Work in Progress Wednesday – with a bonus tutorial!

Not your usual WIP today, because today is about tracing and toiling and fitting.  I had a list of new patterns to trace for the girls, one pair of trousers, a blouse, sweatshirt, mini skirt, coat and sleeveless top.  I’ve got them all traced from their Burda magazines and decided to start with toiling the trousers and the coat first.  The coat is on both girls’ lists, and I’ve been wanting to make it since I saw it in the February Burda last year!

psx_20180925_2246075638386345477804891.jpg
A whole lot of tracing!

The trousers are 101 from December 2017.  Daughter No2 fell for the shape and the ruffle on the hem.  The fabric chosen to make them up is from the stash, some dark stretch denim left over from a pair of Birkin Flares that I made for myself.  I traced the 36 & 38 and toiled the 36, graded to the 38 over the hip.  When the toile was tried on though, it wasn’t necessary, so I pinned it out and adjusted the pattern accordingly.

collage pants fit

What we did need to do though was add pockets!!  You need pockets, just like ladies love them in their dresses, we love them in trousers!  So I drew an outline of where it would need to be directly on the toile while daughter no2 was still in them.  She decided the angle, width and depth of the pocket and I drew around her hand.

collage pants fit 2
side and rear views

The other adjustment I needed to make was to take a horizontal dart out of the trousers below the bum.

DSC_0082
Narrow dart in the back leg to remove some wrinkling and sagging

The pockets are welt pockets on a slight angle.  The welt is 1cm finished depth, the pocket opening is 12.5cm.  The pocket lining will be cut from a thinner, cotton fabric while the bag will be from the denim, so you only see denim when the pocket is opened.  I rather like this sort of pocket in trousers, it’s nice and neat.

So if you’re worried about welt pockets, here’s how I made these, after the trouser toile was already fully constructed, which is not really ideal!

collage welt pocket

  1. Attach welt, 5mm seam allowance.
  2. Pin pocket bag right side down to attachment line.
  3. Sew exactly on the line, start and stop exactly in the corners.

collage welt pocket 2

  1. Cut through the pants halfway between each sewing line, cutting triangles at the ends and ensuring to snip to, but not through, the stitching.
  2. Turn pocket bag to the inside and press well, turn welt up and press seam allowance well.
  3. Ensure the triangles are pushed to the inside as well.

collage welt pocket 3

  1. Pin the pocket lining to the welt seam allowance.
  2. Stitch from the trouser side so you can see your original stitch line and stitch on that line or only just off it.
  3. Press well and close the pocket, either with pins or basting stitch.

collage welt pocket 4

  1. Pin the pocket lining to the bag.
  2. Stitch along stitch line.
  3. Moving the trouser piece out of the way to reveal the triangles, welt and pocket pieces below, stitch across the triangle and secure well.

collage welt pocket 5

  1. Sitch the pocket pieces together around the edge, ensure you secure the lower triangle and welt in the seam.
  2. Pin the top and sides of the pocket to the top and sideseams of the trouser pieces.
  3. Remove the pins and admire your new pocket!

I know a lot of people are scared of welt pockets, mostly because you have to cut through your fabric, and what if you’ve made a mistake!?  The thing with these pockets is to be precise and careful.  Make sure you mark very carefully the placement and or attachment lines onto the fabrics, using whichever method you prefer.  The critical thing that I learnt was to be exact on the start and stop points, you have to mark those very clearly.  It also helps to baste everything instead of relying on pins, because the fabric will still move.  But they’re do-able!  Practise on scrap fabrics until you’re more confident with your methods, but don’t avoid them, they look great!

Now I’m off to toile more patterns.  I might even squeeze in another project for myself before the end of the month.  I fancy a new shirt.

Can you put an invisible zip into a French seamed seam? Of course you can!

This was a question posed on twitter last week, and I replied yes, you can, but it’s hard to convey just how to get it done well in 140 characters.  So while I was making up a Gabriola for Daughter No2 in chiffon, I thought I’d photograph the process of inserting the invisible zip with a French seam.  Strapped in?  Here goes!

