Category Archives: sew-alongs

Emily Culottes Sew-along: Welt Pocket Option

We certainly have covered all the basics in this sew-along, and some of those Emily Culottes posted in the FB group are uh-dorable! You can still join in the fun and see what others are cookingstitching up!

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

Have you tried adding welt pockets? Too scared? Really, you can do this!

I have no idea why this pink pair is so wrinkly. I carried them on a hanger down to my daughter’s house for her to take a few snaps, and it looks like I rolled in the grass!

And see the kind of bulgy business at the waistband? Hmmm, that would be because someone decided to try a different lining insertion method. Sometimes who occasionally thinks she is one big smartypants. Note to self: Stick.To.Kennis’.Lining.Technique.

OK, enough self-bashing. On to the welt pockets.

There are really only a couple of things to keep in mind with welt pockets. Accurate seam allowances. Interface well. Clip carefully. There are lots of tutes out there about welt pockets if you want to look at other ways to do things, but¬†let’s go over the steps Kennis uses:

Start by stitching the 2 welts together. See how Kennis graded the pattern piece so the underside is slightly smaller than the interfaced “public” side? Nice drafting, Kennis. ūüėČ

Emily Culottes Sew-along By Sew Maris

Do yourself a favor and trim off the upper points on the diagonal. Makes the turning easier.

Emily Culottes Sew-alongby Sew Maris

Word (2): point turner. See how the “underside” (lower welt) is slightly smaller than the public side (upper welt). I am a nut for excellent drafting on little details like this. Swoon!

Emily Culotted Sew-along by Sew Maris

You can figure out how to baste the welts and press the pocket all by your lonesome. ūüėČ

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Now, Kennis has you basting the welt to the pocket bag first, instead of to the garment, like many other instructions call for. I say po-tay-toe, you say po-taw-toe. Either works. My welts are pinned and ready to be basted in place. And after the basting is done and you have checked that it is in the right place, follow her instructions in step 32 to stitch the welt in place. Instead of backstitching, be sure you shorten your stitch length at the beginning and the end of the welt. You’re welcome. ūüôā

Emily CulottesSew-Along by Sew Maris

Trim off the welt seam allowance on the diagonal ONLY if the welt is all good and happy.

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

This is the “align to the circles on the skirt” step 34. Welt is in between the pocket bag and the skirt, pointing down toward the skirt hem.

Emily Culottes sew-along by Sew Maris

Instructions 36 – 43? They are all about stitching a little box so you can cut an opening in the skirt and pop the welt in place. This is the part that is often done much earlier in other welt pocket methods. The difference here is instead of a complete rectangle, you angle the stitches a bit on the ends. Really, if you don’t overthink it and just do it I am pretty sure you¬†will be fine. Or, say! What about making a mini sample on a scrap to just try out the technique? David Page Coffin, the king of sample-making-testing, will be so proud if you do this! ūüėČ

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

Check your stitching ends exactly on the welt. Do not stitch beyond the welt or your opening will be too large and there will be gaposis.

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

This is what it looks like from the wrong side of the skirt. Doh! I didn’t stitch exactly on my alignment marking at the inner edge. But I did angle my stitching!¬†I decided to live with it. ūüėČ

Now the rest is easy. Slash in the middle of the sewn rectangle thru the pocket first, and then the skirt. Don’t cut the welt! ¬†Push the pocket thru the opening, and press the welt up and the pocket down.

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

Taaa-daaaaa! The inside view….

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

…and the right side view, prior to hand stitching down the sides of the welts.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Have you ever tried a welt pocket before? Do you like this method?

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

Emily Culottes Sew-Along: Waistband Facing + Hem

We are in the homestretch now, ladies. All you have to do is add the facing to the waistband yoke and hem your culottes.

Waistband facing first! In instruction 67, Kennis shows you a way to slightly ease up the fabric before applying twill tape to stabilize the waist edge. I accomplished my easing in a different way, but I want to try her method next time. Taking the time to add some twill tape to the top of your waistband is a very good practice on all waistbands; it really helps prevent that waistband fatigue that occurs during the day. You know, from bending, stretching, and also just the warmth of your body. Have you noticed that most higher-end RTW pants and skirts use this same technique?

First, it is important that you cut the twill tape your actual comfortable waist measurement. I like a snug fit around my waist, so I pull the tape snugly when I measure. You get to decide what degree of snugness is comfortable for you!

Emily Culottes by Sew Maris

I think it is easiest to apply the twill tape if you chalk the stitching line first. Then,¬†center the twill tape over the stitching line. I often move my needle over 1 position¬†so it is¬†closer to the seam allowance, just to make sure¬†this stitching doesn’t show after the facing is stitched on.

