Tutorials

  • Mood DIY: Sewing Leggings without a Serger

    Leggings are quickly becoming a universal staple in everyone's wardrobe. You can wear them to the gym, to the couch, or pair them with a blouse and heels for a more fashion-forward look. Regardless of how you're styling them, sewing leggings can be a bit intimidating for newbies or those without a serger. Luckily, we have tips and tricks to make leggings easily with a regular sewing machine! Fabrics & materials used: There are several ways to get around using a serger, one of the easiest being zip-zag stitching. This can sometimes come with it's own set of problems, namely ugly seams that may bunch up or pucker when sewing something skin-tight like leggings. My favorite solution (as it is with most projects) is French seams. If you're not familiar with this type of seam, not to worry - they're incredibly simple! First, be sure that you have a walking foot for your sewing machine. These have wide plates and help to move your top and bottom fabrics at the same rate, causing less stretch and puckering while sewing knits. I recommend cutting out one size larger than you need, or adding an 1/8" to your seam allowance as it's pretty inevitable that sewing French seams with a zig-zag stitch will shrink your garment just slightly. Begin by sewing your pattern pieces WRONG sides together. Use your widest zig-zag setting to ensure the greatest stretch. Trim your seam allowance and fold your seam so the RIGHT sides are together. Zig-zag stitch again, encasing the raw edges within the seam, like you see below.This can be repeated for most seams for any project. One of the advantages to using them is that you can sew all WRONG sides together first and do a fitting before finishing your seams. Above, you can see all the finished seams from the right side of the garment. The image below shows what the inside looks like. Everything is neat and clean, not raw edges to scrunch up while you're working out! How do you sew knits without a serger? Do you have other tips to suggest? Comment below!
  • Mood DIY: Leather Tag

    Dale Carnegie said that, "there is no sweeter sound to any person's ear than the sound of their own name," and I couldn't agree more! That's why these leather tags are such a new favorite of mine. Whether you emblazon them with your own name, or label every container in the house....I don't think you can ever go wrong. What needs a leather hang tag in your life? SUPPLIES: Mallet, edge note, q-tip, leather, awl, straight edge, hole punch, rotary cutter, and a set of letters. HOW-TO: 1. Take your pattern (you can download the template here, and size it to your liking), trace it on to your leather with your awl, and then cut it out with your straightedge and rotary cutter. 2.Take a q-tip and slowly paint the perimeter of your tag. Let it dry. Then paint it once more for good measure. (Note: I also use an edge burnisher and a little targomcanth to make edges smooth before painting, but this isn't necessary). 3. Turn your tag vertical, and with your ruler measure out the center of your tag....then mark it with your awl. Next, use your hole to make a hole in your leather as pictured (Note: i had to go back and make mine larger because I used thicker leather. 4. Next, either use pre-made suede cord, or use your straight edge and rotary cutter to cut your own. Slip it through your hole. 5. Lastly, measure out where centered you want your letters to go. After that, wet the back of your tag a tiny bit...and then with your mallet, pound in your desired letters. Brandhyze Stanley is the chief leather goods designer and creator of Brandhyze + Co. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on Dr. Oz, The View, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for over a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze has provided DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and has been a contributor for the Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, Super Money, Good Housekeeping, and Newsday Westchester, to name a few. Brandhyze is a lover of leather and a mixer of textiles, follow her on Instagram @BrandhyzeandCo.
  • Mood DIY: Free Robe Sewing Pattern for Mother's Day

