THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

January 15, 2010

Pumping Up The Volume of a Flat Collar

From this partly shirred polyester taffeta fabric I made a blouse.

I drafted a princess line blouse with a large wide shawl collar to add some drama.

When the blouse was done and I tried it on I was not happy with the collar design and appearance, to me it appealed too flat . I wanted a more voluminous collar and although the fabric has a bit of volume itself due to the shirring it was not enough to my taste.

I shared my dilemma to my good friend and colleague Neeltje  to change the collar design into a more voluminous collar, and she remembered seeing a voluminous collar  in a pattern magazine “Knipmode” where the outer edge of the collar was flat and a narrow tape separated the ruffled upper collar part from the flat outer edge.

 I used my self drafted collar pattern and made a new one by using a so-called slash and spread method to add some volume.

Flat collar pattern

                                             volume collar pattern

Copied the collar pattern included the in and outer edge seam allowance and added 6 inches (15 cm) in length for a half pattern by slashing and spreading the pattern towards the outer edge only.

I also added 1 cm in width and used a scare ½ cm seam allowance for the outer edge.

 So I had to remove the neckline facing and the upper collar at the neckline.

I kept 1 inch (2,5 cm) wide from the  flat upper collar outer edge intact  and  basted it towards the under collar.

Copied the collar pattern included the in and outer edge seam allowance and added 6 inches (15 cm) in length for a half pattern by slashing and spreading the pattern towards the outer edge only.

I also added 1 cm in width and used a scare ½ cm seam allowance for the outer edge.

Since the outer edge of the upper collar will be flat the upper collar needs to be eased in for the extra length and the volume effect is due to the added width total 1 1/4 inch (3 cm).

Made a test sample from another piece of polyester taffeta fabric.

and made a  new voluminous upper collar.

I stitched the 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide bias tape on both outer edges with the new eased in upper collar lying underneath the tape butted at the flat cut off outer edge and finished the collar and facing as usual.

The bias tape and facings for the front, neckline, sleeve and blouse hem are

made using the same fabric but without the shirring (removed the elastic thread shirring with my seam ripper) because I wanted a smooth fabric for the facings and hems.

detail picture back side elastic shirring:

Facing center front:

                                  facing  hem:

The seams are finished with a three-thread serger and bound with a very lightweight nylon tape.

For a more dramatic way I can wear the blouse with the collar standing up:

  

I like my pumped up volume collar and it was worth the effort the work involved.

Flat collar versus voluminous collar:

December 29, 2009

Oh! The Things You’ll Sew

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,sewing — georgene @ 9:43 pm

There seems to be a boatload of glittery fabric, as always, at this time of year. I was at my local independant fabric store where this display confirmed my suspicions that heat transfer sequins are the glitter fabric of choice. I am having my own moment of agony with this fabric, and thought some of you might also be in the throes of working with it too.

 

I just finished the first half of my year as artist-in-residence as costumer in the Theatre Tech department at San Francisco School of the Arts.  The upcoming  production is Seussical: The Musical. There is a heavy Cirque de Soleil element in the show, as SOTA  has a circus arts program included in the dance department. All of the cast and crew are in full body unitards, so costuming this is whimsical and fun.

 Though many of the costumes are created by the students, I have been asked to make some of the principal characters. Imagine my horror when the director brought me 3 yards of this tissue thin lurex jersey with heat transfer sequins to make the Ringmaster’s tailcoat.

The first thing I did was block-fuse the entire yardage with a medium weight tricot fusible. For this task I put a beach towel on my cutting table, laid the sequin fabric face down with the fusible on top, fusing the 2 layers together. Only then did I cut the jacket. For the pattern I adapted a Burda menswear jacket from the 1980’s.

I fused an additional layer of weft insertion on the collar and lapel facing, as the fabric was still pretty soft and drapey. I used a matching color of cotton for the undercollar. I did tape the roll line and around the lapel edges just to give some kind of structure to this otherwise limp piece of goods.

The real problems started when I sat down to sew and the machine absolutely refused to stitch – missing stitches, gummed up needle –  all the nightmares you can imagine. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I remembered Diva Ann’s advice to use wax paper while sewing this kind of fabric. It worked like a charm.

Just tear away the wax paper and your seam is perfect.

I was amazed at how well this fabric tailored up.

To finish the edge of the tails I used a lurex flat border from an old sweater project that was a perfect match. Lurex fiber comes in standard colors, so I am guessing that this royal blue is the same, even though the sweater project had to be about 10 years ago. I am hoping that the director agrees with me that the unlined tails are a good thing  – just say no to lining this!

