New Pattern in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine : The Jumpsuit

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You probably know by now that each quarter I make a pattern in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine. So far I have made six - the Jersey Dress (basically a doona in dress form, particularly useful for those of you in the Northern hemisphere who are about to go into the cooler months), the Peplum Top (this one has to be the most sewn pattern I've made by a long shot!), the Beach Cover-up, the Vintage-style Skirt, the Slouchy Cardi and the latest edition that was just released in the recent issue is the Jumpsuit.

What I love most about this collaboration is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous when I got the email from Peppermint telling me they'd like a jumpsuit pattern for the Spring issue. I am really not a jumpsuit kind of girl and I was worried about how I would bring the In the Folds aesthetic to the brief. But I think I managed! And I also surprised myself by falling totally in love with the sample and wishing it was mine to keep.

The details

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The Jumpsuit is a relaxed and loose fitting garment, perfect to wear day-to-day with a T-shirt underneath or dressed up with a pair of heels.

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The Jumpsuit features a v-neck front and back, bust darts for a beautiful fit across the bust, invisible zip, all-in-one facing and an optional waist sash for a more fitted silhouette.

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Through the creation of this garment you will gain confidence in:

  • Sewing with woven fabrics
  • Sewing darts
  • Sewing an invisible zip
  • Sewing an all-in-one facing
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I'd encourage you to use a fabric that is soft and drapes well. Consider using light to mid-weight fabrics such as: linen, linen blends, cotton, gauze or chambray. For a softer silhouette, consider sateen, silk (crepe de chine or habotai), tencel or viscose (rayon). 

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I am really hoping I get around to making one for myself this summer! I can imagine it being a workhorse of a garment that I could dress up or down and even layer it when the weather cools off again.

Go ahead! Grab the pattern, as always it's a freebie!

Posted on September 4, 2017 .

The Collins Top Sew-along : Finishing up (sewing button and tacking the facing)

collins_sewing_button_1

Today we have made it to the final post in the Collins Top Sew-along! For a full round-up of all the posts in the series, you can have a look here. I must say it is a huge relief to be done. Although this time I received a lot of help with it, by having someone take the photos for me (fin out more about that here), it is still a huge amount of work to put a sew-along together.

In today's post, we'll be finishing of View B (the sleeveless version) by sewing the button in place and hand tacking the all-in-one facing in place (in my opinion, when it comes to clothing there is nothing more annoying than a facing that keeps flipping up from the inside of the garment).


Position button

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After giving the back of your top a really good press, lay the top flat with the back facing up. Close the centre back opening and position your button so that the button loop will go around it comfortably without pulling, being sure to check the top corners of the opening are in line. 

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Use a pin to mark the position of the button on the top.

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Use tailor's chalk or an erasable fabric marker to mark the position so that you can remove the pin. 

Sew button

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Take some thread and tie a knot in the end. I like to use a thick thread (like the one in the photo) or a normal thread doubled. Place your chosen button onto a tooth pick (or similar) and sew the first stitch to secure it. We are using a toothpick under the button so that the button will be slightly raised off the fabric, which will mean it is easier to secure the button loop around it, and the loop won't slip off the button.

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Making sure the button is straight, secure the bottom of the button with another stitch.

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Continue stitching the button in place, keeping your stitches nice and close together on the back so that it remains neat on the inside as well as the outside. 

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Once your button is secure, remove the toothpick from underneath the button.

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Take the needle to the inside of the top, by putting the needle through the fabric underneath the button. 

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Bring the thread up through the wrong side of the top, underneath the button. 

Make a small knot in the thread by making a few small stitches and putting the needle and thread through the stitches. 

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To secure the end, put the needle into the fabric under the button and bring it up about 2-3cm (1in) under the button on the centre back of the top.  

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Pull the thread through. 

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Cut the thread so that it drops back inside the top (between the top and the facing) so that you cannot see the end. 

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And admire your work! Your button is in position.


Secure all-in-one facing

The final step you need to do to complete your Collins Top, is to stitch down the all-in-one facing. I showed you in this tutorial how to attach the facing, but at this point it can still be flipped up from the neckline and armholes. 

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With the top inside out, give the facing a good press. You want to slightly roll the neckline and armhole seams in, so that are on the inside of the top (the understitching will help with this).

Pin the front facing in place on the two panel seams. 

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Do the same on the back, as well as at the side seams. 

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Working your way around the top, stitch the facing to the seam allowance at each point pinned. 

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Make your stitches slightly above the bottom of the facing, so that when the facing is turned down, the stitches are hidden underneath it. 

And that's it. Your Collins Top is finished! I hope you have enjoyed following along with these posts and have learned a new skill or two!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


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Posted on July 20, 2017 and filed under sewalong, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Finishing the hem with bias binding

Hem time! Yay! If you would like to bind the hem on your Collins Top, then keep following this tutorial. If you would prefer a simple double folded hem, then head over to this tutorial for more guidance. 


Getting started

Take a length of binding at least 5cm (2in) longer than the circumference of your hem (this can be store-bought or self-made bias tape).

Fold one short end under by about 2cm (¾in) and begin pinning the binding to the hemline with right sides together. 

Continue pinning the binding until the end of the bias strip overlaps the beginning of the bias strip. Trim off any excess.

Stitch in place with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance.

Trim down the seam allowance down by about 5mm (¼in).

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Flip the binding to the right side, and with your fingers, press the seam allowance towards the binding.

Understitch the seam allowance to the binding.

Turn the top inside out and flip the bias binding to the inside of the top. Fold the raw edge of the binding under before pressing and pinning in place.

Sew hem by stitching binding in place, close to the folded edge of the binding.

Give the binding a good press from the right and wrong side. 

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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Posted on July 19, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Sewing an all-in-one facing

Welcome back to the Collins Top Sew-along, today we're working on my favourite element of the sleeveless version of the Collins Top - the all-in-one facing. It is sure to give you a really beautiful and clean finish, as well as leave you feeling pretty chuffed with your skills!

Finish raw edges of the facing pieces

To start, take the FRONT and BACK FACING pieces and finish the bottom edges with your chosen method. For a really beautiful finish, consider using bias binding (do this Hong Kong style to reduce bulk).

Join back facing pieces

With right sides together, pin the BACK FACING pieces together, from the notch down only. The upper part of the seam will be left open, as this will be attached to the centre back opening later on.

Stitch the seam with a 2cm (¾in) seam allowance, being sure to backstitch at the notch.

Press seam allowance open.

Join shoulder seams

With right sides together, pin FRONT and BACK FACING together at the shoulder seams.

Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance.

Press seam allowances open.

Attach button loop

Create the button loop and attach to the top using this tutorial. If you would prefer to make a hand-stitched button loop (pictured above), check out this tutorial

With the top right side up and the shoulder seams flat, turn back the centre back seam allowances on both sides of the opening, so that they are sitting flat (not folded inside the top).

Attach facing at neck line

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With the centre back seam allowances still pressed open, place the facing right side down on to the top (FRONT FACING on the front of the top and BACK FACING on the back of the top), matching the neckline and shoulder seams (the centre back seam allowance on the facing also needs to be flat and not folded). Pin the necklines of the facing and the top together.

When you reach the centre back opening, check that the seam allowance is still pressed open on both the top and the facing. Pin the facing to the top, down each side of the opening until you reach the point where the centre back seams are joined on both the top and the facing.

Sew the facing in place by stitching up the centre back seam on one side - with a 2cm (¾in) seam allowance (you should be able to follow the crease created earlier), starting at the point where the centre back seam stops.

Continue up one side of the opening until you reach the point where the centre back seam allowance meets the neckline. Pivot your machine foot using the needle, so that you can turn the corner and stitch around the neckline. 

Reduce to a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance around the neck, before going back down the other side of the centre back seam (again with a 2cm / 3/4in seam allowance).

Before continuing, check that the button loop has been secured correctly by lifting the back facing.

Trim, clip + grade the seam allowance

Trim, clip and grade the seam allowance by 5-6mm (¼in). You can also clip back the corners at the centre back.

Turn the facing to the inside of the top and use a corner turner (or pencil) to turn out the corners at the centre back.

Understitch

Understitch the seam allowance to the facing. To do this, lift the facing and press the seam allowance towards the facing with your fingers. You can then understitch the seam allowance to the facing (this will help the facing remain on the inside of the top), before giving it a good press.

You won't be able to stitch all the way to the centre back. Just get as close as possible.

Sew the armholes

To sew the facing and the top together at the armholes, take the top and lay it out flat with the right side facing down. 

Take one side and carefully roll up the top, towards the opposite side.

Continue rolling the top until you reach the start of the shoulder seam on the other side (the end closest to the neckline).

With the top still rolled up, flip the facing back towards you, so that it lies on top of the rolled fabric.

Lift the roll and flipped facing, and turn the remaining side of the top right side up, so that the armhole of the top can now meet the armhole of the facing (with the rolled up fabric in between). Line up the shoulder seams and pin in place.

Pin the top and facing together at the armhole, using the shoulder seams and notches as a guide.

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Stitch the armhole with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance (being careful not to stitch through the rolled up fabric).

Grade the seam allowance before clipping into the curve. Gently pull the rolled section out through one side of the facing to turn top and facing right side out.

Understitch

As the facing is already attached at the neckline, you won't be able to understitch the armhole all in one go. Understitch the armhole seam allowance to the facing by lifting the facing on the front armhole and sewing in from the side seam on the front and getting as close to the shoulder seam as possible.

Repeat for the back armhole by stitching from the back side seam around the armhole towards the shoulder seam.

Repeat the previous steps to attach the top and facing on the other side. Give the neckline and armholes a good press.

Sew the side seams

With the top inside out, flip up the facing so that you can access the side seam of both the top and the facing.

Pin the side seam of the facing and continue down the side seam of the top. Stitch the side seam with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance and press the seam allowances open.

(Please note: in this photo the side seams are not finished - as Saki was sewing flat-felled seams in her version. In your version, side seams should be finished already.)

