Posts filed under sewing tutorials

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).

bias_binding_hem_5.jpg

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.


You may also like:

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

sewing_facing_11.jpg

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.

sewing_facing_28.jpg

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.


You may also like:

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.


You may also like:


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 : 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


You may also like:

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

The Collins Top Sew-along : Binding the neckline

binding_neckline_cover.jpg

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.

binding_neckline_tutorial_10.jpg

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


You may also like:

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

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.

collins_top_sleeves_7.jpg

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.

collins_top_sleeves_16.jpg

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

bias_bound_seam_cover.jpg

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)

bias_bound_seam_1

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).

bias_bound_seam_2

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

bias_bound_seam_3

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

bias_bound_seam_4

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).

bias_bound_seam_5

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. 

bias_bound_seam_6

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!

bias_bound_seam_7

Give the binding a good press and admire your handiwork!

bias_bound_seam_8

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

bias_bound_seam_9

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)

bias_bound_seam_10

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.

bias_bound_seam_11

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. 

bias_bound_seam_12

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. 

bias_bound_seam_13

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. 

bias_bound_seam_14

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. 

bias_bound_seam_15

Press the seam allowance towards the binding. 

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

bias_bound_seam_16

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

bias_bound_seam_17

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

bias_bound_seam_18

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

bias_bound_seam_18

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. 

bias_bound_seam_19

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)

sewing_panels_1

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

sewing_panels_2

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.

sewing_panels_3

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.

sewing_panels_4

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

sewing_panels_5

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!

sewing_panels_6

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.

sewing_panels_7

Press seam allowances open.

sewing_panels_8

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.

sewing_panels_9

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.

sewing_panels_10

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

sewing_panels_11

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.

The Acton sew-along : Finishing up (view B)

Welcome back to the Acton sew-along! Today we will be finishing up the wrap version of the dress (view B). 

Prepare the lining

You should have assembled the bodice lining at the same time as you assembled the bodice. If you haven't done it already, check out this post for how to do it (it's exactly the same as the bodice). 

lining_1.jpg

Take the bodice lining and with right side facing down, fold back the centre back seam allowance 2cm (¾in) and press flat on both sides.

lining_2.jpg

With the lining still face down, turn up the bottom edge by 1.2cm (½in) and press.

ATTACH THE LINING TO THE BODICE

lining_3.jpg

With the dress right side out, pin the lining to the bodice (with right sides together). Start at the centre back and work your way around the armhole, matching each set of seam lines. Be sure to have the zip open and the centre back seam allowances pressed flat and not folded back.

lining_4.jpg

Continue pinning until you reach the centre back on the other side. This step can be a little awkward as the straps are quite short, so keep checking that the straps haven’t been caught up by the pins.

lining_5.jpg

Stitch along the edge with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance.

Trim down the seam allowance by 5-6mm (¼in) and clip into the curves. Turn the dress to the right side.

UNDERSTITCH

lining_6.jpg

Lay the seam flat, and with the seam allowances pushed towards the lining, understitch the seam
allowances to the lining. Start as close as you can get to the top of the back armhole and continue around the armhole.

lining_7.jpg

Stitch as close as you can to the strap, before back stitching and then moving on to the neckline.
Backstitch again when you get as close as you can to the second strap, before moving on to the
second armhole.

Attach lining at centre back

lining_8.jpg

With the bodice turned inside out, pin along the centre back seam - sandwiching the zip between
the bodice and the lining. Turn up the bottom edge by 1.2cm (½in) and pin in place (this is where the crease you made earlier comes in handy).

lining_9.jpg

Using a regular zip foot, stitch the lining in place, by stitching next to the zip on the side closest to the raw edges. Repeat for the second side.

CLIP THE CORNERS

lining_10.jpg

Trim back the seam allowances on either side of the corner to minimise bulk. On the lining, trim back the seam allowance from the bottom corner close to the zip, to minimise bulk in this area.

lining_11.jpg

Turn the bodice right side out and use a corner turner (or pencil) to get a nice sharp corner, before giving the bodice a good press.

Before pinning the lining in place, use the cuts in the seam allowance at either side, to overlap the
seam allowances. Pin seams flat to the bodice.

ATTACH LINING AT THE WAIST

With the seam allowance on the lining still folded under, pin the lining to the bodice, along the waistline.

