the practise shirt I sewed last June

Last year, at my drafting course, we took our block and made it into a pattern for a dress shirt. Just before Summer break I sewed it. Out of a cheap cotton from the market. This is the blog post I wrote then:

PATTERN

There are few things I feel unsure about. I was told to swivel the bustdart into two waist darts. And the little dart that goes from the apex to the arm pit too, the one that most big busted women need.
It has left me with a rather sharp angled arm hole on the front panel:
Schijndel bloes

At the back I’m putting in a yoke and have brought the shoulder seam forward by cutting off a piece from the front panel and attaching it to the back panel, literally. But I wasn’t told I should ease the curve in the armhole. It has quite a dent in it:
Schijndel bloes

Never mind, don’t go changing anything. Just sew as is. It’s for study.

Sewing steps. Following David Page Coffin’s book: Shirtmaking.

1. CUTTING
cut with 1,5 cm seam allowance. Aii! this fabric is slippery!

2. STAYSTITCHING
at 1,3 cm from the edge:

3. CLIPPING
right up to the staystitching. All curved edges (neck, arm,) and things on the bias (yoke, shoulder seam).
Schijndel bloes

Due to bringing the bust darts to the waist my side seam is now on the bias too…. clip it? I don’t think so, it’s not supposed to add fullness… clip it a bit because it will add fullness and I don’t want the edge to interfere with the seam.

4. PRACTISE PRECISE STITCHING
long seams while guiding the fabric through, keeping it at a little tension. This is to avoid that the dog feeder at the bottom will take more of the fabric at the bottom than the fabric on the top.
I also have a Hemmed Seam foot on my antique Singer machine! yeah! Mr. Page Coffin really wants me to use it.
Felling foot on my antique Singer foot treadle sewing machine.

SEWING
– shorten stitch length. Seam stitch = 2 mm; top stitch = 3,5 mm. Edge stitch is close to the edge, 1,5 a 3 mm. Topstitching is done further from the edge.
– adjust seam guide on sewing machine: from 1,3 cm to 1,5 cm.

5. DARTS IN THE BACKPANEL. Important points are only marked with pins, doublechecked with pattern and then sewn. From the fat part of the diamond to the points.
Schijndel bloes

6. YOKE TO BACK. Back sandwiched between the two yokes. Ai, the backpanel is 1,5 cm wider than the yoke and the pattern. The fabric was so slippery when cutting. I’m putting in a pleat/gather. Making the back panel top fit the yoke bottom:
Schijndel bloes
Schijndel bloes
Sewn.
Grade the seams, keeping the one at the outer yoke the largest.
press upwards
edgestitch outer yoke to seam allowances (fold inner yoke back as not to catch it).
Schijndel bloes

I had forgot to clip the upper edges of the yokes so thought to do so when they were already seamed to the back panel. Only I clipped dangerously close to the seam! So I sewed another seam close to it.:
Schijndel bloes
Now pressing upwards and edge stitching. Letting the pressed seam run in the middle of the little foot prong, the one on the left. Doing so the edgestitch is 1,5 mm from the edge.

7. FRONTS: darts and facing.
These darts are huge. Are they meant to remain like this or should they be graded and the edges treated? I guess so but I’ve resolved to just do as I’m told on this blouse, to learn the most that way.

finish edge of facing: fold under and stitch.
Attach facing to buttonband. press, apply interfacing. Press again, remembering “turn of cloth”: don’t fold at the seam but allow the frontpanel to fold over.

8. ATTACH FRONTS TO YOKE
front to inner yoke. Grade seams.
Fold outer yoke over. One side doesn’t fit nicely… the staystitching is showing, even after getting it apart again and redoing it.
I’m adding a decorative seam to the other side, so they at least look a bit more similar.

9. COLLAR

Assemble collar and stand and attach them.
Argh! This fabric is way too slippery, I didn’t manage to cut decent collars.
Didn’t manage to draft decent collars either… I don’t understand the explanations we got in the lesson very well.

Just drafting them as the homework told me they should. Using sewaholic’s tutorial and Page Coffin’s book for guidance in the sewing. Here’s a nice video for another method, attaching collar to stand and then them to the shirt.

here’s a good tutorial for drafting a stnd andcollar! By pattern cutter Emily Tao in the UK

10. SLEEVE PLACKET
I don’t understand the bottom of the sleeves… they are curved. While the cuff is a rectangle. Where should I place the placket? Leaving it.
this is my template:
placket sewing shirt sleeve placket
this tutorial by Sewaholic

I then did sew it. I combined the tutorial above with instructions from Page Coffin, page 103. I placed it 6 cm from the sideseam. Ignoring biased cut sideseam and curved bottom edge, just going by grain of the cloth.

11. SET SLEEVE
The side seam is stil open. Placing sleeve in armhole, right sides together. High top is the point of reference.
Pinning sleeve cap in place, with sleeve on top. Pinning at the stay stitching (= seam line), not at the cut edge.
To the back side the sleeve fits perfectly. All the extra circumference is in the front. Trying to ease it in at only the top front, not the front bottom.
there will be pleats… but I’m not rotating the sleeve, the high point is meant to sit at the shoulder “seam”.

