Our Tutorials Category

Nov. 2012 8

Leather Leggings

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I buy 99% of my fabrics off the bargain table ($2.95/yd!!) at my local fabric store. So some days when I go, I find only crappy fabric, and some days I find amazing fabric. One lucky day, I found this beautiful piece of brown stretch leather fabric hidden under a stack of ugly purple glitter taffeta. After much thought, I decided to make a pair for leather pants/leggings. I used this Burda pattern but for the life of me, I can’t find it. My sewing room has appeared to have eaten it. I did make a bunch of changed to the pattern when I used it:


-I tapered the legs a ton, they were not nearly tight enough.

-I added scoop pockets. You can follow the tutorial to the Knit Mini and it will show you exactly how to do it.

-I added butt pockets as well as a 5th pocket.

-I riveted all the corners to give it that jean feel

One thing I wish I had done was drop the waist band 1-2″. They are just too high. But by the time I realized that, I had already done all the pockets, so I wasn’t going to take them all apart. Oh well, next time.


To do the butt pockets

-On a piece of notebook paper, trace the pockets off your favorite pair of jeans

-Add 0.5” seam allowance all the way around

-Cut 2 from your fabric

-Fold over top edge, top stitch with 2 lines.

-Fold over remaining edges and pin.

-Pin pocket to pants and top stitch with 2 lines.

-Use your bedazzeler to add “rivets”

Some tips for working with stretch leather:

Working with faux leather is hard enough. I know some people will put tape on their presser foot to prevent the fabric from sticking, but that never seemed to work for me. I use the paper trick instead. Simply take strips of notebook paper (computer paper seems to be too thick) and place on top of leather facing and line it up with the edge of your seam. Then stitch through the paper and fabric as usual. I recommend using this trick for if the front of your fabric is facing up or down. Just keep a layer of paper in between the fabric face and the machine and you’ll have a much easier time sewing.

I even used this trick in the case of the butt pockets. I cut out a piece of paper the shape of the pocket and pinned it to the fabric. Then I stitched as normal. It worked great!

Nov. 2012 5

Chanel Shoes

Since I missed last week’s post, I’ll (hopefully) be putting up two this week.

I have this pair of Nine West camel colored pumps that are hands down my favorite shoes. They fit perfect, they are comfy, I just love them. Maybe I loved them a little too hard because by the end of this summer they were looking down right rough. I had a plan in my head that I was going to turn these plain camel shoes into cheetah print. But painting on a pattern I could cover up just the worn spots, while not painting the whole shoe, in theory extending the life of my shoes. I have done painted shoes in the past. I loved the way they turned out. However, the first time I wore them out they cracked instantly. I was determined to come up with another way.

My Nine West Pumps

So I went ahead and painted on all these spots. It was a long processes that required first priming the surface, then adding a dark brown, then adding a black. And the result? I hated it! They were so not cute on any level. I had to come up with a plane B.

While scrolling through Pinterest one day, I found the perfect muse shoe: this pair of Chanel flats that look like they have individually laid black and white pearls. I haven’t been able to find a price on them, but average Chanel flats are between $400-$700, so either way, way out of my price range.

Chanel Inspiration Shoes

I went to the craft store and bought white pearly puffy and black shinny puffy paint. Yes, puffy paint. The stuff you used to make terrible t-shirts with back in the early 90’s. I figured that since the puffy paint was fairly plastic it would flex with the shoe as I wore it instead of cracking like normal paint. Also, I needed something that would hold its shape, at least a little, so it would look like pearls.

So I marked of my toe cap, the heel, and a stripe down the back as my black sections. Then I marked off the instep and heel as two separate ‘contour’ sections for the white. And then, I just got to work. I was done in 10 minutes!

Just kidding…it took about a week to do all the dots. It is a long process, but it is mindless enough to do in front of the TV. I have to say, I completely love my shoes. I’m actually wearing them right now as I’m writing this post on my lunch break. I can’t wait to redo another pair of shoes using this method. I think next time I might do a pattern of some sorts. The possibilities are endless!

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Oct. 2012 24

Knit Mini Skirt

This skirt is really basic, and really easy. You can do it with out the pockets and make it ridiculously fast. I recommend including the pockets though. You will never regret having somewhere to put your ID, or ticket, or Chap Stick, or whatever.