Stitch the side seam with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance and press the seam allowances open.

And that's it for today's post. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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Posted on July 17, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

How to sew a hand-stitched button loop

While doing the sew-along for the Collins Top, I thought it would be a good opportunity to show you how to make a hand-stitched button loop. Although the instructions of the Collins Top call for a bias cut button loop (the tutorial for making that can be found here), a hand stitched button loop could be a beautiful alternative, if you find you've got the time, or would just like a lovely little detail (or even just to learn a new skill)! This tutorial will guide you through making a button loop for the Collins Top, but could be used for any pattern that includes a button loop. 

Take the top and place it right side up, with the shoulder seams flat. Turn back the right side of the centre back opening, so that you can access the left side. Place a pin horizontally 1cm (⅜in) down from the neckline to mark the position of the button loop.

Thread a hand needle and tie a knot in the end. You can choose to use a thick thread (what we used for this tutorial), or you can double thread your needle so that you have four strands of thread.

Put your needle through the fabric from the wrong side, at the point where the pin marks the button loop location. 

Position your button where it will be sewn and loop your thread around it, to work out the amount of thread you require for your loop.

Insert your needle into the fabric on the same side that you started, but about 1cm (3/8in) down from where you started, creating a loop (although this distance will depend on the size of your button). For example, if your button is only 5mm, then the top and bottom of your loop should only be about that far apart. 

Being careful to hold your loop of thread firmly (so it remains the correct size), flip your fabric to the wrong side (the side that your thread is now on).

Still holding the loop firmly, put your needle back in the fabric, close to the point where your thread came through. 

Pull the thread through to the right side of the fabric. 

Take your thread back to the point where you started, creating a second loop. Make a small knot on the inside of the garment to secure the loop.

Bring the needle (and thread) back to the right side of the garment. You are now going to make your button loop using blanket stitch around your loops.

To form a blanket stitch, insert your needle into the button loop, creating a circle with the remaining thread. Once the needle is through the button loop, put it over the thread of the circle. 

This is quite a difficult process to describe in photos, so if you are new to this technique or stitch, check out this youtube video

Pull the thread tight to form your stitch. 

Once the stitch is formed, push it to the base of the loop.

Continue making blanket stitches, stacking one on top of the next, until you reach the end of the loop. 

Take your needle and thread to the inside of the garment and then secure the thread with a knot. 

And there you have it. A beautiful button loop to give you a very beautiful finish!

Again, if you would prefer the quicker button loop, check out this tutorial.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


Posted on July 14, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Attaching the shoulder panels (View B)

I hope you have been enjoying the Collins Top Sew-along over the past couple of weeks. So far, we've covered pattern alterations and sewing View A (sleeve version). Now, it's time to get started on View B (the sleeveless version).

Assemble front + back body

If you are making View B of the Collins Top (the sleeveless version), you need to assemble the main body pieces in the same way as you would if you were making View A (sleeve version). For a tutorial on how to do this, check out this tutorial.

Once you have assembled the front and back of the top, you will need to attach the shoulder panels.

Attach shoulder panels

We will be attaching the BACK SHOULDER PANELS to the back of the top. When you line up the pieces, you will notice that the curve of the panel differs slightly to the centre back panel piece (this allows for a nice fit in the finished garment). This means that to pin (and later stitch) the pieces together, it will require a little bit of easing. 

Pin the BACK SHOULDER PANEL pieces to the back of the top, with right sides together. Use the notches to guide you. 

Stitch seams with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. These seams will be enclosed inside the facing so do not need to be finished (unless your fabric is prone to fraying).

Press seam allowances up towards the shoulder panels. Finish the side seams using your chosen method.

Staystitch

Carefully staystitch around the neckline (stitch from shoulder to centre back on each side of the opening) with the seam allowance open (not folded back).

At this point you can also staystitch the armholes (from top to bottom). This will prevent the curves from stretching out as you make the garment.

Staystitching should be inside the permanent stitch line (so it remains hidden inside the seam allowance), so in this case approximately 6mm (¼in) from the raw edge will suffice. Staystitch armholes on the front of the top.

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Repeat process for the FRONT SHOULDER PANELS. Pin the FRONT SHOULDER PANEL pieces to the front of the top, with right sides together. Use the notches to guide you. Like the back, this will require a little bit of easing. Stitch seams with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Press seam allowances up towards the shoulder panels.

You will notice in this photograph that Saki (the sew-along photographer) has chosen to add top-stitching to the panel line. This is not part of the instructions, but if you would like to add a nice little detail, go right ahead!

Staystitch neckline and armholes.

Join shoulder seams

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With right sides together, pin the front and back shoulder seams together. Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance

Press seam allowance open. Again, these seam allowances do not need to be finished, unless your fabric is prone to fraying.

And we can leave it there for the time being. In the next post we will be attaching the facing. If you would prefer to bind the neckline with bias binding, check out this tutorial.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


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Posted on July 13, 2017 .

The Collins Top Sew-along : Hemming + sewing button in place

So today we'll be finishing up View A (the sleeved version) of the Collins Top in the Collins Top Sew-along. Yay! We'll be hemming the body of the top and the sleeves as well as sewing the button in place. And then you'll be ready to wear your beautiful new top!

Hemming the top

With the top inside out, turn up the hem by 5mm (¼in) and stitch. You can simply do this with your finger, rather than pressing and pinning.

Turn the hem by another 5mm (¼in) and press. Pin hem in place and stitch along the original stitch line to complete the hem.

Give the hem a good press from the right and wrong side.

Hemming the sleeves

Finish the raw edge of each sleeve before turning up by 3cm (1¼in). You will notice in this photo that Saki has turned the raw edge under and then turned up the hem, to enclose the raw edge inside the hem. This is an option too. 

Press and pin in place.

Stitch in place, close to the raw (or folded edge).

Give the sleeve hems a good press from the right and wrong side.

Position button

With the top right side out and the back of the top facing up, close the centre back opening, so that we can work out where the button will go.

Place a vertical pin in the centre of the button loop, before marking the button location with chalk or an erasable fabric marker. 

Sew button in place

Open the back opening to access the other side of the opening and stitch button in place. For those of you who are beginners and would like some pointers on sewing on the button, there will be more detailed instructions in a later post (when we get to View B).

Give your top a good press and you're ready to wear your Collins like all these other amazing makers

Stay tuned, tomorrow we'll be starting on View B of the Collins Top (the sleeveless version).

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


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Posted on July 12, 2017 and filed under sewalong, the collins top, sewing tutorials.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Binding the neckline

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The Collins Top sew-along is now in full swing! We're coming towards the end of the posts for View A (the version with sleeves) and today we're up to binding the neckline.

I really love a bound neckline. It gives you a lovely clean finish, whilst also giving you a chance to add a nice personal touch (like Saki - the sew-along photoagrapher - did with her version, which you'll see in this post).

Measure the neckline

To get started, measure the neckline of your top. Using a tape measure, measure around the neckline of the top (with the centre back seam allowance folded inside the top), starting from the centre back on one side, and continuing around the neckline until you reach the centre back on the other side of the back opening.

Cut the bias binding

Cut a piece of 32mm (1¼in) wide bias binding about 4cm (1½in) longer than your neck measurement. If you need some tips about how to make your own bias binding, check out this tutorial on 'How to make your own bias binding (the low tech way).' You can use store-bough bias binding if you would prefer. 

If you have made your own binding, place it right side down and press one long edge of the binding under 1cm (⅜in).

 Repeat for the other (long) side.

Press both short edges under by 2cm (¾in).

Unfold one long edge of the binding (the crease will help you later) and pin the binding to the neckline with right sides together. Start at one side of the centre back opening and line up the folded edge of the binding with the back opening.

The centre back seam allowances need to be folded inside the top. Work your way around the neckline (being careful not to stretch the neck or the binding) until you get to the other side.

Stitch the binding in place with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance (you can stitch along the crease closest to the neckline). Check that all seam allowances are still pressed in the right direction.

Be careful not to catch the button loop in the seam.

Trim down the seam allowance around the neckline by 5-6mm (¼in), and then clip and grade.

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Flip the binding up to show the right side. Using your finger, press the seam allowance up towards the binding and understitch the seam allowance to the binding.

Turn the top inside out and fold the neck binding to the inside of the neckline, rolling the seam line towards the inside of the top slightly. With the raw edge of the binding folded under, press the binding flat around the neckline. Pin in place. Stitch along the folded edge of the binding. Give the neckline a good press.

Stitch along the folded edge of the binding.

Give the neckline a good press from both the right and wrong side.

And you will notice that your Collins top is almost done!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


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Posted on July 11, 2017 and filed under sewalong, the collins top, sewing tutorials.

The Collins Top Sew-along : How to make a button loop closure

Today, in the Collins Top Sew-along, it's time to make the button loop for the centre back closure. You will need the button loop for both versions of the Collins Top

If you think you would prefer to make a hand-stitched button loop, check out this tutorial for more guidance. 

Create the button loop

Take your Button Loop piece, which should have been cut on the bias. 

Take the BUTTON LOOP piece and fold in half lengthways, with right sides together. Press and pin. 

Stitch along the long (raw) edge with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance. Once it is turned out to the right side, press the loop flat to neaten it up, rolling the seam to one side.

Trim back the seam allowance, close to the stitch line. Use safety pin or bodkin to turn the loop right side out. If you are struggling to turn it through, you can also take a think hand needle, make a few stitches close to the end of the tube and then guide the needle through the loop, before pulling the thread to turn it right side out (if you'd like more guidance on this technique, check out this tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons).

 Once it is turned out to the right side, press the loop flat to neaten it up, rolling the seam to one side.

Work out how big you need the loop to be, to go around your button comfortably (you don't want it to be too tight or too loose). You can simply do this by folding the button loop and gripping it closed at different points until you are happy with the size. Once you have the right size, put a pin through both ends of the loop to mark the correct size. Trim off any excess length.

