Monthly Archives: June 2014

Tutorial: 10 ways to finish your seams

There are loads of different ways to finish a seam allowance; in this tutorial I will just cover ten of the methods that you might like to experiment with. Maybe you have a favorite or two in this grouping, and maybe you will be encouraged to try a few other finishes in the near future.

The purpose of a seam finish can be to:

  1. prevent raveling
  2. provide a decorative detail on the inside of a garment
  3. strengthen a seam
  4. reduce bulk

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Felled seam

A felled seam is commonly used on jeans, men’s shirts, and other garments where a flat finish is preferred next to the body and extra strength is needed in the seam itself. Start by stitching the seam with the specified seam allowance, and then trim 1 side of the seam allowance to no more than 1/4 inch. Press the remaining seam allowance over the trimmed seam allowance, turn under, and stitch close to the edge. Well, I guess I stitched sort of close to the edge in my example—could have done a little better there. Sorry!

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

French seam

French seams are often used on sheer or lightweight garments, both to eliminate raveling as well as to provide a narrow seam allowance to minimize show-through. The key point to remember with French seams is you stitch the same seam 2 times—so the sum of both seam allowances needs to equal the total seam allowance for the garment. For example, for a 5/8 inch seam allowance, place the wrong sides of the fabric together and stitch a 1/4″ seam. Trim, press, then fold along the first stitching line so the right sides are together. Stitch the second seam 3/8 of an inch from the pressed fold. Perfect! A totally enclosed seam that equals 5/8 of an inch!

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Hand overcasting

Often used in couture sewing to “lightly” finish the  seam allowances even on a lined garment, overcast stitch by hand along all seam allowances. It is a surprising fun and relaxing way to sew!

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Hong Kong finish

A Hong Kong finish is most often used in an unlined coat or jacket to both prevent raveling and provide a decorative finishing element. Start with bias strips of fabric (lining fabric is a good choice with wool) about 1–1/1/4 inches wide, and with right sides together stitch a strip to each side of the seam allowance using a 1/4 inch seam. Press the bias strip away toward the raw edge, and fold it around to the back side of the seam allowance. Stitch in the ditch from the top side to secure the back of the bias strip. Trim any extra fabric on the back side.

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Overlock with serger

Overlocking with a serger is a fast and easy way to finish seam allowances. You can serge either each seam allowance individually and press the seam open and flat, or you can serge the two seam allowances together. You can use either a 3-thread or 4-thread overlock stitch for this finish.

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Overcast with sewing machine

Most sewing machines include an overcast stitch, which is similar in function to the overlock stitch on your serger.

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris


Pinking produces a very flat seam finish, and gives a vintage look to the inside of your garments. Pinking requires a wavy blade for your rotary cutter or special pinking shears.

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Straight stitch

A line of straight stitching close to the edge of the seam allowance can be used alone or in combination with a pinked edge to reduce raveling.

Seam Finish tutorial by Sew Maris

Turn and stitch

Turn each seam allowance to the underside 1/4 of an inch, and stitch with a straight stitch close to the edge.

Seam Finish tutorial by SewMaris


Similar to the overcast stitch, a zig-zag stitch can also be applied close to the raw edge to reduce raveling.

Select the seam allowance you want to use based on your fabric, how the garment will be laundered, and the look you want for the final garment. It is a great idea to sample several seam finishes on leftover fabric to see what will work best.

Do you have a favorite seam finish you like to use? How many  of these 10 finishes have you tried in your garments?

Happy sewing!




Tutorial: How to Add Piping to a Seam

Adding a bit of piping in a seam is an easy way to give your finished garment some pizazz, and often a pop of color as well. I don’t really consider this to be a couture technique; tho some folks do. Really, it is easy. Just start by including it in a straight seam rather than something curved like a collar, and then after you get the hang of it you can go crazy.

