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OAL2017: Pintucks & Gathers

16 Jun

What up y’all, welcome back. Let’s get into this!

Short week here – we are basically assembling the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. I don’t think any of this warrants a full-fledged tutorial, but as always – I have some tips!

The first step is sewing the pintucks to the bottom of the skirt. You may have transferred those markings when you cut your fabric and marked your pattern pieces – if you didn’t (guilty!), it’s easy to draw those in now. I just measured the distance from the bottom to the lowest pintuck, and then the distance between pintucks, and used those to draw my lines on with a ruler and a chalk pen.

OAL2017- Marking pintucks

Since I wanted to see my lines from both sides of the fabric – and also because chalk tends to rub off – I thread-traced those same markings with a needle and thread. I just made giant basting stitches and went across the width of each piece. This makes is easier to see the pintucks when you are sewing them.

OAL2017 - Finished pintucks

To sew the pintucks, simply bring the two lines together and sew along the markings. Remove your markings (whether they are basting threads or just drawn on with chalk or a tailor’s pencil) and give the pintucks a good press to encourage a sharp crease.

Now you’ll want to sew your skirt pieces together at the side seams (you can also do this before you sew the pintucks, but I found that the skirt pieces are HUGE before they are gathered and that’s just too much for me haha). Finish your seams however you desire – I used French seams for mine (here is a link to the post last week about sewing French seams). Don’t worry about the center back seam just yet.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

There are several ways to gather the skirt before attaching it to the bodice – you can baste with a hand sewing needle as the instructions suggest, or sew 2 lines of basting stitches on your machine – but this is my preferred method as I think it’s the fastest and you don’t risk snapping your basting threads. Get a long piece of cotton crochet thread or very thick thread (such as buttonhole twist) – or even unflavored dental floss. Whatever it is, it needs to be a bit longer than the entire width of your un-gathered skirt. Take it to the machine and lay it over your seam allowance where you are gathering, then use a zigzag stitch to attach it to the fabric. Your zigzag should just straddle the string – not actually pierce it – so you may need to adjust the width of your zigzag if it’s too tight. Leave long string tails on either end.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Here is what the string looks like after it’s been zigzagged. You are basically making a zigzag tunnel that the string feeds through.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Now pull your string tails, which will cause the fabric to gather. Keep gathering until the skirt fits the circumference of the bodice (this is a super gathered skirt, so be patient!), match the side seams and center back/center front, then adjust the gathers so they are even all the way around the skirt. Sew into place with a straight stitch, remove your gathering string, and finish the seam allowance. Real talk: I serged this one. I am not even going to try French seaming that mess lol

OAL2017 - Gathers

My gathers!

OAL2017 - Dress

And now it looks like a dress!

All that’s left now is inserting the zipper and sewing the hem πŸ™‚ FYI – I am going on vacation next week (to BELIZE), so the blog will be quiet! I will not have access to my computer at this time, but will be back in business after I get home on the 27th. If you have burning questions, ask them now – or wait a few days πŸ™‚

Happy Friday, everyone!

OAL2017: Assembling the Bodice

9 Jun

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the second week of the 2017 OAL! This post today is all about assembling the bodice of the dress – stabilizing the neckline, sewing French seams, and attaching the facing.

A few things before we jump in:

  • The pattern I using is the Kim Dress from By Hand London, but these method should apply to most any pattern that you are sewing!
  • If you missed the first post, you can find it here.
  • If you don’t give a shit about sewalongs and hate me right now (it’s cool, I don’t give a shit about anyone else’s sewalongs either haha), I promise it will be over soon! πŸ˜‰ It is impossible to please everyone, but lord knows I try!

Your fabric should be cut, your markings all clipped and transferred to your pieces, and you should be ready to sew!

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

Before you drag your pieces over to the sewing machine, it’s a good idea to stabilize your neckline first. This will prevent it from stretching and distorting over time – which can happen both during the sewing, and over normal wear. They are multiple ways to stabilize a neckline – such a staystitching or using silk organza (here are 3 methods, all with their own tutorial!) – but for the purposes of this particular garment (considering how lightweight the fabric is, and also the overall casual-ness of the dress), I chose to use a lightweight fusible stay tape. This “extremely fine fusible knit stay tape” is the exact one I used – I bought it at my local Bernina dealer years ago, and it is especially helpful to stabilize shoulder seams on knits! Since it’s knit, it curves very easily, which makes it perfect for this pattern.

I fused my stay tape to the curved edges of both the front and back neckline, ending just before the tips of the strap ties. Since the seam allowances are 5/8″ and my stay tape is 1/2″, I made sure it was 1/4″ from the edge so I would be sure to catch it in my stitching. Since I am using stay tape, I did not staystitch these areas.

