Thursday, June 15, 2017

Marking seam allowances

Though I admit that default seam allowances to pattern pieces can be very useful when the seams are long and more or less straight, most of the time I prefer to mark the exact seam lines on my fabric. Especially when the seams have short curves, like a neckline, armhole or princess seam. The same is true for darts: I like to know exactly where the lines on the pattern were (or where I drafted them) and don’t want to rely on pins or tacks with basting thread.

My preferred way of marking is with carbon paper. I know I’ve written about it before but it’s a long time ago. Apart from the carbon paper, which is also called wax paper, you need a tracing wheel and a table or flat surface you can put the paper on. I use a cutting mat for it.

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The way it’s done is marking the pieces first while the pattern is still attached to the fabric, then you take the paper off, flip the fabric over to the other side and retrace again over the lines you made. I use this for almost all patterns that don’t include seam allowances. On those that have seam allowances I mark the notches and other significant marks on the pattern this way. The above pattern piece is a facing of a dress that I drafted and I haven’t added seam allowances to the pattern.

The paper is years old, taped on the back side and still very useful. It will last a very long time. There are of course exceptions to the use of it: sheer fabric and white are difficult fabrics for this. For white I will use white wax paper. Much less clear to see but I don’t want the risk of the marking showing. If in doubt you should always test it first.

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For the darts I mark the end points with a small line too.

I learned to sew with exact seam lines (though by basting them, which is a very time consuming job) and like I said before, it’s what I prefer. The pictures above are from a dress I’m making right now. Hope to show you that soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Meeting Jane

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Jane from the blog Lucky Sew and Sew. I’ve been following her blog for years and when I learned she was coming to Amsterdam I couldn’t pass on the opportunity and asked whether it was possible to meet. Lucky me, she liked the idea to meet too and her husband didn’t mind to be on his own for a couple of hours (lovely man) so the arrangement was easily made. Jane was curious to see the famous Kantje Boord lingerie fabric shop so that’s where we met. Needless to say we spent quite a bit of time there and of course fabrics and notions came home with us too. Jane was wearing one of her lovely tops that she showed in her last post before her trip, looking great and ever so comfortable for travelling. Thank you Jane for taking the time to meet, I enjoyed every minute of it.

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My haul did include these beautiful combinations. I hadn’t been to the shop for quite a while and it was inspiring to go there again. These fabrics are shouting at me to be made soon (they’re not used in my next project though).n

A lace border with lace fabric to match.

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Border lace with matching shoulder straps and bows.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Lace bra

It’s been a while since I made a bra and it is more than time to make a few new sets. This is my first bra of what I hope will be at least 3 new sets in the next few weeks. It still lacks a bow as I’ve forgotten to take one with me (being abroad for the moment on a lovely holiday). But I’m ever so happy that the fit is very good, as I’ve been struggling with that recently.
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It’s made of lace which I underlined with a tule to give it the strength I need. Only the plain part of the band you see is stretching. It’s a kind of powernet.
The pattern is a copy from a rtw bra with adaptions, as I was not happy with the fit of that one any more either.
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The inside. I hope you can see that there are two layers of fabric in the cups too. The tule that I used for the bridge and side of the cup is more sturdy and more white than the other fabrics. It doesn’t worry me as it does not show from the right side.
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I tried something new with construction and used Vliesofix (similar or the same as bondaweb?) to bond the lace and tule together. I’ve very often used two layers of fabric, using different ways to keep them together but this worked so easy. The two layers could very easily be treated as one during sewing. It’s not visible at all. 
I’m expecting the glue in between will dissolve after a while, which is fine I think, as this is not where the strength comes from.
Parting shot of a view we had during one of our walks. It’s not sewing that is the main activity of this holiday (which is almost over, a few more days).
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Christia pants

Last week I showed you how I did the cuff on the pair of pants I was making and today I can show the finished result. It’s made in a linen with some stretch. It may not be the best style on me but I don’t think it’s that bad either. I like it for summer.

 

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It even has pockets that work well. Often this style of pockets stands away from my body because of the curve in my figure but these are more narrow, a straighter angle if you know what I mean.

This is how I did the pocket edge. This is a pattern piece that is not mentioned in the overview of included pattern  pieces but it’s there and if I understand StyleArc correctly it has to be cut from fusible interfacing and applied to the pocket edge (the instructions talk about pocket edge, pocket bearer and pocket bag. Not intuitive to me and I’m glad I know how to construct a pocket without instructions). As I prefer the pocket lining of a thin fabric (lining or cotton) I cut the pocket edge of the garment fabric and from a piece of silk organza. The edge of the pocket was on the straight of grain of the organza. This way I make sure there is no stretch in the pocket opening. I placed it on top of the pocket lining and treated it as one layer during construction. This way there is no lining fabric visible if the pocket is open a bit.

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I did not make the side zipper all the way up to the waistband. I could not find a long enough zipper in the right colour and decided to make buttons in the waistband. Improvising a little here as the waistband had already been cut and I could not re-cut. A little hole is visible above the zipper but it’s not bothering me too much.Will probably wear it with a top over the waistband anyhow.

To conclude: a nice pattern that I only had to tweak a little. I had to heighten 2 cm and take in a bit at center back plus I made a contour/shaped waistband to get a good fitting waistband.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The magazine goes to …

Anne

I’m a day later than I said I would post this. Just didn’t have time yesterday. There were 14 ladies interested and the majority for the Knip mode magazine.

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Anne, if you send me an email with the address to send the Knip mode to, I’ll post it to you this week. Hope you enjoy it.

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As much as I hoped to finish the pants yesterday, that didn’t work out either. We got a lot of work done in the allotment garden. Such fun to eat lettuce we’ve sown and grown ourselves (in the greenhouse).

