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Inspiration No. 10 (Part Two), Stretch Denim Ponte Trousers

Stretch Denim Ponte Trousers (two of two)

by Kathryn Brenne

img_2312After completing my new unlined jacket I wanted a pair of trousers that would be equally
comfortable. I came up with something that is dressier than leggings, in between a yoga
pant and a stretch jean. My new ponte knit pants are made with a heathery, twill weave patterned ponte very similar to a slightly faded pair of jeans. The fabric is firmer and more substantial than the rayon jersey knit I used for leggings.
It is a two way stretch fabric with about 20% stretch. Although I used some of the
same techniques that I use when making jeans, this stretch knit fabric needed a few different techniques due to the nature of the fabric.

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Pattern

I chose Jalie 2908 Women’s Stretch Jeans view B with the regular rise. The pattern is available in 27 sizes. Other than personal alterations for my height of 5’9” I did not make any fit alterations. I increased the seam allowances in the fly area from the included 3/8” to 5/8”.

I found that the pattern was easy to fit and sewed together well. Whenever I work with patterns designed for stretch fabrics I initially cut vertical seam allowances 1” wide and baste the garment together for a test fitting. Each knit stretches differently and the wider seam allowances makes it easy to adjust the fit through the side seams. For this pattern and fabric, the fit was perfect without having to use any of the extra seam allowance.

Fabric

Ponte Knits are very easy to care for as they are machine washable. I preshrunk the fabric by machine, and then after putting it in the dryer for a couple of minutes to remove wrinkles I hung the fabric to finish drying.

I used a fusible all bias knit interfacing for the waistband, the center Right Front, the fly Facing, the fly front area of the left Front and the pocket edges.

Thread and Needles

For general construction I used Gutermann 100% polyester all purpose thread. For topstitching I used Quilter’s Silk  in color 114, which showed up nicely as a contrast and highlighted the jean look. To finish the seams I used wooly nylon in the upper and lower loopers of the serger.

Some experimentation with needles may be required. Although this denim ponte fabric has a knit construction, ballpoint needles were causing skipped stitches and shredded thread. So I had to go to a “Plan B” and try a stretch needle, which worked well on this particular fabric. Topstitching in any vertical direction was the most challenging. I found that a size 90 Stretch needle accommodated the thicker topstitching thread without skipping stitches or shredding the thread. A straight stitch throat plate and a 1/4” foot with small needle opening also helped, as well as running the machine at a slower speed.

Test your machine settings in both vertical and horizontal directions first before sewing your stretch jeans. For most of the topstitching I used a stitch length of 3.85 mm but this was adjusted slightly depending on the number of layers I was sewing through.

Construction Techniques

Seams

I used a four thread serge to sew and finish all seams. Wooly nylon in the loopers provided a
soft edge with a lot of stretch. All purpose thread was used in the two needles.

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Pockets

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When making jeans I often make the western style front pocket bags out of contrasting cotton fabric. I extend the pocket bags to Center Front. The extension acts as a stay to keep everything flat. You can see the extension and construction techniques here.

Although this technique works well with traditional denim and stretch woven denim it was not suitable for the stretch ponte pants. Pocket bags that extend to Center Front limit the amount of stretch that has been built into the pattern. For these pants I wanted pocket bags that were very flat so that they would not show through as a ridge on the close fit.
To achieve this I omitted the pocket facing and instead cut the pocket bags in one piece. img_2109img_2110
Once the pocket bag was attached the Front, it folded to the inside and then folded back on itself. I sewed across the bottom of the pocket and serged the edge to finish.

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For the back pockets I fused a strip of interfacing across the top edge to prevent them from stretching. Rather than turning the edge under twice, which was a bit bulky, I serged the edge, turned it down and added two rows of topstitching.

Positioning the back pockets is an important step in close fitting jeans. If the pockets are too low or too close together they can make your backside look wide. Using the pattern placement as a guideline pin the back pockets to the jeans and then have someone test pocket placement for you until the positioning is flattering. I attached the back pockets with two rows of topstitching. The second row was positioned a wide 3/8” away from the edge stitching at the top corners of the pocket and angled back down to a quarter of an inch. I didn’t add any embroidery or extra stitching to the back
pockets and instead kept a clean look.

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Fly Front

I used the same techniques described in Perfect Jeans to insert a fly front
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Waistband

The waistband of this pattern is cut on the bias with a center back seam. Rather than
interfacing the waistband, which would have limited the stretch, I inserted 1 1/4” wide elastic inside the waistband to help hold its shape and snug it up. As the pants are close fitting, I found that they slipped down slightly on my figure. The addition of elastic helped to keep them where they were supposed to sit on my waist. I cut the elastic a few inches smaller than my waist measurement.

After attaching the belt loops and waistband to the pant,

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I pinned the elastic to the seam allowance.

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For the Fly extension I laid the elastic flat and did not stretch it. From Center Front to opposite Center Front, I stretched the elastic to fit the waistband seam allowance. Try to stretch the elastic evenly. Using a wide 4.5 mm zigzag, stitch the bottom edge of the elastic to the seam allowance. Note that the position of the elastic
is such that it lays against the outside layer of the waistband. The ridge of the seam allowance when finished will lay towards the inside of the garment.
To keep the waistband flat I serged the lower edge of the inside of the waistband. Once folded to the inside, I pinned it in place and caught it in with the final edge stitching. On the overlapping left Front I turned the inside of the waistband in for 2” to keep it out of the way of the zipper.

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The waistband closes with a snap.

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Finishing

To secure the belt loops I used a bar tack stitch and all purpose thread. If your machine does not have a bar tacking stitch,  use a very narrow tight zig zag with a width of 1.5 mm and a length of .5 mm. The same bar tacks were added to the fly area to hold the fly guard in place.

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Hems were serged, turned up once and topstitched.

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Inspiration No. 10 (Part One), An Unlined Jacket for Comfort and Style

An Unlined Jacket for Comfort and Style (one of two)

by Kathryn Brenne

clearerA few years ago I made a dressy unlined knit jacket for my husband, which he absolutely loves. I’ve been wanting to make myself a similar jacket for travel and more everyday use since it does not wrinkle. While this type of jacket can be made to suit any occasion,  with its small amount of stretch it is super comfortable to wear, just like a favorite sweater!
To encourage those who are intimidated by the thought of tailoring a jacket, I have taken out most of the traditional tailoring techniques for this project and substituted them with fusible interfacings. By binding all of the seams with silk charmeuse, you’ll have a jacket that is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside!

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Fabric

One of the features that really makes this jacket work is the choice of fabric. I looked for a stable sweater knit fabric, and the fact that this one resembled a tweedy woven made it particularly suitable. A knit fabric with a bit of texture or a heathery look could also work well. These techniques could easily be applied to woven fabrics with or without stretch, but it is a definite plus for this style of jacket that the fabric has some stretch, making it very comfortable to wear.
I used silk charmeuse to bind all of the raw edges. This could be an opportunity to use a bright, fun print to jazz up the inside of a jacket.
Two types of interfacing were used; a lightweight woven fusible and an all bias knit. The woven fusible could be substituted with a fusible weft insertion depending upon the weight of your fabric. The woven fusible is used to give firm support where needed, whereas the all bias knit is used for soft support, to prevent seams from showing through and to give hems a soft roll. The weft insertion could be used on knits that require more support. Try test-fusing swatches and see if you like the results.