Now you’ll want to sew your front and back princess seams. Because my rayon is nice and lightweight, I using French seams, which I love because they conceal the raw edges beautifully. Pretty sure I don’t need to throw out another French seam tutorial into the WWW, but I was really having fun with this white piece of posterboard backdrop SO HERE YOU GET IT ANYWAY:

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

I start by placing the pieces WRONG SIDES TOGETHER and sewing with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Lay the piece flat and trim the seam allowances down quite aggressively – to about 1/8″. You want them to be smaller than the second seam you sew, so they don’t peek out.

I should mention – this is assuming you are using a pattern with a 5/8″ seam allowance. If your seam allowance is larger or smaller, you’l want to adjust your math accordingly.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press the seam allowances open as best you can. They are tiny, so this won’t be the easiest thing – I’ve found I get the best luck if I use my fingernail to pry them open, and then the tip of the iron the whole way down. If you found you have cut them *too* small and simply cannot press them open, it’s acceptable to iron to one side.

At this point, your bodice is going to look at sorts of wrong. Just trust me here.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Now flip your pieces so the right sides are facing, effectively sandwiching the seam you just created. I like to take this to the iron and press right around the seamline I just sewed, so everything lies flat. Then sew along the edge at a 1/4″ seam allowance.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press your seam allowances to one side, according to your pattern instructions. In the case of this pattern, we are pressing them toward the side seams.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Repeat for the remaining princess seams. Your front and back pieces should look like this.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Finally, sew your front and back pieces together at the side seams. Again, I used French seams for this.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Now to attach the facing! Start by fusing interfacing to the front and back facing pieces that you created. I used a very lightweight interfacing, and opted to cut it so that the interfacing does not extend all the way into the ties (I want those to stay soft and floppy!). To prevent a hard ridge from showing where the interfacing ends, I cut that with pinking shears.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the front and back facings at the side seams, and press the seam allowances open (don’t worry about using French seams for this, unless you wanna be super extra or some shit). You will also want to finish the lower edge of your facing – I serged mine, to prevent it from fraying and also from showing bulk from the outside. You can also using pinking shears here, or bind the seam allowance.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the facing to the bodice, all the way around the neckline and strap edges. Trim the seam allowances down, and then understitch to help turn the facing to the inside. You won’t be able to understitch all the way if you are doing tie straps – just go as far as you can.

Turn the facing to the inside of the bodice, and give it a good press. You’re done!

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Ok, that’s all for this week! As always, let me know if you have any questions! πŸ™‚

OAL 2017: Getting Started!

1 Jun

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2017 Outfit Along! My apologies that this post is a bit late – I moved house yesterday, and only just got my internet turned on in the new place. Taking a short break from unpacking to get this OAL rolling! Let’s do this!

The official pattern for this year is the Kim Dress from By Hand London. There are a few options for this pattern – choose between a straight or sweetheart neckline, and a gathered skirt with pintucks at the hem or a sleek tulip skirt. I will be making the sweetheart neckline with the gathered skirt, but obviously feel free to make whatever your heart is calling for – whether it’s another variation of this pattern, or a different pattern completely! We want you to love and wear what you make, so don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t check those boxes for ya πŸ˜‰

As I mentioned in my announcement post, I will not be running a full, in-depth sewalong for this pattern. I will be popping in every week with updates on my progress, as well as tips and tricks (with tutorials!) that you can apply to any pattern you are sewing – not necessarily specifically this one. However, if you are feeling that you need that extra help – there is a great sewalong on the By Hand London blog for this pattern, so please feel free to utilize that! You got this!!

For the first post, I’m gonna keep this one reasonably short and sweet!! This week is all about preparation!

If you still haven’t chosen your fabric, you will probably want to do that first πŸ˜‰ This particular pattern works well with a smorgasbord of fabrics – from crisp cotton lawn to slinky silk, the sky is really the limit here! The main thing you want to keep in mind when deciding on fabric is how you want the finished garment to hang when you are wearing it. Do you want a more structured garment or one with a softΒ drape? Choosing a fabric with the correct amount of body and drape is key for this. That cotton lawn will result in a more structured bodice and full skirt that wants to stand out on it’s own, verus the slinky silk will give you a soft, floaty bodice with a skirt that drapes beautifully around your body. For more in-depth information about this, see this post from a previous OAL that goes over the differences in drape and body in fabric.

