DIY Tutorials

learn to create new and up cycled garments without a commercial pattern….yep freehand everything

Hi-low Top Tutorial – The “hide it all but still chic” Top

Hi guys!!!

Its been a long time since I posted a tutorial, but it has all been for very good reasons, aside from expanding my waistline with one to many treats (as you do), I have had a lot on and promise to spill the beans all in good time. Talking about expanded waistlines, dont you just hate it when we get those sudden bursts of sunny days that you haven’t conditioned your body for? you know, that “OMG summer is here and I still haven’t kicked these kgs” moment. Well, worry not!! I have taken it upon myself to provide you with this tutorial for an uber cute top that will hide all your wintry sins; yes I am that considerate (and I have an occasion to attend tomorrow, the sun is shining and quite frankly my summer body isnt ready, but I still gotta look cute, O the dilemmas of a Lady!!!) .

Ok, so here’s what we are making:

image (6)

You will need;

DSC_1016

 

Fabric

Fusible interfacing

scissors

Pinking sheers

Measuring tape

Ruler

large piece of paper (I have brown paper roll but even newspaper will do)

Chalk and a pencil (with a rubber at the end)

Steam iron.

Measurements needed

Back

Bust

shoulder to bust

shoulder to waist

shoulder to hips

Round sleeve, Round Elbow

Sleeve length, Elbow length

Method

Essentially your piece of paper is going to be used to make a template that will be laid on the bias folded fabric; this is what gives you the voluptuous fall in the back of the top; however, since I always cut the front and back of a bodice together, we will make a template for the front and back in the same manner. I would normally do all what I’m about to show you directly onto the fabric but I have chosen to do a template because of how we will angle it on the folded fabric.

The piece of paper you are using needs to be shoulder to hip measurement long and half the bust measurement +6″ wide. Once you have cut this out, fold it in half and you are ready to start. Note: remember you always work from the centre out, unless otherwise stated.

Step 1

From the top corner, measure 3.5″ along the top edge, then along the folded edge measure down 5.5″ and join these two marks with a rounded semi “v”; this is your front neck hole. Working again at the top edge mark half your back measurement+ 3/8″

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Step 2; place the top of your tape on the top edge of the paper measure down 7″ and mark. then mark your vertical measurements+0.5″ (shoulder to waist and shoulder to hips)

DSC_1020 DSC_1021

These marks will now serve as reference points, along which you will place your horizontal measurements.

Step 3; along the line of your first reference point (the 7″ down mark) mark a quarter of your bust measurement+2″. Along the last reference point (shoulder to hips, this should actually be the bottom edge of the paper), mark a quarter of your bust measurement+3.5″.

DSC_1025DSC_1026

 

Step 4; From the bottom centre corner, measure up 2.5″ , from here curve a line down that meets with the mark along the bottom edge. Now join the horizontal measurement marks with a straight line; it should look like this.

DSC_1028 DSC_1029

Step 5; At the top of the straight line draw a straight line 2″ in towards the centre, then from the furthest marking from the centre, along the top edge, draw a deep curve the joins the 2″ line you just made. It should now resemble the second picture.

DSC_1030 DSC_1031

 

mark 0.5″ along the top of the curve and slant a straight line that meets the corner of the neck hole; this will form your shoulder slope, like so

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Step 6; return to the 2″ line you drew and repeat the same, exactly 2″ below it

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Step 7; back at the shoulder slope (outer edge) draw a shallower curve that meets the second 2″ line.  Inside the neck hole, draw a shallower curve that will form the back neck hole, this really shouldn’t be more than 2″ deep. return to the

DSC_1038DSC_1037

 

Step 8; You are now ready to cut! please pay close attention to this statement; only cut around all outer lines. This is because you are cutting front and back pieces together and not all lines are the same, as you can see.

when you have cut out your pieces it should look like this;

DSC_1040

 

cut along the fold, and separate the pieces. Transfer the armhole markings unto the back piece, from the front piece, cut this out, then cut the front neck hole, erase the bottom half of the back armhole curve and cut the deeper front armhole curve.

DSC_1042 DSC_1043 DSC_1044

Templates done and ready to be used. The back piece has the higher neck line and lower armhole, mark them accordingly so you don’t get confused. Believe me, this is a very easy and annoying mistake to make.