Attach the button loop

Grab your top that you are assembled using the last ... tutorials (1, 2 and 3...).

With the back of the top facing up, turn back the right side of the centre back opening, so that you can access the left side of the opneing. Place a pin horizontally 1cm (⅜in) down from the neckline to mark the position of the button loop.

Take the BUTTON LOOP and pin in place at the position marked in the previous step. The loop should be pointing away from the centre back opening.

Carefully machine stitch in place - a couple of millimetres from the crease (inside the centre back seam allowance).

Fold both centre back seam allowances back to the inside of the top, and give the opening (along with button loop) a good press.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


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Posted on July 10, 2017 and filed under sewalong, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-Along : Sewing the sleeves

If you have been following the Collins Top sew-along you will have seen that over the last couple of posts we have assembled the body of the top. The process of assembling the front and back body of the top is the same for both styles, but once your panels are assembled, we've got to go separate ways.

For today's post, I'll be showing you how to go about sewing and attaching the sleeves (View A). 

Sew the side seams

With right sides together, pin the front and back of the top together at the side seams.

Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance. Press seam allowances open.

Prepare the sleeves

Take the two sleeve pieces  and finish the underarm seams of each piece. Place these two pieces, along with the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL right-side up. Put the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL in the centre and place the BACK and FRONT SLEEVE either side, using the notches to help guide you. Don't worry about the other raw edges just yet, we'll finish them later on in the process. 

Repeat for the other sleeve.

Pin the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL to the FRONT SLEEVE, using the notches as a guide. Stitch with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance (closed). Don’t worry about pressing the seam just yet - you can do that in a moment. Repeat for the other sleeve.

You will notice that the curves you are pinning are different in shape (this is what gives the top shaping through the shoulder). You will need to ease the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL slightly into the curve of the FRONT SLEEVE.

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Stitch with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance (closed). Don’t worry about pressing the seam just yet - you can do that in a moment. Repeat for the other sleeve.

Open the pieces you just stitched together and place right side up. Place the BACK SLEEVE right side down on the FRONT (so that the pieces have right sides together). Pinning the pieces together at the underarm seam.

Pin the FRONT and BACK SLEEVE pieces together at the underarm seam.

collins_top_sleeves_10.jpg

Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance. Repeat for other sleeve. Press the underarm seam allowances open and press the front sleeve seam away from the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL (pressing this seam over a tailor's ham will help you press the curved seam nicely). You can leave the two remaining raw edges unfinished for the moment. They will be finished later on.

This is how the piece will look from the opposite side. 

Attach the sleeve to the top

I must say that this next bit is my favourite bit in the construction of the Collins Top. When I set out desinging the Collins Top, I really wanted something that was an interesting make, whilst also being suitable for beginners. That's why I chose raglan sleeves for the sleeved option. They are super fun to sew as well as being much easier then set-in sleeves (win, win!).

Grab the body of the top and place it face up, with right side out. Take one of your sleeves and pin the FRONT SLEEVE to the front of the top, with right sides together. Use the notches to guide you. Continue pinning until the underarm seam meets the side seam of the top.

Flip the top over so that the back of the top is now face-up. Continue pinning around the curve of the armhole, attaching the BACK SLEEVE to the back of the top - still using the notches to guide you.

Stitch the seam with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance, being careful to check that your seam allowances on the top and sleeve remain pressed in the right direction. Finish the seam allowance and press towards the body of the top. Repeat steps for the other sleeve.

Join the shoulder seams

collins_top_sleeves_15.jpg

Turn the top inside out and pin the shoulder seams together, using the notches to guide you.

Sew with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance.

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Finish the raw edges and press seam allowances away from the SLEEVE SHOULDER PANEL. Turn top right side out. At this stage, you can try on the top and see how it's looking!

That's all for now. Next week we'll get to attaching the bias binding.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


You may also like:


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


Posted on July 7, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

How to sew a bias bound seam

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I'm interrupting the Collins Top sew-along today to show you how to sew a bias bound seam. Why? Because they are beautiful! And the centre back seam in the Collins Top, gives you the perfect opportunity to use bias binding to get a really clean, beautiful and professional looking finish. Bias bound seams can be used in a range of different garment, and work particularly nicely in a garment that you are likely to see the inside of.

For the sake of the Collins Top where you are guided to use lightweight fabric, a bias bound seam will work well. I'd suggest though, that if you were making a garment from a thicker or bulkier fabric, using a traditional Hong Kong bind (in the case of a Hong Kong bind, the underside of the binding is not folded and enclosed, but left raw to minimise bulk).

To get started there are two ways you can go about sewing a bias bound seam. You can bind the raw edges of the pieces you are joining before you sew the seam together, or you can sew the seam and then bind the raw edges. It really is a matter of preference and by the end, both options will look the same. It is easier to bind the raw edges before sewing the seam, but if you are sewing a really long seam (if you are using this tutorial for a pattern that is not the Collins Top), you may join the seams first to prevent any stretching or pulling. 


Getting started

For this tutorial you can use store bough bias binding, or you make your own from your choice of fabric. Cut some bias binding 32mm wide (1 1/4in) wide. If you would like some help with how to go about making your own bias binding, you can check out this tutorial which will guide you through the (very easy) process. 


Technique 1 

(Binding the raw edge before joining the seam)

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Cut a piece of binding that is a little longer than the edge you are binding.

With right sides together, pin the binding to the seam you are binding (in the case of the Collins Top, it is the centre back seam).

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Stitch the binding in place, sewing with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. 

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Press the seam open, with the seam allowance pressed towards the bias binding. 

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Flip the panel so it is right side down and carefully trim down the seam allowance by about 3-4mm (1/16in).

Press the other long raw edge of the binding under by about 1cm (3/8).

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Fold the binding in half so that the binding wraps around the raw edge, the fold of the binding just overlapping the original stitch line. Carefully press and pin in place. 

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Carefully stitch the binding in place by stitching a pin width away (about 1-2mm) from the folded edge. If you have an edge stitch foot for your machine, this is a good time to use it!

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Give the binding a good press and admire your handiwork!

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You can see that your seam looks beautiful and clean from both sides. 

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You can repeat the process for the other side of the back, and then stitch the seam as normal. When you press the seam open you will see your beautiful bound edges!


Technique 2 

(joining the seam and then binding the raw edge)

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Pin and stitch the centre back seam allowance according to the instructions. 

Pin from the upper notch (13cm / 5in down from the top edge) to the bottom edge. The upper part of the seam will be left open, as later on we will be adding a button and loop closure to make this section the opening on the top. Stitch the seam with a 2cm (¾in) seam allowance, being sure to backstitch at the notch. This will ensure the centre back opening stays nice and secure.

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Press the seam allowance open.

Please note: in the photos one side of the seam has already been bound. Disregard and follow the instructions for one side of the seam and then repeat for the other. 

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Press (just with your hands) the seam allowance on the left side of the opening towards the seam allowance on the right side of the opening.

Take a length of bias binding approximately the length of the seam. Pin one edge of the binding to the raw edge of the seam. 

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Flip back the seam allowance to check that you have only pinned through the two layers and haven't printed through any of the layers underneath. 

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Stitch the binding in place, sewing with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. Before stitching, make sure the other layers of fabric are out of the way. 

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Press the seam allowance towards the binding. 

Trim down the seam allowance by about 3-4mm (1/16in)

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Press the raw edge of the binding in towards the raw seam by about 1cm (3/8).

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Wrap the bias binding around the raw edge, bringing the fold so that it overlaps the original stitch line. Press and pin in place. 

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Continue pressing and pinning until the binding is in place on the whole seam.

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Flip the seam allowance open so that it is sitting flat (and there are no other layers of fabric underneath) and stitch the bias binding in place by stitching close to the folded edge. 

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Press the seam allowance open and there you have it. You will see that the finish looks the same now as technique 1. 

There you have it... A beautiful way to finish your centre back seams!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


You may also like:


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


Posted on July 7, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-Along : Assembling the body of the top (both views)

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Yay! It's time to start sewing! Last week, I kicked off the Collins Top sew-along with a handful of pattern adjustment posts, so you can feel confident that you can make a beautifully fitting top. Now it's time to work on the sewing, so that we can have a beautifully finished top too!

Whether you are making the Collins Top View A or View B, the process starts the same way. You will assemble the front of the top, then the back and then the process will change, depending on whether you are making your top sleeveless or with sleeves. So, to kick off the sewing part of the Collins Top Sew-along, we'll be starting by assembling the body of the top.

Assemble top front

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Pin the SIDE FRONT PANEL to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL with right sides together. Use the notches as a guide (the two single notches on the SIDE FRONT PANEL indicate the seam that needs to be attached to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL). Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance.

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Repeat on the other side. Finish the seams with your chosen method and press seam allowances away from the centre front. You will notice that Saki went for flat-felled seams, for a really clean and beautiful finish, inside and out. You could consider flat-felled seams, french seams (this tutorial from the Rushcutter sew-along includes how to sew a french seam), or simply serged / overlocked. 

Staystitch armholes and neckline

Staystitching is when you sew a line of stitching along a shaped - or bias cut - seam to keep it from stretching as a garment is being made. When staystitching, always stitch within the seam allowance to prevent it being seen from the outside on the finished garment.

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Carefully staystitch around the neckline (stitch from armhole to centre front on each side separately) and then armholes (from top to bottom). This will prevent the curves from stretching out as you make the garment. Staystitching should be inside the permanent stitch line, so in this case approximately 6mm (¼in) from the raw edge will suffice. Finish the side seams using your chosen method.

Assemble top back

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Take the pair of UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL pieces and finish the centre back seams. We chose to use a Hong Kong bind to get a really beautiful finish. If you think you would like to try out a Hong Kong bind, I'll be showing you how to do it tomorrow!