If you would like to stitch the lining in place by machine, turn the bodice to the right side, insert pins through the wasitline (ensuring that you catch the lining) and then stitch in the ditch (look here for more details). 

To sew by hand (for a really clean finish on the inside and outside) take a sharp fine needle and pick up a few threads at the waistline seam, before feeding the needle through the fold line on the bodice lining and then going back through the waistline.

Hemming

Before hemming your dress it is a good idea to let it hang overnight to let the hem drop (particularly if you are using silk or similar). Trim down the hem if necessary after hanging.

With the dress inside out, turn up the hem by 6mm (¼in) and stitch. You can simply do this with your finger rather than pressing and pinning. Turn the hem by another 6mm (¼in) and press. Pin hem in place and stitch along the original stitch line to complete the hem.

Turn the hem by another 6mm (¼in) and press. Pin hem in place and stitch along the original stitch line to complete the hem.

And that's it! Both our Actons are all done. For a review of all the posts we've covered, have a look here

I hope you have enjoyed the sew-along, and learned a thing or two!


You may also like:

Posted on February 7, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Attaching the straps (view B)

Over the past few weeks we have been working our way through the Acton dress for the sew-along. It will finally come to an end this week, as we finish up the wrap version. I'd love to hear what you have thought of these posts, do you find them useful? 

A quick re-cap

Last week we assembled the bodice (it's the same process as the A-line version) and attached the skirt to the bodice. Before working tour way through this post, you will need to insert the invisible zip. The tutorial is for View A, but the process is exactly the same - you just have different back bodice pieces to attach. 

Attach the straps

bodice_straps_1.jpg

When the zip is inserted, it's time to make the straps. Use the same method as we did for View A (these straps are just much shorter). 

Take the straps and place them face down on the front of the bodice, pinning them in place between the neckline and the armholes. The straps need to be positioned with the short end sticking up beyond the top edge of the bodice (it will become right way up when the bodice is lined). Stitch in place 6mm (¼in) from the top edge.

TRY ON THE DRESS

Try on the dress and pin the straps in place at the back (this is when an extra set of hands really helps), at the length that they feel comfortable. Strap positioning is very important, so have a play around to ensure you have got it right. The peak of the princess seam on the bodice should sit on the peak of your bust. If you are struggling with this, it may help to check out some of the tester versions of the dress, to see how the bodice sits on a range of different figure shapes. 

Take the dress off and use a horizontal pin to mark the correct length on the back end of each of the straps, before taking off the dress.

Being careful not to twist the straps, pin the straps in place on the back of the bodice. When attaching the strap to the back, be sure to remember that there is a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance around the armhole, and the strap will need to sit clear of that. Stitch in place 6mm (¼in) from the top edge.

I was planning on showing you how to line the bodice today too, but I have just realised, that would create a very very long blog post! So, as not to overwhelm you, I'll leave that until tomorrow.


You may also like:

Posted on February 6, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Adding waist ties

Welcome back to the Acton sew-along! Yesterday we got started on the wrap version of the Acton dress, and today we'll be continuing by adding the waist ties and finishing up the side seams on the wrap. 

Make the waist ties

Take the waist tie pieces and fold in half lengthways, right sides together. Stitch along the length of the strap with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down to 3-4mm (⅛in) before using a safety pin (or bodkin) to turn right side out. Use a pin to tuck one short edge of the tie inside itself and stitch close to the edge to enclose.

Attach waist ties + finish side seams

36.jpg

Take the dress and with it right side out, pin the skirt side seams together, using the notches to guide you. Take the raw end of the waist tie and pin the tie in place at the top of the seam, overlapping the side seam by 1-2cm (⅜ - ¾in). I know this looks a little bit strange, but I promise it will work!

waist_tie_2.jpg

Stitch the side seam with a 6mm (¼in) seam allowance. Trim down the seam allowance by 2-3mm (⅛in).

Trim back the raw edge of the waist strap by the same amount. Repeat on the other side.

Turn the dress inside out and press the seam flat, being careful to check that the waist ties remain
straight. Pin in place, before stitching with a 6mm (¼in) seam allowance. Repeat on the other side.

And that's it for today's post! Next week we will be finishing up by sewing on the straps, attaching the bodice lining and hemming.