I clipped it way too much, I misunderstood Page Coffin about the staystitching. Cannot make this into a decent felled seam. Just folding it once, finishing it with pinking shears.

Hmpf. The upper yoke has a different dimension than the lower one. The staystitching and clipping is showing on one side. It’s ok, this will be a practice shirt.

12. Hem.

13. closure: buttons. I don’t have any. By now the shirt was so clearly a study-shirt that I didn’t bother putting in buttonholes, buttons, a zipper or snaps. I would just pin it shut along the CF for fitting.

FITTING at the last day of the class.

Bodice fits well. Nice and smooth across the shoulders, enough room at the bust. Waist darts look awful though. They also run right up to the apex.

The sleeve is uncomfortable at the shoulder, due to to shape of the armhole in the front panel. At the natural shoulderseam the dent was too obvious. Sleeve width down the arm is ok as is the cuff. A bit too long, the sleeve. Sleeve placket and all topstitching is neat.

Never ever work with this slippery fabric again for a dress shirt.

My teacher drafted a new collar for me, as I had not understood the directions well enough. We amended the armhole a bit.

See next post for pictures.

Failed: Trousers in dark grey linen.

My drafting lessons this Summer ended with a final fitting of my practise trousers. CB had to be taken in a lot at the top. My teacher divided some of this to the side seams which have now become too shaped to my liking (I’m very straight at my sides).

Therefor I have taken the skirt pattern, which I developed over the Summer and which fits me well now, and have laid it on top of my trousers pattern. I’ve taken the main lines and measurements from my skirt and only the CB and CF and width of legs from the trousers pattern. I then drafted all the pattern pieces from that: yoke, waist band, pockets.

UntitledUntitled
Over the past few weeks I took these SEWING STEPS:

  1. inner pocket
  2. waist band put together with its interfacing (non-iron). Including top stitching.
  3. staystitching
  4. attach yoke to back panels.
  5. sew the long seams, adding biais band to catch the raw edge
  6. zipper, good videotutorial from Threads here with excellent photo tutorial from Itch to Stitch here
  7. waist band
  8. fit.

ugh:

bad at sewing trousers...bad at sewing trousers...
The pocket openings “lubber” terrible… even though they are reinforced.

And the waist band… is too wide. Again?? I keep keeping trouble with the width of my waist band. Even though it too is reinforced and shaped checked and double checked and fitted onto both the pattern and my body.
bad at sewing trousers...
It can be the woven cloth that duped me, stretching. I also remember sewing Centre Front, at the zip flap, freehand. Perhaps I veered off to one side, adding wearing ease. The sideseams of the waist band do not match those of the legs precisely either. All of the above together?

The back sits alright. That yoke is designed while drafting, just a straight line getting rid of waist darts. Not sure about its succes in real life:
bad at sewing trousers...

The fabric is woven linen, meant for curtains. It frays quite a bit. So I was careful with handling it and I enclosed most of the seams with biais band:
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The back yoke, the side seams, the inner seams. Pretty much everything is enclosed.

I sewed a jeans zipper successfully, following this tutorial by Itch to Stitch. Very good. I feel confident about jeans’ zippers now.
Untitled

The inside before installing zipper. CF is closed (basted at the fly) and the seam is enclosed in biais band.

I’m laying this aside for now. I want to start on a shirt. I think I’ll take these trousers to a sewing teacher to see if it can be salvaged. The waistband is not fixed permanently yet and can be easily ripped free. Then we can rearrange the front parts, while I wear it. Perhaps it can still become something wearable.

finished a lined linen skirt, on the bias

paarse linnen rok
Linnen, cut on the bias.
First picture shows accurate colour.

Waist band, pockets in side seam, lapped zipper in side seam:
paarse linnen rok

Lining with a rolled hem and french seams. Attached at waist band and zipper.
paarse linnen rok

Sideseams sewn, folded flat and sewn again. Finished with pinking shears.
paarse linnen rok

Pockets weirdly low as I tried to stay clear of the zipper. Next time trying to combine the two.
paarse linnen rok

There’s tape in the side seam, to prevent stretching. It has a double function in catching the lining. Later on the waist band is put over these three layers: fabric, lining, band.
Sewing skirtspaarse linnen rok

Everything was staystitched too, as soon as the fabric was cut. Fabric cut on the bias will stretch otherwise.

Lapped zipper, my first.
I’ve worn this skirt a couple of days now and some of the bits need refinishing. The end of the waist band popped loose, for one:
paarse linnen rok

Fabric cut on the bias wears very pleasantly. I want to make more.

sewing the Hoezee skirt

I showed my orange practise trousers to my teacher and I learned:

  • how many parts there ought to be to a zip fly
  • that indeed the side seam of the front panel can be more curved than that of the back panel but not as much as I had
  • that we had to take the waist in quite a bit
  • that I prefer loose pant legs. Even with stretchy fabrics I don’t like the restriction over my upper legs.
  • how to fold away any remaining darts at the front.