OAL2017 - my fabric

Here is the fabric I am using this year – a soft rayon print from Mood Fabrics with a nice drape to it. I love wearing rayon in the summer – it breathes really well in the heat, and a dark color/pattern means that sweat is less likely to show. Rayon traditionally can be a little tricky – both to work with and care for – but I ultimately think it is worth the additional effort. This particular rayon is pretty stable and easy to work with, compared to other rayons I’ve used in the past, so I will not be doing any sort of pre-treatment to aid with sewing. That being said, if you are sewing one of the aforementioned slinky rayons – or a silk, or slippery poly, anything that wants to float off the table when you try to cut it – you may want to consider pre-treating your fabric to be a bit more stable before you cut it. You have a few options for this – for something quick and easy with no mess, spray stabilizer works very well. Just spray it on your fabric, allow to dry, and then treat it as usual. Once you are finished sewing the garment, it easily washes out so your fabric goes back to it’s glorious, drapey self. For a cheaper option, I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve gotten from using gelatine. This method is more time-consuming, but also WAY cheaper. You basically boil the gelatine in water, soak your fabric, and then spread it flat (or hang) until it’s dry (Threads has a full tutorial on their website). Again, this washes out easily once you are finished. The major downside is finding space to dry it flat – if you live in a small space, that can be tricky – but it’s a fraction of the cost of using spray stabilizer and works just as well one it has dried. I have used both of these methods with great success, it just depends on your time and budget!

Make sure you pre-wash your fabric before you do anything – you want to make sure you get all the shrinkage out before your pattern pieces are cut. I wash and dry all my fabric the same way I plan on treating it once it’s been turned into a garment. For delicate fabrics like rayon, you don’t necessarily want to throw it in the dryer every time you launder it – over time, this will break down the fibers. But I do think it’s a good idea to use the dryer for the very first pre-wash, as it will shrink up the fabric sufficiently and then if the garment does accidentally end up in the dryer, it won’t shrink more!

As a side note, there are plenty of “dry clean” only fabrics that actually can be washed in a machine. Fibers such as silk and rayon are totally machine washable – you just want to ensure that you are washed them before they are cut, again, so that you get all the shrinkage out. I wash all my silks and rayons on cold water, use the dryer for pre-washing (and hang to dry once they are finished) and have not ruined anything yet. Keep in mind that this will take a bit of the shine and stiffness out of your fabric, but I think it’s worth it to not be a slave to the dry cleaner! When in doubt, test with a swatch to make sure you are ok with how the fabric looks after it’s been laundered.

I am making a few changes to my pattern that are a bit different from how it’s drafted:
– I converted the straps to tie at the top (instead of being a continuous loop)
– Rather than line my bodice, I drafted all-in-one facings to clean finish all the top edges

For the tie-top straps, I used this tutorial from By Hand London. It’s super simple – you just trace your pattern piece, and then extend the top strap by 6″-7″, rounding out the end to a nice shape.

To draft the all-in-one-facing, here is what I did:
OAL2017 - drafting a facing

First, I marked my seam allowances on all the bodice pattern pieces. Since these bodice pieces have princess seams on both the front and back, we want to eliminate those so that the facing pieces are one continuous piece.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

Once the seam allowances are marked, I overlapped the pieces as they would be sewn together (center back to side back, and center front to side front). Then I laid my pattern pieces on a sheet of blank paper (mine is just kraft paper from a roll, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and traced around the neckline, arm holes, and straps. I drew down the side about 3.5″ and center about 4″, which will be the depth of the facing.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

I used a curved ruler to connect the center back/front with the side seam, just to give it a gentle curve. Then I transferred all my notches and grainlines, and marked the pattern pieces.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

It’s a good idea to lay your drafted piece under your pattern pieces, just to make sure everything fits and matches up. Which this one does! Yay!

That’s all for this week! You’ll want to cut and mark your pattern pieces, and be ready to sew next week! Let me know if you have any questions about anything covered in this post or, you know, life in general πŸ™‚

OAL2016: Part 2 (Zipper + Finishing)

15 Jun

Hey everyone! Welcome back for the second (and final!) sewing post of the Outfit Along πŸ™‚

OAL_Banner

At this point, you should have your skirt mostly assembled (all seams except the center back seam) with the waistband partially attached (not finished). Today, we will insert the zipper and finish the waistband in one go! IΒ  am making my skirt with this awesome rayon crepe from StyleMaker Fabrics (don’t forget that there is free US shipping/discounted international shipping on all orders through 6/30/16 when you use the code OAL2016 πŸ˜‰ ), using my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine. If you missed the previous posts, here is Part 1!

For this particular skirt, I am sewing an exposed metal zipper. If you hate exposed zippers, that’s ok! You have options! Check out my tutorial for sewing a lapped zipper, and also my tutorial for sewing an invisible zipper.

