DIY Honeymoon Swimsuit : payitforward4edu.com

swimsuit

 

Greetings Everyone!

I thought this would be a good project to inspire DIY destination Brides or for those having tropical honeymoons.  Since I was hanging out with my children at the pool this past summer, I wanted to make myself a swimsuit.  First, I wanted to see how a specific silhouette would look on me before starting on my “real” bathing suit.  My goal was to visually make my waist look smaller and to cover my tummy.  The way I sewed the prototype is the same way I sew my children’s Halloween costumes…quick, easy, and budget friendly. Basically, lazy sewing:)  So here is the general process of how I made the prototype:

step1

(1) purchased a well-fitted tank top and 2 extremely large knitted tshirts (for accent colors).  2. As you can see, the tank top was cupped already to save time on making the padded bodice.  (3) I marked my waistline and (4) cut.

step2

(5) Next, lay the tank on top of the tshirt and measure out the width of the tank.  I wanted a 1″ waist band so I gave it a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side, (6) total width cut is 2 inches. (7) the waist band. (8) pin the waist band to the tank with right sides facing each other.

step3

(9)serge one side of the waist band to the tank . *if you do not have a serger, you can sew using a zigzag stitch. (10) Next, I created a paper pattern for my ruffle hem by using the same technique as my “midnight blue couture project”…click {here} to view the steps.  (11) Sew the ruffle fabric to the waist band. (12) and sew the the hem

step4

(13) I used my favorite swim bottom to create the swim bottom pattern.  I basically stretched it out to lay it flat and added a 1/2″ seam allowance (14) I cut from the 2 remaining accent fabrics and sewed it together, totaling 2 swim bottoms. (15) With wrong sides of the fabric facing each other (16) I serged on the elastic band to the three openings. (17) the swimsuit bottom.

last steps

(18) I folded the seam in and used a (19) zig zag stitch to secure it.  And that completes it.  I didn’t end up making my “real” swimsuit yet so I’ll save that for next summer, but I did get to wear my prototype a few times to the pool.  But the great part is, I got to pair it up with my big summer hat and my Smart Money Smart Kids book I got as birthday gifts —- Thank you Quynn for the hat and Thank you Nancy for the book:)  To check out my swimsuit inspiration board, click {here}.

inspiration photo

I would like to take this time to share about a special math education program started by my friend Quynn.  She has a passion for teaching math and started Pay It Forward For Education.  It provides FREE online interactive math tutorial sessions for 3rd grade through Algebra 1.  My son Big J is attending and loves it.  He loves the idea that he can possibly have a classmate from around the world and it has also enhanced his math skills.  If you would like to learn more about this program, feel free to email Quynn at piffe2014@gmail.com or check out the website at www.payitforward4edu.com.

Also, I was speaking with a friend from Canada, I heard the teachers are on strike:(  For my Canadian friends, maybe this is something you can check out for your children:)

Well, thank you for visiting and have a great evening!

Ann

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Personal Sewing : Black Floral Blouse

fabric choice

Inspired by the textured floral pattern

Hope you are having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

I was invited to be a judge for a High School Sewing Contest back in March 2014.  The successful event was organized and sponsored by Rosalind with Sew Much Fabric.  Since I was grading students on their sewing projects, it was only fitting for me to wear one of my own creations:)  So out to the fabric shop I went….while shopping for fabric, I came across this textured floral fabric and was instantly inspired.  I decided on a blouse and used a pattern I created for the “Ruffles & Pyramid Trim” Dress.  I also added long sleeves using the sheer floral fabric.  Here is a glimpse of the process:

 

Please click on the images below to enlarge: 

My favorite part of the blouse is the back clasp.  I used an old necklace and up-cycled it to become the back clasp.

necklace

 

Here is a closer look of the blouse.  The flowers are hand-sewn on along the hem and bodice lines to soften the sewing lines.

sideview

 

front view

Well, I hope you got inspired to sew and create:)  Have a wonderful Labor Day!

To read more about the following, please feel free to click on a link:

High School Sewing Contest 

Ruffles & Pyramid Trim Dress

Sew Much Fabric

Thank you for visiting!

Ann

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{Personal Sewing} Cranberry & Lace Dress

Happy Sunday!

I completed my Cranberry & Lace Dress and wore it to two different events in the last few weeks.  During the whole design process, the dress actually went through several changes.  This tends to happen when I design for myself:(  If you are curious, I’ll take you through the general process from beginning to end.

How I chose the color of the dress…

I was inspired by my turquoise necklaces.  I adore turquoise so I wanted a nice contrasting fabric color.  I went to explore the fabric store and “Cranberry” it was!

necklace inspiration

After coming across the “Bamboo Confidential” short film, I knew I wanted a simple clean silhouette with a low v-neckline (not too low though:)

And as I was watching the 2014 Spring Haute Couture Collection by Elie Saab, I fell in love with the feminine floral gowns — the dimension, texture, the sparkles, etc!