These adjustments I put into my pattern and some into my block. Then I made it into a skirt pattern, with fly zip and jeans pockets. I’m now sewing this so I have a skirt to wear (I desperately need a practical skirt, made from canvas) and to practise sewing fly zip and pockets.
With this skirt I can see if the pattern is truly ok now. If it is I can use it to sew linnen trousers, from the fabric I bought at the Stoffenspektakel. The Summer trousers I’ve been longing for.

sewing steps:

  1. trueing and walking the paper pattern: making sure all seams attach nicely to each other and have the same length. Indicating notches at convenient places such as hip line, seat line, CF, CB etc.
  2. pressing the fabric and then cutting. I’m doing 1,5 cm seam allowance. Making sure there are no big dots or spots on inconvenient places such as the crotch. Pocket insides are cut from thinner cotton. No interfacing for the bands, this is sturdy canvas, I think it will be enough on its own. Besides I’m done with fusible interfacing, I melt it all the time and I don’t feel like sewing in interfacing for this project. The waist band will get a stay band sewn into it, to prevent stretching.

These are the pieces I have now:

pattern pieces skirt with pockets and fly zip

I have the feeling there’re not enough pieces here…

Let’s see: back panel, front panel right, front panel left, yoke, waist band front left, waist band front right, waist band back twice, second waist band front left, second waist band front right, stay tape for the waist band, hook and eye closure for the band, two pocket visible parts, two zip fly parts, one zip guard, one zip, pocket inside left and right.

There needs to be two more pocket insides and perhaps another zip guard.

3. staystitching curved bits I want to keep in shape while I handle them: waist band, yoke, pocket curves. (it feels kind of ridiculous to do this, to spend the time and the thread. I’m still doing it though, because I’m too much of a beginner to know what’s important and what not.)

Sewing practise trousers

finished!

proefbroekproefbroek
proefbroekproefbroek
My practise trousers, from an old bedsheet my neighbour gave me. Here are the notes I made:

preparing the pattern

I trued the paper pattern pieces (or so I thought). Changed the waist band so CB wouldn’t have that sharp angle. I changed the angle to 3 small darts and then folded those away:
proef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousers

Pressed my fabric and am ready for cutting.

first question: are yokes on trousers in double fabric? Running upstairs to look at husband’s jeans…. they are not. They are on gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s dress shirts. Here’s an informative article about yokes in clothes on general: http://thecuttingclass.com/post/5540217278/basic-yokes

There’s so much to learn about constructing clothes, I love it!

cutting the fabric

Punched holes in the paper at all significant points. These are where notches are located in regular patterns I guess. Placing paper on top of the fabric, weighing it down with whatever I have laying about (scissors mostly)

I touched each hole with my permanent marker. I then removed the paper and drew in the seam lines with ball point. Repeated on the second layer of fabric.

Cut out with wide seam allowance, about 2,5 cm/ 1 inch. I could cut a bit rough since my seam lines are marked so clear.

I tailor tacked the point at Centre Front where the zip flies end. Right on the seam line.

sewing steps

following Angela Kane’s video tutorial about sewing jeans. She runs an excellent site! AngelaKane.com

Starting with staystitching the top of the front panels, including the pocket curve. Realizing my pattern pieces look odd, I didn’t cut out the pocket hole in the front pocket. Doing this I realize my idea of a pocket of 7 cm wide and 10 cm high is nice but is placed too high in these trousers, I’d never get my hand in. I elongate the side pocket entrance to 13 cm. This looks comfortable and looks better too, it makes the lines in the trousers longer. (They won’t be deep pockets though. But interesting to see what these lines do for my silhouet. And whether these pockets might bulge.)

proef broek practice trousers

Ah.
Before I staystitch now I need to sew the darts in the front panel. They’re still there, I couldn’t fold them away.
Ah#2.
Before I sew in the darts I sew together the front seam, from zip fly to crotch, now that the two pieces of fabric are still matched up so beautifully.

done all that, next step: cut of the fly extension from the left front panel.

ZIP

things ended up weird. My fly extensions were way smaller than Angela Kane’s. There was no room for topstitching or attaching Right Front Zip Guard (which pattern piece I didn’t even have).
I suspected my drafting course was aiming for a different zip than a jeans fly zip. I ripped out all seams and did what I thought was good.

proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers

I now have a zip that’s covered, both at the front and the back. But these practice trousers now have the raw edge of the zipper tape visible:
proef broek practice trousers
Normally a zip peeks out from under the folded side of the Left Front Panel. This fold hides the edge of the zipper tape. Behind the zip is a separate piece of cloth, coming from that same Left Front Panel, that prevents the zipper teeth from touching your bare belly.
The zipper is sandwiched between these two parts and the weird thing is that the front part that’s folding back is only a few mm wide. The back part sticks out a couple of cm, it ends up covering the width of the part of the waistband with the closure up top (button or clasp).

