Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bias tape finish for necklines and armholes


Warning: Picture Heavy!

A couple of thoughts before we begin:
- This technique is not for a beginner as several of the steps are very fiddly.
- This technique is also not for someone who likes to hurry through their sewing. It requires patience and finesse. If you are in a rush it will likely frustrate you.

Okay, here we have an armhole of my current project, a knit dress. It is sleeveless but has a bit of a drop shoulder. You want to cut a piece of bias tape as big as the hole with some left over. This piece actually proved to be too short. I always stock double fold skinny bias tape because it has other uses, but you can also use the single fold bias tape. This is regular "Wrights" brand polyester/cotton bias tape available at any fabric store in a variety of colors. The brown isn't the perfect shade to match, but is close enough. IF you are using this technique on a sheer fabric, the tape color has to be spot on.

Iron the tape out flat, then in half. If you are using single fold bias tape, you get to skip this initial ironing. Then fold over about 1/4" from the left side. I start with the left because I am right-handed. Starting on the other side won't make a bit of difference.

Next you'll start pinning it to your arm opening. These handy slide rulers work really well for this purpose, as well as having infinite other uses. Get one!!! You'll notice I'm pinning it to my garment at 5/8", the seam allowance. If your pattern calls for a 3/8" SA, then you would pin it at 3/8" from the raw edge. The fold line of this double fold tape never irons out completely, and you can use it for lining up and later stitching on. Be sure to pin the tape onto the fabric with the fold toward the body of the fabric.

I like to start pinning at the bottom seam line. Can you see it rippling a little there at the bottom? You want to push in as much as the tape as possible between the pins but not enough to cause it to tuck. This is hard to explain. The bottom folded part of the tape is somewhat flush with the fabric and the top will be very wavy. You need this extra ease when you turn it to the inside later.

Here I have it completely pinned except for at the end. You'll want to stop stitching right before you get there.

Now you can see where I stopped stitching before I got all the way around. You can trim off any excess bias tape with an extra 1/4" left over for turning. Now pin and stitch. I know that right bottom bit looks really wavy, but there are no tucks sewn in. If you get a tuck, rip it out and stretch your fabric just a bit when stitching that part.

I've finished stitching and have clipped the corners off. DO NOT CLIP ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE!

I cut the fabric about 1/8" from the stitching line. You want the bias tape and fabric to be graded in this way to prevent it from being too bulky.

Now turn the tape to the inside and pin. Make sure none of the tape will be visible from the other side. I like to use A LOT of pins, in case you hadn't noticed!

Pay attention at the ends to get them matched up with the seam line and also the same width. I usually slip-stitch the opening closed, although didn't have to here since the two ends meet so closely.

Don't forget to press! You can see here on the outside what a nice and neat finish this creates.

This technique works really well for areas that do not need to stretch much. You certainly could not use it for a small neck opening in a knit or a hemline.

Monday, April 19, 2010

NewLook 6802 - Black & white print maternity dress + future sewing plans

This dress isn't something I whipped up in a few days, it was actually an UFO from last June. At that time I found it really poochy in the tummy but thought it might make a nice maternity dress. So last week I found it hanging in my "needs attention" area of the closet, tried it on, found it to be a perfect fit, and finished up a few minor details (the armholes and hem). Ta da! Please excuse my blinding skin tone.

Yes, my pop of color for shoes is more yellow. I am an a yellow kick lately. There is actually a lot more fabric and stretch available in the baby bump area and I hope to be able to wear this dress for a few more months.

This fabric is from my very first order from Gorgeousfabrics.com in August 2008. I've now used up every cut of fabric from that shipment and am quite proud of myself for doing so.

I made several slight changes to the pattern. The front underlay is suppose have a center front seam and be V-necked. I wanted to use bias tape to finish the neckline and avoid the facing. (I'm not a fan of facings in knit garments and always try my hardest to find a way around them.) My solution was to cut the underlay on a fold and make it rounded. In retrospect this is kind of a busy print to waste such a cool knotted detail on; a smaller print or solid color would have showed it off better.