Emily Culottes by Sew Maris

My way of easing the tape in place is to¬†stitch the¬†twill tape at one end to secure it,¬†pin the other end in place, and then just ease the garment to fit the tape. You can do the quarter mark thing, too; you know, divide the garment and the tape into quarters and then match those points up before you start. This method works fine for me, but it does take a little practice to get the feel of it. It is a little bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head. ūüėČ

After your twill tape is applied,¬†stitch the waistband facing (which you assemble just like the waistband yoke) ¬†to the waistband yoke. You should stitch just across the top edge, backstitching at the beginning and the end.¬†The side edges of the facing can either be tacked by¬†hand along the zipper, or you can use Kennis’s very cool technique to stitch by machine alongside the zipper (use instruction #74 only for the unlined version).

Emily Culottes-1-3

One last little thing.¬†If you¬†used the interfacing/clean finish process that Kennis suggests, everything looks lovely in the inside. If you are like me and prefer your interfacing on the public side of the yoke, you need to either turn under the hem edge of the waistband facing, or you can bind the raw edge with narrow bias binding. I love this look, especially with a contrasting color. I didn’t have anything very colorful in my stash when I was working on this Emily, but at least it isn’t navy! ūüôā

The grand finale: hem your culottes. Turn up and press the hemline 3/4 of an inch from the raw edge. Clean finish in whatever manner you like (I serged), and topstitch the hem in place¬† by machine. This may be an opportunity for some decorative stitching, or a twin needle, or coverstitching‚ÄĒwhatever strikes your fancy. Now wasn’t that easiest pair of culottes you’ve ever made?

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

Don’t forget to post your pictures in our Facebook group! And you can become Insta-famous too, just¬†be sure to use the hastag #sewmarisemily.

I am so excited to see these love Emily Culottes coming together! Aren’t they easy and fun to make? And right on the fashion cusp, too.

Happy sewing,

Maris

Emily Culottes Sew-Along: Invisible Zip

Zippers actually freak you out a little, don’t they? Especially the invisible ones.

I am here to tell you that if you follow my suggestions, you are going to fall in love with love invisible zippers. I guarantee it!

(Oh, before we get started, did you baste the side seams together and do a quick fit check? If not, make sure you do this before inserting the zipper.)

OK, never before seen in print, these are my 1011 best invisible zipper tricks:

  1. Keep the garment as flat as possible. That means for the Emily Culottes, do not sew up the right side seam yet, and do not sew the left side below the zipper.
  2. Use an invisible zipper foot specifically manufactured for your machine. Do not waste your money on the generic foot; lots of garments need zippers and this foot is worth every penny. If you do not have one or cannot get one, you can use a regular zipper foot, but you will need to practice to find the EXACT placement of the stitching. Too close to the teeth and the zipper won’t open; too far away and the zipper tape will be visible. Start with your stitching 1/8 from the teeth. Use a basting stitch and practice to find the best placement.
  3. Interface the stitching line of the seam allowance before inserting the zipper. That super-firm twill tape the zipper is attached to needs to be stitched to a very solid fabric base, or the fabric will ripple over the top of the zipper. Cut strips of fusible interfacing about 3/4 of an inch wide (vertical grain), and fuse to both sides of the left seam allowance of the zipper area. Make sure the interfacing covers the stitching line.
  4. Clean finish the zipper area seam allowance and the seamline below the zipper area  before you insert the zipper. ( I serged my seam edges) It is too hard to get into this area after the zipper is in place.
  5. Use a stitch length of 3 or a bit longer. You are going thru several layers, and need the extra stitch length. Especially if you need to rip any of it out! ūüėČ
  6. Mark a chalk line on the right side of the fabric 1/8 + the seam allowance from the raw edge. For your Emily, that means 7/8 of an inch (1/8 + 3/4 = 7/8). Line up the zipper teeth on this chalk line.
  7. Position the head of the zipper pull at least 1/4″ below the waistband/facing seam allowance, and a bit more is better. This allows for the “turn of cloth” when the yoke lining and seam allowance is turned to the inside after stitching. The thicker your fabric – the more room you will need for the hook and eye. Because every zipper needs a hook and eye at the top, right? Right!
  8. Make sure the zipper is face down on the right side of the fabric, and stitch one side of the zipper. Doesn’t matter which side; you pick. Life is easy if you are using the invisible zip foot for this stitching, because the foot “rolls” the teeth flat so the stitches go in exactly the correct spot.
  9. If you can’t figure out how to position the second side of the zipper in place without getting a twist in it; zip it up. Then lay the second “zipper opening”¬† edge on top of the zipper with the seam allowance folded to the wrong side. Flip the whole mess over, unzip the zipper, and align the teeth¬†to the chalk line. You can always zip it up again and look at it from the right side to make sure everything is hunky-dory before you start any stitching.
  10. Before you stitch the second side of the zipper, change to a basting stitch, and baste only the “horizontal join” areas of the second side. For the Emily, this means the top edge, the yoke/pant seamline, and the bottom edge. The idea is to¬† make sure¬†your stitching is perfectly symmetrical on both sides of these horizontal alignment areas¬†before you¬†stitch the complete zipper in place. If the 2 sides do not line up correctly, it is a bazillion times easier to just rip out a few basting stitches. Keep at it until you are satisfied with how it looks.¬†(I have been known to rip these basting stitches out 4, 5 or even more times if I am using tricky fabric. But it is fast and easy to redo, and worth it in the final product.) Then stitch the second side completely with the same stitch length used on the first side.
  11. Using a regular zipper foot, sew from the bottom hem of the left side up to where the zipper stitching ends. Ideally, you want to go 1 or 2 stitches beyond the zipper stitching, and very slightly towards the garment. It really helps to chalk this stitching line, at least an inch or two below the zipper. Do not try to perfectly align the seamline stitching and the zipper stitching; they will not align. But you do want them to be as close as possible.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Chalk line marked 7/8 inch from the raw edge of both sides of the zipper opening.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Chalk line marked on upper edge of yoke, accounting for enough space for a hook and eye to be added. The first side of the zipper is pinned to the culottes, right sides together. Notice that the teeth are toward the garment, and the edge of the zipper tape is toward the seam allowance.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Lining up the zipper teeth in the left side of the invisible zipper foot to stitch.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Checking that the horizontal alignment of the yoke seam is perfect (enough!) with a few basting stitches across this section of the second side of the zipper.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Both sides of the zipper are stitched, and the top, bottom, and yoke seamline all align correctly. Yay!