I then started sewing my muslin, fitted myself, took it apart and sewed it back together until I was satisfied with the fit.

muslin

Next, I cut out the fashion fabrics and started using couture sewing techniques.  The main reason why I did not call this a couture dress, although I used couture sewing techniques, is because the fabrics are not luxe fabrics.  I used a polyester satin for the dress instead of a silk satin.  Since this dress was made within a few weeks, I did not want to invest a lot of money into luxe fabrics in case it did not turn out.  Also, I was working within a budget (I’ve been doing a lot of budget sewing lately since the hubby is in school:)

thread tracing

thread tracing by hand

cutting of lace

cutting out all the lace flowers from 3/4 yard of lace fabric

lace pinning

pinning and laying out the lace flowers

sleeves

Sometimes I will make changes to a design element because it may look different with the fashion fabric.  For example, the skirt gathering  was changed to a simple dart gather and after working hard on the sleeve design, I decided not to have sleeves.  The bell sleeve I wanted with a fitted lace cuff did not look right with the silhouette:( This is okay since it is part of the sewing adventure:)

pocket

For the pocket, I laid the lace on top of a skin-toned lining fabric.  Also, I hand sewed all the lace flowers onto the bodice.  In the picture above, you can see how I was able to place my finger inside the flower.  They were each sewn at 3 different points to give dimension and texture.

beadwork

I did contemplate hand sewing on some beadwork…then opted out.  Not enough time in a day:(

And here is the final dress….

final

The lace pocket, the ruffled shoes I wore with the dress, the lace flower placement over the zipper using a snap button, and the final dress

I did not end up wearing any of my turquoise necklaces because I thought it would be too much with the lace flowers.  Instead, I wore my drop turquoise earrings:)

So, do you have any techniques you like to use for manipulating fabrics to give texture and dimension? Please do share:)

If you are creating your own wedding or formal gown, I hope you will be inspired by some of the techniques I used from my personal sewing projects:)   Also, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks for visiting!

Ann

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Sneak Peek : Cranberry Lace & Satin Dress {Personal Sewing}

flowers and dress

Good Morning!

I have been working on a personal project for the past couple of weeks and thought I would give you a sneak peek.  It will be for an upcoming wedding event where I am attending as a guest.  Although it is not authentically couture, there is a LOT of hand sewing involved.  I will share more on this project sometime next week or the following since I need to complete it as soon as possible:)

thread tracing

thread tracing by hand

lace

cutting out all the individual flowers from the lace fabric

Thanks for visiting!

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To view the final dress, please click {here}.

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2013 Couture Project : Fitting#2 With Eileen J

1 fitting2

Getting fitted in Eileen’s creative space

Happy Saturday!

If you are here for the tutorials, please click {here} to visit my Youtube Channel.  New tutorials will be coming October 2013.  I am currently working on and sharing my 2013 Couture Project, a personal sewing journal.  Feel free to join me:)

Well, I finally got fitted for my couture dress with Eileen J (a fellow couture sewing enthusiast:).  Several changes will need to be made on the muslin so I will be taking it apart and creating a whole new muslin dress with all the new darts and sewing lines.  I will continue to share the process in future blogs.  As for the rest of the month (and year), I need to refocus back onto the video tutorials.  As you probably noticed, my couture project will take several more months and my goal is to have it complete for a March 2014 wedding.  Crossing my fingers:)

1 eileen cutting

Eileen taking apart a dart and realigning the waist sewing line

As for my fitting, it was an opportunity to visit Eileen’s sewing room.  I love visiting sewing rooms.   I love seeing the projects other Designers are working on.  I have great respect for their planning process and always curious about what inspired them.  So, it was really fun to see the projects in Eileen’s creative space — several projects taking years, some almost complete, and her finished projects are amazing.   I love how she puts so much thought and heart into her projects.  To many people, it’s just a dress or a jacket, but to her…it is a work of art, a story —- and I see it:)  Here are a few pics of her Couture Project (in-progress) from the Couture Sewing Class with Susan Khalje this year:

1 eileen

Below is her inspiration picture
1eileen inspiration

Below are samples of the Italian Silk Fabric for my couture dress.  I had ordered #3 from Sew Much Fabric and haven’t had a chance to pick it up.   Can’t wait to see it in person:)

1sample blue

My couture dress will slowly come together.  It is like Life — I just have to be patient, work hard, have fun, and put heart into it —- something I knew but Couture Sewing confirms it:)

Thank you for visiting!