You may also like:

Posted on February 3, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Attaching the bodice to the skirt (View B)

If you have been following along with the Acton sew-along, you will have seen that yesterday we finished up View A (the A-line version).

Now it's time to start sewing view B (the wrap skirt version), which I am very excited as I must admit it is my personal favourite!

Construct the bodice

Construct the bodice in the same way that you would construct View A - check out this post if you need some guidance. Follow the same method to assemble the lining. 

Attach the bodice front to front skirt

The method for attaching the skirt to the bodice for the Acton, is probabaly a little different to any method you have used in the past, don't worry about that. Just follow the instructions carefully and I promise it will all come together beautifully!

Take the SKIRT FRONT and lay it right side up on your cutting table. Place the bodice right side down (so the pieces now have right sides together), aligning the opening in the centre front of
the bodice with the drill hole in the centre front of the skirt. Pin in place.

Using the notches on the skirt to guide you (they align with the princess seams on the bodice), pin the front of the bodice front to the skirt on just one side. Stop pinning when the side seam of the bodice lines up with the drill hole on the skirt front.

Move on to the other side of the front bodice, pinning from the centre front to the bodice side seam on the other side (you will notice that the small opening in the bottom of the centre front bodice seam really helps with this bit).

Stitch from one drill hole / bodice side seam, to the centre front, with a 1.2cm (1/2in) seam allowance. As you approach the centre front, go nice and slow - walking the final stitches if you need to. Insert the needle in the centre front and turn the corner before sewing to the other drill hole / bodice side seam.

Press the seam allowance up towards the bodice, before checking that there is no puckering at the point where the centre front bodice and skirt meet.

While the dress is still wrong up, make small cuts in the skirt piece. To do this, from the top edge of the skirt, at the point where the stitching stops, carefully snip into the seam allowance, towards the line of stitching (be careful not to cut through the stitches). This will help you achieve a clean finish when it comes to joining the top edges of the front and back skirt. Repeat on the other side.

Attach the bodice back to back skirt pieces

Take the the back pieces of the skirt and finish the raw edges of the centre back on both pieces. If you would like to get a really beautiful finish, consider finishing with a Hong Kong bind. 

With the dress right side up, fold back the SKIRT FRONT so that you can access the back
waistline on the bodice.

Take the SKIRT BACK and, matching the centre back on the skirt to the centre back on the bodice (with right sides together), pin the skirt waistline to the bodice waistline. Use the notches to guide you like you did with the front bodice. Pin until you reach the drill hole on the skirt back and the side seam on the bodice.

Fold back the unpinned part of the skirt to check that the seam is pinned up until the front skirt meets the bodice, but is not overlapping.

Stitch seam with a 1.2cm (1/2in) seam allowance, going nice and slow as you approach the drill hole.

From the top edge of the back skirt, at the point where the stitching stops, carefully cut into the skirt seam allowance towards the stitch line (in the same way that you did for the front skirt). Repeat on the other side. 

Join the front and back skirt

You will now join the top edges of the front and back skirt with a french seam (for more info on french seams, check out this tutorial). Turn the dress right side out and pin the top edge of the front skirt to the top edge of the back skirt.

Stitch with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance.

15.jpg

Trim down the seam allowance by 2-3mm (⅛in).

Turn the dress inside out and press the seam flat. Pin the seam, enclosing the raw edge inside the
seam.

Stitch with a 6mm (¼in) seam allowance.

Go nice and slow as you approach the bodice, being careful to meet the stitch line at the waistline. Repeat for the second side.

Turn the dress to the right side and give it a good press.

That's all for today's post. I hope you didn't find it too tricky! Tomorrow we'll be making the waist ties and sewing up the side seams of the skirt.


You may also like:

Posted on February 2, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Hemming

If you have been following along with the Acton sew-along, you will know we have almost finished sewing the Acton with A-line skirt (view A), which means that tomorrow we will be starting the Acton view B (wrap skirt version)! 

This post is a quick one, as all that we have left to do is the hem.

In the instructions I advise to just do a simple finish and turn hem, but you could consider using binding if you wanted something a little fancier (check out this post for making your own binding  if you want to give it a go). If you are using a really light-weight fabric, you may want to do a rolled hem for a cleaner finish (use this tutorial to learn how to sew a rolled hem without a rolled hem foot). 

