From Linda: Kathryn has been choosing projects for us that she enjoys wearing, such as this fabulous oversized tunic dress and legging combo that was inspired by her trip to Paris last year. She saw the Etro print in a shop window and was excited to see that EOS carried the same print in a brushed wool knit (sold out, sorry!). Fashion seems to be all about the oversized, roomy cocoon shape right now, and Kathryn brings this high fashion to North Bay! Here’s her review and tutorial. Enjoy!
Emma One Sock has so many beautiful colors of 11 oz jersey and 14 oz jersey to choose from, making it easy to construct your own leggings to coordinate with any outfit. I wanted to sew up a cozy dress and leggings to wear during the cold days of winter. V1401, a Koos van den Akker pattern, was the perfect silhouette to wrap up in when the temperature drops. For the leggings I used independent pattern company Jalie 2920.
Jalie patterns are known for their full range of sizes. The pattern comes with 27 sizes, ranging from US 4-22, included in one envelope. The pattern is printed on heavy white paper with all of the sizes graded on top of each other. Place tissue paper under the master pattern and use a
spiked tracing wheel to trace off your size.
The 11oz jersey is quite stretchy so although I am 5’9” tall I didn’t need to make any alterations or lengthen the pattern. The leggings fit perfectly! With only an inside leg and crotch seam, they sewed together quickly.
Here are a few tips to give you a high end professional finish:
Needle and Thread
Use a ballpoint needle in a fine size 70 and 100% polyester all purpose thread for stitching.
Start with the hem! Although the hem is usually done last, beginning with the hem allows you to turn up the hem allowance of the very narrow width ankle opening and sew it flat (much easier!) before the inseam is sewn.
Press up the hem allowance and and baste to hold.
Stitch 1/2” in from the edge. Set the stitch length at 4mm. I finished the hem with a wide cover stitch, but a twin needle could be used as well.
As you stitch, pull on the fabric to really stretch it out before it enters the machine. If the fabric isn’t stretched out, the circumference at the hem will be limited by the amount of the thread sewn into the hem and you will not be able to fit your foot through the narrow opening.
Sew the seams with a very narrow zigzag with a stitch width of .5mm and stitch length of 2.5mm, which will allow the seams to stretch.
Jalie includes 1/4” seam allowances on this pattern, which keeps the seam allowances narrow, flat and prevents them from rubbing when worn. Again, pull on the fabric slightly in front and behind the needle as you sew. This will build extra stretch into the seam.
When you sew your first pair of leggings, sew the seam as shown, on the sewing machine first, which allows you to try the leggings on for a fitting before finishing the seam. Once you know that the fit is good, finish with a 3-thread overcast stitch on the serger.
For your next pair, you can skip the sewing machine, and use just a 4-thread security stitch on the serger. If you don’t own a serger, the seam allowance can be finished with a wide zig zag set at a stitch width of 4.5mm and a stitch length of 2.5mm.
To reinforce the crotch seam add a second row of stitching. Two rows of stitching side by side are stronger than two rows of stitching on top of each other!
Use non roll 1” elastic for the waistband. Rather than overlapping the ends of the elastic, butt the ends together and place a scrap of muslin underneath. Use a wide zig zag to catch both edges of the elastic and stitch them to the muslin. This gives a very flat finish. Trim the muslin
close to the stitching.
Divide the elastic into quarters by folding it in half, marking each half with a pin and then folding it in the opposite direction, which can be marked with pins as well. Bring the CF and CB crotch seam together and mark the sides of the leggings with pins. Pin the quartered elastic to the quarter markings on the leggings.
Machine baste the elastic to the garment aligning the edge of the elastic to the edge of the garment.
Fold the elastic down into the garment and hand baste to hold.
A second row of hand basting is useful when cover stitching. By centering the cover stitch over the second row of basting it was easy to know that the raw edge of the fabric is being caught in
with the stitching when sewn from the right side.
Again, pull on the fabric and elastic as the final row of stitching is sewn to build in stretch. Alternatively a twin needle can be used to finish the waistband elastic.
Koos van den Akker Dress
For the dress I chose an Etro inspired wool blend fabric accented with a Liberty cotton print. The bodice is lined with a coordinating 11 oz rayon jersey so it is soft and comfortable next to your skin. I used a purchased thick/thin knitting yarn for some of the crazy stitching. The dress was VERY fun to make!
