27 September 2010
First of all I would like to thank all of you for sticking with me even though my blog has been at a stand-still for nearly two months. At the beginning of August my husband was originally diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumor in his hand that was later found to be a rarer non-cancerous tumor, but because of the location and abmormal growth it resulted in the amputation of part of his hand. It has been a crazy, emotional roller coaster, and only recently have I gotten my sewing mojo back! (I did get a lot of reading done however, which I plan to blog about soon). Now that Shawn's recovery is going well I'm starting to get back into my normal sewing and blogging routine, and I have a LOT of catching up to do!
24 July 2010
18 July 2010
I just wanted to apologize for my long blogging hiatus - I have been working hard to finish my dress for the York races (which ended up getting cancelled, but that's another story to be told) and then Shawn booked an impromptu trip to Edinburgh for this week, so I have been sewing like crazy..I thought it would be perfect for a me-made holiday Zoe style, but unfortunately I didn't get as much made as I would have liked between work, a horrible bout of hay fever, and a very upsetting overlocking accident (which caused me to scrap the whole dress). It has been a very hectic and frustrating couple of weeks! I'm glad for a little break, but I can't wait to get sewing again! When I return I'll share my projects and hopefully some great vintage finds!
02 July 2010
28 June 2010
I would say that one of the most important things to keep in mind when sewing a collar is what I consider to be one of the golden rules of sewing: reduce bulk whenever possible!
Unlike this collar, many incorporate interfacing to give stiffness and sharpness. I follow the same concept, except I cut out as much of the interfacing in the seam allowance as possible because it is not going to affect the strength of the seam (this works for both sew-in and fusible interfacings):
Another prominent place to reduce bulk is at the shoulder seams. See all that shoulder seam allowance? No need for it!
So now that we've taken care of the sides, let's talk about corners. This probably isn't anything new to you, but the best way to reduce bulk at the corners is to cut across the seam allowance at an angle:
This seam could use more trimming, but when doing so cut carefully and conservatively. If you cut too close to the corner seam (or any seam really), it can pull apart when turning out.
Now that we've reduced some bulk, how do you get that elusive knife-edge?
This can be quite difficult at times, especially when you can't press open the entire seam. This is a time where good pressing skills are essential, and unfortunately that really only comes with practice. There are however tools that can be incredibly useful for this, such as a tailor's ham or seam roll for curved seams, or a point presser & clapper for hard to reach areas. If you're in a bind or simply don't have one, never fear; the straight edge of a butter knife can work just as well (although it may take some more maneuvering).
Are you still with me? I know this is a long post, but it's almost over! Just one more thing I want to cover briefly: collar attachement.
This can often be the most frustrating part because sometimes you are attaching a straight piece of fabric to a curved edge (like this one).
As you can see from the photo above, the collar edge won't always lay perfectly against the neck edge. This is where ease becomes a huge factor in making it work. Unfortunately easing is another one of those things that comes with practice, so if you have trouble with easing don't give up!! The best way to success is to line up your notches, markings, and edges and pin them (vertically) in place, and then work from those points.
Almost done!! Now that the collar is in place, it's time once again for some good pressing. Press the seam up into the collar, and work out any wrinkles or bunching with your fingers and steam.
And there you have it..a flat, sharp, smooth , happy collar!
Although it's finished I want to wait and show it modeled..it really doesn't have a lot of hanger appeal. Pics tomorrow! :)
24 June 2010
22 June 2010
This is a size 32 bust so I knew it was going to require some alterations to fit my 36" bust, but because all of the shaping darts are in the waist area I knew it wouldn't require a whole lot of fiddling. After making a toile of the pattern as it was, my hunch was in fact correct. So how to alter it? I saw on Friday that Gertie did a post about resizing vintage patterns, but as you can see from the picture below I didn't want to just add width to the side seams becuase the shape is so subtle that I didn't want to loose it..so that left only one alternative..slashing! Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be a pattern cutting expert here, but I do have some knowledge and experience, so I'll show what worked for me.
This picture is of the front and back blouse pieces that I traced from the originals. The red lines indicate where I plan to slash the pattern. I made a horizontal slash in the bust area and the vertical line will be a slash to add width to the waist measurement. The original waist was fine but a bit too tight for my liking, so I decided to add just a bit so that I could feel comfortable wearing it with lower-waisted jeans if desired.
Here are the pieces after slashing. Front:
It is probably hard to tell from the pictures what I did so I will explain as best I can!
This is typically a way to add to the bustline without adding to the waist or shoulder measurements. You make the slashes as shown, and then push the pattern outwards from the point where the 2 slashes almost meet. This makes the horizontal slash expand, which lengthens the side seams and keeps the shape in proportion with the expanding bust measurement. If you don't want to add to the wasit measurement, you simply match the slash up the bottom. If like me you want to add some width, simply spread at the bottom and set at the desired measurement. I did the horizontal slash at the underarm notch simply for reference, and made it 6cm long on both pieces. I made the vertical slash .5cm away from the end of the horizontal slash and checked to make sure it was not going through the waist darts. The vertical slash is essentially what is adding width to the bust as well as the waist. In order to do this without altering the shoulder, I cut the slash right up to the edge of the paper without actually cutting it apart. Then I adjusted the spread to add 0.8cm to the bust and 0.25 to the waist. This resulted in adding 3.2cm to the bustline and 1cm to the waist (explanation below). Note: Unless you are very confident in your skills, I recommend that you alter all pieces to the same measurements, otherwise they will not match up!
Next I traced new pattern pieces from the altered ones, and used those to cut out the fabric.
I admit that pattern cutting can be frustrating, but it is one of those things that will get easier with practice and experimentation. Don't give up if it doesn't always work, sometimes you have to go through several toiles before you get it right. And remember, a little goes a long way! Whatever measurement you add to the pattern you are really adding 4x that (left front, right front, left back, right back)..for example if you add 1cm to the wasit on the pattern you will have added 4cm to the garment (1cm x 4). Measure whenever possible, but sometimes you just have to guess (and that can often be the best way to learn)!