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 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.

August 25, 2009

Lead weight hem

Filed under: Els,sewing,sewing notions,Tutorials — Els @ 7:05 pm
Tags: ,

Wearing a linen blouse in summer is very weather friendly if you can stand the wrinkles, which of course are a characteristic of wearing linen fabric.

I love to wear linen blouses but I do not like the wrinkles and pleats of the back hem. I wear a long blouse so it creases a lot at the back hem due to sitting.  I wondered if there was a cure to prevent any more bunching up the hem.

So after some brainstorming I came up with the idea to use a lead tape inside the hem, to keep the hem hang straight even after sitting.

Lead tape is mostly used in curtain hems but I did use the lead tape inside my blouse hem and it works like a charm.

I bought some lead tape the lightest weight the store had was 35 grams per meter , but that was a bit too heavy to use in a blouse hem. Unfortunately the store did not have the lightest weight tape which is 15 grams per meter. The 35 gram tape was not the right weight to use in my blouse hem, it was too heavy and it showed a ridge in my hem seam allowance, due to the larger diameter.

detailed view of the lead weight tape, partly uncovered to show the lead weights:

lead tape 35 grams per meter

Lead tape is available per meter here in The Netherlands in different weights and I needed a lightweight lead tape 15 gram per meter which is the lightest weight.

See the difference in size and diameter for 35 grams at the top and 15 grams at the bottom. I removed some of the cover so you can see a detailed view what is inside the tape.

lead tape difference

So I remembered that I had some polyester organza curtains in my stash , which were a big mistake, color was wrong, but I could re-use the lead tape. One hour later I had ripped the lightweight lead tape 15 grams per meter and used that tape to stabilize my linen blouse hem.

I wore my blouse for a day and the hem is still looking good and no bunching up hem.

blouse back

blouse front

Eureka that was the best solution to keep my linen blouse hem stay put.

I secured the lead tape at the inside of the mitered corners of the blouse hem at center front and side slits with some hand stitching.

The tape is laying loose in the hem allowance and should withstand washing. I am going to hang dry my blouse so the covered lead tape will not harm my linen fabric.

I made  a sample for pressing/ ironing and noticed that if I move the tape a bit upward I can press the hem fold without showing a small ridge, due to the tape which is inside the hem allowance.

So there is no need to press the hem touching the tape because it can move due to the hem allowance ( 1,5 inch) I used for this blouse.

Since I had no information if this tape was available in the US I asked fellow diva MaryBeth and she directed me to a US source for this tape  amazon.

If you love to wear linen and want to prevent any bunching up of the hem, this is a way to keep the hem hanging straight.

August 1, 2009

Victoria Jones Collection 001 plus Gathering Tutorial

001

I have been wanting to make up something from this indy pattern maker for a long time and decided to make up this pattern when my favorite summer lounging dress, a loose translation of KwikSew 2645 needed mending
KS2645b

I chose pattern #001 because it is being discontinued according to the Postscript at the the Victoria Jones Collection website.

I also wanted to learn:

several pattern making secrets in this design which give you an hourglass shape. The waistline tucks are subtle, and there is still plenty of ease with 6″ of extra room in the waist.

from the pattern description

That cinched it. I must try this pattern! I found the instructions to be great for a beginner with more advanced dressmaking techniques well explained than is usually included in a pattern from the big pattern companies. Indeed the designer urges you to call her if you have any questions or need to size up or down beyond the pattern’s sizing.

The only anomaly I found in this pattern was that I saw no reason to line the lower band, not big deal in my book. You’ll be in good hands following this designer’s directions.

Click the images below for a readable version of the front and back of the pattern envelope. If you need an even bigger version, click on “all sizes” on the Flikr page and then choose the largest size.

pattern back pattern front

I cut size 18 throughout this first version, using linens from my stash in-house store.
Bodice Close-up

bodice-1

This is a classic Victorian “Gibson Girl” shape with extended front yokes and very full sleeves with stiffened, interfaced sleeve heads. The yoke extends beyond the scye line, an example of which is shown below.

