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Seasonal

  • Mood DIY: Sewing a Plaid Skirt

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    Plaid is appealing for its geometric patterns, and they’re known to give off a sort of “official” look—in other words, plaids are great for the office or work! Its pattern is eye-catching and versatile, and the design fits right at home in the aesthetic of autumn, too. Whether you’re wearing a scarf, a sweater, or accents made with plaid patterning, you know you’re in good, stylish hands. Plaid also has a great reputation with skirts. When put together carefully, skirts look fantastic in plaid. It’s a bit of a challenge with louder plaid patterns, since matching a repeating pattern can be tricky, so if you’re just starting out, consider using a simpler or subtler plaid design like this one:

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    This skirt was made using McCall’s skirt pattern #6842 in a size 18. The pattern offers a skirt with a contour waist, 3 different yoke designs to choose from, a back zipper, and a narrow hem. This tutorial goes over skirt design A, which includes yoke variation 1 and length A. The pleats are gathered as well, giving the skirt some nice volume. We chose the Oscar de la Renta Tan and Pink Wool Double Cloth for this skirt tutorial. The latte-colored background and subtle pink plaid was hard to resist, and the fabric is incredibly soft. Something warm and cute for the season was just too good to pass up! Plus, it feels and looks great to sew through! The fabric isn't thick, but it feels solid and substantial. To learn how to make the skirt featured in this article, read below!  

    Here’s the list of materials used to make this skirt, while working with a Size 18 in mind…

    Mood Brand Lia Sewing Machine McCall Misses' Skirt Pattern 6842 1 ½ Yards of Oscar de la Renta Tan and Pink Wool Double Cloth 5/8 Yard of White Stiffener/Fusible Interfacing 896 Dark Khaki 9" Invisible Zipper 536 Tan 100m Gutermann Sew All Thread Fiskars Pinking Shears Hand Needles Dritz 250 Long White Ball Pins If you're planning to line up a fabric pattern for a garment, make sure to buy extra fabric!! We can't stress this enough. There's nothing worse than finding out you need more fabric after you've already gotten your cut. The pattern suggested 1.25 yards of fabric for a size 18, but we went with 1.5 yards, because we knew we'd need it. You will, too! We won’t go into detail about how to make the actual skirt here since it’s all in the pattern instructions already, but we’ll highlight important notes and features of the skirt’s design.   DSC_0059 The first tip to keep in mind is that it's extremely helpful to pin your fabric before cutting. When you're laying out your fabric and getting ready to pin it, line up your plaid grids and pin them first! The piece in this photo is cut already, but see how the pins are guided alone the plaid lines? Do this around the entire border of your fabric when it's laid out. This will help prevent mismatched cutting!

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    Just to give you an idea, this is what the pieces should look like after you cut them out. This plaid  design is pretty simple, so it's easy to guide your pattern edges so the skirt will look mostly matched up. Remember that the ends of your pattern pieces will have a 5/8" seam allowance, so when laying out and lining up your pattern paper, line up your plaid grids 5/8" into the pattern piece.

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     You should also be very careful about pining your pieces together before running a stitch through with your machine. Line up your pattern pieces so that the plaid grids are lined up and it looks like the pattern continues naturally. And don't be afraid to use more pins or a walking foot attachment to keep your fabric from sliding out of place! Same thing goes for installing the zipper:

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    You'll have to trim the zipper a couple of inches, but if you work slowly and carefully, it'll look great! (Don't know how to install a zipper? Click here for our tutorial!)

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    Please keep in mind that this fabric frays! Stay-stitching will be your best friend while working with this fabric.

    We made the skirt according to the directions of the pattern so that you could see what it would look like, but we do highly suggest using french seams instead of a double-stitched seam like the pattern calls for. That means sewing your pattern pieces wrong sides together and then hiding your seam allowances in with another line of stitching. If don't know how to sew a french seam, follow this link to our All About Seams page. Sewing in french seams will help tuck the frayed edges away and keep them from unraveling your garment.

    However, if you are having trouble sewing the french seam, you can also go with the double-stitched seam and then trim the seam allowances with pinking shears.

    The double-stitched seam will look like this:

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    This fabric really looks wonderful with a plain seam on it. If you enjoy top-stitching and can find a hem line you'd like to sneak them in, feel free to!

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    And that's basically it! This skirt design isn't too hard, and it actually puts together pretty quickly. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be good to sew yourself a wonderful piece of autumn fashion! Are you inspired yet? What advice do you have to share for working with plaid fabrics?