For sewing the exposed zipper:

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Start by marking a rectangle where the zipper is to be inserted. For a 9″ exposed zipper on a garment with a 5/8″ seam allowance (if your measurements differ, you will need to adjust these accordingly!), make a rectangle that is 10″ long and 7/8″ across. I use a Chaco Pen liner, but again – anything works! Then go over your markings with a long basting stitch on your machine. Don’t be lazy and skip this step. I know it’s tempting, but trust me on this one. The stitches will make it visible from both sides, and also won’t rub off.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
If your fabric is very lightweight and/or drapey, you will want to interface the area where the zipper is going, just to give it some extra support. I cut strips of lightweight fusible and applied them over my basting lines.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Clip into the bottom corner of the rectangle at a 45 degree angle, being careful not to snip into your basting lines.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Fold along the vertical basting stitches and press.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Starting at the horizontal basting stitches, sew the center back seam at 5/8″, ending at the hem.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Press the seam allowances open.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
On the right side of the skirt, lay the zipper face down with the bottom facing toward the waistband. Line the horizontal basting stitching just below the zipper stop.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Sew along the horizontal basting ONLY, using a zipper foot. PROTIP: I just found this out, but you *can* move the needle of the Spiegel 60609. While the machine is on straight stitch (#1), increase the zigzag width to 7.0 and that will move the needle! So you can get RIGHT UP IN THERE to do that zipper!

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Here is the bottom of my zipper after it is attached. You only need to sew along the basting stitches – not the entire width of the zipper tape.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Flip the zipper to the inside of the skirt and press the line you just sewed.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now turn back the skirt pieces, one at a time, and sew the zipper tape to the skirt along the vertical basting stitches, starting at the zipper top stop and ending at the bottom stop (don’t sew all the way to the very end of the tape). Again, use a zipper foot and move your needle over to one side if you can.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Here is what things should look like after you’ve attached both sides. Note that the top of the zipper will NOT reach the top of the waistband – it should only go about halfway, since we are folding the waistband to the inside. On the Hollyburn, there is a notch to indicate where the waistband folds – so the zipperΒ  stop should reach that notch.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now we need to finish the waistband. Fold the seam allowance (5/8″) along the long raw edge to the inside, and press. You may trim this seam allowance down to 1/4″ if it’s bulky.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Fold the remaining bits of the top of the zipper tape toward the inside of the waistband, and pin to keep them out of the way (if you accidentally sewed down this part, you gotta unpick πŸ˜‰ ).

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now fold the waistband down to meet right below (about 1/8″) the stitching line at the top of the skirt, making sure that the top zipper stop is even with the top of the waistband fold. Make sure the raw edges are tucked in around the zipper and pin everything into place.

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now to topstitch! Starting at the top of the zipper, topstitch 1/8″ from the edge down to the seamline where the skirt meets the waistband, lower your needle and pivot. Then continue around the entire waistband until you reach the other side of the zipper, pivot, and sew back up to the top.

Alternately, you can also topstitch around the entire exposed zipper – but you’ll need to sew down the waistband in a second pass πŸ™‚

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper

OAL2016- Sewing an Exposed Zipper
Now pat yourself on the back for sewing an AWESOME EXPOSED ZIPPER WTF.

Finally, just a couple more things to finish your skirt! If you want to add belt loops or the waistband tabs, you can do so now. Then you just need to hem. I ended up taking about 3″ off my skirt length to make it more of a mini, and then finished with a double turned hem (1/4″ on the first turn, 3/4″ on the second) that is simply topstitched. Here are my hemming tutorials if you need a refresher!

That’s all for today! As always, please let me know if you have any questions!! How is your sewing coming along? πŸ™‚

OAL2016: Part 1 (Pockets + Piping)

8 Jun

Good morning, everyone! Time to get some sewin’ done for this OAL!

Before we get into the post, a few things I wanted to mention:
– Unlike previous years, I will not be doing a full step-by-step of sewing the pattern. Part of the reason is because this is a really easy pattern and the instructions are super straightforward and simple to understand on their own.
– Now, before you freak out – there IS a sewalong for the Hollyburn skirt! Not hosted on this blog, but a sewalong nonetheless! You can find it here on Lavender Lane. So if you reeeally need the help and the instructions just aren’t cutting it for some reason or another, there is that option!
– Instead of step-by-steps, I am splitting the OAL sewing stuff into 2 posts – today and next week – both with modification tutorials. I will also include links to relevant tutorials from older posts as they are needed. That way, those of you who are not following the OAL and/or don’t care about sewalong posts (I’ll be honest – I skip over them too!) – this is less for you to skip over πŸ™‚ And for those who are here for the OAL and love reaching sewalong posts – they’re still here! πŸ™‚
– And DUH, I’ve made like a zillion of these skirts – so feel free to ask me questions as well! Either in the comments, or you can email me! Don’t worry! I got ya covered!
– FINALLY, I should mention that I’m using my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine to construct my Hollyburn, so you’ll see it in the photos! I wanted to see how it handled my mega-shifty fabric πŸ™‚

Ok, back to the OAL!

