Archive | Seamstress alterations

My attempt on altering wrap dress pattern

updated wrap dress patternI wanted to update this wrap dress pattern for quite a while now and I wanted to complete it before the summer began. However due to my pregnancy, house buying and other unexpected events I was not able to finish it on time. But I was persistent and voila! I have the dress here! Not sure if the fitting is any better now to compare to the previous wrap dress. original wrap dress pattern updated wrap dress patternI would not call this pattern complete failure, just because it’s so difficult to judge the fitting of it when my body is so different because of pregnancy. The dress looks like a block on me :D. Anyways, I will leave it till next summer perhaps till I release this pattern (that is if it fits properly).   updated wrap dress patternHave a lovely weekend :-)

Rasa xoxo


How to sew without a sewing machine

hand stitching tutorial, how to sew without a sewing machineToday I thought I would give you a tutorial on how to hand sew. It’s sometimes much easer to do small things (alterations or a project) with just a needle and thread rather than getting the sewing machine out. Interested? Click here for a full tutorial! If not, carry on reading while I am trying to convince you to see hand sewing in a different light. blanket stitchAlthough sewing machines are often useful for big projects as they are faster, neater and more efficient, hand stitching has also many plus points. Here are few of my favourites.

  • Hand stitching is cheaper (because you only need a needle and thread)
  • You don’t need a big set up or space
  • A needle and tread doesn’t mess with you like a sewing machine (it never pulls your stitches and never gets lose or tight)
  • Hand sewing is peaceful and quiet (some sewing machines can be really loud)
  • Hand sewing can be social, you can work on projects in a social craft club(you can’t do that with a sewing machine! Ha!)
  • Hand sewing is portable (you can sew on the train or bus!)

top alteration using hand stitching techniquesHere is an example where I used hand stitching to sew a lace insert on the t-shirt, I finished the raw edges with a blanket stitch!top alteration using hand stitching techniques back stitchI used a combination of stitches such as blanket stitch and back stitch to complete this handbag organiser insert. I loved how it turned out :-).Bag organiser insert made without the use of sewing machine Bag organiser insert made without the use of sewing machine invisible/ladder stitchI used invisible/ladder stitch on many occasions, even if I used sewing machine to begin with. You see a lot of stuffed toys and pillows require a gap in the seam which is used for stuffing. To close it neatly invisible/ladder stitch is the best, because you just don’t see it (really invisible)!Hand stitching to finish off a pillowHand stitching to finish off a pillowOk, I am not trying to convince you that you should completely ditch your sewing machine. Because sewing machines are very useful and fast. I am only trying to open your eyes to more possibilities with hand stitching.  Here is a link to a tutorial again ;-).

I hope this has been useful to you!

Rasa xoxo


How to make fitted shirt become slightly loose

How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseRecently I have been wearing a lot of shirts under my sweater. This combination is so comfortable and looks cute at the same time. One problem was that not all my shirts fitted me well (especially this super cute polka-dot shirt). It’s ok when the shirt is covered with cardigan but it feels horrible inside!How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseIt’s  not always easy to make fitted shirt become loose. But there is a way! If you lay your shirt inside out you can see some vertical ‘seam’ lines called darts (excluding the side seams of course). Darts are the ones that make the garment fitted! In my shirt scenario there are two curved darts at the back and 4 darts at the front + two little horizontal lines at the bust. I am very lucky that those darts aren’t seams (they can be and I will show you later how they look like). How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseSo all I needed to do is to unstitch those darts (all of them! except the horizontal darts at the bust). You can see that the fabric behind it is uncut which means you won’t be needing to stitch here anymore. All you need to do now is to put the shirt to wash and steam iron it. The lines from darts should disappear straight after ironing!   How to make fitted shirt become slightly  loose How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseOk, and this is a good example how darts in some shirts can be turned into seams. As you can see here the darts are running from the sides all the way to the bottom (unlike in the previous shirt). This shirt is also really fitted on the sides. Look at those side seams all curved!How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseIf you look inside the shirt you should see that the dart is almost identical to the side seam (They are both cut and overlocked on top). In this case scenario there is not much you can do when it comes to making the shirt slightly looser. You could try to undo the seams and stitch back on as  straight as you can stitching closer to the edge in some places. However this is a lot of work and it’s not really worth it in my opinion. How to make fitted shirt become slightly  looseI hope this helped!

Rasa xoxo


Sewing: back to the basics

Back to basics: sewing seamsWhen I was at Uni I had made this file filled with production samples. It has all sort of stuff from basic seam sewing to collar attachment. So I found really good to come back to it. I feel quite embarrassed by a lot of samples as they look a bit wacky, but overall really useful. Some of the techniques I used more than I need, while some were left out unused. Either way I am really glad I revisited my old folder.Back to basics: sewing seams

Basic seam samplesWant to have a better look at my folder? If yes, I am happy to share! Just click away here ;-). There you can find pics of some samples like above, but with more detailed information and step-by-step instructions.Back to basics: sewing seamsI hope you find this useful ;-)

Rasa xoxo


Renew your clothes: Insert lace into the neckline

simple lace neckline inserts DIYMy challenge this month is to organise my wardrobe. It is too full and there are plenty of things I no longer wear. So my first step was to see if I could alter some of the garments to something I like. This week I picked some plain tops and matched them with lace inserts. I made a black crochet collar last year, but I never found anything to wear it with, so I thought I would use it as an insert for the top. I salvaged the lime lace insert from an old blouse which had ripped so many times that I could no longer repair it. At that time I thought I would at least save the lace as I planned to use it somewhere else (that was three years ago). So I finally did use it, and I am loving my new top!

