Category Archives: projects

Making a Collection: Part 2

I am sorry that I am behind on posting this, but of course the closer I was to the fashion show date, the less time I had.

The last post was focused on Concept and Design, this post will be one of my favorite difficult parts.


Did you expect me to say patterning was one of my favorite parts? I bet you did not. I really enjoy pattern making. This is really where the magic happens, where you creativity shines. Once you start learning about pattern-making the more your realize how creative your can be making garments. Yes, there are rules to pattern-making and you have to learn how to make a pattern for whatever your imagination came up within those rules (or try to breaking them). I tend to always want to break them or at least find a difficult way to do things. One of the rules I always want to break is darts. This project I actually embraced darts.

Let me back up a little. In case anyone here does not understand what I mean by Patterning. A pattern is a paper or cardboard template that you use to trace parts of a garment onto fabric.  There are varies ways to approach making a pattern; Draping, Flat Pattern-making and Commercial Pattern Customization. There are more ways, but those three are the ways I  made patterns for my 1st Collection.


Draping for a dress I made over a year ago


I consider this the fun technique. Using a dressform, a garment could be created with pins and clever positioning. You can actually work in the fabric you intend to use and you can    see results right away For this project, I used the draping method to work out tulle part of my top.

Flat pattern-making:

This method is what I am most familiar with using. After using body measurements to draft a sloper (master template), I took the sloper and manipulate it to the design I want. I trace my sloper onto a piece of paper and then I freehand my ideas. This time around I freehand on the muslin that I sewed up for the sloper. Then I took measurement from that and plotted it on my sloper.

Working on 1st draft for top

Commercial Pattern Customization:

This term might be new to you, but the technique is familiar. This technique  is probably best if you are not too comfortable with drafting or pattern-making. Taking a pre-existing commercial pattern and making some design changes, which is different from fit alterations. There are some great patterns out there that you can have fun with this techniques,  Renfrew, Laurel and Emery just to name a few. After making my very first pant sloper, I decide to use  the Clover pant as a base for the pant design.


Renfrew with Pattern Customization
Renfrew with  Commercial Pattern Customization

Muslin & Sample Garments

After you get your pattern drafted, you need to make a muslin of it. By making a muslin, you figure out if the pattern you drafted works. You can solve fit issues as well as finding out that your garment needs some features added. One of the features I found out I needed was a zipper in the center back of the top. My model really could not get properly in and out of top. I really did not want a zipper to show in the back, but at the same time a true invisible zipper was not ideal because the length.  The perfect zipper would be an invisible separating zipper. I was told that they did not exist. Yet I managed to find it. I purchased  two zippers (1 white, 1 black) from

Another thing you might figure out during this stage is construction order and most importantly (for me) how to finish seams, necklines and hems. You might not think about that during the  designing or drafting stages, but it does come to a reality during this phase.

Making some adjustments from the first draft.


I went back and forward about whether I was going to line or  use bias binding to finish the neckline on the top. I did use bias tape for the arm hole, however because of time, I ended up using steam a seam on the next line. :0


After making the muslin, you will need to make another pattern draft of changes you made in the muslin. You possibly will have more than two drafts. Always mark each draft, and don’t get rid of them sometimes you have to go back to the first one as reference. I only made 2 drafts for this project. I only really had time to make 2 and any other changes I made, I made in the garment.

1st & 2nd Draft of Back Vest Piece
1st & 2nd Draft of Back Vest Pattern Piece


 FirstMuslin SecondMuslin


You also might want to make a sample garment after you worked out everything, and it is best to do this in the fashion fabric or something very similar. I mostly skip this step except for making the pants.  I have a mostly finished sample or wearable muslin in a fabric very close to the final fabric. After that, you are probably ready to work on the final garment.

I will go over the final stage in the last post of this series. For now here is a sneak peek into the final garment.




Disclaimer: Sorry about some of the camera phone quality images in this post.


Making a Collection: Part 1

If you have read several of my post for this year, you will be aware that I am taking an Advance Pattern-making class. The class is about making your first Collection. I have been sharing pictures of my process on Twitter/Instagram. However, everyone does not use Twitter or Instagram, so I decided to do a little series about the path to my first collection.


So I knew exactly what my Theme would be for class before the semester even started. Sadly, once class started, I realized I had to calm my ideas the hell down. This made my concept a little tricky.

I bet you are curious what my concept/theme is! Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a soft spot for things Asian. I took Japanese for my foreign language credit in college, my first clothing item I sewed up was a Kimono blouse and I really don’t need to get into food. In all honestly, I didn’t realize I had a LOVE for Asian things until a few years ago. My current focus is with Korean culture and this lady loves some Korean Pop music. It’s a not so secret, secret pleasure. A lot of it reminds me of music from the late 80s, early 90s. Feel good music you can dance too. I have a strong bias towards Korean Boy Groups to make matters worst. In the 80s/90s it was American Girl Groups.

