Dec. 2012 14

Leather T-Shirt w/Exposed Zipper



So remember how I did this chiffon blouse a couple weeks ago, and I said that you could use your pattern for multiple things?

Well, here it is! It prime example. I made myself a leather t-shirt with an exposed zipper in the back. How cute is that?

You’ll need a 12-14” zipper, I recommend metal because it stands out.

To make the pattern pieces, please click the link to go to the tutorial:


1. Cut front panel the same as pattern

2. For the chiffon blouse, I ruffled in the excess on the neck. But for the leather, I recommend pleating it in instead. You are going to make 3 pleats, 2/3” wide each; one in the center and one on each side.

3. Take the pattern you made for the back panel, fold in half and then add 0.5” along center seam. Cut 2

4. Install zipper like so:

5. Sew front and back together at shoulder seams.

6. Using bias tape (store bought or home made) finish neckline.

7. Sew front and back together at side seams.

8. For the sleeves, instead of ruffling in excess at the top, I did a box pleat like so:

9. Now, all that’s left is to hem the sleeves and bottom. And that’s it!

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Dec. 2012 12

Cardigan Dress

My fiancé, Vlad, makes fun of me for having too much of three things: shoes, cardigans, and dresses. So what did I choose to do? Make a cardigan dress of course! And I love the way it turned out. I found this great heavier knit fabric on the bargain table which I paired with some scrape black knit. The black knit is so thin I actually had to double up on it so the stripe fabric wouldn’t so through. I am going to go through the tutorial as if I didn’t have to do that so it’ll be better for you.

Also, I used all different buttons, but feel free to use all the same one.

And lastly, I’m totally going to cheat for this one. I made my dress completely from scratch using my measurement. But for the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to show you an easier, more beginner friendly method. So grab your favorite fitted T and let’s do it!


I recommend grabbing some wrapping paper to use as a pattern. It’ll be easier to draw it out on paper, and then cut the fabric out.


1. Fold your shirt in half down the front to find the center seam. Mark with chalk or a pin.

2. Lay shirt flat on paper. Trace the side seam, shoulder, arm hole and opening of neck, adding 0.5” seam allowance as you go. You only need to do ½ of the shirt. Mark where center seam is.

3. Measure from your shoulders to your hips. Now measure your hips. Divide you hip measurement by 4, then add 0.5”. Mark this point on your pattern then connect the side seam.

4. Measure from hips to knees (or whatever length you want) add 1”, continue side seam from step three down to the point (straight down from hips).

5. Add 1.25” to center line.

6. Repeat steps 1-4 for back, do not add anything to the center line.

7. For the sleeve: Measure your arm hole on the 0.5” seam line (0.5” away from the edge.) Add these together then subtract 1”. This is your arch.

8. Draw out your arch like so,  I recommend using a bendy ruler, but it’s not required. Add 0.5″ about the arch.

9. Measure your sleeve length, add 1 inch. If you are making it full sleeve, taper down to 9” at the bottom. That’s about average for openings.

10. Sew body together at shoulders and side seams. I highly recommend using a surger to finish all seams, but it’s not required.

****I recommend using a zigzag stitch or lightning bolt stitch when working with knits****

11. Sew sleeves together, then attach to arm holes.

12. For the banding, I do the mitered corners as I go rather than measure them out and do them before pining to the dress, I just find it to work out better. Let me know if this isn’t clear enough and I’ll try to do an example with actual photos.

12a. Cut bias strips of accent fabric 2.5” wide.

12b. Starting at the bottom of one side, you are going to sew the bias strips to the dress with a 0.5” seam allowance. When sewing, the right side of the bias strips will be facing the WRONG side if the dress. It is important not to do it right-side to right-side because then the contrast color will end up on the inside.

12c. Stop about 3-4” from the corner and remove from machine.

12d. Complete the next few steps, it is easier to diagram it then explain it.

13. Once you have the outer edge sew (step 12,) tuck the inner edge in 0.5”, use an iron to press it makes it easier. Then top stitch (recommend zigzag or lightning bolt) to secure.