Step 9; for the back piece, fold the fabric at a 45 degree angle (raw edge folder over to line up with selvage edge)

DSC_1046

 

Lay your back template piece on the fabric as shown in the picture (note; the centre of the template is facing the folded edge),

DSC_1047

along the bottom draw a curve that is lower at the folded edge, and slopes upwards to meet the bottom outer edge of the template. It should resemble this:

DSC_0001

cut this out and set aside.

Step 10; Fold another piece of fabric as you normally would if you were cutting out a pattern piece, line the centre of  your front template with the fold and cut out.

DSC_0008

This top will need some side bust darts, although the top is not fitted, darts will help it hang better on the body. To create the darts, place the top of your tape measure at the highest point of your shoulder seam, measure down your shoulder to bust measurement and mark. along the side seam place a mark about 1″ lower than the mark you just made;

DSC_0009 DSC_0010

draw a straight line that connects these two marks, then press along this line:

DSC_0011 DSC_0013

 

Unfold the piece and use your iron to invert the right side facing crease. these are your dart lines (the centre of your darts), use your tape to measure a dart that is 1″ deep and 5.5″ long, draw this with chalk:

DSC_0016DSC_0017

set this aside.

Step 11: To make the facing for the front and back pieces, lay the template pieces on the fold of fabric cut right around the neck, shoulder and armhole, stopping 1.5″ beyond the armhole, along the side seam. lift the template up and draw an arch that curves towards the neckline.

DSC_0003 DSC_0004

 

Cut this out and use the pieces as templates for cutting the matching fusible interfacing.  Fuse the interfacing to the facing, snip along the bottom edge with pinging sheers, turn up a single 3/8″ hem and sew.

DSC_0005 DSC_0007

 

Construction

Step 12; sew your darts

Step 13. Lay the facing over the relevant piece, right sided facing each other, pin (if you must) and sew with a 3/8 seam allowance. Press the seam allowance towards the facing and top stitch on the right side of the facing (this is done right at the edge of  the seam). press

step 14. You will now treat the facing and the top pieces as one. Lay the front piece on top of the back piece, right sides facing inwards, pin the side seams

DSC_0026

 

sew with a 0.5″ seam allowance.

step 15; open the shoulder seams so that the right side of the facings are facing each other and the right sides of the front and back piece are facing each other, sew it like this:

DSC_0027

 

your top will now look like this inside out:

DSC_0028

Finish the hem by doing a double turned hem, I thing this is the best way for this top.

for sleeves follow my tutorial on sleeves, the link is: http://chinelobally.com/2014/02/04/busy-bee-how-to-cut-a-sleeve-without-a-pattern/

sew in your sleeves and there you have it, the most forgiving top ever.

I have added a leather appliqué to the neckline of mine and also added shoulder pads for extra sharpness. I’m thinking, black skinny jeans and heels?.

I really hope give it a go, and please send me pictures of your completed garments, I get sew excited (sorry, I couldn’t help that) when I see what other people have done. As ever if you have any questions just send them over and I will try my best to answer.

Have a blissful week

xxx

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Thank you all xxx!!!

Hi Stitch-hearts (lamest pun ever but I like it)

Its been a while since I posted on my blog but I’m sure everyone can appreciate how hectic it has all been, but I am giving my scouts honours word that I will be posting a new tutorial more regularly.

Firstly, and most importantly, I will like to say a huge thank you to all of you who have supported my sewing bee journey, I am so grateful for all the kind messages that have kept me very busy responding. to all the new followers, welcome to my blog and I hope it will be a useful resource for you.

I really felt the support of the British public and  am so pleased with how my approach to sewing has been received. Doing sewing bee is an experience I will never forget and I am so thankful to have been short-listed for the programme. I know the application for next years series has closed but I will strongly recommend anyone considering taking part in the one after to go for it.

Being in a room full of people who shared my passion for sewing was amazing and something I had never experienced before. All the contestants were fantastic; a really good bunch and I loved every minute of it.

When it came down to the final and it was just Heather, Tamara and myself, I must admit that it induced some bitter-sweet feelings; I was proud to be competing with such experienced sewists in the finals but was also afraid of that same fact. I have to say that losing the crown to Heather, was not a loss at all, technically, Heather is a fantastic sewist and she is highly skilled, she deserved her win!