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Pattern

Look for a traditional jacket pattern. Vogue 9099, Butterick 6103, 5926, Kwik Sew 3715 or Simplicity 1421 would all be suitable. To keep the casual jacket feel, I omitted the sleeve vents, center back vent, lining pieces, back neck facing from my pattern, and converted pockets to patch pockets. Use the front facing pattern piece and if necessary add the following alterations. Widen the front facing to come across the full width of the front shoulder and down the front armhole. I extended it 7” below the armhole, following the princess seam line and then curving back to a 4” wide facing down the front of the jacket. Having a wider upper facing helps to fill in the hollow area above the bust.

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The Under Collar was cut on the bias with a center back seam and the Upper Collar was cut in one piece on the cross grain.

Preshrinking

To preshrink a fabric with some wool content place a damp cloth over the fabric, area by area, and then press using steam. The steam is forced through the fabric, which preshrinks it. Allow the fabric to dry completely.

Layout and Cutting

There was a definite pattern to my fabric that required matching. The pattern pieces were cut in a single layer to facilitate matching.

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To learn more about matching visit the Tips for Matching section of the Tweed & Bouclé: The Classic Cardigan Jacket article.

Interfacing

I used a combination of two interfacings. The hem allowances were interfaced with strips of 2” all bias knit interfacing cut on the crosswise grain. The interior edge was pinked to prevent it from showing through as a line on the right side of the fabric.
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The front Facing and both collars were fused with all bias interfacing. I used the front Facing pattern piece as a guide to cut a second piece of all bias fusible interfacing for the Fronts. This piece of interfacing was 4 1/2” wide and went from the front straight up to the shoulder. The inside edge of it was pinked and then fused to the Fronts. I cut a triangular shaped piece of woven interfacing that consisted of the lapel and upper Front area above the bust. This was used as a chest shield to give extra support to the hollow area above the bust. Pink the inside edge and then fuse it to the first layer of all bias interfacing.

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A second layer of woven fusible for the stand of the Under Collar was fused to the all bias knit interfaced collar sections. The grain line for the Collar Stand was placed on the lengthwise grain of the interfacing. The Collar Stand should end at the roll line.

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Proper fusing can take some time do. In order to get a good fuse, warm up the fabric by pressing. Position the interfacing, taking care that none of it extends beyond the fabric. Fusing should be done with a lift and press motion rather than a gliding motion. Test fuse a swatch first to determine how long the iron should be held in one spot in order to obtain a good fuse. Usually 15 seconds will do it. Lift the iron and reposition for another 15 seconds. Once the entire piece has been fused, turn the fabric over to the right side and do the same thing again, place a lightweight press cloth over the fabric to prevent it from marking. As the right side of the fabric is pressed the glue is drawn into the fabric.

Binding and Seams

To finish the seam allowances of the unlined jacket I used binding, which I cut from a silk charmeuse print. The strips were cut on the true bias. It is important that it is the true bias. If the strips are a bit off of true bias they will twist off grain as you work with them. For my print I cut the strips 2” wide and ran them through a 3/4” bias tape maker. The width of the strips will depend on the weight of your fabric. Always try a sample first, which is double the width of the finished strip. Try a 1 1/2” strip for a 3/4” bias tape maker and then go from there. If the strip is too narrow it will stretch out as you pull it through the bias tape maker and not have enough of a seam allowance. If the strip is too wide it will twist and buckle down the center.

All vertical seams, the shoulder seams, the edges of the Front Facing, the armholes and hems should all be bound. For best results, begin by binding all pieces, other than the armholes and hems, before assembling the jacket.

Use a bias tape maker tool to make the bias. To get the strip started, cut the end straight across creating a point. Place the strip into the tool and use a pin to pull the tip through the folder. With the iron held close to the tip of the tool press the strip as you pull the tool along. If the tool gets too far ahead of the iron the fabric will start to lose its folded edges. It takes some practice to get it just right!

To attach binding to fabric, open out one of the folds of the binding and pin it to the fabric.

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Use a 1/4” foot to sew the binding to the fabric.

img_1862Press the sewn edge flat being careful not to flatten the opposite fold of the binding. Wrap the binding over the edge. Pin in place.

img_1858The binding should cover the row of stitching on the wrong side of the fabric. Stitch in the well of the seam (also known as “stitching in the ditch”).

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Lightly press. Once the vertical seams have been bound, the jacket can be assembled. Chalk the stitching line onto the fabric. Baste the seams together. img_1863

Stitch. Press the seam flat and then open.

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Patch Pockets

1.  Make a pattern piece for your pocket shape and size, and also cut a template of the finished pocket shape out of thing cardboard. Cut a piece of pocket fabric in a square that is larger than the pocket pattern piece. Interface with all bias interfacing. Thread trace the outline of the pocket pattern piece onto the square of fabric. Also thread trace the fold line along the upper edge of the pocket.

2. Cut a stay tape from the selvedge of the silk charmeuse. Pin the stay tape to the thread traced fold line.

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Stab stitch the stay tape to the foldline of the pocket.


3. Position your cardboard template on the wrong side of fabric. Press the edges of the fabric over the template.

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Trim the edges of the pocket down to 1/2”. Catch stitch the seam allowances to the interfacing using a loose tension to prevent the edge from showing through on the right side of the fabric.
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Hem stitch the pocket facing to the pocket. Do not catch stitch the facing in
place as it tends to pull slightly and show through on the right side of the fabric.

4. Cut the pocket lining from silk charmeuse using the pocket pattern piece. Use the cardboard template to lightly press the seam allowances in. You do not want a hard press on the edges of the pocket lining. Pin the lining to the finished pocket allowing for a small amount of fullness. Baste to hold. Slip stitch the lining to the pocket.

5. Baste the pocket to the jacket.

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Fell stitch the pocket to the garment working the stitch slightly to the underside of the seam allowance. The pockets should look like they are slightly floating and not hammered down or pulling on the jacket.

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Collar and Front Facing

1. Sew the center back seam of the Under Collar.

2. Thread trace the roll line onto the Under Collar.

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Fuse the Collar Stand interfacing to each side of the Under Collar separately. img_1886img_1887

3. Chalk the 5/8” stitching line onto the corners of the Under Collar.

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4. Chalk the stitching line on the inner corner of the lapel of the jacket Fronts. Staystitch. Clip into the corner.

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5. Attach the Under Collar to the jacket along the neck edge turning the corner into each lapel. The short seam, which attaches the collar to the lapel is known as the gorge. Stitching should end 5/8” in from the end of the gorge.

6. Press the seam flat and then open. Trim the seam allowance along the gorge down to 1/4”.

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Clip the seam allowance just back of the shoulder seam on an angle.

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Press the back neck seam allowance from clip to clip towards the Under Collar.

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7. Chalk the 5/8” seam allowance on the outer three edges of the Under Collar. Trim away.

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8. Attach the Upper Collar to the Front Facing. Bind the neck edge of the Upper Collar. I did not remove any seam allowance as I found the 5/8” seam allowance was taken up in the roll of the collar. Join the Front Facing to the garment. Press the seam allowance flat and then open. Grade the seam allowance along the front edge of jacket so that the public side is the longest. This will mean the Front Facing is trimmed shorter below the roll of the lapel while the jacket seam allowance is trimmed shortest around the lapel. Press front edges of the jacket. Use a wooden board and clapper to get the edges nice and flat.