I also used french seams throughout because I am a nerd and like clean insides. This picture is of the shoulder seam and bias tape finish for the neckline and armholes. Since I'm sure to be asked, this is regular "Wrights" brand polyester/cotton bias tape available at any fabric store in a variety of colors. I love it and regularly stock up on it when there's a sale. It works well on knits as well as other fabrics, as long and the seam you are using it on does not need to stretch a lot. Here is the tutorial for binding a seam. I suppose I need to make another tutorial for neckline finishes.

Total costs:

pattern bought with a coupon: $2.39
1 yard fabric purchased but received 1.5 yards: $10.00
bias tape on sale: $0.80
thread: $0.75???

grand total: $13.94 plus or minus



Now, for my future sewing plans:

A few of you expressed excitement at seeing me make some maternity clothes. Well, this might be it. This is my third summer baby, so I already have quite a bunch of maternity wear. Plus I have some really awesome girlfriends that have given/loaned me even more cute styles. And, there just aren't a whole lot of fashionable patterns available. I was all excited to make maternity wear when pregnant with my firstborn, and I did, but most of it turned out looking like a potato sack. That might have been what was worn in the 80's or before, but today's expecting lady does not want to hide her shape behind yards of billowing fabric. There are a few independent pattern companies that have come out with fitted items. I think Jalie might be one, and Burda also who I was unaware of 6 years ago. However, it's just not something I am excited about.

What I do plan to continue making is regular clothing. In fact, I would like to concentrate on making up as much winter stash as possible. This baby is due at the end of August or early September. It takes me about 4 weeks to get back to my normal size, and that makes it October and fall. I might as well sew for cooler weather. I am suppose to be receiving my corrected custom dressform at the end of this week (but am not holding my breath), so will have that to fit my garments on.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Butterick 5335 - Yellow linen jacket w/ large gathered collar

Hey there! Thanks for all the comments and congratulations about our impending bundle of joy. I am overwhelmed by all of your sweet comments. Well, I wrote in my last post that I hoped to have a jacket finished by last weekend. Oops, that didn't happen. Although I did have it completed Tuesday but we have been busy busy around here. And it's been raining so getting any good photos was difficult.

However, today the dark clouds parted for a few hours and I got some snaps taken. This jacket is a little crazy for me. I'm more of a tailored-collar-and-lapels type of girl. I think I was won over by the envelope drawing of it in yellow, to tell the truth. It's not the first time I've talked myself into making something because the picture showed it in yellow.

One of my problems with this jacket is that I envisioned it coordinating with a lot of other yellow garments in my wardrobe. I've finally figured out that it wants to be the star, and just to pair it with simple other clothing, like the jeans and white top you see here. I did add some fun shoes, though. Otherwise it's too plain.

I love the built-in back belt. Per some PR reviews, I shortened the belt by 3 inches. No other alterations were made. My usual Butterick size is 12, but this jacket was made in a 10 because the measurements were so big on the pattern tissue. I should have made a muslin but... I winged it.

Here you can see it worn open with my hands in the handy front pockets. Take a look at those humongous snaps! They take forever to sew on! And I'm a pretty patient button/snap attacher.

Okay, so if I had been able to try it on and figure out how the collar was going to lay early on, it probably would have become a wadder. But there is a ton of sewing and the lining is put in before you can really see what you've got. Then I thought - Holy cow! I've made a clown jacket!!! The collar flowed from its gathering high around the neck right over my shoulders and made me look like I had no shoulder definition. Not a pretty look. After playing around with the collar for awhile, I discovered that if the drawstring is gathered somewhat and knotted at the buttonhole opening, the collar stays gathered and poofy around the neck. Now you can see that I do indeed have shoulders.

Here's a close-up of the interesting pleated sleeves. I sewed the pleats from the inside instead of basting from the outside, and left them in after the lining was attached.

This jacket has a full lining. I matched the yellow as best as possible. This linen is somewhat transparent, and any type of interesting color or pattern would have been visible from the outside.