First of all, stabilise and support the fabric to carry the zip.  If you’re using a French seam in your fabric, chances are it’s fine, soft and not very strong.  I used a 3cm wide strip of a fine sheer polyester fusible.  You can buy the same interfacings that I use from Gill Arnold via the post.  Then sew in the zip as you usually would.  Once it’s in, the fun can begin.

Stabilise the area behind the zip & insert as normal.
Stabilise the area behind the zip & insert as normal.

Snip the seam to the zip stop mark or the base of the zip stitching.  Make sure you do not snip past the limit of the seam allowance, or you’ll be in trouble later.

snip, snip, snip!
snip, snip, snip!

Now you can align the seam edges together, with wrong sides together and sew the first part of the French seam, from the hem up to the snip.  Trim that 1cm seam down to just under 5mm, neatly.  Press to one side and turn the fabric over to enclose the raw edges and sew the remaining 5mm of the French seam.  Work from the hem up to the zip stop and sew as far as you can with the machine.

Sew the French seam from the hem up to the zip
Sew the French seam from the hem up to the zip

The last part of the French seam needs to come as close to the zip stitching as possible, without distorting the seam.  You will probably have a gap of at least 5mm.  This isn’t a problem, you’ll stitch that shut from the outside by hand.

Finishing off the seam & zip
Finishing off the seam & zip

I use a ladder stitch to close the hole, going up and down the ladder a couple of times to make sure the stitching is strong enough to survive Daughter No2 yanking the zip down too hard!

The finished zip & French seam from the right side.
The finished zip & French seam from the right side.

I hope that helps anyone wanting to use a French seam and invisible zip.  It’s a technique I’ve used a lot and it seems to work fairly well for me.  I’ve just about finished the skirt now, just waiting to see how much of the hem needs to be chopped to make it even.  I am hoping to be able to submit it and a Renfrew for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Fan Girl category in Indie Pattern Month.  If I get the hem sorted in time & I’m happy with it, look out for it to vote!  🙂

 

 

How to Make a Wiggle Skirt – Veronica

Here it is then, a tutorial to make your own Veronica wiggle skirt.  Now bear in mind that this is just the way I did my pattern.  Every patterncutter has their own methods.  This one works for me.  There will be some re-working required, all depending on exactly what you want to end up with, so be prepared to change measurements, angles & distances – and making more than one toile!

Firstly, trace off your skirt block.  If you don’t have one yet, here are some instructions. The length will be up to you, but should be a decent length to “wiggle” in!  I made Veronica 68cm long, from the waist.  Daughter No2 is pretty tall though, so go for a length that hits you just below the knee for a good look.

Your traced skirt block should look something like this:

Your traced skirt block, fitted and altered to your figure.
Your traced skirt block, fitted and altered to your figure.

Step 1:

The first thing I did was to change the shape of the skirt.  I took 2.5cm off the hem line on each side seam and about 1cm at the hip line.  I joined the hem point to the hip point and then up tot he original line at the waist.  This gives an overall tighter fit as you are removing some of the ease over the hip.  I also moved the back seam in 1cm.  This came to a point approximately 10-12cm below the hip line.  Made sure when you are doing this that your lines flow easily & there are no jerky joins to original seam lines.  Also, may I remind you at this point there are no seam allowances on this pattern.  All the lines you are drawing are going to be your stitching lines – seam allowances will be added at the end.

Altering the side & back seams
Altering the side & back seams

Step 2:

Now to move the dart & change the angle of it.  I wanted the dart to angle towards the hip & to be further from the side seam to accommodate the pocket.  I moved the dart position towards the centre by 3cm and shortened it by 3cm.  The original dart was 10cm long, but I didn’t want the pocket to be that low down.  Also, the style line had to be altered, so when redrawing the dart I didn’t keep it on the same plane as the original.  The left leg of the dart runs almost parallel to the centre front.  The dart is still the same width, 2cm.

Moving the dart.
Moving the dart.

