Reverse Corner Construction

I mentioned in my last post that Burda’s instructions for the construction of the Painted Jacket’s yokes with their reverse corners was atrocious, consisting of, and I quote,

“Stitch front yokes to fronts and titch back yokes to back.  Clip seam allowances of fronts and back into corners.  Press seam allowances onto yokes.  Topstitch yokes close to attachment seams…..”

Sooooo much is missing in this little paragraph, that I thought I’d share how I do reverse corners.  I give full and unabashed credit to Vogue Patterns’ instruction sheets in the various designer patterns which I have sewn over the years, since it is through them that I have learned pretty much everything I know about sewing.

Step 1:  On right side of fabric, pin one small fabric remnant (silk organza is my choice), centring over the corner centre.  Stitch along stitching/seam lines using a small stitch, pivoting at the corners.reverse corner 1Step 2:  Slash between stitchings to corner.  Be exact on this step, slashing as close as you can to the stitching without cutting through it.reverse corner 2Step 3:  Press fabric remnant toward seam allowance over slashed edges.reverse corner 3Step 4:  Pin baste pieces, stitching sections together, just alongside the reinforcement stitching.reverse corner 4Step 5:  Press allowances onto yokes, trimming allowances on an angle into the corner.reverse corner interiorStep 6:  Topstitch or not.  Here’s the finished result from the right side.reverse corner 5I do find that some fiddling may be required to ensure the reinforcing remnant is within the seam allowance and doesn’t show from the right side, but I have never had a failure using this technique.  The corner is reinforced and secure and won’t pull apart, even under wear and duress.

Interfacing conundrum

facing edge

Do you ever hem and haw indefinitely about what interfacing to use for a project?  I’ll confess I usually don’t.  I test scraps and decide on the support that I want.  Fast decision based on results.  Except when I sew with silk.

I interfaced my BLTN blouse with silk organza. The satin silk chiffon I used for the blouse didn’t need a crisp amount of support, so the silk organza worked wonderfully.  I like how it made for clean crisp buttonholes.  It provides adequate support for the buttons.

sleeve tabs

I used a double layer of organza in the front facing, extending only to the CF of the facing.   I used the same double layer of organza in the collar stand and the collar.

organza facing

The second layer of organza is stitched to the first down the centre front of each piece.organza CF seam

Each interfacing piece was stitched right sides together with the facings, turned, understitched and pressed.  This provided a really nice finish for the inside of the blouse.

organza facing complete

What to use for this project was a bit of a conundrum for me. I confess I have this heebie-jeebie thing about fusing unknown gluey kinds of products to silk.  I know interfacings are all good and dandy and so much improved from what they used to be eons ago. I also know that fusibles are the most popular interfacings out there.

But I just can’t bring myself to heat up glue to attach interfacing fabric to silk for some unknown reason. I think I’m afraid it will eventually ruin the silk. I mean, what exactly is in the glue, anyway? Is it silk-friendly? So I inevitably create a lot more work when I have a silk project on the go, because I will always use a sew-in interfacing.

Does anyone else have this problem hesitation to fuse silk?  And if you don’t could you please share your experience and reasons with me?

Tutorial: Facing Bound Buttonholes

I thought I’d complete the tutorial on organza patch buttonholes with a post on facing them.facing patchesCarefully mark the placement of the buttonholes and on the RIGHT side of the facing fabric, baste organza patches through the centre of the buttonhole marking.  Be precise with your measuring and marking!  You want the facing to line up perfectly with the perfectly bound buttonholes you’ve made.stitched facingCarefully measure the width and length of the openings required in the facing.  I made mine 4mm wide and 2mm longer than the actual buttonholes.  Even such a small amount as 1mm makes a difference in the facing openings, as they need to be free and clear of the buttonhole itself.

Then interface around the area of the buttonholes if you’re interfacing the facing.  On this jacket, I was using interfacing in the facing, although I may not always.DSCN0558Precisely slash the buttonhole openingsslashes and turn the organza strips to the wrong side of the facing.  This is identical to the way the openings are bound by organza before stitching the edges of the buttonholes into place.pull organza throughPress and/or hand baste in place. This is what your facing should look like3 buttonholes

Stitch the facing to the garment front, turn, and hand stitch each opening to its respective buttonhole.  I use a tiny fell stitch as it’s quick and a strong stitch.  Inside view of the completed facing.IMG_4026And there you have beautiful buttonholes!IMG_4027