POCKET

right pocket is too wide. It’s also supposed to be caught in the zip area but I’m already past that phase. I don’t know what my teacher wanted me to do. Today I just shorten the pocket a bit and secure it with the waist band. Next trousers will be better.
proef broek practice trousers

Couldn’t zigzag over the edge of the toppocket part. I pinked it and gave it two rows od stitching:
proef broek practice trousers

BACK YOKE and pockets if I had them.

didn’t remove the pins from the back seam, the lower part. The two parts are still matched up beautifully.

Side Seams.

pin carefully, using the notches (aka hip line point etc.) Pin, sew, neaten, press to the back, topstitch.

wait, I wanted felled seams.

pin wrong sides together…..pff, they don’t match up very well. Here it shows how impottant it is to have the front pockets in the right position. That’s it, I’m done for the day.

next day: that’s quite alright, pinning the WS together. Means I get to do an easy fitting after basting them together.

Ah, but my seam line is marked on the WS so will be pinning RS together after all.

huh? sideseams don’t match at the top. Both front panel and back panel do seem to follow the pattern pieces exactly but Back is 1,5 cm shorter than front.

Trued the pattern, from “zithoogte” to bottom om waistband there’s indeed a difference between front and back piece….

proefbroek

Shortening the side seam frontpanel to match the back. Need to adjust the waistband then. .. well, it only needs 1 mm more width to cover the new curve. But the shape does need to be different. Cutting new pieces of front waist band.

t komt toch wel heel nauw hoe de pas op het achterpand wordt vastgezet. na spelden eerst kijken of de sideseams nog overeenkomen met het papieren patroon. Dat is nu niet zo dus ik heb het verschil gemiddeld in de naalijn.

back seam

sew, clip, pink, press.
Not topstitching yet, I discovered during pressing that I hadn’t followed the exact sewing line on one side:

proefbroek

Which is weird because the two pieces were still pinned together from when I cut the fabric. They were never apart.

I’ll try it on for fit first and then, if it’s ok, I’ll topstitch.

inner seam.

join at crotch, pin, sew…

proefbroek

there’s a huge difference at the front panels, where they meet up at the crotch. ?? I must have matched the cutting edge instead of the notches. How weird. I did some more weird things yesterday. Don’t sew when tired.

I can follow the right line but now the right front panel is a tad higher in the waist then the left one.

 

waist band

made a new pattern piece for the front. Making up for that too much height in just the side seams of the front panels. Adjusted block too.

Added facing. Forgot to put in a stay.

The Back seam of the waist band doesn’t line up properly. I divide the difference and sew down the middle:

proefbroekproef broek practice trousers

fitting

proefbroekproefbroek
proefbroekproefbroek

It’s a pair of trousers…. the first ones I ever made, apart from that muslin.

It’s quite wide at the top. Too roomy. The fit at the back is not good. Yoke is weird. Panels under the yoke are weird. Going to show my teacher and ask for advice.

Width of legs is ok? Not sure about the upper legs though, gotta ask my teacher. Could have a bit more flare in my linen trousers from this pattern. It isn’t very comfortable to sit in, the back rides down and it’s tight around my upper legs.

It doesn’t do my behind much favours. I have this beautiful curve in my lower back and then small buttocks and slender legs. Trousers should use that. These ones are quite baggy and hide these features. Especially from the back, it looks more like “mom-pants”.

Also, I think it should sit higher, at my waist line, not at the widest part of my tummy.

Overall not bad for first trousers. I’m really looking forward to having a fitting and hearing some professional opinions.

I like the look of the elongated front pockets.

 


door aangepaste (verkorte) sideseam voorkant de tailleband opnieuw tekenen. En 2 x uitknippen + 1 x verstevinging. Dus 4 x in stof en 2 x in vlieseline of in stof

 

 

next time

stay stitch waist band and yoke before construction

smoothen shape of waist band. Less pronounced bumps.

enlarge zip fly extensions. add zip guard. Follow Angela Kane’s Jeans Zip Fly – Ultimate Guid- Video Tutorial

Drafting trousers using the block

I’ve got my block. On paper I’ve got the steps I need to take to transform it into a pattern for trousers. Let’s get to it.