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I’m sure everyone remembers my tie melt down. Gosh that was a very wordy pattern and not being a pattern girl it completely threw me. Prior to the sewing bee I had never used a pattern, but when I was confronted with my first pattern for the show, I relied heavily on the pictures for direction. So sorry to all those who were disappointed with the melt down, but hey, I never have to make a tie EVER again (I say that now but something inside me tells me I will soon post up a tutorial on making a tie freehand).

I love making glamorous gowns so designing my finale dress was O so joyous to say the least. I have to say a massive thank you to my bestie Rose for being my model, I still cant believe it, she doesn’t even do phone cameras so imagine my utter shock when she walked in to a room full of broadcasting cameras for a BBC programme, talk about conquering your fears!! Extreme! The dress looked amazing on Rose and I was very happy with it.

image (4) image (5)

Wish I had some more time to press out all those creases though.

After the show aired on Tuesday I have had hundreds of emails about workshops so I have added a couple more dates for London!!! the link for these is below but they are filling up fast so if you are interested get in there as soon as possible

https://www.kazoova.com/activity/407/

I have also had loads of interest from readers and viewers outside the UK and I am working on ways to get you free-handing so once things have been confirmed I will  put up a post to update everyone, but there are loads of exciting things happening so expect some good stuff  😉

Have a wonderful day

With Love

Chinelo

xxx

Mock Wrap Skirt

Hi there Stitchers,

GARMENT OF THE WEEK!!!!!!!!!! so so so excited and I absolutely loved making that dress. Velvet is high up there in my list of fabrics I love and I absolutely adore gem tones hence that rich purple and emerald green.

This week on the sewing be we tackled stretch fabric and although a lot of people don’t like working with stretchy fabric, in it’s defence, it does produce some beautiful garments. I love the way it sculpts itself around the body, its just totally delicious.

Inspired by my Mock wrap dress on Sewing Bee, I have decided to do a tutorial based on the skirt of the dress. Here goes!!

IMG_2260

 

You will need:

Fabric (width: your waist+14″ Height: the length you wish your skirt to be)

Tape

Scissors

Something to mark your fabric

Iron

Contrasting thread and needle.

Method:

Take the fabric and fold it in half width-wise, and fold in one inch on the selvedge edge (this is your zip allowance);

IMG_2192

*Note (if you are using a 2 way stretch fabric, then make sure the stretch is going across your body, so test which way the fabric stretches before cutting it

along the top mark half of your waist measurement, then mark 5″ in towards the zip allowance

IMG_2195 IMG_2197

 

On the folded edge, measure down 7″ from the top corner and mark

IMG_2199

 

At the bottom corner of the zip allowance edge, measure 4″ towards the fold:

IMG_2201

 

Working from the top edge again, freehand a curve that joins the first mark with the mark you make 7″ down from the top corner.

IMG_2202

 

now draw a curve from the 7″ point to the 4″ point along the bottom edge that looks like this: and cut it out.

IMG_2213 IMG_2216

 

from the top of the zip allowance edge measure and mark the length of you zip. From that mark sew down the remaining of the zip allowance so you only have a short opening at the top to fit your zip into.

unfold the skirt and hem right around the edge (you can hem it or use bias binding, I have used bias binding).

Do a gathering stitch from the second notch at the top to the end :

IMG_2238

 

gather up the gathering stitch so that the gathered edge is the same distance as the distance between the 2 top notches.:

IMG_2240

 

fold the gathered edged in so that the inner start of the gathering meets in the middle (this is now the centre front of the skirt), pin in place. it will look like this:

IMG_2245 IMG_2246

 

Sew from gathered edge to gathered edge, to secure on place. now you are ready to do the waist band

Cut out a strip of fabric 4″ length way, and you waist measurement + 2″ width way. cut out an identical strip of fusible interfacing and fuse to the strip

Fold the strip in half length way and press. Then turn in 3/8″ along the width and press:

IMG_2247

 

*notice I have pen marked the centre of the waist band, this will be batched with the centre front of the skirt

 

At both ends of the waist band fold in 1″ and press like so:

IMG_2250

 

This 1″ will not start folded this is just to create a crease for matching up with the zip allowance fold on the skirt.

 

With the skirt inside out still, lay the waist band on the skirt with the centre points matched up.