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With right sides together, pin the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL pieces together - pinning from the upper notch (13cm / 5in down from the top edge) to the bottom edge. The upper part of the seam will be left open, as later on we will be adding a button and loop closure to make this section the opening on the top. Stitch the seam with a 2cm (¾in) seam allowance, being sure to backstitch at the notch. This will ensure the centre back opening stays nice and secure.

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Press seam allowances open.

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Pin the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL to the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL with right sides together. Use the notches to guide you.

Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance, checking that the centre back seam allowance remains pressed open.

Finish the raw edges (closed) and press the seam flat, down towards the hem.

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Pin the SIDE BACK PANEL to the back piece with right sides together. Use the notches as a guide (the seam that you are joining has two sets of double notches and one single notch). Stitch with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance, again checking that the seams in the back panel are pressed in the right direction.

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Repeat on the other side. Finish the seams with your chosen method and press seam allowances towards the side seams.

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Carefully staystitch around the neckline (stitch from armhole to centre back on each side of the split) with the seam allowance open (not folded back). At this point you can also staystitch the armholes (from top to bottom). This will prevent the curves from stretching out as you make the garment. Stitch approximately 6mm (¼in) from the raw edge.

Finish the side seams using your chosen method.

Well that's all we will be doing in today's post. This is the point where the instructions go separate ways for View A compared to View B.

In tomorrow's post, I'll show you how to sew a Hong Kong seam before continuing on with View A (raglan sleeve) version of the Collins Top.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


You may also like:


CREDITS: 

Fabric : The Drapers Daughter

Photography : Saki Jane Marsh


Posted on July 6, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the collins top.

Introducing Saki - Sew-along photographer and all-round awesome maker!

Today's post is a little bit different and a little bit special! You may have seen that late last year I put a post on the blog looking for an illustrator and photographer to help with my workload. A number of people applied for both positions and I was lucky enough to find an illustrator to help me with the illustrations for my pattern instructions, who I have now been working with for over six months (and you would have seen her work if you have used any of my recent patterns).

I found someone that I thought could take the sew-along photographs, but when it fell through soon after, I balked. I just couldn't get my head around how I would be able to pass this job onto someone else. It all just became too overwhelming to cope with. I accepted that I'd just have to keep doing it myself (and maybe just find someone to assist me).

Anyway, somehow in the months that followed (and a bit of time and space to think about it), I started working out how I could get someone to work on this part of the process remotely, and Saki came to mind instantly. She had sent me an amazing application for the job and it was a no-brainer (and had dropped a very funny fact about herself that you will learn in the interview, that meant she was unforgettable). I reached out to her and thankfully she was still keen to give it a go! We jumped on Skype and had a chat about it all and then after ironing out a few details we were ready to get started - her in Germany and me here in Sydney (how amazing is the internet, right?). What I liked about our exchange from the beginning was that we were both open and honest about where we were and our thoughts on the process. I haven't used too many freelancers and definitely have lots to learn, and although Saki has done a lot of freelance work, this particular type of job was new to her too. We nutted everything out together, from how we would price the job, to the timeline, to what size the finished files would be. I think it is a little scary working with someone you have never met before on something so important, but I think we both felt safe knowing we were part of the same community, and in a way that community acts as a bit of a safety net. 

Saki took a whole collection of beautiful photos of her assembling both versions of the Collins Top, so that I could create the sew-along for the pattern. I couldn't believe how much of a burden was lifted off my shoulders having someone else be responsible for this aspect (I really don't enjoy taking photos and have no skills whatsoever!) and I know that Saki really enjoyed doing it, so it really was a win-win situation!

In today's post, just before the sewing posts in the sew-along begin (and you get to admire her beautiful work), I thought it would be nice to introduce Saki on the blog (although a lot of you might already know her from her great blog and instagram account) with a little Q & A style post.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!


Could you please tell me a little bit about yourself.

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Absolutely! My name is Saki, I was born in Tokyo but have spent most of my life in Portland, Oregon. I currently live half-time in Portland and half-time in a tiny town in the wine valley of Germany with my partner, John. I speak two languages fluently (unfortunately, neither of which are German) and am slowly (s l o w l y) working on a third and fourth. I love to travel, meet new people, and have been to four continents.

Can you tell me 3 interesting facts about yourself?

1) When I’m in Portland, I mostly work freelance as a hand model for the social media accounts of a few international companies. While I have to be discreet about dropping names, I think it’s safe to say that if you follow the social media accounts of a major coffee company, internet search engine, or sportswear company, you have probably seen my hands. The experience has given me some truly useful insight into product photography, lighting, and styling. 

2) I tend to say YES to opportunities I believe in, even if they’re not fully fledged ideas or I’m not fully skilled enough yet to accomplish it. Sometimes, of course, Future Self isn’t always the happiest with Past Self’s overconfidence, but in the end, I always land on my feet. When Emily asked me to shoot the Collins Top Sew-Along, I gave her a resounding yes, with the caveat that I’m going to have to learn some things as I go along. I’m so glad we both embraced this opportunity, and I can’t wait to do it again for her next pattern!

3) I used to have a black thumb to the point of killing succulents, but I was somehow able to keep my cat, Oliver, alive (and healthy!). It dawned on me one day that if I treat my plants like I treat my pets, they may also live longer than a few weeks. I now check in with my plants near-daily, checking for new growth, pests, or watering, and I listen to them when they show me their needs and read up on specific species. It might sound tedious, but it’s a ten minute task that brings me great joy, and now I can’t imagine what my life would be like without plants.

How did you start sewing?

My mom used to quilt entirely by hand and taught me how when I was six. I helped her trace and cut pieces, and then we started a short-lived Sewing Club with the neighborhood girls where we made tiny quilts for our dolls. After my friends’ interests died down, my mom and I moved on to creating an entire wardrobe for my favorite doll, complete with a Kimono, Christmas gown, and onesie pajamas. A decade later, I taught myself how to use her decades-neglected sewing machine, and nowadays I give her mini lessons on how to sew with a machine.

Here’s an obligatory nose-picking-naked-baby photo of me on my hand-sewn baby blanket made by my mom.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on catching up on my blog! I have a handful of photographed but unwritten garments to work into blog posts, but it’s always just more fun to start daydreaming of the next sewing project. For example, I picked up some African Wax Print while in Morocco, and I can’t decide on which of the many things I want to make out of it. A two-piece set? A shirt dress? A summer dress? Who knows!

What is your favourite type of garment to sew?

Hmm… good question. Honestly, I’m in a phase where I’m shifting my sewing priorities, so it’s hard to answer this question. A year ago, I would have said dresses and gowns because I’m a person who will find any excuse to dress up. But I can’t sew a gown a week and steadily contribute to a Me Made Wardrobe, so now I guess my favorite type of garment to sew is whatever my next inspired project is.

I know that you have an amazing eye for detail when it comes to beautiful finishes on your me-mades. What is your favourite seam finish or technique for getting a really beautiful finish?

This is a surprisingly tough question, but I think I’m going to have to go with visible and contrasting bias binding. I love how adding homemade bias tape gives garments a bit of a quilterly quality, and when in all other ways it’s hard to tell whether your garment is RTW, it’s a detail that confirms it’s bespoke-ness. 

What garment in your me-made wardrobe are you most proud of and why?

Also a tough question. It could be a number of garments for a variety of reasons, but for the sake of being succinct, let’s go with the Collins Top. I’m not someone who has TnT patterns and the most I usually sew a pattern is once, but I’ve now made the Collins Top three times, which is a lifetime record for me. 

Do you have any favourite things to watch or listen to while you are sewing?

To be quite honest, I’m a pretty boring seamstress. I’m so horrible at multi-tasking that I can’t watch TV, listen to music or podcasts, drink wine or hold a conversation while I sew. But on the off-chance my brain is functioning enough to do it, I enjoy listening to Rachel’s Maker Style podcast or watching some pretty trashy reality tv (Hello Bachelorette and Catfish).

What would be your number one tip for beginners learning to sew?

Just do it! I know, cheesy, right? But you won’t learn how to put in that invisible zip without having put in an invisible zip. You won’t learn how to sew silk charmeuse without cutting into your silk charmeuse. You won’t get faster at hand stitching without sometimes setting yourself up in front of the tv for a Stranger Things marathon and hand-finishing a few meters of bias binding. Of course it’ll look wonky the first several times, but we ALL go through a phase of wonky construction, and we ALL still make rookie mistakes; my most common rookie mistake is cutting into the wrong side of the seam allowance for flat felled seams.

You take some beautiful photos for your blog. What would be some tips you would give others about how to get beautiful and interesting photos of their me-mades for their blogs?

Thank you! I know it’s not within the budget for many people but I think it needs to be said; a decent camera and lens does wonders for photos. It doesn’t have to be pro-level, but anything that gives you manual options and can shoot RAW has the potential to improve your photos.

Outside of that, my main technical tips are: 

  • Use as much natural light as possible, and in conjunction, check your white balance. Artificial light tends to run yellow or blue and it’s much harder to adjust that afterward on every photo than to just get it right from the get-go. 
  • Set your camera up before handing it off to your photographer friend. I lean on Aperture Priority mode a lot (for indoors, around 2.4f and outdoors 1.8f), which lets me keep depth of field and light levels somewhat consistent and lets the photographer basically just push a button.
  • Shoot in RAW if you have access to a photo processor like Lightroom. Shooting in jpeg pretty much halves the breadth of information stored within a photo and limits your ability to edit the photo later. 

On another note, when I’m in Germany, I have John be my enthusiastically inexperienced photographer, and I’m (obviously) my own enthusiastically inexperienced model. Even with my best friend behind the camera, I’m still as awkward as humanly possible, and it’s not uncommon for us to take literally 200+ photos for a single blog post and come out with loads of derp-faced photos and less than twenty that are worth posting. 

It’s ultimately a numbers game… the more you take, the more that have to come out useable, right? We build it in to whatever we’re doing that day, like going for a walk through the vineyards or visiting a castle ruin or museum (John calls the background low-hanging fruit), so it’s not so much a chore or obligation as a fun thing we do together. And in the end, I’m just lucky to have the most supportive partner who can laugh with me when I make silly poses. 