Midriff bands or waist seams are no-brainer locations for piping. I naturally had to jazz up my DD’s Jenny Dress with some hot pink piping. The women in our family are not of the shrinking violet variety. 😉

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

In this tute I am going to show you how to make only a short length of bias—using the strip piecing method. If you need yards of bias, Rachel on Coletterie has a lovely tutorial on making continuous bias tape. I want to focus here on how you add piping—either that you make yourself or purchase ready-made—into a seam for a polished, RTW detail in your garment seams!

How to add Piping to a garment seam by Sew Maris

So let’s just get down to it!


Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris


  1. 1/3 yard or more of fabric
  2. Cording of the desired circumference for your finished piping (I used the skinny 1/8″ cording not the fatty stuff in the pix above)
  3. Ruler
  4. Marking tool (Frixion pen, Chakoner, etc)

Determine Strip Width

This is your story problem for the day. See, you DO use math after you graduate. 😉

  1. Measure the width of your cording (mine was 1/8 inch).
  2. Double the width of your cording for the “wrap” circumference. (2 x 1/8 = 1/4)
  3. Double the desired seam allowance (2 x 1/2 =  1)
  4. Add the wrap circumference and the doubled seam allowance to determine the strip width. (1/4 + 1 = 1 1/4 inch strips)

Make the Piping

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris

1. Press or mark a line at a 45° angle to the selvage edge of your fabric.
2. Cut on the marked line, being careful to cut straight and not stretch the bias edge of the fabric.
3. Cut several strips the “calculated strip width” as determined in step 4 above. (Hint: I never figure out the number of strips I need beforehand, but if you are extra math-nerdy you might want to do this. I just stitch up a few and then measure it against my seams to see it I need to add another strip or two.)

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris
4. Right sides together, place one strip perpendicular to another. Mark a diagonal line from 1 short edge to the other short edge of your strips.
5. Stitch along the marked line, and trim the seam allowance to no more than 1/4 inch. Press open.
6. Continue as in step 5 above until your strip is at least a few inches longer than the seam the piping will be inserted into.
7. Fold the pieced bias strip over the cording, wrong sides together.

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris
8. Using your regular presser foot, stitch with the left side of the presser foot against the cording. Do NOT worry that the stitching is not close enough to the cording; you are going to stitch this piping 2 more times before you are done, and the last stitching will be snuggied right up against the cord. Trust me!

Insert the Piping into your Garment

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris

  1. Place your be-a-yoot-y-ful piping on the right side of whatever it is going to be stitched to. In my example, I stitched the piping to the midriff piece rather than the skirt or bodice sections. (Hint: It is not impossible to stitch piping to gathered fabric, but it is certainly harder than stitching it to a flat piece of fabric.) Pin in place, or be bold and don’t. 😉
  2. Move your needle 1 or 2 positions closer to the piping than your original stitching in step 8 above, and stitch the piping to the garment section. (Hint: Same as before—do not try to get right up against the cording. This stitching is navy in the image above, and the white thread is from step 8 in the Make the Piping section)

Now all you need to do is just finish your garment construction per your pattern instructions. In my example, the piping was stitched to the top edge and the bottom edge of the midriff section, so the next steps were to stitch the bodice and skirt pieces to the piped midriff section.

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris

3. Right sides together, lay the remaining garment piece (skirt, in my example) on the piped piece (midriff, in my example). Pin and stitch on the piped fabric side (in my example, on the midriff) so you can see where to stitch a bit closer to the piping. In the image above my final stitching is closer to my fingertips, and the stitching that applied the piping to the midriff is closer to the raw edge.

Piping Tutorial by Sew Maris

Hint: A bulky cording foot is super helpful here if you have one, or a 3-tuck pintuck foot can work too. If you use a zipper foot you are going to have to pay attention and keep your stitching as close as possible to the piping.

4. Flip your garment to the right side, and check that your piping looks an even circumference for the entire seam length. Make any necessary adjustments—meaning, stitch a little closer or make friends with your seam ripper rip a bit and stitch again.

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

Now that wasn’t so bad was it? And look at what a difference it makes in the finished product!

Happy sewing!






