Tag Archives: tutorial

Tutorial: Matching Plaids Like A Boss

17 Oct

I know this is going to make me sound like the biggest dork ever, but I loooove matching plaids. It’s really fun and it makes me feel super smart when I get all my lines to match up. I know a lot of people are skeered of dealing with The Plaid (or The Stripes, or the Gingham, or the Buffalo Check for that matter), but I promise they’re not hard to sew! It just takes a little prep, a bit more attention while cutting, and then you’re golden!

Plaid Negroni

The first think you need to do is determine what areas need to match, and what you can get away with cutting on the bias to avoid matching. My biggest #1 tip for plaids is cut whatever the fuck you can on the bias. It breaks up a monotonous pattern, it creates visual interest, and it saves you a few matching sessions. Generally speaking, the parts that go bias tend to be pockets, the yoke and the button placket (on a shirt), princess seams (on a dress), under sleeves (on a jacket) and waistbands (on a skirt or pants), as well as anything that is a small detail (such as pocket welts).

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

A couple things I never cut on the bias – sleeve plackets (those shits are fiddly enough without throwing bias in the mix), shirt cuffs (tends to be too busy; just accept that the lines won’t match up all the way across and get on with your life), collars and collar stands (you can’t see the collar stand, and a collar doesn’t have to match up to the lines on the shirt if there’s a bias piece underneath it. And, again, too busy). It should go without saying, but try not to sew bias pieces next to each other. They are good for breaking up the lines, but use them sparingly!

Gingham Shorts - front

Once you’ve determined your bias pieces, now is the time to locate all the seams that need to match up. Generally, it’s not very many – for my Archer, I matched the side seams and the sleeve seams. The back yoke, pocket and button placket were cut on the bias, and the remaining pieces (collar, collar stand, sleeve placket) were cut without any matching. Sounding easy so far? Ok, let’s get cutting!

Now, just a head’s up – I don’t cut my plaids on a folded layer. I know a lot of people do it that way but I personally have never ever had any luck with that method – there is always oneeee line that is slightly off, and ugh, do not want! So I cut my shit on a single layer whenever I can get away with it. This goes the same for bias pieces (if your piece is on a fold – like the back yoke – trace it so it’s a full piece and cut it on one layer. Trust me.).

1 matching plaids

Of course, there are some pieces you have to cut on the fold – like the back for the Archer shirt. Start with this piece. Fold just the amount of fabric you need, being very careful to match up every single line (and now you realize why I cut shit on the single layer, right? This part is maddening!).

2 matching plaids

Once you’re satisfied with how everything matches up through both layers, pin the selvedge down so the fabric won’t shift. Cut out your pattern piece and clip all your notches.

3 matching plaids

For the next piece – in my case, the two front pieces – open out your fabric so it’s a single layer. Take the folded piece you just cut and open it up (hope you marked those notches, buddy!). Line up the side seam – the part that needs to match – with the plaid lines on the fabric. Get it so it’s totally even and basically plaid camouflage.

4 matching plaids

Then take your front piece and align it on the fabric so the side seams match, from underarm to hem. I know it’s hard to see the in the picture, but the piece I’m holding at the bottom is my back piece, lined up with the remaining fabric.

5 matching plaids

Make sure your notches are aligned on the same bit of plaid, and then cut your one front piece. Don’t forget to clip your notches!

6 matching plaids

Now take the piece you just cut – the front piece – and flip it over on the single layer so the pieces are mirrored with the same sides together. Take care to match the lines on every single cut edge.

7 matching plaids

If you squint your eyes and can’t see the piece you pinned down, you know it’s matched up there perfectly.

Once you cut this piece, you should have two front pieces that are a perfect mirror image of one another – this means that the side seams will match the back on both sides, as well as the center front matching (since it’s a mirror).

I’ve found this technique to be much more successful as you have complete control over the matching and cutting since you are doing everything on a single layer (so no unhappy fabric-shifty surprises when you open up the pieces). And bonus – cutting a single layer means you use less fabric. Seriously! I think I eeked that Archer out in like, less than a yard and a half of fabric. Crazy talk, y’all!

Also, I should probably point out now that once you’ve cut all your pieces, you don’t have to give any other thought to matching the lines as they should perfectly fall into place. Yay for mindless sewing that looks difficult!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Now go forth and match up those plaids like a BOSS!

boss
Man, this shit will never not be funny to me.

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Sewing the Robson Trench Coat

22 Apr

Spoiler: There are no finished projects in this post, sry2say! I’ve been working on this coat for the past week, and I thought it might be beneficial to show some progress photos as well as share some tips :)

Anyway, let’s get down to business. Have y’all seen the newest addition to Sewaholic patterns – Robson Coat?! AHHH. I’m on Tasia’s pattern tester email list, and every time she sends out an email for testing, I’m almost always too busy with current projects/too poor to buy fabric (as was this case) so I have to pass… and I always think, “Man, I’m going to regret passing on this.” Sure enough, when the official announcement came out, I considered punching myself in the face out of frustration, because, FUCK. That coat is awesome and I need one, weather be dammed.

What really sealed the deal for me was getting an eyeful of Novita’s lace version. It’s just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I immediately wanted to be a shameless copycat and make my own version (of course I asked first ;)).