If you had the time and resources to have an unlimited number of hobbies, what other things would you like to try out and why?

Oh man, can I just say EVERYTHING? Of course, I love everything and anything that involves fibers and fiber arts. I love to cook, and thankfully I have to eat every day, so I have a built-in excuse to play in the kitchen all the time. At the risk of sounding particularly Portlandian, I’m most inspired by foraging and food preservation experiments; drying, fermentation, pickling, curing, smoking, et al. Also, I used to hike and take landscape photographs weekly and feel that it takes too much energy now, but I’d do it again if I lived forever.

I also just started dabbling in 3d printing, with my first project being the curtain rod bracket shown above. And John just got a laser cutter, so when I sit down at my computer to write a blog post or photo processing, I’m always so tempted to open up a CAD program and start fiddling with all the things that can be done with lasers! There are some limitations as far as laser cutting fabric goes (it’s especially important to know the full fiber content), but I’m excited to start playing with that too.

Thanks so much for having me, Emily! It’s been a pleasure working with you!


And there we have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and learning more about Saki. You can learn more about our collaboration (and her beautiful Collins Tops) over on her blog.

Stay tuned for her sew-along photos coming over the next few days.

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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Posted on July 5, 2017 and filed under behind the scenes, sewalong.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Planning your top (free downloadable template)

I am interrupting the Collins Top sew-along with a little treat that can help you get planning! As you may have noticed, the Collins Top includes a lot of panels!

I really love playing with panels during my design process (as you probably have noticed if you have used any of my patterns). I think they provide an opportunity to create simple shapes with interesting details. 

While I was testing the pattern, a couple of the testers suggested creating a little printable template that makers could download to play around with when planning their tops. I thought it was a brilliant idea and hopped to it straight away. Now you can download the template and grab some markers (or even a few swatches of fabric and some glue) and have a play with colour blocking or stripe direction, before you even need to cut into your fabric! Enjoy!


Posted on July 4, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing inspiration, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-Along : Lengthening the pattern

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I have a feeling this post in the Collins Top sew-along might be of interest to quite a few of you! When I was designing the Collins Top, I really wanted a top that worked with high waisted trousers and skirts. I wear a lot of high waisted garments, and I know a lot of you do too. But if you don't, you may consider lengthening the Collins Top, to avoid flashing too much skin when you lift your arms (it's happened to all of us, right?) The pattern is drafted for height of 170cm (5'7"), with the front hem finishing close to the high hip (approximately in the position where mid-rise jeans would sit) - the back hem is lower (due to the hi-low hem design).

Lengthening a pattern is a really simple adjustment to make, but due to the panel lines of the Collins Top, it does make the process slightly (just slightly, I promise!) trickier.

There are times when you can just add some length to the hem of a pattern (when the side seams of a garment are quite straight, for example, a pencil skirt), but in the case of the Collins Top (and other patterns like it), you will be wanting to add the length to the inside of the pattern piece, so that you can keep the shape intact. If you were to just add length to the hem of this pattern, you would end up with quite a lot of volume in the hem, which is probably not ideal in a pattern that is already a trapezium shape. Due to the shape of the panels, I understand that this can seem a little daunting. But I promise, it really isn't!


Getting started

We'll start by making the adjustment to the front panels and then once that's done we'll move onto the back. To start, take the CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece and the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece. You can use the actual pattern pieces, or trace a copy if you would prefer to keep the original pieces intact.

Lengthen the pattern piece

You will notice that there is a 'Lengthen and shorten' line on each pattern piece. Take the pieces you are adding length to and cut through each of these lines - separating each piece into two. 

Take a blank piece of pattern paper (the amount you need will depend on how much length you are adding to your pattern) and mark a grainline on the left-hand side of the paper.

Now mark two horizontal lines, close to the bottom of the paper. You need to space the lines apart by the length you would like to add to the pattern. For example, if you would like to add 10cm (4in) to the pattern, space the lines 10cm (4in) apart, making sure they are parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the grainline.

Now, starting with the CENTRE FRONT PANEL pieces, line up the bottom section of the piece with the lower line, and the top section of the pattern with the upper line. Make sure the grainline (in this case the centre front) lines up with the grainline you marked on the pattern paper. Tape or glue pieces in place. 

Re-draw the seams

We now need to re-draw the panel lines to fill the gap that was created by adding length to the pattern. To do this, take a ruler and draw a straight line from the stitch line (marked by a grey line on each pattern piece) at the top of the pattern piece, to the stitch line at the hem. 

Do the same thing for the cutting line (draw a straight line from the top of the cutting line at the top of the pattern to the cutting line at the hem).

You will notice that with your new seam, the notches have become slightly displaced. Extend the original notches until they meet the new seam line. 

At this point you can either cut off the excess paper on the pattern piece, or trace the new lines to create a completely new pattern piece. 

Repeat for side panel

Repeat the process for the side panel. In this case, you will need to draw the grainline in the centre of the pattern paper. Make sure you add the same length to each piece. For example, if you added 10cm (4in) to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, you will need to add 10cm (4in) to the SIDE PANEL. 

Re-draw the panels in the same way you did on the front piece. 

Move the notches so they are in line with the new seam lines. Cut out the piece or trace onto a separate piece of pattern paper. 

Check pattern pieces

Before going any further, check that the pattern pieces fit together properly and that the notches line up correctly. To do this, place one piece on top of the other, aligning the stitch lines as if you were sewing the pieces together (you will need to flip the SIDE FRONT PANEL so that it's right side down).

For more detail about how to go about checking that your patterns fit together nicely, you can check out this tutorial

Add length to the back panels

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To add length to the back pieces, you will first need to tape the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL to the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL. This way you can make the adjustment and then re-cut the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL piece, so that everything remains in proportion (you don't want to add all the length to the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL as it would really change the design of the top). To do this, align the stitch lines of each piece, one on top of the other, and tape place.

 

Cut through the 'Lengthen / Shorten lines' on each piece, in the same way you did for the front pieces. Add length to each piece (the same amount you added to the front) and then re-draw each seam line. 

Re-draft back panel pieces

Measure the stitch line on the panel line. On the original pattern (before the adjustment), the panel line cuts the seam about three-fifths down the seam line, which means we need to find three-fifths of this new panel line. To do this, measure the line and then multiply it by 0.6 (three-fifths as a decimal). 

Measuring down from the top of the panel seam, mark a point three-fifths down from the top (the measurment you found in the prvious step).

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Mark a horizontal line (perpendicular to the centre back) through the point marked in the previous step. 

This will be your new panel line. 

Before splitting the piece into two separate pieces, mark a double notch on the seam line. This means that when you separate them, you will have a marking for how they go back together. 

Cut through the new seam line - separating the pattern back into two pieces. 

Add seam allowance

Add 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance to each side of the cut line - moving the notches to meet the edge of the pattern. For more detail on adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial.

You will notice that on the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL piece, the seam allowance doesn't follow the same angle as the panel line. This is so that when this seam is stitched and the seam pressed down towards the lower panel, the seam allowance will sit flush with the seam and not stick out. For more notes on this and a detailed explanation of how to use this technique yourself, you can take a look at this tutorial

Check back pattern pieces

Again, you will be wanting to check that the pieces fit nicely together and that the notches are in the right place. You may have realised that the middle notch on the SIDE BACK PANEL will no longer be in the correct position as we have added length to the LOWER BACK PANEL piece. 

A : Place the SIDE PANEL on to the BACK PANELS, lining up the stitch lines, one on top of the other. First, check that they are the same length. If they are not, have a look at this tutorial on checking and truing sewing patterns, for how to adjust the seam. 

B : Check that the notches are in line (and if they are not, move one set of notches so they are in the same position). Mark a new notch at the point where the horizontal seam in the back panels meets the BACK SIDE PANEL.

And the last thing you will want to do, is also check that the front and back side panels match correctly (do this in the same way you checked the pattern pieces above).

Lengthening the sleeves

 

If you would like to add length to the sleeves of the Collins Top, you can do it in exactly the same way as we did for the body pieces. Here you can see an example of this. 

I hope this helps and you are feeling less daunted about adding length to the Collins Top!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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The Collins Top Sew-along : Re-drafting the facing (required after full bust adjustment)

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Over the last couple of days I have shown you how to perform a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the Collins Top to start off the Collins Top sew-along. The process is a little different to what you might be used to, due to the fact that the top doesn't have a dart or bust shaping through a panel and it also has a panel line. You can find the tutorial here (this tutorial guides you through the process of creating a bust dart in the centre front panel). If you would like to know how to make the adjustment without the dart, then take a look at this tutorial (you will need to create the dart and then redistribute the fullness of the dart to the hemline). 

In today's post, I'd like to show you how to re-draft the front facing piece. By making changes to the centre front panel and the side front panel of the Collins Top, the original front facing will no longer fit the pattern. You will only need to do this if you are making View B of the Collins Top (the sleeveless version) and have made a Full Bust Adjustment.


Getting Started

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To start, grab your CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece, SIDE FRONT PANEL piece, FRONT FACING and FRONT SHOULDER PANEL piece. These are the pieces you will need to create your new facing piece. 

Relocate the dart (temporarily)

If you have created a dart, we will first need to remove it (don't worry, we will put it back once we make the new facing piece), as where possible, it's best to not have darts in a facing (as it just creates unnecessary bulk). You could fold out the dart - like in this dart shaping tutorial - and then draft the piece, but it becomes quite awkward to do it that way as the centre front piece becomes three dimensional, which makes if really tricky to trace a new piece. The most accurate way to do it is to remove the dart, draft the facing and then put the dart back (don't worry it's less of a cumbersome process than what it sounds like). If you already removed the dart using yesterday's tutorial, then you can simply jump to the next step. 