These are the ginormous snaps. Originally I had them sewn to the collar as well, as per the pattern drawing. But they served no purpose, were very expensive, and weighted the collar down, so I removed them. If you ever use these and really want a nice look, be sure to sew them all in exactly the same. The ones on the collar had their holes pointing in all different directions before I figured out that was noticeable.


Even though I had hesitations about this jacket's deviation from my typical style, I ended up loving it. Sometimes you just have to take a risk a be a little out there, right? Keep them guessing.

The costs:

pattern - $0.99
1 7/8 yards yellow linen with a half off coupon - $14.06
1 1/2 yards yellow lining also with a coupon - $5.24
thread - $1.50 ish
4 huge snaps on sale half off - $7.50 (!!!)
little bit of interfacing - $1.00 ish

Grand total: $30.29 plus or minus

This is my jacket for April. Wonder what happened to a jacket for March? It didn't happen, that's what happened. I'll have to double up in one of the coming months to make up for it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BWOF 2-2009-110 - Yellow floral tunic

This has been completed since Sunday evening and I'm just now finding the time to get pictures in it. The February 2009 Burda magazine is one of my all time favorites, and this is the 4th design I've made from it with more to come. I pretty much copied Birgitte's alterations from her PR review and passed on the muslin. Hey, that's what the site is good for, right? The side zipper was left off and instead of a bias fabric band neckline I opted for my trusty bias tape finish. Oh, and my hem is several inches shorter then the magazine's (since I botched the trimming of it) but turned out to be the perfect length. This fun polyester shear (shear or sheer? I never know) was bought from Hancock's last summer. Yellow is one of my favorite colors so I had to have some.

The back:

So, tell me honestly, does this top make me look pregnant?

Oh wait, I am pregnant. Surprise!!! With a girl! I'm due at the end of the summer and am about half way through. Yes, the end of the summer. The HOT TEXAS summer. I think I'll plant my bottom in the baby pool and just live there the whole time. So, now you know, and I can stop worrying about when I am going to tell all you people.

Here is a close-up of the neckline. I love the loop and small button closures of this design. With its empire waistline and front pleat, I thought this top would be wearable for at least a month or two. The only thing I forgot about was the other parts that also get bigger during pregnancy. These buttons do button but there isn't a bit of ease left over. No matter, I made this to wear when I'm my normal size.

And here you can see the bias tape finished neckline.

I'm currently working on a cute yellow linen jacket and might have that completed this weekend. Now I must go help my patient husband bathe our grubby boys before he starts giving my exasperating sighs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anyone have Vogue 2734?

I saw this pattern on Patternreview.com 6 months ago and fell in love with it. The problem is, it's OOP. I added it to my favorites on Ebay and have waited patiently for it to be listed. And waited. And waited some more. Now I'm wondering if one of you lovely readers has it (in size 12) and want to get rid of it.

I don't have anything to trade but would be happy to pay you for it. Anyone?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Not much sewing going on around here...

So, I'm still alive and kicking, just don't have anything blogworthy to post about. We spent a 4 day weekend in Houston last week. I did do some knitting but that was only to add a few extra inches to the bottom of this vest, not that you can tell much of a difference. When we got home there was a box from Amazon.com waiting for me with 4 recently purchased books inside. I read through 3 of them in the past week. I tend to be a little obsessive about reading and get very little else done, which is why I try to space out my book buying/library visiting. Add to that the fact that it's spring and I bought a bunch of plants that need planting and, well, there hasn't been much sewing going on.

Here's a tunic I cut out before the Houston trip and have worked on a little this past week. It's 110 from Burda's 2/2009 magazine. All I lack is the simple sleeves and hem, although if you look closely you can see I botched the trimming of the bottom hemline. The sides are longer then the CF and CB. I think it will be fine in the end, just a little shorter then originally planned.

This is the first year in a long while that I haven't made myself an Easter dress. Boo. The weather is suppose to be perfect too. Oh well. We're off to buy some mulch and spend the day in the yard. Happy Easter and Resurrection Day to you all!!!