Saturday, December 19, 2020

Jeans - sewing a curved seam

I made some good progress on my jeans. The back pieces are finished and the front pockets done. 


The pocket has a strong curve. In most of my garments I work with the seam lines and I mark those so stitching is basically stitching over the seam lines. 

Not with this pattern, which has 5/8" seam allowances (1.5 cm) included. When sewing with default seam allowances it's important that you watch where the fabric on the plate is (where the measurements are), not the front of the foot. 
In the photo below you can see that at the position of the needle, the measurement is 5/8"to the edge of the fabric. But at the front of the foot it's more. So while sewing, you watch the position of the fabric at the point where the green arrow at the right points to.
The foot I was using here has a very convenient mark for the needle position, but it works exactly the same when your foot doesn't have it, the you'll keep an eye on the position that's in line with the needle.


After stitching it's trimming and clipping.

Don't clip to the stitch line! Stay away 2-3 mm from it. If you clip to the stitch line, you might get sharp corners in your curve. 

Press the pocket facing to the inside.

Topstitch and ready to continue!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Sewing jeans

 This past weekend I started with a new pair of jeans. I’m using the Ginger pattern in the high waist version. I see that I’ve never blogged about it. My current black pair is about two years old, not so black any more and it definitely has seen better days. Time to replace it, as I love wearing it. 

A project to do in a few steps. Today I topstitched the back pockets and have sewn them on. 

Though to be completely honest, I have topstitched a pair earlier on, but decided I didn’t  want the colour after all.

The green was my first choice, but I will do it on another pair. I realised I want to sew a cardigan to go with this which has a lot of blue in the fabric which is not a great combination with this green.

One line for the topstitching was marked using carbon tracing paper. The other lines were sewn at equal distance from this first line.

For some reason the light is very different on this last photo. Finished apart from the rivets in the corners. I’ll put those on before sewing the yoke, which will be the next step.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

From disaster to acceptable

As we all know you sometimes want to get a little outside your comfort zone and try something new. For me this now meant sewing a different style t-shirt. The basic picture of this one is just a slight variation: v neckline, dropped shoulder but not too much, little accent line center front. The pattern is from Ottobre issue 5/2016. Let me say there's nothing wrong with the pattern, but it doesn't suit me.

Dropped shoulders are not my favorite, but felt I'd try again and thought they were not too much dropped. Wrong conclusion, the result was horrible.

I do have narrow shoulders and a full bust. Not a good combination for this.
On a positive note: I love the accent line center front. 

When I pinned the sleeve higher up, the look was beter already, even if done only provisionally.

The next thing I did was using a basic Ottobre t-shirt pattern (from a 2007 issue) and compared.

Quite a difference. I cut all the seams from the shirt, kept the hem on the bottom and on the sleeves. 

Better, although I think that the original width of the body was slightly better. For me the fit is a bit too tight in the back now and there's still a little pleat forming above the bust. It's a nice layering piece and I'll wear this version. 

The neckline was finished with a small strip of the same fabric. The construction of the original pattern was quite different and the center line a seam stitched inside out. I've cut it on the fold and stitched a very narrow "pleat".

A little detail on how I did that (I know a lot of you like this kind of detail!):

  • I pressed the center front
  • Put in a strip of water soluble material (tip: don't press with steam afterwards, it will wrinkle, look bad and give you a fright. When it's all solved it will all be straight again though! How I know.....?)
  • Stitched a straight line only a few millimeters away from the center front
  • Removed most of the soluble material
  • Continued further construction

That's become quite a long post.
Enjoy your day!

Friday, November 20, 2020

A top by my daughter

 It's been so nice to hear some of you just like to read my posts. I do realise I've been here before in the past years, which is probably something that happens occassionally when you have been doing something (in my case blogging) for so long. Sorry to have bothered you with my uncertainty and indecisiveness. 

There are a few things I will change in the near future but I'll come to that when I do it. Let's start with showing you a project that has been made recently. Partly by me, partly by my daughter.

My daughter is one of my "students". Of course she's not a paying student and it's not a weekly thing but she really likes to learn to sew. My son's girlfriend too, lucky me! I like to pass the sewing bug along and we've been sewing together a bit lately. 

She selected this top from an older Patrones magazine.


It was labeled "Couture facil", which means it should be an easy sew. Really? With this button placket in the back? This kind of button placket even makes me a little nervous. It's about very precise sewing and cutting and if you do it wrong, you really can see it or worse, even be so bad you want to throw the pattern piece in the bin. There was no fabric left, it had to be right first time round.