Bundle Up Blog Tour: Jenny Dress by Sisboom

Time to bundle up, ladies! PatternRevolution is sponsoring a women’s PDF pattern bundle,and you are the beneficiary of this awesomeness! The way this sweet deal works is you get to pick the set of patterns YOU want. In order to get the bundle pricing you need to buy at least 6 patterns, but that won’t be hard since yo have 13 to choose from. Pants, shorts, dresses, tops, a purse—plenty o’sewing goodness.

Patten Revolution Bundle Up Tour by Sew Maris

I joined the fun blof tour, and chose to make the Jenny Dress by Sisboom for my DD. She has <an almost> new job that requires her to dress up a little more than her previous job, so I am trying to help out and add a few items to her closet.

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

Originally I was going to make the Jenny maxi dress, but knee length is much better for the office, right? She preferred the sleeveless option, rather than the cap or flutter sleeve available on Jenny, so sleeveless we did. I think sleeveless dresses are really practical, even if you get cold, because it is so easy to add different cardigans or jackets to vary the look.

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

As usual, I was under a deadline to get this dress completed, so I raced to Stitches in Seattle and found several options that were within the right “weight” range that I thought she might like. The wonders of modern technology! I sent her a few pictures of fabric choices from my phone, and when she texted me her fave, I just took the bolt to the counter and paid. Nice, eh? 😉

I took a  few measurements and made a bodice muslin, and it was a perfect fit. I really appreciate it when the pattern fit corresponds well to body measurements. I don’t expect perfection – too much variation in human bodies – but I do appreciate getting on first base at least. Nice work on this one, Jennifer!

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

This dress is really quite easy to put together. The only design changes I made were 1) to shorten the front and back waistband by an inch (could have taken another inch or so off to suit my DD’s preference), and 2) add contrast piping to the top and bottom of the waistband. Did I mention I was under time pressure to get this done? Um, yes, I do know how to complicate a project, thank you! The side zip keeps the back looking clean and neat, and I chose to put in an invisible zip. The 1/2 inch SA isn’t really sufficient to do a nice centered zipper IMHO, and besides, invisibles look better! I also like the two little bodest insets under the arm—you can’t really tell in this fabric—but a different (and nice) design detail.

Sisboom Jenny by Sew Maris

Action shot! Even a little twirling!

If you hurry you can get in on the PatternRevolution Bundle Up Sewing Bee and Giveaway! First prize is a a Brother 1034D serger!You have until midnight Sunday, June 29 to enter, so get busy! Get some inspiration, and see what the other bloggers have been sewing on the rest of the blog tour.

Happy sewing!




June 20
June 21
June 22
June 23
June 24
June 25
June 26
June 27

Meet Marcy Tilton!

I am so excited to introduce Marcy Tilton, my featured guest on Sew Maris today!

I have known Marcy for some time—we first met at a Design Outside the Lines retreat in Santa Fe almost 10 years ago—and have managed to stay in touch through our mutual love of fabric, sewing, and design. I learned some wonderful new things about Marcy’s sewing journey, and am so glad I can share part of her story with you.

Marcy Tilton Interview for Sew Maris

When you were a young girl, what did you dream of becoming?
I fantasized about becoming a fashion designer. I have ALWAYS loved clothes. Once in college one of my friends in a beginning psychology class brought a “test” with squares and questions.  In the category “Things I Think About All the Time” I drew a picture a little dress!

Who were some of the influential mentors who helped you to develop your sewing skills when you were young?
I am so grateful for the  many people who have helped and encouraged me along the way. When I started sewing, My Aunt Mary (who could make ANYTHING), really encouraged me and was happy to fix my mistakes and never talk me out of ambitious projects. After I could sew a little and she realized I was “hooked”, she told me “Oh honey, now you will NEVER be able to walk past a fabric store again!” She was sure right about that! Another aunt and my mom were also very supportive; they never tried to minimize my dreams or talk me out of overly ambitious projects. But I would say that Sister Margaret Mary really, really taught me to sew when I was in a junior in high school. The first time she saw me at a sewing machine I was trying to poke the bobbin thread up through the soleplate hole, and she came right over and showed me how to do it properly.  I thought to myself, “I am going to like this!”