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

See how the left side seam stitching is very slightly “below” (from the perspective in this image) the zipper stitching? And the side seam stitching only extends about 1 stitch beyond where the zipper stitching stops.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Bam! Press the zipper over a ham, and nary a bulge, pucker, or ripple to be seen. You’re welcome!

Stitch up the right side of your culottes, finish the edges, and press both the left and right side seam allowances open. Easy peasy, right?

Can you believe you only have to add the yoke lining and hem the culottes? This version is such a quick sew; I love it!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Culottes Sew-Along: Plain Front Cutting and Basic Assembly

Today you are going to remove the pleat from the Front pattern piece, cut out your culottes, and complete the basic construction up to installing the zipper. Sound like a lot? Really, it is no more than a couple of hours of work. I promise!

(Psst! You did run your fabric thru a wash/dryer cycle, right?)

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

If you have never adjusted a pattern before, this kind of change is about as simple as it gets, so no worries. And when you are done you have “I adjust my patterns” bragging rights. ūüėČ

To remove the front pleat option:

  1. Fold the Emily Front (#3) pattern piece along the blue, dashed pleat line that is farthest from the center front.
  2. Bring this folded line to the pleat line closest to the center front, making sure both lines meet up exactly.
  3. Tape to secure. Use a temporary stick tape (blue painter’s tape is easy and cheap) if you plan to make a pair with pleats someday, or cellophane tape if you will never use the pleat option.

Bam! That’s done.

This is also a good time to decide if you want to make your culottes longer or shorter than they are drafted. All sizes are 22 1/2 inches long, so you can measure a skirt or hold a tape measure against your front to decide if you need more or less length. My first pair were a smidge short, so I added 3/4 of an inch to both the Front (#3) and the Back (#4) pattern piece. If you have never done this kind of adjustment before, please read this blog post about pattern adjustments. It refers to changes for a shirt pattern Рbut the concepts apply to all patterns.

Cutting out an unlined version of Emily culottes is fast and east. That’s good because cutting out is not my favorite part.;-) You only need four pattern pieces; Front Yoke (#1), Back Yoke (#2), Front (#3), and Back (#4).

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

See my blue painter’s tape where I folded out the pleat on the Front? Also the extra length inserted? I was able to cut this pattern out of a leftover remnant of denim from a jacket I made a few years ago. I had to squeeze a bit, but I got it out. One pair of Fronts, one pair of Backs, 2 Front Yokes on the fold, and 2 sets (4 total) of Back Yokes. Also, you will need to interface the yokes, so be sure to cut one Front Yoke and a pair of Back Yokes from medium interfacing.