IMG_2251

 

 

secure with pins matching the seams together at the zip allowance fold and sew right along the entire edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance:

IMG_2252

 

Turn the skirt right side out and bring the folded edge over and in in place like this:

IMG_2253

 

do a hand sewn basting stitch all the way around the waistband then take the pins out

IMG_2255

 

Now top stitch right on the inner edge if the waist band, insert you choice of zip at the back and hey presto.

This skirt will only work in a fabric with a good amount of stretch.

If you don’t want a skirt why not use a pattern you like for the bodice (or stay tuned to learn how to cut a bodice freehand soon) and attach the skirt to it, omitting the waistband.

As usual I would loooove to see your attempt please post them up so I can have a look. Feel free to leave a comment below and ask me questions about anything you don’t understand. Apologies for the picture quality, I’m working on getting a new camera.

Till next week, have fun sewing

xxx

 

The Shirt Challenge: My Giant Bow Boob-Tube Tutorial

Hey everyone.

Hope your all as excited about the sewing bee as I am. A massive thank you to you all for the kind words and support, it has been great encouragement for me and I just wanna give you all massive hugs. On a downer, it was sad to see simon go this week, he was such a great character and its really encouraging to see a young man  interested in sewing; I say that like I’m miles older than him when I’m only a year older, but you know what I mean.

This week my favourite challenge was the 2 shirt challenge, and I am going to show you how to make the top I made with the big draping bow shoulder detail. This one:

IMG_2122

I have been eyeing one of my husband’s old(ish) shirts for a while now so as he isn’t around this has presented me with the perfect opportunity to pinch it, so I have done just that, and check this, it has a stripy pattern (O the joys of re-living sewing bee days).

You will need:IMG_2036

A large men’s shirt (preferably stolen from your spouse or partner, dads and brothers also count)

Fuse-able interfacing

Bias binding

Ribbon

Ruler

Pen/chalk/something to mark your fabric with

Scissors

Steam Iron

Sewing machine

Needle and tread.

Your measurements ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkywf2kGthg&feature=youtu.be )

The very first thing to do is iron the shirt so that it is easy to work with. Fold the back and front of the shirt in half so that the side seams meet in the middle and press. like this,

IMG_2039

 

bring the centre front fold (where the buttons are) over so that it meets with the centre back fold

IMG_2040

 

Place the 25″ mark on your tape at the bottom centre edge of the shirt, and mark the shirt a quarter of an inch above your “shoulder to upper bust” measurement. Mine “shoulder to upperbust measurement is 6.75″ so I have marked my shirt at 6.5”.  Then put a mark 1″ below that mark (so for mine the is a mark at 6.5″ and 7.5″; this mark is where the top will dip at the chest so you can make yours as low as you want but bear in mind that you want a button right at the top of the centre front or else it just won’t work)

IMG_2043

 

from the mark you just made for your “shoulder to upperbust” measure 4.5″ inwards and mark; as belowIMG_2047

 

Now place the 25″ mark on your tape at the bottom of the centre again and mark your “shoulder to waist ” measurement (mine is 16.5″),  and at 9″ mark on your shirt. These marks are your waist line and your bust line

IMG_2049 IMG_2048

 

 

Divide your waist and bust measurements into 4 and mark them along the waist and bust line accordingly, (add 3″ to the divided waist measurement and 2″ to the divided bust measurement before marking; so it will be “bust/4+2” and “waist/4+3”) This is sewing so at some point you will need to do some maths 😦 sorry guys)

IMG_2051 IMG_2053

 

 

Divide your hip measurement by 4 + 2″ and mark along the bottom of the shirt.

IMG_2054

 

Now use a ruler to join the tree marks you just made

IMG_2055

 

From the bustline mark, measure 2″ in towards the centre and mark

IMG_2057

 

Using a ruler or freehand if you like, draw lines that join all the marks along the top. It should look like this: Note the button right at the top.

IMG_2058 IMG_2060

 

Cut this out and separate the front and back of the top.

IMG_2061 IMG_2062

 

Take the back piece and fold down the top of it to create a straight edge, press and cut along the crease line, like this:

IMG_2063 IMG_2064

 

Now measure 4.5″ from the centre back in towards the side seams, mark and fold the top length ways on this mark as pictured below: press to create definite crease lines

IMG_2065 IMG_2066

Do he same with the front piece. These creases you just ironed in will create your dart lines.