  1. copy block
  2. decide on wearing ease for the legs. This is from the horizontal hip guide downwards, I’m not changing the wearing ease upwards. I have one pair of trousers, linen, and their wide legs are 56 cm in circumference. My block is 40,5cm. I’m choosing 45 cm, for a pair of linen Summer pants with a bit of flair. I’m adding 1,1 cm to each side seam (curving it to the original line at the inner side seams). Plus a seam allowance of 1,5 cm should I want more width.
  3. waist how high? I want it in my waist line, but only at the back. Decrease 2 cm at CF and sideseams. None at CB.
  4. facing or waist band? waist band. With my sway back it’ll be always a band. 4,5 cm high. Well, what do you know, the band is as high as the triangle I had to take out at CB to accommodate my sway back.
  5. darts. usual people can make them disappear into the waist band and the itty bitty left over dart can me ignored or transferred to the side seam. I’m not sure since my darts are still pretty long and pretty wide. I’ll leave them in and ask to my teacher for comment.
  6. front pocket. I drew in a standard pocket: 10 cm wide, 7 cm high. Below the waist band. Standard jeans pocket. Then I measured the pocket on my comfortable linen trousers and found they are 7 wide and 10 deep. I like the look of these, they are slimming. I’m changing my pocket. The pocket consists of three pieces. I folded away the dart that’ll be still in the outer shell.
  7. zip facing. Add 2,5 cm to CF, this goes under. Facing stays above the curve in CF, the zip will be a short one. I’ve got one from 11 cm long (measured the teeth alone), from an old skirt. It matches the length of the zip on the linen Summer pants I’ve been wearing for 20 years now. The 11 cm is just the length between the waist band and the curve in CF. Mark 2,5 cm on the inside of CF, this will become the facing. I’m just drawing it in the shape I see a lot on the internet, haven’t got a clue otherwise. Watch tutorial about sewing a faced zipper. Angela Kane is very good.
  8. back pocket. Not doing one.
  9. yoke at the back. Frontseam 4 cm, CB 6 cm. Fold dart into it. If any dart is left you can fold it away in the side seam and CB. I have a dart left of 5,5 mm wide and 2,3 cm high. I move half of it to the side seam and half of it to CB. O my, so many yokes are possible! It’s a real design feature, apart from making the dart disappear. I made a bit of a straight yoke, I’m afraid. By default I made the line cross CB at a straight edge. Not the most flattering look it seems. Shall I alter?
  10. belt loops. Make 5 or 6, on the waist band. Look online how. Study where to place them.

Now to true the pattern. Just making sure all the curvy bits share the same curves (yoke and back panel, yoke and waistband, pocket and front panel etc.) With all the copying a curved line is bound to differ from the mate it’s supposed to match.

Next: sew a practise garment. I’ve got some bright orange bed sheets left. I’ll sew for fit and to gain some experience. If fit is alright I’ll sew up a real pair of trousers in one of the linens I bought. (Here are some photo’s on sewing the yoke with a felled seam.)

My existing trousers have a different pocket shape from standard jeans:
1

There’s even a front yoke. I like these trousers very much. The elongated pocket shape elongates my short figure. And the pockets are at a convenient height, I love to casual put my hands in them. In my pattern I chose the same shape of pocket but they are placed higher up since I didn’t dare to do a front yoke on my very first trouser pattern (and sewing).

Folding away the dart for the inside layers of the pocket:
2

Weird dart on the right, at CB, for sway back. Luckily it falls right within the waist band:
0

I’ve never sewn pants before. Only the muslin and the orange block toile. I’m going to watch tutorials about sewing pants from Angela Kane. She’s very good!

Sewing some parts of the Birds in Shoes Shirt.

Collar.

Using this tutorial from Sewaholic. Excellent work and site.
sleeve sleevecap fit shirt arm hole
I used fusible interfacing on this one.

I made the mistake all novice sewers make:
dreint a collar
I clipped too close to the edge and/or used a pointy thing to try and make a nice point.

Next time I’ll employ one of the tricks I found on the web. One is using a surgical clamp to get a good grip on the point before turning it inside out.
The other one is this beauty, from Off the Cuff, a blog about expert shirt sewing by Pamely Emy:

using a temporarily thread to catch the point.

collar point technique by Pamela Emy

Off the Cuff is a great site with expert information on sewing dress shirts. I’m sorry mrs. Emy doesn’t blog anymore, due to health issues I believe. I hope she still sews and has many good days.

My collar point topstitched:
dreint a collar

Sleeves.

I inserted my Crazy Comfortable sleeve pattern. I now think that the reason they actually work so well is because they’re on the bias… not so much because of the crazy pattern (wide flat shoulder cap. I say “flat” but it’s actually concave.) Anyway. Sewed them in. Pressed good. Added a single needle top stitch to secure the seam.

Now pinking the left over edge:
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How are these seams finished on high end dress shirts? Surely not serged/overlocked. Felled seams probably. Ah yes, I’ve found some things on the net, one of them, again, an excellent instruction from the Off the Cuff blog.

I’ve now ordered the book on which Sewaholic based her collar-tutorial was: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin.

51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_ I hope to learn much from it.

Zipper placket.
It’s not done, a zipper in a shirt. But my machine can’t make button holes and I don’t like to make them by hand. Not yet anyway. I’m sewing a zipper.

I’ve attached a separate placket for it. Did some folding to get the sequence right. The precise cutting I do was very helpful, I could just lay the edges against each other (“flush”?) and treat them as one.

First I attached the zipper to the front and the placket. Then I folded back the front and the placket and sewed a nice top stitch line. Which wrinkled as I progressed with the needle:

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Because you should always press. Duh.