    Mother's Day is fast approaching and if you're like me, you left gift buying to the very last minute. For those who prefer a personal touch, this robe is a quick DIY that is sure to please. Give the gift of comfy style with this detailed Art Nouveau inspired silky cotton voile. The perfect way to say have a Happy (and comfy) Mother’s Day! Fabrics & materials used: I went with a light silk-cotton voile, perfect for spring, but robes can easily be made from a variety of fabrics. For a more cozy version, you could try a French terry or even a sweatshirt fleece.
    1. Stitch the front and back panels together at the shoulders. Since this is a lightweight robe that doesn't call for a lining, I strongly recommend some French seams.
    2. Next, lay your robe flat at the shoulders and attach the sleeve. Your sleeve panel should be roughly the shape of a trapezoid. The long side attaches to the main robe, like you see below. 3. Stitch along the sides of your robe, as well as the bottom of your sleeves, attaching the front and back of your robe. Hem your sleeves. 4. To form your hood, simply sew the CENTER HOOD strip in between each SIDE HOOD panel. Hem the outer edge. 5. Attach both ROBE LAPEL pieces at one of the short sides. Fold the entire piece lengthwise and sew it around the entirety of the ROBE FRONT/ROBE BACK neckline, attaching the hood in between both layers. 6. Top-stitch each pocket into place on the ROBE FRONT. 7. Hem the bottom of the robe, as well as the ROBE BELT. 8. Lastly, hem and stitch each BELT LOOP into place. In about an hour, you should have a brand new chic and comfy robe, the perfect gift idea! What kind of fabric are you going to make yours from?
  • Mood DIY: Cinco de Mayo Inspired Crop Top

    Cinco de Mayo is here! For a festive DIY, I wanted to create a blouse inspired by these gorgeous embroidered crop tops. I went with an ivory border eyelet, which had some great shapes to work with, a vibrant sateen lining, and one of Mood's lovely new jacquard ribbons. The result is just begging to be worn at a beach party this season. Bring on the waves! Fabrics & materials used: To get the shape for this shirt, all I needed to do was trace a loose-fitting t-shirt. (I say loose-fitting so there's room to gather in the back.) The back panel of this shirt is very simple - no extra pieces needed. Trace that first and set it aside. For the front, We really only need to trace the top portion of the shirt, like you see above. I chose to cut mine into three pieces and cover the seams with ribbon. If you choose to do this, be sure to include seam allowance. You could also still add the ribbon without including the seams. The bottom portion of the front is a 7" rectangle, measuring at 3/4 of my model's bust size. I added this strip to the bottom front of the shirt, adding a 1/2" pleat every inch and a half, like you see below. This seam is also covered with some jacquard ribbon. Next, I attached the front and back of the blouse, and a shirt began to take shape! To finish the armholes and neckline, I sewed more ribbon around each edge, right sides together. I then flipped the ribbon inward and hand-stitched it to the lining. The final step was the hem. I sewed a 3/4" hem, which gave me enough room to insert the elastic cording.
  • Mood Cosplay: Free GotG2 Star-Lord Jacket Pattern

    You can't defend the galaxy in just anything. To celebrate Superhero Day, as well as the upcoming release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2., I recreated Star-Lord's newest jacket. The best part? There's a free template, so you can make your own, look fabulous, and start kicking some alien butt!

    DOWNLOAD FREE TEMPLATE HERE

    (The template is roughly a men's large, with a 40" chest.)

    Fabrics & materials used:  

    1. Paint Mixing

    Once all of the pattern pieces are cut out, you can start painting. Be sure to have everything in one place, sorted for light red and dark red. Also, don't be stingy with your paint mixing. You don't want to run out and risk making a slightly different shade with your next batch.   Light Red
    • 1 - Sleeve Top
    • 3 - Sleeve Bottom
    • 4 - Back Yoke
    • 5 - Center Back
    • 7 - Center Front Top
    • 8 - Center Front Bottom
    • 10 - Front Yoke
    • 11 - Front Zipper Flap (1)
    • 13 - Jacket Waistband
    • All belts
    Dark Red
    • 2 - Elbow Band
    • 6 - Side Back
    • 9 - Side Front
    • 11 - Front Zipper Flap (1)
    • 12 - Shoulder Armor
    • 14 - Jacket Collar
    • 15 - Forearm Armor
    I did a lot of mix testing and found that a good ratio for the light red was one entire bottle of Fire Red, mixed with about 2 teaspoons of Black. The paint will look a lot brighter and more saturated while it's still wet. It will also show a lot of brush strokes, but after only two coats, I couldn't even tell the faux leather had been painted. The color was smooth and even.  

    2. Sleeve Ribbing

    Before painting the elbow bands, I tried to decide how I wanted to imitate the ribbing on Star-Lord's jacket. My first test was encasing some cording withing the faux leather using an invisible zipper foot. The results ended up being fairly similar to simple pintucks, so I decided to go the pintuck route and skip the extra steps. To make your own pintucks without a special sewing machine foot, simply fold over your faux leather 1/4", keep the left side of your foot aligned with the last tuck and the right side aligned with the edge of your fabric. I put 18" pintucks on either of my panels, and then gave it a coat of paint.  