Unfold the front and back pieces and invert the crease lines that are facing outwards, you do this because you will be drawing in your darts on the inside of the top.

Take your back piece, working on the dart lines, mark 1″ inwards along the waist line. from that mark measure 6″ up and down, slanting towards the fold. Use a ruler to join these marks. like this:

IMG_2078 IMG_2079 IMG_2080IMG_2081

 

Now take your front pieces and do the same, but on the top corners of the dart lines measure 1″ in from the fold and slant a line 3.5″ long down towards the fold:

IMG_2069 IMG_2070

 

Again use a ruler and join the marks so that it looks like this:

IMG_2082

 

now sew along the darts you have drawn for the front and back pieces, you will find that the front piece needs rounding off at the top of the dart, simply fold the front piece in half, take your scissors and round off the top like this:

IMG_2084 IMG_2085

Give the front and back darts a good press. Use some bias binding of your choice to finish off the top edges, lay the back and front pieces on top of each other, right sides facing, line up the side seams and pin to secure together.

Working from the centre, mark a quarter of your bust measurement along the bust line, do the same for the waist and hips:

IMG_2090 IMG_2091

 

Using a ruler Join these marks. It should look like this:

IMG_2093

 

Flip the shirt round and repeat. Sew along the lines you created in both side seams. Test your top for fit and make any necessary adjustments by letting out or taking in the side seams (always equal amounts on both sides).

Once you are happy with the fit attach a ribbon over one shoulder from the highest point of the front to the back (do this whilst wearing the top so that it fits over your shoulder perfectly

IMG_2119 IMG_2120

 

 

For the bow I decided to use another fabric because my husband would notice if 2 of his shirts went missing.

The size of the bow is completely up to you. It is made using 4 identical strips of fabric and 2 strips of fuseable interfacing.

fuse the interfacing to the fabric’s wrong side  for 2 of the pieces. Lay these pieces over the other 2 strips of fabric right sides facing. like this:

IMG_2110 then sew sown the longer side seams:IMG_2111

Turn the strips out and press, then finish off the top and bottom edge with some bias binding or by folding in 0.5″ and top stitching along the edge:

IMG_2112        IMG_2113

 

lay the strips of side by side, off centre. Pinch the middle of the strips to create the bow. You can either use a sewing machine to secure this or hand stitch:

IMG_2114 IMG_2115

 

Wrap a bit of the ribbon around the centre of the bow and secure with a couple of hand stitches

IMG_2117

 

Drape the bow on the ribbon over the shoulder and secure with a few discrete hand stitches, so that it holds the shape you want it to.

Have fun creating your own, oooh and try some contrasting fabrics and trimmings (for the Tamaras out there).

Please send me pictures of your own project and place your comments in the form below.

Have a lovely day and God bless xxxx

 

The six piece top

Hiya Stichers

I have some FANTASTIC news, I am gonna be on the Great British Sewing Bee (Series 2) !!!!!!! so please make sure you tune in to watch me in action on the 18th at 8pm on BBC2 yipppie #teamchinelo . I’m sure you can tell how excited I am…

here is a link for the trailer and a link to see all the contestants

http://tellychat.co.uk/the-great-british-sewing-bee-2014-series-2-contestants-lineup-judges-0311/

OK!!!! Back to class

What comes to your mind when you hear “stretchy fabric”? I have recently found out that loads of people are quite afraid of it, however you really need not be. Whenever I teach people to sew using the freehand cutting method, I find that using stretchy fabrics like a double jersey, helps them get the concept of the cutting quicker, than using lets say a cotton fabric which requires darting and becomes somewhat more complicated.  Once you understand the basics involved in the craft of freehanding (to coin an awkward term), introducing darts becomes far less complicated, if you’re a complete novice, and will make soooo much more sense to you if you already sew.

The top I am showing you how to make today is quite easy and super cute, it will flare at the waist creating a peplum without you having to join at the waist (Its worth me mentioning, I love a peplum, it helps create an hour glass shape and hides a multitude of sins). I have uploaded loads of pictures to help you along the way, here is a pic of the finished top to encourage youtop finished , happy sewing!!!!!!