OAL_Banner

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to prewash your fabric in the same manner you will be washing/drying it once the garment is complete. Some fabric reeeeally likes to shrink, so you want to get that out of the way before it’s cut! I am using this cool zigzag rayon crepe from Style Maker Fabrics and it certainly shrunk a LOT! It’s a bit shifty to work with, but I think the payoff will be pretty sweet – it has the dreamiest, swishiest drape! I found that my increasing my stitch length just a hair (the standard stitch length on the Spiegel 60609 is a little short for sewing really delicate and shifty fabrics, I’ve learned) and using lots of pins was enough to keep the fabric in check for the most part.

Some notes on cutting:
Here is a post I wrote for the 2014 OAL on cutting and marking. Different pattern, same concept.
– It is entirely possible to make this pattern with a striped or plaid fabric! You will need extra fabric to allow for matching and it may take longer to cut, but it can be done! Depending on your stripe/plaid, you may only be able to match 2 seams instead of 4 – if this is the case, match the center front and center back seam. Mismatched side seams are less noticeable πŸ™‚ Here is my tutorial for matching plaids. Also relevant: my tutorial on matching the stripes at the pocket.
– This pattern calls for you to cut the waistband on the straight grain (parallel to the grain line). If your fabric has a bit of stretch, though, you may want to consider cutting on the cross grain (perpendicular to the grain line). This is what I did πŸ™‚ Keep in mind that if you cut on the cross grain, you’ll want to interface the waistband with a tricot interfacing to retain that stretch. I personally love the PROtricot at Fashion Sewing Supply, but most fabric stores have something similar πŸ™‚
– If your fabric is super drapey and you don’t want the pockets to bag out, you may consider eliminating them entirely (go ahead, gasp or whatever). This is what I did on my skirt, to allow for a smooth front. You can always add in-seam pockets if you’d like.

Eliminating the pockets is super easy:
OAL2016- Removing Pockets
You’ll need your pocket piece and your skirt front piece.

OAL2016- Removing Pockets
Fold the pocket piece in half along the foldline, matching the notches.

OAL2016- Removing Pockets
Lay the pocket piece behind the skirt front at the pocket opening, again matching the notches. Then just tape it down into place – I am using surgical tape because it peels off easily without tearing the paper (I can’t take credit for this – I got it in my goody bag at A Gathering of Stitches. Sam makes the BEST goody bags!), but you can also use regular tape, painter’s tape, pins, or even just trace off the pattern pieces. Whatever works!

Next steps are to construct the skirt as per the directions. Sew the pockets (if you still got ’em!). Sew the center front and side seams at 5/8″, but leave the center back seam open. If you would like to finish your seams, now is the time. I used my serger to overlock the seams after I sewed them, and then I pressed them open. Finally, staystitch the waist of your skirt (just a straight stitch about 1/2″ from the edge) to keep it from stretching out.

At this point, I decided to add flat piping to my waistband seam. So you get a tutorial!

OAL2016- Flat piping
I started with a strip of bias-cut silk crepe that was 1.5″ wide. The width of your piping will determine how wide to cut your bias – you’ll want 2x the finished width, plus 2x seam allowance. Cut enough bias to go all the way across the waist of your skirt. Fold the strip in half, length-wise, with the WRONG sides together, and press.

I promise I will get a new ironing board cover eventually. Ew, that yellow stain. haha.

If you don’t know how to cut bias, here are two really great tutorials: continuous bias (my favorite!) and bias strips.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Lay the folded bias along the waist edge of your skirt, matching raw edges at the top, and pin into place.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Sew the bias in place just within the seam allowance (I sewed at 3/8″) to hold it there. You can use a basting stitch for this step; it’ll get a second sewn pass in a minute!

OAL2016- Flat piping

Lay your interfaced waistband on top of your skirt, with right sides facing and raw edges matching. The bias strip should be sandwiched between the two.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Now sew your second pass to secure all the layers at 5/8″. Make sure to shorten your stitch back to it’s normal setting if you were basting πŸ™‚ I ended up sewing another line a little more than the seam allowance, because I wanted the piping a little bit narrower.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Check the right side to make sure that everything looks good. I have no idea how I managed that unintentional perfect pattern matching, but hey, I’ll take it!

OAL2016- Flat piping

Press all the seam allowances up toward the waistband, using lots of steam so the piping lays nice and flat. If your fabric is bulky, you may want to trim down your seam allowances and/or grade them (trimming them in staggering layers) to prevent bulk from showing from the outside.

OAL2016- Flat piping

Now admire your pretty, flat piping! Isn’t that dainty? πŸ™‚

Ok, that’s all for this week! Let me know if you have any questions about these steps πŸ™‚ Next week, we sew in the zipper and finish the thing! Woohoo!

