To create the best fit for your clothing that you are designing and constructing would, start with taking correct body measurements which will determine a better fitting garment.


Before you can go ahead and do all your styling it is important to understand your body measurements and identify your body imperfections, for example you might have very long legs and be short waisted, with long arms, and very narrow shoulders, and large bust. Most likely this would mean that standard commercial patterns won’t fit you when cutting just one straight size, chances you would have to alter, lengthen and perhaps cut more than one size in the pattern to get your perfect fit, which will once again give you an incredibly well fitted garment on completion, creating a more stylish fit, and boosting your cutting to size pattern and sewing confidence.


Knowing your body shape will definitely assist in your pattern adjusting and manipulating for that superior final fit as well as understanding which styles suit your body shape best, to enhance all your good assets and to hide those you do not want to emphasis. Google more information whether you are apple shape, hourglass shape, rectangle pear, pear shape, inverted triangle, as well as your body frame, tall petite, broad shoulders, flat chested, etc. Understanding all aspects of your body frame and bone structure gives you more information to research around these body imperfections and to design styles that suit these body shapes, and so on.


Collect fashion magazines, cut out and paste creating your own fashion style vision board with all the styles and details you like, which you can refer back to for ideas and inspiration.

Next, step would be to be honest with yourself, do you like your current style rate this from 1 to 10?

Have you outgrown your style or never really made much effort before?  Perhaps you have pick up or lost weight?

The most inexpensive way to test your  true fashion style would be, to go to your local mall clothing retail stores and try on different styles and colours of items. Take photographs of  you wearing these styles for later reference,  this allowing you time to asses and absorb the styles you thought you would never wear but looked great on you.


Now, you have done your research you can go through your pattern selection or make up a list of which patterns, fabrics and colours you would need. Start a sewing planner for your new style project. Check out my website for my SEWING PLANNER eBook, which has more detailed information elaborating with more detail than these few pointers to guide you along.

Tania Special Dress

Tania Special Dress

Convertible/infinity dress

have you made a convertible dress?  do you want to see other convertible dresses, share ideas on how to make them, and find ways to make your convertible dress even better?  then hop over to flikr and join the convertible dress group!

PLEASE NOTE:  the instructions for making this dress are available for free but are not to be used for commercial purposes. please do not sell dresses made using these instructions, and do not make copies of the instructions without asking my permission first.  thank you!

over on the craftster forum we’ve been talking about variations on the infinity dress by lydia sylvestry.  this type of dress has been around at least since the 1970’s–i distinctly remember reading an article about dresses of this type in cosmopolitan magazine when i was about 14 years old–and i recently bought a pattern for something similar.  recently this kind of thing has come back into vogue–spegiel’s catalog currently has a collection of pieces by norma kamali called “convertible pieces“, and boston proper has a skirt they call a “three-in-one” (they used to have a four-in-one dress but it isn’t on their website anymore).

but the version i liked best was the one by monif c., a plus-size designer who makes AMAZING clothes that non-plus size girls can envy.  (thank you keena for introducing us to monif c!).  so….yesterday i had a free hour and some fabric looking for something to be, and this is what happened (click any image in this post to see an enlargement):

and here, without further ado, is how to make this variation, using ONE SEAM:

you need four pieces:  a circle for the skirt, two straps, and one piece for a “waist” band.  to decide how wide to make your straps, measure from the center of your bust to just under your arm.  to figure the length i just decided on 1.5 times my height, which i rounded to 90″ because that was easier to figure out than 64.75 X 1.5.  🙂  the skirt length is your choice.  the band needs to be a little longer than your waist measurement–i didn’t measure the length of my band, i just sewed it on and cut it off when i had gone all the way around the waist.


the next part sounds complicated but it is not.  turn your skirt inside out–you are going to sew from the INSIDE of the waist–which means you don’t need a free arm on your machine.  overlap the straps 3″-4″…


…and align the raw edges with the raw edge of the skirt waist.  then fold the band in half and lay it on top of the straps, the raw edges aligned with the skirt and strap edges.  you will have 5 layers of fabric on top of each other.  START SEWING AT THE OVERLAP.  (for now just ignore the fact that only one end of the band is in place).  when you get around to where you started sewing, overlap the band and cut the excess band, then finish sewing.  the band ends will not meet–they will overlap, but they will be hidden by the straps):


this is the one and only seam.

when the dress is done, it will look like this (that’s a 60″ measuring tape on the strap):


the whole thing took less than an hour from start to finish. (i didn’t do any edge finishes or even a hem on this dress because i was just playing around with the design but i definitely will be making more of these and i will do the niceties on subsequent versions.) here are a few other ways to wrap that i came up with this morning, and if you go to any of the sites i mentioned at the start of this post you can see dozens more ways to wear it.