The bi-colored look for the Ringmaster is a nice touch added by the director. (Somewhere there is another pair of black/white boots just like these.) The hat is probably a Mad Hatter hat from Alice in Wonderland.

December 7, 2009

Sew your own ribbing fabric

For a lot of patterns you need a knit fabric, like a jersey or wool plus some ribbing to finish the sleeves or sew a neckband.

I know it can be difficult to find a matching ribbing for the knit fabric you want to use. I have bought cotton and acrylic ribbing in bright colors when I was making sweaters for my kids but I never found a wool ribbing.

If you can’t find the right matching ribbing you can make your own faux ribbing, using the same  knit fabric, and a twin needle.

I learned that technique from a Threads magazine article “RIBBING” FOR ANY KNIT FABRIC”
by Dorothy Amo back in 1996 April/May issue 64.

Years ago I made a wool jersey sweater and made the ribbing from the same fabric using a twin needle size 4.0×75

I made the neckband from a folded pin tucked piece of the wool.

After the pintucks were sewn I measured the needed wide and sewed the band together with a regular stitch and finished the outer edge and attached the band around the neckline with a 3 thread serger/overlocker.

I topstitched the band seam allowances around the neckline again with a twin needle.

For the sleeve cuffs I sewed pintucks for a length of 20 cm and finished both edges with a 3 thread serger and traced the part of the sleeves which I wanted in pintucks , sewed the ends together , attached to the sleeves and used 4 cm for the hem wide and hand stitched the hem since I did not want to use a visible line of stitching.

As you can see the sweater is old but it is only to show what is possible if you make the matching ribbing your self.

I made a new sample from a purple knit

I marked the knit fabric on 10 cm and starting to sew pin tucks, the wide between the pin tucks is 4 mm and I have 13 pin tucks for the 10 cm wide fabric which leaves me with 8 cm wide faux ribbing.

The size of the stitch length I used was 2,5 and the tension on high at 8. I used my normal sewing feet and set the needle on 4 towards the right.

I used my sewing foot as a guide for the previous sewn pin tuck.

wrong side

I used the sample to make a cuff for the sleeve .

The amount of stretch depends on the stretch factor and stretch recovery of the fabric plus the amount of pin tucks. In this case the cuff 10 cm wide and it can stretch towards 14,5 cm.

It is best to make a sample first.

but did not finished the edges as you can see inside the sleeve.

If you want to explore more about this sewing technique try to find a copy of Threads magazine issue 64 which shows detailed pictures and a lot more information.

   or find a copy of the “Book Sewing with Knits” by Connie Long , she also covers this type of sewing ribbing in her book.

December 3, 2009

Warm Winter Sheath Secret – Tricot Lining

Filed under: Fabric,Mary Beth,sewing — Mary Beth @ 3:44 pm

(Crossposted at The Stitchery)

I made this simple sheath in the early 2000’s.  I call it my walk to church dress because it is so warm. It’s only been washed by hand, never dry cleaned.

Front of Wool Jersey Sheath

It hangs ignored in the closet for most of the year until it becomes very cold outside.

"Old Faithful" Winter Sheath

I lined this wool jersey dress with nylon tricot and the tricot lining is what makes this dress so perfect for when the temperatures are at, or below, freezing.

The substantial, low static, and inexpensive tricot, a nylon knit, is from SewSassy.  This little company is a wonderful fabric and notions source and I’ve gotten excellent advice over the phone when I’ve needed it.  If you haven’t tried this sewing source you should do yourself the favor of adding them to your list of trusted suppliers.

I am not affiliated in any way with this shop, just one who, almost 10 years ago, purchased elastic that remains fresh and stretchy and this lovely 40 denier tricot in black and champagne.

But back then I was returning to sewing after many years without a sewing machine and I didn’t use commercial patterns.  All my sewing was based on patterns designed by me and generated using the pattern drafting software and there were no how-to instructions.  I relied on the training I had from growing up with my mother; and information I could get from the software’s message board.  I don’t think I had even joined Pattern Review yet since I didn’t use patterns.

So here I had rather scratchy wool jersey from FabricMartFabrics.com.  I had never sewn wool jersey before but I knew I didn’t want it next to my skin!  The tricot would feel so much better and it would stretch!

I dove in and lined this dress by joining the tricot to the dress at the neckline (Amazing, I remembered to  under stitch)

Inside of dress at the collar band

and hand hemmed the sleeves after serging the jersey and tricot together at the cut edges (I didn’t have any way to get a correct sleeve length at the flat pattern stage, oh my! and I was in love with my very first serger, a used Janome LOL)

Sleeve Hem - What a Mess!

and hemmed the bottoms separately

Machine Hemmed with Twin Needle and Wooly Nylon!