9. Pin the gorge of the jacket to the gorge of the Front Facing and Upper Collar. The seam allowance of the Upper Collar will extend beyond the trimmed Under Collar.

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Wrap the seam allowance of the Upper Collar around the Under Collar.

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Baste.
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Use a very small catch stitch to sew the edge of the Upper Collar to the Under Collar.

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10. Try the jacket on or place it on a dress stand. Pin just to the underside of the roll line along the lapel edge. Roll the Front Facing away and loosely catch stitch the Front Facing to the interfacing of the Fronts.

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11. Hem stitch the Collars together along the neck edge.

Sleeves

1. Put two rows of gathering threads in the top of the sleeve cap. Pull up gathering threads and pin the sleeve into the armhole. Adjust gathers as needed. Remove sleeve from armhole.

2. Press and steam the gathers slightly to shrink out excess fullness. This is easy to do in a knit fabric. Use a mitt pressing aid inserted into the sleeve cap to steam the sleeve cap.


3. Working on a dress stand pin the sleeve into the armhole.

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Check to see how the sleeve is hanging and adjust if needed. This is an opportunity to check how the sleeve matches the plaid of the garment.

Machine stitch sleeve into the armhole. Trim seam allowance down to 1/2”.

Shoulder Pads

I found the back of the jacket needed a small lift in the shoulder area. I created my own shoulder pad using the paper pattern. I drafted a shoulder pad pattern from the Back pattern piece.

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This technique worked well and in the future the shoulder pad could be drafted onto the Front Facing pattern piece at the shoulder and cut as one.

To make the shoulder pads:
1. Cut 4 pieces of fabric. The shoulder pads are two layers thick. The inside layer is approximately 1/4” shorter than the outer edge to prevent a ridge from showing through on the outside of the jacket.
2. Fuse the two larger pieces of fabric with a woven fusible interfacing. Fuse ‘Steam a Seam Lite’ to the smaller pieces of fabric.

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3. Working over a tailor’s ham fuse the two layers together.

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Press over the ham to build in a curved shape.

4. Bind the lower edge of the pad.

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5. Insert the pad under the shoulder seam of the Front Facing (this is where in the future the pad could be cut as one with the Front Facing.) Slipstich the pad to the edge of the bound shoulder seam.

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Armhole Binding

To finish the armhole of the jacket, all of the edges including the shoulder pad were bound together. This created quite a thick seam allowance so I made wider (1″)  binding for the armhole. Sew the binding to the armhole. Wrap the binding around the seam allowance. The binding may seem a little too wide where there are only two layers of seam allowance in the underarm area. In this case fold the wrong side of the binding under a little more to match the width on the rest of the armhole. Slip stitch the binding to the seam allowance to finish.

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Hems and Finishing

Trim the hem allowance at the bottom of the jacket to an even width of 1 1/2”. I left the sleeve hem allowances slightly wider at 2” so that more fabric is seen when the arm is lifted. Bind the hem allowances. Baste the hem in place and hem stitch.

Handworked Buttonholes

I finished the jacket with handworked keyhole buttonholes using silk buttonhole thread. For more information on making handworked buttonholes click here.

1. The center front and buttonhole placement were traced onto the Front of the jacket after it had been fused.

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2. Once the jacket is complete baste around each buttonhole area to hold the Front Facing in place. Using a small machine stitch length of 1.5mm stitch a teardrop shape for the buttonhole.

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3. Using a pair of sharp scissors cut down the center of the buttonhole.

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4. Use a hole punch to punch a small hole in the keyhole end of the buttonhole. The rounded end sits toward the front edge of the jacket. Use gimp to strand the buttonhole.
Work a buttonhole stitch over the cut edges keeping stitches evenly spaced and an even depth from the cut edge. Fan stitches around the rounded end. Work a bartack across the end. Make 5 buttonhole stitches over the bartack to finish.

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5. Catch stitch the buttonhole closed. Damp press. Use an awl to shape the rounded end of the buttonhole.

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The jacket closes with natural horn buttons.

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Inspiration No. 9 Diving into Scuba

Diving into Scuba

by Kathryn Brenne

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Scuba/neoprene knit fabrics have become very popular in the past few years. Available in different weights and fiber contents, scuba/neoprene fabrics typically have a spongy feel similar to lightweight neoprene found in wetsuits but they are specifically made for womenswear. Most scuba/neoprene fabrics have a high content of polyester or nylon, but others can include rayon, cotton, wool, and almost all have lycra or spandex. Scuba has a doubleknit construction with varying amounts of stretch in both width and/or length but they are all quite stable. Because of its characteristics, it is best suited for simple, structured designs including dresses, jackets, skirts, leggings and jackets.

Linda was very excited when she found this Car0lina Herrera neoprene beauty and we felt is was perfect for this inspiration article. With several wedding-related events coming up, I chose to make a simple Ralph Rucci dress, V1404, which was perfectly suited to this beautiful fabric.

I chose V1404 because of its shape. The design is suitable for a fabric with some substance in order to maintain the shape of the skirt, and this scuba knit was the perfect choice. The finished garment has a smooth appearance and the skirt stands away nicely from the body. Scuba knit can be warm to wear but the short sleeve design has been quite comfortable in the heat of summer weather.

There are so many fun and interesting details in this dress pattern — pockets, tie belt and quilted hem band, and the combination of the fabric, print and design have created a winner. I can’t count the number of compliments I have received, and this has become my go-to summer dress!

[Linda’s note: scroll down past the photos for all the tips and techniques!]

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Fabric Prep

Whenever working with a new fabric I always test a 6” swatch before deciding how to care for the fabric. I found that scuba knit is very easy to care for; simply toss it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. I put it in the dryer for a couple of minutes to remove a few wrinkles and then hung it to dry. A light pressing and it was ready to go. There was no shrinkage or change to the fabric.

Layout and Cutting

This particular scuba knit had a large floral print concentrated down the center of the fabric. The edges of the fabric were mostly off white and since stretch of the fabric was very stable, it allowed me to cut it on the crosswise grain and position the flowers through the waist and skirt of the dress. I used the plain edges of the fabric to cut the upper body and hem band pattern pieces which made very good use of the fabric. I cut the entire dress in a size 12 from two yards of fabric.

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I used a single layer layout for cutting. After cutting one pattern piece the pattern was flipped over to cut the other piece. The print was large and varied so no matching was necessary. I made sure that no spot or leaf was placed directly over the bust point, to avoid a bulls eye effect. I used a rotary cutter with a new blade and weights to cut the fabric.

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Notions, Thread and Needles

I had a pretty closed end white invisible zipper with lacy tape in my stash, which I used for the back closure. The pattern calls for a 22” zipper.

100% Polyester all purpose sewing thread is suitable for all construction. I used yellow thread, which matched the print but contrasted with the off white, to highlight all of the stitching and make it stand out.

A microtex size 70 needle was used throughout.

I used a hook and eye to close the top of the zipper.

Interfacing

No interfacing was used in this garment. The fabric is substantial on its own with limited stretch so no interfacing was required. All edges at the neck, sleeve and hem, which may have required interfacing, are finished with binding instead.

Machine Set Up

Straight stitching was used throughout for all of the construction. To obtain the best quality straight stitch, a straight stitch throat plate was used along with a 1/4” foot.

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The needle can only be used in the center position but my foot has markings, which allow it to be matched up to edges as I am stitching. A stitch length of 3 mm highlights the stitching.