Hemming the Acton 

Finish the hem with an overlocker or zig-zag stitch and then fold up by 1.2cm (1/2in). Press and in pin.

Give your dress a good press and you are ready to wear your Acton! 

Told you it was going to be a very quick post today!

All done!

Have you been sewing along with me? I'd love to know how you are going. Let me know by tagging me on Instagram @inthefolds with the hashtag #theactondress. I can't wait to see your progress!


You may also like:

Posted on February 1, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Attaching the bodice lining

One of my favourite things about the Acton is the lined bodice. It really helps you get a beautiful finish on the inside, and aligns well with the dressy and glamorous feel of the dress. In todays' post for the Acton sew-along, I'll be showing you how to attach the lining to the bodice. 

Prepare the lining

You should have assembled the bodice lining at the same time as you assembled the bodice. If you haven't done it already, check out this post for how to do it (it's exactly the same as the bodice). 

Take the bodice lining and with right side facing down, fold back the centre back seam allowance 2cm (¾in) and press flat on both sides.

With the lining still face down, turn up the bottom edge by 1.2cm (½in) and press.

Attach the lining to the bodice

With the dress right side out, pin the lining to the bodice, starting at the centre back, with right sides together. Be sure to have the zip open and the centre back seam allowances pressed flat and not folded. Pin until you reach the side seam. You will need to sew the top edge in small sections, as the straps make it difficult to get the top edge to lie flat. Stitch this section with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance.

Next, pin from the side seam, around the armhole, neckline and second armhole, until you reach the side seam on the other side. Again, stitch with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance.

Pin the remainder of the seam in place, before stitching with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance.

Before continuing, turn the dress to the right side and with the facing flipped up, check that the seam along the top edge is even on either side of the zip. Clip into the seam allowance (particularly around the curves).

Understitch

Lay the seam flat, and with the seam allowances pushed towards the lining, understitch (stitch the seam allowances to the lining). Start 2-3cm (1in) from the centre back and stitch as close as you can to the strap, before back stitching and moving on to the neckline and second armhole

With the bodice turned inside out, pin along the centre back seam - sandwiching the zip between the bodice and the lining. Keep the bottom edge of the lining turned up by 1.2cm (½in) and pin in place (this is when the crease you made earlier comes in handy).

With a regular zipper foot. Stitch the lining in place by sewing close to the zip on either side.

Clip the corners

Trim back both sides of the corner at the top of the zip. This will help you get a nice sharp corner and a lovely clean finish. 

Trim back the seam on the lining only from close to the waist seam, to minimise bulk around the zip and waist seam.

Turn the bodice right-side out

Turn the bodice right side out and use a corner turner (or pencil) to get a nice sharp corner at the centre back, before giving the bodice a good press. It's looking pretty nice, right?!

Attach bodice at the waist

Turn the dress inside out and with the seam allowance still folded under, pin the lining to the bodice, along the waistline. In the next steps I will show you how to attach the lining to the bodice using a sewing machine. If you would prefer to stitch by hand (to get a more discreet finish), I will show you how to do that later on in the sew-along (when we're working through view B).

Turn the dress over to the right side and pin along the waistline, checking regularly that you have caught the lining on the wrong side. Remove the pins from the wrong side.

Stitch the lining in place by carefully stitching in the groove created by the waist seam (this is called stitching in the ditch).

You'll see that we're almost done! Just to hem and then you'll be ready to wear your Acton!


You may also like:

Posted on January 31, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Making and attaching the straps

sewing_straps_cover.jpg

Over the last few days in the Acton sew-along, we have assembled the bodice, attached the pockets and assembled the skirt, joined the bodice to the skirt and inserted the invisible zip. Today we will be making and attaching the straps. 

Make the straps

Take the bodice strap pieces and fold in half lengthways, with right sides together. Press in place.

Stitch down the long side of each strap with a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance. 

Trim down the seam allowance to about 3-4mm (⅛in) before using a safety pin (or bodkin) to turn the straps right side out. Press straps flat.

Position straps

Take the straps and place them face down on the front of the bodice, pinning them in place between the neckline and the armholes. The straps need to be positioned with the short end sticking up beyond the top edge of the bodice (it will become right way up when the bodice is lined). Stitch in place 6mm (¼in) from the top edge.