    3. Decorative Stitching

    Star-Lord's jacket has decorate stitching in a few areas, namely pattern pieces 5, 7, and 10, as well as the upper and lower shoulder armor. Before beginning to construct your jacket, follow the stitching lines on each of these pattern pieces.  

    4. Inserting Snaps

    Before getting into the construction details, I wanted to take a minute to discuss adding snaps. The plier kit from Dritz makes it super easy. The black rubber side has a sharp extender that can puncture your fabric for you. For some of the thicker layers, you can also use an awl or a seam ripper to make the puncture a little larger if need be. The flat side of the snap gets inserted through the puncture in your fabric and the other side is inserted into the rubber part of the pliers. Once the pliers are shut, the extender bends the metal of the snap to secure both pieces into place. Super quick, and incredibly easy!  

    6. Jacket Construction

    A. The Torso

    I added an extra 1/8" of seam allowance in order to sew French seams when I cut out my pattern pieces. If you're not familiar with how to do them, sew your pieces wrong sides together and trim your seam allowances, like you see above, and then sew the same pieces with the right sides together as you normally would. This encases any raw edges within the seam and sometimes eliminates the need for a lining. To start constructing your jacket, sew the CENTER FRONT TOP (7) to the FRONT YOKE (10). After completing a French seam, I chose to top-stitch them down, like you see in the photo above. Repeat with your CENTER FRONT TOP (7) and CENTER FRONT BOTTOM (8). The next step is a little tricky, since you'll need to do a few things at once. Ultimately, you'll want to sew the SIDE FRONT (9) to the CENTER FRONT TOP and BOTTOM (7 & 8). I recommend clipping the corner of (7), like you see above, and folding the fabric under. Temporarily secure it with wonder clips. The reason you don't want to attach it to your SIDE FRONT (9) yet, is that you'll need to add two snaps and side belts to the CENTER FRONT BOTTOM (8). Sew the belts into place first, keeping the fabric folded over. Add in your snaps, and then you can attach everything to your SIDE FRONT (9) using a tucked seam. The backside of the jacket is much easier to assemble. Sew your two CENTER BACK (5) pieces together before attaching them to the BACK YOKE (4). The SIDE BACK (6) panels go on much easier than their counterparts in the front, since there are no more belts in the back. Sew the back of your jacket to front at either shoulder, and at each of the side seams. Be sure to sew the front side belts securely into the side seams, like above.  

    B. The Sleeves

    The sleeves have a whole lot of detail - armor at the shoulders, quilted armor on the forearm, and of course the ribbing at the elbows. Before putting everything together, make sure these individual pieces have all of their stitching complete. For the forearm patch, I spaced my stitches 3/4" apart. Once the stitching is complete, insert the it onto the SLEEVE BOTTOM (3). Sew two SHOULDER ARMOR (12) pieces, right sides together, leaving the top open to turn right-side out. Top-stitch around the perimeter and stay-stitch it into place on the SLEEVE TOP (1). Sew your SLEEVE TOP (1), ELBOW BAND (2), and SLEEVE BOTTOM (3) together respectively. Once all the details are done, the sleeves can be attached to the torso. Be sure to clip your seam allowances before completing your seams.  

    C. Collar & Waistband

    Insert one of your waistband pieces to the bottom of your jacket and one of your collar pieces along the neckline. Clip both seam allowances. Sew the second collar piece to the first, only along the top seam. Do the same with the second waistband piece, but along the very bottom seam. Pin your zipper along the center front seam, aligning it with the bottom of the waistband first. It should just reach the bottom of your collar, but if it's a little too long be sure to shorten it from the top. Sew your zipper into place, flip it inward along the waistband and collar linings, and top-stitch. I personally stay-stitched the rest of the waistband and collar linings before top-stitching, but the could also be just be pinned.  

