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5/30/2011

TUTORIAL-- Gathered or Puffed Sleeves? It's All About the Seam Allowances!

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The HotPatterns Riviera AnnisetteTop is one of my favorite styles from the HotPatterns collection, and a perfect style to demonstrate how manipulating the shoulder seam allowances can change the look of a garment with a gathered sleeve.  This is a revised post of one first published here in 2009...for my newer blog followers or those who may have missed it the first time :)

Take a close look at the blue top, above. It has gathered sleeve caps that are very subtle. When you make a top, dress or blouse with sleeve cap gathers, you have a choice to make them "puffed" or simply gathered into soft folds. It's all about the direction the sleeve cap seam allowances are pressed.
 





When the seam allowances are pressed towards the sleeve, you have puffy sleeves like the example to the right. 




Pressing the seam allowances towards the "body" (neckline) of the garment, results in sleeve cap gathers that lay  "flatter", and present more subtle folds.  It's a small detail, but one that is usually kinder to a mature figure.





Directing the seam allowances of gathers one way or the other can make a difference in other areas of a garment. For instance, pressing the seam allowance of a gathered skirt of a dress "up" towards the bodice will encourage the gathers to lay more flat, in smooth folds. Pressing those same gathers "down" (towards the hem) , will encourage the gathers to puff-up.  It's all about the look you prefer...and now you know you have a choice :)

Sewing Notes: Yoke is interfaced with PRO-TRICOT DELUXE Fusible Interfacing from  ~FASHION SEWING SUPPLY~


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5/21/2011

MUST SEE--- Bren's Mens Shirt Fitting Series!


A Big THANK YOU going out to Bren of  Brensan Studios Patterns 
for her wonderful 7-part Men's Shirt Fitting Series on her blog...click here   This is something I have been meaning to do for ages, but Bren's husband is much more cooperative than mine ;)  The series is chock full of professional information that is rarely shared...including the fine details of fitting a mens shirt muslin and then tranferring those changes to the pattern.  Please do not forget to leave her some comments...she deserves them! This series is a gem and must have taken her many hours to photograph and share.

And...she also tells us she is busy designing a series of new SHIRT PATTERNS for MEN --- YAY! 

I have no affiliation with Bren other than being an admiring colleague...but I do highly recommend the extensive line of Women's Shirt and other Patterns she has already designed :)  Look beyond the bright prints and cottons if that isn't your thing...the "bones" of her patterns are great...and can be mixed and matched... how fabulous!

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5/11/2011

HAPPY DANCE--- FSS is back!

Our Official E-Commerce Website---> www.FahionSewingSupply.com
(for our United States Customers) 
is Back Online !



International Customers...to shop for our products, please click HERE

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5/07/2011

Mind Your Own BeesWax :)

Oh my gosh, isn't it annoying when your once smooth cake of beeswax gets all crumbly, scarred, and difficult to use?  Well here was my poor pitiful cake of beeswax before I fixed it today---

Luckily it is fast and easy to get a cake of beeswax nice and smooth again.  First, lay a piece of baker's parchment paper or aluminum foil on top of your ironing board. Next, place your crumbling beeswax on top of the parchment paper (or foil).  Now with a hot steam iron...hold the iron above that poor pitiful crumbling wax, and give it a few good shots of steam...being careful not to actually touch the wax with your iron.

Here is my nice smooth beeswax cake after steaming. Yes, some of the wax will melt and you will lose a bit...but it sure beats running your thread through a scarred cake of wax and dealing with the crumbs !

(Oops! Did you get some wax on the bottom of your iron? Don't worry, just heat the iron and rub the sole-plate over some scrap 100% cotton fabric. The wax will melt into the fabric :)

If you think this little tip is useful, please take a moment and vote for me by clicking the black and red box (located  to the left)...thanks !

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5/03/2011

A fun Dress for a Lovely Little Girl...

It was so much much fun to sew this dress for my "adopted grand-daughter" Julianna, age 4.  
I modified an Ottobre Design pattern from the 01/09 issue to make this style. 
And if spring ever arrives here near Buffalo NY, she'll be able to wear it without a top and leggings !

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5/01/2011

TUTORIAL-- Smooth Sleeve Caps Every Time!


One of the goals of every Shirt-Maker is to achieve perfectly smooth sleeve caps. I am quite pleased with this one...the join between cap and shoulder is so smooth it is almost invisible despite being felled (of course the perfectly matching thread and fabric print helps...but even so :)  

When I draft my own patterns I draft the sleeve with minimal ease or no ease at all, depending on the style of the shirt. So on my custom drafts, I have little problem getting my caps nice and smooth.  However, the shirt above was made with a vintage vogue pattern...and the sleeve had considerable cap ease.  But regardless of the amount of ease I have to deal with, I always prepare the cap and its seam allowances in the following very simple way in order to make felling (or serging) the seam a happy experience!

Below is a photo of the sleeve (on top) just after it was set into the armscye--
You can easily see the wavy ease in the sleeve cap seam allowance.  
*In this and the photos that follow, the sleeve is always shown on top.*


Have you ever sewn a shirt sleeve, eased it perfectly, yet ended up with a slight  "bubble" or "dip" on the sleeve (just below the shoulder seam) of your finished shirt?  That is because the ease extends at least an inch into the sleeve itself, beyond just the allowances. 

Luckily, the fix is an easy one!
We just need to "steam shrink and flatten" the sleeve seam allowance and sleeve cap ease.  I do this by steam-pressing along the entire sewn sleeve seam allowance. The tip of my iron leads the way, but I let 1/2 the width of the iron's sole plate follow behind to finish the job as I go along. This both shrinks the ease and flattens the entire cap at the same time.  We would never do this when tailoring a jacket, but in my opinion it is essential when tailoring a shirt.


And below you see the nicely flattened seam allowances and nearby sleeve cap--
The fold you see is not excess ease, it is the fold that naturally forms on the wrong side of the shirt because a rounded (convex curve) sleeve cap has been sewn to a scooped (concave curve) armsyce.

So now the flat and even sleeve seam allowances are easily manageable and ready to be felled (as I do in my higher-priced casual shirts), or "Serged then Topstitched" (as I do in my lower-priced casual shirts).

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