This is the lace I am using for my coat:
Robson Progress - lace fabric
It’s from Mood, of course, and I think I bought the last of the bolt in the store so you can’t have it nyah nyah nyah ;) It’s labeled an outwear fabric, and it’s nice and weighty for a trench coat. At $20 a yard, it was definitely a splurge (and remember – I had to buy underlining, bias binding, buttons, thread, interfacing, all that fun stuff!), but I recalled Novita saying she only used 4m to make hers, so I ordered 4 yards and it was just enough. Yay! The lace is underlined with navy cotton sateen, and the bias binding is made with white/navy polka dot cotton batiste.

I’m not going to sugarcoat – this jacket requires quite a bit of stamina to make, as it takes a loong time. I spent at least 8 hours just prepping the dang thing, before I even got to sewing! Cutting the fabric pieces (twice, since they are underlined), making my own bias binding (because I clearly don’t have enough to do as it is), attaching the interfacing, basting the underlined pieces together, marking the notches, etc etc. I chose to do all this before I started sewing, just to get it out of the way.

Robson Progress - fusing interfacing

My garment press made fusing interfacing fun! I just stuck the pieces in the press, sprayed them with water, and set a timer on my phone for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, I flipped the pieces, sprayed them again, and fused for another 30 seconds. Since the press doesn’t require you to stand over it and hold it down (like an iron), I could get other things done in the meantime…

Robson Progress - thread

Such as prepping my thread and winding bobbins. My bobbin winder is amazing and self-motorized (no holding down the pedal!), so I was actually winding bobbins, fusing interfacing, AND dicking around on Instagram at the same time! GLORY.

Since my coat has several different colors going on, I am using three different thread colors. Part of what is making this take so long is that I have to keep changing out the thread with practically every step!

Robson Progress

Deciding on how I would handle the underlining took a lot of thought. Since my lace is see-through and the inside of the coat is not lined, I had to take that into consideration when it came to fusing the (BRIGHT WHITE) interfacing to my pieces. Thankfully, all the interfaced pieces do require a facing on the opposite side, so I simply fused my underlining to the wrong side of my cotton sateen.

Robson Progress - underlining

Then I stacked the lace on the sateen and basted the pieces together – all 30+ of them (yeah, there are a LOT of pieces in this pattern!). THAT PART TOOK FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. Thankfully, I was able to get them machine-basted, which definitely sped up the process – I think I would have cried if I had to hand-baste all that!

More info on underlining can be found in this blog post, fyi!

Robson Progress - test button hole

I also had to consider how my button holes would look on the lace. Fortunately, my machine makes pretty awesome button holes, so combined with my new button hole cutter, I think they look pretty profesh, yeah?

I was planning to do a whole series of posts on this coat – but honestly, once I started sewing (like, actually sewing, and not prep :B), it’s pretty fast and straight forward! There isn’t a lot to elaborate on as far as the instructions are concerned. I did want to share a how I dealt with the binding, though – the instructions just have you fold the binding in half and wrap around the edges of the seam allowance (as like this), which is fine when you’re working with a lighter weight fabric – but not two thicker fabrics sewn together! I actually tried to bind a seam as per the instructions, and then laughed for about 20 minutes when I saw how ugly and sad it turned out!

So here’s my advice to you~ for those bound seams-

Robson Progress - trimming seam allowances

First, pull your seam allowances apart (you will need to remove the basting stitches holding the layers together) and trim down the shell fabric to 1/4″. This will greatly reduce the bulk of your seams, making it easier to wrap the bias binding around the remaining seam allowances.

Robson Progress - trimmed seam allowances

Here is the seam with the shell fabric (blue lace) trimmed down. You may also want to trim down your underlining at this point – not too much, just enough to get the edges even if they aren’t already. As a sidenote, sorry about all the thread/cat hair. Apparently, cotton sateen is a magnet for EVERYTHING. Who woulda thought?

Robson Progress - bias binding

Open one side of your bias tape and pin it to the seam allowances, right sides together with raw edges matching.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Sew the bias tape to the seam allowances – try to get your stitching line right along the opened fold. I use a long basting stitch for this step; it’s really just to keep things in place while you top stitch.

Robson Progress - bias binding

When you flip the binding to the other side, it should naturally fall into place.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Top stitch with a matching thread. See how nice that looks? It’s an extra step for sure, but totally worth it in my opinion. With a thicker fabric, it can be hard to get that tiny bias tape folded around the edge with an even stitch and both sides caught in the fold. I’d rather take my time and get things done right the first time, rather than try to take short-cuts that result in a personal one-on-one with my seam ripper :)

Robson Progress - grading seams

Another tip if you’re sewing the Robson is to be sure to aggressively grade those seam allowances by the collar, because they can get real thick real fast.

Robson Progress

I have the body mostly done at this point and it’s become quite a beast to wrangle under the sewing machine. I’ve taken to pulling my top drawer out and using it as a tabletop for the bulk of the coat.

fucking cat
fucking cat

Since all the interior seams are finished with binding, I haven’t needed my serger at all for this project – so I took the opportunity to take it in for it’s yearly cleaning/maintenance. As you can see, Amelia is pissed that she has to share her ~window seat~ with that dumb ol’ machine.

Anyway, it’s look great so far-

Robson Progress
Robson Progress

I love how nicely that collar rolls! Just beautiful!