Now, Kennis shows you a very couture interfacing technique (starting on page 13, instructions 1 – 8), taught by people like Marla Kazell and other fancy-pants sewing teachers. It works very nicely, and provides a lovely finished lower edge to the interfacing. BUT. It only makes sense if you are planning on following her directions to use the interfaced yokes on the inside, which I do not do on my waistbands/yokes.

So why did I get all rebellious and ignore her instructions? Because I have another RTW technique that I like to use on waistbands, so I just fused my interfacing “per usual” to 1 Front Yoke and a pair of Back Yokes. Your call. Either follow Kennis’ directions, or wait for it……all shall be revealed. ūüėČ

I also skipped the Front Patch pockets because I don’t need any extra fluff in my front, and decided to try out the welt pocket in the linen-blend version. Your call‚ÄĒadd ’em if you like. I do kind of miss having a pocket in these, so if I can find a scrap of leftover fabric I might try a jeans style pocket on the back.

So if you are skipping the finished edge interfacing technique, the Patch pockets with Buttons, and the Welt Pockets, jump all the way to instruction 48 on page 19. We are ready to sew! If you have ever made a pair of pajama pants, these instructions should look very familiar.

Do keep in mind that this pattern is drafted with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. ūüôā

  1. Right sides together, sew the inseam of 1 Front and 1 Back.
  2. Repeat step 1 for the second side.
  3. Press both seams open, and finish as desired (I serged).
  4. Right sides together, sew the crotch curve, aligning all edges, notches, and the inseam.

Note: I did not press the crotch curve open as suggested. Instead I just serged the curved seam and pressed to one side, because, well, that is just how I always do it. That curve is not really going to press open very well without clipping/weakening the seam, so if you have a serger this is a good use for it. If not, I would stitch with a straight stitch, trim to about 1/4 inch, and then overcast or zig-zag the 2 edges together. My 2 cents.

Now skip to step 52, since we are making the plain front version.

  1. Right sides together, stitch the Front Yoke to the Front.
  2. Right sides together, stitch the two Back Yokes together, and then stitch to the Back right sides together.

Note: I deviated from Kennis’ instructions here too. She applies the non-interfaced yokes to the Front and Back. I like the interfaced side to be the public side of my waistbands/yokes, because I don’t want this part of my garment to “crumple” when wearing. And now you can see why I didn’t bother with the interfaced edge finish in steps 1-8; there is no value because the interfaced bottom edges of the yokes are stitched to the body of the garment. Like many things in sewing, neither method is right or wrong‚ÄĒjust personal preference.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

This image shows all the completed seams. The inseam is the vertical line right in the middle, the crotch curve is the horizontal seam in the center that is serged only, and the interfaced yokes are attached to the Front (left side of the image) and Back (right side). I think this was about 15-20 minutes max of stitching.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Instruction 55 has you trim off the “extra” zipper seam allowance on the right side only of both the Front and Back the culottes, since the zipper is on the left side. I like to draw a chalk line 3/8 from the raw edge so my cutting is accurate all the way along that curved seam.

Emily Culottes Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Double check you are working on the right side of the culottes! And then go ahead and trim. ūüôā

Next up, inserting an invisible zipper. Which is the easiest, fastest zipper to install, IMHO.

We covered a lot of different steps today, but it just doesn’t take that long to cut out 4 pattern pieces, slap a little interfacing on two of them, and stitch up a couple of seams. I want to see you wearing these culottes, so get going, ladies! ūüėČ

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Culottes Sew-Along: Getting Started

Alright friends, let’s get this awesome Emily Culottes party started!

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

I am really excited about this wonderful pattern from the talented Kennis Wong. I have already made up 2 pairs, and have plans for at least one more pair. So.Comfy!

Hopefully by now you have purchased your own copy of the pattern, but if not, be sure to do so very soon. In¬†my earlier post you will find the “secret” coupon code that saves you a whopping 30% on your pattern, which is good through August 2nd. Thanks, Kennis!

Also, some of you might be new to sewing with PDF pattern downloads. Honestly, it is as easy as pie, and here are a couple of hints that are helpful:

  1. Use your waist measurement to select the correct size. (Tip: I was between an 8 & 10, printed 10, and it is a little big for me, so I plan to size down to an 8. This may be because I like a very snug waist fit.)
  2. Be sure to use the Adobe “Layers” functionality to¬†print out¬†only your size. ¬†Kennis has diagrams and great instructions on how to do this on page 7 of her written instructions. Check the “Actual Size” or “Scale to 100%” option on your Print dialog before printing the pattern tiles.
  3. Page 8 of the pattern instructions shows you the arrangement of the tiles so you can tape/glue the paper together in the right order. It is way easier than it may appear to you newbies. Trust me!
  4. I use a liquid gel glue stick rather than cellophane tape to assemble my pattern. Saves.So.Much.Time. There are loads of other types of glue sticks, and I am sure they all work fine.
  5. Do not bother printing the instructions. The pattern tiles are located on pages 27 – 49, so those are the only pages I print. I always just read the construction info on my computer – saves a tree or two.