Step 3:

Drawing in the stlye line of the pocket.  I started about 5cm up from the hip line and played with various combinations of angles to get this right.  It really will be up to you as to where it all ends up, but the sketch shows where my pocket eventually ended up.  I did two toiles to get this to just the right place, so maybe you could start by drawing on a toile to get the correct placement for you.  The base of the dart will be the jumping off point for the pocket, so think about the angles between the right dart leg, the pocket opening line & the return.  the dart legs will become seams for the skirt front & the hip yoke pocket piece, eliminating the dart as such.

Adding the pocket.
Adding the pocket.

Step 4:

Trace off the pocket pieces as seperate items.  You will have a hip yoke pocket piece, a pocket bag & the skirt front & the back.  The red lines on my pattern here are the cutting lines.  Remember to add notches, grainlines and name the pattern pieces!  Also, at this point you will need to add seam allowances.  Add 1.5cm everywhere and don’t forget the hem.  For a good weight on a skirt like this add 3-4cm.

The finished pattern pieces, all ready for seams & sewing!
The finished pattern pieces for Veronica, all ready for seams & sewing!


 
If you have any queries, please comment below.  Have fun now!  🙂

***EDIT***

I am working on making this pattern available as a pdf download.  If you’d be interested, please leave a comment below.

Know “You” Better

And now for my next trick..  Hang on, “where’s the jacket??” you ask.  Well.  It’s not Autumn anymore, is it?  I took too long in getting started, especially after the comments on the last post regarding busy pattern vs stylelines.  Too much dithering!  I’ll have it for next year, no worries!

Anyways, when the November issue of Burda landed in my sticky little fingers, I bookmarked a few patterns I wanted to make, then bemoaned the fact that all the styles I wanted would mean having to go fabric shopping!  Just my luck hu?  All the fabric in my stash, and none were right for the patterns I wanted to make.  Then I dug a little further (never just look in the first two boxes) and found the blue and ecru flower print viscose I had bought from Tatler’s Fabric in Derby in the beginning of the year.  This stuff..

Blue & ecru floral print viscose

This fabric has the most beautiful drape and handle, and the viscose makes the colours just sing, rather like silk.  It’s fabulous!  So, fabric in hand, which pattern to start with…  I went with this one, (Burda 108 from 11/2012)  it has my favourite sleeve detail, 3/4 length with puff and just a teeny binding as the cuff.  Pattern traced, toile done..  urgh!  I knew the neckline wouldn’t work on me, I had planned to alter that anyway, but the rest of it…  Oh my!  I made my usual Burda size, but this was too long, too wide and way too unflattering!  This is it after my adjustments – please excuse the fabric, it’s a toile, and this was cheap!

My fiddled with and partly adjusted burda pattern toile. Trust me, it was worse before!

I chopped 10cm off the bottom, took in the side seams, made the front dart bigger and made darts in the back to give it some shape.  I don’t mind a “casual fit”, but I don’t wear tents!  Anyways, by the time I’d done all that and still wasn’t happy I realised my short-cut cheating was no short cut.  So I got out my pattern cutting stuff and started to make my own pattern.  Just goes to show, you have to know what suits you.

I photographed the process, but I don’t think my pencil scribblings are going to be the clearest.  So here goes, a tutorial if you want to make your own version.  You will need to trace off your close-fitting bodice block and one piece sleeve block.  First step is to draw on the buttonstands and facings for the concealed button fly.  I used the same measurements as the Burda pattern for this part.  Then you need to move the shoulder dart into the waist dart and plan the neckline.

Transfer shoulder dart to waist dart
Draw in waist dart shape
Plan neckline.

I wanted a lower neckline than the jewel neck that was on the Burda pattern, and I didn’t want the narrow bias binding either.  I thought I’d use the idea of the wider bias “sash and bow” of style 109, but not so wide.  The bias strip I used was 3cm wide, so I planned the neckline to include this.

Planning the back neckline

The back is pretty simple for now, this is the 3cm wide strip that will be cut off for the bias binding.

Line for raglan sleeve – back

Next step is planning the raglan.

