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.

How to make a Skater Skirt

Two posts in a week!!  I think it is about time I did some catching up!  😀  Here are the instructions to make the pattern for a skater skirt, using the tailored skirt block from the previous tutorial.  This pattern will give you a 12 panelled skirt.

Skater Skirt

Step 1

Trace off the skirt block as one piece.  Move the side seam to the centre of the block.  Divide the block along the hip line into 6 equal parts and draw lines from the top to the bottom of the block to make the panels.  Make sure these are at right angles to the hip and hem line.  The red lines in the drawing are the original block lines, the blue ones are the new lines for the pattern.

Step 1

Step 2

Draw a dotted line parallel to the waist and hip line, 14cm down from the waistline.  Construct new darts on the panel lines to touch this line.  Ignore the old darts (the ones in red on this drawing).  The darts on the back panel lines are 2.5cm each, and the front darts are 1.5cm each.  Add 1cm to the back and front side seams and draw a new curved line to the hip point.

Step 2

Step 3

Decide where the skirt will sit at the waist, whether you are having a straight waistband, a shaped waistband or a facing.  Also decide on the finished length.  For this project I dropped the waist line by 2cm and made the skirt 40cm long overall.  Mark the length – don’t worry to add a hem allowance at this point, it is better to have the finished length when you toile it up.  Adjust the waistline accordingly.

Step 3

Step 4

Cut along the new waistline.  Number the panels and add grainlines perpendicular to the hipline on each panel.  Cut off the bottom at the new hemline.

Step 4

Step 5

Mark a facing 5cm deep on the pattern and trace this off, including the markings for the darts.  Cut the facing and close the darts to make a curved pattern shape.  Mark the centre front and back, and for a skirt with a side zip, label the centre lines as being placed on a fold.  You will need to add a seam allowance to the side seam of each facing piece, as well as to the top.  Standard seam allowance is 1.5cm.

Step 5

 Step 6

Cut up the panel lines of the skirt.  Stick paper down each side of the panels and add 3-5cm (or more if you want a really full skirt) to each side of each panel piece.  Add seam allowance to the top and sides of each panel, but leave the hem for now.  The pieces I show have had the fulness added from the dotted line that was 14 cm down from the waistline.  You could also use the hipline as the start point.  This would make the skirt more fitting to the hip, only flaring from there.  You need to decide where you would like the fullness to start.  I have shown a 4cm flare at the hemline.

Step 6

So that is your pattern.  For making up, it is easier to make the whole front and back, and then to attach them at the side seams.  Remember to leave the left side seam open to the hipline for a zip.  Sew the front and back facing together at the right side seam.  Attach the facing to the top edge of the skirt, clip and understitch.  Interface the facing.  At the toile stage you can finalise the finished length, then add the hem allowance to the paper pattern.  For this skirt 2cm should be sufficient.  The fuller the skirt the more difficult it will be to hem with a deep allowance.

I would love to see the skirts made using this tutorial, so please post them, either on Burdastyle or Pinterest, with a link back here.  Happy pattern cutting!

Drafting a Skirt Block

The straight skirt block is the basic skirt pattern,  from which pretty much all other skirt patterns are made.  This tutorial is based on the method in Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting.  I have included the two size tables for your reference.  You do not need to take every measurement!!  For skirts take your waist and hip measurement (if you are not sure where or how to do this, check here).  Compare your measurements with the table and get your waist to hip measurement from the table.  If you have different sizes don’t stress too much, the waist to hip doesn’t vary that much, so go by the one for your hip measurement.

Charts

Measurement table
Measurement table for Mature figures and adjustments for tall or petite

So, armed with your waist, hip and waist to hip measurement you can begin.

Step 1.

You will be starting with a rectangle.  Draw a line roughly parallell to the top edge of your paper.  Put a small line and a #1 on the left of the line.

1 – 2:  Measure along the line 1/2 of your hip measurement, plus 1.5cm.  Make a mark and  lable it #2.

1 – 3:  This line MUST be 90 degrees to the line 1 – 2.  Finished shirt length.  For the purposes of a block, make this knee length, so make this line about 50cm long, and mark the end with a #3.

3 – 4:  Is the same as the measurement 1 – 2.  Again, make sure all your lines are straight and at right angles to each other.

2 – 4:  Close the rectangle.