What did you study in college?
I had always loved cooking and sewing, and I went to a Catholic women’s college where I majored in Home Economics, and minored in Education and French. If I had had more money I would have gone to New York to study fashion design, but that wasn’t really an option for me. I studied classic, “old school” sewing and tailoring, which has been and still is a great love of mine. The weekend that John F. Kennedy was assassinated I remember sitting glued to the TV, working on my pad stitching assignment for my tailoring course.

Marcy Tilton Interview for Sew Maris
Now that you are a grown-up, what do you love about your work?
I truly love everything I do. The thing I love most is the thing I am doing at the moment. I just love to sew. I enjoy the whole process. I love making things with my hands. I like the process of problem-solving. Figuring things out as I go along. Whether it is a pot of soup, a jacket, whatever. I love running a business and it has been a wonderful thing to discover that I am good at it. The more I do it the better I get at it. I am starting to offer some entrepreneurial coaching with a few people, and it is really fun for both of us. I love learning where my edges are!

What would you like to change about your work life right now?
I would get some photography help, and I’d like to adjust my work schedule so I prioritize more time as well as more prime time to focus on my own creative pursuits.  I’ve just enrolled in a week-long photography course held in Paris next spring!

What makes you jump out of bed in the morning with excitement?
Running a business. Some days it is all about posting fabrics. Some days I make a pot of tea and head out to studio and sew all day. I love the patternmaking and design work I do for Vogue which involves a lot of problem-solving, sewing, and then figuring out the technical writing. Often the best days for me are the ones where I can “play” in my studio and not have any attachment to the outcome. Heaven!

What was the most interesting thing you have done (so far) this year?
I went to Australia over Christmas and New Years to visit some old friends. No sewing! In retrospect I rather wish I had taken an Alabama Chanin project along – I am itching to work on a dress – but that might be more than I can handle. Anyway, spending 3 weeks with people I hadn’t seen in 30 years was a risk, and it turned out to be a fabulous, restorative time!

How did you get your start in this industry, and what was your encouragement?
After graduation I taught classic tailoring to high school students. Then back in 1976 I took a long trip with a group of friends (the same friends I just visited in Australia!), and when I got back to the Bay area where I lived, Sandra Betzina hired me to teach tailoring at her California School of Dressmaking in San Francisco. Eventually, Sandra sold her school, and the new owner ran it for a year and then it closed.  I loved teaching so much that I started The Sewing Workshop in 1980, and ran that school until 1992 when I sold it to Linda Lee.
I have had so many mentors encouraging me throughout my life. The fiber arts community in San Francisco was AMAZING. Bobbie (Roberta) Carr was a fabulous teacher and mentor, and Sandra Betzina has always been a great friend and supporter.

Marcy Tilton Interview for Sew Maris

Which designers inspire you?
Issey Miyake will forever be my favorite—I just LOVE Japanese designers. Currently I watch Maria Cornejo.In Paris I have become an admirer of Azzedine Alaia and  Jean Paul Gaullitier, who are the only living couture designers working in Paris. We went to the Gaultier ready-to-wear shop in Paris which was friendly and very inspiring. I am also a fan of Karl Lagerfeld, and his RTW boutiques in Paris which are welcoming and fun—not too serious. When we went in with a small group they broke out the champagne!!

What would you say are the key tools people need for learning to sew?
Use common sense and follow your intuition. There is a direct link between creativity and responsibility. When you want to learn to sew you are responsible for how you do it.  I see people getting stuck in their work by blaming the pattern or the fabric or even the teacher. If you want to make a painting, you buy the paint and paper—but don’t blame the paint or paper if it doesn’t work out. Gather supplies you love, make it a point to read and study, start with a concept or an inspiration and then start making every step an opportunity to refine your design, technique, and fitting skills. I’m still learning and enjoying the process; that is what keeps  me coming back to the studio every day I can!