Draw a line 1cm above the shoulder line on the back.  This will be the new shoulder line.  Make a mark 3cm down from the neck point along the neckline.  On the back, draw a line from this point to the back balance point.

On the front, draw a new line 1cm below the original shoulder line.

Front raglan

Then make a mark 3cm down from the neckpoint again, and move the front balance point 3cm up the armhole line.  Draw a line from the new balance point to the mark you made on the neckline.  Make this line, and the one on the back, slightly curved.

Raglan sleeve, new centre line and front and back parts added.

Now for the sleeve.  On the sleeve pattern, move the centre line 1cm to the right.  Now cut off the raglan pieces on the Front and Back pattern pieces and lay them onto the top of the sleeve head.  The front and back armhole balance points need to join, and the new shoulder lines must touch the sleeve head.

I’m sorry this photo is a little fuzzy.  For this design there is no dart at the top of the raglan, the space between the front and back section is gathered.  So draw a slightly curved line along the top, joining the front and back.  Now divide the underarm line into 4 equal sections and slash and spread to get the width for the ballooning at the sleeve hem.  I also dropped the hem line at the back section by 0.75cm.  I used 1.5cm at the back, 2cm in the centre and 1cm on the front.  I also kept the curved hem shape as the sleeve is finishing below the elbow.  I also needed to widen the sleeve at the bicep level.  This is a fitting adjustment I do all the time.

Finished sleeve.

The cuff for the sleeve stayed much the same, 4cm wide (including allowances) and 33cm long.  The necktie was 75cm long, and 8cm wide, including allowances.  It could have been longer, but I am happy with the length of the free part.  It’s long enough to make a decent floppy bow, and also safe enough that if it comes untied, I won’t end up cutting it, sewing it or stirring it into my soup!

I must also add that I used a 1.5cm dart in the back pattern piece to add shaping to the back waist, the side seams had 1.5 shaping on the back and 2.5 on the front.  The bodice block is drafted to the hip, about 20cm below the waist.  I generally find this is too long for me for shirts, so chopped off 5cm, and then made a curved shirt hem, going up at the sides by 3cm.  A shaped hem is so much more flattering than a flat one.  The front dart ended up being 6.5cm at the waist and 11 at the hem.  This gives a nice straight look the the front, also makes more vertical lines, which help with the slimming effect!

Here are all the pieces then.  I hadn’t added the fullness to the sleeve, nor had I shaped the hem at this point.  I wanted to see how it all looked before doing more fiddling, and the Burda sleeve wasn’t flared, so I wanted to see just how much puff there would be in the sleeve.

All the pieces

So this is a pic of the toile of my pattern using the above pattern pieces.  I then altered the hem and made the sleeve fuller. I think it’s so much better than the commercial pattern!  And even better after I’d made the adjustments, but that’s another post!  😀

My version of Burdastyle #108 11/2012

Sorry, no smiling!  I was concentrating on getting the pic in focus with no shaking!  I do like it though.

So here’s my gorgeous fabric cut and ready…

A pile of fabulousness…

It’s all made up now, I’ll get photos out when Daughter No2 gets home from school.

May I recommend some listening material?  I have in my possession an already much played new release from a South African band, Prime Circle.  (Thanks to my brother for special delivery-ing it to me by very fast airmail!) Their 5th album, Evidence has to be their best yet.

Rise Above This

Ok, so the 2 for 1 jacket finally has a name!  Sometimes you just need some space and good music to get the ball really rolling.  And I have to confess to having a most bizzar collection of tunes.  The one that got my steam up was Seether’s, Rise Above This.  Does anyone else listen to music while they sew?  I cannot work when it’s quiet.  So here is the rest of the jacket.  I must also confess that I sort of lost track of taking photos as I got more and more into the making up process!  Oops!  I will be better next time, promise!

