Category Archives: Style

DIY Summer Kimono

 Kimono
Hey there! Welcome to my very first sewing tutorial! Please bear with me. I am a designer and a writer but I have yet to put the two together.

Here we have the finished “kimono” top. Let’s use the word kimono lightly because in actuality it won’t be worn like a true kimono but the basics are there. This tutorial is for the brave and the strong! I’m only kidding it’s for the beginner sewer. If you can wield a sewing machine you can make this top. It’s essentially a folded piece of fabric with shortish sleeves cut into it.

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Materials: 1 metre long piece of fabric. The length of your kimono is going to be determined by the width it is sold by. This piece is about 60″ wide and then folded in half. The best fabrics for this design are anything lightweight and flowy. I’m using a lightweight rayon but chiffon, satin and silk are good fabrics for this project too. I am actually thinking about repurposing an old sarong for this design as well.

Tools: –pins
fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-tailor’s chalk
-ruler

Step One: On your cutting table, kitchen table, living room floor (ok not recommended but I’ve been there). Lay out one metre of your chosen fabric. That’s 100cm or if you’re an imperial fan 40″. Fold the piece of fabric in half with the right sides together and the selvage edges at the bottom toward you. This is the hem of your kimono top.

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The above photo with the pin is a good example of what a selvage edge looks like. It’s the sometimes slightly frayed side with the little holes in it. I’ll be writing a post on fabric direction and why it is important soon!

Step 2: Measure down from the folded edge of the fabric 10″ and then square a line into the fabric 6″. Square another line from that point to the hem. Do this on both sides.

I personally like to use tailors chalk to mark my lines on my designs but you can also use a little bar of soap. Anything that washes off (obvi).

There are two ways you can proceed from here.

Step 3: You can cut along the 6″ line you’ve drawn, curving around the underarm and down the side, then pin the two layers together and sew. Or you can pin it and then sew along the line you’ve drawn making sure to curve around the underarm seam and down to the bottom edge. Then cut the fabric out after. Whichever is easier for you. If you are fairly new to sewing I would recommend the later. These types of fabrics are hard to keep stabilized.

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Step 4: Measure from one edge of the sleeve hem to the other and find the centre measurement (should be roughly 20″). Do the same along the hem (should be about 14″).

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Step 5: Cut that centre line through the TOP LAYER ONLY! Do not cut through both layers. This is the front opening for your kimono top.

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Voila! Technically you could be done. If you are a stickler or you just want to sew some more or you would like to properly finish the top, fold and stitch a half inch hem all the way around the bottom and neck opening and around each of the sleeve hems too.

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If you would like to adjust the size of your kimono top you can go wider, pretty much as wide as you like, but it’s tough to go longer. The length of the kimono depends on the width of your original piece of fabric. Different fabrics are sold in different widths by the metre/yard depending on where you buy them.

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If you like this one you can buy it here on my etsy shop!

I tested out a couple of DIY kimono top tutorials before making my own.

http://www.brit.co/diy-kimono-tutorial – this is a simple kimono tutorial with minimal sewing (like this one) and a nice silhouette

http://www.elleapparelblog.com/2013/09/kimono-cool-tutorial – this one is pretty intermediate. There are too many pieces involved for a simple top. It’s more like an oversized shirt but the effect is nice.

 

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Trapunto – a Punchy Little Sewing Technique

 

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Oh Trapunto! You little devil making a clothing comeback! I’m seeing trapunto stitching on some ready to wear these days and I like it!

I call it a punchy stitch technique because I just love saying the word. It packs a little punch don’t you think? It makes me want to say it with a deep voice, a hard pun and elongated ooooooo. You know? TraPUNtoooooo!

Trapunto is actually a dowdy little quilting technique. I can’t stand it there. I don’t get quilting to be honest with you. A quilting project takes hours and hours of time and the effect is beautiful but you can’t wear it.

You can however wear a trapunto stitched garment. This technique I love. It’s very simple but adds a nice touch to an otherwise plain garment. Most of the trapunto stitching I’ve seen on garments are just straight rows of evenly spaced straight stitch.

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I recently made a copy of a Vera Wang bridesmaids dress for a pregnant gal. It’s this dress below only made in blush pink and designed with a little more room for the baby bump! Pictured above is the belt from that dress.

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Gorgeous dress. And the belt? Trapunto style stitching! It just adds that extra bit of flair to an otherwise simple silhouette.

 

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Trapunto, from the Italian for “to quilt,” is a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.

 

I didn’t stuff the belt or pad it. I simply folded the satin 4 times and stitched 10 even lines through the fabric. The thickness of the layered fabric gave it the little bit of puffiness it needed. Vera Wang may have padded theirs with a thin batting or something which is another option.

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Here’s a Joe Fresh dress I bought last year that has the same sort of stitching around the neck opening.

Two more good examples of trapunto stitching on denim.

Do you have any great examples of trapunto stitching on garments?? I’d love to see them!

Cristy – The Best Wo-Man!

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In today’s world the lines of friendship and gender are no longer firmly drawn. Many women have male best friends and many men have great friends who are women and they want them included in their special day. This was one wedding that proves just that!

Working on Cristy’s tuxedo was so much fun. The girl has so much style and stood up to the challenge of looking fantastic and fashionable in her suit right down to her Jimmy Choos.

For Cristy’s outfit we took the sleeves off of her dress shirt, saving the cuffs for wearing. When she had the jacket on you would never know there were no sleeves underneath.

A few more alterations to the shirt and jacket to make them more flattering and feminine, adding some curve, then we cropped those pants!

The results were awesome!!

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Pearls, Pearls, Pearls!

20131124-201821.jpgI’ve recently taken to wearing a strand of pearls that used to belong to my mother. I believe my sister and I lifted them from her jewelry box when we were just little girls and she never got them back.

I’m not really sure why I’m so taken with them now but they seem to go with everything I want to wear.

From the first time I put them on they made me feel more confident somehow, more sophisticated, like I can take on the world! Kind of like wearing my own personal super-hero cape…only super-hero pearls?? It only makes sense when you think about seeing these timeless gems gracing the necks of affluent women like Margaret Thatcher and Jackie Onassis. The pearl is powerful.

Luckily for us pearls are not just for evening wear and 2 piece suits any more pearls can be worn with a t-shirt and jeans or my personal favourite a button up collar under a sweater or cardigan. I feel that a simple single strand is all a girl needs but some people love to layer ’em up!

Here are some of my favourite pearlesque looks!

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