After pressing it looked better and it sewed much better too:

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You could press the plackets first, to bring some idea of purpose into the band:
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Collar stand.
Upon fitting I saw how awful and weird the button plackets looked as they went up vertical above the zipper. Following the Centre Front line right up. Because that’s where all the buttons were supposed to go in the original pattern. I amended the pattern to not have overlapping plackets. But I didn’t amend it for height and it looks awful with the zipper not closing the gap all the way. (and you don’t want a zipper all the way to the top)

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I also found out that the collar stand I had cut didn’t fit the neck line anymore, it was too short. Don’t know how that happened as I followed the Knip pattern for the neck exactly because I hadn’t learned anything about necklines or collar (stands) yet.

I solved both by folding back the button (zipper) placket. Something else Not Done in sewing. It’s more of a dirty hack than anything else and I’m not proud. But it gets me a front that works and by now this shirt has become a wearable practise shirt so here goes:
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Fold away and topstitch in place. Awful. But functional.
Now I’ve got an acceptable shape at the front edges. (note to self: a next shirt with a zipper needs it to close a bit higher. About 5 cm.)

Now I could attach a collar stand that fits to that, I learned how to draw one at drafting lessons last Monday. No need though because the original collar stand now fits again, if I shape the rounded edges freehand. (Something else that’s going to get me in trouble. Symmetry is very important at this point of the body.)

Todays task is to finish those round edges of the collar stand and perhaps assemble the collar to it. Again using Sewaholic’s tutorials.

dreint a collar

I’ve trimmed the seams on the inside of the collar stand a bit. It was six layers thick and it will receive three more layers from the collar. That’s just too much difference from the single layer of fabric that’s the rest of the shirt.

Sewing: my little tips and tricks

  1. staystitch.
  2. guide stitch before folding and pressing.
  3. use guiding device on your machine (and cut precisely).
  4. use a small iron for pressing.
  5. lots of pins for a set in sleeve.
  6. sleeve cap fits the armhole.
  7. use a tailor’s ham for armhole pressing. Or fold some tea towels.
  8. use fusing interfacing when you’ve nicked the fabric.

Right after cutting your front and back panel: stay stitch the arm holes and neck line.
Run the machine off the fabric. Smooth the thread afterwards so the fabric and the thread are relaxed. The staystitching is right on the outside of the intended sewing line.
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Below you see the inside of my armhole: stay stitching on the seam allowance, seam on the seam line. If I want to I can nudge the seaming allowance, straight through the staystitching. It has done its job of preventing the armhole to sag before the sleeve was attached.
sleeve sleevecap fit shirt arm hole

Sew a guiding stitch line before folding over a side and pressing it. Good for hems. Good for button band plackets. Found a good video tutorial by Pam Howard here.

Cut the fabric precisely and use a guiding device on your machine. This is mine. Antique and precise:

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My seam ripper shows how precisely my fabric was cut. The two pieces lie exactly against each other with their edges.

 A small iron for pressing is bliss. This one is marketed to children and people with mental challenges (?). It’s perfect for me.

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As you can see I don’t have my ironing table out, I just work on the wooden table that’s in our front living room, with only a towel for protection. The wood is coated and can stand some heat. If I had to drag out the ironing table every time I wanted to sew I’d think of reasons to procrastinate.

If you don’t like working with heavy things, don’t work with heavy things.

Also: my iron is plugged into an electric plug in that has an on/off switch. Easier to switch than my iron, which you have to disconnect to power it down. The plug of the iron is a bit of a hassle to disconnect. Make life easy.

Use plenty of pins when pinning the sleeve cap to the armhole. Slowly sew across them, letting the needle find its own way.
sleeve sleevecap fit shirt arm hole
Best results are when the sleeve cap is as long as the armhole. There’s little reason to try and cram in extra ease into an armhole that’s not big enough. Better is a narrow fitting armhole and a sleeve cap to match.

Use a tailor’s ham for pressing. Two rolled up tea towels will do too. But a tailor’s ham is on my wishlist.
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Aargh! snipped into the fashion fabric! A little V-shaped cut.
Glue some fusing to the back. And the front. Cut the edges irregular. If it is too obvious just embroider around it in a strong colour and make it a feature.

inside:
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outside:
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Nobody knows but me.

Additional tip:
don’t eat chocolate when you’re in the habit of keeping pins in your mouth.
Chocolate spot right at the front of my button placket:
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Grey little flowers blouse: tackling the sleeve

Looking at http://fashion-incubator.com/sleeve_cap_ease_is_bogus/ I realized I had incorrectly lined up the seam of the sleeve with the side seam of the bodice. That shouldn’t be done when you have a rotated arm hole and/or sleeve.

So I folded the arm hole together and found its actual lowest point, somewhere in front of where the side seam is. (seam ripper points to side seam):

I lined up the seam of the sleeve with the lowest point, which is right opposite the shoulder seam. I pinned the sleeve on and sewed it in. (Sewing was very easy since there’s no ease to fidget in.)

The seam of the sleeve is a whole 4 cm (nearly 2 inch) in front of the side seam. In this picture the armhole seam runs horizontal and my fingers are on the side seam and on the sleeve seam:

Fitting: the newly positioned sleeve gives a nice silhouet. No puckering, no folds:

It’s now a bit more wearable but still not very good.

