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1/28/2011

TUTORIAL-- Clean-Finished No Bulk Facing (Shown on the Negroni Shirt)

Here's a "Custom Turn" on a technique many of you may already use to finish the outside edge of a facing. In this short tutorial I am demonstrating this method on the front facing of the Negroni Camp Shirt Pattern.

^ STEP 1 ^
The photo above shows the facing pattern cut out as usual on the CF edge (to the right), BUT cut about 1/8" wider on the curved outer edge (the edge my scissors are "pointing" to).

 ^ STEPS 2 & 3 ^
Next cut out your interfacing using THE CUT OUT FABRIC FACING PIECE for the INTERFACING "PATTERN" (I am using one of my custom-milled interfacings, Pro-Sheer Elegance Fusible Interfacing available exclusively at Fashion Sewing Supply). 
Then, place the Interfacing and Fabric Facing piece RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (the fusible side of the interfacing will be "up"), and stitch them together with an 1/8" seam along the curved edge. If you click the photo above to enlarge it, this stitching is more visible.

^ STEP 4 ^
Now, open up (separate the 2 layers), and move the piece to your pressing surface.


 ^ STEP 5 ^
At your pressing surface, turn the interfacing to the wrong side, WRAPPING the interfacing OVER and AROUND THE NARROW SEAM, enclosing the seam allowances. Now fuse the interfacing according to the instructions.  Please note--The interfacing will not reach the long straight CF edge of the facing..and this is a good thing...no added bulk in that seam when it is later sewn !


The photo above shows the completed "Clean Finish" of this facing.  
Usually when the basic method of this technique is used, the allowances of that little seam are completely turned to the wrong side, then the interfacing is fused to hold them down. However, when the seam-allowances are WRAPPED by the interfacing, they are not only clean finished, but thin and bulk-free. And the added bonus is that when the shirt is completely sewn, it will look like flat piping has been sewn to the facing edge. This is such a nice custom look without the bulk that would transfer to the right side as a wrinkle/ridge every time the shirt is pressed !

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1/25/2011

TUTORIAL--- Spot-Fusing vs. Block-Fusing Interfacing, a Modern Tailor's Method

Block Fusing is a method that many modern tailors and home-sewists use to apply interfacing to fashion fabric yardage before the pattern pieces are cut out. Have you ever struggled keeping the interfacing layer from slipping off-grain as you attempt to fuse it to your fabric yardage?  Next time, try this fast, easy, and accurate method that I learned from a Master Tailor, called "SPOT-FUSING"...And it can be done right on your cutting table!
^ STEP 1 ^
First, we need to prepare the surface of the table. The photo above shows my cutting table covered with 2 layers of HEAVY weight muslin (from Gorgeous Fabrics), and one layer of very thick wool (a heavy wool blanket will work as well..I just happen to have felted wool yardage that I use for this technique).  It is VERY important that these layers be smooth and free of wrinkles, so thoroughly smooth them out before proceeding.


 ^ STEP 2 ^
Next, lay out your fashion fabric on top of your "padded" table, WRONG side UP...making SURE it is smooth. What you see in the photo above is 3 yards of 60" wide silk/wool suiting fabric. The cut edge of the fabric is to the left, with the rest of the yardage hanging off the right side of my table. There is no need for weights to hold the fabric in place...the under-layer of wool holds it nicely.  But if you need to, weights can be placed along the top edge (in the above photo, the (top) cut edge is to the left).


^ STEP 3 ^
Now lay your Interfacing FUSIBLE Side DOWN on the (wrong side) of the fashion fabric, making sure it is smooth and on grain. I am using Charcoal-Black Pro-Weft Supreme Light Interfacing, one of my custom-milled professional grade interfacings available exclusively at Fashion Sewing Supply.


^ STEP 4 ^
This is where the Spot-Fusing happens :)   USING a thin PRESS CLOTH, and your steam iron set to a low-wool setting, start moving your iron over the interfacing with an UP and DOWN motion. DO NOT slide the iron, just move it all over the interfacing, pressing with steam for a few seconds, picking up the iron, moving it over an inch or so, and steam pressing again for a few seconds. I start pressing in the middle along one edge, and spot-press to one side until I reach the edge of the yardage, then begin again in the middle and work towards the other edge. I keep repeating this, working my way down and along the yardage, until all the yardage on my table has had the interfacing "tacked" (SPOT FUSED) down. Then I carefully pull the next section of fabric + unfused interfacing so that it covers the table, making sure that all is smooth and on-grain...then repeat the Spot-Fusing process again until all the fashion fabric yardage has been Spot-Fused.  I can Spot Fuse a few yards of 60" fabric in about 5-10 minutes.
Please note that the object here is to just tack the interfacing to the fabric...NOT to fuse it completely..that comes later.


^ STEP 5 ^
After removing the Muslin+Wool "padding" from your cutting surface, carefully lay your Spot-Fused fabric yardage right side up, lay out your pattern pieces and cut them out.


  ^ STEP 6 ^
 NOW is the time when we take our garment pieces to our "official" pressing surface (your Ironing Board or ClamShell Press), and "finish the fuse"...following the complete fusing instructions that come with your interfacing.

