Sunday, July 31, 2011

sorbetto: day 2

Welcome back!

First up today, stay stitching.  What is that?  Stay stitching is a row of directional stitches, sewn just inside the seam line. It's used on curved or angled areas, like the neckline and armholes to prevent them from stretching out during handling. Our pattern only calls for us to do the neckline,  however, my fabric unravels pretty easily, so I'm going to do my armholes as well.

Check out the Simplicity site for more info, here (middle of the list)

Since our seam is 1/4" on the neckline, we'll do a 1/8" stay stitch line.  Uh, ignore that the below pic says 1/4", supposed to be 1/8", whoops!

You stitch with the grainline, so we will start at the shoulder seam and go to the middle, then stop.  Then start from the other shoulder and go toward the middle again.  Repeat on the back piece as well.

My fabric started to get caught up in the feed dogs of my machine, so if your fabric is sensitive too, just hand crank til you see it come out behind your presser foot.  Sometimes that happens when you sew so close to the edge of the fabric.

And you're done!  Don't forget to press all seams...

Next, the darts.  Let's get them out of the way, hahaha.

Remember the little slits we made?  

We're gonna take our ruler and draw a line from each slit to the tailor's tack

Creating a little triangle

Then we'll fold the dart, exactly in half, then press.  (Sorry, hope it's not confusing, these are pics of both the darts, in case you were wondering why they are reversed)

This is what it looks like if you unfold it

So, while on the fold, pin dart in place

Sew along marked line from seam toward tailor tack

Now, this is the tricky part, GO SLOW!  You will sew, following the line and sew off the fabric at the point (tailor's tack), kinda like you're driving off the road, ha.  
Leave the threads long when you cut them.

Do not backstitch.  It will look funky on the right side if you do, which is over your chest-not where you want weird stitches!!

This is your finished dart

And a close up

You can remove the tailor's tacks now.  Then take the two threads from where you sewed off the dart and tie them in a knot.  I make two knots at the fabric edge, then clip the threads.

Next, (almost done!!) you will iron your dart facing down and clip the tad bit of extra fabric on the seam


Repeat on the other dart.

Ooook, now, on to the center pleat, which is super easy.

Fold your top in half lengthwise, Wrong sides together, the Right side facing out.  Make sure all the edges match.  
You will mark 2" in from the fold line.  I like to make a bunch of small marks down the length, then join them with my ruler. Am I making any sense?

Pin down the length

Then sew down that marked line.  Press both sides of the seam. Open the pleat evenly over the seam and press the edges.  Try not to press over the center-it'll show the seam through the fabric. This is what you should have...

And this

The very last thing today, is to sew the top and bottom of the pleat closed.  I just went over the top of my stay stitching at 1/8"

And you're done!!  

For another look, you could do an inverted pleat like this...Inverted Pleat over at Casey's Elegant Musings-one of my favorite sewing blogs.

To do this, when you go to make the pleat, instead of putting the Wrong sides together, put the Right sides together, with the Wrong side facing out.  Then sew a few inches, she said she did 3 1/2". Press the pleat just like above.  It'll give you a more open, tunic look.

Any questions? 

Next up on Tuesday 8/2, sewing the shoulder and side seams, and seam finishes

Saturday, July 30, 2011

sorbetto: day 1!

Here we go, I'm so excited :)  Let's jump right in...

First up, getting the pattern ready.  Print it out, cut out each rectangle.  Then match up the numbered triangles and tape the pieces together.  Now get to cutting out your size!

Once you're all cut out, place the pattern pieces on your fabric.  I refold my fabric so it saves as much as possible.

Pin the pieces to the fabric or use pattern weights.  I like to pin first at the fold line and work my way out, tends to be more precise for me.  Then go ahead and cut into that fabric!!  

Next, we'll transfer all the markings to the fabric. Like these wee notches.  Cut out on both pattern pieces.(This is the back's only marking)

And the darts.  Find your size on the dart triangles, then clip the two "legs" that form the triangle, making a tiny slit about 1/4" into the fabric

Then we have to mark the point of the dart.  And we're gonna use my favorite method, a tailor's tack.  
Grab a hand needle, and use a contrasting thread about 4-6 threads thick.  We're going to put the needle through the point of the dart in your corresponding size and through all layers.

Now see how you have two distinct parts of the thread? Hold one of those to keep on the top, and pull the needle through all layers to the bottom

When you take the pattern piece off, gently (!), and before you unfold, pull the two layers of fabric apart, just a smidge til you see the thread in the middle, then clip it

When you unfold the top, you should see this on the top and bottom and both sides of the fold line

Now you can unfold the top completely and you have both pieces done, yay!

Now for the bias tape!  I make mine 1" wide and it's worked perfectly. It doesn't even take a lot of fabric :)  You should be good with 80-85 inches of tape.  

First, lay out more fabric, grab a ruler and your marking pen or chalk pencil

Get as much on the true bias as you can. (I ended up making way too much, ha)

Once you have it all marked up, cut them out!