Completed: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

18 May

WHO’S READY TO WATCH ME FINISH A BRA? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Just to recap – I’m sewing the Orange Lingerie Boylston Bra on my Spiege 60609 sewing machine. If you missed the first part of this project, you can see see that post here. In this post, I’ll be going over adding all the elastics and finishing. You know, the fun part! There are a LOT more pictures in this post compared to last week, so – sorry in advance πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

I finished last week with the main parts of the bra assembled – all the fabric pieces are accounted for, and the underwire casing has been partially attached. Now we are going to sew elastic along the bottom edge of the bra!

Making a Boylston Bra

The elastic is placed on the right side of the bra, plush side facing up and the straight (not picot) edge lined up with the raw edges. For any sort of elastic that has a picot/lace edge, you want to stitch reeeeeally close to that decorative side – like practically sewing on top of it. Here is an extreme close up so you can see how close my needle gets to the picot edge. This step is sewn with a zigzag stitch. I just use a normal zigzag – #226 on the Spiegel 60609.

Making a Boylston Bra

For the most part, the elastic is sewn down flat without any stretching. The only time you’ll want to stretch for this part is underneath the cups and along the curve of the bridge – and then, only stretching SLIGHTLY. If you stretch too much, the bra won’t fit right (ask me how I know). There does, however, need to be a slight amount of stretch in these areas, to help the elastic curve when it’s turned to the inside of the bra.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is the elastic after it’s been sewn down with the first pass.

Making a Boylston Bra

Trim down any excess fabric up to the stitching line. I like to use duck billed applique scissors because it makes things a little easier, but any scissors will work as long as you are careful not to cut a hole in your fabric!

Making a Boylston Bra

Then you flip the elastic to the inside of the bra, and stitch again with a zigzag stitch (again, I use #226, although most instructions tell you to use a 3 step zigzag. I have never been happy with how that stitch looks on my bras, so I use a standard zigzag! Personal preference!). You want to get right along the edge of the elastic – generally, you can feel this through the fabric (or see it through the power mesh, which isn’t the case here haha). When you get to the parts that had the elastic stretched – under the cups and at the curve of the bridge – gently stretch again while you sew.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is that bottom band elastic once it’s been stitched down completely. Yay!

Making a Boylston Bra

Next is attaching the underarm elastic. I have drawn on this picture to show you where it goes for this pattern – starting at the straight edge of the power mesh back band, curving up the underarm and then going all the way up to the end of the strap.

Making a Boylston Bra

Remember those little unsewn flaps of underwire casing that we left behind? We don’t want to sew over those yet. I push them down and pin them so they are out of the way while I sew the first pass of zigzags.

Making a Boylston Bra

The underarm elastic is attached the same way as the bottom band elastic – on the right side of the bra, plush side facing up, raw edges even with the non-picot edge. Again, you want to stitch as close as you can to the picot edge, using a zigzag stitch. Don’t stretch the elastic, except when you’re at the underarm area, and only stretch a little at that point.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is the elastic after first pass, so you can see how close I got to the picot edge. Not stitching close enough to the picot will result in a line of elastic showing when you flip it back – which doesn’t look very good! By getting right up on the edge, only the scallops when show when it’s flipped back. Also, it’s totally ok to take another pass if you didn’t get close enough the first time. Ain’t no one gonna judge you πŸ˜‰

Making a Boylston Bra

Trim down the excess fabric up to the stitching, as you did with the bottom band elastic. Now you can unpin the casing and measure how short it needs to be in order for the elastic to flip down and comfortably cover it. Chop off however much is necessary.

Making a Boylston Bra

Flip the elastic to the inside and sew the second pass of zigzag stitching, like so!

Making a Boylston Bra

NOW you can sew that underwire casing down! Sew about 1/8″ away from the edge (ahem… using the aforementioned marking on this fabulous clear plastic foot), from one end to the other.

Making a Boylston Bra

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the finished casing and how things are looking so far! The instructions actually have you do a second line of topstitching, back on the first side of the casing that was sewn down – but I leave that off, as I don’t like the way the double topstitching looks πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

Cut the straps to length according to the pattern, and slide your little slider on like so.

Making a Boylston Bra

Turn the end back to the inside and stitch down. I use a straight stitch for this, but you can also do a tight zigzag.

Making a Boylston Bra

Repeat for two straps.

Making a Boylston Bra

Pass the long end of the strap through the ring, and then back through the slider a second time. Straps are ready to go on the bra!

Making a Boylston Bra

Before you attach the straps, it’s a good idea to make sure the back band is the same width as your hook and eye. Mine is a little taller, so I’ll trim it down.