Okay, back on tract. I don’t remember how it came to me, but I do recall it was very much like a light bulb moment. Like YES, there is no other option. I was mad excited about this idea, still love the original idea. My concept was inspired by my second favorite K-Pop group, Vixx’s Hyde music video.

Warning: This is a dark concept video, so there are snakes, skulls and such.

In case you decide to skip the video, the story line is, these guys are struggling between their good and bad side. The song lyrics plays out in a similar fashion, like a crappy relationship. Nice one moment and a jerk-face the next.

I have watched the above video many times (as well as their others), plus I even read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The next step for me was to make an inspiration board. Not only was I inspired by images from Vixx, but also Krystof Stroznya’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection and even photographs from the 1800s on double exposure.

Vixx Inspirations


Jekyll & Hyde Inspirations


The next step for me in this process was to come up with designs. Somehow, I got in my brain that I had to create three different looks. So in my head, I came up with a good side, a bad side and the conflicted good/bad. However, turns out I had to make three garments or a 3-piece outfit, which is great labor and time wise but kind of threw me off design wise. I needed to get across Jekyll & Hyde (meets Korean pop idol) all in one look (3-piece outfit). *breathe*

The first real assignment was to make a croqui, make copies and then design 12 garments. From the 12 I had to pick 3 that I would make. This method is a little difficult for me, because I usually always know what I want and I really have strong feelings and focus towards those idea. So, 9 of the garments I designed ended up being mostly BS, that I kind of struggled with. However, some of them I went in after the 3 were picked and played with for other project ideas. I did make some adjustments to my final 3 garments, and guess what, the designs are still being adjusted beyond the design stage. You know I even dream about my design ideas, FOCUS!!!

To end today’s post, I will share with you my first garment. My illustrations are not the best, so I will do a short description for each illustration.

Illustrated by Me (Trice @ SewTell) Don’t know why I crossed my real name.

Garment 1: Jacket/Vest, Black and white, armhole princess seam front, waist back darts, feathered back, 5-6 different fabric textures, faced and partially lined.

Jacket Mockup

Come back next week, for Garment 2 and other thoughts on the process.

Renfrew 2: Color Blocked Edition

I finally buckle down and completed my second Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt. If you did not see my first version you can find it here.

To make this version, I took the fitted bodice front and back and re-traced it, figured out where I wanted the front seam to fall on my body, then I matched the front seam to the back.

I wanted to go with the neckline from View C and the sleeves of View B. I love Cowl Neck. LOVE LOVE LOVE. For the sleeves I opted to not adjust them at all and I love the fit.

This is sewn up using both the conventional sewing machine using a narrow zigzag stitch and serger. I mostly proud of my serged interior except in one location that I forgot to put the presser foot down. Remember to put that pressure foot down or things will not look cute professional. No pictures but trust me.

All and all I am very happy with how this came out. I do need to practice sewing in a circle with a serger more. Stitching on and off could be better.

What is left for me to do with this Renfew is to clip the hanging threads and press the seams. (Yes, I am bad, don’t judge… too much). I’ll try to get a picture of myself wearing it when the weather is not so hot.

I have some exciting things lined up, I can’t share one of the exciting news yet and the other… well, I am not sure if I should share with the sewing world yet. At least until I am further along in the project/goal. I made some book purchases (that I do plan to share soon) that you might figure out what I plan from the selection. Putting it out there on the web (public) creates a kind of pressure and some what official stamp to what my goals are. Very scary.

I can be pressured into sharing tho.

Going on

I am all moved in to my new apartment but definitely not all unpacked. I still have a lot of unpacking to do.  I need to purchase some plastic containers for my fabric, despite having large  deep cabinets to storage them in. I live in a canyon, so I get my share of spiders and some other crawlies. It would be much better if I keep my lovely fabrics in tightly sealed containers.

Yesterday was the first day back to tailoring class. This half of the term we are working on industry tailoring and fit. I am probably not going to do that but might shadow the class a little after I catch up. I’ll be finishing off my traditional/contemporary half-size jacket so I can have my certificate completed.