Tutorial: Bound Buttonholes – Organza Patch Method

*picture heavy post*  I thought I’d post a tute on the method I used for the bound buttonholes I’m using on the jacket-on-request.  The wool I’m using is a beautiful black, taupe, grey and white suit weight wool, and it loves to unravel.  Problem!  This method is perfect for ravelly fabrics and it’s the easiest method I’ve found to make identical near-perfect bound buttonholes.  Sherry of pattern, scissors, cloth has posted an identical tutorial with a bulky mohair fabric.  But I’ll confess I have a fear of doing finicky details like bound buttonholes on finer fabrics like suiting and thought I’d post this anyways.

measurementMark and measure your buttonholes accurately.  Mine will be 6mm wide.   Cut squares of silk organza 1.5 inches wider and longer than your intended buttonhole.organza squares

On the RIGHT side, centre the organza patches over the buttonhole markings and baste through the centre of the buttonhole. Measure and measure again to ensure accuracy! basted organza squares From the WRONG side, carefully stitch along your markings using a very small stitch.  Begin and end in the middle of the buttonhole, not at a corner.stitching Measure and measure again for accuracy!measure again

Remove the centre basting…remove basting

… and slash through the centre of the buttonhole to within 3mm of the ends, clipping diagonally to the corners.  Eck-zact-ly to the corners, because one unsnipped thread will throw off the symmetry of the corners.slash

Pull the organza patches through to the wrong sidepull organza through

Press flat so the edges are clean.R side

Here’s my finished three openings.3 buttonholesAnd from the wrong side, it looks neat and tidy, too!wrong sideCut TWO squares of fabric for each buttonhole and baste them down the middle.  This will form the edges of the buttonhole opening. I wanted mine to form chevrons, so I basted them diagonally.stitched diagonally Press them open. pressed open   Align the centre of the basted squares so that they line up through the centre of the buttonhole opening.aligning placement Pin or hand tack into place along the long bastingFrom the wrong side, stitch across on end of the buttonhole through all thicknesses, keeping the front free.  Extend the stitching 1/4 inch past the buttonhole.  Check after stitching each end to ensure accuracy.

stitch endsTurn back the organza patch and stitch along the top and bottom sides of the buttonholes.stitch sides Finished buttonhole from the front.finished And the back, prior to trimming threads and excess fabric.finished wrong side Here’s my three buttonholes.finished 3 And the inside view.reverse The middle one is uneven, as you can see from the back…middle …and the front.  So I will redo this one.middle uneven And now it’s acceptable!new middle

Organza Patch Wins

I’ve been sewing off and on since my last post, mostly because of life and getting ready for fall.  Can you believe that summer is almost over and school begins next Tuesday?  Wow.  My summer flew by, and mostly without much sewing!
I want to thank each of you for your comments on the muslin for the navy gown.  I have decided that I will make the back a mirror image of the front.  After the fitting, a couple of changes were decided:  narrower cuffs, roomier sleeves and a more pronounced boatneck.  I am making another muslin for next week.  But in the meantime, I’m working on the jacket for the suit-on-request, and have spent the last couple of hours playing around with buttonholes.
After trying multiples of what my Vogue Sewing book calls the five-line-patch method, I gave up.  You can see a fabulous and beautiful pictorial of the exact same method posted by Sherry.  I could not – repeat five times – could not – get mine to work.  PERIOD.
So I tried the organza patch method, pictured above over the instructions in the Vogue Sewing book.
Pretty.  And perfect.  And I’m liking the chevrons.

Angelica Naylah

v8747I’ve made a shirt from a Liberty print in my stash called “Angelia Naylah” using Vogue 8747.  I really hemmed and hawed about this pattern, because most of the ones over at PatternReview are out of solids, and I really wasn’t liking any of them that much.  Then I found one out of a white/celery print, and it sold me on this pattern for this print.  I’m happy to say I probably still have enough yardage to get a sheath dress out of this, too.  What can I say?  I really like tana lawn.Angelica NaylahI really need to work on the fit through the back shoulders on shirts, but I’m afraid to make them too perfectly fit, because I want the wearing ease.  I must say this pattern fits wonderfully.  It’s a Custom-Fit, which I wasn’t too enthused about, because the last time I used a custom-fit pattern from Simplicity, there wasn’t enough room in their built-in FBA for me.  This Vogue custom fit is perfect.  It’s so nice not to have to tweak a pattern endlessly.  I know, some of you are muttering “make a sloper/block”.  I guess I should, but it’s just so much work to get one, y’know?  Don’t ask. My laziness is not always logical.  🙂IMG_2083The nice this about this pattern is that it has princess seams in the back, too, instead of darts.  I’m starting to not like darts so much for shaping through the back of garments for me because I require so much shaping and the darts can be very deep and ugly.  And I’m amazed at how sloping my shoulders are…