The center of the dress is covered with a Liberty cotton print, cut on the bias to prevent it from fraying. It is then embellished with crazy stitching.
Koos van den Akker, who was a good friend of mine, was extremely creative and nothing was ever planned. Keeping him as my muse when creating this garment, the crazy stitching is very random.
I did do a bit of matching when I laid out the main pattern pieces. In particular I tried to avoid creating a large diamond shape on the backside of the dress. The pattern has horizontal and vertical seams throughout the skirt portion of the dress, set at an angle to create the shape of the dress. This could potentially create a bullseye effect depending on the motif of your fabric, so careful pattern placement is key.
Following the pattern instructions I prepared the upper and middle front sections and stitched the bias cut Liberty print in place. For the crazy stitching I cut narrow crosswise strips of the blue boiled wool 1/4” wide and then pulled on them slightly to stretch them out. Using Bernina
foot #12, the Piping/Braiding 9mm foot, lengths of the boiled wool were fed into the opening of the foot and then stitched over using a zig zag stitch. The width and length of the zig zag stitch were determined by the thickness of the yarn I used. If you try this technique, try a sample first, setting the stitch width at 3.5mm and the stitch length at 3mm. Holding the yarn straight in front of the foot at your desired angle, stitch straight down to the end of your desired length, stop with the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot, move the fabric around and begin stitching in the opposite direction to create the zigzag affect. After stitching down the blue ‘yarn’ the technique was repeated using gold colored thick and thin yarn.
Welt pockets are sometimes considered one of the most difficult pockets to sew, but they are relatively easy to put together when using a thicker wool knit fabric. I fused a 2” strip of bias knit fusible interfacing down the center of the pocket bag and a 1” strip onto the wrong side of the dress directly underneath the pocket placement. The edges of the interfacing were pinked before fusing. Using chalk, I carefully marked the rectangular shaped stitching line onto the wrong side of the
pocket bag. I stitched around the marking using a straight stitch to join the pocket bag to the dress. I slashed down the center and V-ed into the ends.
Turn the pocket bag through the opening. The pocket bag wraps around the narrow 1/4” seam allowances, which were left when the pocket was slashed open. These wrapped seam allowances become the welts. After wrapping the seam allowances tightly, baste the welts in the well of the seam to hold in place.
Lift up the dress and stitch across the triangle at each end of the pocket.
Use a catch stitch to close the welts.
Edge stitch around the outside edge of the pocket. At this point the pocket bag should be laying flat.
On the wrong side of the garment, fold the pocket bags in towards the center of the garment. Stitch around the pocket bag, joining the two layers together. Hand baste the upper edge of the pocket to the dress. Catch the upper edge of the pocket to the backside of the crazy stitching with a few hand stitches to prevent it from flopping around inside of the dress.
The pattern did call for a partial bodice lining. I extended the length of the lining to the waist seam. The lining was cut from 11oz jersey which was perfect because it had stretch just like the knit dress. Interface the neck of the dress with a 1 1/2” band of fusible interfacing. After sewing the lining to the neckline, trimming it and turning it through to the inside, baste the edge before topstitching.
Baste the lining to the armhole edges and then treat the seam as one layer when inserting the sleeves. The lining will be sewn in with the seam, holding it in place.
To create the button tabs, four strips of boiled wool were cut approximately 1 1/2” wide. Baste down the center joining two strips together.
Use a rotary cutter to accurately cut the strips to 1” wide.
Trim the ends into a curved shape
Use a zigzag with a stitch width of 4mm and a stitch length of 2.5mm to overcast the edge and sew the layers together.
Stitch a buttonhole outline, often built into machines to be used as a bound buttonhole, onto one end of each strip. Carefully cut the buttonhole open. There is no need to overcast the edge as the boiled wool will not ravel.
Attach the button bands to the dress with a square of stitching. Use a zig zag stitch to hem the sleeves.
Sew the button to the square of stitching.
The sleeve will pull up and gather into the button band
Hand sew the lining to the waist seam with a slip stitch.
A narrow hem allowance was turned up as per pattern instructions and sewn in place with a slight zigzag with a stitch width of .5mm and a stitch length of 2.5mm.