designer

Party Top Tutorial.

6 piece bustier top
Hi there stitchers,
It’s been a while since my last post, but all for good reasons. I have been hard at work setting up my studio!!!! It has been quite difficult working from home; as a devout sewist you will identify with my plight; fabric everywhere, pins all over the house and the sewing equipment’s over spilling their allocated boundaries, oh and not forgetting a patient husband smiling his encouragement through gritted teeth lol. The move out of home was due and very welcomed.

Ok so Christmas is nearly here and I must warn you, I am one of those people who get very merry. I absolutely LOVE Christmas much to the annoyance of everyone around me. With this in mind (the fact that Christmas is around the corner), I decided to do a workshop for a Christmas party dress, there were a few options but the winner was the velvet wrap dress I made on the sewing bee. So before I move on to today’s tutorial, here is a quick breakdown; there are 2 dates available, one in October and one in November, the workshops are 2 days long, both days starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm for more information on what you will need and to book a place, click https://www.kazoova.com/activity/544/ Spaces are selling fast so get in there!!!

Right!! The top I’m showing you how to make today is super sexy and you can embellish it however you choose, I have gone with a black lace and red theme for added va va voom.

DSC_0124
You will need:
• Fabric (something stiff 60” by 60” wide)
• Zip
• Steam Iron
• Scissors
• Chalk
• Ruler
Measurements needed (please work in inches):
• Bust
• Underbust
• Waist
• Shoulder to Overbust
• Shoulder to Underbust
• Shoulder to Waist
• Shoulder to Hem

You will need to do some maths, label these measurements as:
• Shoulder to hem – Shoulder to underbust = Blouse length
• 9 inches – Shoulder to overbust = Bust line
• Shoulder to underbust – shoulder to overbust = Underbust line
• Shoulder to waist – shoulder to overbust = Waist line
These are all vertical measurements (our vertical measurements are used as reference marks along which we mark our horizontal measurements)
Method
1. Fold your fabric in half, right side facing in, and press (TIP: always press after every fold). From the top edge measure and mark the blouse length+1.5”, mark in intervals to enable you to draw a straight line across the fabric, cut along this line and set the longer piece of fabric aside.

DSC_0067

Fold 1″ of the open edge in towards the folded edge and press; these two opposite ends are now your centre front and centre back, the top is your top seam and the bottom, your hem.

DSC_0070
2. Bring the centre front over to line up with the centre back and press

DSC_0071
3. From your centre front and back fold, along the top seam measure and mark 4.5”. From the top seam (working vertically) mark the waist line. From the centre front and back fold, along the waist line, mark 4”, along the hem, from the centre folds, mark 6”.

DSC_0079

Join these marks with a straight line and cut along the line

DSC_0083
4. Take the fabric you put aside, fold it in half again so that you have four layers of fabric. You will now use your centre front panel as a template to cut out your 4 side panels. Lay your centre on the folded fabric and cut around the cut edges only.

DSC_0084

Flip the centre front panel so that it mirrors the cut you just made, pull it one inch towards the edge you just cut and cut around the cut edge again,

DSC_0088

(these 4 panels you just cut will be slightly smaller than the unfolded centre panel. It will now look like this:

DSC_0089

5. Sew one of the side panels to each side of the centre panels, press only the sewn seams (do not press out the centre front or back folds.

DSC_0091

Now you have one front piece made up of 3 panels and 2 back seams made up of 4 panels. Back in their centre folds, lay your front piece on top of the back piece.

6. from the centre folds from the top seam, measure down 2-4″ and mark (this is for the sweetheart dip so make it as low or as high as you like). from that mark, draw a line that slopes up towards the joining panels at the top seam. From the top seam measure down the bust line (this is a reference mark) along this mark, divide your bust measurement by 4 + 2″ and mark, from the mark you just made draw a straight line 2″ long towards the centre fold. Connect the end of this line and the panel joining along the top seam with a diagonal line, it should now look like this along the top

DSC_0095

7. With the head of your tape lined up with your top seam, mark your underbust line and your waist line; these are reference marks (remember the maths you did earlier, this is what I am referring to)
8. You will now mark your horizontal measurements along these vertical marks you just made, always remember that you are measuring from the centre folds. Quarter your, underbust and waist measurements, add 2 inches to each of these and mark this along the corresponding reference mark, join these marks with straight lines and from the waist mark slant your line to the corner of the hem. Cut around your lines through all layer (but when cutting along the sweetheart line, only cut the front layer)

DSC_0097

* notice I have drawn a different neckline for the back. I have made it much lower, you can also make it straight along the bustline in the back.

DSC_0098

9. Follow the darting steps in my Shirt Challenge Post (http://chinelobally.com/2014/02/26/the-shirt-challenge-my-giant-bow-boob-tube-tutorial/)

When you have sewn your darts. Place your pieces on fabric folded in the same was in the centre. Use your pieces as templates to create facings for your top.

DSC_0110

Interface your facing pieces and sew them to the matching section of your top.

DSC_0111

Turn your facings out, top stitch the seam excess to the facing and press

DSC_0115

Insert your zip into the back (I have use an invisible zip)

DSC_0118

Lay the front of the top on top of the back matching the centre waist lines. you will now pin the sine seams ready for sewing, ensure that the pieces are completely flat at waist and bust level, this will mean that the side seams to match up but this is fine.

divide your bust measurement by 4 and mark this along the bust line from the centre of the top, like the picture below. so this for the underbust and waist also

DSC_0121

Join your marks with a line, this will be the line you sew along.