Here’s the side view.  I made the long-sleeved version with the full cuffs.  My only complaint is that there is not a proper sleeve placket included in the pattern, so if you want a real sleeve placket, you’ll have to draft your own or borrow one from another pattern.V8747 sideI really like the collar and curved front bands on this shirt. The small gathers at the CF through the bustline work for me, too.  And can I just put in a plug for Pam of Fashion Sewing Supply fame?  Oh. My. Goodness.  That woman is wonderful beyond words.  I used her super-crisp shirt interfacing for this little darling, and it is dream interfacing.  I have always HATED using fusible interfacings, especially on fine cotton shirts, but the the Pro-Woven she sells is divine.  I washed this shirt in my washer – not by hand – and the interfacing didn’t budge.  Didn’t bubble or buckle and there’s no horrid little glue dots that can occur with some interfacings.  If you haven’t ordered anything from her, do!  I just placed a big order the other week and nearly choked on her shipping charges to Canada, but God bless her, she wrote back a very thorough, long and patient explanation regarding weight and US shipping comparisons and I was just so amazed at the customer service she provided!  I am so glad that I used the Super-Crisp on this shirt.  I was a bit worried it would be too crisp for the lawn, but it’s really nice!  You know how many shirts I’ve trashed over the years because of crappy interfacing issues?  Not this one!  Thanks, Pam!IMG_2099

I’m in love: Vogue 2578


I’ve made up these pants three times over the years.  The first was a pair of brown linen; the second pair were in a wool/viscose tweed and this is the most recent version.

I do not have the first two pairs.  I seem to avoid muslins in favour of making up, wearing and tossing, but that’s another blog post altogether.

IMG_1188I know I don’t look like I’m squealing like a little happy piggy in this photo, but I am internally grinning like a Cheshire cat about these trousers.  This pair is a keeper.  I wore these trousers a couple of days ago, and was very disappointed.  Actually, the proper word would be disheartened.  After wearing them all morning, they had stretched out and hung horribly in every possible way they could even if I did underline them.  But I am so in love with this linen that I just couldn’t part with them.  So I studied all the photos I took on Wednesday for the MMM12 challenge and made my adjustments. (You can see the only picture I saved of them from that original wearing here). IMG_1198I took in the waist a couple of inches and tapered the excess down to my hip level (about 9 inches below my waist) at the side seams. I still could adjust the front crotch curve and length, but in true mezzo style, I’ll do that adjustment on the next pair.IMG_1199And can I just say that I really love my new linen pants?  I am so thrilled that I have finally made this pattern fit properly that I want to make up another 16 pairs!  IMG_1200After much thought about lining vs. underlining, I decided I’d underline these ones.  I’ve never underlined a pair of pants.  I must confess I have always been afraid of the underlining shrinking or pulling away or making them hang weirdly after wear and tear, but I decided I’d give it a go with this pair.  Actually, this discussion thread and this thread really swayed me in favour of the underlining this time.IMG_1202I used a pre-shrunk cotton voile and underlined only to the knee.  I overlocked all the seams and bound the bottom of the waistband.  I have to say I really am pleased with this entire project.  I may never line linen pants again.  The voile (not an underlining first choice – organza is always touted as being the premier underlining fabric) really makes a difference about how these pants hang and feel.  Lesson learned!  🙂IMG_1209And can I just say how I love this pattern?  It has all the thinking done for me in the instructions for a fly zipper with an underlay.  Every time I’ve made them, the zipper turns out perfectly, and all I have to do is follow the pattern instructions. IMG_1208 I love to sew, but sometimes I hate the problem-solving that goes into project.  It’s nice to have a good set of pattern pieces and proper instructions for a wonderful result all pre-packaged and ready for you!  This pattern also has separate pieces for lining the pants, complete with instructions on how to line the fly shield.  Gotta love Vogue designer patterns!  You learn so much!

Pattern Review: Burda Family Fun Shorts

B 6-2011-111The first installment of shorts is done and wearable.  They fit perfectly.  I just measured and measured and measured again so they’d fit without a fitting.

B 6-2011-111Pattern:  Burda 6-2011-111 view C with side ties in sizes 34-44.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes – 100%.B 6-2011-111 pockets

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Hmmm…. well, I read through the instructions and understood where they were going, but I disagreed with the theory, so to speak, so struck out on my own.

First, the pockets are in-seam side pockets.  I completely disregarded Burda’s instructions for the right side.  They suggested sewing the side seam above and below the pocket opening, pinning the pockets to the opening and then stitching them into the seam.  WHAT?!  My tutoring by Vogue Patterns during the 80’s told me that was not the way to do it.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Stitch one pocket piece to front and back with right sides of fabric together, matching markings.  Use a narrow 1/4”  (6mm) seam.  Press seam toward pocket.
  2. Stitch side seams, continuing around the pocket, pivoting at the corners.
  3. Turn pocket toward the front, clip the back seam allowance above and below the pocket.  Press.

