FBA Without a Dart

Last year I made a jacket from one of the Kana’s Standard books, and made a dartless FBA, a technique I used again this year when I added a FBA to my LB Pullover.  I’ve been asked for a tutorial on how to accomplish this on a couple of occasions now, but I really lacked the time to do it.  However, I needed to trace the pullover pattern again and reinstate the bust adjustment, so I figured that was as good a time as any to photograph the process and do a little tutorial.  Bear in mind though, that this technique works for me, it might not for you!  This is just my way, and I’m sure there are other methods out there.

Start by figuring out how much you need to add.  With this pattern I didn’t need to add excess width, just depth to avoid the drag lines.  So I cut the front piece from just under the shaping for the sleeves and angled upwards to roughtly the bust point and then went across the front, perpendicular to the centre front line.  I added a piece of paper to the top piece, measured 3cm down (the depth I’d figured out I needed) and drew a line parallel to the line I’d initially cut, then taped the bottom pattern piece to that line, ensuring the centre front line was straight.  The next step was to draw a line from the bust point, which in my case was 12cm from the CF line & halfway through the added 3cm, to the hemline.  Then draw a dart from the bust point to encompass the added width at the side seam.  Cut up one of the dart legs and down the line you’ve just drawn to the hemline.

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1. Add the fba, or length. 2. Mark the bust point or apex. 3. Draw line from apex to hem, draw dart from added width. 4. Cut up dart leg & down line from pust point.

Now close the dart in the paper by pivoting at the apex, this opens a dart from the bustpoint to the hem.  Tape a piece of paper in that gap.  Measure along the hemline to establish the width of the dart.  This will need to be removed at the side seam.  Mark the same measurement in from the side seam, along the hemline.  Draw a line from the now closed side-seam dart to the mark on the hemline.  This will be your new side seam.

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1. Close dart in side seam. 2. Measure new dart width. 3. Mark that width on hemline from side seam. 4. Draw new side seam.

Check the length of the new side seam by placing the back side seam along it, the side seams need to be the same length!  Chances are the new side seam will be a little longer than the back.  So mark where the back hemline comes to on the front and join that to the existing front hemline with a slow curve.  Cut off the old side seam along with any hem, this is basically the dart you added.  And that’s it!  Remember that if you’re lengthening anything that has a front opening and facings to that opening, to lengthen the facings too!!

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1. New side seam. 2. Check length of new front side seam against existing back side seam length. 3. Draw new hemline to meeet new side seam length. 4. Remove the dart!

I hope that’s all as clear as mud! 🙂  Happy sewing people, now I need to get cracking, I leave in a week and have LOADS to still get done before that!

Work in Progress Wednesday 2/19

Last week I found a bargain at a local charity shop – 3m of what I suspect is a wool and silk herringbone fabric in sage green and off white.  It was just hanging on a hanger in the curtains and duvet covers section, looking sad and unwanted.  Well, not by me!  It didn’t take me long to decide I was having it, even though all I’d gone in for was a couple of books.

I popped it in the washing machine straight away and let it dry.  It was when I ironed it that I thought it might have a silk content, and a bleach test on the fibres confirmed that.  Woo!  But what to make??  I didn’t think too long, I realised it would be perfect to make another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers B-a.  Not for now, it’s too cold, but for the spring they’d be great!  I though I could line them, or have a Hong Kong finish on the seams, put in jetted or welt pockets at the back instead of the patch pockets – and generally just fancy them up a bit.  All because the fabric was so nice!

The fabric frays quite badly, so the first thing was to overlock all the edges and then interface where necessary asap.  I don’t always interface the hip yoke pocket opening, but on this stuff with it’s tendency to wiggle around, interfacing was definitely called for.  The pocket facing in understitched and then I topstitched too – just to make sure it was all secure and wouldn’t stretch out when I over use the pockets.

green trousers 1
Interfacing on the opening edges of the hip yoke pockets

Hong Kong finish was scrapped, this fabric is too drapey and that would stiffen the seams too much.  I also didn’t line them in the end because the colour needed didn’t exist in the stash with enough meterage.  I didn’t want to buy anything, it would cause delays (shock – horror!) and I’m trying (not very hard!) not to buy stuff!!  Oh dear, that didn’t last long, did it??

But I did make fancy pockets on the back!  I cut the standard patch pocket out of the outer fabric, and another from the limited lining.  Then I cut 2 bias strips 6cm wide by 16cm long.  I wanted narrow jetted pockets, possibly with a loop and button to hold them closed.  For the loop I cut a bias strip 15cm long and 3cm wide.  This I fed through a bias tape gadget and then folded double and topstitched shut.  Much easier than making a strip and then trying to turn through.  I just knew this fabric wouldn’t like that very much.

collage green trousers 1
Starting the jetted pocket

To construct the pocket, these are the steps I followed.  First, interface the bias strip for the welts, then interface the fabric on the trouser piece, wider and longer than the pocket opening.  I drew a line with blue chalk down the middle of the bias strip – on the wrong side, marking the begining and end of the pocket opening.  Then I stitched, starting and ending exactly on those markings with the edge of my sewing machine foot on the blue line, one line on either side of the centre marking.  Next, I cut down that centre line and cut diagonally to the end of the stitching.  Make sure you cut straight!  You don’t need to stitch a box, in fact, that can hamper things.

collage green trousers 2.jpg
Making the welts

Now turn one side at a time up and press well, all along the fold.  Once that’s done, turn the bias strip to the inside and press those little triangles back well. Now you have to use the “seam allowance” as the “stuffing” for the welt, and fold the bias strip down to the inside over it.  Make sure you’re folding straight and accurately, it will show on the outside if you don’t.  Pin and press and baste as you feel necessary to get the right shape/line.  Make sure the welts aren’t overlapping or smiling at you, the folded edges should be touching “kissing”, as my tutor used to say.  Now you can stitch in the ditch along the length of the welts.  Then turn it all upside down, fold back those triangles and stitch along the fold, securing the edges in well.  Now you’re ready for the pocket bags.

collage green trousers 3
Finishing off the welts

Start with the lining, line the fabric up with the bottom edge of the bias strip on the lower welt, right side of lining to wrong side of trouser.  Lift the seam allowance up and pin and stitch from the welt side, not the lining side.  I tend to stitch twice, once roughtly down the middle of the allowance, this could be called either a holding stitch, or a reinforcement stitch, it does both jobs!  Then I go back and stitch again as close to the welt stitchline as I can.  Fold the lining down and press well.  If you’re going to use a button loop, now’s the time to get it in.

collage green trousers 4
Adding the pocket lining

Mark the centre of the pocket opening and pin the loop to the inside of the welt, centred on that marking.  (I usually use a pin to mark.)  Again, lift up the allowance and stitch the loop to the bias strip.  Now you need to whipstitch the welts together.  This keeps the pocket closed while you fiddle in the inside sewing the pocket bags together.  Now line up the pocket fabric with that allowance and stitch as you did for the lining, right side of pocket fabric to wrong side of trousers.  Once you’re done, smooth the pocket bags down and line up the sides.  You will have a longer lining piece than pocket bag, just trim it to the same length, pin all round and stitch.  I then overlocked the pocket bags together.

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Finishing off

All that’s left is to sew on your button, and voila!  You have a fancy pocket!  Now I just need weather suitable to wear these in, it’s a bit chilly here at the mooment, but not half as cold as it is in the States!  Keep warm guys!!

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!

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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.

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side and rear views

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

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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!  🙂

 

 

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!