Tag Archives: sewalong

OAL2017: Invisible Zipper + Hemming

30 Jun

Hello, everyone! I’m back from Belize, burned butt and all (this dum-dum didn’t think about how her ass would literally be the ONLY thing sticking out of the water while snorkeling… oh well, worth it! I swam with sharks and stingrays and even waved at a manatee! He responded by showing off with an underwater somersault!). One more final OAL post, to wrap up our dresses and then get back to normal (post-vacation) (post OAL) life!

This post is pretty redundant as I’ve covered invisible zippers in the past, but I’m always keen to take some ~fresh photos~. Plus, this shows you how to insert an invisible zipper with the facing already sewn in, and a French seam at the bottom!

If you are sewing a lapped zipper, here is a tutorial for that! Or you can do an exposed zipper! THIS IS YOUR DRESS, U DO U.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Start by measuring exactly where your zipper stop will hit (or use the pattern marking if that’s your jam) and sew up to the marking, starting from the bottom and backstitching to secure. If you are using French seams, clip into the seam allowance right above the marking so the rest of the opening is free and can lie flat.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Finish the seam allowances where the zipper will go (a really lovely touch would be to bind these with self-fabric post zipper insertion, but since my fabric is sooo light, I am just serging here). I also like to apply a length of fusible stay tape along the seam allowance of opening, to give the fabric from extra stability.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Place your zipper with the right side facing down (so the straight side without teeth is next to the finished seam allowance, and the bulk of the teeth is facing upwards), aligning the zipper stop about 1/8″ away from the seam where the facing meets the bodice (if you want to insert a hook and eye, you can lower the zipper stop as needed).

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Start your sewing at the top stop (leaving the tail above the stop free), working your way down to the bottom of the zipper. You will want to use an invisible zipper foot- yesss, you can use a regular zipper foot if you want but OMGAH this foot will make your life sooo much easier I swear. Regardless, you want to line up your fabric edge with the 5/8″ marking on your throat plate (or whatever your seam allowance is) and determine your zipper placement from there. Sew down as far as you can, and then backstitch.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Before you attach the opposite side, zip the zipper closed and mark any matching points (such as the waist seam) with a pin or marking tool. When you place the zipper tape on the seam allowance to sew the opposite side, it makes it easier to match that point so the lines are uninterrupted.

Sew the opposite zipper side as you did the first one, again, starting from the top and working down to the bottom. If your machine does not that seam allowance markings on the left hand side, measure out the distance with a seam gauge and mark it with a piece of tape or a post-it note.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Here is the zipper after it has been sewn in. You can go ahead and try on your dress to make sure you like the fit (as you can probably see, mine was way too loose in the waist and I had to DETACH THE ENTIRE SKIRT to take in the waist seams, lord, my life).

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
If you measured accurately, your zipper *should* have ended right where you stopped sewing your center back seam. If it’s a little off – that’s ok! You can sew it right up, using a standard zipper foot with the needle moved all the way to one side. If you used a French seam, sew up along the seam line, and then zigzag over the raw edge to keep it finished. The bottom of the zipper will cover this, ain’t no one going to see it!

If you’re curious about the bottom of my zipper, I just bound it with self fabric bias because I thought it looked cute.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Next, you want to tack the zipper tape to the seam allowances at the bottom. This keeps the zipper secure and makes it much easier to zip up. I sew right where those pins are, about 1″ – 2″ along the seam allowance. You don’t want to catch the outside of your garment, just sew the tape to the seam allowances only.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Finally, the facing! First, take your little unsewn zipper tape tail (above the zipper stop – if you accidentally sewed this, no worries, just unpick it) and turn it down and out so it points toward the seam allowance. I have pinned this so you can see what it should look like, but in reality I just hold this with my finger when I’m sewing it. This will keep the tail from poking out of the top of your garment when the facing is secured.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Flip the facing down so it completely covers the zipper, with the finished edges lined up. The seam where the facing meets the bodice should be just barely below the fold. Pin in place, and use a zipper foot to sew along this edge. You’ll want to be about 1/4″ away from the zipper stitching – that’s enough to catch the zipper in the seam allowance, but not so close that it makes the zipper difficult to operate.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
This is what it should look like after it’s been stitched.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Push the center back seam allowance to one side, and turn the entire piece right side out. You can pull the top of the zipper to get a more square corner if you need to.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Ta da! A finished facing with NO HANDSTITCHING CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
The finished zipper from the outside! The top edges should match right up. Feel free to sew a hook and eye here if you would like. I always skip those if I think I can get away with it haha

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Now you can tack down the facings so they don’t flip out when you are wearing your garment (if you opted to include lining, you obviously can skip this step). I attached mine to the seam allowance of all princess seams, plus the side seams.