You will need

  • Fabric 60 inches wide and 26 inches long (make the length longer if you want more of a tunic)
  • Measuring tape
  • Your measurements written down ( http://chinelobally.com/2014/01/16/sew-essential-how-to-measure-yourself  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkywf2kGthg&feature=youtu.be )
  • Something to mark your fabric (tailors, chalk, chalk pencil, pen)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (or any straight edge…..Yes I can be THAT basic; who’s going to run to the shop because they don’t have a gadget when they fancy a midnight sew, improvise if you don’t have, that’s what I say)
  • Sewing machine (the only alternative to this is a looooooot of patience to hand stitch the whole lot)
  • Steam Iron

Tip: you will always use a 1/4″ seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Method

Fold your fabric in half width way, right side facing in, and press (TIP: always press after every fold), then fold in 1″ of the raw edge in towards the folded edge and press; these two opposite ends are now your centre front and centre back (the centre back is the side with the 1″ folded inwards this will usually be for a zip insertion but you will not need a zip for this top)

Bring the centre front over to meet the centre back and press

DSC_0202

On the top edge, starting from the centre front and back mark a 4″, then from the centre edge again make another 4″ where your shoulder to waist measurement point is. At the bottom starting from the centre front and back, measure in 6″ and mark. Using a ruler draw straight lines that connect the marks you have just made, it should look like this:

DSC_0207 cut it out.

take the top layer (the front of the top), of what you have just cut, flip it up side down, lay it on the remaining fabric with the cut edge facing outwards and as close to the edge as possible then cut around the cut edges like so:

DSC_0211

mark the centre front’s top and bottom corner with a pin on the remaining fabric. flip the front top (which you have just used as a template) so that the cut edge is now facing the other way. now using the pin markers as a guide lay slide the front top inwards so that the centre is 0.5″ inside the pin markers. cut around the cut edge again, these are now your side panels and it should look like this:

DSC_0214

With the front top still laid in position, notch the top outer corner (just a tiny notch, this will help differentiate the side panels from the centre front as the difference in size is so minimal. the centre front will have a notch on each side whilst the side panels will only have the notch on one side)

There are now six pieces; centre front, centre back. and 4 side panels; sew a side panel to each side of the centre front and centre back panel. Remember the centre back panel is still open in the middle! sew this shut (like I said you really wont need a zip for this, I feel the novice smiling 🙂 ). When you are finished it should look like this (but sewn, sorry I forgot to take a picture at that stage):

DSC_0218

Now you are ready to “shape out” the top

Fold the tops back into their centre folds and be sure to lay the front top, on top of the back top like so:

photo

Now mark all your vertical measurements from the top (shoulder to AF, shoulder to AB, shoulder to 9″ (this is the conventional bust line for freehand cutting I will always specify when you need to use a more personal one), shoulder to waist, shoulder to hips; or wherever you want to top to stop)

vertical refernce mark like so (these are just reference points for your horizontal measurements)

half your back measurement + 1/3″ and mark in from the centre front and back, along the top edge, like this:

back measurement

then along the same edge mark 4″ in from the centre again< this is the point for your neck hole. Along the centre edge measure down 2″ and then 5″ and mark. These are the points for your back and front neck hole. draw quarter-circular  arch that connects the 4″ mark to the 5″ mark, the draw another arch that connects the 4″ mark to the 2″ mark. It should look like this:

neck hole front and back

Using your first vertical measurement reference (shoulder to AF), half your AF+ 1/3″ and mark this, do the same for your across back. Now along the 3rd vertical ref point (shoulder to 9″) mark your bust measurement divided by 4. Draw a curved line that connects the back measurement to the AF and the bust, with the deepest point of the curve at the AF. now do the same for the AB and you should send up with something that resembles this:

arm hole back

Divide your waist measurement by 4 and mark this along the 4th vertical ref point (shoulder to waist), like so:

waist measurement

Using a ruler, join the bust and waist marks and the from the waist mark angle your ruler out towards the bottom edge corner and connect with a straight line:

join dots

Cut out. make sure that at the armhole curves and the neck hole curves, you only cut around the outer ones because essentially you are cutting out the back first although the front and back a still together. Then separate the front and back pieces and cut out the remaining arm and neck curve lines left on the front top, you will now have something that looks like this:

front and back cut

Make a mark 3/4″ down from the outer shoulder seam and connect with a straight line to the top corner of the inner shoulder seam: cut this to get the shoulder slope:

shoulder slope cut

Now unfold the top front and back and lay on top of each other with the right side inside. Sew the sides and the shoulder seams together.

top to sew

If you want to add a sleeve as I have, check out the post on cutting a sleeve freehand ( http://chinelobally.com/2014/02/04/busy-bee-how-to-cut-a-sleeve-without-a-pattern/ ) and follow those instructions.