I plan to have this finished within the next week or so. Since it’s for the Mood Sewing Network, The Big Reveal won’t be until May – sorry! I’m such a tease.

Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top

18 Jan

stretch yourself header
This post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute. This two week series is ALL ABOUT the love of knits, so go check it out!
I’ll be showing y’all some embellishment twist on a classic, along with Jessica of A Little Gray

Here she is – the Paulie Pocket Top!
Paulie Pocket Top
I KNOW. The name of this top is totally ridiculous & tacky – but what part about my life isn’t? :)

Paulie Pocket Top
You will need 3 different kinds of fabric to make this – something for the majority of the shirt (in whatever yardage you need to make your top), something to line the back of the pocket with (half a yard or so should be enough), and scraps for the pocket binding. For the binding, you don’t want to use anything that is too thin/floppy, or it’s not going to sit right – try something with a bit more body, like ribbing or a cotton knit.

Don’t forget your pattern! You can download it here. The edges of the paper are part of the band pieces; the lines just didn’t transfer over during the scan.
Be sure the test square prints out to 4″x4″ (or 10cmx10cm, if you fancy). The stretch guide is there for the binding fabric – you just want to make sure the 4″ piece stretches up to the length provided (or else your binding will not fit in the cut-outs). If it stretches more or less, that is fine, but you will need to adjust your pattern pieces accordingly.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut all your pattern pieces from the main fabric as normal. For this tutorial, I am using the Renfrew pattern. Sew the shoulder seams as instructed (you don’t *have* to sew the shoulder seams first, but I like to because it helps with pocket placement – you can pull the shirt over your head and double-check in the mirror).

Now push the back of the shirt out of your way. We won’t be touching it for the rest of this tutorial.

Paulie Pocket Top
On the shirt front, measure on both sides the distance from where you want the bottom of your pockets to hit, keeping seam allowance in mind. I usually go with 1 3/4″. Mark this with a pin.

Paulie Pocket Top
Align the bottom of the pocket template with the pin and cut from the front of the shirt only.
(pst! I know my template has different wording – while putting together this tutorial, I hadn’t decided on a ~name~ for my pattern embellishment yet ;))

Paulie Pocket Top
Give the pocket piece to your cat to play with, idk.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut 2 pieces of pocket ribbing, using the pocket band pattern piece.

Paulie Pocket Top
Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Paulie Pocket Top
Pin the pocket band to the pocket opening on the outside of the shirt, matching raw edges, notches, and ends. The pocket band will be smaller than the pocket opening – this is good, we are going to stretch that band to fit and give our pockets a nice curve. Do not overpin this – 3 pins is plenty.

Paulie Pocket Top
Start by anchoring one end of the pocket band to the pocket edge, and stop with the needle in the down position.

Paulie Pocket Top
Sew the band to the edge, stretching the band to fit as you go (don’t stretch the raw edge of the pocket- just the band! It’s much easier if you position it so the band is on top). Sew slowly and take your time. We ain’t in a hurry here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Once the band is sewn down, you can topstitch it on your sewing machine – using a twin needle or a regular ol’ zigzag stitch.

Paulie Pocket Top
You should end up with something like this. Ain’t that fancy! Let’s put a back to those pockets so our sides aren’t hanging out in the glory of the sun – unless you’re into that kinda stuff, eh, no judgement here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure from the bottom of the shirt front to about an inch above the pocket band. Mine is 9.5″, which is approximately how tall I need my pocket lining piece to be.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure that same measurement from the bottom of your shirt front pattern piece and cut that from your pocket back fabric.

Paulie Pocket Top
Finish the top edge of your pocket back fabric – this is optional as we all know jersey doesn’t exactly unravel, but it’ll make the next step a little easier :)

Paulie Pocket Top
Lay the shirt front over the pocket lining piece you just cut, matching all raw edges. Pin along the pocket openings and shirt bottom to keep everything in place.

Paulie Pocket Top
Now, using your fingers to feel the edge of the top of the pocket lining underneath, carefully pin across the front of the shirt so both pieces are pinned together.

Paulie Pocket Top
Flip back periodically to make sure you catch both layers.

Paulie Pocket Top
Topstitch (again – you can use a twin needle or a zigzag) along the line you just pinned. Baste the side and bottom edges together.

And that’s it! You can go ahead and sew your shirt together as instructed by your pattern – treat the pocket-ed front as one piece.

Yay for embellished shirts!

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Special shout-out to this awkward picture:
Paulie Pocket Top
No idea why I look so emo here haha

Paulie Pocket Top
There! That’s better :D

Thurlow Sew-Along: Belt Loops & Finishing

9 Nov

This is the last post in our sew-along, folks. We are about to finish up these bad boys once and for all!


