Archive for the ‘TIPS & TUTORIALS’ Category

Tutorial // how to make midi Tania culottes!

February 16th, 2015

YOU GUYS! i am so so excited to share this tutorial with you!!

I have had sooooo many requests for a tutorial on how to make the Tania culottes midi length, and i’ve tried out a couple of methods to find what i think works well, whilst still maintaining the original feel of the Tania culottes. The thing that makes the Tania culottes so special is the fact that they really look like a skirt and i wanted that effect to remain when lengthened.

OK so i’ve prepared two methods for you. The first method is for culottes that are very drapey, like the orange pair i shared in my last post, and have a very similar shape to the original culottes. This method will use more fabric, so keep that in mind. The second option is for culottes that are more structured, and have less flow. This is a great option for your more structured stiff fabrics, and also for any fabrics that are narrower. When i made the second option i was able to place my pattern pieces on folded fabric rather than single layer to cut, and that was really really nice.

Ready? click through for the details!


Quick tip // Using a mens tshirt as fabric

January 27th, 2015

If you’ve been reading Design Diary for a while, you know i loving taking something old and making it new again. I love reimagining and i love fabric from unusual sources

A while ago i bought a tshirt from Print Liberation and they had some screen print test print shirts for like $5 or something. I thought all of the prints on top of one another looked cool, so i bought one not really sure what i’d do with it. When it arrived i saw the 1984 on the front, and thought yes, BIRTH  YEAR! boooyahh hehe. So i decided to make a Briar crop top out of it – and thought i’d share with you what i did incase you’d like to try something similar


Tutorial // how to make a jersey maxi dress

January 11th, 2015

For a very long time I’ve been dreaming of a jersey Eucalypt maxi dress – and i finally made one! It’s one of those wardrobe basics that i keep pulling out over and over again – plus it was an easy make, so winning on all fronts.

Ready to make your own? Lets do this!


[Updated] How to make a bow headband with free pattern

January 5th, 2015

Ever since i posted my baby bow headband tutorial and free pattern, i have had so so so many requests for an adult version. So i made one! YAY! I’ve updated the pattern to include 3 sizes: baby, child and adult. I really really hope you enjoy it!

If you’d like to make your own headband CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PATTERN and follow these instructions:

1// Print off the pattern & tape together. I’ve provided the pattern in three sizes: baby (works perfectly for my baby bird, i first made it when she was 5 mths and at 7mths this size is still perfect) and child (works perfectly for my 6 year old honey bunny), and adult.

2// You are going to need some stretchy fabric (the stretchier the better), you could even use an old tshirt! Fold your fabric perpendicular to the grain (the pattern should run along the stretchiest part of the fabric). Place pattern on fold & cut out.

3// With right sides together sew 1/4? all the way round leaving a small gap in your stitches as indicated on the pattern piece. You can use either a zig zag stitch on a regular machine or a serger/overlocker.

4// Turn your headband the right way round by pushing through the gap in your sewing. No need to close this hole we are going to hide it!

5// Now tie a knot, and adjust to fit (the gap in your sewing should be hidden in the knot now).


Photography by Sabatomic

fabric wrapped presents // four

December 15th, 2014

You guys! This is the fourth year that we have wrapped our Christmas presents in fabric! I am SO excited! When i started doing this i really hoped that it would be something we could continue each year, and i’m just thrilled that it’s worked so well! In four years we haven’t bought any wrapping paper! YAY! Now if only i could reduce the amount of waste packaging in the presents themselves i would be a really happy girl (sigh).

If you’d like to try this yourself, click through for all the info, tips and tricks you’ll need to know!


how to measure yourself

December 6th, 2014

This is one of those things that seems really obvious when you’ve been sewing for a while, but is a question i get from beginners all of the time, so i figure its worth a mention!

When making yourself a garment there are a few basic measurements you’ll need, and it’s important to get them right:

BUST // The measurement around the fullest part of your bust. Ensure that the tape measure is level with the ground and flat, don’t pull too tightly and ensure that you are wearing the bra you will wear when your garment is completed. Keep in mind that the bra you wear can greatly impact not only your bust measurement but also the fit of your garment.

WAIST // Measure around the narrowest part of your midsection. Again ensure that the tape measure is level and flat, and please for goodness sake don’t “suck it in” you will not be doing yourself any favours. Breath normally and relax. Note that where your natural waist sits can be vary for different body shapes, but it is generally above your bellybutton.

HIP// This is different to your anatomical hip, when we talk about hip in garment making we are talking about the widest part of your lower body. This may be closer to being around your bottom, or upper thigh. As a trick try shifting the tape measure up and down a bit until you find your widest part.

These are the basics that you will find in size charts on sewing patterns, and are generally pretty easy to measure on your own. You may find that you sit in different sizes for each section, and that’s okay! Simply cut the size that is appropriate for each section and grade between them on the pattern. Personally i am a M bust, S waist and M hip, so i alter patterns accordingly cutting a M in the bust, grading down to a small in the waist and back out to a M in the hip.

UPPER BUST // I just want to mention upper bust quickly as there has been a lot of discussion about upper bust in sewing blogs, and personally, i think this measurement gets misused quite often. The upper bust is the measurement just above your bust, you take a tape measure around your back inline with your bust, then tilt it upwards around the front of your body so that it sits above your bust point. This measurement is useful for those who have large cup sizes, as most patterns are drafted for B or C cups. It simulates the measurement you would have if you had a small cup size. You would then use this measurement in place of the bust measurement, and then do a full bust adjustment on your pattern. Thus ensuring that the pattern fits appropriately across your shoulders. Unfortunately I see this measurement get misused all the time, and there is a trend of thought going around at the moment that you should use this measurement in place of your bust all the time. This is not true. Patterns are generally not drafted using the upper bust measurement – mine certainly are not – so if you use this measurement in place of bust when you don’t need to, you will always end up with garments that are too tight. So please be careful.

HEIGHT // Obviously you need to take height into consideration, though you’re probably never going to use your complete height in sewing. I am not particularly tall at 165cm /5’5″ so i always need to adjust hemlines on myself. My fit model is taller than me, and all my patterns are drafted for around a height of  172cm/5’8″, though in some patterns like the Virginia leggings i provide a tall height and petite height to cover those on either side of that spectrum. Keep in mind the height that patterns are drafted for, and adjust accordingly.

SKIRT LENGTH // This obviously isn’t really a body measurement per se, but i think it’s important to keep in mind your preferred skirt lengths so that you can easily adjust patterns and choose patterns appropriately. This is hard to measure alone, so either get some help, or measure a favourite skirt or dress hem, or stand in front of a mirror and hang your tap measure down until you reach your preferred length. Most pattern companies will provide finished garment measurements for their styles, and  you should pay attention to these. If you note the finished lengths and compare to your preferences before you begin sewing, you will never be surprised with how things turn out.

Id say these are the most basic measurements you should keep in mind when sewing – obviously if you get serious about your sewing you may want a more custom fit, in which case you can take as many minute measurements of every part of your body as you’d find useful hehehe

Did i miss anything? Any questions or thoughts to add?