Making a Boylston Bra

You want it to be exactly as high as the hook and eye. Mark what needs to be cut, and them trim off, blending into the curve as best you can. Don’t forget to do this to both sides πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

The strap lays right on top of the curve, with the raw edge matching the edge of the strap, and the right side facing up. Start by sewing the strap down exactly down the middle, using a slightly narrower zigzag stitch (I’m still using #226 here, I just shortened it a little).

Making a Boylston Bra

Then sew a second line of zigzags along the inside edge of the strapping. Since the strapping is straight and it’s getting sewn to a curve, just be careful that everything is flat and there are no puckers. Do not stretch the elastic or the mesh.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the strap after both stitching has been finished!

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, trim your fabric down to meet the line of stitching in the middle.

Making a Boylston Bra

Loop the end of the fabric strap through the ring, being careful not to twist the straps. Stitch this down, using either a straight stitch or a tight zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Getting close! To attach the hook and eye pieces, start by opening them up as much as they allow. I am just going to demonstrate with the eyes, but it’s the same process for the hooks.

Making a Boylston Bra

Lay the end of the bra over the bottom part of the hooks, keeping the top free. Set the machine to a long basting stitch and baste into place.

Making a Boylston Bra

Now fold the top part down and sew down to secure, using a tight zigzag stitch. Try to keep your stitching right along the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

This should give you a pretty perfect application without too much fuss! For the hooks, it’s the same procedure, although you may find it easier to baste the top down first and then flip the bottom (because of the bulk of the hooks). Use a zipper foot to baste and zigzag, as it will allow you to get closer than this plastic foot will.

Making a Boylston Bra

Final steps! Put the underwire in the casing (make sure it’s going in the correct way) and trim the ends of the casing so they are flush with the top of the bridge. Sew a line of stitching along the top to secure and keep the underwires in place, and finish the edges of the casing with a dab of Fray Check. Then put your bow on πŸ™‚ I use a machine for this – just be careful that you don’t sew over the underwires! πŸ™‚ Fi

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

AND FINISHED!!!

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

This was a fun little project and I’m really impressed with how the Spiegel 60609 handled putting everything together! I think the most impressive part was how the feed dogs kept the fabric moving so it didn’t get eaten into the machine – I usually have to pull my thread tails when I start a seam to prevent this, but the 60609 didn’t require that once! I also love how the machine didn’t bounce around the table AT ALL when I was doing this – even when moving at top speeds.

I reckon I shouldn’t have questioned this machine’s ability to make great lingerie, considering Madalynne uses it for all her bra making workshops! Sometimes I just have to experience things for myself, though πŸ˜‰

Black Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

In Progress: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

10 May

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Hey everyone! I’m back with another bra post… again! This time, I’m trying something a little different though – I have made this bra *entirely* on my Spiegel 60609 machine. If you’ve followed my past bra posts, you will know how much I love using my old standby Bernina 350 for assembling lingerie, especially since the variety of feet that I have make things super easy. However, I was really curious to see how the Spiegel 60609 held up when it involves fussy lingerie sewing, so I used it for this project. And now I’m going to report my findings to you!

A few things I noticed that I think bear mentioning:
– I’m not a huge fan of the way the seam allowances are marked on the throat plate of this machine, as it makes it a little difficult to get a precise 1/4″ seam allowance. However, this is really easily solved by laying a piece of tape or even a Post-it note where your 1/4″ line should be. This is what I did, and it worked fine.
– The feed dogs (what move under your needle to push the fabric along) on this machine are AMAZING. Seriously, I didn’t have to pull my thread tails at all when starting or stopping a seam. The machine just pushed everything through without any snags or chewed up fabric – even with using silk crepe and teensy 1/4″ seam allowances. Color me impressed!
– The one downside I see to this machine is that you can’t move the needle in either direction – which is what I typically do to get accurate edgestitching (on my Bernina, I use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and move the needle all the way to one side, it gives me a perfect 1/8″ without having to even really think about it). With that being said, I used the clear foot that comes with the Spiegel 60609, and found that the opening off the center of the foot is exactly 1/8″ from the needle. As long as you line this opening with the seam that you are edgestitching, you will get an accurate stitch. It does mean that you need to pay attention and maybe sew a little slower – but the 60609 also has a speed dial to slow things down, so no excuses now! πŸ™‚
– There are a BUNCH of zigzag stitches on this machine!! For elastic insertion (which I’ll go over next week in part 2), I used stitch #226. I found the width to be perfect for what I needed.

The pattern I am using for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape. I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine πŸ™‚ I am making the size 30D.

