Tutorials

How to Sew a Lined Vest - Two Easy Methods

Sewing tutorial - Two methods of sewing a lined vest - with tons of photos

Have you ever wondered how to sew a lined vest without any raw edges showing? Wonder no more! Here are two ways to do it. The first method has open shoulders and the second has the shoulders sewn shut.

The pattern used in this tutorial is a self drafted miniature vest.

I purposely choose fabric for this tutorial that you can easily see the right and wrong sides and differentiate the lining from the outer layer.

Method One: Open Shoulders

Step 1: Cut all the pieces - lining and outer layer.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with tons of photos

Step 2: Sew the shoulders of the outer layers together and the shoulders of the lining layers together with right sides together.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 3: Lay the two layers with right sides together. Press seams open and stitch from the bottom of the front center up around the neck and back down the front center of the other side. (If you look closely in the photo you can see white thread where I’ve stitched!)

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - two methods for sewing a lined vest

Step 4: Stitch around the arm holes on each side. Don’t sew down the sides, just the arm holes.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 5: Clip curves and trim corners.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial
How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Step 6: Turn the vest right side out through the shoulders.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Step 7: Press the seams open and sew up the sides with right sides together. (This part is tricky to explain and photograph clearly, but it makes sence once you get it! Just play around with it a little bit.)

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Be sure to match up the seams. (This is the side seam right by the arm opening.)

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Here’s what it looks like with the sides sewn together.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Step 8: Now that the side seams are sewn, admire how good your vest is looking so far.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial
How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Step 9: Turn the vest inside out. Press the seams open and sew the bottom of the vest leaving a few inches open in the back. The thicker the fabric the wider you want to leave the hole for turning the vest right side out.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Since turning the vest can put a lot of stress on the stitching, it works well to sew down to the bottom edge of the fabric to add extra stability. It makes for much less stressful turning!

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Step 10 & 11: Clip the corners. Turn the vest inside out through the opening in the back and hand or machine stitch the opening closed.

How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial
How to sew a lined vest - easy to understand sewing tutorial

Give the vest a good press and it’s ready to wear!

Sewing Tutorial - Two methods for sewing a lined vest with tons of photos
Sewing Tutorial - Two methods for sewing a lined vest with tons of photos

Method Two: Closed Shoulders

Step 1: Cut out all the pieces - the lining and the outer layer.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 2: Lay the lining and the outer layers right sides together. Sew around the neck and arm openings on the back pieces. Sew around the arms, neck, and front center of the front pieces.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 3: Clip the curves, trim the corners, and trim the seam allowance at the top of the arm openings and neck by the shoulders.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 4: Turn the front vest pieces right side out.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 5: Put the front vest pieces in between the lining and outer layer of the back piece.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 6: Sew the shoulders closed.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 7: Press seams open and sew the sides of the vest with right sides together.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Be sure to match up the side seams.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Here’s what it looks like when the sides are sewn together.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 8: Turn the vest right side out and admire how it’s looking so far.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 9: Turn the vest inside out (one last time), press the seams open and sew the bottom shut leaving a few inches open in the back.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos
How to sew a lined vest - sewing tutorial with tons of photos by Sarah Kirsten

Step 10: Trim the corners.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with photos

Step 11: Turn the vest right side out (for the last time) through the opening in the back. Hand or machine stitch the opening shut.

How to sew a lined vest - Sarah Kirsten sewing tutorial with tons of photos

Give the vest a good press and try it on to see how it looks.

How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with tons of photos by Sarah Kirsten
How to sew a lined vest - Sewing tutorial with tons of photos by Sarah Kirsten

Discussion notes:

In both of these examples I left the opening to turn the vest right side out on the bottom seam. It’s also a good option to leave the opening in the side seam of the lining instead of in the bottom.

The pattern used in this tutorial was a mini self drafted vest for easy sewing and photographing, but I used the pattern to make this little quilted vest with snaps. I used the open shoulder method for this vest so I could put the batting through the shoulders. I’m quite in love with how it turned out.

How to sew a lined vest - sewing tutorial with tons of photos by Sarah Kirsten

Then I made this full sized quilted vest for myself. For the batting I used wool from my parents’ sheep farm and a really lightweight ripstop nylon for the outer shell. I again used the open shoulder method to get batting up through the shoulders.

How to sew a lined vest - sewing tutorial with tons of photos by Sarah Kirsten

Editing Sewing Photos with Lightroom Mobile App (Free!)

I’ve been learning a lot about photography and editing in the last year and want to share some of the most helpful things I’ve learned.

After trying several editing tools, I’ve fallen in love with Lightroom. It’s the leading photo editing software used by photographers and is a real joy to use. The mobile app is actually FREE. Once I started using it, it didn’t take me long to decide to buy the desktop version so I could also edit photos on my laptop and easily share photos between my computer and iPhone.