  • Velvet season

    This fall has been all about velvet.  It's amazing how a textile that's been around forever can get a facelift in the form of a modern design.  My experience with velvet was a navy blue super stiff dress as a 7 year old.  All I remember was the sound it made when I walked and how uncomfortable and itchy it was especially when I sat on our crushed velvet sofa.  Yep we had a red crushed velvet sofa in our living room that we were only allowed to sit on when we had on fancy clothes aka awful velvet dresses.  But this new wave of velvet goodness is giving me a new appreciation for velvet. I knew when searching for the perfect velvet I didn't want anything stiff so I chose this amazing olive colored rayon-silk velvet that thankfully comes in 11 colors because the the olive is sold out. This fabric is gorgeous! the colors are amazing, it cuts and sews beautifully and it feels great against the skin.  Keep in mind, this fabric has no stretch so tighter fitting designs will not work. For these two dresses I used 3 yards of fabric. The pattern I used for my dress was vintage Butterick 5871 view E shirt pattern with the following alterations: -Added 3" to the width of the pattern back -Added 11" to the length of the back and front -Added 2" to the width of the front pattern -Added 5" to the length of each side of the necktie -Removed the back zipper -Added a 5" slit to the neck front Chandler's dress was made with a self drafted pattern   green-velvet_mood green-velvet2 green-velvet3 green-velvet4 green-velvet5 green-velvet-6 green-velvet-chandler3         green-velvet-chandler green-velvet6
  • Fall 2016 Fashion Week Summary

    Fall Fashion Week has come to a close for this season! From cut-out styles to moto jackets, the line-up ranged from chic and edgy. Here are some of the most prominent trends to take away from this season.

    Suede

    There were plenty of fabrics that popped up all over the runway, and suede was one of them! Suede always has strong presence in fashion, but it’s especially beloved during the Fall.
    Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Great in both bright and mature colors, suede has a beautiful and unique sheen to it that can really impress onlookers when added to your ensemble.
    McQ Alexander McQueen | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear McQ Alexander McQueen | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own suede looks with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Bomber Jackets

    Bomber jackets! Need I say more? A design I've come to consider a sibling to the moto jacket, bomber jackets are both stylish and comfortable. They look great in any color, and they're often adorned with a number of decorations like patches, embroidery, and more.
    Off-White | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Off-White | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    They also look great in almost any fabric! Want one in pleather? Go ahead! Satin? Absolutely. It all works, making this style very universal. It's a great addition to any wardrobe or ensemble, so it's no surprise that so many designers showcased them in their line-ups!
    3.1 Phillip Lim | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear 3.1 Phillip Lim | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own bomber jacket style with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Off-the-Shoulder Looks

    Elegance is key in off-the-shoulder designs, and the runway delivered! This look is great when made with a fabric that shines, so it satin is your game, take a chance to play with an off-the-shoulder dress or shirt! Or go with a knit for something looser and more comfortable!
    Marques Almeida | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Marques Almeida | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    These are a lovely way to show off the collarbone and shoulders while still be reserved and practical.
    Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own off-the-shoulder looks with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Moto Jackets

    These jackets were all over the show each week! They’ll probably never go out of style. The asymmetrical zipper of these jackets is an immediate tip-off to the style, and the tapered shape from the shoulders is a great way to accentuate one’s waistline.
    Rodarte | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Rodarte | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    If you’re looking for a way to dress bold, try adding a moto jacket to your wardrobe!
    Louis Vuitton | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Louis Vuitton | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own moto jacket style with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Pleather

    Pleather is a wonderful, wonderful thing! It gives off both great feel and presence of luxury. If you want to make an impression, pleather is a way to do it, and designers at Fashion Week took full advantage of this!
    Valentino | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Valentino | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Smooth, sleek, and great with a top-stitch, pleather is a great fashion ally!
    Loewe | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Loewe | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own styles with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Cut-Outs

    Cut-out designs have to be one of my favorite fashion trends. The play with negative space is an artistic touch that draws the eye in a unique way, and when used skillfully, it can have you turning heads as you walk by.
    Louis Vuitton | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Louis Vuitton | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Solid, thick fabrics that will hold the shape well are best for designs like these, and it looks great in saturated and neutral colors.
    3.1 Phillip Lim | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear 3.1 Phillip Lim | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own cut-out styles with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Women in Menswear