Thank you so much for your time, Marcy! I learned so many new things about you, and my favorite was your love of tailoring. You have inspired me to do more tailoring this year myself. I’ll give you a call if I have any questions. 😉

How about you? What was the “favorite new thing” you learned about Marcy? Do share!

Happy sewing!


Pattern Review: Grainline Archer

I know. I was the last woman standing who had not sewn up an Archer by Grainline Studios. No more. Too late to shoot me, I finally made one!

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

Short story: I love it. Duh. Most people do.
Longer story

Pattern drafting: Basically, good. I really love it when pattern pieces fit together correctly. The collar stand and collar fit nicely, as does the front, back body, and sleeves. Love the high armhole, resulting in plenty of arm mobility.

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

But there are some things I found odd.

  1. Like the cuff size. As drafted the cuff was 9 3/4 inches between the button and buttonhole marking for a size 10 Archer. Really? When I put the shirt on the sleeves hung down to the middle of my wrist, which I hate. Sleeves dragging thru spaghetti sauce = not cool! Easy change. I just chopped 1.25 inches out of the cuff length on the pattern, recut new cuffs, ripped the original cuffs off the shirt, and replaced with a new cuff that suited my taste better. Took me 40 minutes to get the cuff fit I like and now the pattern is ready for Archer #2.
  2. Also, there is an under collar pattern piece, but it is not cut slightly smaller than the upper collar. Making the under collar slightly smaller allows the under collar to be totally “hidden” below the upper collar after construction. It is an easy enough change for me; just make the under collar slightly shorted and narrower, but it would enhance the Archer pattern.
  3. There is no collar match notch at the front of the collar stand. I am a stickler for collar points being the same length and ending at the exact same spot on either side if the collar stand. It really is all those little details that make a shirt look Brooks Brothers-worthy.
  4. No buttonhole marked on the collar stand.


Fit: Very good. Love the collar and neck fit. It is really scaled correctly to a woman’s body. Thanks, Jen!
I need a skosh more ease in the hip area to wear it over jeans. It is fine as is when tucked in. I also need to change the angle of the front yoke seam. That forward shoulder thing.
I think they are good, but I honestly did not use them too much. I have made so many shirts…you get the idea.

My next Archer is going to be sleeveless out of a raspberry silk I have in my stash. If I have enough fabric, which I think I do. I think it will be a great summer shirt.

Grainline Archer by Sew Maris

Just wanted to show you that there is plenty of arm movement possible! 😉

How about you? Have you made an Archer yet? What do you like about it?
Happy sewing!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Measure Up!

One thing that really helps elevate your garments is measuring. And often it is not necessary to use a tape, but instead to use what I call “the rule of symmetry”. Just verify that two sides/collar points/buttonholes/whatevers are the exact same size before you proceed to the next step.


I am especially picky about collar points because they are right near your face and are a real focal point for a shirt. Match ’em up, and if you need to make an adjustment of course you need to do so before adding top-stitching. I usually don’t bother with getting a seam gauge or a tape; all I really care about is that they are the same length. Not that many people are going to have the pattern piece in their pocket to check my accuracy against the pattern length specified. 😉

Happy sewing!


Get into garments

Are you someone who has “given up” on garment sewing? Too many problems with fit? Too many “wadders” that don’t produce the look you envisioned, wasting both time and money?

Dress form measurements by Sew Maris

Maybe there are a couple of things that could help smooth out your process. To start with , let’s talk about picking the right size pattern. We all have been taught to measure our full bust, waist, and full hip measurement. Then use the pattern company measurement chart to select your corresponding size.

Well, that approach often doesn’t work out very well, especially if you are anything other than slim-to-average. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being that measuring “soft tissue areas” like bust, waist and hips doesn’t tell you much about your bone structure. Fitting your shoulder line, sleeves, and neckline area is all about your frame size – and nothing to do with full bust, waist, and full hip.

