THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

July 19, 2009

The Making of Chanel Couture

If you are interested to see how The House of Chanel made this gorgeous dress and fabric  you should watch this video, The Making of Chanel Couture  ( shared from NY video)

You will see Madame Jacqueline and Madame Céline at work,( draping the jacket and draping the dress from muslin fabric) plus the exquisite embroiders from Lesage. You probably remember them from watching the video Signé Chanel which I did a post about in 2006 House of Chanel




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




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


Inside view,


Outside view,



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




Wrong side view:                                                                       Right side view:


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

December 11, 2008

Facing for invisible zipper

Filed under: Dressmaking,Els,sewing,Tailoring,Tutorials — Els @ 4:36 pm

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


There are a lot of ways to sew a facing in a garment with an invisible zipper.

I will share my way of finishing a facing with an invisible zipper this be used for any facing, like a faced neckline, skirt or pants waistline. I always add a small flat button and fabric loop at the top to reduce the stress of the zipper. (the fabric loop is made of bias cut lining and steam pressed into a small flat loop shape)



Cut the facing the same length as the waistband including the seam allowance.

Sew the facing at the waistband but leave the first 3 inches (7,5 cm) from the zipper on both sides free, these will be sewn later.




If you want to add a button and fabric loop, sew the fabric loop at the zipper tape about 1 cm below where the zipper pull if the zipper is zipped up. For this example for a skirt I sewed it at the left side.


 The facing seam allowance at the top should be moved/angled about 1 cm away from the seam allowance of the zipper.

The lower part of the facing matches the seam allowance.

Sew the facing at the zipper tape


If you plan to line the garment, do not sew the last ½ inch (1,5 cm) from the facing, so you can insert the lining at the facing bottom later.



Push the zipper coil flat and fold the zipper towards the facing part.





 Stitch the remaining facing at the waistline but do not back stitch. 


Turn the facings to the inside, and check if the stitching line of the facing is even.

If the facing is even on both sides turn the facing again towards the inside and back stitch , grade the seam allowances and cut the corners at an angle. 








Finish the faced zipper by sewing on a flat button.



July 10, 2008

Not So Hot Couture

 I saw Liana’s blog post of today ” Perfect isn’t perfect anymore”  and was inspired to show you some more flaws which can be prevented if you know what to look for, or better, can be avoided.

Liana’s post is about the new fall 2008 couture show from Valentino designed by Alessandra Facchinetti, and she points out that some of those new fall 2008 couture garments, which sell for a lot of money, could be sewn with more dedication to strive for perfection.

Like Liana, I looked at the pictures of this show, including the detail shots, and saw some more points which could use some fitting and sewing guidance.

 (All photos in this post are courtesy of  where you can see all the fashion designer shows like the couture collections and ready to wear.)

Puckered dart ends at skirt and not enough hip width so the skirts creeps up:
















Not enough walking room:









Uneven skirt hem length at center front:                          Frumpy inner collar, less sleeve cap height:  






 Not so invisible zipper, no smooth inner collar: 



Dimples at armhole maybe they are a design feature but it can also caused by uneven ease in of the sleeves :



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