Perhaps needless to say that I did sew the placket. My daughter watched the process clearly and said she could not (yet) have done it. But the rest, from tracing to cutting the fabric pieces and finishing the neckline was done by my daughter (with a bit of guidance). She's ever so pleased with the result and has worn it with pleasure. Receiving compliments for it too!

The placket before finishing the neckline and completely sewing with buttons


The sleeve with pleats

Sleeve with pleats
My daughter wearing the top


The fabric is from Atelier Brunette and bought in a shop in The Hague. What's nice about this brand is that they have notions matching their fabric. In this case the buttons!

Monday, November 16, 2020


 Hi, it’s been a very long time since I posted anything here. Hope you are doing well in this strange year with the pandemic all over the globe. I’m fine, have been sewing but not blogging. I have also started a new adventure and started giving sewing lessons in the small town I live and will soon start at another location too. Exciting and love to do that. It’s great to share the love of sewing in real life too (as long as lockdown does not prevent classes, as at the moment, hopefully we can start again next week). 

I’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping and have removed quite a few of the tutorials I had here because I think they need better photos, better instructions and/or a better layout. 

In fact I’m thinking about what to do with the blog: keeping it or not? Start afresh with a bit of different content (still sewing!)? Start another blog that I can more easily adjust visually? Re-do the tutorials and have an English and a Dutch version? Make them in video format? PDF format? Talk more about the different pattern magazines I use? Make a pattern from a magazine each month from one of them and share the experience?

At the same time I feel there’s already so much information to be found online, what would I add that’s not already there in many variations?  

I invite you to share your thoughts. If you look for a tutorial online, what are you looking for? Can you find it? What would you like to see on this blog? Any other ideas? 

Looking forward to read your input. Even if it’s just a hello it’s great to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Finishing a sleeveless dress (facing or lining)

During the long time I've been sewing I've used several ways for finishing a sleeveless dress. There are methods where you don't sew the center back or the side seams until the facing/lining is done. Which not always works as I'd like to, as it doesn't give you much opportunity for fitting while sewing. Which is what I (and a lot of you too I think) often do. At least for finetuning in the final fabric. The method I describe here requires the shoulderseams to be left open. And as it's a method for a sleeveless dress (or top), that's only a small seam to baste for fitting purposes. I like the fact that you can sew in the zipper too, if required, before sewing the facing/lining to the dress. Or use a pattern without a center back seam. 

I'm sharing this method with the regular disclaimer that this is what works for me. I'm not claiming this is the perfect method. In the steps below I refer to the facing, because that is what you see in my photos. It would be no problem if the lining was attached to the facing or if you use lining only. It's a lot of steps in the way I describe it here, but it's not overly complicated. Give it a try and let me know how it worked!

Step 1 
Sew the dress without sewing the shoulder seams

Step 2
Sew the facing without sewing the shoulder seams. Usually this will mean sewing the side seams of the front and back facing. My dress has a center back zipper, which was installed first and there are 2 back facing parts. If the dress has no center back seam, the facing for the back can be one part.

Step 3
Baste/pin the facing to the dress.

Step 4
Sew the facing to the dress, do not stitch to the end of the seam, leave about 3cm/1.5 inch open.
Trim and clip the seams where necessary. Again not to the end of the seam.

Step 5
Turn, press and edgestitch on the facing. How far you can do the edgestitching depends on the width of the shoulder, but do not stitch till the point where you stopped the seamstitch. Stop a little before that point.

Step 6
Fold away the facing and pin and sew the shoulder seams of the garment. 

Step 7
Pull the shoulder seam inside out.

Step 8
This is the most fiddly step, pin and sew the shoulder seams of the facing.

Step 9
Pull on the seams and match the shoulder seams from the garment and the facing. 
Pin the neckline and armhole side. Sew and make sure you start and end at the previous stitching lines. This is easier to sew when the seam is still wider, therefor it was not trimmed in the earlier step.

Step 10
Trim the seam, I trim the corners too to remove as much bulk as possible.

Step 11
Turn back the facing by pulling on it. Press the shoulder seam and you're done!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Jacket modeled on me

I have a few catch-up posts to do. Let me start with a post with only a few words. This is the jacket I finished a month ago but didn't yet show wearing it.
I'm very pleased with it and have worn it a few times already. The sewing details are in the previous post.