Try on the dress

Try on the dress and pin the straps in place at the back (this is when an extra set of hands really helps), at the length that they feel comfortable. Strap positioning is very important, so have a play around to ensure you have got it right. The peak of the princess seam on the bodice should sit on the peak of your bust. If you are struggling with this, it may help to check out some of the tester versions of the dress, to see how the bodice sits on a range of different figure shapes. 

Take the dress off and use a horizontal pin to mark the correct length on the back end of each of the straps, before unpinning.

With the dress right-side out again, being careful not to twist the strap, pin the strap in place
on the back, with right sides together. Stitch in place (within the 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance). Repeat for the second strap.

Okay, straps are in place! Tomorrow we'll be attaching the lining, then we just need to hem it, and the dress is done!


You may also like:

Posted on January 30, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials.

The Acton sew-along : Inserting the invisible zip

In yesterday's post for the Acton sew-along, we joined the bodice to skirt to form a dress, and today we'll be inserting the invisible zip. For any of you who just ran away screaming, please come back! Once you know how to do them (and with a few little tricks under your belt, which I'll be showing you today) they really are a piece of cake. 

Prepare the centre back seam

With the dress right side down, turn the centre back seam back by 2cm (¾in) and press . Repeat on the other side of the opening. This crease will help when you insert the zip.

Position the zip

And now it’s zip time! Take your zip and unzip it. Using a warm, dry iron, press the zipper teeth flat. Make sure you check your irons heat setting. You really don't want to melt the teeth!

Turn the dress right side up and unfold the centre back seam.

Starting at the right side of the centre back opening, take the zip and place it face down on the opening. Place the zip stop 1cm (⅜in) down from the bodice edge, and align the zip teeth with the creased line created in the previous step.

Pin the zip to the centre back, regularly checking that the zip teeth are aligned with the crease.

Baste zip in place (Top Tip #1 for sewing perfect invisible zips every time)

Take a needle and contrasting thread (a great chance to use all those strange coloured threads you have somehow accumulated over the years), and baste the zip tape to the dress by hand. This will ensure the zip does not shift while you are sewing it in. Remove the pins.

Stitch the first side in place

Using an invisible zip foot, stitch down the length of the zip, using your finger to uncoil the teeth as you sew. Try to get as close to the teeth as you can (without stitching them).

Backstitch just before you reach the end of the zip (you won’t be able to get past the zip pull).

With the dress right side out, turn the seam allowance under (flipping the zip tape to the inside of the dress) and press the fold nice and flat.

Line up the waist seam on either side of the zip (Top Tip #2 for sewing perfect invisible zips every time)

To ensure that the waist seam matches up on either side of the zip, take a pin and put it through the zip tape (on the side not yet sewn) horizontally, in line with the waist seam.

Now open the zip and place the tape face down on the left side of the back opening, aligning the
horizontal pin on the zip tape with the waist seam. Make sure the zip is not twisted. Pin in place.

Attach second side of zip

Place pins along the length of the zip, and again baste in place by hand.

Stitch in place with an invisible zip foot, again uncoiling the zip teeth with your finger and stitching as close as you can to the coil. 

Job done. Your zip is inserted! Now to finish off the centre back seam. 

Close the centre back seam

Turn the dress inside out and pin the remainder of the centre back opening closed, keeping the ends of the zip tape out of the way.

With an ordinary zip foot, stitch the centre back seam closed. Start by putting your needle in the
endpoint of the zip stitch line (or as close to it as you can get) and continue down the seam with a 2cm (¾in) seam allowance.

Give the centre back seam a good press, with the seam allowance pressed open.

And you have an invisible zip in your Acton dress!

How do you feel? Less daunted by invisible zips?


You may also like:

Posted on January 27, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : How to attach the bodice to the skirt (view A)

Over the last couple of days, I have shown you how to assemble the bodice and skirt of the Acton (view A). In today's post for the Acton sew-along, we'll be attaching the bodice to the skirt.

Line up the side seams

join_skirt_bodice_acton_1.jpg

Take the bodice and skirt and match them together with right sides together. Start by matching the side seams. The side seams meet at different angles, so you will want to start by ensuring they line up at the point where you will stitch the bodice to the skirt (this position is different to wear the seams meet at the cut edge).