Infinity_kimono_front Infinity_kimono_back

Infinity_one_shoulder_front Infinity_one_shoulder_back

Infinity_cross_halter_front Infinity_cross_halter_back

Infinity_cross_bust_front Infinity_cross_bust_back

edited here to add the following:

the fabric i used is some polyester knit that was donated to the costume shop last fall (thank you mrs. shay!).  it has about 40% stretch on the cross.  i cut the straps so the stretch is parallel to the short ends, because i didn’t need them to stretch longer but i did need them to shape around my body.

i have been asked if the fabric could be 4-way stretch and i think it would work just fine, but the straps might behave differently, depending on how much stretch was on the length.  i have also been asked if a non-stretch fabric would work, and i think it might–you’d have to cut the skirt so that it was large enough in the waist to pull on, or put a zipper in it.  i’m going to experiment and see what happens (and you know i’ll post about it).

another question i was asked is how i figured out the length of the straps.  honestly, i just took a stab at it–i wasn’t sure the dress needed straps that long but figured i could always cut them shorter.   about the math:  i don’t do complicated math.  🙂  i just settled for a number that was close enough–if i were trying to build a space shuttle, i’d be a little more precise.

the band:  it’s primary purpose is to give the waist a finished back edge.  but it also serves as a channel for elastic, if you too prefer lazy math and end up with a waist that is a little too big.  😀

(keep those cards and letters coming!  every question you ask helps me make the instructions better for the next reader.)

since i am now obsessed with this dress, i’m planning on making one with a skirt that is a different color than the straps–one in a print fabric–one that is shorter, to wear as a top–and maybe even one in something special like panne’ velvet for all those fancy dinners we go to with our two-year-old.  🙂

but none of them will be as fun as wearing this plain one with my fancy two-year-old in our own front yard:


Stitching Studio



Learning new skills, for self-development or turning your new skill into your new business!


Oh, my be prepared for abundance of knowledge in the dressmaking and designing field with loads of creativity all growing your self-esteem and confidence into personal growth developing new skills and the variety of topics that compliment the flow of trends around fashion, from marketing, styling, image & the beauty industry


Fashion discussion – latest fashion trends

Fashion knowledge – social media, bloggers etc


Identify your body & style lines best suited for your shape

Body shape analysis

What styles would suit you/ or your client/s body shape

Do’s & Don’t’s

Sewing planner (knowing which styles & colours you should design & sew)


Powerful tool knowing how to mix colours 

Designing with colour

Dressing & styling with colour

Colour wheel


Understand what your commercial pattern is offering you


The most important lesson of all

Knowing how to take correct body measurements

Using correct measurements to cut out your patterns

Correct fit in your sewing and designing for yourself /clients


Fashion drawings & illustrating

Sketching your styles & designs on paper


How to style like a designer

Designer styling secrets



 Fabric & texture knowledge – collecting samples of fabrics for portfolio


Zip construction for all zip types


Loads of fun

Bring in your garments from home that just do not fit correctly


Lessons are set up for those who have never sewn before

Lessons are also set up for those who have had sewing experience & want to 


Sewing machine & over locker


How to adjust your darts for a custom fit

How to size & shape your pattern for a custom fit


Technical pattern drafting

Advanced levels – separate workshoper


Draping fabric on mannequin

Draft Pattern made from Drape

Who Would Benefit from this Course?

Fashion Designing students

who require the skill and knowledge to construct your designs into functional and fitting garments, understanding how to sew, and to show your team of seamstresses how to put together your patterns completing your style into a complete garment with good quality tailoring and sewing techniques and finishing off the garments, providing your clients with greater service of detail and customized fits. Further, more how to turn designing into a business finding true path in the fashion world that suits you best, to follow your purpose into your future of fashion.


who want to learn more sewing techniques, pattern manipulation and creativity to improve on your professionalism in your business.

Creative sewing

to sew your own styles that suit your body shape and fashion personality in colours that add flair to your wardrobe and suits your skin tone and joining the creative workshops of handbags, lingerie, creative re-fashioning your wardrobe into interior decorating inspirations around the house.

Domestic staff teaching you to become self-sustainable when they ready to retire from your services. Learning new or improving on your sewing skills from: (1) basic alterations as simple as stitching on a button, shortening hemlines – which is 6week course. Or (2) More advanced sewing skills from basic levels of sewing making up clothes from patterns, adjusting your commercial patterns into different styles, adjusting your patterns and styles to fit your clients with perfection, adding an extra touch of designer creation and knowledge of which styles with the correct lengths and fits suit their body shape & personality complimenting their lifestyle the best.

For teenagers inspiring and motivating your creative flair in fashion and interior décor, from making bling and designer tote handbags, to revamping and refashioning your clothing old denim jeans and jackets into new arty-boho creations, learn how to make matching jewellery sets, plus table décor layouts to impress mom, family and guests, and stenciling your designs with fabric paint onto your clothing.

Offering a career opportunity to those who desire to become a professional seamstress, dressmaker or designer, learn how to turn your talents into a business.

These courses are to develop entrepreneurial preparations for students to start their own business, providing the hands-on skills, knowledge and new business start-up to become self-sustainable and financially independent.

What are the Monthly Costs?

R850 per month

How Long is the Course?


Six months to one year

This is up to you!

Depending on how much you want to learn and grow

Or you just love spending time on your weekly self-development and creative juices that feed your soul for the love of sewing and designing.

Classes will be closed on public holidays and religious days – no making up for these classes.

When are the Classes Available?


Wednesday mornings Are currently full

Wednesday afternoon 14h00 until 16h30

Wednesday evening 18h00 until 20h00

Thursday evening advanced classes

Saturday morning 09h00 until 11h30

Saturday afternoon 13h00 until 15h30 – advanced levels & workshops

Tea & coffee is served

WORKSHOPS – require 5 or more students to book day for workshops

Tea & coffee is served

Own machines are to be used on 


Preparation of garments – ironing and pressing iron on stiffener is to be done before arriving in class.

Workshops costs are they Seperate Classes?


Workshops are for the public/everyone, not part of the sewing class modules, these are to help teach others in specific area’s of skills and crafts that I offer.

These are separate costs to be paid seven days before date of workshop to prepare for kits.

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