    Everyone loves a man in uniform, but what about a woman? Rocking a well-tailored blazer or collar isn’t exclusive to men; the business feel of these styles is attractive on women, too!
    Celine | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Celine | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Sporting menswear styles can open a whole new door for your wardrobe to expand into, so take some inspiration from the Fashion Week designers and look into getting your hands on some of your own!
    A.F. Vandevorst | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear A.F. Vandevorst | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own styles with these fabrics from Mood:  

    Exaggerated Proportions

    Lastly, and possibly the most-seen style on the runway, was over-exaggerated proportions. Huge shoulders, wide pants, and long, long sleeves were all over Fashion Week, and it's probably one of the more new styles to have hit this season.
    Marques Almedia | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Marques Almedia | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Whether its design is practical or not, big sleeves are in, so take advantage of it and get warm and comfy as the weather gets colder!
    Fenty x Puma | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Fenty x Puma | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Create your own big and long styles with these fabrics from Mood:   What styles are you looking forward to sewing this season? Was there another one from Fashion Week that you loved? Tell us about it!
  • Neoprene

    The moment I woke up and the temps were in the 50's, I immediately started thinking fall and remembered how much I love neoprene and structure.  So enters this royal blue and white neoprene.  If you aren't familiar with neoprene, it's a stretch scuba material that doesn't wrinkle or lose it's shape, it makes sexy skirts and dresses as well as awesome structured pieces.  The one downside to neoprene is because it's a thick fabric and doesn't iron or lay flat, creating a hem to lay flat with certain neoprene is close to impossible.  In order to combat that issue, I chose to do without hemming and because the fabric cuts with such precision, as long as you cut with a rotary blade it leaves you with a clean finish. The top was made using Butterick 5948 view D with the following alterations: -Removed 8" from the length -Added a top stitched front seam -Removed 10" from length of the sleeve -Added a 10"x38" inverted pleat bell sleeve -Added a 9" back zipper   The skirt was made using vintage McCalls 2905 with the following alterations: -Removed 18" from the length -Added 4" to the width of the waistband -Removed the front darts -Added a 20"x 20" pleated drape to the right front of the skirt neoprene_mood bkue-and-white-neoprene-2 blue-and-white-neoprene3 blue-and-white-neoprene4 blue-and-white-neoprene5 blue-and-white-neoprene6    
  • Trend Report: Paris Fashion Week | Spring 2017

    This week is the last for Fall Fashion Week, and we saw a few favorites and new head-turners as the event comes to a close! Trendy jackets and flowing garments were prime pieces of the show for Paris designers, and we had to share them here! Kimono-style Jackets With loose sleeves and a cinched waist, kimono-style jackets have been popping up in plenty of designers’ lines. Kimono collars are perfect for when you want to make your neck look long and elegant, and the patterns and fabrics often used to make these types of jackets are never less than stunning.
    Paule Ka | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paule Ka | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    From smooth satins to glimmering prints, kimono jackets are a wonderful addition to any ensemble or wardrobe.
    Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Balmain | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      If you’re thinking of making your own kimono jacket, check some of these fabrics to get inspired:  

    Wide Sleeves

    Big sleeves are always a comfortable fit, and their draped look flows beautifully. Graceful looks like these were sprinkled through many of the line-ups.
    Chloe | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Chloe | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Wide sleeves are nice, because they can help make you look and feel elegant. They can be made from all different fabrics, too.
    Stella McCartney | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Stella McCartney | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Need some ideas for making tops like these? Try these:

    Leather Jackets

    Straight-cut, embellished, or studded, leathers were a familiar and glamorous appearance for the show. Many leather fashions are still sporting motorcycle and bomber jackets, so if you haven’t grabbed one for yourself yet, there’s still time!
    Alexander McQueen | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Alexander McQueen | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Leather is great with both suave and edgy styles, so they look good on practically anyone.
    Redemption | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Redemption | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Looking to make a leather jacket? Consider some of these fabrics (pleather is an option, too!):  

    Flowing Skirts

    Big, flowing skirts popped up in the beginning of the season, and they’re still going pretty strong. Now being paired with fitted tops like these, they lean more to the side of sophisticated than comfy like their early season counterparts.
    Talbot Runhof | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Talbot Runhof | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    With a more business casual attire, these skirts can look very sleek.
    Y's Yohji Yamamoto | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Y's Yohji Yamamoto | Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Fabrics with good drapes like these would be perfect for a flowing skirt: What were you favorite designs from Paris Fashion Week? Do you have any plans for new sewing projects that were inspired by the trend reports?  
  • Velvet Pumpkin DIY

    Velvet Pumpkins DIY

    Velvet pumpkins are a Halloween craft I recently fell in love with, and while I’m tempted to buy them at stores every time I see them, I wanted to see if I could make them myself. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they’re very easy to make! So if you're looking for a quick and easy way to spruce up your home for fall, consider making some to decorate with!