OAL2017 - Hem
Last step is hemming! I turned my hem up 1/2″ twice (for a total 1″ hem) and then topstitched by machine.

That’s all for this dress! Hang around a few weeks while I work up the nerve to take photos outside (I have a yard in this new house, but it’s not fenced and on a very busy cross street and therefore I have no privacy D: D: D: help), then it’s Big Reveal time!

How are you coming along with your garments? As always, let me know if you have any questions!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Announcing the 2017 OAL!

15 May

Hi friends! It’s about mid-May, which can only mean one thing…

The Outfit-Along is back for another year! Our 4th consecutive year, to be exact ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve announced this annual challenge several times already (well, 3 to be exact haha), so it may not need introducing – but just in case you’re new here, I’ve got details!

Iโ€™m teaming up with knit designer extraordinaire, Andi Satterlund, to host a combination knit-along and sew-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting a garment. This is a great opportunity to fill your wardrobe with more beautiful handmade pieces, and weโ€™ll have two official patterns that will have additional blog support, should you need it.

The official sewing pattern will be the By Hand London Kim Dress, and the official knitting pattern will be Andiโ€™s newest cardigan, Anaheim. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern, so we can all sew and knit along together. If you donโ€™t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit youโ€™ll actuallyย wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. Youโ€™re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills โ€“ after all, youโ€™ll be the one wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚ Make a pullover and shorts, make a dress and cardigan โ€“ doesnโ€™t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit ๐Ÿ™‚

You can read all the relevant details over at Untangling Knots โ€“ as well as a FAQ for common questions โ€“ but in a nutshell:

โ€“ We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2017.
โ€“ The deadline for completion is July 31, 2017, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
โ€“ There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline โ€“ PRIZES!!! This year, we are welcoming back sponsor Indie Stitches, who is donating 3 prize packages consisting of 2 patterns (winner’s choice), plus free shipping. Winners will also receive 2 patterns of their choice from the Untangling Knots Ravelry store.
โ€“ To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2017 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

The official knitting pattern, Anaheim, is a sweet cross-over front cardigan that buttons at each side and features and all-over lace pattern. The pattern is knit in one piece, top down, with DK weight yarn and includes sizes XS – 3X (bonus – you can easily move the placement of the buttons to adjust the fit at the waist, should you prefer it tighter or looser). If you’ve never knit a garment before, this pattern is a great one to start with – the sweater is simple (and small!) enough to easily finish during the allotted time, and I can personally vouch that Andi’s instructions are clear and easy to follow (one of her patterns was actually my first knitted garment, too!). Plus, top-down in one piece? YAY NO SEAMING, Y’ALL!

BTW, Anaheim will be 20% off until the OAL begins on June 1st when you you checkout on Ravelry using the coupon code OAL2017 – so yes, get you that discount!

The official sewing pattern, Kim, is one I’ve personally never sewn before (YET) but I think will be a great addition to my summer wardrobe! The pattern features a princess seamed, sleeveless bodice, two neckline options (straight and sweetheart), plus two skirt options (tulip and gathered).

For this year’s OAL, I will not be doing a series of super in-depth tutorials of making the dress from start to finish (I feel like there are PLENTY of these on the internet – including one for the Kim dress!), but I will post tutorials for the changes that I am making to my version of the pattern.

Again, if Kim ain’t your thing – you don’t have to commit! The OAL is about what YOU want to wear, and you can absolutely choose a different pattern! ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, you can spread the word by using the hashtag #OAL2017 or use this fancy badge. And donโ€™t forget to join the OAL2017 discussion thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, for all your OAL chatting needs. Questions? Be sure to read the FAQ on Andiโ€™s official announcement post in case itโ€™s already been covered, but if notโ€ฆ ask away! ๐Ÿ™‚

YAY I’m so excited! Who is joining in this year? ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ And for those who are here for the OAL and love reaching sewalong posts – they’re still here! ๐Ÿ™‚
– 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
– 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, that’s all for this week! Let me know if you have any questions about these steps ๐Ÿ™‚ Next week, we sew in the zipper and finish the thing! Woohoo!