The choice of finishing is up to you, you could either do a rolled hem or use some bias binding. I used bias binding for the hem, I  also decided to have a little play and put my signature on this top 🙂 , I put a Kabani collar on it (whats a Kabani collar? I hear you ask, all will be revealed very soon 😉 ), and some shoulderpads. In the meantime here are a couple of pics of my top to wear out tomorrow 🙂 .

swaggar finish  swagg fin

Give it a try and please send me pics of your own 6 piece top attempt, I hope this post is clear enough, apologies for the somewhat unclear pictures, I am working on getting a better camera; but if you have any questions just leave a comment and I will be happy to help. Have a great night and make sure you tune in to BBC2 on Tuesday 8pm to watch some sewing bee action, its gonna bee heaps of fun. Follow me on twitter and instagram @chinelobally.

Busy Bee – How to cut a sleeve without a pattern

Hi everyone.

So I haven’t posted anything in a while, I have been so busy with an exciting new project; I am currently making some beautiful pieces for the photo shoot for my website (I will update everyone once it is up and running) and my clients have kept my sewing machines rumbling with plenty of orders, no complaints there however 🙂 . Stay tuned because there will be loads of exciting news to share with you guys over the next few weeks and beyond *wink wink*.

If like me you do not like showing your arms, and I believe this is the case with so many women I come across, this tutorial might just be a life saver. The ability to add sleeves to ready made sleeveless garments is a very handy skill because it means you don’t have to pass up on that dress you wish had sleeves in the shop, you can be creative with the kind of sleeve and your fabric choice and it is a great way for a newbie to get used to working the sewing machine. so here goes……

You will needImage

Fabric

Tape measure

Scissors

chalk, or something to mark you fabric with

ruler

sewing machine

steam iron

Measure the circumference right at the top of the arm, (Round Sleeve RS). Don’t wrap the tape too tight here because you will need a some ease.

Measure the circumference around your elbow area, (Round Elbow RE), do this by bending your elbow at a 90 degree angle and then measure.

Measure the wrist circumference, bare in mind that your hand has to slip in and out of the wrist comfortably, so if you are not using a stretchy fabric then you must make this measurement accommodate your hand (I usually make a loop with the tape and test for ease of entry)

Measure your sleeve length and your elbow length (watch this link as it shows you how to measure for freehand cutting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkywf2kGthg&feature=youtu.be )

Half the RS, RE, and wrist measurements

Cut out a piece of fabric that is the length of your sleeve+4 inches and the width of your RSx2 + 3 inches

Fold the fabric in half width-wise and press and in half again width-wise and press, you should have one edge that has two folds and the opposite edge should have a cut edge and a folded edge, the edge with the 2 folds are now the centre of each sleeve.

Working on the folded edge (cdenter sleeves) mark your sleeve length adding half an inch to the top and one inch to the bottom of the sleeve

Then mark your elbow length along the same edge.

Measure 6 inches down from the top of the sleeve centre edge and mark (this is the RS point)

Those are your vertical measurements for your sleeves done, now the horizontal measurements and remember you are working with the halved measurements now

from the RS point mark the halved RS measurement+0.5 inch horizontally

Do the same with the elbow and wrist from the previously marked round elbow and wrist points (the wrist is the bottom of the sleeve)

using a ruler draw a line the connects the RS, RE and Wrist marks

At the top of the sleeve freehand a curve that slopes down from the RS point and climbs up to round the top of the sleeve

Image

This is how your sleeve should look, now cut it out and notch the centre edge at the bottom and the top. you are ready to sew your sleeve!!!!

To set in your sleeves, match the notch at the top centre of your sleeve with the edge of your shoulder seam and sew.

Here is what I made.

Image

please send me pics of garments you reinvent with a sleeve addition, and message me if anything is unclear