How to Refashion a Scarf into a Top or Bikini Cover

How to Refashion a Scarf into a Top or Bikini Cover


scarf refashioned

There is nothing like going on a trip to point out the gaps in my wardrobe… I often can’t figure out the right things to pack without taking the entire closet with me.  What I need is something practical that can be worn on many occasions.  Something that is chic yet casual.  I thought I could use a top that could be transformed into a short dress or a swimsuit cover.

I dug into my wardrobe and found one Pashmina that I got ages ago and hardly ever wear even though I get cold easily.  I guess I find it rather large and since it is a gift from my daughter, I still want to treasure it.  So how to turn a scarf into a top that I will actually wear?  I did not want to drape it on me because that would add bulk to an already bulky frame if you know what I mean…  So if you have a spare scarf and 30 minutes this is the scarf refashion tutorial for you.

Materials:

  • You will need a scarf that is 6-7 feet long, and 20 to 30″ wide.  Silk, voile, cashmere or wool would be ideal.  (You can find Pashminas and other suitable scarfs at Miracle Shine.  They ship worldwide and their selection is divine.)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 yards of Wrights Double Fold 1/2″ bias tape.  (Find a color that complements your scarf or see below to make your own.)
  • sewing thread to match your bias tape
  • clothes iron
  • a sewing machine
  • a belt, decorative rope or another scarf to use around your waistscarf refashioned

Step One: Preparing your scarf

Fold your scarf in two leaving 4-6 inches longer on one side.  The longer side will become the back and the shorter side the front. Pin the top so it doesn’t move when you are cutting the middle to make the neckline.

Step Two: Cutting the neckline

scarf refashioned

Take the shorter side and cut in the middle.  Measure the length of this cut on both sides.  This measurement will determine the amount of bias tape you will need.  I used 2  1/2 yards.

Follow this tutorial for information on how to make your own bias tape:

Read More HERE

And follow this tutorial to learn more about attaching bias tape:

Read More HERE

Step Three: Sewing the decorative bias tapescarf refashioned

Pin your bias tape all around the raw edge you just created, making sure you have enough bias tape because you are both adding a decorative detail and finishing the edges. Fold the tape, iron, and pin in place. Sew again making sure both sides are very neat.scarf refashioned

scarf refashioned

Step Four: Making The Tunnelscarf refashioned

Take the longer side of the scarf and measure from the middle of the bias tape, where your neck will be to your waist.  Mark this measurement fold 1 1/2 to 3″ inches and sew.

I have a short torso, so I am folding at 13″ in length, the average measurement is 15″ and 16″ for a tall girl.  This step will become the back of your top where you will feed the belt or whatever you are using to tie around your waist. I have used the 3″ fold which is easier to feed a scarf through as a belt.  scarf refashioned

scarf refashionedscarf refashionedI have chosen to use another thin scarf as the belt since I can also use it to tie my hair;)scarf refashionedA point worth noting is how the top changes if you leave the belt tunnel in the inside, as above.scarf refashionedOr on the outside. scarf refashionedscarf refashioned

Choosing a beautiful print and a luxurious material will make this top a fantastic gift for mother’s day or an excellent addition to your boutique.  Wear it with your bikini or pair it with a pencil skirt, shorts or capri pants and in a matter of minutes, you can go from the beach to your favorite cafe.

I hope you enjoyed this scarf refashioning tutorial and find it a practical use for your unused big scarfs while adding a chic, new item to your wardrobe.


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Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along


anti pickpocket bag

This is my take on an anti-pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I’m calling it Helsinki and here’s the backstory to this design:

As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I’ll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I’ll be writing about in the near future.

anti pickpocket bag

In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pickpocketed and lost her very, very expensive new iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag she was carrying was relatively open and the thieves just brushed up against her and it was gone.  Poof!  We were in a department store and the security cameras got it all on video, but it happened so fast and the perpetrators were gone by the time the tapes were reviewed.

anti pickpocket bag

It got me thinking that this can’t be a rare occurrence and that I should design an anti-pickpocket bag with internal pockets, secure zippers, and strong straps to keep this thing from happening again.  I started designing and as soon as I got home, put this new bag together.  I think you’ll find it an easy project to follow and the bag will not only be an attractive addition to your wardrobe but also super functional if you’re traveling or spending time in crowded places.  The twisted fabric handles are relatively unique and very strong.  So Helsinki, this one is for you..

Skill Level: Advanced

If you have made a nag with lining and pockets, this project is easy for you to accomplish.  If you, however, have never done a bag before, you will find this difficult.