OAL2016: Choosing Your Fabric

1 Jun

What up, y’all! Welcome to the first official day of The Outfit Along! If you haven’t picked a fabric yet, don’t freak out – that’s what this post is about today ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve handed over the reins to Michelle of Style Maker Fabrics – one of our sponsors (who not only supplied my fabric, but is also offering prizes and a discount on the site – you’ll have to read to the bottom to get to it, though ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) for this OAL. If you’re not familiar with Style Maker Fabrics, consider this your introduction ๐Ÿ™‚ Style Maker Fabrics has a great selection of beautiful and on-trend dressmaking fabrics, and their website allows you to shop not only by fabric type, but also by garment type and color (which I think is pretty genius!). Style Maker Fabrics is also ready and willing to help you find that perfect fabric if you are having trouble with too many choices – tell them the garment you want to make and a few parameters (color, fiber, price, etc) and they’ll pull together some suggestions so you don’t have to weed through all they have to offer. Although, personally, I think that’s the fun part! ๐Ÿ™‚

ANYWAY, enough about me – I’m going to give this over to Michelle now! As a side note, my chosen fabric and yarn are both in this post – can you guess which one they are? ๐Ÿ™‚

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OAL_Banner

I am so excited to be participating in this yearโ€™s Outfit Along. I had the pleasure of working with Lauren earlier in the spring on a special project for my online shop, Style Maker Fabrics, and now I am happy to return the favor!
Favorites 5
Yarn Colors: Maize/Banyon/Hibiscus
Fabrics: Left- 1/2/3 Center- 1/2/3 Right- 1/2/3

To kick things off for the sewing portion of Outfit Along 2016, I wanted to share some tips and inspiration for selecting the perfect fabric for the Hollyburn skirt from Sewaholic patterns, the official OAL sewing pattern. You could apply most of these tips to just about any pattern, but I will look at the Hollyburn specifically. I have also paired some yummy skeins of Quinceโ€™s Sparrow yarn (recommended for Zinone, the official knit pattern) with some fabrics from our shop to hopefully inspire your own outfit!

Hollyburn

First and foremost, what type of fabric should you be looking for? The nice thing about the Hollyburn skirt is its versatility. The pattern calls for light to medium weight wovens, which translates to a fabric with little to no stretch in just about any weight/thickness (not a lot of help, right?). This is where you can really get creative. Think about how you want to wear your skirt, your personal style and maybe even what is missing from your closet. Here are three main fabric categories to think about and how they will translate in your finished skirt.

Structured Lines
The first category includes fabrics with a bit more weight- denim, twill, canvas, suiting, etc. These fabrics have very little drape, if really any at all, and they hold their shape giving you garment a clean A-line look. A great choice for a durable skirt, something to wear every day, year round- like a classic denim skirt. I would steer towards the lighter weights to maximize the movement of your skirt. I would also lean towards keeping the length on the shorter side, View B or C to keep it from feeling too heavy- both in looks and actual weight.

Structure 1
1/2/3

Form and Grace
The next category includes much lighter weight, structured wovens- lawn, shirting, linen, chambray, etc. These fabrics still provide some architecture to your skirt but will also have more movement, drape and body. Perfect for spring and summer, these fabrics are much lighter and airy resulting in a bit more feminine look. With some of these fabrics (especially the lighter colors), you may find that you need to add a lining- an extra step but totally worth it for the perfect fabric.

Form 2
1/2/3

Feminine Drape
Last but not least, the truly drapey, fluid wovens- rayon challis, crepe, chiffon, etc. Probably my favorite category, these fabrics will give your skirt the maximum amount of drape and movement. They will also give you the minimum volume as they will provide no added structure but the silky, flowy nature will soften the lines of this skirt giving you a beautiful feminine silhouette. This would be my preferred fabric choice for the longest length, View A, as the fluidity of the fabrics will give you an amazing lightness and feel that you wonโ€™t be able to resist taking a twirl in.

Drape 3

1/2/3

Ok, now that you have the style of skirt that you want to make in mind and what type of fabrics would be suitable, letโ€™s talk about pattern and design. The pattern recommends staying away from plaids, stripes and directional designs, but Why? Having a structured pattern to the fabric does add another level of difficulty but I donโ€™t think this it is something you should shy away from. It may take a little extra fabric and a bit more planning how you want the pattern to lay out but the results will be amazing. With a seam down the center front and back you will want to take some extra care to match up the pattern as best you can. Or throw caution to the wind and donโ€™t worry about it! I would only recommend this approach for a more fluid fabric (category 3 above) as the drape will help hide the any mismatch.

Up next, color- my favorite part about picking fabrics! With the help of my local yarn shop, Apple Yarns, I was able to pick up a whole color range of Sparrow and play with how this yummy linen yarn looks with different colors and textures of fabric. Not a whole lot else to say about color other than that they are all stunning- I will just let the photos do the talking. Here are some favorite combinations for this summer!