To do this, measure down the side seam on the bodice, and mark the stitch line, which is 1.2cm (½in) down, with a horizontal pin. 

join_skirt_bodice_acton_2.jpg

Use a second pin to push through the side seam on the bodice (at the position you just marked) and then through the side seam of the skirt, aligning the two seams at the point they will be stitched. Secure with a pin. Check that the seam allowance on the skirt side seam is still pressed towards the front.

Now that you know that the side seams are aligned, pin the bodice to the skirt on just one side, working from the centre back to the centre front. Use the notches and seam lines to guide you. The opening at the bottom of the centre front line should match up with the drill hole on the centre front of the skirt.

With a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance, stitch the bodice to the skirt, being careful to start or finish (depending on which end you start stitching at) your row of stitching right at the centre front seam on the bodice.

Repeat the previous steps for the second side, remembering to carefully match the sides seams on the bodice and skirt first.

Press the seam allowance up towards the bodice. This seam does not need to be finished as it will be enclosed within the bodice lining (unless your fabric is prone to fraying).

Job done! The bodice and skirt have now become a dress. In the coming days we'll create the straps and insert the zip. It's really coming together now!


You may also like:

Posted on January 26, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton-sew along : Sewing in-seam pockets

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_1

Hello! Welcome back to the Acton sew-along! Yesterday, we finally got started on our bodice, and today we're onto the skirt. 

View A has in-seam pockets (pockets hidden in the side seams) because I love to put pockets in every dress I can! This post will guide you through inserting the pockets with a standard finish (zig zag or overlocking), if you are using a really soft or flimsy fabric, I would suggest using french seams instead. The process is a little more involved, but you will achieve a really beautiful finish. You can check out that tutorial here

If you aren't including pockets in your Acton, you can simple stitch the front and back side seams together with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Finish the seams and press them open. 

Getting started :

Finish the edge of each pocket individually

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_2

Take both pairs of IN-SEAM POCKETS and finish the curved edge of each pocket individually, using an overlocker, zig zag stitch or bias binding.

Stitch pockets to front skirt

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_3

Take one pair of IN-SEAM POCKET pieces and pin to the FRONT SKIRT (with right sides together) by lining up the straight edge of each pocket with the side seam of the skirt. Stitch from the top of the pocket to the bottom, with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the side seams - capturing the edge of the pocket, as well as the side seam - using your chosen method.

Stitch pockets to back skirt

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_4

Take your BACK SKIRT pieces and place them side-by-side, with the centre back seams next to each other. Take the other pair of IN-SEAM POCKETS and match with the notches on the side seam of the BACK SKIRT pieces, with right sides together. Pin in place and stitch from top to bottom, with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the side seams - capturing the edge of the pocket, as well as the side seam - using your chosen method.

At this point you can also finish the centre back seams with your chosen method. 

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_5

Press each pocket bag away from the body of the skirt. Understitch the seam allowance to the pocket bag on each pocket (this will help keep the pockets on the inside of the dress).

Join front and back skirt

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_6

With right sides together, match the SKIRT FRONT to the SKIRT BACK at each side seam. Pin in place, around the pocket and then continue pinning the rest of the seam.

how_to_sew_in_seam_pockets_7

Stitch along the side seam with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance, reducing to a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance around the pocket edge. Pivot to get from the side seam to the pocket edge. Press the seams, and the pocket, towards the skirt front. 

And that's it. Your Acton dress now has pockets! Tomorrow we'll be attaching the skirt to the bodice and all these pieces are really going to start looking like a dress. Yay!


You may also like:

Posted on January 25, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Construct the bodice (sewing princess seams)

how_to_sew_princess_seams_1

I can't believe that I am saying this, but it is finally time to start sewing today! If you have been following the Acton sew-along, you will know that I have gone through A LOT of alterations (check them out here). When it comes to the Acton, fit is important, and I really wanted you all to feel confident to make any alterations you require. 

But by now, you should have printed the pattern, made the alterations required to the pattern, got some inspiration, cut your fabric and be ready to sew.

We'll be starting with the bodice. You will notice that seam allowances vary in my patterns. This is to help you get a really nice finish. Different seam types require different finishes. For example, when putting in a zip, you will want a 2cm (3/4in) seam allowance, to get a really nice finish, while around an armhole or neckline (which is quite a sharp curve), 1cm (3/8in) will work much better. So be careful to check wjat seam allowance is required for each step. 