If you missed any part of the 2013 Couture journey, please click on one of the links below for a quick update:

1) Sketch & Color Voting

2) Color Announcement

3) Lace Reveal & Cutting the Muslin

4) Sewing the Muslin

5) Creating the Skirt Ruffle

susan-khalje-craftsy-class

Personal Sewing : Laser Cut & Fringe

laser cut and fringe

Laser Cut & Fringe – Fabric inspiration

Greetings!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  Since I mentioned on my last blog that I would share my “quick” dress project….well, here it is:)  First I must clarify that when I say “quick,” it is equivalent to a few days, weeks or a month.  I use the word “quick” because it is not a sewing project where I use authentic couture techniques.  As many of you know, the couture projects can take several months to a year to complete….sometimes even longer.  So please do not think I can magically create a gown in a few quick hours.  Although that is possible but the quality of the project would definitely be sacrificed:)

Well, for my laser cut & fringe dress I did something a little different.  Instead of using a visual inspiration board to create the dress, I was actually inspired by the fabric itself.  The fringe had caught my eye because of the texture and the 1920’s fashion era is still a fresh influence on my imagination.  Then came the laser cut fabric.  It was an interesting fabric that can lend a little modern touch to a project.   With this fabric, I wanted very little obstruction to the flower design —so into my closet I went for a potential pattern inspiration…

inspiration dress

Above is a dress my husband gave me for my birthday several years ago.  It is a simple silhouette with rhinestones on the cap sleeves.  I still love this dress (thank you Mr.T:)  As you can see in the bodice, there are no cutting lines—just a few darts.  This would mean the flower design would have very little obstruction if I used this dress to create the pattern — perfect!.  Now for this project, I did not create a muslin.  Instead, I used organza to make my pattern pieces.  I was inspired to do this from my Craftsy class with Kenneth D. King “Jean-ius.” – Reverse Engineer Your Favorite Fit.   Although Kenneth did create a muslin after making the organza pattern pieces, I chose not to for this dress.  So below you can briefly view how I created the dress…

organza

pinned the organza to my dress and traced the sewing lines then thread traced the sewing lines

bodice

transferred the pattern to the skin-toned underlying fabric, pinned the laser cut fabric onto the skin-toned fabric, and thread trace. The flower pattern on the back lined up nicely for the zipper:)

skirt

pinned fringe fabric to underlying skirt fabric, thread trace

After sewing the pieces together, the dress looked like this (below).

fringe dress

To me, this dress “feels” incomplete.  This is going to be a dress in-progress.  I have not sewn on the sleeves and have not found the right rhinestones or fabric for the sleeves.  Does anyone know of shops that sell nice black sew-on rhinestones?  Well, when I find them or when the dress “feels” complete, I will share it with you in the future.

Hope you got inspired to design, create or sew:)  Thank you for visiting!

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2013 Couture Project : Creating the Skirt Ruffle

ruffle hem skirt

Greetings!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend:)

So much happened in just a few weeks…my precious niece was born…Big J and Little J started school…sewed a quick dress for myself…started filming the October project…and Labor Day weekend with family.  Also, I did get to speak with Eileen J (a fellow sewing couture enthusiast) while she was working in New Orleans.  She updated me about the Couture Class and we tried to set up a date for my Couture Dress fitting…and guess what?  Eileen and I are still trying to schedule a date for my fitting.  Gosh life can get so busy!  I am thinking about sneaking out after the hubby is home and the kids are asleep for a fitting.  We’ll see… 🙂

Somewhere in between all these exciting events, I did get to make the ruffle for my Couture Project.  Here is how it was created.

mark and draw new hem to attach ruffle

skirt width

new hem width=18″, using my children’s drawing paper, I made a pattern half the width of the skirt (9″) and the ruffle height I want is 4″

measured rectangle

draw a line every half inch

1half inch

cut carefully up to the edge without cutting through, spread out and tape onto paper, draw in the new pattern, and remove the original pattern

new pattern

cut, new ruffle pattern

ruffle muslin

lay on the fold, transfer to muslin fabric, repeat for back ruffle

1ruffle dress

sew ruffle hem onto the muslin dress

Thank you for visiting!

If you missed any part of the 2013 Couture journey, please click on one of the links below for a quick update:

1) Sketch & Color Voting

2) Color Announcement

3) Lace Reveal & Cutting the Muslin

4) Sewing the Muslin

If you would like to improve your sewing skills, I encourage you to take Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing School.  You can visit her class schedule by clicking (here).  If your schedule does not fit hers, there is an online course “The Couture Dress” through Craftsy you can also take and it is flexible to your schedule.

laser cut and fringe

While waiting to get my couture muslin dress fitted with Eileen J, I’ll share the quick dress project I made on the next blog.  As for now, here is a sneak peek of the fabrics above:)

Online Sewing Class