Today we will be sewing steps 20-22 – making and attaching the belt loops, adding a button and hook and eye, and hemming the pants. That’s it! That’s all that’s left!

b2
Belt loops first! If you don’t want to add belt loops to your pants, that’s fine – you can skip this part and scroll down. If you are adding belt loops, I hope you can see this picture. It should enlarge through Flickr if you are having trouble.
Finish one long edge of the belt loop piece – preferably with something that won’t add much bulk, as this fabric will be triple folded onto itself. Mine is serged. Fold the piece into thirds – start by folding the unfinished long edge about 5/8″, press, then fold the finished edge over that, and press again. Topstitch on either side of the folded piece, making sure to catch all layers through both rows of stitching.

b3
Cut the belt loops into 6 equal pieces. The instructions call for 4 1/2″ length, but I find that to be a bit too long for the width of the waistband, so mine are 3 1/4″.

b5
This step is totally optional, but I like to finish the raw edges of my belt loops so they don’t unravel over time. If you have a serger, just shove them under the presser foot one after the other and serge in one long line. If you don’t have a serger, you can zig-zag with your sewing machine. Repeat on the other side.

b6
You will end up with something like this.

b7
Then cut all the little pieces apart.
Again, this step is optional. If you don’t finish the edges of your belt loops, I’m pretty sure the sewing police won’t arrest you for fraud or anything :B

b8
Take your first belt loop and fold one end back about 1/2″ or so (however little you can get away with, due to the bulk). If your belt loops are closer to 4″, you may need to fold more back.

b9
Pin the belt loop to the pants waistband, right along the top edge. The belt loops are centered over the back darts, side seams, and front pockets. The diagram in the pattern is very helpful if you need more placement guidance.

b10
Fold the bottom of the belt loop back approximately the same amount as the top (in my case, 1/2″) and pin along the bottom of the waistband.

b11
The belt loops are not intended to lay perfectly flat along the waistband – there should be a little bit of room. You know, so you can fit a belt in there :)

b12
Continue all the way around the waistband until all the belt loops are pinned down.

b13
To sew them down, stitch as close as possible to the top edge of the waistband. I like to go over this stitching line a few times – forward, backward, forward again, and then a small back stitch to secure. Don’t want those belt loops going anywhere!

b14
Sew the bottom of the loops down in the same manner, getting as close to the seam as possible.

b15
Here is what my sewn on belt loops are looking like. Shnazzy!

b16
All belt loops should be sewn on at this point.

The next step is hemming, but I like to save that for last and I find the fit of my pants is slightly affected without a proper closure at the top. So I’m going to skip 21 and jump straight to step 22.

b17
Button hole goes on the left front – it should be placed right at the edge before the triangle point starts.
Sew your button on the inside of the right front, being careful not to stitch on the outside of the pants.

b18
Hook goes on the right front – butt it as close to the edge as you possibly can, without it actually showing from the outside. I like to sew mine on using a blanket stitch, as it tends to be a bit more secure.
To locate the exact placement of the eye, zip the zipper closed and rub the edge of the hook (where the eye would sit if it was closed) with a soft piece of chalk until it is coated in powder.

b19
Close your pants up and press firmly over the hook.

b20
When you open them again, there should be a little chalk print where the hook was.

b21
Sew your eye right over it! EASY.

You can go ahead and hem your pants at this point. The pattern allows for a 1 3/4″ seam allowance, which can either be turned and topstitched or hemmed invisibly with a slip stitch. Tasia has a great tutorial on invisible hemming with seam binding – hers is shown on a dress, but it would work just as well with pants.

And that wraps it up for the sew along! If you’re still catching up or have only been watching from the sidelines, don’t worry – these posts will be here indefinitely, as long as you need them. If you have any questions that were not covered, I’m always happy to answer via comments and/or emails. Hopefully these pictures & word vomit made you feel much more confident about tackling pants. Because, dude, pants are awesome. Especially when they have cowboys inside them :)

I’ll post a reveal of my finished pair on Monday. PANTSSSSS.

(thanks, Andi, for reminding me that this exists!!)

Thurlow Sew-Along: Attaching the Waistband

7 Nov

Holy shit, do y’all even realize what is going on today.


FINAL COUNTDOWN PANTS PARTY TIME.

Ha! But in all seriousness… we’re just a few steps away from being finished! Let’s get excited, yeah? :)


Today we are attaching the waistband, steps 15-19. You should have a semi-finished pair of pants at this point, all major seams sewn except the back extension. We will get to that today!

wb1
You should have two waistband pieces – a right side (with one square end) and a left side (with one pointed end) – cut in both your regular fabric and your lining fabric, and one set should be interfaced (I opted to interface the side with my fashion fabric, as it needed a bit more structure. Do what works best with your particular fabric, though!). Stack both left pieces together and both right pieces together, and sew along the top edge – the un-notched, concave curve – and the center front (the aforementioned square/pointed ends).

wb2
Trim, grade, and understitch the seam allowance.

wb3
You won’t be able to understitch all the way into the center front sections – that’s ok! Just understitch as far as you can :)

wb4
Open up your waistband pieces, and start pinning the main fabric side to the top of your pants, right sides together. Don’t worry about the lining at this point. Go all the way around, center front to center back (and yep, back extension is still open. We’re getting there!). Sew this seam.

wb5
Trim your seam allowances.

wb6
And press everything up toward the waistband.

wb7
Now for that pesky back extension! See my pretty, bright pattern markings? We are going to sew right over that. Pin along the marked line, all the way up through the waistband. I know, the marking doesn’t extend that far but do the best you can. The instructions indicate that you should baste first, check the fit, and then sew your permanent seam. However, if you already made a muslin, you don’t need to worry about basting first – unless you really want to fine-tune the fit. Personally, I always baste first. Even after multiple muslins :)
Be very careful to ensure that all your seams are aligned when you sew up the center back seam! If one side of your waistband is wider than the other, it will result in one side that has a little peek of lining popping out. So double-check before and after you sew!