    Here’s a list of what I used:

    Velvet pumpkins are made with fabric. Velvet is usually the optimal choice, because when it’s gathered it has the same look as the ridges on pumpkins, and the sheen from the fabric’s nap helps define the gathered fabric. You could use other types of fabrics, too, though—the design is very versatile. So long as the fabric type you’re using gathers together nicely, it’ll probably work! As for the stems, people often suggest using real stems that you can break off of an actual pumpkin. This is a great option if you can get your hands on a couple of real stems, but I wanted to make an all-fabric velvet pumpkin, so I ended up making more decorative stems with felt fabric in a contrasting color! Adding some ribbon to the bottom of the stem gives the impression of vines sprouting from the stem, too.
    Pattern Pieces Pattern Pieces
    Start off by cutting out a circle of your velvet fabric. Make sure that you don’t make a size smaller than 6 inches in diameter, or the pumpkin might turn out too small! I went with 10” and 16” diameter. The last one might sound big, but remember that the pumpkin will only be about a quarter wide of whatever diameter you use! If you want a bigger pumpkin, use a wider piece of fabric! I added a 6" diameter in the picture for comparison.
    Pattern Layout Pattern Layout
    After you’ve cut your fabric, get your hand sewing needle and thread.  It’s okay if you’re not a great hand-sewer—this step is simple: sew a basting stitch along the edge of your circle of fabric, about half an inch away from the edge. Make sure to start your stitch through the wrong side of the fabric; this will keep the knot from showing on the outside of the fabric! If you’re not sure what a basting stitch looks like, it’s basically a line of big stitches used to keep layers of fabric together, like this,
    Basting Stitch Basting Stitch
    (I used contrasting thread to help show the example better; you should be using your like-colored thread!) After you’ve run the stitch all the way around, gently push the fabric together so that it gathers. DO NOT tie the thread or cut the excess thread yet! You need to fill your pumpkin with Poly-fil now! You can stuff it just a little or a lot depending on how firm you want it to be. On a scale of 1 to 10, I filled both of mine at about a 4.
    Closing the Pumpkin Closing the Pumpkin
    After you stuff the pumpkin, make sure any loose fiber is stuffed back in and then take your thread and needle in hand again. Gather the velvet close again so that it has the pumpkin shape, and then tie a knot so the thread doesn’t go slack again. Don’t make the opening to the inside of the pumpkin too small—leave enough room so that you can insert your pumpkin stem later! From here, you also need to stick the needle all the way down through the center of the bottom of the pumpkin and then back through to the top. Pull it very gently (be careful your thread doesn’t snap) so that the bottom of the pumpkin pulls up a little to get the generic shape for the bottom of a pumpkin, like this,
    Bottom of Pumpkin Bottom of Pumpkin
    Bottom of Pumpkin (Side) Bottom of Pumpkin (Side)
    Run the thread through the bottom a couple of times to secure it. After you’ve tied and knotted the thread well, cut the excess thread.
    Stem Fabric Square Stem Fabric Square
    Leave your pumpkin and needle to the side and get your felt. You don’t need a whole lot of felt per pumpkin, depending on the size your making. For mine, I used 5”x6” pieces.
    Start at one corner... Start at one corner...
    Roll at an angle... Roll at an angle...
    And there's your shape! And there's your shape!
    You can make your stems with the felt in different ways, from cutting the edge with decorative scissors to rolling the swatch pieces in different ways. Make the top of the roll or the base flared, use scissors to cut shapes into the edges, anything really! This project is really easy to customize and make unique, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Use your glue of choice to secure the shape you decide on, or you could sew it to help secure it! I did that for my stems. After you know what shape you want the stem to be, get your pumpkin base. Take another line of thread for your needle and use it to sew your stem to the pumpkin! Make sure to start under the velvet fabric so the knot doesn’t show. Work in a circle, sewing from underneath, to sew the stem into the opening in your pumpkin. Sew it secure and tight so that the velvet fabric closes completely around the stem without any openings (otherwise the Poly-fil might fall out!).
    Stems Attached Stems Attached
    As a finishing touch, add some ribbon around the base of your stem! And then you’re done!
    Ribbons! Ribbons!
    These pumpkins are the cutest thing, and they’re so fun to play with and customize. You could add a short thick tree stick for the stem and make a felt flower to embellish the base of it, or use burlap for a big bow! The possibilities are actually endless. What kind of velvet pumpkin designs do you want to make?
  • Trend Report: Milan Fashion Week | Spring 2017

    Milan Fashion Week for Fall 2016 had a lot of trends we’ve seen in previous weeks strutting down the walkway, from over-sized sleeves and color blocking to ruffles and plisse, but this week’s showcase still stepped out strong with a few new trends.