The shoulder seam is a bit to the back. At the front, where I took out the bust dart, there’s too much fabric flapping about, I could hide an orange in there.
In contrast I do not have enough fabric over my biceps/upper arm to move around comfortably. The fabric still stretches over my upper arm. It’s not pleasant to wear:

Suddenly I realize Fashion-Incubator is talking about jackets and her primary aim is to match up stripes between bodice and sleeve. Not so much wearing comfort. I may have gotten off on a false premise…

With the second sleeve I may be able to squeeze some wearing comfort out of the seam allowances. And I’ll use the arm hole with side bust dart this time, to position the arm hole better.

Trying to find the lowest part of the arm hole wasn’t as easy because of the bustdart. (seam ripper points to side seam):

But matching the edges together got me there. I marked the spot with a red pin, this is where I will place the seam of the sleeve.

Off to bed.

Next morning: CHANGE OF PLANS
After again reading the very informative post of Ikatbag on sleeve caps and wearing comfort I decide to do things differently. More thorough.

I rip the seam on the sleeve and look at it afresh as a pattern piece. I don’t press it because I need to be able to see the sewing line/seam allowance.

I measure the length of the sewing line on the existing sleeve. This line is 1,5 cm from the edge. Seam ripper marks the end to where I should measure the piece of white thread:

The thread is 49,5 cm long. This is the length of the sewing line. However I alter the sleeve cap, its sewing line should keep this length if I want a sleeve that will fit into the existing arm hole.

I measure the width of the sleeve, without seam allowances:

This part sits over my upper arm. It’s too tight, as the fitting showed. The thread is 35,5 cm long. The width of my sleeve is 35,5 cm.

I measure my upper arm, right at the arm pit. It’s 33,5 cm in circumference.
A sleeve of 35,5 cm wide at that point gives not a lot of ease but could be enough.

I raise my arm a bit and measure from where a sleeve would connect to the arm hole. It’s 33,5 cm long and I’m surprised. A sleeve in an armhole should be 33,5 cm wide. I probably did something wrong in this measurement.

Here I’m measuring the length of the sewing line on the existing arm hole (it’s 1,5 cm from the edge):

Add front and back. The seam ripper points to the end, I’m not adding the seam allowance. It’s 49,5 cm long. This is the exact length the sewing line on the sleeve cap has and should have. There will be no easing in, it’s just straight forward sewing. That’s good.

But now I do not yet understand why my sleeve (cap) is so ridiculously tight while the numbers fit, in theory. Time to look at the actual arm hole while it is on the body.

The arm hole should be flat against my body and as small as possible (but not as small as you would do for a knitted fabric, says Ikatbag).

It’s not as close fitting as could be:

There’s still room at the front, it could be brought upwards a bit. Also at the back: the edge of the fabric ought to be the sewing line. That’s an 1,5 cm difference.

Lots of room at the side seam too, it could be brought up higher:

I note how the hole should be altered in a next, new version of the paper pattern:

It’s actually quite a bit! 4,5 cm at the front and the side seam (nearly 2 inches!) and 1,5 cm at the back and also take out some of the curve.

No wonder the numbers of the sleeve don’t work at the moment. My armhole is not very good and I need the sleeve to compensate for it which it doesn’t.

I have the choice to draft a new arm hole and sew a whole new bodice. Or draft a new sleeve into this existing arm hole and have a blouse that’s not perfect but might well work. I opt for the second. I don’t have enough fabric nor cheerfulness to sew a whole new bodice. I will alter the paper pattern though, for the next blouse.

For the existing arm hole I take some new measurements. While wearing the bodice I place the cord at appropriate points and raise my arm. To find out how much width I actually want in my sleeve cap for this arm hole to work:

I need a sleeve that’s 38,5 cm wide instead of the 35,5 cm that it is now.

I also note where the tightness is. It’s not (only) at the width of the sleeve, it’s mainly at the sleeve cap itself. It will need another shape. Less curved. But still with a sewing line that’s 49,5 cm long.

I play around with how a thread of this length can yield different sleeve cap forms. Please look at iKatbag’s post for thoughts on how different shapes influence ease of movement.

Playing.

This sleeve is actually 38,5 cm wide when I measure from side to side and include seam allowances. 38,5 cm is the width my new sleeve will have (without seam allowances). I pin the thread with length 49,5 cm to the outer points and play some more:

This will be just about the shape of my new sleeve cap. Lower at the top than the original, bellowing out at the edges. At the sides, where the red pins keep the cord at the right length, it should be horizontal. For logical connection in the round.

On a new piece of cloth I mark in ball pen the new width of the sleeve: 38,5 cm + seam allowance of 2,5 cm on either side. At the sewing line I inserted the red pins holding the thread with the right length (49,5 cm).
I play with the cord until I found a pleasing curve, resembling the one that I found above:

Now I will add 2,5 cm seam allowance around it and then cut.

Cutting the sleeve down wards, towards the cuff, I will make it more slender. Not a straight line to the cuffs. I’m using a method of “slash and spread” which is usually used to make a sewing pattern piece bigger.

