Tuesday 24 October 2017

Zahara & Nilah by Sansahash PLUS bonus hack tutorial

Greetings sewing friends!! A lot has happened since my last post (you'll see some of that "excitement" wrapped around Miss A's arm there!!)
I'll catch you up more next post, this time I want to focus on the newest patterns by Sansahash, "Zahara" peplum & dress and the "Nilah" dress.
If you are here to check out the hack tutorial, please scroll down now! (It's true, I take a lot of photos, plus I like to talk. So no hard feelings reader if you want glaze over the specifics.)


This PDF dress & peplum pattern was designed with glamour in mind! Zahara is the perfect special occasion dress or top and works wonderfully with those luxe fabrics.
I made my dress from sequin fabric and lined with poplin.
P.s. Yes, I am pleased with that invisible zip! 

This pattern is packed with helpful tips and clear illustrations. So don't fret over that invisible zip!

The layered pattern pieces make grading and printing a breeze.

Zahara comes with sizes 6 months to 12 years included. There is also instruction on how to modify the bodice for those young ladies in the larger sizes who need some bust allowance.
The dress features princess seams, circle skirt, unique back bodice, full lining and an invisible zip. (Please don't be scared of invisible zips! Get yourself an invisible zip foot and you'll be cooking with gas!)

Bow pattern by Duchess & Hare (it's a freebie!! Go get your copy!)

Now, you may have noticed the tulle in the dress? Well, follow the Sansahash blog to get this bonus mini tutorial! (Trust me.... you need to sew this one with the tulle at least once!!)

Not only does Zahara make a perfect party dress, but she also looks amazing in cotton for everyday wear. Below is my first version - the peplum top. (I added an inch to the original pattern - but it didn't need this added length.)
Paired with the Imari shorts, this is a perfect summer play outfit!

My little lady actually broke her arm this day and was rushed to hospital wearing this Zahara......and my did the nurses gush over this top!! She was the perfect princess too.....so brave...no tears in the ED and behaved so politely (a proud mummy moment right there!) This is why you see her wearing cast in the above photos!



Nilah is a knit dress pattern, great for beginners learning to sew with knit.

Like all Sansahash patterns, excellent tutorial and layered pattern pieces. (Trust me, layered pattern pieces are now a must, but really still feel like a luxury!)

This sweet dress comes with several sleeve options, sleeveless, short, 3/4 and long.

Sizes 6 months to 12 years included.

Nilah also features a cute high-low style skirt with curved detail.

My version is sewn using sport spandex - with the idea that it can be whipped on after swimming. A great, functional, everyday wear dress that WILL actually be worn. A staple for your pattern collection.


BONUS Nilah-Zahara pattern hack tutorial

After chatting with Mgeni - one of the duo behind Sansahash patterns, I decided to mash Nilah and Zahara plus add my own twist!
 Please visit this link for your chance to WIN the Nilah and Zahara patterns!
This hi-bred dress features the circle skirt from the Zahara pattern and the sleeveless bodice from Nilah. BUT, as you can see, I have scooped out the back bodice and added a lace up feature!
This hack will also work with any of the sleeve options from the Nilah pattern and quite frankly, would look just gorgeous with long sleeves too!

What you will need

Knit fabric - use the Nilah pattern as a guide for fabric requirements although you will need to allow up to yard extra approximately
Turning tool
Sewing machine - serger/overlocker not necessarily required
Note: This hack is aimed at sewers with intermediate sewing skills. Some sewing experience with knit a must. 

Step 1.

Print out your pattern pieces. You will need to select the sleeved or sleeveless bodice option from the Nilah pattern. Print ONLY the circle skirt pattern piece from the Zahara pattern.

Step 2.

Modify your back bodice pattern piece. From the bottom of the bodice piece measure up 1 3/4" (4.5cm) make a line across the pattern piece. (Please ignore my extra lines!) 

Next mark you will need to make is from the outer edge of the neckline. From the top of the shoulder measure all the way down vertically on your pattern piece.

Now, either free hand or using a circular object, round off that sharp corner.

Your back bodice pattern piece is now ready to be cut! Cut out the scoop using the marks you have just made, following the curve. You will still need to cut your fabric on the fold. Cut two back bodice pieces - one main and one lining.

Step 3.

Make your cord and loops. For a size 4 height I needed 3 pairs of loops. For the larger sizes you will need to add an extra pair or two. This is up to you! The more loops, the tighter your weave/lace up feature.
You could also use elastic in lieu of your own loops. You need to allow 2" per loop. For 6 loops I cut a piece of fabric 1.5" x 12". Right sides together sew down the LONG raw edge. Turn your loop piece and cut into 2" pieces.
At this time, in the same fashion, create your cording. For my version 12 month width with a 4 height, I used a piece of fabric 1.5" x 60". I had excess cording, although I would add approx. 3-4" of length for each size above 4. You can always trim your cord as needed! I haven't tested the bigger sizes, so you may need to make an executive call here! Finish the short ends of your cord by tucking them in and stitching.  
NOTE: If you find turning your fabric impossible, you can alternatively press your strip to form your loop piece. Simply iron your strip wrong sides facing so your long raw edges meet. Open up. Using the pressed mark as a guide, iron each long edge to meet the centre pressed mark (wrong edges facing.) Then press your strip together so your first pressed edges are sandwiched within. Sew down your long edge. You can choose woven fabric for your loops and cord. This step is much like making bias binding.

Step 4.

Using the original pattern piece, mark on your main scooped fabric pieces where the original back neckline would have been. This gives you the first mark for where your top loops need to be.
Measure approximately 1" up from the bottom of the scoop on each side, this will be where your lowest loops will sit. Depending on how many loops you are adding, either attach your middle loops centrally or measure out even intervals between the top & bottom loop marks.
Using a stretch stitch, secure your loop pieces (loop pieces to be folding in half, raw edges lining up with the raw edge of the scoop.) Use a 1/4" seam allowance. 

Step 5.

Following the Nilah bodice instructions, attach your main and lining bodice pieces together.

NOTE: When sewing the sleeveless version, the 12/18/24 month width can be fiddly. I recommend using a 1/4" seam allowance when sewing the outer seams. I wouldn't attempt this hack with the 6m width.


Step 6.

Follow the Nilah pattern tutorial to complete dress. Instead of adding the traditional Nilah skirt, you will be adding on your circle skirt from Zahara. Gathering of the skirt shouldn't be required - the knit fabric will allow you to ease your skirt in.
I highly recommend adding the clear elastic as stated in the original tutorial so the skirt is supported.

Step 7.

Insert your long piece of cording through your loops, crisscrossing your way up (or down should you choose!)
You're now complete!! Get your favourite little person to try it on!!

Poor photo I'm afraid! But I had to share that twirl factor!

If you try this hack, please do let me know how you go! To see more inspiration, please join the Facebook Sansahash pattern group.
A huge thanks to Mgeni & Christine of Sansahash for allowing me to test and sew the Nilah & Zahara patterns. Beautiful work ladies!
Until next time, happy sewing!

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