    Box-Pleated Skirts

    Box-pleated skirts were common on the runway this week. Often related with uniforms, these types of pleats live up to their reputation to show off a refined, sharp shape to your silhouette, and the little flare they bring can be quite flattering.
    Fay | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Fay | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    From longer to shorter skirts, box pleats are a great tool to have in your arsenal of ensembles!
    Neil Barrett | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Neil Barrett | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Looking to make some box pleats of your own? Try out a fabric that will hold the shape well, like these:  

    70's Inspired

    Sharp and bold, 70's inspired styles were hot this week. Broad collars like this trend sports accentuate necklines and shoulders, and careful top-stitching outline your garment shapes for the perfect subtle touch.
    Bally | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Bally | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Color-blocking with bright and thick fabrics is another popular trick when wearing 70's fashion.
    Prada | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Prada | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Stay warm and fresh with style with fabrics like these to pull off an amazing 70's look:
    Rasberry Double Faced Cotton Serge Twill Raspberry Double Faced Cotton Serge Twill

     Muted Floral Prints

    And even though spring is still a ways away, the Milan show still had plenty of designers playing with floral prints. Putting a fall spin on florals with more subdued colors and designs was the key, and we can still get the chilly image of an autumn afternoon from looking at these garments.
    La Perla | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear La Perla | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
    Flowers might hibernate in the winter, but that doesn't mean your wardrobe has to!
    Moschino | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Moschino | Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear
      Try out some of these softer floral designs for your next project:   Are there any other types of fabrics you think might look good for these styles? Who or what are you looking forward to seeing in Paris' fashion week? Share your thoughts with us!  
  • Faux Suede Skirt

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    Faux Suede Skirt

    Fall runways have been loaded with garments and fabrics of faux suede, and seeing as I loved the fabric even before its shine in the spotlight, I wanted to take the chance to make a suede skirt—another popular item on the runway—for the coming season. Faux suede is a great fabric choice because of its soft texture, and the suede I used to make my skirt has a nice stretch that’s both form-fitting and comfortable to wear. I’ve always loved the visual appeal of suede, too; like velvet, it adds visual texture to an ensemble, and I love that. You can see the texture without having to feel it (though I’d be lying if I claimed I’ve never compulsively touched suede just to feel how soft it is!) Fabrics like this draw the eye, and it comes in a number of colors, too, making it a powerful fabric tool. The skirt is decorated with a few buttons, top-stitching with orange thread, and the front is closed with a slot seam. This skirt design is incredibly simple, just a few pieces—4 in total—and I made them from easy shapes you can draw out with a yard stick and pencil. I’ve provided an image to help you visualize what they looked like (I apologize that the shapes aren’t drawn exactly to scale, but so long as you get the idea!):  
    Pattern Guide Pattern Guide
    Four pieces and a yard of fabric. Easy, right? Make sure to fit the pieces in the direction shown in the picture, and you need FOUR CUTS for PIECE 2, so turn the piece 180 degrees if you need to in order to fit it in. The skirt falls just below my waist and the measurements I provided are to fit my size (I’m a 30” waist), so adjust accordingly for your own fit! I’m not going to go into a super in-depth tutorial for this skirt, but I hope the design won’t be too hard to figure out!