Coral 4
Yarn Colors: Hibiscus/Pink Grapefruit/Paprika
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4/5 Bottom- 1/2/3/4/5

Aqua 1
Yarn Colors: Eleuthera/Banyon/Fundi
Fabric: Left- 1/2/3/4 Right- 1/2/3/4/5

Denim 2
Yarn Colors: Birch/Blue Spruce/Pigeon
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4 Bottom- 1/2/3/4

Neutrals 3
Yarn Colors: Maize/Little Fern/Citron/Sans/Fen
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4/5 Bottom- 1/2/3/4/5

Hopefully you have found this post helpful and inspiring. I know Lauren has lots of amazing tips for sewing the Hollyburn pattern to share over the next few weeks. I canโ€™t wait to see everyoneโ€™s creations, both knit and sewn!

Happy stitching!
Michelle

Note: All of the fabrics shown are available in our online shop, Style Maker Fabrics. To help with your project, we are offering all OAL participants FREE US shipping (or discounted international shipping) on their orders through June 30th, 2016 with code OAL2016. We have also contributed a few special prizes for the three random winners of the OAL challenge. Read all of the details HERE.

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Thanks again for such a great – both in terms of info AND delicious fabric eye-candy – post, Michelle! Friends, let’s talk about our chosen fabric + yarn. What did you end up with? Can you guess which one in this post is mine? Are you second-guessing yourself after seeing these new options? It’s never too late to make two skirts, you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

Announcing the 2016 Outfit Along!

15 May

It’s mid-May, so you know what that means…

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The Outfit Along is officially back for 2016! Yay!!

Once again, I’m teaming up with knit designer extraordinaire, Andi Satterlund, to host a combination knit-along and sew-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting a garment. This is a great opportunity to fill your wardrobe with more beautiful handmade pieces, and weโ€™ll have two official patterns that we will hold your hand with should you need it.

Zinone_Both_Front_02

The official sewing pattern will be the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, and the official knitting pattern will be Andiโ€™s newest summery top pattern, Zinone. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern, so we can all sew and knit along together. If you donโ€™t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit youโ€™ll really wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. Youโ€™re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills – after all, you’ll be the one wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚ Make a pull over and shorts, make a dress and cardigan – doesn’t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit ๐Ÿ™‚

Paisley Hollyburn

You can read all the relevant details over at Untangling Knots – as well as a FAQ for common questions – but in a nutshell:

โ€“ We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2016.
โ€“ The deadline for completion is July 31, 2016, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
โ€“ There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline – PRIZES!!! This year, we have two sponsors who have donated prizes to the OAL: Each winner will receive the pattern of their choice from Indie Stitches, a $20 voucher to StyleMaker Fabrics, and two knitting patterns of their choice from Untangling Knots.
โ€“ To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2016 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

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The official knitting pattern, Zinone, is a casual summer top knit in sport weight linen yarn. You have the option to include either a partial or full lace back, and choose either a cropped length or full length to the hips. It’s a little different from our previous OALs – definitely not a cardigan this year! – but I think it’s a really fun switch (and, again, you can totally knit a cardigan if that’s what your little hear desires. Or crochet one! Ain’t no knitting police running around over here). The top is knit in one piece, in the round, so it goes pretty fast. And linen is so lovely to wear in the summer! You can read more about the pattern here. AND, To celebrate Zinone‘s launch, Andi is offering 20% off up until the official OAL start of June 1. Use the code OAL2016 to get you that discount!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The official sewing pattern, the Hollyburn skirt, is a great little wardrobe staple that no doubt many of you have already made! It’s a simple, flared skirt, that works great in both a rigid and fluid fabric, depending on the look you are going for. The pattern is perfect for a beginner as it’s relatively simple (and the only fitting you need to worry about is the waist measurement), but it’s also a good canvas for a variety of customization to make it your own, should you require a little more of a challenge in your sewing ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be covering basic construction of the pattern, as well as how to adjust the skirt to leave off the pockets, and installing an exposed zipper. And yes, I’ve already made like 5 of these babies (1 2 3 4 5), so you know it’s a good basic wardrobe staple!