Pressing

Scuba knit can be pressed with an iron on a nylon setting. It the heat is too high, it may damage the fabric, so please test a sample to avoid problems. Steam can be used.

Techniques

Lapped Seams

Lapped seam construction is perfect for scuba knit and other non-raveling fabrics. Raw edges are exposed on the right side of the garment. I positioned the pattern pieces so that right Front overlapped left, left Back overlapped right, Side panel overlapped Front and Back, dress overlapped Hem Band and bodice overlapped sleeve.

To make a lapped seam remove the seam allowance from the overlapping garment piece. Chalk the 5/8” stitching line on the underlapping garment piece.

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Pin the overlapping edge to the chalked stitching line of the underlapped section.

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Baste the layers together.

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Edge stitch and then topstitch the layers together. Topstitching is placed 1/4” away from edge stitching.

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After lapped seams have been edge stitched and topstitched, use a pair of appliqué scissors to trim the underlap close to the stitching line (on the wrong side).

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Darts

To sew a dart using lapped seam construction remove the seam allowance from the upper leg of the dart. Use a rotary cutter to get a nice straight, clean cut edge.

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Then use a small, sharp scissors to cut all of the way to the tip of the dart.

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Overlap and pin the upper edge of the dart to the stitching line of the underlap.

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Stitch the dart all of the way to the tip.

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Leave long thread tails, which can then be pulled to the inside of the garment and knotted off.

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Weave the thread tails back into the stitching on the inside of the garment.

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A small dab of Fray Check on the ends of the cut tails will prevent them from working their way out.

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Trim the underlap to 1/4”.

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Special note: The Front side seam of the bodice overlaps the Back bodice. The seam allowance on the Front at the side seam is removed. For this reason, stop stitching the dart a wide 5/8” back from the side seam. If you stitch to the end, the stitches will be cut when preparing the overlapping edge for the side seam.

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Use a coordinating colored thread to hand sew the tip of the dart invisibly to the wrong side of the dress Front. The tip of the dart could be a weak point and this bit of extra stitching will reinforce the machine stitching.

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Binding

To bind the neck, pocket, sleeve and hem bands, cut lengthwise strips of scuba knit 1 1/4” wide.  Cut these close to the selvedge, not on it, as sometimes the selvedge can be a bit distorted.  Using the pattern pieces as a guideline, cut lengths of binding for each edge allowing a little extra at the ends ‘just in case.’

Pin one edge of the binding  3/8” in from the raw edge of the fabric piece to be bound.  Baste.  Wrap the binding around the edge snuggly and pin to hold.

The binding should lay flat on the garment.  Around the neck edge it should pull in just a bit to form a smooth round curve.

Edge stitch.

Use a pair of appliqué scissors to trim the back of the binding close to the stitching.

Side Panel and Pocket

Prepare the Side panel by attaching the waistband using lapped seam construction. Pin and baste the Side panel to the Front and Back of the garment.

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Edge stitch and topstitch the Side panel.

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Prepare the upper edge of the Pocket by attaching the Pocket binding. Wrap the binding around the top edge of the Pocket and edge stitch. Use appliqué scissors to trim the back of the binding close to the stitching.

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Position Pocket onto Side panel at markings. Baste. Edge stitch and top stitch.

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When beginning to stitch on a thick area of the garment, the machine will sometimes take several small stitches. To prevent this from happening use a height compensator. The height compensator can be placed behind the foot to bring it to the same level as the thick area. Once the machine begins stitching and is over the thick part, the height compensator can be removed.

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Neck Edge and Zipper

Remove the seam allowance from the neck edge after the shoulders have been sewn.

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Stay stitch the neck edge 1/8” away from the cut edge.

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Remove the seam allowance from the left Back garment.

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Mark 21” down from the neck and remove an extra 1/4” from the left Back for the zipper. Remove the seam allowance from the right Back only in the zipper area.

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As per previous instructions, lap the lower part of the Back seam.

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My zipper had quite a bit of extra length beyond the zipper stop. I trimmed the excess away in a rounded shape, which matched the scalloped edge of the zipper tape.

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Pin the zipper tape to the left Back opening, positioning the top of the zipper 3/8” from the cut neck edge.

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On the inside of the garment the cut edge of the zipper opening will be positioned close to the zipper coil. Baste.

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Pin and baste the other side of the zipper tape to the right Back paying particular attention when matching up the waistband from both sides of the Back.

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Once the zipper has been basted in place, close the zipper and check the position of the waistband to ensure that everything looks straight.

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Attach the zipper to the garment with two rows of stitching. Where you position the rows of stitching will depend on the design of your zipper tape. Two rows of stitching side by side are stronger and more secure than two rows on top of each other. Try and position stitching on a solid portion of the lacy tape.

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Neck Binding

Pin one edge of the neck binding to the neck edge. Leave 1/2” extending beyond the zipper. Fold this back on itself to give a nice clean finish to the ends of the neck binding. Wrap the binding around the edge. Baste. Edge stitch the binding. Trim the inside of the binding close to the stitching.

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There is a small opening on each end of the neck binding where it folds in on itself. Insert a hook into the left opening and an eye into the other. Take a few stitches by hand to sew the hook and eye to the binding. With the hook and eye sitting inside the binding, the metal closure does not dig into your neck when worn.

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Sleeves

Prepare the sleeve by lapping the underarm seam and attaching the sleeve hem binding to the lower edge. Hand baste the stitching line along the upper edge of the sleeve.

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Remove the seam allowance from the armsyce of the garment. Pin the sleeve into the armsyce aligning notches. The cut edge of the garment will sit on the line of hand basting. Edge stitch and top stitch.

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Quilted Hem Band

Prepare the Hem Band for quilting by lapping seams to make one continuous long band. Baste the two layers of the Band together along the upper and lower edges. Thread trace the side seam markings.

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Using the 1/4” foot as a guide randomly stitch rows of quilting at different angles covering the entire Band. I used the securing stitch feature on my machine, which anchors the stitch at the beginning and end of each row with a knot. If I was ending along the bottom edge of the Band, which is finished with binding, I didn’t bother knotting off the threads.

The process of quilting the Hem Band does take some time to do but it is fun and definitely becomes a feature of the dress. The quilting stiffens the Hem Band, giving it some weight and helping the hemline to stand away from the dress.

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To make binding for the bottom of the dress, I cut strips of fabric 1 1/4” wide. Pin binding to lower edge of Hem Band.

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When strips have to be pieced, cut the overlapping strip at a 45 degree angle and lap it over the under layer. Baste the binding to the bottom edge of the Hem Band. Wrap the binding around the edge, baste through all layers. Edge stitch. Trim the back of the binding close to the stitching.

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Overlap the dress onto the prepared Hem Band. Baste. Edge stitch and top stitch.

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Ties

The ties for the dress were made from two layers of fabric. Remove all seam allowances from the ties and baste the two layers together.

Pin the ties to the waistband stopping 3” back from either side of the zipper. Edge stitch the loose ends of the ties.

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Edge stitch the ties to the waistband.

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Having stopped the edge stitching of the ties to the waistband 3” back on either side of the zipper allows them to be tied in a bow at the back of the dress.

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Inspiration No. 8 Falling for Faux

Falling for Faux

by Kathryn Brenne

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To read more about Kathryn’s handbag, see our leather tutorial! This version is made with stingray embossed cowhide, and has a bit more hardware and a side zip.