Have you joined our Facebook group yet? It’s a fun way to ask questions and chat with others who are sewing up Emily Culottes, too.

Emily Culottes Sew-along by Sew Maris

Have you bought fabric, or better yet, are you using something out of your stash? Kennis recommends medium or “bottom-weight” fabrics. If you plan to use a fabric with stretch, it should be stable with slight stretch – a woven with a small amount of Lycra is probably a good choice. So far I have made 1 pair in denim and 1 pair from something linen-y ¬†(or maybe a linen blend – it has been in my stash so long I don’t really know!). The denim has more structure, and the linen-y is softer and drapier. Maybe it has some rayon? Honestly, depending on the look¬†you want to achieve, many fabrics could work (with the exception of something very stretchy like a jersey knit).

You no doubt have noticed how many options are included in this pattern. I plan to cover in this sew-along:

  1. Plain front (non-pleated) culottes without pockets or tabs
  2. Pleated front culottes with single welt pockets.
  3. An Emily-hack with side front pockets. Yes, I will cover the pattern drafting to accomplish this!

If you have never participated in a sew-along, the idea is you sew along with a community, and share your tips and questions with the group. That is what our Facebook group¬†is intended for, but if you are not a FB user feel free to leave comments in the blog. If you get behind, don’t sweat it. All you have to do is pick up the blog posts again as soon as you can. The blog and FB group will still be accessible, so don’t let this project be the thing that pushes you over the edge. This is supposed to be FUN!

If you tweet or use Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag¬†#sewmarisemily. That way we can all find each other’s posts.

Fun times, and thanks so much for joining in!!

Happy sewing,

Maris

 

 

Ready for an Emily Culottes Sew Along?

Are you itching to make a trendy pair of culottes to wear this summer, or beyond?

Emily Culotte by Itch to Stitch

Kennis Wong (the very talented designer behind Itch to Stitch ) released the Emily Culottes PDF pattern earlier this year, and I was immediately smitten with her take on the culotte/skort/bifurcated skirt look. It’s adorable, right?

Besides, we haven’t had a sew-along around here in ages, so it’s time to start the party. And Kennis is getting us off on the right foot with a whopping 30% off discount for the Emily Culottes pattern in her store – wheee!¬† Who doesn’t love a little sale action? The code is emilysewalong, and it is good thru August 2nd. (BTW – I also heard a rumor there might be some pattern prizes at the end of the sew-along. ūüôā

The sew-along will start up on July 27th, so that should give you plenty of time to purchase your pattern and supplies. I will make several different versions of the Emily culotte, and of course, I have a trick or two of my own to throw into the mix. There will be a special Emily Culottes FB group, and we can create a Flickr group too if that is easier to post your pictures.

Get ready! On July 27 we are taking off on the Sew Maris Emily Culottes Sew-Along!

Happy sewing,

Maris

Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Hemming

I know it’s unbelievable, but we are finally at the final step of the Archer Sew-Along‚ÄĒthe hem! And of course, I can’t show you just a single method to hem a shirt.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Let’s start with the press-and-turn-twice method. This is the way I normally hem shirts when I am sewing on my Bernina 710, possibly only because I haven’t gotten around to buying a rolled hem foot for this machine. Which means you don’t need a special foot to hem your shirt.

side, about 1/4 inch.
1. Start by making sure your plackets are the same length. If not, trim the longer one so they are even. (Duh!)

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris
2. Press the hem edge of the shirt tail to the wrong side, about 1/4 inch.. Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris
3. Turn and press the hem a second time. (Hint: Doesn’t hurt to double-check again that the plackets are even.)

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

4. Stitch close to the upper edge of the hem, backstitching at both ends. I usually use the edgestitch foot for this job, because the shirttail curve is gentle enough the edgestitch foot can still handle the job.

One of the other reasons I like this method is because it give a bit more weight to the hem, and it hangs a little nicer. If you always tuck your shirts in that doesn’t matter a whit, but I do <slightly> prefer it on shirts that are worn over bottoms.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

OK, now let’s try it with a rolled hem foot, which admittedly is a bit faster and easier. If you have a rolled hem foot, that is.