Join the centre front bodice pieces

how_to_sew_princess_seams_2

Take the CENTRE FRONT BODICE pieces and pin together, down the centre front, with right sides
together. With a 12mm (1/2in) seam allowance, stitch down from the neckline to the drill hole (the point marked at the bottom of the seam). This little opening at the bottom of the seam will help you get a really nice point, when you join the bodice to the skirt. Repeat for the lining pieces. Seam allowances can be left raw, as the bodice will be fully lined, but if your fabric is prone to fraying, you may choose to overlock the seams (or cut with pinking shears). 

You can press the seam allowances open at this point, or wait to the bodice and lining are constructed and press all at once (I always wait until I have multiple seams to press at the same time, as it can be a big time saver). 

Stitch the princess seams

how_to_sew_princess_seams_3

Pin the SIDE FRONT BODICE pieces to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE (with right sides together), using the notches to guide you. The seam on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE is straight, while the panel line on the SIDE FRONT BODICE piece is curved, so you will need to ease the curved seam into the straight seam. It may seem like the curve is longer than the straight seam, but the stitch lines are the same length, it is just the added seam allowance that changes the length of the seams. Once your panels are nicely pinned, stitch with a 12mm (1/2in) seam allowance. Repeat for the lining.

Assemble the back bodice

how_to_sew_princess_seams_4

Take the SIDE BACK BODICE piece and pin to the CENTRE BACK BODICE, using the notches to guide you. These pattern pieces are quite similar to one another. If you think there is a chance you will mix them up (which could lead to an upside down bodice), put a pin, or chalk mark on the centre back pieces. Stitch seam with a 12mm (1/2in) seam allowance. Repeat for the lining pieces.

how_to_sew_princess_seams_5

With right sides together, pin the front bodice to the back bodice at the side seams, before stitching with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance. Repeat for the lining.

Press seams

Press all seams open (on both bodice and lining) - carefully clipping into the princess seams if you feel the need. This is a great time to use a tailor's ham if you have one. It can help you get a nice smooth curve over the bust. 

how_to_sew_princess_seams_6

Once pressed, carefully stay stitch (a line of stitching that is sewn along a shaped - or bias cut - seam to keep it from stretching as a garment is being made)  along the top edge of both the bodice and the lining 6mm (¼in) from the edge. This will mean the stay stitching remains inside the seam allowance (the seam allowance along the armhole / neckline is 1cm / 3/8in). 

Your bodice and lining can be set aside for the moment. Tomorrow we will be moving onto the skirt... starting with attaching the pockets!


You may also like:

Posted on January 24, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : 6 tips for sewing with silk (or other delicate fabrics)

When the Acton pattern was in testing, a few of the testers ran into some problems working with silk (or similar shifty fabrics), which got me thinking that it would be a good idea to do a post in the Acton sew-along with some tips, as there are a number of things you can do to make life a lot easier for yourself when working with silk. 


1. PRE-WASH YOUR SILK

Just like with any other fabric, you will need to pre-wash your fabric before you get started. Use the method suggested on the fabric label. Some silks will require hand washing, while others will be fine with a cold machine wash. Wash your fabric and then hang it on the line to dry, before giving it a good press (this is a good time to see how your fabric handles being ironed, and whether a pressing cloth will be required when you're sewing). 


2. Sandwich fabric between thin layers of paper when cutting

This one has probably got a lot of you freaking out already. Yes, I said it... Cut your fabric between layers of paper! I know cutting paper with your fabric scissors is generally a big no-no in the sewing world, but I have been doing this for years (and was taught to do this when studying fashion at university) and my scissors have lived to tell the tale. When working with silk, I think the most important thing is cutting it correctly. If you have ever tried to cut silk without it being sandwiched between papers, you may have realised that it's REALLY difficult. It doesn't want to stay straight, and it is really easy to lose the grain. This leaves you with cut pieces that are not fun to work with. With paper, you can be sure the fabric is on grain, and that you have cut it out correctly (without any of those ragged edges). Convinced you yet?

How to do it...

tips_for_sewing_with_Silk_1.gif

The way I do it is I take a large sheet of paper (I use "dot and cross" drafting paper) and draw a straight line along one of the long sides and one of the short sides. 