    D. The Details

    At this point you should have your jacket almost completely constructed. Add your two arm belts to the bottom of the shoulder armor. Here is where you can also attach the second should armor pieces. I personally chose to leave mine off so the jacket can be (a little) more suitable for everyday wear, but I did include the pieces in the template! Last, you'll need to add the FRONT ZIPPER FLAP (11). The darker red should go on the inside so it's seen when it's flipped open. This is also the side where the flat part of the snaps should go. You can see in the image below that I accidentally placed them facing the opposite way (oops!). Stay-stitch the flap in place, flip it over the zipper, and top-stitch. Your jacket should now be complete to protect you as you guard our galaxy! There are a couple details that could be added to make it a little more screen accurate. For example, I know there are sleeve belts along the wrists, as well as a zipper under the arm. I'm sure I'll notice more things to add when I see the movie, but for that we'll need to wait until next week!
  • Mood DIY: How to Sew a Puppy Raincoat

    The rain can be rough on all of us, including our little puppy companions. Why not make it easier on them? This super easy DIY puppy poncho can be sewn together in about an hour, and it'll make those dreaded rainy day walks a little easier on everyone. Fabrics & materials used: All you need for this project are two large ovals (the length of your pet + the length of their chest, with a hole cut 1/3 of the way in to fit their head), two 4" strips (the length of their waist + 2"), four side hood panels (the curve should measure from the base of the neck to about 2"-3" past the ears), and two 2" center hood strips (the same length of the curve on your hood panels). Begin by sewing two of your side hood panels to either side of a center hood panel. I tapered mine slightly so it would be smaller at the neck, but this is optional. Be sure to clip your seam allowances, especially along any curves. This ensures that your seams will lay flat, without any unwanted pulling or ruching. Repeat for the lining, and then attach your lining and outer layer along the front of the hood, right sides together. Turn right-side out, iron, and top-stitch, like below. Pin and stay-stitch the hood along the neckline of the right side of your outer later. Be sure to put it toward the back side, which will be the longer end of the oval, facing forward. Your lining and outer layer can then be pinned with right sides together, like you see above. Leave about 4" open on either side; this is how you'll close the neckline. Turn the jacket right-side out, and pull the neckline through the 4" opening you left. You should be able to place the right sides of the neckline together and sew about halfway around the circle. Repeat through the opposite 4" opening to complete the neckline. Once you've fully sewn around the circle, clip your seams again, press, and top-stitch. Lastly, pin along the openings left in the sides of your pet's poncho, and top-stitch along the jacket's entire circumference. As an optional addition for those especially windy days, I also created a little belt. To make your own, sew two strips together, leaving a small opening at one of the short ends. Turn it right-side out, top-stitch, and add a couple strips of Velcro! Warning: rain may cause sleepiness.
  • Mood DIY: Free One-Piece Swimsuit Sewing Template

    With March finally behind us, I am officially thinking about nothing but the beach. I've always been a bit terrified to try my hand at swimwear, but I knew I'd have to make something with this amazing zebra tricot. A surprisingly easy-to-make body suit ensued!
    Fabrics & materials used:
    I began by draping the fabric right on the dress form. I love the more retro shape to the bottom and the deep V neckline. Two thick pleats at the shoulders also gave the suit faux lapels in lieu of bust darts. Since I don't typically work with swimwear, I can only include a template of the pattern I created. My model has a 28" waist, so it's roughly a US size 10. You can download a PDF below!

    DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE HERE

      I began by sewing the two front panels together, starting at the bottom and ending about halfway toward the top. Each shoulder was pleated before being attached to the back of the swimsuit. Once it was attached at the bottom as well, I had the outside of the suit mostly constructed, with the exception of the sides. Before closing the sides up, I needed to attach the lining. I began by sewing it to the arm and leg holes, like you can see below. Leaving the neckline still open, I sewed the lining into the sides of the suit by closing each side with French seams. Lastly, I slip-stitched around the entire neckline by hand to be sure the lining fit inside the zebra tricot perfectly. I love that bodysuits are so on trend right now. This can be worn at the beach or to a casual night out with some tights and denim shorts. It's giving off some serious 80's summer vibes!
  • Mood Style: African Print Detachable Skirt