    Material List

    -        About 1 YD Black UV Protective Stretch Ultra Suede (#311396) -        3 QTY Copper/Orange Rhinestoned Metal Shank Back Button (#14805) -        474 Curry 100M Gutermann Sew All Thread (#100301) -        10 Black 100M Guterman Sew All Thread (#100246) -        1 QTY 580 Black 9” Invisible Zipper (#INV9-850) -        Pins -        Hand-sewing Needle -        Sewing Machine -        Scissors -        Tailor’s Chalk (for marking where your buttons will go before sewing them down) -        Pencil (for Patter Drawing) -        Pattern Paper (for Patter Drawing) This is the list of materials that I used. I used about a full yard of the faux suede fabric that I picked, but you may need more or less depending on the size you’re fitting the garment to. Judge the amount you need based off how long your skirt panels need to be (remember that there are 36 inches in one yard of fabric). After you’ve drafted your paper pattern and have cut out your fabric pattern pieces, you should have PIECE 1 (x2), PIECE 2 (x4), PIECE 3 ,(x2) and PIECE 4 (x1). I installed my zipper on the right side at the top, so between one PIECE 2 panel and one PIECE 3 panel. Pin all of them together like this and start sewing them together! NOTE: The two panels of PIECES 1 are sewn together using a slot seam! If you're not sure how to install a slot seam, click here to see what it looks like!

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    For my skirt design, I decided to hide the second part of the slot seam on the UNDERSIDE, like in the photo below. This is purely a stylistic choice--you can top-stitch it if you'd like!

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    After sewing them all together, I top-stitched with the orange thread. Top-stitching is a great way to add a dash of color to a garment, and I love using it whenever I can. It looks great so long as you work carefully and remain patient. This is honestly the longest step in the process to make the skirt, but you should do it. It removes the need for a lining and helps to stabilize the seam allowances on the wrong side of the skirt.

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    After top-stitching, you need to do a single-fold hem along the top of the skirt. DO THIS BEFORE INSTALLING YOUR ZIPPER! You won’t want a raw edge to show at the top of your skirt, so we’re doing this to prepare to hide it! Like so:

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    After hemming the top, install your zipper. If you don’t know how to install a zipper, click here to read our tutorial on how! Remember to line the very top of the zipper—not the teeth, the extra flaps—up with the top of the skirt.

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    After installing your zipper, you can go ahead and close up the skirt, right sides together. Make sure to sew flat along the bottom of the zipper to lock it in. You can also go ahead and top-stitch down along the sides of the zipper and down the seam you just closed the skirt up with. If the top of your skirt is too wide for your waist, add a dart in the middle of the back panel.

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    After that, roll the top hem again and top stitch down. Do the same on the bottom of the skirt

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    The last step is to hand-sew the buttons onto the front. Make sure to line your buttons up nicely where you want them to lay and use a piece of tailor’s chalk to mark where you’d like them to go before you sew them down. This’ll help prevent off-center buttons!

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    And that’s about it! Easy!   Can you think of other garments or accessories you’d like in a suede fabric? Do you have a favorite piece in a suede? Tell us all about it!
  • Mood DIY: How to Sew an Easy Faux Fur Vest

    sewing faux fur vest

    I always like dressing comfortably. So when something on trend is also great to wear all day, I am in love. Cue fur vests!

    Vests and shawls are my go to garments for fall; layering is always a good idea when the weather is constantly changing. So when giant fur coats and sleeves and wraps began walking down the runway again, I knew I'd be making something -- with faux fur, of course!

    sewing faux fur vest pattern

    Fabrics used:

    This was my first time working with fur, and so I wanted to make my pattern with as few seams as possible. I began with a rectangle like you see above, and cut two semi-circles into the sides for arm holes. Next, I just needed to cut straight up the middle into the center of the fabric and cut out a circle for the neckline. I laid my pattern along the full with of my fabric - 59". Be sure to check which direction your fur goes in though. Luckily, I could brush mine whichever way I want, but other furs have a very obvious nap that could mess up your panel. Since I was doing such a basic pattern for this, I decided to go with a faux fur with a little more character - a shaggy shearling in a rich emerald green!

    sewing faux fur vest

    When cutting fur, be sure to cut it through the backing with a razor or straight-edge. Cutting it with scissors will cut through the fur fibers themselves, creating a ton of fuzz and uneven lines.

    sewing faux fur vest

    Cut your pattern out from both your faux fur and your lining. Sew each of them up their respective sides. When sewing with fur, be sure to use a lot of pins, and double check that no fur is stuck in your seam allowance. Above you can see a cleanly pinned seam with all the fur brush inward. Below, you'll notice that I haven't finished pinning - the fur falling out of the opening would get caught in the seam if it's left, creating uneven hems and making the fur appear matted. No matted fur allowed!

    sewing faux fur vest

    Lastly, the lining should be pinned to the fur. In the bottom hem, leave a 6" opening for you to turn your vest right-side-out - much like when you make a pillow. This will need to be slip-stitched closed, but first make sure you sew your armholes closed!