Key Features:

  • Secure main zipper with no gaps around the gusset making it is hard for a thief to access.
  • Zippered inner pockets for money and valuables.
  • Strong twisted fabric handles that will let you hold the bag securely.
  • Complete video tutorial and sew-along (links at the end of the article)
  • Dimensions 17″ by 11″
anti pickpocket bag

Materials for the Anti Pickpocket Bag

Recommended Fabric Options

Here are some suggestions for potential fabric options.

See the entire sewing tutorial series here:

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 3, Assembling the Bag

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 2, Sewing the Lining

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 1, Making the Handles

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:

 

See next page for free pattern download.



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Culottes Tutorial For Summer Glamour

Culottes Tutorial For Summer Glamour


culottes tutorial

Culottes, one of the most trendy styles of the 50’s and 60’s, are back!  Culottes are flared pants or shorts that can often look like a skirt or a dress when you’re wearing them.  I have been trying to help you build a warm-weather wardrobe that is both easy and practical  –and that is easy to make.  Here is another free pattern to add to your collection of projects for the summer.

culottes tutorial

photo credit: Spring and Summer 1955 Lane Bryant via photopin (license)

“Culotte” is a French word that means the lower part of a garment or knee-breeches.  They have been fashionable since Henry III made them popular at court in France in the latter part of the 1500s and were worn mostly by the upper class.  Later, in the time leading up to the French revolution in the 18th century, the lower classes who wouldn’t have worn culottes became known as “sans-culottes” or literally “without short pants” — a term these partisans and revolutionaries embraced as they manned the street barricades.

There are two things I really like about this culottes tutorial and pattern –there is an option of adding front pockets to the pants without adding bulk to the tummy and you can easily transform them into long pants by adding length at the hem.

culottes tutorial

My choice of fabric is a Jacquard Knit since this pattern is for knits only.  For some ideas of the right sort of fabric to use, please check the link below.

Materials

Fabric Recommendations

Pattern sizes

These culottes are in sizes 6 to 22.  The Lower Waist measurement relative to the Hips measurement below may appear unusual to some readers, but for this design to fit right, I can assure you it is correct for the knit fabric I am using.

Finished Garment Measurements

Size Lower Waist Hips Hem Width
6 31″ 52″ 60″
8 32″ 53″ 61″
10 34″ 54″ 63″
12 35 1/2″ 55 1/2″ 64 1/2″
14 37″ 57″ 66″
16 38 1/2″ 58 1/2″ 67 1/2″
18 40″ 60″ 72″
20 42″ 62″ 74″

Pattern Pieces

  • Two backs
  • Two fronts
  • Two pockets front
  • Two pockets back
  • One waistband (not included in the pattern).  Please follow instructions on how to cut your waistband.

Features

  • These pants look like an A-line skirt or amazing super-elongating silhouette palazzo pants.
  • A flattering feature in this pattern is the pockets in the front but they are OPTIONAL.
  • Soft waistband that does not add bulk to the tummy area.
  • For the girls that do not like to wear pants in summer, this is the perfect style to feel very comfortable and still look like you are wearing a skirt.
  • 5/8″ seam allowance in all pattern pieces.

Video Tutorial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixdTAjl3Etg

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:

 

Pattern Layout

Culottes tutorial

Step One: Download the pattern

We’re going to continue to use the new Payhip webstore to distribute our patterns.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We’d really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don’t need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download the pattern HERE

If you need any help with down How to download and print PDF patterns or How to print and assemble a PDF pattern, please check out the linked tutorials.

Step Two: Cut the fabric

Use a rotary cutter or very sharp scissors and as many pins or weights as you can so your fabric does not move while cutting.  Pay special attention to the grain on the fabric indicated in your pattern.

For more guidance on Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Fabric, please read this guide.

Step Three: Sew the pocket.

Culottes tutorial

We will start by stabilizing the seam and the opening of the pocket by adding fusible interfacing or stay tape.  This step is a must because this area will stretch and become baggy if you do not use fusible interfacing.

Culottes tutorial
Culottes tutorial

Place the front pocket piece right side down on the front side of the pants.  Prints are going to be facing each other.  Sew the front pocket side to the front pants using a 5/8″ seam.

Culottes tutorial
Culottes tutorial

Turn the pant piece print side down and pin the seam allowance to the pocket. Iron and stay stitch the seam allowance to 1/8″ from the seam. Trim the seam allowance, turn the pocket and iron.