You only need about a yard (or less) of knit fabric. I found this great chevron print on (of course) the clearance table. So this skirt cost me less than 3 bucks to make.


1. Measure your low waist (where your jean usually sit) and measure your hips.

2. Measure the vertical distance between low waist and hips, and then subtract 1”

3. Measure length add 1″

4. Cut 2:

5. Cut 2:

6. Making Pockets.

6a. Pick 1 piece to be front. Cut pockets like so:

6b. Use the front piece, trace waist line, hip line and pocket outline. Now finish out the pocket. This is your outer pocket piece. Cut 2, opposites

6c. Trace front piece of skirt and lower seam of pocket from step 6b. This is your inner pocket piece. Cut 2, opposites

6d. Sew outer pocket piece to skirt. Trim excess seam allowance and turn right side out. Top stitch seam

6e. Sew inner and outer pocket pieces together.

6f. Secure pocket by top stitching:

7. Sew front and back of skirt together

8. Sew waist band pieces together then fold in half.

9. Attach waist band to skirt. I suggest using a lightning bolt or zigzag stitch (or even better, an over-lock machine)

10. Hem and done!



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Oct. 2012 17

Chiffon Button Up

I have this really bad habit of buying chiffon every time I go to the fabric store. I just love the way it looks and feels, but then I get it home and I go “now what?” Well on one such occasion, I bought this black chiffon burn-out striped fabric. It was so pretty I bought up all they had (3+ yards). After staring at it for months, I finally figured out what to make out of it: a button up.

I could have spent hours making up my own pattern but honestly, I had no desire. Instead I used one of Vlad’s old dress shirts (that he was OK with my destroying) and used it as a pattern. I’d like to note that I went with the oversized/loose look on purpose. I thought doing something tight with this fabric would look tacky.


What you’ll need:

Men’s button up shirt that you can cut up

Chiffon Fabric

Cotton fabric (for collar and cuffs)





1. Use your handy dandy seam ripper and take apart the men’s shirt. Don’t cut.

2. Lay out the pieces on your chiffon. Cut out 1 back, 1 left front, 1 right front, and 2 sleeves. For the front panels, make sure to add 2” to the middle edge. That way you have enough to fold back.

3. Sew fronts and back together at sides and shoulder seams. I highly recommend using a surger to finish off these seams. But you can also use bias tape, or roll the excess and stitch it down.

4. Sew sleeves up long seams (Surge). Then attach to body of shirt (Surge)

5. Roll bottom hem to finish edge.

6. Along the center edges, fold raw edge towards back 1”. Then repeat. Now you will have a 1” strip that is stable enough to add buttons or button holds to.

7. From cotton: cut out 2 collar pieces, 2 collar stands, and 4 cuffs. From interfacing: cut 1 collar, 1 collar stand, and 2 cuffs.

8. Attach interface to collar, stand, and 2 cuff pieces.

9. Sew a guidance stitch 0.5” from edge along bottom edge of collar

10. Sew collar together along the seams shown below. Then turn right side out, press and top stitch.

11. Pin stand to collar along bottom edge. You will make a sandwich: collar stand, collar, collar stand. Sew together. Turn stand right side out.

12. Along your guidance stitch from step 7, iron the bottom edge of the stand up inside

13. Attach shirt to collar assembly by tucking the raw edge of the shirt into the assembly.

14. Add buttons and button holes along center line of front. I opted for 18 (I think) because I love the look of a lot of buttons. But do whatever works for you.

15. On two of your cuff pieces, sew a .5” guidance seam.

16. Sew cuffs together, leaving .5” clearance from edge

17. Turn right side out, press.

18. Attach cuff to sleeve on 1 side (not the side you sewed the guidance seam on). The finished ends of the cuff should meet up right at the sleeve seam.

***I have to admit, I cheated on the sleeves. I didn’t want to deal with the slit up the arm, so I turned it into a faux French cuff******

19. Turn the raw edge of the sleeve into the cuff. You may need to take out a little stitching in the sleeve to make it smooth. Then iron the other raw edge of the cuff along the 0.5” guidance seam into the cuff, pin in place. Now top stitch the whole cuff. All your raw edges should be hidden now.

20. Here’s where the faux French cuff part comes in. Pinch the edges of the cuff together. Now fold over to one side and pin. Make sure you and get your hand comfortably in and out. Stitch in place, add a button for effect.


All Done!


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