Step 1 - The Rectangle

Step 2.

1 – 5:  Waist to hip measurement from the table.  Mark #5 and draw a line across the block to intersect 2-4.  Mark this point #6.

5 – 7:  1/4 of your hip measurement, plus 1.5cm.  Mark #7 and draw a line down to the hem for #8.

Step 2

Step 3:

1- 9:  1/4 of your waist measurement, plus 4.25cm.  Mark #9 and draw a short line up.  #10 is 1.25cm up this line.

Draw a dotted line from #1 to #10.  Divide this line into 3 equal parts and mark points # 11 and #12.  Draw lines from these points at right angles.  The line from #11 is 14cm long.  Mark point # 13 at the end.  The line from #12 is 12.5cm long.  Mark point # 14.

Step 3

Step 4:

Draw darts on the two lines from #11 and #12, 2cm wide.  (that’s 1cm on each side of the central line)

2 – 15:  1/4 your waist measurement plus 2.25cm.  Mark #15 and draw a line up.  #16 is 1.25cm up this line.

#17 is a third of the measurement 16 – 2.  Draw a line from #17, 10cm long.  Mark point # 18 at the end.

Step 4

Step 5:

Draw a dart 2cm wide on the line from #17.

Find the halfway point of the lines from #7 to #10 & 16.  Mark a point 0.5cm out from this point on each line.  Draw a curved line from #10 to #7, and #16 to #7.  Make sure these lines touch the point you just marked and that they flow easily to the straight line from #7 to #8.

Draw a slow curve from #1 to #10 and #2 to #16.

Add notations, Back, Front and centres.

Step 5

At this point, also add your name, the date, and the measurements you used, ie, hip and waist.  This will come in handy when you want to check whether or not the block still fits you later on!  So now you have a half skirt.  To do the next step, you need to ink in the outer lines, the line from 7-8 and the darts.  Then use tracing paper and trace out each skirt piece separately, so you have a front and a back.  Cut the front out on a fold and cut 2 back pieces.  Remember that the block has NO SEAM ALLOWANCE!!  So add to the side seams and the centre back.  Also remember to leave the centre back open from waist to hip so you can get it on!  Keep this pattern uncut.  If you need to make adjustments, use coloured pens to mark new lines, and DATE the adjustments.  Use the patterns you traced off this one to cut up, otherise you will have to make a block everytime you want a new pattern.  This is your template, keep it safe!

I will post the method I used to make the skater skirt next.

Happy drafting!  Any questions, just shout, and if I haven’t made anything clear enough, please let me know, and it will be fixed asap!

Back on Track – the Skirt

Despite finding that lovely Liberty fabric last week and wanting to make the dress, I have stuck it out and made a skirt.  I used Winnie’s Tailored Skirt block.  When I drafted the block I was aware that the hip curve might be a little poofy – something that Winnie’s skirts tend to do on some people.  I made a note to check this when I did the fitting.

Tailored Skirt Block

The block actually fits well, apart from the poofy bit on the side.  The side seams hang perpendicular to the floor, there is no pulling and no baggy bit at the back.  All I needed to do was to adjust the hipline curve where I pinned on the toile.

Tailored Skirt Toile
Tailored Skirt Toile
Hip Adjustment

Once the adjustment was marked on the pattern I started the adaptation for a 12 gore skirt.  I had decided to make a skater skirt without a gathered waist.  I wanted something fitted to the hip and flaring out gently.  I divided the front and back along the hipline into 3 and moved the darts on the back to line up with the panel lines, the darts were made a little bigger and to compensate for this I moved the side seam out from the hip to the waist by 1cm.  I did the same on the front and added a 2nd dart to go onto the 2nd panel.  I marked the grainlines on the centre of each piece, labeled them and cut them up.  I added 4cm flare to the hemline of each piece, on each side, tapering to a point 14cm below the waist on the panel seam.  I am not going to have a separate waistband, but will draft a facing.  The zip will go in the centre back seam.

Skirt Pattern With Style Lines Marked
Skater Skirt – Pattern Pieces

The toile of the skirt fits really well, I love the line of the flare.  I have 2 different fabrics to make this in, one a lightweight beige linen with a white pinstripe, and the other a retro print cotton sateen.  It will be interesting to see how different the skirt looks with these two different fabrics.

Skater Skirt – Toile
Skater Skirt – Toile