    sewing faux fur vest

    In just under an hour you should have a brand new faux fur vest, perfect for all your rock star needs! What fur will you be using for yours?

    sewing faux fur vest sewing faux fur vest

  • Faux Fur: Use and Care

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    Faux Fur: Use and Care

    Autumn is here, and with the scarves and long coats, the fashion world also brings faux fur! Faux fur is an excellent alternative to real fur products, and it’s an exciting and unique way to spruce up a garment. Plus, probably my favorite thing about it, is that it keeps you warm in chilly winds and temperatures. I’m sure you’ve heard, though, that faux fur is a bit of a hassle, huh? It’s true that damaging it is very easy to do, but it’s just as easy to take care of and avoid those damages! Faux fur needs a little more effort than other everyday fabrics and garments, but if you take care of it, it can last you a long time. Caring for your faux fur garments helps maintain the its intended look: the sheen, the fluffy quality, and the colors will all last a lot longer if you take certain measures when caring for your garment and avoid other measures. Improper care can lead to actual damage of the fur fibers and can ruin the intended look of the fur with things like mats and clumped piles of fur. You don’t want that! And so, we’ve compiled key tips and rules for faux fur maintenance and care for your convenience down below, from storage to cleaning to sewing!

    Rules for Faux Fur Storage

    First up is storing your faux fur. A few things to avoid when storing, whether it's attached to a garment or not: It’s very important to store your fur where it can stay dry and away from humidity. Faux fur CAN get wet since it’s not real and it’s typically made with synthetic fibers, but humidity can still make it frizz, which won’t look good! Packing faux fur garments in something like a garment bag or container is ideal. It will flatten if it is packed between other garments too tightly, and you want the fur to keep it’s fluffy volume and look! So even if you can’t get a container or garment bag for it, make sure the fur has room to breathe! And lastly, do NOT store your faux fur somewhere that has light or sunlight constantly. Over-exposure to sunlight can cause discoloration to any fabrics, and it can ruin the fabric fibers, too. So make sure your it is safely tucked away in the dark until you’re ready to wear it again!

    Faux Fur Maintenance and Cleaning

    We know we have a long list of important details for maintenance here, but they all are necessary! There are three sections for cleaning faux fur: weekly care, machine washing, and spot-washing. Weekly Care  When it comes to weekly care, there isn’t much more to do so long as you keep up on the storage rules, but there is the weekly brushing that you should keep up on, especially if you wear your garments often. Using a soft-bristled brush, brush the fur WITH the grain gently. Brushing your faux fur helps to remove surface-level dirt and debris build-up and remove and prevent matting of the fibers. This keeps it looking nicer for longer without having to wash it! You should also smooth your hand over the fur to make sure it lies naturally after you brush it. You can do this as necessary, or once a week is fine! Washing and Cleaning In contrast to real fur fabrics, it is possible to wash faux fur fabrics and garments, but you still shouldn’t do it more than necessary. With real fur, both water and heat will damage the product, but faux fur is made of synthetic fibers, so water doesn’t damage it, but heat still does. Avoid using heat on your furs (with one exception being steaming, but we’ll get to that in a bit). MACHINE WASHING It is safe to wash your faux furs in the washing machine. However, you need to change a couple of things before just tossing your garment in to the wash: Turn the garment inside-out! This helps reduce friction and agitation on your fur fabrics and it will help them last longer. Wash the garment in cool or cold water settings with a gentle detergent. Remember, we want to remove heat from the process as much as possible. This also helps to prevent the faux fur piles from frizzing. And using a gentle detergent will keep the fibers from matting. This also means no dryers! Period. Don’t even think about it. You’ll regret it if you dry your faux fur in a dryer, even on low heat. It doesn’t ever turn out well. Clumps and matts galore. And no amount of brushing will ever get them out. With that said, air-drying is a must! Hang your garment up somewhere dry and warm so it can dry out safely. So in a shorter summary, when washing faux fur/garments, turn garment inside out, machine wash with cold water and gentle detergent, then air dry. SPOT-CLEANING If you’re worried about the possibility of your machine ruining your faux fur or if your machine doesn’t have the above settings available, you can also use spot-cleaning to take care of stains on your garments! Spot-cleaning is great for exactly that—spots that need cleaning when the rest of the garment is fine otherwise, and it should be used as needed before going to machine washing. To spot-clean your faux fur garment, you’ll need a washcloth, warm water (note: NOT HOT!) to soak the washcloth in and clean with, and gentle detergent. This method is more for general use (i.e. don’t except pen to come out easily!) and should be used as soon as possible after the stain is made to improve chances of lifting the stain. Take your washcloth and soak it in the warm water and put a drop of the gentle detergent on a wet spot. Scrub the washcloth together first to agitate the soap—you don’t want to just drop detergent onto the garment. Use the soapy spot and, in small gentle circles, try to scrub out the stain. Only use more effort to scrub if there isn’t any improvement in lifting the stain. You want to avoid leaving any detergent residue if possible. Once you have lifted the stain, use a clean and still wet part of the wash cloth and wipe at the area to remove any lingering detergent. Let it air dry and you’re all done! Another spot-cleaning method is specifically for removing odors around the under-arm areas of faux fur garments (it applies to most fabrics in general, too!). Steaming this area of a garment helps remove bacteria which cause the odors, so keep this in mind if you’re ever trying to clean here! WEARING FAUX FUR Just a few things to keep in mind when wearing faux furs: unlike real furs, faux furs CAN get wet, but it doesn’t mean they should. It’s best to keep it dry whenever possible. Snow and rain won’t ruin it, but use an umbrella when possible to protect the furs. Same thing goes for humidity. Humid weather (y’know, those gross, cold, rainy days?) risks frizzing for faux furs, so make sure to let it dry out at home and brush it after to help it look like itself again!