wb8
Press open the center back extension. Those giant seam allowances are supposed to hang around – later, you can adjust the waist of your pants, making it bigger or smaller as needed :)

Sooo… pinning the waistband. Fair warning: this part is a bit fiddly and you will probably end up hating me for making you slog through it. I know, it sucks! But it’s better than unpicking a bunch of stitches, or having a janky looking waistband. Spend a little extra time up front making sure everything is lined up, and it will save you hours of banging your head against the wall when you realize that your third waistband attempt looks even worse than the first one.

wb9
Start with your lining all spread out and hogging the spotlight inside your pants.

wb10
Fold the lining under to the inside until the fold is covering the stitching underneath by about 1/8″-1/4″.

wb11
Now flip the waistband over and pin through the front, right in the middle of the ditch between your pants and your waistband.

wb12
When you flip the waistband back over to the lining side, the pin should just be catching the lining. The fold underneath the pin should be no more than 1/4″ – anything more than that will just look sloppy.

wb14
Repeat all the way around the pants, skipping the 3″ or so section of lining that covers the back extension. We aren’t going to stitch that part down, so just leave it open.

wb13
STOP PRESS. Are those chickens?? SHUT THE FUCK UP.

ahem.

wb15
With your sewing machine, stitch all the way around the lining, exactly in the little waistband/pants ditch that you pinned into. This is called stitching in the ditch. Yes, I know. It’s so clever.
Again, don’t worry about the section with the back extension is. Just skip over it and continue stitching in the ditch.

wb16
Afterwards, you can tack down the lining over the extension. The instructions call for just a few stitches worth of tacks, but I like to slipstitch mine down all the way so I know it’s not going anywhere. And also, I used yellow thread, because yellow is delightful.

wb17
Give the waistband a good steam press, both inside and out.

That’s all! That wasn’t so hard, huh? :)
Expect a wrap-up post in a couple of days – belt loops, buttons, and hemming. And then PANTS PARTY 2012, YO.

Thurlow Sew-Along: Sewing the Fly Zipper

5 Nov


Today, we are inserting the zipper into our pants and making the fanciest of flys – with a facing and a fly extension! FANCY Y’ALL. This is my personal favorite part of the pants-process – when they actually turn into pants, and not just 4 giant pieces of fabric flapping around the sewing room :)

We will be sewing steps 9-13. I know it sounds like a lot of ground to cover, but this should actually go a bit faster than the welt pockets – plus, you only have to sew one zipper, not two!

Here is your background music for this task. It seems fitting, although I’m guessing Danzig’s fly isn’t exactly the same fly we are dealing with today :P

Steps 7-8 should already be completed at this point, FYI!

f1
Take your interfaced fly facing (piece 11) and finish the curved edge.
Sidenote: The pattern placement wasn’t intentional when I cut this piece out, but HAHAHAHA dude is totally going to be lurking the inside of my pants!

f2
Sew the facing to the right front, right sides together, stopping at the notch.

f3
Trim & grade the seam allowances, understitch, and press the facing to the wrong side.

f4
Get your fly extension (piece 10) and fold in half along the fold line, right sides together, and sew along the bottom. Trim seam allowances, turn right side out and press. Sew and finish the long side.

f5
Place your zipper over the long finished edge of the fly extension, face up, with the zipper stop matching the notch. Sew. If your zipper is longer than 4″ (and really – where the hell does one find a 4″ zipper?), go ahead and match up the end with the notch and let the zipper excess hang off the top. We’ll cut it off when we get to the waistband attachment.
Sorry that the left side of my zipper tape looks all chewed up, it is. We got in a fight.

f6
Sew the zipper to the left pants front, face down, stopping at the notch. You can sew directly over your previous stitching line, to make things a little easier!

f7
Turn the facing to the back and edgestitch close to the zipper teeth.

f8
Now this might be a little hard to see, so bear with me here! Zip the whole thing closed, and then pull your right front over to the left from until the fly facing seamline is matched up with the second notch on the left front. At this point, I like to pin the whole thing closed so it doesn’t try to get sneaky when I push everything under the sewing machine.

f9
Flip your pants over; the right (un-attached) side of the zipper should be lined up with the fly facing. Pin the two of them together as shown, being careful not to catch anything else in your pins – no pants front, no fly extension. Just the facing and the zipper tape! As you can see, the zipper tape won’t go all the way to the edge – that’s ok! It’ll end up somewhere in the middle.

Go ahead and sew the zipper tape to the fly facing, using two lines of stitching.

f10
Flip the pants back over – it’s time to draw the stitching line for your fly! Yeeeeahh!!
Keeping the pants pinned close, locate the zipper stop and mark it (I used a pin, but you can also use chalk or whatev). This isn’t totally necessary, but you do want to be careful that you don’t try to sew through the stop – it could break a needle (“Wah” you say) or throw off the timing of your machine (“FUCK” you say). So watch out!

f11
I like to start at the top and work my way down when marking my fly line (I know Tasia’s is the opposite, so do whatever you want, yo!). Measure 1.5″ from the center in a straight line, curving the line as you reach your marking for the zipper stop. Bring the line under the zipper stop to ensure that you don’t sew over it.

f12
Here is my fly all marked up.
Don’t you love my BRIGHT ASS NEON YELLOW marking!? Liz sent me a couple pieces of this marking wax and a brand new box of hook&eyes, after I lameted about accidentally throwing mine away right after I bought them in Chicago. It was completely unexpected and totally amazing of her to do, but what else do you expect from someone who brings macarons to a sewing meet-up? :) Thank you again, Liz!