So here is how I did it. For this quick alteration you will need a plain top, a lace insert, scissors, matching thread and needle (or sewing machine if you don’t want to be hand stitching it).Things you will need to make a lace insert1. First you need to pin down the lace on to the garment where you want it (make sure you try it on to make sure it sits nicely). Stitch the lace insert on the outside edge (not inside edge). I hand stitched because I love doing it this was, but you are welcome to use sewing machine for this step!How to attach a lace insert2. Once the lace has been stitched on, you can cut away the neck leaving 1-2cm space from the stitched edge. Lace insert step by step instructions3. Finally finish off the edge. If you have been using sewing machine you could use a zigzag stitch (or overlocker if you have the overlocking machine). Since I have been hand stitching I have used button-hole stitch to finish off. How to install lace insert Lace insert in the garment DIYLace insert in the garment DIYI hope you found this simple alteration technique useful.

Have a lovely weekend!

Rasa :-)


Wedding dress alterations

my wedding dressOnce someone told me that when it comes to the wedding planning choose one thing that is most important to you, spend most of the money for that and make everything else work around it. This advice stuck in my head throughout my wedding planning! I guess majority of the brides would say that the most important wedding thing is a dress, but that wasn’t the case for me. I prioritised the venue (and caterers that sort of came with the venue), leaving the dress on the low budget.

Initially I thought to make my own dress, but then I realised that this might stress me out as it would take more than one skilled person to help me. So then I have decided to alter an excising dress. I tried Nicola’s wedding dress and then some wedding dresses at the charity shop and hey…. I got lucky with one of them ;-). I paid £100 for slightly damaged dress that I knew how to fix. That was a good first spend from our wedding budget don’t you think? After that the dress stayed untouched for good few months as I was trying to slim down before altering it (I could not completely fit into the dress even if the size was bigger that my usual!). My slimming down wasn’t going well however :-(. At some point I have even though to replace the zip with the lace. Luckily my friend Vicki have managed to squeeze me in just on time. Another thing I dreamed about was adding some lace to the dress, however I needed someone who knew dressmaking to help me. As an alternative I thought I will just add some ribbon flowers, however that did not quite worked out either (read on, will tell later).

wedding dress alterationsAs  you can see, originally the dress had halter neck which I completely disliked. Yes, it looked unique, but I did not feel it was my style! So the first alteration I have made (after fixing a broken zip) was to cut them off and tuck them in over the “boobtube” edge.

wedding dress alterationswedding dress alterationsNext, I fixed the obvious. The broken button loop has been stitched back and the trail connectors has been reinforced. wedding dress alterationsWith the halter neck off the dress seemed sitting very low exposing too much of my cleavage. I felt like I needed some straps to push the dress up. However I wasn’t keen on the straps so I was thinking to come back to my original idea to add some lace over the top….wedding dress alterationsThe lace idea did not worked out, too difficult to do that by myself and I really did not want to get a mannequin just for this occasion. So making a long strap going over the neck made complete sense. I know I know this looks like another halter neck, but at least it suited my taste!wedding dress alterationsNext step was cleaning the dress. When I found out that to dry clean the dress would cost at least £70, I have decided to wash it myself. I have done quite a bit of research and realised that this is quite safe to do. What did I have to lose? my dress only costed a £100! So I gave my dress a little warm bath with some Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid and it came out super clean. I would like to say it almost came out brilliant white, but it did’t as the dress was ivory. But if it was a white dress I am sure the bath would have turned it into brilliant white!

Getting rid of the creases was a tough task. Luckily it passed the iron test, so I steamed ironed the whole dress. It was still quite challenging as there were many layers to go through!! Washing and ironing my wedding dressAs I mentioned at the beginning of this post I planned to decorate the dress with some ribbon flower brooches, however it did not look as I have imagined. So last minute decision was just to leave the dress plain. I did however decorated my wedding shoes with coloured ribbon flowers. That worked really well!bride's wedding dress + shoes!!

I hope you have been inspired ;-)

Rasa xoxo


How to extend the dress length

How to extend the dress lengthSometimes some dresses comes just too short! My friend’s Anna’s dress is really lovely, but it hardly covered her “butt” :-D. It’s not easy to extend the dress length and often requires some creativity. Here is my solution for Anna’s dress.  how to extend the dress lenght


1. I bought a similar fabric to the dress fabric (slightly heaver, but I think that worked out really well). I placed the dress on pattern cutting paper and roughly traced the the angle of expansion in the dress. 2. I drew the top line from traced angle equaling the dress lining width and repeated the same angle on other side. I drew 1 cm allowance around. 3. I then cut the pattern piece and pinned it onto the folded fabric (to get two pieces for front and back). 4. The cut out fabric then have been pinned together (front and back) ready to be stitched. 5. Once the pieces are stitched together on both sides (I used french seam) then top and bottom edges can be hemmed. 6. Attach the extension onto the dress lining and stitch it down (I found using hand-stitch is best at this stage).

How to extend the dress length


Never get rid of pretty dress again ;-)

Rasa xoxo