Susan Khalje has a wonderful, free video on her website talking about picking the right pattern size from the large American pattern companies. Rather than using soft tissue measurements, she recommends starting with your front chest width. According to her analysis, I should be buying a size 14 pattern. According to my body measurements I should be buying a size 16 and adding a bit extra in the hip area. Funny thing, but I had sized down to 14 before watching her video and was much happier with the resulting fit of garments.


Other sewing experts advocate measuring your high bust, and using that number for the “full” bust category. This is a similar principle as Susan’s approach; concentrate more on your frame measurement than your soft tissue measurement.

Pattern example of finished dimensions by Sew Maris

Another clue that can help you decide which pattern size to use is the finished garment dimensions. If you open up your tissue pattern, you will often see the finished dimensions for bust, waist, and hip. What this tells you is how much wearing ease + design ease as been added to the model size measurements for the garment. Regardless of your body dimensions, you can select a pattern size that will produce the kind of fit you like. You are in charge!

Suggested fabrics for dress by Sew Maris

Now, fabric. Oye, that is really another whole set of blog posts. But I can give you one quick, little hint. Take a look at the recommended fabric suggestions on the back of you pattern envelope, and think about the kind of drape, weight, and texture of these fabrics. Linen, denim, and firmly woven cottons have structure and will stand away from your body. Rayon, many silks, chiffons, and gauze are softer and more drapey against the body. It’s not all the fiber tho; the weave plays a role in how a fabric behaves, too. I talk about this more in my pattern and fabric video.   Sometimes you can get away with picking a fabric with very different characteristics than the pattern calls for, but if you are less experienced at pairing patterns and fabrics it is safer to pick a fabric that is listed or one with similar qualities.

Sheesh! Who am I kidding anyway? These issues fill volumes in libraries and bookstores. People take college level classes to try and figure out pattern making and fitting, textiles, construction, and much more. Readers, just jump in. Make some clothes. Put the quilts away for a while. 😉 You are not going to improve much if you aren’t willing to practice. Make some mistakes and learn from them! There are plenty of worse ways to spend your time than working at improving your sewing/fitting/garment-making skills.

Happy sewing!


Friday Fail: EPIC Shirt Cuff Fail

Hahahaha! This was a LOL funny fail. Do you have any idea how many shirts I have made in my lifetime? LOTS, is the correct answer. On a new Archer shirt I am working onfinished, I dutifully marked the button and buttonhole placement on the cuffs. Turns out the button mark didn’t look all the different from my buttonhole mark. Right. You can see where this is going now, can’t you? Yep, I stitched up a lovely buttonhole on the WRONG side of the cuff. And yes, I cut through it before I noticed.

Misplaced buttonhole on shirt cuff (Friday Fail) by Sew Maris

What.A.Major.Dope. But it did make me burst out laughing at myself! 🙂

Wondering why I bothered adding a buttonhole on the correct side? Well, I had scheduled a photo shoot of the shirt the next morning, and thought maybe I could just hack the cuff together for the shoot. Who was going to notice, right? No close-ups! Well, 40 minutes later I had 2 new cuffs on my Archer shirt. Two?!? Yes, as drafted the cuffs would have fit around Godzilla’s wrists, so I was planning on replacing them after the photo shoot anyway. The buttonhole disaster just sped up the timeline. After a little “pattern liposuction”, I recut 2 new cuffs, stitched ’em on, and added buttonholes on the correct side of both cuffs. BAM!

Bet you didn’t do anything as funny as my buttonhole fail this week, now did you? Mwaaaah!

Happy sewing!



Selvage Designs Presents the Foxglove Top for Women

I am a joiner. I hate to miss a party or be left out of most anything. Especially anything that involves dark chocolate, sewing, or espionage thrillers.

So naturally I was thrilled when Lauren Dahl of Selvage Designs asked me to test her latest pattern for women—the Foxglove racer back top. Well, I was thrilled until I saw the pattern. My first reaction? “Oh that is a darling top—for the younger gals.”

Selvage Designs Foxglove Pattern Review by Sew Maris

Color me surprised. I made this top up and I.Love.It.I find it is a great layering piece to throw over a T, or to wear all by its lonesome on the <2> scorchingly hot summer days we have here in Seattle. <LOL>.