Here are the most helpful things I’ve learned about photography:

1) Underexpose your shots - In other words, make your photos slightly dark. Whether you are using the camera on your phone or a nice camera, set the exposure so that the brightest thing (like a white shirt) is just slightly under exposed. The darkness can be lightened through editing, but if something is overexposed (too bright) you loose all the detail and can’t bring it back through editing. Shooting underexposed preserves the details.

2) Manually adjust the highlights and shadows - Adjusting the ‘Exposure’ while editing (in any editing app) increases the exposure of everything — the highlights and the shadows. It often leads to overexposure of the highlights if you’re trying to brighten up the whole photo. Instead, increase the exposure and then manually adjust the levels of the highlights and shadows individually. It’s often helpful to reduce exposure of the highlights and whites so they aren’t overexposed, then slightly reduce the shadows and blacks to retain the details and contrast of the image.

3) Desaturate the overwhelming color - Often if you play around with the saturation of different colors, you find one color that has cast its tint over the whole photo. If you desaturate that color everything in the photo suddenly looks appealing, intriguing, clear and more crisp. It’s as if you are taking a colored film of plastic off your sunglasses lenses and things look cooler and more clear. Try it and see!

4) Correct for lens distortion - This may seem like a minor difference, but it helps brighten the image in the corners and the subtle difference really helps to improve the overall appeal of an image. It’s very easy to do this in Lightroom. Just one click of a button. In Lightroom it’s called “Enable Lens Correction.”

5) Reduce distracting shadows - The closer you stand to a wall the more defined your shadow becomes. Step away from the wall a few feet for outfit photos to defuse your shadow. If you have a place where there is a window that can shine inbetween you and the wall, that’s an excellent way to reduce or eliminate shadows.

The other big side of editing and photography is the mental side - the internal battle of rightness. Is it okay to edit/drastically alter photos? Isn’t that cheating?

First of all, if you have 10 minutes to spare, hunt down some large Instagram influencers who show their photo edits. They aren’t shy about altering their images. They unabashedly change the color of the sky, the grass, the water, their skin, their clothing, and they make everything LOOK SO COOL. So let’s just all get rid of the mentality that it’s somehow more holy to not edit photos… It’s OK to edit. (It’s also OK of course to not edit if that’s what you like to do!)

Here’s why editing is a wonderful thing:

1) Real life - Cameras do not capture things the same way your eyes see them. In order to show the real and true beauty you see, editing is needed (and fun!). For example, the room where I take a lot of photos is bright and cheery in real life. The floor and ceiling however, are hardwood and they absorb a lot of the light and cast an orange/yellow tint in all the photos. I know that I need to correct for yellowness in all the photos I take in this room in order to show their full beauty and to more accurately show how I see the room in real life.

How to edit with Lightroom

2) Creative vision - Sometimes we have ideas of images in our heads that we want to create that aren’t actually real life - that’s OK too! For example, this chair is actually a light yellow chair. I like it yellow in real life, but for this photo shoot it aligned with my creative vision better as a white chair. Thankfully I didn’t have to paint it white, or find a different chair because I just made it look white in Lightroom.

3) Curate - We are all curators of our own art gallery, in life and specifically in this case, on Instagram. I want all of the images in my gallery to have a similar look and feel (in other words, I want my feed to be cohesive). Images taken in different locations and times and lighting can look wildly different from one another. Editing is super helpful to get them to match or coordinate with each other.

There is no right and wrong way to edit. It’s just an expression of how you see the world. I hope some of these things can help you show how you see the world through your photos.

So let’s jump in to some editing.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Before

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

After

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Increase the exposure to brighten the image, turn down the highlights so they aren’t washed out.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Turn down the shadows and blacks to bring out the details.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Change the hue of the red to slightly more orange to correct for my skin tone.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the yellow because the wood ceiling and floor give a yellow tint to the whole image.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the green because there are some subtle patches that appear green on the wall.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the light blue to make the wall more even toned.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the other blue because there are dark blue patches on the wall.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Increase sharpening a little bit.

How to edit photos in Lightroom mobile app

Enable lens corrections.

If you’d like to see the changes as they are happening, here’s a quick video of this photo being edited.

 
 

Want to give it a try?

If you’d like to play or practice editing with this photo, feel free to download the original image here.


Here’s another example.

This fluffy cotton (feels like a cloud) is actually very white in real life. In the original photo I snapped it turned out quite yellow, and I thought it looked unappealing. I wanted to make it more true to the fabric’s real color and to show the true beauty of the fabric through editing.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Before

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

After

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Increase exposure to slightly brighten the image, turn down the highlights so they aren’t washed out.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Turn down the whites slightly, and turn down the blacks to preserve the detail.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the orange to bring out the whiteness of the fabric.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Desaturate the yellow to bring out the whiteness.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Increase the clarity to bring out the details of the fabric.

How to edit photos with Lightroom mobile app

Enable lens corrections to brighten the corners of the image and decrease lens distortion.

Want to give it a try?

If you’d like to play or practice editing with this photo, feel free to download the original image here.