Today, I would worry more about the construction details like thread colors, stitch length and seam techniques but back then I was hurrying to finish for a function where I needed to wear it.  I remember stitching the sleeve hems in the hotel room.  You just never know when the inside stitching will need to be gorgeous!

Little did I know back then I’d be blogging this dress so that you could make something very warm this winter if needed.  But enough of my illiterate wanderings in the sewing desert that was my life:  the point of this post is:

Tricot: it’s not your old clingy slip, anymore

October 24, 2009

Vintage Menswear Pattern = Modern Knitted Jacket

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,Fashion,Mary Beth,Pattern Reviews — Mary Beth @ 2:24 pm

I had two pieces of fabric I wanted to use this Fall. One was 3 yards of 36″ wide cloque from the now closed Textile Studio and the other was 3 yards of rayon ribbing, both in a mauve-y pink.  These are difficult fabrics to work with and dictated the style, the sewing and each detail of what ever I would end up making.

The cloque would add width and visual weight to the silhouette so it couldn’t be a dress for me without making me shorter and wider than I already am.

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

It took me a long while to puzzle through how the fabric should be used, years really but I was determined this time because I craved working in this color.

But how should I use it????

It is a fairly formal fabric but my lifestyle does not call for formal anything.  I needed a pattern with simple lines and I needed a pattern that would put all that visual weight on my upper half.

I looked for a simple jacket

This vintage Le Cadran de la Mode pattern is on loan to me from Georgene’s extensive pattern collection:

Size 44 Mens Jacket American Style Blouson

Size 44 Men's Jacket "American Style" Blouson

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

The envelope contained all pieces except the collar.  It was drafted for a woven jacketing and had 2 piece sleeves.

Back of The Envelope

Back of The Envelope

The boxy shape seemed to be what I needed for this fabric and the pattern’s gathered and tabbed sides gave me the idea to use the ribbing for the lower edge and sleeves.  I had to test each design detail and machine stitch as I worked through the design of the jacket.

The  collar pattern piece (#6) is missing but is not a problem because fabrics I used for this jacket are nylon and rayon knits.  A knit ribbing collar can easily create it’s own stand and can fall nicely with little shaping from the cutting.  I measured the length of the neckline, folded the intended collar in two and cut the needed length with  a little wider flare for the collar tips.

In making up the collar from the rayon ribbing I found the tips needed to be rounded so I carefully created  the rounded ends.  Otherwise the ribbing creates an unattractive “stump” at the pointed ends.

Jacket on Form

Jacket on Form

As you can see I didn’t use all the cool pointed tabs and double welted pockets for my design.  My fabrics were the color I wanted to work with but they were not easy to sew.

The fabric choice governed the design right down to whether to use snaps or make buttonholes.  The snaps won out.

I did spend some time basting everything before using a narrow .5 zigzag stitch set at 3 mm in length to join everything together.  I also had to decrease the pressure of the presser foot by half to keep from dragging the bubbled surface of the outer fabric into lumps and bumps.

The inside is lined with pink powerdry from Malden Mills (now Polartek, LLC).  I used the silky side toward the body for easy on and off of the jacket.

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

I created a back facing to join to the front facing the pattern provided.  Both facings are interfaced with fusible Pro-Sheer from Fashion Sewing Supply and I found that pressing the fabric definitely changed it.

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

The pattern pieces had notches and circle and no seam allowances built in and interestingly enough I found that on the long, obviously meant to be straight edges the pattern pieces curved inward. I am speculating when I say that the curve may have been caused by the drag on the pattern paper when the long straight cuts were made. The straight front edges had them too, so I corrected in the layout as I worked.

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The layout of the sleeves was done so that the straight of the grain ran parallel to the upper sleeve edges.  This is shown on the back of the envelope but the markings are not on the pattern pieces.

Layout of the Sleeves

Layout of the Sleeves

Even though I folded out 1.5″ I also cut off another 1.5″ for the cuffs.

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

The power dry is cut the exact same size as the knitted cloque but the weight of the cloque caused it to stretch more than the power dry, creating the blouson effect.

I did not alter the shoulders or armscye and used 1.25″ deep menswear shoulder pads to keep the “High School Sports Jacket” look to the piece

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

I also did not want the ribbing to ride up across the back so I did not stretch it across the bottom

I did pay homage to the original design by retaining the pointed tab at the front hem

Front Showing the Tab

Front Showing the Tab

The skirt shown here is black power dry with an elastic waist and the leggings are made using the method described here.  The leggings are made of  stretch Chantilly lace from GorgeousFabrics.com turned inside out to tone down the silver threads in the fabric.

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