I am excited for this weekend. My class is going up to LA’s garment district to go shopping. We plan to get some supplies at B. Black and Sons, Ace Sewing and Michael Levine.  I plan to be very naughty and take home several pounds of fabric from the Loft. Which is just in time for Colette’s Spring/Summer 2012 Palette Challenge. Click on logo below to find out more about it.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

I need to go through all my patterns and see what I want to make for this challenge. I think I am going to make 4 different items. 2 spring items and 2 summer. I think that is a more realistic challenge for me. I have been dragging my ass with sewing and I have a ton of stuff going on in my life right now.

Speaking of Colette have you seen their new patterns? I really love the Lily Dress. The Hazel and Iris are both nice but I am more so drawn to the Lily. Very figure flattering and nice clean lines.

BurdaStyle just release a Sailor Pants pattern. I LOVE sailor pants.  These two pattern will be going on my wish list.

Ugh, how am I expected to be good with my sewing budget if these awesome designers keep coming out with cute designs? At least I am trying to avoid looking at the Big 4. I think I can be break some rules by just getting independent patterns. RIGHT?

Other sewing related things I decided to spend my money on was the online sewing classes at Craftsy. I purchased the Sew Retro:  Starlet Suit Jacket with  Gretchen Hirsch and The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje. I am really excited. I probably exploding out the ears with jacket patterns.

Well I am gonna end this here so I can run some errands. If you wish to follow me on Pinterest, please feel free to so. I will be keeping my Colette Palette Challenge Inspirations there.

Follow Me on Pinterest


For X-mas, I was happy to receive a copy of Pants for Real People by Patti Palmer and Marta Alto. It will go nicely with my copy of Fit for Real People. Since I plan to make a several pairs of pants, including jeans, this book should help me on my adventure of making them. I probably will buy ‘Jackets for Real People’ next month (to have a full set) since I have all these jackets and coats to tackle this year.  Speaking about jackets and coats….

Right around new years, I was on etsy and came across Jamie Christina Designs. I just fell in love with her Abbey Coat Pattern. I had just purchase Simplicity 2508 to make a winter coat. I really want a winter coat for next winter. So far this winter I have been wearing a  knit jacket that started piling within a week of me wearing it. Recently all the buttons have fallen off. It’s an easy fix but I am not really motivated to fix buttons on a jacket I don’t really like since its all covered in piling. The jacket I am wearing currently is more so a spring jacket, that I wear a hoodie underneath. So I am really looking forward to having a proper winter coat for next winter.

I received the Abbey Coat Pattern last night. The pattern is in a ziplock bag. The pattern instructions are in a full-color booklet. Very cute. I kind of wish there was another place to store the pattern pieces, but honestly the ziplock bag it just fine. I don’t plan to cut into the pattern until after the my tailoring class. You should check out some of Jamie Christina’s other patterns, they are really lovely looking.

Oh yeah, speaking of tailoring class. I found out what pattern we will be using for the class. Burda 8300 for the Women’s jacket and Burda 8186 for the Men’s jacket. UGH. Not my taste at all. So, I will be doing Burda 8186 in class and make it for my favorite guy.  There is no point in me making the women’s jacket when I would never wear it. I did promise my friend that I would make him something, so I get to fulfill that promise.

This past Friday, I finished making my first baby set. You can see more photos at my Flickr site. I got the idea to make the baby set from Blueprint Crafts. The soon-to-be-parents loved their baby set. I told them once they find out what gender the baby is, I will make little baby and infant clothes for them.  I came across so many cute baby patterns on Etsy. I think it would be fun to make little people clothes.

When I get home tonight I have to rip out all the sewing I did. The shoulder seams on the Tikva Trench needs to line up, which means I need to do some easing. I also need to fix the collar on the muslin that I  am working on the for the Minoru Jacket. My bottom gather row is exposed. Since I am hoping to make a wearable muslin I want it to be will constructed.

Finally, I am hoping to join along in the Sew Colette Sew-Along through out the year. Sarah from Rhinestones & Telephones and Erin from Miss Crayola Creepy are behind the Sew Colette Sew-Along. They will sew one garment a month in the order that they appear in the Colette Sewing Handbook. You should check it out and join.

January just feels overwhelming with sewing projects. Anyone else feels that way?

You can’t be petty wearing cute coats

I got some exciting news.


I am at the point in my trench coat that I can start sewing. Last week in class we pin fitted the bodice of the fashion fabric on me and everything fit great and managed to have my teacher get rid of the shoulder dart. Which makes me super happy. The plan is to squeeze some sewing in before the next class, so I can try to be caught up. The next class I will need to pin fit the skirt (with the bodice) and the sleeve. I just might be able to have a completed coat by the end of the class. SWEET!!