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A : Draw a vertical line (parallel to the centre front line) down from the apex point (the tip of the dart) down to the hem. Cut along this line, from the hemline, up to the apex point. Stop cutting when you are 1-2mm from the apex point. Now cut along the lower dart arm (the one highlighted in the illustration) towards the dart arm. Again, stop 1-2mm from the apex point, creating a small hinge. 

B : Close out the dart by carefully pivoting the lower corner of the pattern so that the lower dart arm overlaps the upper dart arm. Tape in place (I suggest using masking tape so it is easy to remove later on when we want to get our dart back).

If you would like further explanation on this process, check out yesterday's post, where I went into it in a bit more detail.

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Take the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece and line the stitching line up with the stitching line on the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, as if the two pieces have been sewn together. Hold in place with a couple of small pieces of masking tape (or even pins). You are going to want to be able to detach these pieces later. 

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Now, position the FRONT SHOULDER PANEL onto the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, again matching stitch lines as if the two pieces have been sewn together. Tape in place. 

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Place the FRONT FACING piece on top of your panels, lining up the neckline, shoulder seam and centre front. You will notice that the front facing no longer matches the pieces it needs to (due to the full bust adjustment we made).

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You can see that if we cut this piece we would be missing fabric at the side seam and under the arm. 

Re-draft the facing piece

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Take a piece of pattern paper and trace off the original FRONT FACING piece in pencil (you are going to need to erase part of the line in a minute), being sure to trace the stitch line and the cutting line, as well as the notches. 

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Place the traced FACING piece on top of your panels, again lining up the neckline, shoulder seam and centre front.

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We will need to know the length of the side seam on the FACING so that when we make the new piece, it will have the same length side seam as the original, so that it still fits correctly with the back facing piece (that does not need any adjustments). Measure the side seam (on the stitch line) and take note of this measurement. 

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Now, erase the lines that do not match the shape of the pattern underneath (the underarm and side seam), so that you can draw the correct shaping on the piece. 

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To start, trace the side seam from the SIDE FRONT PANEL, making the line the length of the original facing side seam (found a moment ago).

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Trace the armhole line as well as the side seam (both stitch line and cutting line) from the pattern underneath. 

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Join the endpoint on the side seam with the bottom edge of the facing. You want it to be a nice and smooth curve. 

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Transfer notches, cut out the pattern piece and add grainline and cutting instructions.

Go back to your CENTRE FRONT piece and remove the tape from the dart so you can put the dart back in place. 

And voila! You have a new facing piece that fit your adjusted panels. 

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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The Collins Top Sew-along : Full bust adjustment - removing the bust dart

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In yesterday's post, I showed you how to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the Collins Top pattern to start off the Collins Top Sew-along. The process is a little different to a usual FBA because of the panel line in the front piece, as well as the lack of dart or bust shaping in the pattern. 

In yesterday's tutorial I showed you how to add a dart to the centre front panel of the Collins Top to get some extra width across the bust, if your bust measurement is larger than the B cup In the Folds patterns are drafted for. 

In today's post, I want to show you how to remove that dart, if you would prefer to keep the pattern dartless.

If you have done a little pattern making (or pattern adjusting) yourself though, you will know it is not as easy as just removing a dart. You cannot actually remove a dart, but you can relocate it or redistribute it. So basically, what we are going to do in the case of the Collins Top, is that we are going to relocate the dart to the hemline and then use it as extra fullness in the hem. I have done a tutorial on this process in the past, so if you would like to take a look you can have a look at this tutorial.

I know that the Collins already has quite a bit of ease in the hem (it is a trapeze shaped silhouette after all), so I will also show you how to remove the extra fullness later in the tutorial too. Please bear with me, it is quite a long tutorial, but the process isn't complicated. Just take it one step at a time.


Getting started

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Step 1 :

Use the first Full Bust Adjustment tutorial to add a dart to your Collins Top. You will only need to follow steps 1 - 14 of the tutorial to get to where you need to be to follow this tutorial.  

Remove the dart

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Step 2 :

To remove the dart, cut in from the side seam, along the lower dart arm towards the apex point. Stop cutting when you are 1-2mm from the apex point.

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Step 3 :

Cut up from the hem of the top, along line 2, towards the apex point. Again, stop cutting 1-2mm from the apex point, to create a small hinge. 

Close the dart

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Step 4 : 

A : Now, swing the side section of the pattern on the little hinge you created, so that the lower dart arm moves towards the upper dart arm. 

B : Continue swinging that section of the pattern around, until the lower dart arm meets the upper dart arm. Once the dart arms are aligned, tape in place. 

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Step 5 :

As you will know, if you have made pattern adjustments before, there is really no such thing as removing a dart. By closing the dart in the side seam, you are opening up a "dart" at the hemline. You will see that indicated in the illustration above. By closing the dart in the side seam, we have made a large dart in the hem. 

Tape some pattern paper behind the working pattern to fill the gap created in the hemline.

You can choose to leave the top as is - now with the trapeze shape more pronounced or you can choose to remove this extra width from the side seam. If you have chosen to keep the extra fullness, continue working your way through the tutorial. 

If you would like to remove the extra fullness from the side seam, skip the following steps and jump to step 14.

Re-draw the panel line

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Step 6 :

Measure the opening at the hemline (making sure you take the measurement on the stitch line (1cm / 3/8" up form the edge of the pattern) and take note of this measurement.

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Step 7 :

We will distribute the added fullness to either side of the panel line, so you will need to mark a point on the hemline at the centre of the opening. 

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Step 8 :

Draw a straight line from the point you just marked on the hemline, up to the point where the original panel line intersects the armhole. There you have your new panel line!

Mark balance points

Balance points are pointers on your pattern that help you put pieces together correctly, as well as help you when you are sewing a very long, or curved seam.

If you have sewn one of my patterns before, you will know I love a balance point! I really love using them as they basically give you a little reinforcement each time that you are assembling your garment correctly. I loved when one of my pattern testers once said "The notches are like little ticks you get all the way through the process to let you know that you're on the right track." That's exactly what I am going for with all the notches!

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On the Collins Top, you will notice that there are two single notches on the centre front panel line, so that you know which side of the SIDE FRONT PANEL should be sewn to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. During the process of the adjustments, we lost those two notches. So now it's time to put them back.

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Step 9 :

Mark two notches on the panel line. It doesn't really matter where you put them, as these two pieces will be sewn together.

Trace your new pattern pieces

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Step 10 :

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace your new CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece by tracing around the original neckline, and then down the new panel line. Trace along the centre front line and hemline. 

Add seam allowance + notches

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Step 11 : 

Add seam allowance to your new pattern piece. You can trace the seam allowance from the neckline, armhole and hem and then add 1.5cm (5/8") to the panel line. For more detail on adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial

Transfer the notches onto your new pattern piece, from the working pattern. 

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Step 12 :

Finalise the pattern piece by adding cutting instructions and grainline.

For more detail about adding cutting instructions to your pattern, take a look at this tutorial.

Side front panel

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Step 13 :

Repeat process for the SIDE FRONT PANEL. You will notice that you will need to redraw the side seam with a straight line. Draw the line from the top of the original seam line to the bottom of the original seam line. 

True the seam allowances on your new pattern pieces, and check the SIDE FRONT PANEL and the SIDE BACK PANEL still match together properly at the side seam. 

Add grainline and cutting instructions (SIDE FRONT PANEL - CUT 1 PAIR).

And you're ready to start sewing!


Remove fullness from the hem

If you would prefer to remove the extra fullness from the hemline of your Collins Top after your Full Bust Adjustment, then this part of the tutorial is for you!

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Step 14 :

A : On the stitch line, measure the length of the opening at the hem. Take note of this measurement.

B : Measuring in from the side seam, mark a point the distance found in step A. For example, if the opening is 10cm, mark a point 10cm in from the side seam on the stitch line. 

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Step 15 :

A : Re-draw the side seam by joining the top of the original side seam to the bottom with a straight line.

B : Now draw a straight line from the point marked on the hemline (in step 14B) to the point on the line you just marked, at the point where you closed out the dart. Extend the line a few centimetres (1" or so) beyond the intersection point. This line will become your new side seam. 

Note : If we simply drew a stright line between the top of the side seam and the new point on the hem, we would lose too much width across the bust from the side seam. 

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Step 16 :

You will notice that the new side seam deviates from the original side seam a little bit at the top. We need to check how much has been added so we can add that same amount to the front sleeve piece. Take a ruler or tape measure and measure from the original side seam to the new side seam, on the stitch line. In the example, the new side seam is 1.9cm away from the original side seam at the underarm point. This means I need to add 1.9cm to the sleeve piece as well. 

To complete the front and side pattern pieces, draw in your panel line and then trace off the pieces. You can find out how to do this by scrolling back up to steps 6 - 13.


Making the adjustment to the sleeve piece. 

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Step 17 :

A : Trace a copy of the FRONT SLEEVE pattern.

B : Draw a diagonal line down from the underarm point on the stitch line down to the hem. 

C : Cut down the line from the top towards the hem. Stop when you get 1-2mm from the stitch line at the hem. Cut up from the hem towards the point where you stopped cutting. Leave a 1-2mm hinge in place.

D : Swing open the pattern with the hinge, opening up the sleeve curve by the amount you need to add to the pattern (this is the same technique you learned earlier in this tutorial). For example, 1.9cm was added to my side front panel (step 16), so I will open up this piece by 1.9cm.

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Step 19 :

Take some scraps of pattern paper and fill in the gaps on your pattern piece. Redraw the armhole curve (and seam allowance) and the hem line (and seam allowance). There you have it. Your sleeve piece will now fit into the armhole on your top. 

If you are making View B of the Collins Top (sleeveless version), tomorrow I'll be going through how to make adjustments to your front facing to fit with your newly adjusted bodice.


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The Collins Top Sew-along : Full bust adjustment (FBA for a dartless bodice)

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Welcome to the first tutorial in the Collins Top Sew-along! In today's post, we're talking Full Bust Adjustments (FBA), which is one of the most frequently used adjustments. A few of you have already contacted me about how to do a FBA on the Collins Top, so I know this tutorial will be helpful to a lot of you!

