Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: Create Short Puffed Sleeves On The Everyday Top

The Everyday Top is exactly that. It's the perfect laid back top for everyday!  The pattern is loaded with neckline options so no two tops need to look the same.  I chose to make this top with a sweet Peter Pan collar.  Today I'll be showing you an easy way to make one more modification to the everyday top making it perfect for year round wear.  Keep reading to learn how to modify the pattern's long, slim sleeve into a short, puffed sleeve! 

Modifying the sleeve takes a few steps but, is easier than you might think.  I'll be using the slash and spread method to create a classic puffed sleeve similar to that on Baby's Party Dress.  Because I am not a pattern drafter, I referred to the Girl's Peasant Top pattern for an approximate sleeve inseam on a puffed sleeve. I am making a size 3 for Sweet Pea. You may need to shorten or lengthen the sleeve length slightly for other sizes.  Ready? Let's go:

Shorten, Slash, and Spread the Sleeve Pattern:
  1. Grab the Everyday Top sleeve pattern piece and trim to the size needed, in my case, size 3.  
  2. Measure and mark the sleeve length.  My underarm sleeve length is 2 3/4".  I curved the line up ever so slightly closer to the center fold line.  Think 1960's puff sleeve instead of 1980's. 
  3. Trim the sleeve length on the line drawn.
  4. Draw a guide line perpendicular to the center fold line.  This will allow for keeping the pieces in line when spreading.
  5. Now we are ready to draw our spreading lines.  Draw a vertical line half an inch in from the center fold.  Draw a second, third and fourth line each one inch from the previous line.
  6. Before cutting the sleeve apart (this is the slashing part!), it is helpful to number each section as it is important to keep them in the correct order. Then cut on each slash line drawn. You should now have five sleeve sections.
  7. Next, spread the sleeve sections on a separate piece of paper. Using the guideline drawn in step 4 to keep the pieces aligned, tape each piece with a one inch gap between them. Almost done!
  8. Next we will add a little height to he cap of the sleeve, allowing it to puff. Measure 1/2" up from the top of the center fold side of  the sleeve. Then continue the curve to meet up with the right hand, top corner of the first sleeve section. Connect the sleeve section on the hem edge and we have successfully slashed and spread a sleeve. Congratulations!

  9. Add a notch to the pattern piece at the edge of section 1. This will be where gathering threads start and stop. Be sure to transfer the notch to the sleeve as you cut it out.
  10. Cut out the sleeve. Congratulations! You have successfully slashed and spread a sleeve! Cut out two sleeves on the fold as you would for the original, long sleeve. Make sure and remember to mark the notch.

Sewing a Short Puff Sleeve:

Sewing a short, puff sleeve is easy, there are just a few modifications from the Everyday Top instructions.  Assemble the top up to the point of setting in the sleeve. Then follow these simple instructions:
  1. Sew two rows of gathering threads, at 3/8" and 5/8", between the notches on the top of the sleeve.
  2. Hem the sleeve with a folded casing by folding up 1/4" then another 1/2" and stitch close to the folded edge.
  3. Set in the sleeve. Match the center points and edges. Place another pin at the notch, this will be close to the yoke seam but not necessarily lined up.
  4. Gather the sleeve to fit. Stitch and finish this seam.
  5. Insert 1/4" elastic in the hem casing. I used 8" for my size 3.  I again referred to the Girl's Peasant Top for a guideline on elastic length. As you thread the elastic through the casing, stop to secure the elastic before it disappears inside the casing by stitching through the hem and elastic about 1/4" from the edge. Continue threading elastic through and secure on the opposite side in the same manner. 
  6. Sew and finish the side and sleeve inseam in the manner describe in the Everyday Top pattern.
  7. As a final step, secure the seam allowance on the sleeve casing with a few stitches to help it lay flat and be less bulky.
  8. Finish according to the Everyday Top pattern instructions.  Hooray, it's done!

I lengthened Sweet Pea's top by a little bit knowing that she outgrows everything in length long before width. Then I whipped up a pair of Sterling Leggings (shortened to capri length) for a complete outfit.  Now go grab some fabric and try it for yourself. With this simple modification the Everyday Top also becomes the "Every-Season Top"!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: A Brief Overview of Selvedges

Selvedges... most seamstresses surely know what selvedges are, they are the lengthwise edge of fabrics specially woven not to fray, but why are they there and what can be done with them?

For the word lovers like me, we turn to Wikipedia for a little historical information.   Selvage and selvedge are both proper spellings. Selvage is the American English spelling, while selvedge is British English.   Both words are a 'corruption' of the term 'self-edge', which makes complete sense, and has been used for centuries!  While I am American, personally I prefer, and always use, the British spelling.

For the technical reader who wants to know what and why, here you have it. The woven threads that run the length of fabric are called warp. Threads that go across the width of fabric are weft. Selvedges are defined as the finished edges of fabric that will not fray because the "weft threads are double back on themselves and are looped under and over the warp." 

Selvedges also contain helpful information. Most selvedges tell the fabric collection name, designer, and manufacturer. They also contain circles (or other fun shapes) of color showing each color that was used to print the fabric.