For fabric, I am using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (look familiar? I used it to make a top! Yay for lingerie using tiny scraps, ha!) for the outer, black power mesh from Tailor Made Shop for the back band, sheer cup lining from Bra Maker’s Supply, and black foam bra padding also from Bra Maker’s Supply. The elastics and notions are from various points in the NYC Garment District – I just have a giant stash that I pull from as I need stuff πŸ™‚

I hope you like watching step by step progress shots, because that’s what you’re getting this week! πŸ™‚

The pattern has you start by assembling the cups – there are 3 pieces that are sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t know why, but I don’t have a picture of this step. You’ll just have to trust me haha πŸ™‚ Make sure you backstitch at each end, as it’s really easy for stuff to come unraveled and make your (lingerie-makin’)life hellish!

Making a Boylston Bra

For the foam cups, I cut all the same pieces and remove the 1/4″ seam allowances (more info on this here!). Then you butt the edges up against each other and attach them – in the same order as you sew the fabric cups – using a zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is what the pieces look like when they’re attached. Pardon my yellow marking – those are the pattern notch markings (I use wax instead of snipping, since the seam allowances are so tiny).

Making a Boylston Bra

Topstitching the pieces as instructed is also especially important, since a lot of fabrics used in lingerie don’t press very well. Here is what I was talking about in terms of using the foot as a topstitching guide – if you line up the open side with the edge of your fabric, as shown here, the needle will automatically hit exactly 1/8″ from the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

The fabric straps are folded in half and then sewn to the top of the cups, as shown, with the folded edge facing the center of the bra (the raw edges will be finished with elastic eventually).

Making a Boylston Bra

Next, the foam cup is placed against the right side of the fabric cup, and pinned into place along the top edge. I also like to run that edge of the foam under the serger (with a 3 thread overlock) just to help flatten things a bit more, but that’s an optional step. Sew this seam at the normal 1/4″.

Making a Boylston Bra

After sewing, you flip the foam to the inside and pull the fabric cup taunt to the edges, and pin everything down. This might require a bit of finessing with the fabric, which is normal! It’s also normal to have some excess fabric that needs to be trimmed off. I love how this finishes the top edge of the cup and also catches the strap! Once everything is as smooth as you can get it, go ahead and baste around the raw edges to secure everything, and then trim off any excess fabric so it’s even with the edge of the foam.

Making a Boylston Bra

Assembling the bridge, cradle, and band are similar to assembling the cups – use 1/4″ seam allowances and follow the topstitching guide in the pattern. I chose to line my bridge and cradle with sheer cup lining, because it gives some extra stability to the silk crepe. Also, you can use the lining to encase the raw edges so the inside is nice and clean! You just want to lay your pieces so the fabric is on the right side, and the cup lining is on the wrong side – with the seam you’re attaching sandwiched in the middle. After sewing the seam, the outer fabric and cup lining flip up to cover the raw edges.

 

Making a Boylston Bra

After the cups and bridge/frame/band are assembled, then you put them together (and THEN it really starts to look like a bra!). This part can seem a little fiddly, but it’s doable as long as you go slow and be mindful of what you’re sewing (again, slowing down the speed on the machine helps a lot). I find it helpful to use less pins – since you’re sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, you want to be able to stretch and pull the curves as you approach them (and pinning too much can limit that, at least in my experience). I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and the notch points marked on the pattern. That’s it! Another tip is always start at the center front – it’s very important to get those edges lined up perfectly.

Making a Boylston Bra

Once everything is attached and I’m happy with how it looks, I trim down the foam seam allowance to reduce bulk. Time to add the underwire channeling! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Making a Boylston Bra

I find this step a little weird to explain and even harder to photograph, so here’s a picture of the instructions. The channeling gets attached to ONLY the cups of the bra, right on the seam allowance. Ideally, I like to be right along the seamline that I just sewed, but close enough is good enough πŸ™‚

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, the little notch in the clear foot that comes with the 60609 is perfect for lining up a 1/8″ seam allowance when attaching the casing. Sew all the way around until you get to about 1/2″-3/4″ away from the edge at the underarm, and leave that part unsewn (this will make it easier to attach the underarm elastic).

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the casing after it’s been attached! For now, only one side is sewn down – the other side will be sewn once some of the elastics have been added.

Making a Boylston Bra

I think that’s enough bra talk for today! πŸ™‚ Next week, I’ll go over the steps for attaching the elastic and finishing the bra – aka THE FUN PART – and showing my completed Boylston! As always, let me know if you have any questions about this part of the process! πŸ™‚

One more thing! We have a giveaway winner from last week! After some careful contemplation (aka Random Number Generator, hey-o!), our winner issssss….

winner

Yay congratulations, Rosemary!! I can’t wait to see what you make with your voucher! πŸ˜€

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway – and big thanks Contrado for your awesomely generous prize donation!

I’ll be back next week to finish that bra! Stay tuned!