With my reputation as a leather expert, I was a little hesitant when Linda asked if I would consider writing an article about working with faux leather. I am guessing she was probably a bit reluctant to ask me but suggested she would put some samples in the mail to see what I thought. The samples arrived and they were wonderful! I fell in love with the white/gold faux leather. The color is beautiful, the fabric is very soft, and it has a slight texture to give it a ‘leather’ look. While working on the project, each of my three daughters admired the jacket and were surprised to find out that it wasn’t leather.

 

Thinking back to a pair of pleather jeans my oldest daughter wore to a high school dance many years ago, I remembered one of the drawbacks of some faux leather is that it does not breathe like real leather. I decided to combine the faux leather with a nubby textured sweater knit, which allows the jacket to breathe. Also, the combination of fabric and faux leather makes the faux seem more ‘real’.

 

 

 

 

Many of the techniques I use for sewing with leather also apply to vinyl or faux leather fabrics. Working with faux leather allows you the opportunity to try these techniques at a fraction of the cost. Once you gain confidence in working with faux, perhaps you will want to try your hand at sewing with real leather.

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The Fabric

Faux leather is ideal for accessories and trims as well as garments. Because it can be
purchased by the yard rather than by the skin, it is possible to cut large or long pieces from a length of fabric. Consider using faux for the front of pants or leggings, the front or panels of a sweater or top, a straight skirt, handbags or for accents for a fabric project. It combines beautifully with sweater and ponte knits. It is also the perfect solution for people who do not wear leather. Faux leather will not wear quite as well as real leather and like real leather it scratches easily, so you might want to consider this before placing it in areas of high stress such as elbows or the seat of pants.

The Pattern

I chose Butterick B6169 because its smaller pattern pieces allowed me to replace some of the garment sections with faux leather to give it the look of a real leather garment.
For my jacket I cut the Front, Front Facing, Side Front, Back Neck Facing, Welt Pocket and
Upper Sleeve from the faux leather. The remainder of the garment sections were cut from the sweater knit. The pocket bags and lining were cut from stretch silk charmeuse in EOS fabric #41032 color # 127. The stretch silk charmeuse added a touch of
luxury and was the perfect complement to the sweater knit, which has some stretch.

Fabric Prep

Faux leather can be carefully pressed from the wrong side with a warm iron. Always test on a scrap first. Too much heat can damage the synthetic fiber. To remove any creases or wrinkles from the fabric press the wrong side of the fabric or put the fabric in the dryer for a few minutes with some damp towels to soften. Remove from the dryer and hang. You will be surprised at how quickly the wrinkles disappear!

To preshrink the sweater knit I steamed it with a damp press cloth and hung it to dry.

Layout and Cutting

The sweater knit had a predominant crosswise stripe, which appeared to be crooked and angled down off grain. This can happen with some knits, which are knit in a tube and then cut to create a selvedge edge. Instead of aligning the pattern pieces with the lengthwise grain, I added a crosswise grain line at 90 degrees to the marked grain line and used this to place the pattern pieces on the crosswise stripe. Once assembled the stripes appeared to be straight across the garment.
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Always cut faux leather with the right side facing up, and as a single layer. Instead of using pins, which leave holes or marks in the faux leather, use weights. To cut both fabrics use a rotary cutter for more accurate results.

Notions

A beautiful Riri satin tape separating zipper was the perfect complement to the white/gold faux leather.

Wonder Clips are used instead of pins to hold layers together.

Double sided Wonder Tape is used to hold seam allowances flat.

100% Polyester all purpose sewing thread is suitable for both the knit and faux leather fabrics.

A Universal size 70 needle was used for all machine stitching. It left the smallest hole possible in this weight of faux leather.

Interfacing

A fusible interfacing can be used with faux leather but be careful to use one that fuses quickly and at a lower temperature. We used a featherweight fusible EOS #16512  which added a bit of stability to the faux leather and prevented the seam allowances from showing through. Interfacing was use on the Fronts, Front Facings, Back Neck Facing, pocket Welts and hem allowances. Cut 2″ wide strips on the cross grain to use for the hem interfacings.
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Machine Set Up

Use the smallest Universal needle possible for sewing the faux leather. A Universal needle will pierce the vinyl without making a large hole. As mentioned, I used a size 70 needle for all of the construction.
A Teflon presser foot was used to prevent the faux leather from sticking to the presser foot. I used a machine that has a built in walking foot. This helps the fabric to feed evenly.

Techniques

For sewing knit pieces to knit pieces I used a slight zig zag with a stitch width of .5 mm and a stitch length of 2.5 mm. A straight stitch with a stitch length of 3 mm was used to sew the faux leather to other faux leather or knit pieces. Too short a stitch length creates too many holes close together, which could weaken the faux leather. For topstitching I used a straight stitch with a length of 3.5 mm.

Zipper insertion

The zipper was too long so I shortened it myself using a pair of side cutters and pliers.
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To shorten a zipper, mark the correct length with chalk on the zipper tape.

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Cut off the excess length 1 1/4″ above the chalk mark.
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Use the side cutters to carefully open up the zipper stoppers at the end of the original zipper. Be careful not to open them up too much or they will break in half. Open each stopper just enough to remove it from the zipper tape.
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Practice removing zipper teeth from the excess tape. Grab a tooth with the pliers and using a twist and pull motion remove the teeth one at a time. If the teeth are difficult to remove or the zipper tape is becoming damaged, use the side cutters to cut the teeth away, avoiding the zipper tape.

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Once the teeth have been removed from the zipper tape, position the zipper stoppers close to the last teeth. Use the pliers to tighten the stoppers.
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Pink the end of the tape to prevent it from fraying.
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Instead of using pins, which would leave holes in the faux leather I used double sided Wonder Tape and Wonder Clips. These handy clips held layers together in place of pins.
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Tape the zipper to the middle Front.
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Fold in the top corners of the zipper tape to conceal the raw edge. Machine baste to hold the zipper in place.
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The Side Front panel is clipped to the Front panel, sandwiching the zipper between the two.
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The other side of the zipper is sandwiched between the opposite Front and Front Facing panels.

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Leave enough room between the seam and the zipper teeth to allow the zipper pull to move smoothly up and down.

Welt Pockets

The welt pockets were inserted as per the pattern instructions. After sewing the ends of the welts, I used Wonder Tape to hold the edges together while I machine basted them.
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I pinked the edges of the pocket bags to soften them.
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The welts were inserted into the middle Front seam allowance. I left long threads from the topstitching, pulled these through and tied them off underneath to avoid too much backstitching in the faux leather.
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Finishing the Neck and Front Edges

After attaching the Front and Back Neck Facings to the jacket, clip into the neck edge seam allowance about 3/8”. Clipping on an angle and not all the way to the stitching line will help to create a smooth neckline.
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Clip corners on an angle.
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Use a point turner to poke out corners and smooth seam allowances in the corner area.
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Corners can be lightly hammered with a rubber mallet.
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Find where the break point is on the front edge of the jacket. If the jacket were to be worn open the break point is where the collar begins to roll. Trim seam allowances along the Front edges, grading seams and reversing the grade at the break point. On a graded seam allowance, the longer trimmed seam allowance edge is always against the public side of the garment. Along the Front edge of the jacket the longest edge will change right at the break point. In other words, below the break point the Facing side of the garment will be the shorter seam allowance, while above the break point the Facing side of the garment will be the longer seam allowance.