1. Check the placket lengths just as above in the press-and-turn-twice method above.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris
2. Do not even think about trying to start hemming at the beginning of the shirt using the rolled edge thingey on the foot. Turn a narrow hem twice and pin in place.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

3. Backstitch for a few stitches, and then stitch forward for an inch or so. Notice there is no fabric yet in the rolled edge thingey.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

4. Stop with the needle down, and then lift the hem edge up and into the rolled hem foot and continue stitching. Notice the fabric is now rolled into and under the rolled edge thingey. (How did I get a pix with my needle up?!?)
5. Continue around the entire hem, maintaining an even amount of fabric in the foot.

Note: A potential trouble area with this method is stitching over the side seams; getting the fabric to feed nicely and actually progress over the bulk can be tricky. Press the side seams before stitching so they are as flat and smooth as possible, and pull gently from behind to keep the fabric moving. Go slowly and show that shirt who is the boss! ūüėČ

Whew, we made it to the end. Admittedly, it took WAYa bit longer than planned, but my life was seriously over-complicated this fall. Regardless, kudos to all who finished this project, and here’s hoping you make many, many more Archers. I made 3 for this sew-along alone!

And don’t forget you might be the lucky FREE PATTERN winner of the Sew Maris Archer Sew-Along. We all need more patterns, right? Post pictures of your completed Archer to the ¬†Sew Maris Archer FB group¬†to be¬†entered to win a FREE pattern from Grainline Studio! Deadline for posting your pictures to be entered for the pattern give-away will be midnight January, 18th, 2015. And mucho thanks to Jen for the pattern!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Buttons and Buttonholes

Does adding the buttonholes to a shirt make you anxious? For me it is one of the “no-brainer” parts of shirt-making. I have to confess tho I think that may be due at least in part to my amazing Bernina 710 sewing machine. Regardless, buttonholes should not be considered too tough no matter what sewing machine you use.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

A couple of “rules” before stitching buttonholes.

  1. Interfacing is key to stabilizing the fabric. Don’t even think about trying to stitch a buttonhole on a shirt without interfacing. (BTW, a layer of the same shirting as the garment can qualify as interfacing) .
  2. Adding a layer of water soluble stabilizer on the top and bottom of your shirt will provide even more stability.
  3. Mark your buttonholes as required by your buttonhole foot;¬†some feet start at the “bottom” end and traverse “up” to the beginning of the buttonhole, and others start at the beginning and traverse to the¬†“bottom” end. It won’t do you any good to mark only the beginning of the buttonhole if your machine stitches from the “bottom up”. You will also need to mark the beginning and the end of your buttonhole if your machine only makes a “manual” (i.e. no auto-calculation of buttonhole length) buttonhole.
  4. Make a sample. It is important to make a ¬†sample buttonhole. Have I mentioned that a sample buttonhole will prevent many problems? ūüėČ And be sure to cut it open and see if the button fits. If you have a “bottom up” buttonhole foot use the sample to identify the ending point of the buttonhole. Well, the final sample that is actually the correct size, that is. ūüėČ
  5. If your machine allows you to adjust the stitch length of your buttonhole, consider lengthening the default setting slightly. A little less thread build-up will produce a smoother, more RTW-looking buttonhole. Of course, your sample buttonhole will tell you whether you like this change or not. ūüėČ It is definitely optional.

OK, let’s get to the good stuff.

Graniline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

On the front placket and collar stand of a shirt, start by marking the center front line. (For cuffs I just measure the distance from the top and side edge of the cuff.)

Graniline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

Next mark the top edge of the buttonhole. Make this line wide. I mark almost all the way across the front placket so I can really see this line when the shirt is actually under my buttonhole foot. If your sewing machines stitches buttonholes “bottom up”, also draw the end point. Now, how could you possibly do this without¬†a sample buttonhole, eh? ūüėČ

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

If your shirt fabric is lightweight, and/or your interfacing is lightweight, add a piece of water soluble stabilizer on top and underneath the buttonhole marking. Call it extra insurance. I rarely use this product when making a shirt with very crisp fabric and Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp interfacing, but trust me‚ÄĒif you are having trouble with your sample buttonholes this product may help immensely.

Graniline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

If your sewing machine has a buttonhole foot with an “eye” that electronically reads the buttonhole like the one shown above, AND you have made a sample and verified all the settings you want to use for your buttonhole (stitch length+buttonhole length+distance between the 2 rows of zig-zag stitching), um, all the hard work is¬†done. Just position your machine at the top buttonhole mark, and step on the gas. Honestly, it takes me longer to set up for making buttonholes than it does to actually stitch them on the shirt with my Bernina 710. I do have a step-by-step buttonhole tute for¬†this type¬†of buttonhole foot if you want even more deets.

Graniline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

If your machine uses a buttonhole foot like the one shown above, put the button in your foot and follow the directions in your machine’s manual to attach the foot to the sewing machine. With this style of foot you will be sewing the buttonholes from the bottom end up to the beginning point of the buttonhole.