Last Friday, I received the Minoru Jacket in the mail. I really can’t wait to start working on this. So much that I went to check out fabric. I ended up going to the South Bay Swap Meet, Yardage Town and then JoAnn’s. I  purchased a twill fabric and also some black tulle at the Swap Meet. At Yardage Town I found nylon in various of colors that would be great for this jacket. I might do it in red nylon with black mesh lining. Tho, I am really tempted to make it in my safety net of black or grey. Luckily enough I can make the Minoru Jacket in those colors at a later date.

I am planning to use the tulle to make a petticoat. My company is having a Holiday party and I am on the fence about going. It is on a night that I have baking class and I am looking forward to making donuts, fritters and churros. However, some of my co-workers are giving me a hard time about not going. So if I am attending I think I’ll make a petticoat to go under my black dress with white polk-a-dots. Since I am doing the Seamless Pledge, I will not be going out to shop for a dress, nor do I really want to go through that. Adding a fun element to a dress that already exist in my wardrobe seems more fun anyways. I have white ribbon to add to the hem of the petticoat.

Well, its time for to try to be productive on this Black Friday. I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving.

Burdastyle and pressing matters

The skirt that I made for my best friend (that is not finished, ssh) has been posted on Burdastyle as part of the Sew Along in September. If you get a chance, please vote here.

The skirt is the 5th one in the slide show. I am working to get a better photo posted.  Oh, you have to be a burdastyle member to vote.

Last night, not too much progress was made during class. We spent most of the time watching a movie about Pressing. I spent the rest of the class ironing 5 yards of the fashion fabric and then 2 yards of lining.  Not terribly exciting. It was fairly interesting to use the steamer and very noisy.

Oh, I also rotated my shoulder dart. It was driving me nuts. Now it will be in my back armhole, kind of like this. I like this much better than the dart in the shoulder back.

This weekend I plan to finish up the above skirt. Hand stitch the tail end of the zipper and do the hem. I also need to work on my friend’s shorts, while cleverly getting his head measurements for a birthday present. In my mind, all I want to do is just sleep all weekend.

How about you? What are your plans?

Finds and Progress

A couple of weeks ago, I purchase this fun sewing watch at a fabric store in La Jolla. The name of the store escapes me. I love the watch! The slap wristband is accurate in it measurements and I just love the scissor hands. Super cute.


For my class project I ended up just printing the pattern pieces on a home computer. It is so many pages, ugh. I started folding the corners, so I can start piecing everything together.

For the sewing-a-long skirt, I finished making the muslin, just in time before my best friend went back east. Sorry no pictures of the fitting. It fit mostly fine, but I might take a little out, so it is not to snugged.
So, this week I am hoping to get the trench coat patten ready for a fitting next’s week class. I also would like to get the skirt cut out in the fashion fabric. That means I need to pre-treat my fabrics. The sucky part of living in an apartment complex, shared washers and dryers.

Current Projects

It is 8 days into September and I bet you all would like to know where I am in making my projects. Right? Well my main project, if you did not know already, is the Burdastyle Tikva Trench. I am making the coat during my Sew Like A Pro class. This project will be a big project. Not only is the coat supposedly an advance skill level, but I also have to grade it to my size. My high bust size not my full bust size. I will still have to do all the fun body adjustments.

Right now, I am trying to figure out how to print this pattern out. There are two options. Print it out on a home printer on regular size paper or have it printed out at a print shop. I think I might end up printing it at home. The price to print this at a print shop seems dramatically more than the cost of the pattern, fabric and anything else I would use to make the trench coat.

I came across this amazing blue fabric at the new Discount Fabrics that is located in Linda Vista. The new shop is much better than the Discount Fabrics on Adams. The location and the building on Adams is great. It just makes me want to get tons of bleach to clean it up. The place is also not very organized and sometimes I really do need my fabric stores to be organized. That way I can focus on what I need and not “OH PRETTY, must have now” stuff.

I really hope this pattern looks good on me, sometimes you don’t find out until you finished the project.  I know the fabric will look great against my skin but the actual pattern might be a different story. Hopefully, my hips are not to big that the gather hem makes me look… meh.

Another project that I am working on for just the month of September is the Skirt with Front Pleats with the Burdastyle Sew Along. I am making this skirt for my best friend. I found this printed fabric for around $3.00 a yard. This was sitting on the discount fabric table. So I purchase the entire amount that was on the table. I think it was about 5.5 yards, that I purchase. I am currently at the point where I need to copy the current pattern size and then trace it on to muslin. I really hope I can finish the muslin before my best friend goes home on sunday, but who knows.

Here is a picture of the pattern spread out in the living room before it got taped up. I am at the stage where I need to trace it to the muslin and sew that up. I already traced the print out on medical paper. I am getting close to where I want to be at in the process. *Crosses fingers*