DSC_0122

Copy this seam allowance to the other side and sew your top together

DSC_0124

Here is my finished product!!! I have embellished the neckline with some trimmings from scraps of black guipure lace I had left over from another project

As always I would really love to see your attempt at this. Please send me any questions you may have and I will endeavour to reply as soon as I can

lots of 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 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

Sew Essential – How to Measure Yourself

Hi guys,

Hope you have had a lovely day today, I sure have, I was out doing one of my favourite things; FABRIC SHOPPING and I got some amazing stuff, new dress alert!!!!.

So, today I want to show you how to measure yourself for freehand cutting. It includes the measurements you would usually need when working with a commercial pattern but I have added a few more which I find gives my clothing a much better fit; please pardon the terms I use for them, I am hardly politically correct when it comes to sewing terms so I make my own terms up and correct them as I find out their actual names, for instance I called box pleats kissing pleats until late last year when I found out what the real term was 🙂 :$ . I have included a video link so you can watch me taking my own measurements.

Firstly I believe that every woman should know her Bust, waist and hip measurements at least. When you do your own measurements now, try to keep them in your head because they do come in useful. I will suggest that when you take all these measurements, you write them somewhere safe so you don’t have to keep taking them.

I split my measurements into 2 main categories and a sleeve section. horizontal and vertical measurements; as the names imply, the horizontal measurements are the measurements that run horizontally across the body and the vertical measurements are the ones running vertically along the body. Below is the list of measurements I draw up when I measure myself or a client.

Horizontal Measurements– Back, Across back(AB), Across front(AF), Overbust, Bust, Underbust, Waist, Hips.

Vertical Measurements– NOTE: all of these measurements will be taken from the mid point of the shoulder where the neck joins the shoulder so they are all prefixed with “shoulder to” …. for example Shoulder to Across back, shoulder to Across front ……and so on. The list continues like this for the rest of the horizontal measurements to make up the vertical measurements. also add shoulder to: knee and floor

The final set of measurements to note are the Sleeve Measurements. I note them like this: Round sleeve, Sleeve length, Round elbow, Elbow length.

This is how mine actually looks  DSC_0177

Make your own list, then we are ready to start measuring. Below is the link for the video tutorial. I think a video will be much more useful in showing you how to do this properly, excuse the recording quality, I had to recruit my dear husband for the job of filming it and as you will see, he is no pro, but it is clear enough.

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

I hope the video was helpful, please send me you questions if you have any. I will be uploading a tutorial on how to make a top with the freehand method next, so stay tuned for that one. Till next time, Adiós!

Welcome To My Blog

welcome to my blog pic

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. This first post is just to tell you a little bit about myself and my journey into sewing.

I have never written a blog, this is my first time so apologies in advance for any strange acts :). Ok back to the matter, my name is Chinelo Bally, I am 20 something, I was born in Nigeria but I have lived in the England since I was 8 years old so the two cultural backgrounds have played a major role in shaping my sense of style and who I am today, as my belief in God has also done. I am a Media and Creative Industries graduate from the University of East London, I loved my time there mainly because of the diversity of students and staff background, it really gave the learning experience a richness and I have made friends  from all walks of life. I am the second of four children (one sister;who steals all my clothes-more on her in the future, and two brothers). I got married to the most wonderful man (most of the times) 4.5 years ago, no kiddies yet. He is my biggest fan and my worst critic, forever pushing me to do better, thank you baby xxx. With the great encouragement from him and my fabulous family and friends over the past two years, I have been able to acquire and grow my sewing skills and pursue my dream of being a fashion designer and owning my own clothing brand; the launch of which will be announced on this blog. So here is my little thank you to all the ladies in my life who wore, with pride (I think *covers face*), the garments I made for them in the very beginnings of my sewing journey, even though the fits were hardly spot on, you offered me your different shaped bodies as my mannequins so I could learn how to cut and sew for all body shapes and I am truly grateful.

Right! how I got into sewing. I have always been quite passionate about fashion, I love clothes and I love to look good. before learning how to make my own clothes I always found it very hard to find tops that I loved, you know the kinds that you look at and think WOW! I would try on a top in a shop and think, if only this was like this or if only this bit had that on it it would be perfect so after many years of thinking like that, I would buy two tops, cut them up and take it to the tailor to create what I actually wanted, I’d do sketches of tops and dresses that I wanted, get some fabric and take it to my tailor. Everyone would always ask me where I got my clothes from; this planted the seeds of getting into designing and creating my own clothes. Determined to learn how to sew, I got my first sewing machine from a second hand store in Grays, Essex. This old Singer sat idol in my house for three months after my first attempt at (clueless) freehand cutting of a top failed woefully.  I decided that I wanted to learn to sew, but not the conventional way; no offence to all the people out there who use patterns for their sewing projects, but I really found them quite restrictive, and I wanted everything i made to be totally original to me, plus I knew that my tailor never used pattern and on the odd occasions that I caught her whilst she was cutting, I found the craft immensely fascinating, on that note I called her up and begged her to teach me and she was happy to let me come and watch her work. The spark was lit and I have fallen in love with dressmaking ever since. I have made my entire wardrobe (bar jeans, vest tops and jumpers) for the past two years, I have turned my passion into a business, making bespoke clothes for several customers who love my style.

This blog aims to teach you guys who share my passion of sewing, a completely unique way of dressmaking; freehand cutting. hopefully you will learn how to cut without using a pattern and make clothes for yourself that hardly ever need an extensive fitting out process, because it should just fit once it is made.

I’m sure that if you are reading this blog,  you must have an interest in sewing and making clothes for yourself and maybe even others, so in that sense we are like minded. I really want you guys to get involved, I would really appreciate all your comments and suggestions as I upload step-by-step projects. I would love to know what you will like to see me make, your suggestions on making the blog better and more beneficial to you and I will also appreciate your criticism (be kind 🙂 pls).

I hope you enjoy my blog and become a faithful viewer

Have a blessed day