Graniline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

If your sewing machine and/or your buttonhole foot is manual only, you have more work to do. You should definitely follow the instructions for your machine. On my vintage Bernina 830, I started at the top edge of the¬†buttonhole and stitched the top bar tack¬†first, then adjusted the machine to stitch one leg of zig-zags, then the bottom bar tack, then the second leg of zig-zags, and then the tie-off. It is definitely harder to create 9 or 11 buttonholes that are exactly uniform with a manual buttonhole foot, but it is possible with some practice. It also helps to count your stitches‚ÄĒat least for the bar tacks‚ÄĒwhich will give your buttonholes a more uniform look. Besides, no one except you is going to compare 2 buttonholes to see if they are the same length! Sadly, most people are just not as interested in us as we are, LOL!

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

After all your buttonholes are stitched, run a thin bead of seam sealant like Fray Check between the zig-zaggy “legs”. Let it dry thoroughly, and then cut the buttonhole apart. I like to use my awesome Japanese buttonhole chisel¬†for this job, but you can also insert a seam ripper and slide it between the ziggy-zaggy legs. Some people put a pin parallel to the bar tack at the end to prevent slicing further than desired!

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Whew! Buttonholes all done! Now here’s a fun trick to mark the button placement. Place the right side of the buttonhole placket on top of the right side of the button placket (be sure to align the front edges) and then insert a chalk marker in the middle of the buttonhole onto the button placket side. BAM! Yep,it is that easy to mark your¬†button placements.

Grainline Archer Sew-Along by Sew Maris

Turn back the buttonhole placket, and just make sure the chalkmark is on center front line. Done and done! Oh, well , you do need to sew the buttons on. And this UH-mazingly fast and easy button tute will blow your mind.

Sooooooooooooo close!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Attaching the Collar + Stand

¬†Dun dun duh! Wrestling¬†the collar stand onto a shirt is always the most stressful part of shirtmaking for me. I can’t promise to make this part stress-free, but luckily I do have a few tricks that can help.

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

One of the first things you need to realize, and that seems backwards, is the inside of the collar stand is the right side. Yeah, the side against your neck is the right side. Weird, huh? But it does make sense if you remember that the collar actually covers the majority of the other side of the stand that is on the RS of the rest of the shirt! Keep this in mind; it means the interfaced collar stand gets attached to the WS of the shirt, and the topstitching should be stitched with the inside (RS) of the stand face up.

OK, now let’s get to the actual steps of attaching the collar + stand. I will be showing you how to use the “burrito method” of attaching the stand, because I think it produces the most consistently nice-looking collar stands. All you have to do to understand¬†this method¬†is stand on your head for a bit. ūüėČ

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

1. Place the RS of the interfaced collar stand against the WS of the shirt neck, and pin in place. Be sure to extend the ends of the collar stand by whatever seam allowance used on the stand‚ÄĒwhich is¬†1/2 inch if you did not alter the Archer pattern. Stitch the interfaced collar stand to the shirt.

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

2. Place the RS completed collar on the RS of the interfaced collar stand, matching notches.

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

3. Place the non-interfaced collar stand (left side of image) on top of the collar, also matching notches and front edges, and pin in place around the upper edge only of the stand.

ArcherCollarStand-1-4 Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

4. Now here is the tricky part. You need to fold a bit of the front plackets up inside the 2 collar stands. And you need to do it in a way that you don’t catch the front edge of the placket when you stitch around the front curve of the stand, and also keep the placket out of the way when you stitch a couple of inches along the neck edge of the stand. Sheesh. Oh, and the collar needs to be pushed out of the way of the stitching, too. ¬†And of course you only have the final width of the stand (about 1 1/4 inches!) to cram the front plackets + collar into!! See why this step always makes me break out into a slight sweat? My best advice is for you to fold about 1 inch ¬†of the front placket straight up into the stand, and then fold again at a 45 degree angle, keeping all the front placket edges out of the way of the neck edge stitching line. Just push the collar toward the center back.

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

5. Stitch around the collar stand, with the interfacing side up so you can see where the neckline stitching is placed. It is a good idea to stitch directionally for this part; meaning start in the middle and stitch to each end. Thee are no issues when you are stitching along the top edge of the stand; just be careful going around the curve so that your stitching is smooth, and do your best to not catch the front placket. You can poke your finger in and push the placket back a bit if you like. When you pivot at the front edge corner, plan on only stitching an inch or 2. I like to stitch just beyond the point where the collar covers the stand, and that is far enough! When you get the neck edge side, keep your needle just a smidge towards the top of the stand; you don’t want your final stitching closer to the neck edge because then the original neck edge stitching will show from the right side.