Heath
Illustration #63 from Coat & Skirt Making, by Samuel Heath, 1978, ISBN 0 258 96817 6.

I hard pressed the armscye seams in toward the sleeve as per pattern instructions and was able to turn the sleeves into more width than height. If this pressing had not been done the sleeves would be standing straight up off the shoulders (not a good look for a grown woman…)!

The tucks at the waistline in front and back are a fun way to shape the dress. The back tucks are further held in by the belt

back

The skirt is not excessively full

pleats

And the lower vee cut band and double flounces add some sewing interest to the project

full

I have written a review of this pattern at PatternReview.com, giving a few more details slanted towards the construction of this dress.

As I was gathering the yards of fabric needed for the sleeves and flounces I realized I had a few tips I could pass along.

Make long basting stitches at 1/2″ and just under 5/8″ per the pattern instructions and pull the bobbin threads at one end of your segment to be gathered. Wind them in a figure 8 around the pin holding the piece to be gathered to the straight piece

100_1104

Couture Caveat: I am showing you gathers worked in linen but for tinier gathers in fabrics made of finer threads shorten the gathering stitches!

100_1099

This will allow you to pull the bobbin threads at the other end of the segment taunt enough to fit the two pieces together

On longer segments pin the two ends in place and place a pin in the middle of the piece to be gathered

100_1110

don’t gather where there are seams that need to be matched

100_1107

100_1115

Wind off both ends and at the pin in the center, gently lift up the two bobbin threads

100_1116

pull the threads taunt

100_1119

and after you have shortened the gathered segment, wind off the pulled threads on the center pin. Make the gathered segment a bit shorter than the straight segment. This will make spacing the gathers much easier and the wound off threads will “give” a little as you work the gathers into evenly spaced waves of beauty.

Give gentle tugs downward on the fabric as you work for equal spacing of the gathers along the threads.

The dynamic you want to maintain is the gathered fabric suspended on the basting threads, like sheets hung on the clothes line. Then pin in place as needed and hand baste before machine stitching.

The continued gentle downward tug of the fabric as you machine stitch will help keep the gathers from bunching under the machine foot.

100_1138_edited-1

Happy Sewing!

July 15, 2009

Hemming stitch by hand

Hemming can be done in a lot of ways, by machine or by hand.

If a garment needs an invisible hem like in woven fabrics, I prefer to hem by hand and to prevent any ridges from the outside I fold the hem edge back about 3/8 inch (1 cm) and work from the right to the left using a fine needle size 11 or 12 depending on the fabric weight. In this example I used Guterman thread and a needle size 11.

The sample pants is just one leg so it is small and can rest in my lap.

The stitches are sewn about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart and with loose stitches.

I used a yellow thread for better view to show.

The hem allowance I use is a bit more than 1 1/2  inch ( 4 cm) , the hem allowance is marked with chalk and fold down and steam pressed.

For this example I used the same sample which I showed you for the post Fine Men’s Tailoring: pants hemming

1©2©

3©4©

5©

For unlined garments I sew an extra stitch every 3th  or 4th  stitch,

6©7©

Inside view,

8©

Outside view,

9©

Suggestion:

When you want to press the hem again do it from the inside and press only the hem fold edge.  Do not touch the hem edge with your iron to prevent a show true from the right side .

Sometimes it is easier if I keep my garment away from me on the table instead of in my lap so it looks like this.

For hemming this lightweight satin I used a size 12 needle and extra fine thread

hemming-1

hemming-2

hemming-3

Wrong side view:                                                                       Right side view:

hemming-4hemming-5

For a hem in garments where the lining hem is attached to the fabric hem,  I use a 2 inch (5 cm) deep hem allowance and use the same hem stitch only this time I fold the hem edge back half way so 1 inch (2,5 cm) and use longer stitches  about 3/8 inch (1cm) , there is no need to sew an extra stitch because the hem is secured by the lining hem.

The machine stitch line at the bottom is the attached lining .silk jacket hem

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