    Sewing with Faux Fur

    And lastly, we wanted to go over a list of things to keep in mind when sewing with faux fur. It can be intimidating at first, but knowing the details listed below will help you feel more confident to tackle a project using furs. It’s not hard once you know the precautions you should take! Your tool belt for working with faux fur should include a soft-bristled brush, a pattern pen or marker, hand-sewing needles, thread, and a razor/box cutter/X-acto knife. Scissors are NOT on the list intentionally! They cut the fur piles and ruin the fur. CHOOSING YOUR FAUX FUR When choosing which faux fur to use, keep the nap, or the direction the fur goes, in mind when designing your project and pattern. You want all of your fur to lay the same way in the final product! You should also consider how thick of a  fabric you’d like to use. The thicker the fur piles, the harder it is to put it through the machine—it’ll be like sewing multiple layers instead of just two because of all the fur piles. If you’re working with fur for the first time, consider a lower pile to start with. CUTTING YOUR FAUX FUR When it comes to cutting your pattern out you must do these things: work with your fur flat and with the backing facing towards you. You want to be able to trace your pattern on the backing of your fabric—on the wrong side. Trace your pattern using a pattern pencil or marker, and give yourself a ½” seam allowance. Because of the bulky fur piles and thick layers, your seams might not come out as straight or clean as you’re used to (this is okay!) You also need to cut your faux fur fabrics without scissors and instead use a razor of some kind (listed above). When cutting faux fur correctly, you do not cut through the layer entirely—you only cut the backing fabric, like this: Cutting the fabric like this prevents the piles from being cut, and the fur is able to separate nicely and without being damaged. If you just bluntly cut through the faux fur, you'll get a piece looking like this: And that's not what you want! SEWING YOUR FAUX FUR Another very important, and possibly the most time-consuming, step in working with faux fur is hand-basting your seams to keep your edges lined up correctly. Remember that you’re working with big layers here, so basting with a hand-needle is crucial for preventing your pattern pieces and fabrics from sliding around. When you hand-baste, sew a running stitch and put the needle straight through the fabric layers—don’t do it at an angle. Keeping the straight stitches helps the fabric keep still better. Using longer stitches is best for working with faux fur. Somewhere between 2.5-3 for the stitch length is good. Remember to keep the ¼”- ½” seam allowance on all of your pieces, too. And if you’re sewing a lighter-weight fabric to your fur layer, keep the lighter-weight fabric on top when putting it through a machine. This prevents the lighter fabric from bunching up or getting caught in the machine like it would if you ran it through the machine underneath the fur. After each seam you sew, use a brush and free any fur piles that get caught in the seams (you can brush them out of the way before pinning them down and sewing them, too). You should also trim your seam allowances down to ¼” to reduce bulk from the faux fur layers.   And that’s it! There was a lot of information, but thinking about it as a whole, it’s just a bunch of little stuff that will come naturally to you after taking care of your faux fur and working with it a few times. Did you see any tips that you hadn’t known about before? What’s your favorite part about faux fur, or working with it? Let us know!
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