string them together. Rather than buying them off the shelves, we thought making them with our kids will help them to enjoy the festival more.

Beautiful Red packets
They also made some fishes...

see the little golden fish swing inside the big fish? love the details
this one got a red fish inside
And different kinds of lanterns!

And what is the festive without the Mandarin Oranges! Lots of them brings in the colors.  The fruit basket is from Ikea.

Remember those placemats? My house is ready to welcome the guests. Come come...

Have a very Happy Lunar New Year and Happy holidays!