ANYWAY, topstitch right over your markings, directly through the pants front and fly facing. Leave the fly extension out of this – you do want the zipper to actually work, no? :)

f13
Since the poor extension feels lonely, give her a couple of tacks to the facing so they can still hang out. You can do this by hand, or the lazy way like me – with a tiny zigzag on your machine :) This picture was surprisingly hard to take; look at the diagram in the instructions if you need more elaboration on where to stitch.

f14
And that’s it! You should have a beautiful fly zipper, with a gorgeous fly facing and an outstanding fly extension.

f15
Doesn’t that look professional as fuck?

Go ahead and sew up your side seams as indicated in step 14. We only have a few more steps left!

Thurlow Sew-Along: Welt Pockets

2 Nov

Moving on to the next part of our sew-along – the Dreaded Double-Welt Pockets

\
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I will admit, this part gave me some serious hair-pulling when I first attempted it because the instructions run on the sparse side. Don’t worry, though – I took LOTS of pictures and even ran a few through my beloved Microsoft Paint, so hopefully y’alls first attempts will be a much smoother process :) The procedure itself it fairly simple, it’s just very precise. If the idea of welts is still terrifying – make a test welt pocket on some of your leftover scraps! No shame!!


Today we will be sewing steps 4-6.

Before you do ANYTHING with these pieces, take a moment to ensure that you have transferred all your pattern markings and notches to the fabric pieces. Like I said, welts are very precise, so the markings for this step are pretty critical. With that being said, the slash lines for the welt pocket should be transferred to the right side of your pieces; everything else should go on the wrong side.

If you have not already done so, go ahead and sew up your back darts and press them toward the center back (or, as Tasia writes: “centre.” Ehhheheehehe how cute, I wish I was Canadian sometimes lol)

WP2
Take your back pocket facing (piece 13) and finish the long edges with your preferred method of seam finishing.

WP3
Place the facing on the back pocket lining (14), both with right sides up, matching the notches. It took me a bit of head-scratching to figure this part out – see how the notches aren’t exactly centered on the sides of the facing, but rather creep up in one direction? The notches should be closest to the top of the lining (the end with the single notch). It’s hard to explain this without the ability to flail my arms around, so hopefully this picture makes a bit of sense!
You are going to edgestitch this piece down, in the same manner that you edgestitched the front pocket facings. Again, this piece’s job is to act as a little curtain for your welt pocket windows.

WP4
Speaking of welts… take your interfaced welt pieces and fold them in half, wrong sides together. Press and baste the long edges closed.

IT IS TIME.

WP5
The welts start out on the right side of your back trouser pieces (so yeah, I sure hope you transferred that marking to the right side!). The welt gets placed along the pocket line, with the raw (ie, non-folded) edge just exactly butting up against it.

WP6
Here it is with both welts pinned down. I highlighted my pocket line in pink so you can see exactly where it is.

WP7
There should be a notch at either end of both welt pieces. These indicate where you will start and stop stitching.

WP8
Stitch down the center(e) of each welt, starting at one notch and ending at the second. Don’t forget to backstitch!

WP9
Grab your pocket lining, and place it face down, upside-down over the bottom welt, matching the raw edges. Sew the lining to the welt only, being careful not to catch the pants back in your stitches.

WP10
Finish the raw edge.

WP11
Ok, time to cut into those pants and set the welts free! Cut straight down your slash line (disregard that it looks like someone chewed on mine!), stopping about 1/4″ from the end of your stitching lines. From the end of your cutting line (the marked X) to the end of your stitching line (circled), you want to cut at an angle, connecting the two.

WP12
Here is a better picture. Be careful not to cut too far, but don’t be timid and not cut deep enough – you want to end exactly at the stitching line. This would be a good time to practice on those scraps :)
Do this to both welt pockets, top and bottom, on either end.

WP13
Grab your pocket lining and pull it through the hole until it’s on the wrong side of your pants back.

WP14
I like to give my welts a quick press at this point, just to make sure I’ve clipped far enough and that everything is looking good so far.

WP15
Flip the pants back over, right side facing up. Fold over one side to expose the end of the welts. See the little triangle there? We are going to stitch that down to the welts, exactly on the indicated stitching line.

WP16
When sewing the triangle down, a few things to keep in mind: keep the welts butted together. You can hand-baste the welts closed if you are having trouble with this. Also, you want to get as close to the edge as possible, without actually catching non-triangle fabric. Use a zipper foot, and hand-baste the triangle in place before you start sewing, to ensure that it won’t move when you’re at the machine.

WP17

WP18
Now take that bad boy over to the iron & give ‘er a good press!!

See? Hard part over! Now to turn those welts into pockets and not ass-windows.

WP19
Pull the top (aka, notched end) of the lining toward the top of your pants back, folding at the fold line. All the right sides should be encased in the pocket and you should be looking at the wrong side of the fabric.