Oh! And to help with your fabric buying needs – StyleMaker Fabrics is offering FREE SHIPPING to all US orders (and $8.95 off shipping to all international orders), through 6/30, using the code OAL2016! Definitely check them out if you’re not working from your stash – they have a fantastic selection of wonderful fabrics, and you can search by garment type and color! If you need help choosing your fabric, stick around – StyleMaker Fabrics will be guest posting on the start of the OAL as well ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, you can spread the word by using the hashtag #OAL2016 or grab a little badge below (or over on the Untangling Knots blog, where the fancy html is already embedded for you, ooh la la). And don’t forget to join the OAL2016 discussion thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, for all your OAL chatting needs. Questions? Be sure to read the FAQ on Andi’s official announcement post in case it’s already been covered, but if not… ask away! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I’m super excited to be running this awesome challenge for the third year in a row! ๐Ÿ˜€ Who’s in?

OAL2015: Attaching the Skirt // Finishing the Cut-Out

7 Jul

Good morning, everyone! My apologies that this post is a day late – I spent one full day of my weekend throwing a 4th of July shindig (complete with a slip-in-slide, food decorated to look like flags, and fireworks at the end of the night. I passed out before the fireworks happened, though, hahahahaha!! I heard they were lovely, anyway!), and then the second full day was much-needed RNR (laying on the couch, coloring and eating leftover party food. I surprisingly was not hungover for this, but I treated it like a hangover day regardless). It was an AWESOME weekend, but I didn’t make the time to write up this post – so you get it on Tuesday! Yay!

ANYWAAAAAY, time to get down to business!

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Today we are going to attach the skirt to our bodices, as well as finish that back cut-out. The end is so close!!

OAL 2015

First thing you are going to want to do is finish the edge of the back cut-out, using bias facing and the same method we used for the neckline (here’s a refresher on that tutorial if you need it!). Once you get to the back where the interfacing has been applied, you have two options – you can either leave that part unsewn, or attach the bias facing and then unpick it. I prefer to sew+unpick because I like the guidance of the creased seamline, as well as having the seam allowances already trimmed down, but it’s up to you!

OAL 2015

Once you’ve finished that, unpick the facing where the interfacing is, plus a little extra (or pat yourself on the back for saving yourself a little extra work!). You’ll do this at both the top and bottom of the interfaced section.

OAL 2015

Go ahead and clip off the excess bias facing, leaving at least an inch or so that overlaps where the interfacing starts. Err on the side of longer here – you can always trim off more later if you need to.

OAL 2015

Notch the fabric right where the interfacing starts, going about 1/4″ in, or the depth of your seam allowance.

OAL 2015

Finish the edge of the interfaced section howeverrrr you want. I just serged mine.

OAL 2015

Now fold the interfaced section back on itself, right sides together, along the center. The edge that you just finished should meet right against the edge where you clipped that notch.

OAL 2015

Sew along both short ends, following your seam allowance (this is where the guidance of an unpicked edge comes in handy). Be careful not to catch the ends of the bias facing just yet.

Ooh, look! New manicure! Haha!

OAL 2015

Turn the interfaced section right side out. To get a nice, sharp corner: first off, don’t clip that corner or trim your seam allowances unless they’re bigger than 1/4″. Use your fingers to push the seam allowance in one direction all the way to the point (I’ve found this is easiest when I hold it the way you see in the photo)…

OAL 2015

Keep your fingers holding that seam allowance in place and start turning everything right side out…

OAL 2015

Use your pointer finger for the final little push.

OAL 2015

You should have a pretty good-looking corner at this point, but you can also use a point turner (or a knitting needle, or a chopstick, or a pencil, or whatever you have on hand) to gently coax that corner out a little more. Don’t mash it around, just manipulate the seam allowance over until everything looks good. Repeat for the other corner.

OAL 2015

Here’s where we are so far!

OAL 2015

Now take those floppy ends of the bias facing and tuck them into the little pocket you just created.

OAL 2015

OAL 2015

Pin the finished edge into place and sew everything down. I also topstitch 1/4″ around the outside edges, to match the rest of the topstitching on the dress.

OAL 2015

Done! Now do the other side ๐Ÿ˜› haha!

Ok, now for attaching the skirt!

OAL 2015

Pin and sew the skirt to the bodice, matching notches and seamlines, and using your normal 5/8″ seam allowance. The bodice will be quite a bit shorter than the skirt – that’s the back cut-out, and we’re gonna deal with that next. If you want to add piping to your waistline seam, now is the time to do it (well, I did it, anyway! ha! It’s easier if the piping does not extend all the way around the waist – end it right where the bodice ends).

OAL 2015

Trim the seam allowance down along the top of the skirt that isn’t attached to the bodice, leaving yourself 1/4″ seam allowance for dealing with the bias facing. Then clip a notch where the bodice stops – this was hard to photograph, so right where my scissors are pointing! You can also see where my piping ends; it’s the little black rectangle below. Don’t clip your notice any deeper than the seam allowance.

