Sunday, August 21, 2016

A bright Yellow Surefit Designs Top

I'm really interested in rotating darts at the moment and have been practicing by making simple tops. For the one I'm showing today , I opened up my DD bust dart in both the shoulder and center front areas. It's a simple process if you have the patience to make a copy of a pattern and to work methodically. There's quite a bit of cutting ,spreading, and taping involved. For more details if you want them, go here to Diana's Sewing Lessons.

For my top, I redrew my Surefit Designs sloper in a smaller size by going down a dot. With SFD, you use the bust dart size you need  ( in my case a DD ) so there is no need for a Full Bust Adjustment but you make all your other adjustments, e.g. Rounded Upper back, and Sway back. I've found that there is no need for Narrow Shoulder adjustment and I only need a minimal Sloped Shoulder adjustment for this system.

Here is what my pattern front looks like before and after rotating the dart. For the designed top I lowered the neckline 5/8".


I added about 1 1/2 " to the width of the shoulder in addition to the spread where I opened the bust dart so I had to add the same to the back shoulder. I shirred the front to fit the new back shoulder

To know how much to gather the center front, measure the CF seam from neckline to hem before you open the dart. Once opened, the CF will spread.  Gather the area where you spliced and spread until the center front seams are equal to the original measurement. (I hope that makes sense ! ) I should also say that you don't need as many slices as I made Probably one would be sufficient at the CF bust line.

I also moved  half the waist darts in both front and back to the side seam  instead of sewing a half dart. I wanted a slightly fitted  silhouette. To do this, I traced the waist dart ,cut it in half lengthwise, then lay  it on the side seams and trimmed that amount from both front and back.

Before I started my top , I used Sally Silhouette to design a top I thought would go well with last summer's fun palazzo pant. I gave the Sandra Betzina top to my DGD because it was too fitted for my taste.

I curved the CF seam at the bottom by using my Design Stylus.

I turned the hem under 5/8" in the front but for the back, I sewed a 1 1/2 " facing because I cut it a little too short

This photo is a little pale but it shows the shirring at the shoulders and CF where I opened the bust dart.

The back is just plain.

Here's an "action " shot taken at our Family get-together which we hosted.

Now as for the topper, this is what I planned to do.

I changed my mind when I started to draft the pattern and I don't love the result.  I drew a complete front  ( both sides ) and drew a line from the neckline to the opposite lower side.

The polyester lace is not drapey enough and is a little too thick to tie at the waist nicely but this is what I did to the front  bodice. pattern. I lowered the neckline in both front and back about an inch and that was a bit too much for the back neck.

Here is the " cardi"with this remodeled  10 year old dress that use to look like this .

This bright yellow top goes with a lot of my bottoms , especially this Rachel Comey skirt made for my trip to Paris last September,

and of course my wild and crazy palazzos. ( I admit the pics are quite washed out. I didn't pay attention to the settings !!)

I'm using my SFD sloper to check the fit of all the patterns I'm sewing up. It's a great fitting tool. For example I used it to check the fit on the pattern I used to make my reunion dress which I blogged here I was able to determine that I needed only a slight FBA and that I needed to narrow the shoulders a bit, etc.

If you're like me and are determined to make your clothes fit as well as possible, do give Surefit Designs a try. It isn't at all hard to use and it's a lot of fun to learn something new ,in my experience

Happy sewing from

Sunday, June 19, 2016

One Layer Side Seam Pocket

The pockets on this coat made using Sandra Betzina's pattern, V1494 are my favorite version of side seam pockets.

I prefer these because you end up with only one layer of pocket and they are less bulky than traditional pockets.

. Whenever possible ,I like to substitute the method I'll show you here learned from Sandra years ago when I made this coat using this pattern.

For this method, You'll use the same markings for the side pockets of the pattern you are using.

The shape of the pocket is up to you. In the coat above ,the pocket is quite large and the shape is angular. For the red coat, I used an enlarged version of the pocket included in the V1474 but I only cut one pocket piece for each side of the coat.

You'll also need to cut the pocket in fusible interfacing. Again, I cut mine slightly larger than my pocket piece for extra stabilizing (if that makes sense ).

The pocket will of course be sewn to the inside of the front of the coat  but first attached to the back side seam. So here goes.

Step 1  . . Iron the interfacing in place. is to iron on the interfacing to the pocket area on the inside front of the garment.

Step 2  (sorry no pic) is to run a little line of stitching across the circle marking which indicate the pocket opening on the side seam and then to clip to the circle and press the opening to the inside  and top stitch like this.


I chose to  finish the  opening edge with a bias piece of my lining fabric, but you could finish it with a serger or by folding in the seam allowance.


Step 3... Sew the pocket to the side seam of the back of the coat starting and finishing at the notches that mark the pocket placement on the side seam. Because I cut my pockets with a lighter linen in a different shade of red, I added a strip of the coat fabric to the edge of the pocket but this step is unnecessary.