Turn the pocket to the inside of the pants as it is going to hang and make two rows of stitches for decoration and for reinforcing the edge of the pocket.  You can use your twin needle here as well.

For guidance on How to Use a Twin Needle, please follow this guide.

Culottes tutorial

Do the same to the other pocket.

Trim the seam allowance, turn the pocket and iron.

Change your needle to a twin needle and stay stitch on the right side.  The use of a twin needle is optional.  To have the same effect without the twin needle just make 2 rows of stitches.

Culottes tutorial

Turn the front side with the pocket you have been working on print side down, place the back side of pocket on top of the front side of the pocket.  Sew around the pocket at 5/8″. 

Culottes tutorial

Zigzag the edges or use the serger.  Please note that many knits do not need the edges to be finished because they do not ravel.  If they do, serge them.

Step Four: Assemble the culottes

Culottes tutorial

Sew the two fronts together but stop two inches from the end.

Culottes tutorial

Sew the back pieces the same way, stopping 2 inches from the end.

Culottes tutorial

Sew the sides of the culottes and finish the seam either with a zigzag or a serger.

Culottes tutorial

Sew the inseam and zigzag the edges or use your serger.

Step Five: Check fitting and add the waistband

Culottes tutorial

The pants at the waist should be close to your hips but not tights,  there should be no gaps between the waistline and your hipbones.  Adjust the pants according to your body, then measure the waist and cut a band 1″ to 1 1/2″ smaller than the measurement.

Culottes tutorial
Culottes tutorial

Fold the band in half.  Sew the ends at 5/8″. 

Culottes tutorial

Fold the band lengthwise in half.

Culottes tutorial

Mark the middle top and bottom by making a small notch with your scissors.

Pin the band seam to the seam of the back of the culottes and the center mark you did before to the front seam of the pants.

Culottes tutorial

Pull the bands to distribute the stretch of the waistband evenly.

Culottes tutorial

Using a small zigzag, stitch sew the waistband to the culottes.  If you have a serger you can finish the seam with it.

Culottes tutorial

Finish the edge with your serger or using a zigzag stitch.  And there you have it.  Done.

Whether you decide to make the culottes or the palazzo pants you are sure to have an outfit for many occasions.  Team them up with a tank top or pretty blouse and you can go anywhere.

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Culottes tutorial



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Kimono Top: an Alternative to Wearing Pajamas to Work…

Kimono Top: an Alternative to Wearing Pajamas to Work…


kimono top

About a year ago I began to see a disturbing trend on the streets.  Some of the young ladies were walking around in what to me resembled pajamas.  Now, I think when it comes to clothing, I am pretty opened minded.  If I see anyone at the 7/11 buying milk wearing pajamas, I think he or she really hates coffee without milk which is totally understandable.  However, walking under a scorching sun in the middle of a busy city street in what appears to be pajamas is a little odd, don’t you agree?  I thought one of the “kids” I saw like this probably felt they were young and cool and were trying to be noticed.  But, for the rest of the mortals like me, well, pajamas just won’t cut it to go anywhere other than to bed.

So I set about to come up with something much, much better.  I do love comfortable wearing clothing and I am happy to share an easy kimono top project for many occasions that won’t even require a serger.   A kimono design is functional and stylish.  It has all the comfortable and loose-fitting features of pajamas while looking elegant and professional enough for business or pleasure.

kimono top

The kimono top is the perfect alternative for a casual Friday at the office.  It is super easy to make and a great holiday gift.  You can also wear it over a swimsuit, a turtleneck, or a pretty tank top to add a layer to your outfit.  Also makes a good breastfeeding or maternity top.

Key Features:

  • Versatile uses, both professional and casual
  • Perfect beginner to intermediate project
  • Can be made in many different fabrics
kimono top

Materials:

Tools

Pattern Download

You can find the complete pattern for this kimono top on our Payhip webstore where we distribute our patterns.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We’d really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don’t need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download the FREE Pattern HERE

Recommended Fabrics

 Pattern layout

Pattern Sizes

kimono top

Finished Garment Measurements

Step One: Preparing the material and supplies

There is not much to prepare other than cutting the pattern to the size you require.  Seam allowance is included and it is 5/8″.

Step Two: Sewing the shoulders

kimono top
kimono top

Pin the shoulders and sew the shoulder at 5/8″.

Pin into place. 

Iron the seam allowance open.  Fold each side of the seam allowance under and iron.  

This is how the kimono top side stitches will look.

Step Three:  tips for fitting your kimono top and sewing the sides.