How to Make Pattern Weights

After a while of using various heavy objects from around my sewing room as pattern weights — my extra scissors, my ceramic thread collection creamer from Vivian Shao Chen, a big roll of cut-to-length zipper, my iPhone, etc., I decided it was time to upgrade.

I found all these large washers in our Nuts & Bolts Bucket (you know, the bucket in the garage where you put all the spare nuts and bolts in case you need them for a project sometime). I asked Dad if I could use the washers, took them inside and gave them a bath to wash off some grease, and then set to work making them little baggies.

I decided to put 4 washers in each bag. But, obviously, depending on how big of washers you are using, you may want to add more or less than that to each bag. These washers and other heavy objects like massive bolts are easily findable at most hardware stores for relatively inexpensive prices.

Here’s a quick photo tutorial of how I made the baggies and how you can make your own.

Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten
Mini tutorial - how to make your own pattern weights. Sarah Kirsten

That’s it! Sew EASY and an excellent use for scraps!

How to Flower Pound

Right outside our kitchen is a little green patio area we call the Kitchen Garden. Among numerous fragrant herb species is a beautiful clematis plant with sprawling tendrils and an abundance of flowers. 

Last summer I discovered the wonders of flower pounding. Through some experimenting I found that clematis flowers work exceptionally well and retain their colorfastness on fabric. I have a tank top that I pounded with clematis flowers and although the flowers turned brown, their imprint has remained vibrant through it's many washing machine cycles.

So here's how to flower pound:

Step 1: Pick some beautiful flowers. 

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Step 2: Lay a flower on a piece of cloth. 

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Step 3: Fold the fabric over top (or lay another piece on top), place it on something hard and smooth, then pound the entirety of the flower. If you don't have a hard, smooth surface, try placing a towel on the sidewalk and hammering into the towel.

I made the mistake of pounding flowers on a brand new linen shirt I just finished sewing on a sidewalk without a towel underneath and the roughness of the cement put holes in the fabric! 

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Step 4: Unfold and peel off the remains of the flower. 

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Step 5: Hold up your cloth and stare at it for a few minutes. Then make another one! After waiting a few days, it should be safe to machine wash if you're putting it on a piece of clothing. 

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I've found that it works for lots of other leaves and flowers, too! But I can't vouch for how they will all hold up in the wash. 

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sarah-kirsten-flower-pounding12

Here's a shirt I flower pounded with Clematis flowers from our Kitchen Garden. 

Easy guide to flower pounding
Easy guide to flower pounding your own clothes

For the Love of Simple Sewing - French Seams without Ironing or Trimming or Pinning

French seams are such a pleasant way to finish the insides of a bag or garment. And the truth is, they don't have to take that much time. 

Here is a quick photo guide on how to sew French seams without any trimming or ironing or pining. 

Step 1: Place wrong sides together and line up the edges of the seam you want to sew. 

sarah-kirsten-simple-sewing-french-seams

Step 2: Sew the pieces together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Depending on the thickness of the fabric you are using and its propensity to fray, you may want to increase the allowance of the seam a little bit. 

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Step 3: Turn inside out so the right sides are together. 

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sarah-kirsten-simple-sewing-french-seams04
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Step 4: Press the seam flat with your fingers up and down the whole length of the seam.

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sarah-kirsten-simple-sewing-french-seams07

Step 5: Sew over the same seam with a 3/8" seam allowance. Again, depending on the thickness of the fabric you may want to increase the seam allowance slightly. Just be sure that whatever allowance you used on the first seam, you use a slightly larger allowance on this second seam. 

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Step 6: Admire your beautifully finished seam!

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sarah-kirsten-simple-sewing-french-seams09

Making Paper with Newspaper and Fabric Scraps

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Truth be told, I was hoping this would be a good way of using my fabric scraps... if I was making hundreds of sheets of paper every week it undoubtedly would be. Since I'm not, it isn't exactly the most effective way to use scraps. But that said, it's still a really neat process and the texture and color of the paper when mixed with newspaper is really beautiful. 

If you'd like to make your own, here is a rough guide: 

Supplies:

  • Fabric scraps

  • Newspaper

  • Blender

  • Two picture frames with a flat side

  • Screen

  • Lots of towels

  • Iron

Directions: 

  1. Trim fabric scraps very, very small. I used linen/rayon and cotton scraps.

  2. Add a few scraps and water to the blender and blend them up until the scraps turn into a pulp consistency.

  3. Tear up some newspapers, add them to the blender with more water and blend them together. (Note: I actually broke my parents' blender doing this because I had too much in there at one time. Do small batches!)

  4. Pour the mixture into a large basin with lots of water.

  5. Place a screen in between two picture frames and scoop out the pulp.

  6. Place the paper face down on a towel and press out the excess water.

  7. Iron dry and set under something large and heavy so the paper flattens.

  8. Enjoy your new paper and try very hard to not be so attached to it that you never actually use it for anything.

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At this point, you can either let the paper dry on the towel, or you can iron them dry. I prefer to iron them so they dry flatter and the imprint from the screen is smoothed out. 

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