And this is why I Spot-Fuse before I Block-Fuse: Why bother spending time and effort completely fusing ALL the yardage, including the scraps that will be thrown in the trash after the pattern pieces are cut ?  By Spot-Fusing, I can ASSURE a perfect fuse and save time by fully pressing/fusing just the actual garment pieces...AFTER the interfacing has first been "tacked down" by the Spot-Fusing :)

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1/23/2011

An Old ClamShell Press Finds a Home...

How cool is this?  Look what Roger found in his friend's attic, free for the taking....
An Elna Press, at least 10 years old and only used about ten times !  And not just any press, but one with a Sleeve Board ! Oh happy day !  I missed my commercial steam press so much when it died last year.
But this one will be a dandy stand-in until I can acquire another commercial press.
As you may have deduced by now, my life is not particularly exciting since I am blogging about a Press...But oh how I enjoy sewing "stuff", especially when it's free...and has cool features :)
The wide pressing "bed" slides back to reveal the sleeve board, then the the sleeve board slides up and back so that it can come into contact with the heated part of the press--
Now that is just too cool...no pun intended :)  And will save me so much time when pressing shirts, especially the final press before one of my custom shirts gets shipped to a client !

And speaking of shirts...as I promised in a post way back on December 13,  I will finally be starting to sew my version of the Collette Patterns Negroni Shirt later this week. Though the pattern comes with an excellent set of instructions, I will be refining some of the steps along the way for a more professional finish.  I'll snap some pics along the way, so you can see what I am dong a bit differently, and why...so stay tuned.

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1/17/2011

Vintage Pattern Enabler Alert !

I have kept quiet about this new Etsy Vintage Pattern store long enough to scope out several pattern that I wanted for myself...so now I'll share ;)   CoudreMode Vintage Patterns!


Phyllis, the shop owner, is a third generation sewist, (and one of the original Sewing Divas)  now selling many of the patterns from her own personal collection and those of her mother and Grandmother. There are patterns in her shop dating from the 30's to the 80's....really lovely styles!
(NAYY...though I do "know" Phyllis as a 'sewing friend'..and am a big fan of her sewing and fashion blog, CoudreMODE ).

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1/08/2011

TUTORIAL- Design and Sew a Shirt with Bias Pleats !

This Distressed denim shirt features deep bias pleats 
on the sleeves and pocket. Variations of this design have become favorites of many of my clients over the past year.  The original blog post about this design detail was among my most popular. So with a few shirt-sew-along's going on at other blogs these days...I thought it was a good time 
to offer it again, with a few revisions.
 
---------------------
SEWING NOTES: This shirt is interfaced with PRO-WEFT Fusible,
a professional quality interfacing found exclusively at
~Fashion Sewing Supply~

____________________________
Adding a pleat to any pattern piece is very easy 
when you use this method:

1.  Using a large piece of any pattern paper you like, make an even fold across it's width (this will be the upper side of the pleat).  Then move the entire folded edge an even distance away from the first, and fold again (this will be the under-side of the pleat). I moved the first fold over by 1.25", to form a 1.25" pleat in the paper. Play with a small  piece of scrap paper, if my written explanation is less than clear ;)  It's easy, all we are doing is folding a pleat in a piece of pattern paper.

2. Next, just place your pattern piece on top of the pleated paper, with the pleat where you want it to be on your garment. In this case, I chose the sleeve piece pattern and placed it so that the pleat (the pre-folded paper) would be on the bias, then I  cut out my "new" sleeve pattern.
3. This is what my sleeve looked like cut from the fabric. I took the photo after the upper pleat fold was pressed, so you could more easily see how the pleat is formed
.
4. This photo (#4) shows the completed pleat, with the folds edge-stitched. In this photo, as viewed from the right side, only the upper fold's edge-stitching is visible. The under-fold (back side) of the pleat is also edge-stitched.  I like to edge-stitch pleats on shirts that I design not only because it is a nice decorative detail, but also because it makes pressing the shirt much easier after it has been laundered.
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How to Control a Pleat...Invisibly !

When there is a bias or horizontal pleat on a garment, the weight of the fabric below the pleat will tend to pull it down, and the pleat will sag and gape open. When the pleats are small and/or the fabric is lightweight, this is often not a problem. However, with pleat depths of one inch or more on medium or heavy fabric, this sagging can be quite an ugly problem. But as you can see in the photo of the finished shirt (above), the pleat is not gaping or sagging. That is because the pleats have been "controlled", by span-stitching done on the under-fold  (back side), as shown in this next photo--
To control this bias pleat, I made a series of  3 wide "V" shaped stitch spans on the under-pleat fold (that I highlighted in blue pencil so that you can more easily see them).  Each extend from the edge of the under-pleat fold to within 1/4" of the upper pleat fold. While it may be a little distracting to understand from the photo alone, if you make up a quick sample of any pleat from scrap fabric, and do this "V" shaped Span Stitching  as shown, it will become clear how it works to control the pleat.
Please note that these pleats are NOT functional pleats..they are decorative only. So restricting how much they are allowed to open will make no functional difference at all. As you can see from the photo of the completed shirt, the pleats still appear to be quite deep. They are just "not allowed" to gape open because of this inner, invisible/hidden stitching.

So the next time you make a shirt, why not try something a little different by adding some of your own interesting design details...like pleats in unexpected places !     

And...if you like these little tutorials of mine, please vote for me by clicking the black/red "Seamingly" Vote box to the left on the side-bar...thanks :)

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