I had left of the last time at the shoulder stage, ready for the collar. The under collar is cut on the bias in two pieces, and is slightly smaller than the top collar.  If you have a pattern that uses the same pattern piece for both, trace it off and put a seamline down the centre back of the under-collar and change the grainline to bias.  Add between 2.5 and 5mm on the outside edges of the upper-collar to allow for turn of cloth.  Do not be tempted to just make the under-collar smaller.  I interfaced the under collar with weft insertion on the bias, then sewed the two together at the centre back.  To ensure a good stand, I use a fusible canvas on the under collar.  This is cut without seam allowance, on the bias.  The upper collar gets a lighter interfacing, I used the fine sheer, but if you find your collar is not keeping shape, you could reinforce with some fusible canvas.

Under collar showing interfacing, already applied to jacket neckline

I clip the neck edge of the jacket at approx. 1.5cm intervals to the stay stitch line and then pin the collar on from the centre out – from the jacket side, not the collar side.  the clipping helps to open out the curve and allows for easing.  When you sew the under-collar on, start and stop exactly on the podmark for the collar attachment on the neckline.  Next pin the upper collar to the under collar, taking care to line up the outside edges.  Because you have cut the upper larger than the lower you will have to ease the extra in.  Pin parallel to your edge, instead of perpendicular as this will help to avoid catching tucks.  Then snip the neckline edge of the facing and sew the upper collar to the facing.  There will be a teeny tiny gap at the junction of the collars and the revers.  This you hand hand-stitch closed.  Layer your collar and neckline seams and press them open over a ham.

Upper and under-collars in place, seams trimmed and pressed open

Now we come to the part where I got carried away with the making and forgot to take pictures!  With the collar done you can sew up the side seams of the jacket and do the sleeves.  The sleeve heads should be interfaced with a crescent shape, 10cm deep at the centre.  You can’t see all of this so clearly on my sleeves because I inserted a contrast pleat panel.

One piece sleeve with contrast pleat back showing interfacing on sleeve-head

And that was my run of photos!!  I will take some of the next jacket I do, from the sleeve stage onwards, promise!!  Basically from here on the sleeve seams need to be joined, and the gathering stitch on the head.  Now for jackets you can follow the normal 2 rows of gathering stitch, or try something different.  I do one line of gathering, 2cm from the edge of the fabric.  I ease the fullness along this line, making sure there is no actual gathering, no tucking or puckering.  What I am after is for the sleeve head to form the sort of shape it will have when in the armhole.  When the shape is right, I pin it into the armhole from the sleeve side.  Once the sleeve is in, I use an interfaced bias cut strip, about 5cm wide of jacket fabric and fold in half lengthways.  Then this is sew into the sleeve head to support the cap.

I was going to try to continue without pictures, but I don’t think it is working!!

Here is the finished garment!

The finished jacket.

It was a rather windy day to take photos, I kept getting hair in my eyes, or my mouth!  there are more pictures on Burdastyle, until I pop more on this blog, but they will be in their own post.

And I promise to take a better photographic record the next time! 😀

2 for 1 jacket update

While I was “away” making curtains and doing alterations and making nice things for other people, this project was burning a hole in the back of my mind!  Now the new year is here, the kids are back at school and making for others has quietened down a bit, I can finally get cracking again.  I decided to track the progress of this jacket, to show the internal workings of speed tailoring a jacket.

First things first, if you have a wool or wool blend fabric, you need to prepare it.  During the making the fabric will be subject to a lot of heat and steam, and it will inevitably shrink.  There are different ways of going about this.  Usually I cut a  10x10cm piece, zigzag or overlock the edges and pop into a basin of warm water.  If the water doesn’t get absorbed, there is a coating on the fabric, and it will need to be dry cleaned.  If water is absorbed, pop it in the washing machine on a cool, woolens or handwash cycle.  Then check it, has it shrunk?  Has the finish/feel of the fabric changed?  Has the colour run?  If the answer is yes to any of these, dry clean only!  For preparation you will need to steam this fabric.  If not, you can wash it.  Now some fabrics can be shoved in the machine, and others need a different approach.  (Most of the wool I buy gets the machine wash.)