During the Acton Sew-along I showed you how to do a FBA on a princess seam, but for the Collins Top you'll need a slightly different technique as it doesn't have a princess seam (or a dart).

You will be able to use this tutorial on any pattern that has a flat front (doesn't have a princess seam or dart).

We'll be making the FBA by adding a dart to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL only. We will do this by adding a dart to the front (with the side panel and centre front panel as a whole piece) and then removing it from the side panel - leaving you with just a small dart in the centre front panel. If you like, you can then close out the dart altogether and redistribute the fullness to the hem. You can find out how to do that by looking at the next post in the Collins Top sew-along


WHEN YOU'LL NEED TO DO A FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT 

Most indie pattern companies (including In the Folds) draft for a B cup bust. There are of course exceptions to this rule (such as Cashmerette and Colette Patterns), so make sure you check on your pattern before assuming the bust cup size.

In terms of the Collins Top, it is a loose style which means it is a little more forgiving than more fitted patterns (such as the Acton, for example) so in some cases you can probably get away with not making a bust adjustment. For example, if your bust is smaller than a B cup, it is unlikely you need to bother doing a Small Bust Adjustment. I have an A cup bust, but have not made adjustments to any of my Collins tops. Also if your bust is just slightly bigger than a B cup, it is also likely you will be okay without the adjustment. By checking the finished measurmentes, you will see that there is a lot of ease in this pattern. 

Check the finished garment measurements and go from there. 

WORK OUT YOUR CUP SIZE

Your cup size in sewing patterns may not always correspond to the bra size you wear. To be safe, check your measurements before deciding if you need to make any adjustments to the pattern. 

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To do this, measure your high bust measurement (the area above your breasts, under your arms) as well as your full bust  (the fullest part of your chest) and then take note of each measurement, as well as the difference.

If the difference is 2.5cm (1") your bust is an A cup, 5cm (2") it's a B cup, 7.5cm (3") is a C cup and so on. 

CHOOSE YOUR SIZE

Now, go back to your high bust measurement and add 5cm (2"). This is what your bust measurement would be if you were a B cup and therefore the size you should be choosing from the pattern.

For example, let's say your upper bust measures 81cm (32"). Add 5cm (2") to this measurement to find out what size your bust measurement falls into on the In the Folds sizing chart (and what size you would be if you had B cup breasts). 81cm + 5cm = 86cm which corresponds to a size C. Your actual bust measurement is 89cm  though - 3cm (1") larger than the cup size of the pattern. This means you need to do a FBA and add this 3cm (1") to your pattern. 

As the bodice is cut on the fold, you need to take the measurement you will be adding and divide it by two. For example, this 3cm (just over 1") mentioned in the example, will be split between either side of the front bodice - 1.5cm (1/2") on each side. 


GETTING STARTED

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Step 1:

Take the two pieces that make the front of the Collins Top - the CENTRE FRONT PANEL and the SIDE FRONT PANEL. The first step will be to turn these pieces into one pattern piece (removing the panel line) as this will make the adjustment much easier to manage. At the end, we'll put the panel line back in place, so there won't be any change to the design of the top (except for the addition of the dart - which can be removed later on, if you prefer). 

TRACE PIECES

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Step 2:

Take the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece and place it on top of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, lining up the stitch lines (the grey line on the pattern), as if the pieces have been sewn together. If you are struggling to see the lines, it can help to put the pieces up to a window and see through the paper that way (or a lightbox, if you have one). Once the pieces are correctly lined up, use masking tape (or similar) to hold the pieces in place. 

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Step 2:

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the piece - being sure to include all pattern markings (in this case: the grainline and notches). Also trace the panel line.

Make sure you trace both the cutting line and the stitching line - this is really important. In the Folds patterns include the stitching line on each pattern piece so that it is easier for you to make alterations to your pattern. I know we would all love to be able to cut a pattern in a straight size and for it to fit perfectly, but unfortunately that's not the way it is (I even have to make adjustments to In the Folds patterns so they fit my figure properly), so having the stitch lines can help you make adjustments more quickly and easily. When making pattern alterations, I normally suggest removing the seam allowance, but because the stitch line is marked on the pattern, you can leave it on. 

MARK APEX POINT ON THE PATTERN

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Step 3:

The next step is to mark your apex point on the pattern. Your apex point is the peak of the fullest part of your breast... which basically means your nipple! This point varies from person to person, so you can work it out by holding the pattern piece up to your body and working it out, or by referring to a toile (if you have toiled your Collins Top before working on any adjustments). 

PREPARE PATTERN PIECE FOR THE ADJUSTMENT

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Step 5:

Take a ruler and draw a line from where the panel line intersects the armhole to your apex point. You can label this line as line 1. 

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Step 6:

Now draw a line from the apex point straight down to the hemline - parallel to the centre front. This is line 2. 

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Step 7:

Draw a line from the apex point to the side seam. You'll want it to meet the side seam about 5cm (2in) down from the armhole. I chose to rule the line to the first notch on the side seam. This is line 3.

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Step 8:

Draw the last guideline (4) perpendicular to line 2 about 12cm (3in) up from the hemline.

Cut

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Step 9:

Now it's time to start making that adjustment!

A: From the hem of the top, cut up line 2, towards the apex point. From the apex point turn and continue cutting, this time along line 1. Stop when you are about 1-2mm away from the armhole line (stitch line).

B: Cut in towards the armhole stitch line from the seam allowance, stopping about 1-2mm from where you stopped cutting in step A - creating a small "hinge."

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Step 10:

Cut along line 3 from the side seam towards the apex point. Stop 1-2mm from the apex point, again creating a small "hinge."

Add width to the pattern

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Step 11:

Take a piece of pattern paper (about the size of your front piece) and draw a vertical line in roughly the centre of the paper.

By this stage you should know how much width you need to add to the bust. Take this measurement and divide it by two (you will add half the extra width to either side of the front piece, so in total it equals the whole amount you need). Draw a second line - parallel to the first - this distance away from the first line. For example, if you need to add a total of 5cm (2in) to the bust, you will be drawing the line 2.5cm (1in) away from the first. 

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Step 12:

Carefully place your pattern piece on top of the paper underneath.

Now that you have cut through the lines, you will be able to manoeuvre the pieces so that you can the extra width you need to add around the bust. Carefully place the pattern onto the guidelines you drew in the previous step. Line up the the left-hand side of your pattern with the first line (line on left side), and carefully tape in place. Only tape above line 4, as in a moment we will be cutting along that line.

Now, carefully spread open the cut (line 2), spreading the side of your bodice until the apex point intersects with the second line (right hand side). As you do this, you will see a dart open up at the side seam (line 3). 

Add length to the pattern

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Step 13:

Cut along line 4, detaching that piece of the pattern. Move this section down until it is in line with the rest of the pattern (horizontally). Tape or glue in place. You can see that this adjustment has not only added width to the pattern, but length as well. When making a full bust adjustment you need to add extra length so that there is enough fabric to comfortably go over the breasts, without making the garment too short. 

Create a dart

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Step 14:

You will see that through making the adjustment, you have made a dart at the side seam. Draw in two dart arms, one from each side of the opening on the side seam to the apex point.

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Step 15:

We will call the dart arms the 'upper dart arm' and the 'lower dart arm.'

Re-draw Panel line

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Step 16:

The next thing we need to do is work out what this adjustment has done to the panel line and if any adjustment to the line needs to be made. To do this, we will need to fold out the dart as if it has been sewn. To do this, fold along the lower dart arm.

You will notice this tutorial has shifted from illustrations to photographs. Unfortunately my illustration skills leave me hanging a bit when it comes to illustrating three dimensional techniques, so I thought the clearest way to illustrate this technique would be through photographs. I used a print out of one of the illustrations to keep things consistent, and hopefully not confuse you too much!

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Step 17:

Take your working piece to a corner of your table. By using a corner, you will be able to fold out your dart as if the piece has been sewn. Align the apex point (the dart point) with the corner of the table, and move the folded line (lower dart arm) towards the upper dart arm. 

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Step 18:

When the lower dart arm is in line with the upper dart arm, finger press (making sure the dart is sitting flat) and then tape or pin in place. 

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Step 19:

You will notice that the panel line is no longer a continuous line, and it is also no longer straight. 

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Step 20:

To rectify this, take a ruler and draw a straight line from the top of the panel line (the point that intersects the armhole) to the bottom of the panel line (where the line intersects the hem). This can be a little awkward to do, having the pattern still on the corner of the table, so just be careful and take your time to get it right.

Before removing the pin, take a tracing wheel and run it over the line at the point where the dart is folded (this will transfer the date shaping to the bulk of the dart). If you don't have a tracing wheel, simply take a pin and make pin points every 2-3mm along the panel line over the folded dart. 

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Step 21:

Unfold the dart.

You will now have the correct dart shaping marked on your piece (so that when your dart is folded and then sewn, the dart will sit flush with the panel line).

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Step 22:

Take a ruler and join the dots to finalise the dart shaping.

For more detail on the process, check out this tutorial on How to Add Dart Shaping

Finalise the centre front panel piece

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Step 23:

Take a spare piece of pattern paper and trace off the centre front panel, being sure to trace the new panel line and not the original line.

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Step 24:

Now, mark the dart. You will want to make the point of the dart about 1.5cm (5/8in) from the apex point (inside the dart), to avoid the dart point sitting right on top of your nipple (not a great look).  

Add seam allowance

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Step 25:

Add seam allowance by tracing the original seam allowance on the neckline, armhole and hem and then adding 1.2cm (1/2in) to the panel line.

For further explanation about adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial

Mark notches

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Step 26:

Mark in your notches by tracing the original notches and then adding one at either dart arm. Add another notch on the panel line (this will act as a balance point for when you are joining the FRONT SIDE PANEL). You can place it wherever you like as we will mark it on the FRONT SIDE PANEL piece a little later in the tutorial. 