Step 4... You can finish your pocket edges any way you chose. I  serged  mine but for an unlined garment I would do a Hong Kong finish..

Step 5...You're ready to sew your pocket to the inside front but it will be a lot easier with the help of Steam-a-Seam. Just be sure to apply it to the side of the pocket that will be against the coat ( ask me why I mention this !)  Press in place.

Step 6...Change your bobbin thread to a contrasting colour and run a line of basting stitches along the edge of each pocket.

When you turn to the right side you will have  a thread tracing to follow when you top stitch.

Note:To top stitch, whenever possible, I like to use a heavy duty thread by Gutterman but when that's not possible, I'll use two spools threaded through the same needle for similar results.

And that's all there is to it. I do hope this is clear but if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section.

  You never know when I'll post again on this blog so if you're interested in what I have to teach, come back again sometime.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

How to Make a Reading Shawl

I posted a few gifts I made for Christmas on my other blog SewPassionista by DIANA and was asked for tutorials on the reading shawl, the hair towel and the mug wrap . I'll do each in an individual post so check back a little later for the other two.

Here is the reading shawl.The idea is to keep your shoulders and arms warm while reading in be.

For the reading shawl, you'll need:

About  24"to  30" of 60" wide fleece or sweater knit.( In the one pictured above , I used 30" and was able to fold the upper edge into  a collar ).
1 meter or yard of 1/2" wide elastic (optional )

The pattern I drafted looks like this:

It was hard to photograph and give the right perspective of it so I made a drawing which will give you a better idea with measurements included..

As you can see, one length is placed on the fold  for about 30" and  then tapers out to the sides.
The opposite length is the opening and also tapers out to the sides.These tapered ends form the sleeves.

Sew along the dotted lines to form the sleeves.

There are two ways to form the cuff. In the picture above I took several tucks on the inside of the sleeves to fit around the wrist.I used the selvedge  for the edge of the cuff.


Finish the edges of the lengthwise openings  with a 5/8" seam. Add elastic to one long edge of the opening, if desired ,so the shawl will snug up against the neck. (I did not use elastic in the first shawl above ) In the above version, the upper edge formed a shawl collar ,which is pretty, I think
In the picture below I used elastic for both the cuffs and the upper edge.

I hope this makes sense and that you'll try one of these. I use mine every night in bed to read  during the cold months and I just couldn't be without it. It is also useful when on the computer or watching TV.

I gave one to my sister-in-law for Christmas , along with a book and a gift certificate to Chapters. She loved it!

Next up I'll show you how to make a mug caddy which will be  especially useful in your sewing rooms for all tose bits and pieces or on your dressers for keeping make-up and brushes organized and  at your fingertips.!

How to Make a Mug Caddy

I decided to give this little item the name of mug caddy for lack of a better term but it can also be used for tin cans, mason jars or some other such thing.

Here is the pic of the one I made as a sample for my Sewing Group.

And here is the pattern I used.As you can see, the dimensions are  approximately 10" X 10" but it tapers off at the top.

The only other piece is a long rectangle pocket piece which measures twice the width of the bottom of the above piece ( 2 X 10" so 20'' by about 6"".) and two strips of bias  tape or self made bias strips to coordinate with the body and pocket pieces.You should have enough to go around the body of the caddy and along the length of the long pocket strip.

Here are the pieces you need to cut out. I use flannelet between the two outer layers of the body of the caddy but you could use interfacing if you prefer.

Here are the steps.

1...Baste together the three layers of the body together. (Sorry no pic ).

2.Fold the long pocket strip in two lengthwise.

3. Sew the coordinating bias strip to the folded edge of the pocket strip.

4. Mark the midpoint of both the caddy body and the pocket strip and sew pocket at this juncture .

5. Sew each end of the pocket strip to the sides of the caddy and trim the corners.

6. Sew each half of pockets at their half way mark and then again until you have 8 sections .

7. Sew across the bottom to secure the sections to the caddy .Next the binding around the caddy and then across the top.

                                8. Press binding to wrong side and stitch in the ditch. Trim away extra fabric                                             close to stitching.

                                 9. Determine where best to add velcro closures and sew in place.

                                   10. Fit caddy to your choice of mug by folding upper half into the mug.

                                Fasten with velcro closures.

                                   For gift giving maybe you can add a sleep mask which should have a layer of                                        black out drapery lining in between the the two fabric layers because this will                                        make the mask much more effective in keeping out light.

                                 Here is another idea for this type of caddy. A friend gave me this one which has                                    been in my sewing room for years. It has a different design to fit over a tin                                            can with elastic at the bottom. It would need to be designed for a specific size of                                  holder but shouldn't be too hard to draft.

I hope this tutorial is clear and that you'll make one. It's quick to sew (1/2 hour ), and fun to match fun fabrics together and really useful for many things. I have one for make-up and make-up brushes that I find very useful.

Next up will be a short tutorial on how to make a hair towel
so more later from