6. Before you trim the seam allowances, pull on the front placket to turn the stand RS out. this is where you check to see if you caught any part of the placket in the stand stitching. If you did, just unpick and redo it. I probably catch a bit of the placket about 50% of the time, so trust me, the unpicking is not that big a deal.

Grainline Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

7. Once your stitching around the stand is as you want it, trim the seam allowances very aggressively. The less bulk the better, especially on the curve and the corner.

Grainlien Archer Sew-along: Collar + Collar Stand

Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Collar + Collar Stand

8. Press well, including pressing the lower seam allowance on the un-interfaced stand under. Now, there are loads of ways to baste this edge to your collar stand neckline stitching, but I prefer hand-basting using the awesome Japanese basting thread from my Etsy store. The fact that it is cotton (i.e. not slippery like poly thread) and thicker means it holds the fabric in place better. Alternatively, you can glue baste or pin, but I have less success with either of those methods.

ArcherCollarStand-2-1-3

Grainline Archer Sew Along: Collar + Collar Stand

9. Topstitch on the interfaced collar stand. The first image above is the inside, or RS of the stand, and the second is the view from the RS of the shirt (WS of the stand).

Woot! Have an adult beverage (or two!) and celebrate! All the hard stuff on your Archer is done!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Grainline Archer Sew-Along: Collar

Shirt collars are easy peasy. Truly. They are the kind of sewing you can do even when you are a little tired, or possibly even when you are drinking an adult beverage. Not that I ever bring one of those into my sewing studio, but I hear some do.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

OK, let’s do this. If you altered your pattern as I suggested for a one-piece collar, then your construction process is slightly different than the Archer pattern instructions. Oh, and you did already apply all your interfacing¬†including the collar pieces, right? ūüėČ Let’s go over the 1-piece collar construction first (Duh. Cuz it’s better!).

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

1. Stitch the collar center back seam, WS together. Make sure pull you make the under collar slightly smaller than the upper collar, which means you could trim a bit off the CB seam, or you could take a slightly bigger seam allowance.

2. Press the collar, making sure the fold along the collar front edges is accurate and even.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

3. Stitch across the collar edge, or lower¬†edge, or whatever you want to call it. You are stitching from collar point to collar point. TIP: Do not backstitch here. Instead, reduce your stitch length to 1.0 or less to eliminate the stitches¬†pulling out of the fabric. This is a place where backstitching can “draw up” your fabric and cause a wrinkle. Not good.

4. Trim the seam allowance, and be very assertive about trimming at the points. The less fabric you have in the collar point the better it will look from the right side. Also trim the interfacing very close to the stitching, especially if you use Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp. That awesome interfacing does not fold nicely with others, so I trim as much away as I can.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

5. Now press the seam you just stitched open over a point presser. Yes, open first. You are trying to get that seam as flat as possible before pressing into the final shape.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

6. Turn the collar right side out, and use a point presser to get into the corners as much as possible. Another great tip is using a threaded needle (no knot!) and slip it into the seamline on either side of the corner. Pull gently to extend as much of the corner as possible.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

7. Now you are ready to press the collar. With¬†the under collar side facing up, roll the stitched edge slightly so just a bit of the upper collar is visible on the under collar side. This is “favoring” the collar to the under collar side, and it means the stitched edge is not visible from the right side, which is what we want. After this pressing step, line up your collar points to make sure they are the same length. If not, trim them so they are identical. Nobody likes a lopsided collar!

8. Topstitch 1/4″ from the edge along the collar fronts and stitched edge, using whatever topstitching settings you have determined for your Archer. I like to use my 1/4″ or Jeans foot for this topstitching job, but whatever works for you to get an accurate 1/4″ stitching line.

Grainline Archer Sew-along by Sew Maris

9. Now just press the finished collar over a sleeve board or around a pressing ham, RS up, to build a nice curve into the collar shape.

If you decided not to use the one-piece collar for your Archer (what were you thinking!?!), all you need to do is place the under collar on the upper collar, RS together, and stitch around the sides and lower collar edge. Then you pick up starting with instruction 4 in the above steps. Also, when you are pressing the collar seams open, be sure to press the side edges open, too.

Now there is one thing I noticed about the Archer pattern I want to point out. The pattern includes a separate¬†under collar pattern piece, and it is designed to be cut on the bias. All good. BUT. It should also be slightly smaller than the upper collar, so the “favoring” thingie is easier and doesn’t make your collar ripple and roll funny. So, if you are using the upper and under collar pattern pieces provided in the Archer pattern, my suggestion is to trim a bit from the under collar sides and lower edge. Leave the neck edge as is.

See? Nothing to it!

Happy sewing!

Maris