Also, did you notice the lovely, hi-cut armholes? I am totally not a fan of arm-boob, so the drafting  in this area pleased me.

Selvage Designs Foxglove Pattern Review by Sew Maris

The back of the Foxglove is cut in in typical racer-back style, so you will definitely see your bra straps. If that bothers you, a close-fitting T underneath would do the trick.

Selvage Designs Foxglove Pattern Review by Sew Maris

Did I also mention I am not a big hi-lo fan? But the shaping on this top is subtle enough that I actually really like it. Of course, because you S-E-W, you can straighten the hem or make other pattern variations to suit your personal preferences.

As originally drafted the Foxglove is supposed to include a center front and center back seam with topstitching details. I detest topstitching ITY jersey. So the pattern variation I decided to implement was to cut both the back and front on the fold, eliminating the center seams. Who would see the topstitching in this print, anyway?

Selvage Designs Foxglove Pattern Review by Sew Maris

Another design line I adore on this pattern is the neckline. Nicely done, Lauren! Yes, it is rounded, but in kind of a V-like way. I think it is just a particularly pretty design line. During the pattern testing there was some chatter about changing this line, and I screamed a vehement NO! She heard me. 😉

OK, here are the technical details of this pattern review IMHO:

Pattern Drafting: A+.

This pattern fits together beautifully, including the curved hemline matching. I am a stickler for quality drafting, and Lauren passed with flying colors.

Pattern Design: B

Very nice simple, design. In parlance —a great wardrobe builder. The Foxglove may not be the most exciting design I have ever seen, but it is a darn attractive top that is wearable on many body shapes and sizes. And ages, too. 😉

Pattern Instructions: B+

Very well done with plenty of pictures and detail.

If you love supporting Indie pattern designers like I do, Selvage Designs is definitely worth a look. Check out the Foxglove pattern testing roundup so you can see the variety of body shapes and fabrics used during testing. I think you might agree this pattern has a place in your collection. Make up a Foxglove for yourself—it will only cost you a few hours time. You certainly can’t convince me there isn’t at least one piece of knit fabric in your stash that would work nicely for this top! 😉

I received a free copy of the Foxglove draft and final pattern for testing; the views expressed are my own.

Happy sewing!




Tutorial: How to Iron the Collar When Making a Shirt

The collar is the main focal point of a shirt, so everything you can do to make this part of your garment as perfect as possible will help your garment achieve that “standard of excellence” we sewists all strive for with our garments.

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris
Ironing, or pressing, is an often overlooked or under-appreciated part of sewing. And they are different. Ironing involves sliding the iron across the fabric; pressing is lifting and setting down an iron with some pressure. If you take the time to really learn how to iron/press your garments during the construction phase, your finished garments will immediately look much more polished and professional. You can easily spend as much time ironing and pressing as sewing when making tailored clothes!!

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris

BTW, one of the tricks to a properly ironed shirt collar comes long before you get to the ironing board-it starts with cutting. That’s right, your  job will be much easier if you cut your under collar slightly narrower and shorter than your upper collar.

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris
Tools needed:

Wooden point presser

Steps to ironing a shirt collar during construction

1. Stitch the interfaced upper collar to the under collar.
2. Trim the seams to a scant 1/4”, and cut across the corners diagonally.

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris
3. Place one short end of the collar on the point presser, with the collar point at the tip of the presser. Iron the seam allowances open.

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris
4. Turn the collar so the long edge is on the point presser, and iron the seam allowance open.
5. Repeat with the other short end of the collar.

How to iron a collar when making a shirt by Sew Maris
6. Turn the collar right side out, and press the collar flat, favoring the seam edge so that the under collar is slightly to the under side of the finished collar. (See why cutting the under collar  slightly smaller is such a help??)
7. Topstitch if desired.

Now I expect all your shirt collars to look like total PERFECTION!! Let me know how that goes. 😉

Happy sewing