You will also need to mark the dart point. I like to mark dart point 1.5cm (5/8in) inside the dart so that when I am sewing it, I sew 1.5cm (5/8in) beyond the marking and the marking gets hidden inside the dart. 

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Step 27:

Finalise the pattern piece by adding cutting instructions, marking the grainline and the centre front. You can then cut out your pattern piece, ready for fabric cutting!

For more information on adding pattern markings, take a look at this tutorial, which covers all you need to know about notches, grainlines and cutting instructions.  

Finalise the SIDE FRONT panel

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Step 28:

Move back to your working piece.

Cut along the panel line (being sure it's the new panel line and not the original panel line) - separating the piece into two, so that we can focus on the SIDE FRONT PANEL.

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Step 29:

Cut along the dart arms that intersect the FRONT SIDE PANEL (we will be removing the dart from the FRONT SIDE PANEL, as we only need the dart in CENTRE FRONT PANEL) to create two separate pieces. 

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Step 30:

Tape the two pieces together by lining up the cut edges. You have now closed out the section of the dart that was on this panel. 

Create a new pattern piece

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Step 31:

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the new pattern piece. Your side seam is likely to be a little disjointed since making the adjustment (like mine is in the example). Re-draw the seam by drawing a straight line from the top to the bottom of the seam - on the stitch line. This is called "truing" a pattern.

Add seam allowance

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Step 32:

Add seam allowance in the same way that you did on the front panel. The side seam has 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance and the panel line has 1.2cm (1/2in).

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Step 33:

Transfer the grainline and add cutting instructions.

You will notice that we have lost almost all the notches in the process of making the adjustment. I'll show you how to get those back now. 

Marking notches

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Step 34:

Place the SIDE FRONT PANEL on top of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, lining up the stitch line - as if the two pieces were being sewn (this is when transparent pattern paper is really helpful). The CENTRE FRONT PANEL will be right side up and the SIDE FRONT PANEL will be right side down. 

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Step 35:

Transfer the notches from the CENTRE FRONT PANEL onto the SIDE FRONT PANEL. Only transfer the notch from the lower dart arm, not the upper dart arm (as when the dart is sewn, the dart will be what lines up with the notch on the SIDE FRONT PANEL).

True the seam allowance

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Step 36:

While you have the pattern there, true the seam allowance at the hem (so that when the seam is pressed it will sit flush with the hem).

For more detail on why we do this and how to do it, check out this tutorial on truing patterns

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Step 37:

Now we can true the top of the seam allowance by aligning the top of the panel seam (above the top notch) with the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. You will notice that the rest of the seam no longer matches up. This is because of the dart. When the dart is sewn, the angle of the seam will change and match perfectly with the SIDE FRONT PANEL.

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Step 38:

True the seam allowance in the same way that you did for the other end of the seam. 

Add notches to the side seam

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Step 39:

Now it's time to add notches to the side seam. Take the SIDE BACK PANEL so that we can transfer the notches from this piece onto the SIDE FRONT PANEL (as these pieces will be sewn together and therefore need to match). 

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Step 40:

Again, line up the stitching lines, as if you were sewing the pieces together. Transfer the notches from the SIDE BACK PANEL to the SIDE FRONT PANEL. 

Please note : If there is a discrepancy between the lengths of the side seams (which there could be due to the alteration we made to the SIDE FRONT PANEL), use this tutorial to true the seams so that they are the same length. 

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And there you have it, the finished SIDE FRONT PANEL!

Now you can go ahead and make your Collins Top! The process will be the same as the instructions that come with the pattern, except you will need to start by sewing your darts in the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. 


I know that turned out to be a very long tutorial. What did you think? Easy process?


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Posted on June 27, 2017 and filed under fitting, pattern making tutorials, sewalong, the collins top.

The Collins Top Sew-along : Tester Round-up

Yay! It's time to start the Sew-along for the Collins Top! This has been a long time coming. I had high hopes for this sew-along being ready as soon as the pattern was released, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way. I decided to release the Collins Top the week before #makersforfashrev and two weeks before an overseas trip and so that is what caused the delay (sometimes my planning skills leave a bit to be desired!). 

If you have been following my blog for a little while, you'll proabbly know that a sew-along for me is a pretty big deal. I really like to jam pack in as many posts as possible, to ensure that if you are following along, all your questions get answered and I can help you make a garment that you really love and fits you well. You may remember that the Acton sew-along had a whopping 24 posts in it! It is a lot of work to do, but as a lot of the content can be applied to many other different patterns, I feel it is a worthy mission. I want to help makers be the best makers they can be and I feel this is a great way to help!

I'll be starting with the tester round-up, as I think it's always the best place to start. It gives you a chance to see how the pattern looks on a variety of body shapes, as well as in a range of different fabrics.

I'm not going to lie, testing this pattern was tough. I made a bit of a drafting blunder in the original pattern, which I somehow overlooked before sending it out for testing. I corrected the problem and overall am much happier with the final product, but this did mean that I had to test the pattern twice - which meant a huge testing group!! Thankfully I had so many amazing people put their hands up to get the job done (some of them even tested in both rounds of testing) and we made it in the end!

So without further adieu, here is a round-up of the tester versions of the Collins Top. I have included everyone who wanted their photos shared and have put them in alphabetical order for no reason except that it will help me know that I haven't forgotten anyone!


Adrienne

Alice

"This was a wonderful pattern and produced a lovely garment. This top has already become my favourite item of clothing, not just that I have made but in my whole wardrobe." 

Asheley

"I actually love the inside of my garment. I am a stay at home mom who runs around with my 2 year old and 5 year old, mostly wearing jeans and t-shirts. This top is one of the nicest finished garments in my wardrobe and I made it. Also, I love modern but timeless silhouette. I don't own anything else like this, but would like to make more garments like this."

Becky

"I can sense the work and love in this pattern, everything is so detailed and helpful."

Caz

"Oh my! I love how your patterns fit together! All those angles at the edges and seam allowances, so neat and tidy!"

Emma

"I have always enjoyed making In the Folds patterns. Comfort , thoughtful , generous ; sizing,instructions,sharing of knowledge, design ....artistic .... I learn new techniques every time and there is a simplicity to the design element I adore."

Erin

"I feel very fortunate to be a regular pattern tester for In the Folds. Her unique design style and thoughtful perspective always produce the most interesting and fun garments to maker and wear."

Genevieve

"I really like the amount of ease around the waist and hips to allow for flowy fabric and comfort. I also really like the fit around the bust and the shoulder so that I have a bit of shape without being tight. I like the way it hangs off the shoulder to the back. I think that's panelling. It's lovely and gives subtle help to bring the eye in at the wide points."

Jackie

"I liked that the diagrams in the instructions had the pieces numbered - I mostly just follow diagrams and skim the words so this made it super easy to follow."

Jennifer

"I love that it feels like I am not wearing anything. It is so light and breezy and doesn't hug anything!! I also like the hem design. It adds interest to my wardrobe. I also like the button detail. It adds a nicely tailored aspect to the shirt."

Jessica

"I'm so thankful for have been chosen to test this pattern! I didn't think garment sewing could be so fun! I'm so used to sewing straight seams on quilts that I thought this was going to be really hard to do, but it wasn't. It was really enjoyable. I looked forward to sewing on it each time I did and telling my husband about what I had learned while I was working on the pattern that day."
 

Jurgie

"It feels so comfortable! Easy to wear, easy to style with pants or a skirt. I love the construction of it and how smarty-pants I feel when looking at the panels that make up the top. The dropped hem flatters."

Kate

"A great pattern for woven fabric with loads of panels to mix and match fabric. This top looks great in a fabric that has structure but I decided to use a silk/poly mix which gives it a lovely drape."

Kate

"I love the panelling in this pattern. For me, as a slim flat chested girl, I find fitting a challenge and also that the majority of clothes and commercial patterns are aimed at women with fuller figures or have necklines that only flatter a bigger bust. The panels on the front of the Collins are great because they imitate the effect of princess seams but are much less daunting (for me!). Also the sleeve attachment was so easy - it's all about the raglan sleeves for me these days! I don't know why I didn't start off with patterns which featured raglan sleeves, they're so much easier!" 

Renee

"I especially love the top part (neckline and sleeves) of the Collins top in my chosen fabric. It fits perfectly and is flattering."

Vesna

"I thought that the look is really unique and interesting - I love panel lines of the pattern as well as both versions - with and without the sleeves. While loose and boxy this design is still very flattering, which is not an easy thing to achieve in my opinion. I loved that about Collins. Also, I'm certain that this design would work in pretty much all lengths - which is awesome! I see Collins as a starting point for lots of different looks: depending on the choice of fabric, sleeves or no sleeves and crop/blouse/tunic or dress length - you can end up with a number of cool looking silhouettes, each significantly different than the next one!"


That's it! What do you think? Has this inspired you to make a Collins Top for yourself?

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


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New pattern in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine : The Slouchy Cardi

Yay! It's that time again! Time for me to show you the new pattern I made in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine!

I am extra excited about this one as it was something I really needed in my wardrobe as the weather started cooling down in Sydney. A new cardigan! I don't get around to doing much sewing for myself, so nothing like a project to force me into making myself a couple of samples (which I have basically lived in since making them!)

I went for a really simple and cosy cardigan shape, with in-seam pockets. I wanted something that was easy to just throw on, without the fuss of any fastenings. 

It's a really quick and easy sew and would work well in a wide range of knit fabrics. I went with a beautiful merino loop back jersey because it's toasty warm and also has some stability to it, to really highlight the shape of the cardigan. 

As always, the best bit is that you can download the pattern for free from the Peppermint Magazine website! If you are in the northern hemisphere and not really looking for a cosy cardigan, you can also find a whole lot of other free sewing patterns there that might tickle your fancy. 

Get the pattern now. 


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Posted on May 31, 2017 .