B 6-2011-111 rear viewSecond, the shorts have a invisible side zipper inserted into the left pocket.  I did follow their directions for this step, which were straightforward.  It did the job, but the execution was rough.  I may try a different method for the second pair awaiting stitching.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  DD1 really liked the ties.

Fabric Used:  printed cotton voile from my stash and stretch cotton poplin for the waistband as there wasn’t enough cotton voile.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made no designB 6-2011-111 side back changes, although I did change how I put the pattern together, as already noted.   And I left off the back patch pockets – there wasn’t enough fabric to match the print, and I didn’t want to make them look schlapped together with mismatched patch pockets.  I know it’s a very casual style, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to have mismatched patch pockets on the back…..

Conclusion:  These are kinda cute.  DD1 thinks they’re wonderful, and is awaiting the second installment.  It’s an easy pattern to put together, and they look comfortable to wear.  I’d recommend this to anyone wanting a simple pair of shorts to sew tonight and worn tomorrow!

Pockets of all sorts

DD3 requested a pair of utility pants this summer.  Actually, it was my idea.  “You need a decent pair of khaki’s that go with everything.  It’s just a wardrobe staple you should have,” I told her when she was making her list of clothes for the summer.  This is what she chose:


I was sort of hoping for something more classic, if you know what I mean, but hey!  She has to wear them!  Anyways, after getting into the sewing of them today, they’ll be fun to put together, anyway.  The front pockets went together brilliantly, and then I started on the double-welt pockets for the back.

I do not like welt pockets, let alone double-welt pockets.  Ah well…. slowly, carefully, meticulously, I said to myself.  And then I read the instructions:  Do not use lining fabric for the pocket bags.  Huh?  Oh, great!  I don’t have anymore fashion fabric.  What to do?  After panicking for a minute or two, I cheated.Instead of a double welt pocket, I made a single welt and used the two extra pieces cut for the double welts as the facing on the upper half of the pocket bag.

B 3-2011-132B back weltB 3-2011-132B back welt inside

Left photo: basted voile and stitched fashion fabric on the outside of the pants.

Right photo:  turned to the inside.  You can see that I need to join the bottom of the voile to the bottom of the facing strip, which I’m holding.  It worked beautifully, and the lining is a pretty touch in an otherwise boring garment.

B 3-2011-132B back pocket finishedB 3-2011-132B back welt 2

In Me Made June news today…

MMJ 14 Day 14 – Outfit:  My first repeat this month:  the green linen skirt from MMJ Day 8, and a new top from Burda’s Mamma Mia collection (February 2011).  I’ll post the review tomorrow

Activities:  running errands, sewing, and dance classes – again.  Wow.  I had no idea how much time I spend at the dance studio for my kids until documenting my daily activities for MMJ.

Thoughts:  I like this skirt, and the top is in a very lovely print, but it’s really short!  It’s got a self-lined bodice, which is nice, and the fit is good, but it could use some tweaking.

Diana’s Dresses

diana rose dressJust a couple of observations about the dresses that I saw yesterday at the Design Exchange.  The exhibit runs in Toronto until June 10th, so you’d better hurry if you don’t want to miss it!

The purpose of the exhibit is to raise money for Princess Diana’s charities.  I thought it would be interesting to see them close up and personal, as it were.  I couldn’t get fantastic pictures of them all, but I thought I’d share the interesting things I noticed with you anyways.diana rose dress embroidery

First, this rose silk twill dress with exquisite embroidery.  This is just amazing beadwork with embroidery underneath the sequin details.  Since I love needlework so much, I thought I’d share a picture of it up close.  I couldn’t see inside the garments, of course, which I would have preferred, but I did notice a couple of things that were of interest to me as a seamstress.  The first was the intricate work of embroidery on this jacket and bodice on the first gown in the exhibit.  There was a teal gown that was covered with hand-sewn sequins, too.  I could not imagine having to sew on enough sequins to cover a long-sleeved full length gown.  Incredible work.

The second thing that struck me was the hem on many of the dresses.  I don’t know where I learned to press hems flat, but I’ve always done that.  Then I read recently in Vogue Sewing that hems don’t necessarily get pressed flat all the time, especially if diana rose hemthey’re underlined or reinforced with horsehair braid.  That was a new idea to me.  And then I noticed the hem on this dress.  It’s not flat.  It’s just folded under and stitched to the underlining, I would guess.  There were a few silk crepe gowns that had the soft turned-up-and-stitched hem.  I liked the look of it, and so, if I ever have the need to sew a full-length gown, I’ll be sure to underline the skirt so that I can do such a hem.