I have a cashmere that is definitely not going in the machine.   I dampened down 2 double flat sheets (you could use old duvet covers) and sandwiched the wool between them.  I rolled the whole lot up like a Swiss Roll and left for the damp to get through the wool.  Then opened it up and draped over a balustrade/handrail.  If you have to use the washline, first cover the wire with a towel, and if possible, drape over two lines, not just one.  Leave to dry, then dry iron to remove creases.  Iron on the wrong side, and check for any imperfections.  Mark these so you can avoid the area when laying out the pattern pieces.

It really is worth taking time when preparing wool for a jacket.  The fabric is rarely cheap, and considering the amount of time you will take to put the item together, it will be pretty soul-destroying to have it go wrong.

Your next job is the interfacing.  I use a speed tailoring jacket pack that I get from Gill Arnold.  On this particular wool I have used her Weft insertion on the jacket shell and the fine sheer fusible on the facings.  I have also used some iron on canvas, and some non-iron canvas.  I interfaced the “T-zone” and all the hem edges with the weft insertion.  This covers all the areas of the jacket that are put under strain or will be sat on and crinkled!  Then I made up the fronts and back.

The next step was to apply a fusible cotton tape to the front seam, this prevents stretching on the front seam.  It is applied about 5mm in from the fabric edge and if you have a curve at the bottom, you will need to snip into it to take the corner.  Once that was done, I made the canvas chest pieces.  This is done to plump out the hollow in the chest that women have just below the shoulder.  You will need the non-iron canvas and some weft insertion for this part, and each pattern needs a different shape chest piece.

The pieces are cut on the bias.  The weft insertion interfacing is a different size to the canvas.  It is 1cm larger on the armhole side, and 2.5cm larger on the neckline side.  Fuse the canvas to the weft insertion, taking care not to attach the overlapping interfacing to anything.  Trim the top corners, cut a box 1×2.5cm and 2.5×2.5cm.  Place the chest piece on the jacket front with the armhole side on the edge of the fabric and fuse the overlapping interfacing to the jacket on both sides.

Preparing the canvas chest piece
Chest piece fused in place
Taped breakline

Next fuse cotton tape to the breakline of the rever.  This helps the rever to fall in the right place, and to stay there!  There is no need for padstitching the create the fall. Now staystitch the neckline on the facings, jacket front and back.

Once that is done, pin on the facing.  The facing is between 2.5mm and 5mm bigger/wider than the front on the rever up to the breakpoint only.  This is to accommodate the turn of cloth.  You don’t want to see the seamline or any of the fabric from the front rever peaking out.  The fabric needs to be manipulated carefully so you don’t get any puckering, pinch the excess at the corner and pin the “blister”.

Sew the front facing on from the podmark for the collar join to the hem.  Snip the seam allowance at an angle at the breakpoint and layer the seams.  Trim both of the seam allowances down by 5mm.  Then trim the seam allowance of the front facing by a further 5mm.  The rever needs to be trimmed too, but trim the front by a further 5mm, and not the facing.  Press the seams open and then  flat.  Ensure you roll the fabric when steaming so there is no seamline showing.

layered seams
Seam layering on front and facing front

Now for the shoulder seams.  Pin the canvas away from the shoulder line and pin the fronts to the back.  Stitch and press open over a sleeve roll.  Remove the pins from the canvas and let it extend past the seamline onto the back.  Turn the right way round and put your hand under the shoulder seam.  Pin along the seamline, going through all the jacket layers as well as the canvas.  Turn to the inside and pin the back seam allowance to the canvas.  remove the pins from the outside and then stitch the canvas to the seam allowance, close to the shoulder seam line.

Canvas pinned back, shoulder seam sewn and pressed open
Canvas extended over back seam allowance and pinned from right side
Canvas stitched to seam allowance, close to original seamline

So that’s the body of the jacket, ready for the collar and then the sleeves.  Happy sewing until next time!

Panel Skirt patterns

From the search engine referrals, there seem to be a lot of requests for panelled skirt patterns.  I am guessing this is because of the skater skirt tutorial!  Please leave me a comment if you want a tutorial on how to do these, and how many panels you are after.  If there are other pattern cutting tutorials you want, please let me know, and I will do my best to get them online for you.