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And it looks like we’re going to have tomatoes. They survived the cold spell we had (the greenhouse is not heated).

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My next post will be sewing related, I promise.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cuff on pants

Thank you for all your nice comments and congratulations on my 10 years of blogging. It’s so nice to know that you appreciate my posts and even are inspired to try something by it.

Today I’ll do a post of the kind I like very much, a tutorial (or my way of doing things). This is about a cuff on pants. It’s been a while since I made a tutorial and I can’t even remember the last time I made cuffs on a pair of pants.

The pattern I’m using is the StyleArc Christia pant. Their description is: A trendy crop pant with all the new style features you have been waiting for. Wide waist band, side pockets, pleats and cuffs that sit just above the ankle gives this casual pant loads of style!

To be very hones I’m in doubt of this style on me, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I made a pair of trousers last year which were very narrow at ankle height and I confess to not wearing them. These are a little wider and I just wanted to try them.

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Instructions are sparse and there’s even a pattern piece that’s never mentioned in the instructions. More on that when I’ve completely finished it. So this is my take on doing it, not StyleArcs’ instructions.

For the cuffs I marked the fold lines completely and basted them. On the pattern there’s only a mark at the edge but it’s so much easier to work with the whole line marked on both sides of the fabric. Belief me, it’s worth the extra 10 minutes of doing this.

Then I clipped on the fold lines to the stitch line of the seams (of course not through the stitching). The seam is folded on top of each other and if your fabric is a bit substantial, this will cause a lot of bulk. By clipping and alternating folding to each side of the seam this is more evenly distributed.

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The cuff is folded (right sides together) on the top line (furthest from the hem), pressed and then stitched. This stitchline won’t be visible and helps in keeping shape.

Tip: fold your cuff first without pressing so that you know how it’s supposed to go together.

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The next step is folding over the lowest foldline to the inside and press! Then fold the middle foldline (which is the top of the cuff) over. This is how the inside looks.

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My “trick” to keep the cuff in shape and easer to press after laundering is stitch again behind the cuff. The cuff is folded down and then I stitch through all layers. The last step is a stitch in the ditch in the seams to tack it.

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The resulting cuff:

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The pants are not finished yet. I’ve made a waistband from muslin. The waistband is wide, 7.5 cm (3 inch). The pattern provides a rectangle pattern piece. This is not working on me when the waistband is a normal height, let alone on a waistband twice as high.

Making the waistband from muslin first gives me the opportunity to pin it to my shape. In this picture you can see there’s quite a bit of shaping involved.

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Also I cut the back waist with a very generous seam allowance as I know that’s where I often need to change. I needed an extra 1.5-2 cm. My next step is to make a pattern piece of the waistband.

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It’s King’s day today in The Netherlands, which means it’s a national holiday and lots of flags with an orange banner in the streets. Orange being the name and colour of our royal family.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

10 years of blogging

This week is my 10th blogversary. I can’t believe it, 10 years! And yet, on April 27, 2007 I posted my first blog post and this skirt was the first project I blogged about:

Now I would say that these are not  my colours, but I loved that skirt and have worn it often.

So many things happen in 10 years, both in sewing and in personal life. I never said much about my personal life on my blog, but as in any life there were ups and downs. Moving house last year certainly feels like a positive change and both DH and I are happy with the place we live now. Our children grew up and from teenagers became young adults that study, work, travel and see more of the world than I did at their age. I’m a proud mother .

I thought it would be nice to make a selection of garments I made in those 10 years but that’s not working. Quite a few photos on the blog have been lost, probably because of Picasa stopped being available. What’s left really is a trip down memory lane for me (garments I didn’t like that much after all, garments that I loved and wore till they fell apart, garments that have special memories), but hey, why should I bother you with that. If you want to, you can still see the old posts, I’ve not removed anything.

If you’ve followed me that long (and I know some of you do, thank you!!) you’ll know I wrote a lot about lingerie sewing in the beginning. That was new, no one was writing about it then. My sewing evolved and I took on more difficult projects, started to draft some of my garments and wrote about that process too.

Apart from the writing itself, starting this blog about sewing 10 years ago and posting reviews on Pattern Review opened a new world for me. Till then sewing was a solitary hobby for me. None of my friends sewed. Through blogging I found new friends who sew and don’t find it strange if I send them a picture of fabric and/or pattern with the question whether it matches, or asking for advice on something sewing related. Some I meet in real life, with others I discuss sewing through e-mails. Some friends I now see regularly and with quite a few we have the annual sewing get-together in Canterbury. Can’t imagine my life without those real-life or distant friends any more. I’m very grateful to have met you all.

The blogging world has changed over the years. I won’t go into that much, others have done that more eloquently than I can. My blogging and sewing has changed too, not with more frequent, sponsored posts, but less posts in more infrequent intervals. Sometimes I can write 3 posts in a week, then disappear again for a few weeks. It’s what it is, there are only 24 hours in a day and so much I want to do. There certainly is also a lot sewing related that I want to do and I will continue writing my irregular posts about it.

Thank you for reading my blog, cheering me by your comments. It’s lovely to be part of the international sewing community. As it’s been a long time I’ve done this, I do a give-away to celebrate my blogversary. I’ll give away a copy of the May issue of Knip mode or BurdaStyle (Dutch editions). Leave a comment on this post, indicating whether you’d like the Knip mode or BurdaStyle. I’ll do a draw next Saturday, April 29). I’ll send it anywhere in the world (it’s just one magazine, but you may choose which one you want).

Knip mode line drawings

BurdaStyle overview

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To conclude: StyleArc Evie top, almost finished. It has a high hem in front, lower in the back. Great style for working in my allotment garden. Certainly a nice style for wearing in general too.