Then we're going to trim the ends square

Now take all these to the sewing machine to attach.  You will put one strip on top of the other at a right angle. The strip in front is on top of the back one.  Sew from corner to corner where the strips overlap. Do a reverse stitch at each end to secure.

This is what it looks like after sewing

Then open and repeat.  If you don't open before you add another strip, they'll be sewn on backwards. Yeah, know from experience.  But at least it's not a lot of seam to rip out if you mess up!

When you're done sewing all the strips together, take to the ironing board and press the seam open

Then pink the seam allowance so it doesn't unravel.  Be very careful not to cut through the strip, I've almost done this a lot.  How cute are those lil seams?

Then you're done for the day!

Ozzie wanted to wish everyone good luck! 

(It's really his "mom, are you done so we can go on a walk?" face)

Any questions?

Friday, July 29, 2011

tips and techniques

I'm sure most of you already know this stuff, but I'm gonna go basic on you for a minute.  Here are a few sewing tips that will take your projects to the next level.  I only learned the hard way, yeah, things I would never wear...


After you've pre-treated your fabric, and before you have cut into it, you need to make sure your fabric is on the grainline. I could get all technical, but why rewrite the book...

This website is great and straight forward explaining what it is, here
And a great story of cutting off grain, here

Pattern pieces have an arrow showing which direction to lay them out. The arrow will go on the straight grain, parallel to the selvage.



This is probably the most important aspect of sewing, that prevents your garment from looking home made.

Before you lay out your pattern pieces, make sure to iron.  If there are wrinkles you'll have wonky pieces cut out.
Then, after each seam you sew, press.  No, seriously, you need to press as you sew.  The stitches are kind of like 3D, when you press, you meld/blend/fuse the stitches into the fabric, making the seam smooth. Does that make sense?
It sounds like a lot, but the fact is you will spend as much time pressing as you do sewing.  It will make the biggest difference in the look of your finished piece.

This article highlights different types of pressing here
Great video on pressing here
And a favorite because of her tough love attitude on pressing, haha, here

Careful with delicate fabrics, use a pressing cloth or piece of scrap fabric not to damage.  Shininess can occur.


Not a huge fan of sewing darts.  Dunno why.  Maybe cause I usually mess them up?  Eh, I have found when I sew slower, I don't screw them up as much, go figure.  But they are a necessary part of making clothes fit to our curved shape.  They take away the extra fabric just where we need it.

Threads Magazine has a great video tutorial on how to sew them, here
And from the Colette blog that brings you the Sorbetto, just posted today, here

Bias binding

Bias refers to a diagonal direction between the lengthwise and crosswise grains.  True bias is 45 degrees.  If you didn't read the first article listed for grainline info above, it talks about bias as well. What I find immensely fun in a true nerd way, is the stretch you get of bias!  It's just kinda cool how fabric can do that.  
The stretch from bias tape can be easily applied to curved areas, not so much if it was on the straight grain.  That would not be a fun sewing adventure.

bias made from vintage scraps

and stretched-weeee!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

notions and tools and prep

Notions and Tools

Our pattern calls for the usual notions and tools:  main fabric, bias tape (made or bought), thread, pins, pattern weights, shears and marking tool.  Personally, I don't use weights much, cause I don't have a rotary cutter yet; I just pin the pattern to the fabric.  But if I do, I just use cans of food, hey why pay for weights when you have stuff around the house that works!

Here's a few basic sewing tools that I consider necessary.  I highly suggest having all these at the very least...

shears: dress makers and pinking

marking tools: fabric pen and chalk pencil

measuring tools: clear ruler, seam gauge, measuring tape

and of course the seam ripper!


Before you start cutting and sewing, you need to pre-treat your fabric-basically wash and dry it.  The advice I've always found is treat it how you will a treat it after it's sewn.  If you plan to wash and dry a particular way, do it like that.  If you plan to dry clean, then you can skip the wash/dry phase and dry clean it after wearing it.
I can't stress how important this is.  Cause it sucks big time if it shrinks after all the time (and money!) you spent making it.

I've got mine all ready to go...

In the "Snippets" from the Colette Blog (can you tell I love that company?), the owner suggested getting everything ready before you sit down at your machine.  It was like a lightbulb going off to me, haha. Like running out of bobbin thread cause I was too lazy to wind a second bobbin, or not making my bias tape before starting to sew.  It just slows your roll and breaks the concentration.

So we'll have all our tools handy, fabric pre-treated, and bobbins wound.  And beverage of choice obviously (just keep it away from the fabric, ha).

I found that the Sorbetto takes about 1 1/2 bobbins, got them wound up and ready to go, too!

So, who else has bought their fabric??  Send me pictures and I'll post them-getting excited to see what everyone has chosen!

EDIT  Pins and Hand Needles!  How could I forget??  These are of course part of the basic toolkit!