OAL 2015

Attach the bias facing along the top edge of the skirt, stopping at the notch you just clipped. Allow about 1/4″ or so of bias excess so you can tuck it under itself.

OAL 2015

Here’s a closer picture. Once you’ve sewn the first swipe of bias facing (and understitched, if you’re doing that), take everything over to the ironing board and press the seam allowances up, and then the excess over to the wrong side (at the end that’s next to the bodice). If you added piping, the tail end of your piping should also be in this equation.

OAL 2015

Now fold the bias facing to the wrong side, as normal, and pin in place. All your raw edges should be encased and the corners of the bias facing should be pretty close to one another (if not butted up against each other).

OAL 2015

Finally, just stitch the bias facing down. Once you get to the corner where the other section of bias facing is, lower your needle and pivot, stitch along the existing stitching line just a little bit, then backtack. This will reinforce that corner and secure everything.

OAL 2015

Here it is from the right side. If you want to be extra secure, you can also sew a diagonal line to the point of the intersecting facings.

OAL 2015

I’m not really sure why I took a second picture of this, but here you go.

Ok, that’s all for today! Let me know if any of this needs clarification or if you have any questions ๐Ÿ™‚

Announcing the 2015 OAL!

15 May

Happy Friday, everyone! I just wanted to pop in and let y’all know that the Outfit Along is back for a second year! WOOHOOO!!!

OAL_Banner

Once again, I’m joining forces with Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots to combine a sew-along with a knit-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting a garment. This is a great opportunity to stretch your crafting skills, and weโ€™ll have two official patterns that weโ€™ll help you with along the way.

The official sewing pattern will be McCall 6887, and the official knitting pattern will be Andi’s newest cardigan pattern, Vianne. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern so we can all sew and knit along together. If you donโ€™t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit youโ€™ll really wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. Youโ€™re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills. You can look through the 2014 Outfit Along FO thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry to see the variety of patterns people chose to use last year.

Vianne

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

You can read all the juicy details over at Untangling Knots, but in a nutshell:

– We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2015.
– The deadline for completion is July 31, 2015, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
– Did I mention that finishing within the deadline means you are eligible for PRIZES? Yes! We are cooking up some fun pattern giveaways to reward those of y’all who complete their outfit within the allotted deadline, so stay tuned for more information!
– To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2015 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

Vianne_Back
The official knitting pattern, Vianne, is a seamless, top-down cardigan, knit using DK weight yarn on US 8/5mm needles, which makes it a lovely lighter weight cardigan for the summer months.ย The v-neck cardigan features a set of mirrored lace panels that run along the front neckline and frame a large mesh panel on the back. To celebrate Vianne’s launch, Andi is offering 20% off up until the official OAL start of June 1. Use the code OAL2015 to snag the discount! You can read more details in the Untangling Knots shop or check Vianne out on Ravelry.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!
The official sewing pattern, McCall 6887, is a fun little summer dress with a surprise cut out in the back! You probably remember my Pineapple Delight version from a few weeks ago – well, I’m dying to make more, and I want to drag all y’all down with me (mwahaha). The pattern features front princess seams, skirt variations (flared or fitted) and the optional open back (there is also an option for a non-open back if that’s your jam!). I will be covering basic construction of the dress, and including tips swapping out the lining for a clean bias facing, and adding pockets. The pattern is rated as “easy,” so y’all beginners should have no problem tackling this! Also, just a head’s up – I just checked my local Joann’s and it looks like all McCall’s patterns are on sale for 3/$5 through 5/16, so go save some dollaz!

Since I’ll be traveling around Peru during the first couple of weeks of the OAL, we won’t start the sewing portion until June 22nd. Of course, you are welcome to get a head start and begin sewing on June 1; there just won’t be any sew-along posts until the 22nd! Andi will be managing the knitting posts over on her blog starting on June 1. If you knit and sew along with us, youโ€™ll get your projects done in plenty of time.

Help spread the word and grab one of the badges below or use the hashtag #OAL2015. If you want to hang out and chat about the OAL, come join the OAL2015 Discussion Thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. You do need a Ravelry account to view and post on the thread, but it’s totally free and totally worth it if you do any knitting at all ๐Ÿ™‚

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OALtag_2015

Y’all, I am SO EXCITED. Who else is joining in the Outfit Along this year?