WP20
See the top welt stitching line? We are going to sew right on top of the welt only, to make sure that our pocket doesn’t have secret back fat pocket space.

WP21
Be sure to catch only the welt & the lining. Again – the pants back isn’t invited to this party! SORRY.

WP22
Now sew up the sides of your pocket, and finish the edges.

WP23
Then baste the top of the pocket lining to the pants back.

WP24
Ta da! Beautiful, functional, double-welt pockets!

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? :)
If you’re caught up to speed, go ahead & complete steps 7 & 8. Next week: the fly & all it’s fly-glory, woohoo.

Thurlow Sew-Along: Sewing the Front Pockets

29 Oct

Ok folks! D-Day has arrived, time to get workin’ on some trousers!

A quick note: You’ll notice that I didn’t post a sew-along schedule. This is because I am not sure how frequent (or infrequent) the posts need to be! I plan on working each full step per post, with a few days thrown in between so everyone can get their pants rolling, but do let me know if you’re feeling like everything is moving too fast and you need a minute to catch your breath :) Of course, these posts will always be here for future sew-alongers! So please don’t feel like you have to rush through to appease the Thurlow Gods :)


Today we are sewing the front pockets of our trousers, sections 2-3.

We start with the pocket facing and pocket piece – 7 & 8.
FP1
Finish the curved edges of both pieces, as shown.
If you have not already decided how you would like to finish your raw edges, consider this your kick in the butt! As you can see, I serged mine (what can I say – I’m a lazy seamstress at heart), but no worries if you don’t have a serger. Sunni has a whole mess of seam finishes right here and any of these will work. Personally, I think those bound seams look super yummy. Do what you want, though!

FP2
Grab your front pocket lining – piece 9 – and lay your pocket piece & facing on top, with the right sides all facing up and the weird notches & crannies all matching.

FP3
We are going to stitch these pieces down to the pocket lining, veryyyy close to the edge, as indicated by the dashed lines. The whole point of this is so when we put the pocket lining in the pants, you will only see the facing pieces from the outside.
Also: horse butt.

FP4
Grab a trouser front and lay it out, right side facing up.

FP5
Place your pocket lining over the trouser front, right sides together, matching the diagonal line. Stitch all the way across with a regular 5/8″ seam allowance.

FP6
Trim, grade, and understitch this seam.

FP7
Flip the whole thing back and give is a good press. If you would like, you can topstitch the pocket at this point.
What we are looking at now is the WRONG side of the trouser front, with the right side of the pocket lining facing up.

FP8
Pick up the loose end of the pocket lining…

FP9
And fold it along the fold line (this should be indicated by notches), matching the edges at the opposite side.

FP10
Sew the bottom of the pocket lining only, as indicated by the red dashes. Finish this seam.

FP11

FP12
Baste pocket edges along the top and side.

If your pocket has a little bit of ~body to it, that’s ok! It’s not supposed to lie completely flat :)

You should end up with something like this.
FP13
Yay! A pocket!

FP14
Yay! A pocket facing!

Now that wasn’t so hard, eh? :)

We’ll start on the welt pockets in a few days (dun dun DUN!). If you have any questions, do let me know & I’ll do my best to answer :)

Thurlow Sew-Along: Adjusting the Pockets

23 Oct

This is gonna be short & sweet!

When I sewed up my first pair of Thurlows, the only complaint was that the back pockets weren’t deep enough to accomodate my phone or wallet. Which, I mean, back pockets pretty much ONLY exist for a phone or wallet as far as I’m concerned.

Original Thurlow pocket
Can we all just step back for a second and have a moment of silence for this tragedy that is unfolding.

Original Thurlow pocket
Measuring the pockets shows that they are only about 2.5″ deep. If this is all gravy in your world, do solider on with the unaltered pattern. If not, I hope you saved a bit of tissue because we have pattern pieces to slash and tape!

Modified Thurlow pocket
Here is my modified pattern piece. What you want to do is add length both above and below the fold line, to ensure that the pocket still folds up properly once we stick in the pants (hurr durrr). This is pretty easy – just slash a straight line above the fold line, tape in a gob of tissue paper (or you can use regular paper, IDGAF. I use tissue since I have tons on hand & it makes everything easy to fold back up!) and then repeat below the aforementioned fold line. To fit my iPhone, I added 2.5″ to each slash.

Modified Thurlow pocket
When you’re done hacking, fold the tissue on the fold line (notice that the bottom matches up to the top notch – not the top of the tissue). This is how deep your pocket will be. My phone fits, yay!

Modified Thurlow pocket
And here is an action shot, courtesy of my second pair of Thurlows.

If your muslins are ready, go ahead and cut your fabric – you did prewash… right?! ;) If you are planning on making your trousers in a plaid or striped fabric and fancy a bit of bias-cut on the welts & waistband (because YAY for not having to match those parts!), Liz has a great tutorial on altering pattern pieces for a bias grainline. For the actual matching at the side seams and everywhere else, Check out Tasia’s tutorial for matching plaids. If you are smart & opted for a solid, non-directional fabric – lucky you! You can just follow the cutting layout included in the pattern :)

We will start sewing on Monday!