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Topstitching

Topstitching will help keep all seams laying flat. Tape the seams with Wonder Tape to prevent the top layer from shifting.
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The faux leather may drag a bit under the sewing foot. To prevent this from happening, stop periodically, lift the presser foot and smooth the work out.

After topstitching a seam, grade the seam by trimming back the knit seam allowance close to the stitching and trimming the faux leather seam allowance to just a touch longer than the knit.
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Topstitch Front edges and around the Back neck.
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Stop at the corners and leave long thread tails. Tie off threads and pull them between the layers. This creates very clean, square corners in the topstitching.
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The best stitch quality always occurs with the right side of the fabric facing up. At the break point the right side of the garment changes from being the Jacket Front to being the Front Facing, so stitch up to the break point, leave long thread tails, flip the
garment over and stitch from the break point to the shoulder. Then turn the garment back over and stitch around the back of the neck to the other shoulder. The long thread tails are knotted off and buried between the layers of fabric.

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Pressing

Press with a dry iron and press cloth to protect the faux leather. If the faux leather is pressed too much it can start to lose its textured surface. Taping the seams (as mentioned above) to help keep them laying flat minimized the amount of pressing needed. Corners can be lightly hammered flat with a rubber mallet. Position
the corner to be hammered on a wooden board covered with a piece of flannelette. The
flannelette will protect the faux leather. Place a press cloth over the fabric before hammering.
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Setting in the Sleeve

Leather and faux leather do not ease well. It maybe necessary to either reduce the amount of ease in the sleeve cap or distribute some of the ease lower on the cap. B6169 did not have an excessive amount of ease so this adjustment was unnecessary, but be mindful of this in choosing a pattern.

Place two rows of basting stitches around the sleeve cap from notch to notch. The stitch length for the basting can be 3.8 mm. Pull up the basting and distribute some of the fullness into the fabric portion of the sleeve if needed. The wool sweater knit will
absorb the ease without a problem. Use Wonder Clips to ‘pin’ the sleeve into the armhole.
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Baste the sleeve in using a 1/2″ seam allowance. By using a narrower seam allowance, you will have the opportunity to see how the sleeve fits into the armhole and adjust it if necessary without leaving holes.
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Once the sleeve has been set into position and you are happy with the results, sew using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Adding Shoulder Pads and Sleeve Heads

Sleeve heads will help to fill out the faux leather and prevent it from dimpling along the sleeve cap. Position the sleeve heads along the stitching line and hand sew in place as described here.
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The shoulder pads can be sewn to the shoulder seam allowances with a running stitch.img_7673a
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Inserting the Lining

Assemble the body of the lining. Once the jacket is complete, the lining can be sewn to the Front and Back Neck Facings. Put the garment on a dress stand inside out. Pin the lining to the armhole.
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Use a long running stitch to baste the layers together around the armhole. I like to hand sew the sleeve lining to the armhole, which holds it securely in place.  For more complete instructions regarding sleeve insertion, click here.

Hemming

One of the bonuses of working with faux leather is it is easier to hand sew as compared with real leather, due to its knit backing. To hem the jacket and sleeves I used a hem
stitch. Sew through the hem allowance and pick up just a bit of the knit backing. Be careful not to go too deep or the stitches will show on the right side of the fabric.

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Jeans

I styled the jacket with another pair of my favorite jeans. To add a bit of glitz to coordinate with the white/gold faux leather I added heat set crystals to the back pockets. The crystals came as a strip, which I cut apart and applied with the iron.
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Faux Leather Belt

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From some of the leftover faux leather I made a belt to wear with the jeans. Cut a piece of belting slightly narrower than the finished width of the belt. The belting needs to
be narrower to comfortably accommodate the thickness of the faux leather once the belting is covered. Try a sample first to determine how wide the belting needs to be and how wide to cut the faux leather in order to wrap it completely around the belting and meet in the center on the wrong side of the belt. Round one end of the belting. Apply rubber cement to the wrong side of the faux leather.
Position the belting down the center of the faux leather. Neatly fold the faux leather over the rounded end of the belt.
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Fold the long edges of the belt in towards the center.
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Miter the corners of the faux leather were they meet the rounded edge of the belt.
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Cut a piece of faux leather wider than the finished belt. Use rubber cement to glue this to the wrong side of the belt.
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Topstitch around the belt. Trim away the excess fabric from the back of the belt using appliqué scissors.
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Use a hole punch to make a hole for the belt buckle. Mark your waist measurement plus 1” of wearing ease as the center hole for the belt. Mark a hole on either side of the center hole. Punch these holes with a hole punch.
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Combined with a white T-shirt this outfit can take me from lunch to an evening out in comfort and style!

Inspiration No. 7 Jeans, revisited

Jeans, revisited

by Kathryn Brenne

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I have always loved the color red. It makes people happy. It is the color of energy, passion, love and joy.  I also love the red stretch denim carried by emmaonesock.com and I especially love my new jeans! They are absolutely perfect. They make me smile, brighten up a cold winter day and are sooooo comfortable to wear.

Inspired by Yohji Yamamoto, I added a few funky details to my jeans but kept the standard jean pockets, fly zipper and gold topstitching. Whether you wish to recreate the jeans shown here, or if you just wish to learn some techniques that will assure professional results using your TNT jeans pattern, the tips outlined below will apply to sewing up any version of the American classic jean.

 

 

 Pattern and Alterations

To create these designer-inspired jeans, you’ll have to make a few alterations to a classic jeans pattern. Start with your favorite high-waisted jeans pattern as a base. My favorites include McCalls 6610, 5894 and OOP Jalie 966. You’ll need to omit the yoke and convert the yoke seam into a dart/tuck at center back.

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To do this, draw the stitching line onto both the Back and the Yoke pattern pieces. Pin the stitching lines together at the side seam. You may find that the yoke is shaped and the two pieces will not lay flat and pin together smoothly. Don’t worry about this as it is going to be opened up into a dart. To create a dart/tuck at center back, keep the yoke pinned to the Back at the side seam stitching line and pivot the Yoke open at center back creating a 1/2″ dart shape (the size of the dart may vary, depending on your size and the shape of your yoke). The side seam remains the same length allowing the Back to sew to the Front without the length of the side seam changing. The opening at center back will be sewn as a tuck and become a design feature. Keep the original grain line from the Back. The Yoke will swing up placing this area of the pant Back on more of a bias grain, which actually helps with fitting.
img_7378I wanted a loose fitting leg, with a wide hem circumference cropped to ankle length. My jeans fit loosely through the hips, widen out at the knee and then taper back in toward the hem. The circumference at the knee is 26 3/4” and 21” at the hem. To make these changes to the pattern, determine the desired length as well as the circumference at the knee and hem. Mark the new hemline onto the pattern. Measure the hem circumference of the original pattern and calculate the amount to be increased or decreased. Add or subtract equal amounts to the inseam and side seam to create the new hem circumference. Altering only the side seam will not allow the leg to sit properly.
Locate your knee position on the pattern. From the hip, widen the side seam out towards the knee and then back into the hem to create a new relaxed shape. Round this new seam slightly. It should not come to a point at the knee. The inseam can be straightened or widened slightly at the knee. The seam from the crotch to the knee should have a curve to it but it can be fairly straight from the knee to the hem.

kneetuckcloseupThe design tuck at the knee did not involve any pattern drafting. It was merely a tuck that was topstitched after the inseams were sewn together to give the leg a different shape.
I always recommend sewing a test fitting muslin before starting a new pattern. This allows you to perfect the fit before cutting into fabric.

