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!  🙂

 

 

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!