V1419 Sewalong: Steps 64-86

10 Nov

Good morning, sewalongers! This is the week we finish up our coats – woohoo!! (and those of y’all who are not following the sewalong – this is the last week you have to skip a boring sewalong post! Woohoo!). Can you just feel the excitement radiating in the air? ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, the good news is – this is the final construction post before we have our sharextravaganza next week. The bad news – it’s a HELLUVA post. Lots and lots of pictures (in advance: I’m soooo sorry! Tried to cull them down as much as possible. On the flip side, none of them are of me ๐Ÿ˜‰ lolololol), lots of little fiddly steps here. On the flip side, this is all finishing – which means when it’s done, the coat is done – but expect this to take some time, especially since there is lots of hand sewing in this section.

Anyway, onto finishing!

The first thing you will want to do is sew the bias facing to both of the opening edges of the coat front, as well as along the neckline and across the hem. I’m not going to go into detail of how to do the facing – we’ve all done enough bias facing on this coat, I think most of us can do it in our sleep at this point ๐Ÿ˜‰ – but I did want to mention a couple little tips that helped me.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Once I sewed the facing on and trimmed down the seam allowances, I pressed all the raw edges toward the facing, using lots of steam.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Then simply press the facing to the inside of the coat. You will want to hand baste this in place, which will give you greater control when top stitching (especially important at those coat front edges).

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
At the hem and neckline, you may find that where you are intersecting seams tends to be *very* bulky – like, so bulky that you can barely turn the facing to the inside. I used my scissors to chop out as much of the bulk as possible (being careful not to cut into the stitching line or outside of the seam allowances), and them hammered them down like crazy with my clapper, to make things very flat.

Actually, if you have a clapper – it’s a good idea to smack down those edges after you’ve top stitched them, to flatten them as much as possible and give them a nice sharp crease. This will make your coat look much more professional ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, for the button holes! Fair warning – these took foreveeeeer to finish! Lots of fiddly pieces, lots of fiddly hand stitching. I know at this point, most of y’all are probably over this coat and just want to finish so it can be worn, but please take your time with these steps. The button holes are one of the most visible parts of the coat, and you don’t want them to look sloppy!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Remember when we sewed around the edges of where the button holes would go? Now you need to cut right in the middle of those stitches. I first used chalk to mark where the V would start, and then cut along the lines indicated. Cut right up to the stitching, but not through it.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
You will have a little V flap at the inside end. Fold this to the inside and press.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
To make the button hole binding, find those 4 bias pieces you cut, and press down one long edge about 1/4″. You will want to cut the binding into 20 pieces – 4 pieces will be 2.5″ long, and 16 pieces will be 2.75″ long. You should have enough binding to cut exactly the number of pieces needed (if for some reason you screw up and need more binding – just salvage a piece of leftover facing, and cut it in half at the fold. Y’all have lots of bias facing left over, right? I do hahaha). Fold in 1/4″ at short edges of each little piece and press. Yes, this part takes forever. Sorry.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
On the bottom of your button hole, pin a piece of binding with the right sides facing and the raw edges matching. The edge that meets the front edge of the coat should be flush, the edge against the end of the button hole should extend a bit farther. Be aware of what binding goes on what button hole – the 2.5″ binding is for the top 2 button holes (on the left and right side of the coat front); the remaining binding is for the remaining button holes.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
I went ahead and pinned the top binding as well, because I am impatient.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Sew the binding to the coat, stitching along your original stitching lines. I found it easier to do this from the inside, so I could make sure I was sewing in the correct place. When you get to the end of your stitching line – where the stitching pivots to the end of the button hole – stop and back stitch. Do not go any farther than the existing stitching line.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Your binding should look like this on the outside of your coat. Notice that the stitching does not go all the way across to the tip of the binding. This is good; it means we can pull the end of the binding to the inside.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Here it is from the inside.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Starting at the open end, fold the binding to the inside and pin into place. I pinned both top and bottom because – again, impatient. You could also work with one side at a time. Whatever is easier!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
For the end of the binding that is by the V you clipped, pull all the binding to the inside of the coat and pin down. This should cover the V completely, but if not, you can always clip whatever is sticking out ๐Ÿ™‚

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Repeat for the bottom (or top). Your finished pinned button hole should look like this.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Here it is from the outside.