Fabric

Denim is a twill weave fabric usually made from cotton. It is available in a variety of weights, colors and finishes. Today, many denim fabrics have the addition of spandex for comfort. Pretreat fabric by washing in the washing machine. If the fabric has spandex, do not dry in a hot dryer. Heat deteriorates spandex. Instead tumble in a cool dryer for a few minutes to remove wrinkles and then hang to dry. For 100% cotton denim, dry thoroughly in the dryer.

Needles and Thread

A Jeans sewing machine needle with a sharp tip and sturdy shaft is the best choice for sewing denim. Needles are available in size 75 for lighter weight fabrics and size 90 for most medium to heavy weight fabrics. For topstitching a Cordonnet needle 130 H-N, which has a larger eye to accommodate heavier threads, works well. Try using a size 90 or 100.
For straight stitching and topstitching I like to use a denim or 1/4” foot with a small needle hole and a straight stitch throat plate. This combination will give a perfect straight stitch, whereas an all purpose foot and throat plate leave some play in the fabric as it is stitched, resulting in the odd stitch that may appear to be a bit crooked.
For regular sewing 100% polyester all purpose Gutermann thread is a good choice. Most
domestic sewing machines do not respond well to using 100% polyester topstitching or
buttonhole twist for topstitching. Instead I like to use 12 weight 100% cotton Mako by Aurifil topstitching thread. Aurifil has a couple of gold colors that work particularly well with denim. I use the heavier 12 weight in the upper threading of the machine and a matching color of 100% polyester Gutermann all purpose thread in the bobbin.

Details

A great pair of jeans revolves around the details. For the most professional look, use Western style front pockets, a fly front metal toothed zipper, belt loops, rivets, a Bachelor button at the waist, interesting back pockets and contrasting topstitching.

Fly Front Zipper

I like to insert a true fly front zipper with a separate fly guard as opposed to a fly zipper with a cut on fly extension. For this fly zipper you will need a fly facing and a fly guard cut from self fabric, and a fly facing and 1” strip cut from fusible all bias interfacing. The length of these pieces will depend on the length of zipper being used. All pieces should be 1” longer than the length of the zipper plus a seam allowance at the top. The fly guard also needs a 1/2” seam allowance at the bottom.
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Fuse the fly facing interfacing directly to the left Front and the 1” strip to the right Front.
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Press 1/2” up along the bottom edge of the fly guard. Press the fly guard in half wrong sides together.

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Serge the edges of the Front crotch seams, the fly guard and the fly facing.
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Apply double sided tape to the zipper positioning it close to the outer edge.
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Align the zipper face down against the right Front pant. Machine stitch 3/8” in from edge.
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Press seam toward pant.
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Pin Fly Facing to left pant Front. Stitch using a 5/8” seam allowance.
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Sew the crotch seam for approximately 1 1/2” from the bottom of the zipper, keeping the fly facing out of the way.
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Press the seam of the fly facing open and then press the fly facing towards the pant.
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Apply double sided tape the wrong side of the zipper.
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Adhere the Fly Guard to the tape.
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Edge Stitch through all layers. Because this side of the zipper was initially sewn to the pant with a 3/8” seam, it sits inside the edge of the left Front, which is what you want.
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Edge stitch the left front pant from the end of the crotch stitching to the waist.
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Apply double sided tape to the left side of the zipper.
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Position the left Front pant by pressing in place with the zipper closed. The right zipper should be sitting 1/4” in from the edge of the right Front.


Sew the left side of the zipper to the fly facing with two rows of stitching, one placed close to the edge and the other about 1/4” in. These rows of stitching are only through the zipper tape and the fly facing.

I photocopy my favourite RTW jean fly to make a topstitching template for the final row of topstitching. Cut the template from thin cardboard. Position the template along the center front edge. Chalk around the template.


Topstitch along chalked line being careful to keep the Fly Guard out of the way. Do not hit the metal stopper at the bottom of the zipper. Leave thread tails long, pull through to the inside and knot off.
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Add a second row of topstitching 1/4” away from the first row.
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Add bar tacks to the end of the zipper using a zig zag stitch with a stitch width of 1.7mm and a stitch length of .25mm. All purpose Gutermann thread was used for bar tacking. Place a second bar tack approximately 3/4” up from the bottom along the side of the topstitching. This stitching goes through all layers and will hold the fly guard in place.
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Front Western Pockets

Apply a 1” strip of fusible interfacing to the front pocket edges. Pink the outer edge.
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I like to use fun quilting cottons for the pocket bags. Sew the pocket bag to the Front pant. Trim seam allowance to a narrow 1/4”.


Press to the inside and finish with a row of edge stitching and a second row of top stitching 1/4” away from first row.
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Finish the edge of the self fabric pocket Facing. Sew to pocket bag with a row of stitching close to the edge.


French seam pocket bags together by sewing the raw edges of the two pocket bags wrong
sides together with a 1/4” seam allowance. Trim seam allowance to a narrow 1/8”. Turn and press right sides together. Stitch a second time using a 1/4” seam allowance.

To add a coin pocket to the right front pocket, turn under the edges. Topstitch the upper edge of the coin pocket. Topstitch the coin pocket to the pocket facing before finishing the pocket.
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Finish the upper corner of the coin pocket with a rivet. See instructions below for setting rivets.

Back Pockets

As a design feature I drafted large rectangular back pockets.
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Apply a strip of fusible interfacing along the folded edge of the Back Pocket to prevent the pocket from stretching.
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I added a piece of lining fabric to the inside of the Back Pocket to add a bit of color if the pockets opened up and to help stabilize them and prevent them from stretching. The lining does not need to extend all the way to the top edge. It will be caught in place with the topstitching.
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Fold the edges of the Back Pocket in and press. Topstitch the folded edge. Position Back
Pockets by pinning in place during a fitting. Finish by topstitching to the pants. Bar tack the upper corners to reinforce.

Topstitching hints

A longer stitch length will highlight topstitched details. Try using a stitch length of 3-3.5mm depending on the thickness of your denim. Use a straight stitch throat plate. Caution: When using a straight stitch needle plate do not adjust the center needle position, otherwise the needle will break. When starting or stitching over thick areas or seams, a height compensator is useful. It can be used behind, beside or in front of the foot to help level it to the same height at which the machine is sewing. This prevents the stitches from bunching up when edge stitching or topstitching. The height compensator also comes in handy when sewing over thick seams while hemming the pants.

More custom design details

Fold the center back tucks in place and edge stitch before sewing the remainder of the crotch and center back seam.
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Finish the center back seam. Edge stitch from the base of the zipper around the seam to the waist at center back.
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As a design detail I placed a second row of topstitching from the waist at center back down to mid way between the pockets. The end of this topstitching was finished with a bar tack.

Pin the tucks into the inside knee area. Baste and edge stitch.

 

kneetucksSew the side seams together. Apply the waistband.

Belt Loops

Cut a long strip of fabric 1” wide. Serge or finish one long edge. Press the strip by folding in the raw edge and then folding the serged edge over it. Edge stitch both sides of the strip, catching in the serging along the one edge.
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Test the belt loops over the width of belt you might wear with the jeans allowing a small amount of ease. Cut the belt loops into lengths and attach to the jeans with bar tacks. I like to place my belt loops just front of the pockets, just behind the side seams and center back.
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Flat Felled Seams

Flat felled seams are often found on the inseam of jeans. They can be sewn on the side seams as well but the bulk of the pockets make this finish difficult to execute. On my jeans I edge stitched the inseam rather than flat felling it because of the bulk of the knee tuck. I edge stitched the side seams as well, from the waist down towards the hip for 6” to keep the pocket area flat.