    African prints have been taking the fashion world by storm the last couple of years and once you lay eyes on their beautiful shapes, vibrant colors, and gorgeously bold patterns, it's not difficult to see why. For today's DIY I decided to hop on this trend with a skirt that can easily transition from every wear to a glamorous, couture look.
    Fabrics & materials used:
    First I wanted to make a simple, chic pencil skirt. They're so versatile and can be worn anywhere - out to dinner or simply out shopping, depending on how it's styled. I followed view C of McCall's pattern 3830. Pockets were a necessary alteration. How can you have a skirt with no pockets? Below is a template of the shape I used. I placed the diagonal line of the pocket's opening along one of the diagonals of the skirt 's print in order to make the pockets fairly unnoticeable. The fun part of this project was a detachable skirt! A pencil skirt can be worn everywhere, but this part of the ensemble can be worn a million different ways. Throw it over your bathing suit for an adorable cover up, pair it with some denim shorts for a casual summer look, or keep it with the matching pencil skirt to take it from cute to couture. To create the shape of the skirt, I began much like I would be making a basic circle skirt. However, I added 5" to my waist measurements to account for the two pleats I knew I'd be placing toward the front of the skirt. Instead of making an even circle all the way around, I created more of an oval shape to create the hi-low silhouette. The back of my skirt is about 45", while the sides are 22". I connected the points with a freehand curve, like you see in the above diagram. The fabric was just a few inches too short along the width to make the skirt all one piece, so I cut two sides and gave the skirt a seam down the back. The skirt was lined with a simple poly lining, and the waistband was a 3" wide rectangle of the same fabric. A couple of sew-on snaps completed the garment and it was ready to wear! Are you going to be trying this project on your own? Which print will you be using?
  • Mood DIY: Eye Button Shirt Embellishment

    Need a new idea to make that button-up shirt you're working on just a little more eye-catching? This DIY can by sewists and crafters alike! Sewing up your own shirt is an added plus so you can size the placket a little wider than usual. However, if garment creation isn't your usual forte, you can get the same look with an old blouse, some new buttons, and a jar of fabric paint! Fabrics & materials used: If you're simply altering a shirt you already own, be sure to choose buttons to match the buttonholes that already exist. If you're making your shirt yourself, sew your buttonholes and attach your buttons before you start on the eyes. Once those are in place, button your shirt up. Using your temporary marking tool, sketch an almond shape so that it fits around the top and bottom of the button. Repeat for each button. I used the skinniest brush in the pack, with a small dot of paint to trace over the eyes with Jacquard Textile paint. If you've never used it before, it works absolute wonders. It moves with your fabric without stiffening it too much, goes on evenly, and is machine washable. I let my shirt dry for about 20 minutes and then it was all set to wear! Before this project, I had never thought about embellishing a shirt placket, but now I want to do it to everything! What other button embellishment ideas can you come up with?
  • Mood DIY: Free Flared Button Up Shirt Pattern

    Even if there's 2 feet of snow outside, I have my sights set on spring. I'm ready for floral prints and lighter fabrics, so today I got a jump start on a wardrobe for the new season. Mood's new silk charmeuses were perfect for this longline, flared button-up! The large-scale print suits the length of the blouse and the weight lends itself to a gorgeous drape. Fabrics & materials used: To keep the shirt light and draped, I opted against a lining. Because of this, French seams were a must in order to keep the silk from fraying. I began the shirt construction by attaching the front and back panels of the shirt at the sides and shoulders. Next, both front panels needed plackets for the buttons. Each one was interfaced and stitched onto the wrong side of the shirt itself, like you can see above. To avoid visible stitches on the front of the placket, I folded mine over and slip-stitched it into place. I added a single box pleat at the center back before attaching the collar the same way I attached the plackets.In this case, the collar was sewn to the right side of the shirt and slip-stitched on the wrong side. Since the shirt remained unlined, I finished the armholes with 1/4" binding that I made from the same silk as the rest of the blouse. I didn't want any buttons to be visible, so I hand sewed 8 snaps along the inside of the placket. This also omitted the need for buttonholes, which was an added bonus! This pattern is one of my favorites, since it can be altered so many ways - shortened, lengthened, made with a different fabric type entire, sleeves could be easily added. It's versatility is terrific. Are you going to be making any changes when you try it out?
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