Hem the sleeves and skirt bottom by turning up 1”

14. For the pocket, I simply finished the edges of a square and sewed it on.

15. Add as many buttons as you want. I picked a bunch of different black ones because it looks neat.


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Nov. 2012 28

Heart T-Shirt

I’ve seen these adorable shirts on Pinterest where there is a giant heart cut out of the back. Super cute….if you are super skinny. I don’t know about you, but I have to wear a bra. It’s non-negotiable. Also, there is no way I’m going to walk around town with my whole back out. There are some things people don’t need to see :)

So, I created this simple tutorial to make a me-friendly heart cut out shirt. You can do this with a store bought shirt and some scrape jersey fabric. However, this method won’t work if the shirt doesn’t have side seams. The way I do this secures the lining to the side and shoulder seams making it so the heart shape stays in place better.

Or, if you like, you can make your shirt from scratch like I did.


I’ll do this tutorial as if it’s a shirt with side seams.

1. With shirt on, have a friend mark the location of bra closer and shoulder straps.

2. Remove the back of shirt by using a seam ripper along side, armhole, and shoulder seams.

3. Using scrap fabric, trace the upper portion of shirt, down to about 1.5” below armpit

4. Transfer bra marking to a piece of paper. This will let you know the area you have to work with.

5. Draw a heart that fits inside the markings. Around the inner edge, add 0.5”. Cut out this shape

6. Center the heart and cut out of both the tshirt and scrap fabric. (make sure they line up!)

7. Sew lining and shirt back together (right sides together) around heart, being very careful to keep your ½” seam allowance. Clip seams along rounded portions.

8. Turn right side out, press.

9. Now reassemble your shirt, making sure to line up the edges for the lining and backing so they get sewn into the seam together.




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Nov. 2012 21

Chiffon Blouse

I originally bought this chiffon print to make a scarf out of it. I failed, epically. I didn’t use the right needle, I didn’t roll the seams, it was just a mess. So I was determined to make something work with the remaining fabric. I opted for a short sleeve blouse with a gathered, scooped neckline. I should note that this shirt is lined. If you want to follow along, you’ll also need a chiffon lining. I found a ton of nude chiffon one day at the fabric store, so I used that.

I highly recommend making a pattern for this tutorial. Chiffon can be tricky, shift, and hard to sketch on. Use a non-stretch cotton of any kind (I used a bed sheet). That way you can try it on and make sure it fits before you cut your “real” fabric. Also, I’ve used the pattern I made for this shirt for a number of different things, including a zip-up leather t-shirt.


Ok, the best way to explain the pattern process is just to show it in a diagram.


For the sleeves, I’m going to use a different method than usual for drafting them out because I skewed the armhole to increase the neckline. To do this:

1. Measure (on the ½” seam allowance line) the armhole on the front and back, subtract 1” from the total


2. Take a bendy ruler (if you have it) and make a smooth arch, slightly flattening the ends. Above the arch, add a 0.5” seam allowance.

3. From the peak, measure down your sleeve length + 1”

4. Either taper the sleeve, or make it straight down.

***If you want a gathered sleeve at the top. Take the above pattern and make the following modifications:

Now there are a couple key things when cutting out your fabric pieces. For one, cut the lining 1” shorter than the main fabric for both the sleeves and body. And two, if you are using a printed chiffon, be vary mindful of making the pattern symmetric. I dare say it is more important to get a straight design than a straight grain line.



1. Take the middle 4” (about) of your neckline and ruffle it down to 2”

2. Sew front and back together at shoulder and side seams (optional but recommended: use an overlock machine to finish the edges)

3. Sew lining and outer fabric together around neck. Press seam open, turn right side out.

4. Stitch the excess seam allowance towards the lining side. This will keep that seam nice and crisp.

5. Stay stitch (or surge) the arm holes. This way your layers won’t shift or separate when you add the sleeve

6. For the sleeve: sew the bottom edges of the lining and outer layer together.

7. Turn right side out and line up the upper edge. You’ll notice that since you cut the sleeve lining shorter than the outer layer, the seam is hidden up inside the sleeve

8. Attach sleeve to body. I highly recommend surging this seam. If you don’t have an overlock machine, consider binding this seam with bias tape.

9. Hem the bottom edges, both lining and outer layer separately, up 1”.



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