Underlining: The Why & How

15 Jun

I’m currently working on the madness that is Simplicity 1803 (seriously thinking about calling this dress The Disaster Dress, if that means anything) and I thought I would share a few of my trials & tribulations with y’all. I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a tutorial for underlining (or even just asking wtf underlining is exactly), and while I haven’t been able to fulfill those requests in the past – but today is your lucky day! Underlining day, yaay!

First up, let’s talk shop. What exactly is underlining? Some people tend to confuse it with lining; this is incorrect. Lining is a duplicate garment that hangs separately inside your dress (or skirt, or pants, or whatever) that covers all seams for a nice clean finish. It is constructed separately and generally only attached by a few seams – perhaps a neckline, or the waistband of your skirt. The hem usually left free-hanging for ease for movement. Consider lining the inception of sewing – a garment within a garment (see what I did there?).

Underlining is when you sew two pieces of fabric together & treat them like a single piece – kind of like some relationships (ahhh I’m on a roll today here). Since the underlining is actually sewn to the back of your fashion fabric, the seams do show & the inside of the garment doesn’t necessarily have that clean finish.

Underlining is wonderful for a variety of reasons – you can use it to stabilize your fashion fabric to give it a bit more body (like with my Bombshell dress), to add a layer of opacity to an otherwise sheer fabric (my Swiss Dot Violet really benefited from a batiste underlining), to add a layer of warmth to a coat (the lining of my Lady Grey is underlined with cotton flannel), or even to brighten up your fashion fabric a notch (look at the difference underlining made on my Gingham Peony!) If you were concerned about the integrity of a delicate fabric – lace, or vintage, or… I dunno, vintage lace – you could underline every piece for additional strength. Underlining has lots of uses, it’s awesome!

For my dress in question, I am using this pretty black eyelet from Mood. The whole thing is quite see-through so I knew ahead of time that it would going to need some kind of backing to keep certain places under cover. I originally planned on just dropping a whole lining in the thing & calling it a day, until I realized that you would see every single seam through the eyelet – and by every single seam, I mean eyelet seams & lining seams. I’m using Bemberg Rayon here (LOVE!!!!!) and that stuff frays like nobodies business. I started imagining little shreds of turquoise popping out all over the place & it gave me the willies.

So I decided to underline instead. An added bonus is that it totally negates the two issues I was having with the individual fabrics – the Bemberg was sliding all over the place, and my sewing machine was throwing a giant fucking fit every time I tried to sew over the textured eyelet. By sewing the two fabrics together, the Bemberg stays put & provides a layer over the eyelet that keeps the needle from freaking out. Yeah!

This process is pretty easy. I’m almost embarrassed to even post this.

1
Cut each pattern piece from both your fashion fabric & preferred underlining fabric (as I mentioned here, I’m using Bemberg Rayon – which is traditionally a lining fabric, but it’s main job for this dress is opacity). The pieces should be mirror images of each other. I like to go ahead & snip all my notches, it makes things easier to match up. Don’t worry about your pattern markings (the kind you use chalk or tailor tacks or whatever for) just yet.

2
Place the underlining on the wrong side of the fashion fabric. If your underlining has a right side, make sure it is facing the wrong side of the fashion fabric (so when you flip the whole thing over, both right sides should be facing up). Pin everything together – I used these tiny silk pins because my lining shows pin holes.

3
Then you just sew the lining to the fabric! Here are some tips:
– Yes, you can sew it by machine. I chose to sew by hand because the rayon is super slippery & I wanted it to shift as little as possible. It also makes ripping the basting stitches out MUCH easier. If you sew by hand, you want to keep things as flat as possible – sit at a table! It’s very mindless work, so feel free to watch a movie (or two!).
– Sew giant basting stitches using one strand of thread. Pick something contrasting so it’s easier to pull out the stitches after you sew the seams. I used orange thread; I thought it was pretty haha.
– Try to stay well within your seam allowance – you can see that mine is less than 1/4″ from the edge. I think this makes it easier to pull out the stitches (it’s not anywhere near the 5/8″ SA, so I’m not actually sewing over the basting with my machine) and it hides any pin-marks that may get left behind on delicate fabrics.
– You may also notice that I did not sew along the bottom edge of the piece. Call me lazy, idgaf. The basting for underlining is really there to hold the pieces together until they are properly sewn. I’ve found that I can usually get away with omitting the bottom hem & any seams that extremely short (such as the point between the princess seam & the armscye). Play around & see what works for you!

BONUS TIP:
Next project involves eyelet... And a ridic amount of underlining, ugh
(sorry about the crappy Instagram picture!)
For super precise darts, thread trace the dart legs through both layers after you have basted the pieces together. This keeps the fabrics together while you sew the dart, and eliminates any weird bubbling that may otherwise happen.

4
Here is the other side of my underlined piece. Cute!

Now that you’ve got your pieces all basted together, you can treat them like one piece of fabric. You can transfer your fabric markings to the underlining side of the fabric so it doesn’t show on the front. Sew as you normally would, and make sure to pull out your basting threads as you sew each seam.

Here is how my bodice is looking as of this morning
5
Since this is an underlining, and not a proper lining, you will still have to finish your seams & deal with facings. My seams are serged; my facing is a simple cotton broadcloth as the eyelet was too bulky.

7
I love the subtle peek of turquoise :D

6
I am including this picture because it looks like a uterus, and that is funny to me.

So that’s it! Hopefully this brings a light to some of the mystique :) As always, let me know if you have any questions!

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