Find a full-length mirror and place the kimono top over your shoulders.  Find the smallest part of your torso.  This is where the belt would go if you chose to use one.  

Kimono Top

We are not all built the same way.  I have a short torso and you are probably tall.  So my waist is not where yours is.  The best way to make sure the top is going to fit you well is to create a waistline even if you think you do not have one.  Find where you would normally wear a belt and mark it with a pin.  Take the top to the sewing machine and sew from that pin to the hem at 5/8″.  

If you are a true hourglass figure, meaning your chest and hips are about the same and your waist is considerably smaller than those measurements, then sew from notch provided on the pattern to the hem. 

Kimono Top

Cut the seam allowance straight to the stitching line but not through it.

Fold each seam allowance just like you did on the shoulder seam.

kimono top

Step Four: sewing the armbands

Measure where the side stitching ends and the armhole begins to the shoulder. 

kimono top

Cut a rectangle the same size as the measurement above plus 1/4″ by 5 1/4″ wide.

kimono top

 Fold this rectangle right side out and pin to the wrong side of the top.

Repeat the process with the other side of the top.  Sew at 5/8″.

Sew the armhole binding at 5/8″.

Cut the first two layers of the seam allowance closest to the main fabric.

Fold back the first layer of fabric and cut the other two.

Stitch close to the edge.

This is what your offcuts should look like. 

Fold and iron the other side of the seam allowance.  

Sew the bottom of the sleeve at 1/4″ and iron the seam open. 

Stitch each side to keep the seam flat.

Fold the sleeve up and repeat on the other side.

Step Five: making the kimono top neckline

Measure from the center back at the neckline, to the end of the front side.

kimono top

Use your pattern tracing paper and trace a rectangle that is the length of the measurement you just took by 2″ wide, in my case is 33″ in length and 2″ wide. 

Add the 5/8″ seam allowance on each side.  Draw the seam allowance at the end of the binding as well shown here as a vertical line. 

kimono top

Trace the cutting line from the center of the binding to the edge as shown in the photo creating a triangle at the end of the neck binding.

Erase the unnecessary lines and you are left with a triangle at the end that will match the shape of the front of the kimono top.  Mark the fold line, which is the middle of the neck binding.  This line will also act as the grain line. Cut on a bias.

kimono top
kimono top

At the end of this neck binding add 5/8″ for the seam allowance.  Label your pattern “Cut two” and remember to cut two of this neck binding.

Congratulations you have drafted your first collar, well at least on this site!

Step six: hemming the kimono top with a binding

Measure the bottom of the top.  Make a band of that length plus 1″ by 3 1/2″ wide.  Mine is 62″ so I am going to have to cut two strips and join them at the back.

Iron the seams open and cut half of the seam allowance.  Align the center of the band with the center back of the top.  Fold what is now a band in half.  This is basically just a big bias tape.  Pin the band 3/8″ from the corner of the top. If your band is longer than 3/8″ this is fine.  Just do not let it go beyond 5/8″ as it will be hard to fold.

Fold the end of neckband 3/8′. Fold the neck binding in half.

Topstitch all around the neck binding, starting on one end of the collar and finishing on the other end of the collar.
I have added a double stitching line as a decorative detail.  You can either use a double needle or just repeat the step.  Starting at the corner of the hem, sew to the next corner and pivot your work. Inside view.  I have added another stitching line to simulate a decorative detail.

If you want to have exactly the exact look in the feature image, I recommend that you add snaps to the sides of the top so that the garment stays closed without a belt.  You can measure yourself where you want to put these snaps depending on how tight you want the fit.

Alternatively, you can just use a belt to keep the kimono top closed.  In the picture below, cut a strap of fabric the color of the armbands the length of your waist plus 28 to 30″ by 5″.  Sew at 5/8″ leaving one end open to turn the belt inside out.  Close the belt using a double stitch to match the rest of the blouse finish.

kimono top

I hope you found this project easy to make.  I really love the print since it’s youthful and makes me feel young.

This top is a great overlayer.  You can wear it with a pencil skirt or skinny jeans, to the movies, a picnic or over your swimsuit.  This also makes a great breastfeeding or maternity top!

Leave your comments below.  I’d love to hear what you think.  Until next time!