I then take the amount of fabric I need, and tear (if possible) along each cut edge (not the selvedge), if they are not already torn. This helps ensure you have got the fabric on grain. If your fabric does not tear nicely (always good to check on a small scrap of fabric first), instead you can find your cross grain by snipping into the edge of the fabric and then pulling a thread or two down from the cross-wise grain. This will create a straight line that you can cut along. Check out this tutorial from Colette if you need more details on how to do it this way. 

tips_for_sewing_with_Silk_3.gif

Now, take the fabric and place it on top of the pattern paper, with right side up - lining up one edge (selvedge side) with the horizontal line on the paper (we'll deal with the vertical line soon). Pin in place, being careful to check the edge remains straight between each pin. 

tips_for_sewing_with_Silk_4.gif

If you are working on the fold (you will cut a pair of each piece), carefully fold the fabric in half, by bringing the opposite selvedge towards you. Line up the selvedge with the pinned edge, and then pin in place (using the original pins, so that the pins are now holding two layers of fabric and a layer of paper). 

tips_for_sewing_with_Silk_5.gif

Make sure both layers of fabric are also straight on the cross-wise grain (marked with the vertical line on the paper), and pin in place. I generally just pin the two sides, but if you feel it will make things easier for you, you can also pin the other two sides of fabric to the paper.

Gently smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles in the fabric. I use a long plastic ruler to do this. 

Put another layer of paper on top, sandwiching the fabric in between the two layers, before putting pins through all four layers.

Now, place the pattern pieces on top of the paper, and line up the grainline on each pattern piece with the selvedges pinned to the paper. 

I normally just pin the pieces in place and then cut.  If you have your pattern on card, you can simply trace around each piece, and use a few pins to anchor them. You could also use pattern weights instead. Carefully cut into each notch, and mark drill holes / darts (in the case of other patterns) etc. with a tailor's tack, rather than marking the fabric (use this Craftsy tutorial, if you're unsure how to do this). 

Tip

I find it easier to leave the cut pieces between the layers of paper until I'm ready to sew them. This way, they remain protected, but are also much easier to identify. 


3. Use the right tools

It's really important that, when you are working with silk, you use the right tools. Make sure your scissors are sharp, use sharp pins (or even better, use silk pins), and use the right machine needle. Using a standard machine needle can cause silk to pull - or may not even be able to get through the tightly woven fibers. Use a fine, sharp needle (such as a 60/8 or 70/10) to prevent this from happening. 


4. If in doubt, hand baste

When sewing with silk, hand basting is your friend. I know many people don't like having to pick up a hand needle and thread, but for me, I'd rather hand sew first, to prevent unpicking later. If your fabric is likely to stretch, and pins aren't going to cut it, then baste the seam before machine-stitching. If you have already made the Acton (or the Rushcutter), you will know that the instructions guide you to hand baste the zip in, before sewing it. You could also hand baste the princess seams, if you are worried that the seam will stretch, 

5. Use a pressing cloth

Before taking to your fabric with the iron, use a small scrap of fabric to check how it takes being pressed. Put your iron on the silk setting and see how it goes. If it looks like it may damage the fabric, use a pressing cloth, 

6. Use tear-away / vilene

When I was at university, as well as in studios doing casual production work, tear-away is used in almost all garments. I am always surprised to hear how few sewers use it. When sewing with flimsy fabric, that is likely to stretch, tear-away helps prevent that from happening. It is particularly useful to use on necklines and armholes.

If you'd like to use tear-away for the neckline / armholes of the Acton, put the SIDE FRONT BODICE and CENTRE FRONT BODICE together as if you have sewn them (stitch line on stitch line).

You will need a pattern piece that looks something like this. Draw a smooth curve 4-5cm (2") down from the neckline and armhole.

tips_for_sewing_with_Silk_10.gif

Trace the piece onto a blank piece of pattern paper, before adding cutting instructions. Repeat for the back pieces. Cut these pieces from tear-away / vilene. 

Stay stitch the tear-away to the neckline (once the bodice is assembled) and then sew as normal. Remove tear-away after you have sewn the neckline / armhole seam. For more details on this process, check out this tutorial from Tessuti.


Now, with those tips under your belt, you should find sewing silk a breeze!

Did I miss anything? Is there a tip you would like to add? I'd love to hear in the comments!


You may also like:

Posted on January 23, 2017 and filed under sewalong, sewing patterns, sewing tutorials, the acton.