The next thing you nee to do is slipstitch alllllll those bindings invisibly to the inside of the coat. Yep! This part takes forever! I also stitched my bindings so the edges encased the edge of the coat front, as well as slip stitched the open ends together with a few stitches. When you get to where the binding covers the triangle, be sure to catch that in your stitches so the button hole is secure. Check from the front occasionally to make sure everything looks good, especially making sure that triangle is pushed all the way to the inside of the coat and not sticking out.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Once you’ve finished the torture that is slipstitching ALL THAT BINDING, give everything a good press (and maybe a smack with the clapper, too, if it needs it. Mine did!). We’re not done yet!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Next up is thread bartacks! Start by marking where the bartacks will go – you will have 4 total for each button hole – left and right (so a total of… 40. Woof.). There will be a bartack at each end of the button hole, plus another bartack 1/2″ from each end. I marked mind with chalk.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
The bartacks will go faster/look better if you thread up with multiple strands. I used 3 strands of thread, and then doubled my needle, for a total of 6. You can also use embroidery floss – I just didn’t have any of the right color on hand.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Starting on the inside, make a small knot with your thread, or tack it in a couple spots to secure it. I made a small loop and then pulled the needle through it.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Pull the needle to the outside and stitch across the button hole to the other side, letting the thread connect the two sides. Make another knot on the inside (or, again, secure with a few stitches), and then pull the needle back to the outside.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
To make the bartacks, loop your thread like so.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Then pull the needle through the loop to create a knot (same concept as a button hole stitch, or a blanket stitch).

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Pull the loop until it knots at the end. Repeat this over and over until you have a chain of knots that completely covers the thread. This is your bartack. Do this 4 times for every button hole. Also, have a glass of wine while you’re doing this – you’ll be sitting for a hot minute ๐Ÿ˜‰

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Some bartack tips:
– You will get better as you do these! I recommend starting with the button side first, at the bottom button hole, so your practice attempts won’t be as easily seen ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, you could practice on scraps first – but, naw, not me!
– Don’t pull the knots too tight, or you will distort them and they won’t be as pretty ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
– Try to make your knots in the same direction as you go – this will keep them uniform and hopefully prevent twisting!
– If at all possible, try to do these in one sitting. The repetition means you will get better as you do it, so if you complete them all in one sitting, you won’t need to go through multiple learning curves (than if you picked it up several times during the week).
– The original Rucci coat has the bartacks continue on the back side of the bound button holes as well. The instructions for this pattern only call for the bartacking in the front (which is what I did). If you want to mimic the original and bartack the back of the button holes – well, don’t let me stop you ๐Ÿ™‚
– Don’t get too hung up on perfection – yes, you want these to look nice, but at the same time, most of them will be covered by the buttons. Not worth killing yourself over!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Once you’ve finished your loops, time to sew on those buttons! Sew the buttons in the middle of the binding on the left front, catching both bindings in the stitches. For the top button, sew it 1/2″ away from the edge (it won’t be quite in the middle).

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
You can also go ahead and sew those back buttons on the belt. The pattern actually has you make button holes first – which of course you can do, but I omitted mine.
One word of note about the belt – don’t try to cinch it in too tight, or you’ll create gathers on the coat sides. Pin the belt closed first, and try it on to make sure everything is smooth and flat.

Finally, all that’s left is the sleeves. Go ahead and hem them with the bias facing – same concept as the other hemming and facing we did in these steps.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
The last thing we will do is make these little sleeve binding pieces, to cover the edge where all the crazy sleeve seams intersect. Cut 2 pieces that are approximately 1.5″ long by 1″ tall (or possibly taller, if your fabric is very thick and bulky – I cut mine 2″x2″, because my fabric required the extra room!). Fold one long edge under 1/4″ and press, and both short edges as well.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Sew the binding to the outside of the sleeve, with the right sides facing, at the point where all the seams intersect. Sew right along your topstitching line. If your fabric is bulky, you may want to trim down the seam allowance of this binding piece.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Turn the binding to the inside, wrapping around the sleeve hem and being sure that all folded edges are tucked under. Slipstitch around the 3 edges and press. Again, this is a good time to use your clapper to really flatten those seams. Gah, you guys must think I have stock in clappers at this point hahaha.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Your finished sleeve will look like this. Yes, some of my top stitching is wonky. Oh well!

Whew! That’s all for this post – AND THIS COAT! How’s everyone coming along with their coats? I’ve been loving all the progressing (and some completed!) coats that are popping up in the Flickr Group. You’re SO almost done!! If you want to show off your coat in our Parade of Coats next week (which, obvs, you should!), you have a few options – you can upload to the the Flickr Group, and you can also upload to the Pinterest Fan Gallery. Be sure to use the hashtag #v1419Sewalong so you’ll appear in our Tagboard, where we will also be pulling finished coat photos. Can’t wait to see everyone’s coats!! ๐Ÿ˜€