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kimono top

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Crushed Velvet Dress – An Easy Project For Your Fall Wardrobe

Crushed Velvet Dress – An Easy Project For Your Fall Wardrobe


crushed velvet dress

A crushed velvet dress is all the rage this fall.  This style usually means dressing in layers.  Stockings, light coats, long vests, short dresses worn as tops –the possibilities are endless.  The short dress for autumn is an essential piece of clothing that can take us from morning to night time.  It is easy to add to if the temperature drops and easy to wear during the warm hours of the day.

crushed velvet dress

Autumn and spring really are when northern and southern hemispheres actually have similar temperatures, so this design should work for everyone.  This particular dress is one of my favorites because of the flexibility that it provides –worn with high boots, stockings, and ankle boots, over skinny jeans, leggings, or just a scarf.  It is the perfect piece of clothing for your wardrobe.  Layer it any way you want and you’ll have a super outfit.

crushed velvet dress

This dress is incredibly easy to make.  I hope it will make a great addition to your fall or spring wardrobe.

Key Features:

  • Easy to make
  • Can be worn as a top or mini dress
  • Comfortable yet elegant style
  • Stand-up bow collar
  • Ideal for women with small shoulders and wide hips
crushed velvet dress

Materials:

  • Crushed Velvet or Panne Velour, 60″ wide, 1-2 yards depending on size
  • Soft satin fabric (silk or polyester), 1 yard
  • Fusible tricot interfacing

Tools

About Crushed Velvet

Crushed velvet or sometimes known as crushed panne velour is one of 16 types of velvet.  Normally made out of polyester, it is possible to find velvet made from silk if your budget allows.  Velvet is a type of tufted woven fabric with evenly distributed cut threads giving the fabric a dense short pile and a luxurious and distinctive feel.  The fabric is actually woven as two layers which are then cut apart thus creating the pile.  This is a pretty complex and expensive process, or at least it used to be, so this type of fabric used to be reserved only for royalty.  It’s only been the invention of polyester and the development of modern manufacturing techniques that this type of fabric is now affordable to almost everyone.

Notoriously difficult to handle, but certainly worth the effort, it is imperative to find the grain of the velvet and cut all pieces strictly on it.  Use a ball point needle when sewing.  If you do not have a serger, use a small zigzag when hemming if you want to preserve the stretchability of the fabric.  However, in this pattern, a plain stitch is also possible.

Recommended Fabrics

Finished Garment Sizes

crushed velvet dress

Pattern Layout

crushed velvet dress

Pattern Download

Opt In Image

Download the Free Pattern

You can download the pattern for this Crushed Velvet Dress from our account at Payhip.

For help downloading and printing PDF patterns, please CLICK HERE.

Step One: Cutting the fabric

crushed velvet dress

The fabric must be laid on a flat surface and let it rest overnight.  Fold the fabric on the grain line and cut the pieces one at a time.  Apply fusible tricot interfacing to the sleeves and hem.  Mark the center of the back and the front of the dress.  You will need this to make the pleats latter.

Step Two: Sewing the shoulder seams

crushed velvet dress

Wrong sides together, pin the shoulders and sew at 3/8″.   Serge or use a zigzag stitch.

Step Three:  Sewin the sides

Pin the sides, start to sew from the bottom to the sleeves.  

crushed velvet dress

Serge or zigzag the sides.

Step Four: Making the pleats

There are two pleats one in the front and one in the back of the dress.  Find the center of the dress and fold to the right 1 1/2″ from the center. Fold another 1 1/2″ to the left and pin in place.  Zigzag the edges of the neckline to set the pleats.

crushed velvet dress
crushed velvet dress

Step Five: Making the neckline with a sash

Cut a bias strip 54 to 60″ in length and 3 1/2″ wide.  Fold the strip right sides together and sew at 3/8″.

crushed velvet dress

Use a loop turner to turn the sash inside out.  Find the middle of the sash and pin it to the middle of back of the dress.  

crushed velvet dress

Pin one side from the back to the front, stopping at the center of the front pleat.  Then pin the other side from the back to the front stopping at center of the pleat.  Sew the sash at 3/8″.  

crushed velvet dress
crushed velvet dress

Top stitch the sash so it will look like a stand-up collar. 

crushed velvet dress
crushed velvet dress

Step Six: Hemming the crushed velvet dress

Apply fusible tricot interfacing to the hem.  Cut a strip of interfacing long enough to go around the hem and 1″ wide.  Using an iron on nylon setting to fuse it to the hem.  Fold the hem 1/2″.

crushed velvet dress

Stitch using a small zigzag or a straight stitch.  Test on a piece of fabric to see what look suits you best.

Dressing up in autumn is always fun.  The days are warm and cooler nights mean we can be a little more creative with our clothing by dressing in layers.  Be sure to stay tuned for our next style of autumn dresses.

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crushed velvet dress

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