Off the Rack ~ Converting a Slide Belt to a Grommet Belt

One of the tips you frequently read for busty gals is to buy clothing in a size up to fit your boobs, then get the waist tailored. Or, if you can’t get it tailored or the waist is only mildly big, then belt it. However, that belt tip requires that the belt actually stay snug. And unfortunately, several of the belts I own are fabric-covered slide belts with no grommets, so they don’t stay tight.

I got tired of constantly tightening those belts, and I can’t really replace them with grommet versions since most of them came with a dress that they perfectly match. So this week, I turned a slide belt into a grommet belt. Now I can adjust it bigger for bloated days, but it stays tight when I want to cinch in my waist.

Here’s how I did this easy and cheap project…

Supplies you’ll need:

Belt
Hammer
Eyelet/grommet tool and matching grommets (purchase the kit here, or just the tool here)
Seam ripper
Small, sharp sewing scissors
Chalk or marking tool of some sort
Belt buckle cover kit (this one was only $3.90 on Amazon)
Pliers (which I forgot to photograph below)

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Here’s a closeup of the belt buckle kit: [Read more…]

Sew-a-Long Update

A sewing tragedy struck last week – one I’m sure you sewists are familiar with! Or at least, sewists who are untidy and scatterbrained like myself 😉

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My sewing space. Yes….this is what it generally looks like.

I finally found time to stitch up my Mandarin shirt muslin . . . and my pattern pieces were nowhere to be found! Both my cut-out fabric pieces AND my carefully adjusted paper pattern. The only pieces I could find were the top bodice pieces, because I had sewn the darts in and apparently separated them from the rest of the project (why I did that, I have no idea).

I tidied up my entire sewing room and couldn’t find the missing parts anywhere!

Tears were shed. It was a sad, sad day.

I haven’t completely given up hope –I’m still going to hunt one more time and clean more thoroughly. But it’s looking like I may have to start from scratch! Don’t you just love when you have to start a project over from the ground up??? At least it’s an opportunity to make improvements. Seeing as I just finished breastfeeding last week, my bra size might be changing soon and maybe I’ll need new pattern adjustments this time around! Hopefully this setback only amounts to an even better final product 🙂

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Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long: Day 3

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Ok, the last two weeks have been a little complicated (Supplies)(Piecing the pattern)(Pattern Adjustments)…and we haven’t even touched fabric yet! Never fear, we will finally do that today. Get ready to cut out the fabric for your fitting muslin! Cutting out a sewing pattern is a fairly universal process, so if you’ve done this before, just go ahead and do your thing! I’ll just share some of my tips and tricks below.

For this step, you will need:

  • Your adjusted (if necessary) Mandarin Shirt pattern pieces
  • Fabric for your muslin, washed and prepped
    • I bought a plain, non-stretch cotton fabric (similar), as this will not need to be a wearable garment. It will only be used to check the fit and make further adjustments.
  • Pattern weights or pins
  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
  • Pencil, tailor’s chalk, or other fabric marking utensil
    • I am a HUGE fan of the Pilot Frixion highlighter for fabric marking! It removes with an iron.
    • I also caved and used a Crayola washable marker for parts of this….again, not a wearable garment, so removable markings aren’t as important.

Firstly, for your fitting muslin, you don’t technically *need* to use all of the pattern pieces. It would be a good idea to cut out one of every piece so you can practice doing the steps before doing them on your final shirt. But the minimum pieces necessary to check the fit of the garment are: [Read more…]

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-long: Day 2

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Alrighty, are you ready for Day Two?! At this point, you’ve purchased your pattern and fabric (intro post) and printed/pieced your pattern together (Day 1). Now we are ready to take a few more measurements and do some adjustments to the pattern before cutting it out!

Jodi has outlined directions for this process in her PDF instructions. I’m a very visual learner, so I thought I would try and document it more in-depth for other visual people out there.

For this process you will need:

  • Top Front and Top Back pattern pieces
  • The bra you plan to wear under your Mandarin Shirt
    • Wear this while taking your measurements!
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
    • I love using a clear quilting ruler for making pattern adjustments! So easy to see if you’re lining everything up.
  • Scissors and/or paper trimming tool
  • Extra paper
    • Only needed if you need to increase your pattern size. I like to use wrapping paper. You could use printer paper, junk mail, just about anything!
  • Scotch tape, glue stick, or similar

[Read more…]