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If you do wish to make a flat felled seams, here’s how:

Sew seam with 5/8” seam allowance. Press the seam open. Trim one seam allowance to 1/4”.


Press the longer seam allowance over the shorter seam allowance. Pin to hold in place. Baste in place.


Sew two rows of stitching to hold the seam in place. If using top stitching thread this is done from the right side of the fabric using the basting as a guide line. The underside has 2 rows of all purpose sewing thread, which was used in the bobbin.

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Rivets and Bachelor Buttons

Rivets add the finishing professional touch to jeans. I added them to the pockets where they meet the waistband and side seam to offer reinforcement. To install rivets position the rivet in the desired position and push down on the cap to leave an impression on the fabric.
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Use a hole punch fit with a very small hole to punch a hole in the center of the impression.
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Insert the back of the rivet through the hole.
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Place the cap over the back of the rivet.
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Using the rivet setting tool, hammer the cap in place.


The Bachelor buttons I like to use on jeans hammer in place. (They are called Bachelor
buttons because no sewing is required!)

Using the same hole cutter that was used for the rivets, punch a small hole through the waistband. Insert the back of the Batchelor button, place the button over the backing and tap with a hammer to hold in place. I found some Batchelor buttons that swivel, making them very easy to button and unbutton.
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Finish the waistband with a keyhole buttonhole.
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Inspiration No. 6 Show some legging!

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.

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Kathryn rockin’ her look in North Bay!

Leggings

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Showing some legging!

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.

Hem

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!
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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.

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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.
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Fold the elastic down into the garment and hand baste to hold.IMG_6069a

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.
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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.
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Koos van den Akker Dress

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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.

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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.

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Crazy Stitching

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.

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Welt Pockets

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.
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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.
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Lift up the dress and stitch across the triangle at each end of the pocket.
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Use a catch stitch to close the welts.
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Edge stitch around the outside edge of the pocket. At this point the pocket bag should be laying flat.
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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.
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Bodice Lining

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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.

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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.

 

Button Tabs

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.
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Use a rotary cutter to accurately cut the strips to 1” wide.
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Trim the ends into a curved shape
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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.
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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.
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Attach the button bands to the dress with a square of stitching. Use a zig zag stitch to hem the sleeves.
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Sew the button to the square of stitching.
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The sleeve will pull up and gather into the button band
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Finishing

Hand sew the lining to the waist seam with a slip stitch.
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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.

Inspiration No. 5 Sewing Heaven

Sewing Heaven in North Bay, Ontario (August 2015)

By Linda Podietz

Kathryn Brenne

Kathryn Brenne

As many of you know, Kathryn Brenne has been writing sewing tutorials for EOS for several years now. She is a master sewist (and knitter) and a virtual unending fountain of sewing expertise! Over the years, due in large part to her writing work for Vogue Patterns Magazine, Threads and other publications, she has made the most exquisitely-crafted garments of all types. I had of course heard about her sewing school in North Bay, Ontario, and had always dreamed of going there — how wonderful it would be to pick her brain and ask ALL of my sewing questions in person!

This year I decided it was time to get myself up there and signed up for her 4-day open workshop that took place this past August (um… I’m just a wee bit late in getting this review posted!). For the whole summer I obsessed over what garments I would choose to work on, searching for the right patterns and figuring out what I could do on my own ahead of time so as not to waste a precious moment during the class.

I was just discovering Burda pattern downloads, and settled on making a winter coat (Burda 10/2014 #125), a leather jacket (Burda 02/2010 #115), a leather vest for Eric (Burda 12/2010 #123), and was also hoping to get to some tips for copying a favorite leather handbag as well. Needless to say, when I told Kathryn what I had planned for the class, she said I was “very ambitious” (translation: you are crazy!) and that it usually takes her a full week just to make a coat.

Undeterred by common sense, I began making my muslins, adjusting my patterns, and before I left for the workshop I had cut out my coat, my leather jacket, and Eric’s vest, and was ready to roll! I tossed everything, including the leather handbag that I wanted to copy, into my suitcase, and off I went.

Kathryn’s school, which is attached to her home in a beautiful wooded area of North Bay, was just minutes from my hotel. I arrived with suitcase full of projects in hand, and stepped into her two level studio, which can only be described as SEWING HEAVEN! It is equipped with everything you could possibly want in your sewing studio. Each student was given a Bernina sewing machine, a color-coded caddy with all necessary tools and notions, and access to numerous cutting tables and work surfaces perfectly designed for sewing work. After meeting the other participants and Kathryn’s trusted assistant, Malia, I showed Kathryn my winter coat, and got started.

First lesson was to thread trace all notches, markings, seam lines, etc. … something I had never taken the time to do, but it made all the difference, especially with my fabric which was quite textured and “fuzzy”.

What amazed me about Kathryn was how she was instantly able to jump from one student to another, know exactly what their next step needed to be, so that each person felt they had her complete attention. All this while working with Malia on her own assignments and new patterns for Vogue and for EOS, providing amazing food for us (which I totally didn’t expect!), and all with that laid back Canadian no-nonsense calmness and straight-forwardness. How she managed to serve home-baked goodies at every morning coffee break, a fresh and beautiful home-cooked lunch every day (Kathryn is a fabulous cook, and very sensitive to the dietary needs of the participants), complete with dessert, was like a magic trick. Voila!

I was surprised by the amount of hand-stitching required to make a beautifully-tailored jacket, so determined not to take up precious class time with those hours of hand-stitching, I would go back to my hotel each evening and do about three hours of hand work!

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By the fourth day, I had the coat pretty much put together, and we figured that I could construct and install the lining at home. We finally could move on to my leather jacket!

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Finished product! It is SO warm and cozy… I really love it.

On the last afternoon of the workshop Kathryn showed me everything I needed to know about constructing my leather jacket, and helped me to put together one of the pockets so that I could do the other at home. The Burda pattern I chose was for a more bohemian style (raw edges, lapped seams) but Kathryn suggested a more professional finish so I re-cut, reworked and lined the pockets for a more finished look.

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Then she showed me how to do the seaming and top-stitching, and pretty much everything I needed to know to finish the jacket on my own, so I left in good shape, with tons of new information.

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This is how far I got during that last afternoon of class.

This is how far I got during that last afternoon of class.

I did most of the work at home, and did run into a few issues that could have been avoided had Kathryn been there to guide me, but it all worked out, and I am quite happy with the result! I’ve worn this jacket a ton already.

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Each day Kathryn would bring out some of her amazing garments from her “archive” for us to see up close, and I have to say that her skills are super human! Every stitch was perfect, every hand-sewn buttonhole flawless, and even on the sheerest silk garment, everything was absolutely perfect. It was quite inspirational.

It was also fun to see what Kathryn would wear each day— her distinctive style is so natural to her — it’s a lesson in personal style!

The only thing I regret is that I didn’t take more photos… I do hope to go back next August and will be sure to do a better job recording the experience.

Finally, I want to say that this review is not influenced by our working relationship. I paid full price for the workshop and it was worth every penny!

LindaKBcoat1  LindaKBjacket1