Here are the two sleeve caps next to each other:

Wider, less high, less curved and a seam allowance of 2,5 cm instead of 1,5 cm. Sleeve under the cap is a bit tailored, I don’t need all that extra fabric around my arm. My arm is just a size 38.
Sewing line on the cap is still 49,5 cm, it should fit into the armhole precisely.

Staystitching. Sew sleeve seam. Pin it to the arm hole. Sew it.

Fit:

Put in temporarily and in a slap dash manner but the main idea is evident: no stretching anywhere. Fabric bundles up a bit at the arm pit but that’s to be expected with this style. It’s the price for comfort.

Very comfortable forward motion. Enough room at the back. Bit of a wide sleeve at the (lower) arm though (not enough “slash and scrunch”).

I can lift my arm sideways higher and with less restriction on the upper arm:

compared to how high I can raise my arm with the old sleeve (and no bust dart):

It’s not a very beautiful thing, my new sleeve, when I raise my arm. The shoulder bundles up. The sleeve raises the whole blouse at the side. But it’s wearable now. I can move in this one.

I’ll take it out now and tweak it some more. The drag lines show where a bit more fabric would be nice. It’s at the point where the bust dart meets the arm hole. The arm hole has a dent there, it’s not a nice oblong.

I’d sewn in the sleeve observing all the original seam allowances: 1,5 cm for the arm hole and 2,5 cm for the sleeve.
I’m going to resew it and try to give it a bit more fabric at that dent, using the seam allowance. I’m also going to try and raise the arm hole at the side seam as much as possible.

If it sits better I’ll trim the seam allowances. This will help with the bundling up at the shoulder.

First I’ll take out the sleeve and trace it on paper. Also make notes on the paper pattern of the bodice.

New Sleeve and Armhole for Burda 6909 Blouse

Here is a RIDICULOUS GOOD EXPLANATION for why and how armholes and sleeves should be shaped: Ikat bag and her Kleenex box.

 pic by Ikat Bag. Go read the post, it’s truly excellent.

How I got to A NEW ARMHOLE.

Pinning the two side pieces together at the top of the sideseam, allowing them to pivot.

Alining them with a piece of rectangular paper, making sure that the grain lines run perfectly perpendicular. Secure with tape:

The resulting new armhole:

It’s more rotated forward than the original Burda armhole. The side seams are brought up higher, the whole is brought forward, with less curve at the back and with a shortened shoulder seam.

The idea is that the arm hole sits good and well against the body, it’s the sleeve that will do all the movement.

A NEW SLEEVE:

taking a piece of cord that matches the length of the armhole, 49 cm. That’s how long the upper curve of the sleeve must be. Not longer, not shorter.

I’m pleased to see it will bring the top of the shoulder cap down because a high shoulder cap might look stylish on a shirt but it’s meant for people who only keep their arms hanging down. Stylishly.

Boldly drawing the new shoulder cap. Freehand, based on the cord.

I went for width of sleeve of size 42, hoping to get more movement at the biceps. It didn’t. I could have gone with the 38 I originally cut and sewed. But then the cap would have come a tad higher too.

Notches were transferred too. I guessed that the top notch, indicating the shoulder seam, should remain in the same position. After attaching the sleeve I’m not so sure though. It was difficult fitting the sleeve in the armhole when insisting the top notch should be at  the shoulderseam.

SEWING the NEW SLEEVE inside the Burda bodice.

I couldn’t change the armhole of the Crazy Cat Lady Blouse, that was cut from the Burda pattern with a 1,5 cm seam allowance. But I could change the sleeves because I had a bit of fabric left and could cut a new pair of sleeves from it. The cats wouldn’t sit right side up but I prefer wonky cats over restriction of movement at the arms.

I took out the wrong sleeves and put them aside. They’re back in the fabric stash.

For the new sleeves I first traced the sewing line that fitted the armhole best, in orange thread:

the Backside:

Put in the first sleeve following these orange lines. Looks alright:

Still a bit restriction but better than the original sleeves:

Below is a comparison of both sleeves.
On the left the new sleeve, on the right still the original: straining around my arm. Even though, with the orange threaded stitch lines, the armhole is at a slightly better position than the Burda 6909 pattern prescribes:

Endresult for two new sleeves, after much difficulty putting in the second sleeve. (In the end I stitched it in by hand. It’s great how many times you can stitch and rip out this cotton fabric. It holds well.)

I lack the experience of easing in sleeves.

With another fabric I tried the whole new combination: new armhole, new sleeves.

The new armhole sat fantastic on my body!
When putting in the new sleeves I ran into trouble. The cap of the sleeve was bigger than the armhole. I thought I could work with this by making it less high, less curved. Because I had learned that the flatter it is, the more arm movement it gives.

This worked for one sleeve:

But with the second one I again had really difficulty easing it in. Changing the curve of the cap I followed a faulty line, now there’s a strange angle in there. The sleeve is not as comfortable as the other one. (But still better than Burda 6909).

I should probably take it out and resew it. And learn more about sleeves and about easing them in. Best would be to see someone doing it, watch some videos.