Monday 22 June 2015

Ixiah-Inspired Center Slit Longline Top + Sewing Spaghetti Straps

photo ready3.jpg
I've been a huge fan of Australian labels for quite a while now, and in my opinion this year the fashion week down under absolutely dominated its European and NY equivalents (probably because it was full of white and black collections...) One of my favourite runway pieces was this gorgeous center slit top from Ixiah. So versatile!! Layers amazingly with all kinds of skirts, but I'm also thinking another white dress or culottes underneath..

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photo 0 Tools.jpg
Fabric, I used about 1.5m  |  Pencil or fabric marker  |  Scissors  |  Thread & sewing machine  |  Pins  |  Ribbon the desired strap width and length

Spaghetti straps

It can be tough to find ready-made straps that match a fabric you're working with, so this trick is super useful when you want to easily turn your main fabric into even, professional-looking straps.

I. You need a strip of fabric the length you want your strap to be, and about 3 cm wider (this is just to make it easy for you to sew). I recommend making each strap individually as opposed to one long one that you cut in two - the longer the strap, the harder it becomes to pull it inside out as you'll see soon. You should also have a ready ribbon the length of the finished strap.
photo 1 String and strip.jpg
II. First up: fold the fabric so the ribbon runs along the center - making sure you've got the right side facing in - and sew along the edge of the ribbon, trapping it inside. (I used my zipper foot to get right next to the ribbon).
photo 2 Fold.jpg
.. Make sure you also sew the other end of the ribbon in place, but leave the other end open.
photo 4 Sewn.jpg
III. Cut off the excess fabric.
photo 5 Cut excess.jpg
III. The exciting part! Start pulling on the loose end of the ribbon, and you'll see the fabric gather as the ribbon wants to come through. It helps to gently pull on the wrinkles formed right at the end, to help the ribbon along. If you're having difficulty here, make sure you've cut all the excess fabric off, if there's too much of it your ribbon will get stuck here. Once you get the ribbon going, it should pull really easily through and leave you with a perfectly even strap!
photo 6 Pull through.jpg
IV. Cut the string you used to pull through off and press with iron to finish off.
photo 7 Done.jpg

The top

I. I did a double-layered front to create nice finishes for the slits, and a single-layer back. For this you need two identical front pieces and a back piece + the straps you just made. The two key measurements when tracing the pieces are your bust (add 4 or so cm to circumference and divide by two, and you have your width for the back and front pieces), and hips (same thing there, measure around your hip and add 4 cm not to be too clingy). After cutting, zig-zag edges.
photo 1 Cut pieces.jpg
II. Slit the two front pieces down the center, and pin right sides facing back together. Sew a straight stitch as far as where you want the center slit to start (I did about 20 cm down). Stop the stitch there for both the front and the back piece. Press the seam open with your iron.
photo 2 Cut along center and pin.jpg
III. To get ready to attach the straps, first place them at their spots on the right side of the fabric, and sew a couple stitches to secure in place.
photo 3 Sew strap ends.jpg
IV. Place the other piece on top, rights sides facing, so the straps stay in between the two pieces, and pin the sides together.
photo 4 Pin front and back pieces.jpg
V. Sew a straight stitch about 0.7 cm from the edge, going straight over the straps. Open the seam at the bottom of your V to make it easier to turn inside out.
photo 5 Open center seam.jpg
VI. Turn inside out and press, and you should have a clean finish.
photo 6 Turn and press.jpg
VII. Now finish the slits. Be sure you are working with the raw edges where you did the partial seam down the middle in step II. Pin the edges on one side together, right sides facing, and sew a straight stitch all the way down.
photo 7 Pin slit.jpg
.. Repeat for the two pieces on the other side, and press with iron on the right side.
photo 8 Slit done.jpg
VIII. All you really need to do at this point is make a fold at the top of the back piece, sew a straight stitch about 0.5cm from the edge, and press with iron to finish. I've had this thing lately where I've felt like adding narrow slits of fabric to side seams, I like the sporty look the double seams give a garment. This is obviously unnecessary. I also cut the top of the narrow pieces at an angle (just because I wanted to make extra sure underwear is not visible when wearing the ready top).
photo 9 Prep back piece.jpg
IX. Place the front and back pieces together and pin the sides, making sure you get both layers of the front piece. As you see here I pinned the back piece a bit higher at the top, a result of first pinning on myself to check the size. Sew straight stitches along both sides (I stopped about 20cm higher than the hem, cause I also wanted slits a the sides..) Press the seams open.
photo 10 Pin sides.jpg
X. Confirm the length of the straps, pin to the back, and sew in place.
photo 11 Attach straps.jpg
XI. Final step is to do whatever you feel like doing to the hem. I left the side open by trimming my narrow piece to be shorter, and then just pressed a fold on the hem, hand-sewing to finish. For the front panels, I did this separately for the two layers, to make sure there's no pull in any direction and the fabric flows freely.
photo 12 Hem finishes.jpg
.. Press the whole project.
photo ready4.jpg  photo ready1.jpg photo ready5.jpg



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