Most often fabrics have one white selvedge with all this fun information while the other selvedge is often printed along with the fabric.

Selvedges typically should not be used in finished garments.  Because they are woven differently than the rest of the fabric, they are often thicker and also shrink differently. Cutting off the selvedges is easy.  They are typically about a 1/2 inch wide.  For the information edge, simply trim along the print and white border.  On the opposite selvedge, flip the fabric to the back side to see where the weave looks different, just inside the row of holes where the loom hooks held the roll of fabric.

Finally, what can be done with those cute, fun strips of selvedge? They are great for making ribbons for pretty packages, or why not try an easy garment tag!  Because they will not fray, treat the selvedge strip as you would a ribbon tag.  Cut about a 1 1/2" strip, fold in half to form a loop and insert the edges into the seam.

Fabric is Best in Show by Maude Asbury for Blend Fabrics
 and was provided to us for promotional purposes
I always add tags to my clothing.  Even if I can easily identify front from back, my children cannot and much appreciate having a tag to help them out!

The Tie Dye Diva Easy Twirl Skirt is  a quick and easy skirt for showcasing fun fabrics like Best in Show by Maude Asbury featuring cute cats and dogs in chic pink, mint and coral.  The Easy Twirl Skirt is one of my go to patterns for a quick birthday gift! But, did you know it is also FREE? That's right, folks.  If you've never tried one of Jen's patterns, download this one now and you will be hooked forever!

Make sure you follow Tie Dye Diva on Pinterest and be sure to especially check out our Free Sewing Tutorials board!  Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Bind a Knit Neckline

Do you ever feel like switching it up, just to make your favorite pattern a little different?  Then today's Tutorial Tuesday is for you.  Today I am showing you how to make a bound neckline for the Opal Knit Flutter, Zee's Tee or any other knit neckband.

I'm using the Opal Knit Flutter for my example today.  Begin by cutting and constructing the garment per instructions up to the point of adding the neckband.  I constructed my Opal a little out of order, so you'll see that it is entirely done with the exception of the neckband.

Follow these simple steps to make bound neckline:

  • Sew the center back seam of the neckband to form a loop and mark quarter points on the both the garment and neck binding, as directed in the pattern.
  • Pin the binding right sides together with the garment neckline matching quarter points.

  • Sew using a 3/8" seam allowance, gently stretching the neck binding to fit the neck hole edge. Take care not to stretch the neck hole. I sewed this seam with a twin needle for maximum stretch-ability.  You can also use a zigzag or stretch stitch.

  • Flip the binding up over the seam allowance.  Wrap it over the edge and to the inside of the garment.

    • Pin at several pints.
    • Topstitch from the right side. I used a twin needle for topstitching too. A twin needle is my preferred top stitching method for knit (I don't own a coverstitch), but any stretching stitch will work. You just need to ensure that the neckband can stretch over the head without popping stitches.

    • If necessary, trim any excess neck binding on the inside close to the stitching.
    • Give it a good shot of steam and you are done!

    I like how sturdy this neck binding feels and I just like to switch up sewing techniques from time to time.  Try it out and let us know what you think!  Don't forget to make a matching headband using Jen's free headband tutorial.

    Here's a couple other knit sewing tutorial you might also enjoy:

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    Tutorial Tuesday: Sewing a Continuous Lap Placket

    Adding a placket into the skirt portion of a dress allows the dress to open wider, which can be handy when dressing wiggly toddlers or struggling with kids with big noggins. There are a few methods of adding a placket. One that I teach in several Tie Dye Diva patterns is the “continuous lap placket”. It takes a bit of skill and practice, but forms a durable, attractive and functional ‘vent’ into the skirt. You’ll find this method outlined in, for example, The Everyday Top pattern, Baby’s Party Dress Pattern, and Fair and Square Dress and Top pattern for Baby. Here’s how to add this type of placket to any pattern where you might want more room for it to go over the child’s head.

    Before we start, let me point out that there’s another benefit to having a placket in a skirt – whether you have an overlapping button-back bodice or an abutted button-and-loop bodice, the placket allows you to enclose the skirt/bodice seam between the bodice and bodice liner for a really nice finish. So we’ll do this today also.

    I’m sewing the Butterfly pattern with this gorgeous fabric provided to me from the Natural Wonder collection by Josephine Kimberling for Blend Fabrics. (Would Tim Gunn say I am too literal?) 

    As a personal preference for this garment, I’m adjusting the pattern to make it an overlapped bodice with an enclosed skirt seam, but as I said before, this is optional when adding a placket. So, I added ½” to each back bodice for button extension before I cut my pattern pieces, and interfaced this area.

    On your bodice, you’ll want to first press the edges of all of the bodice liner pieces under 3/8” to the wrong side. For the Butterfly dress, the curved bodice requires one extra step. Sew a line of staystitches along the curve, 3/8” from the edge. This might feel kind of odd if you haven't done it before - you are not sewing anything to anything else. Just sewing a line of stitching. Now, use a steam iron to press 3/8” under to the wrong side, using the line of stitches as your guide. See how easily they turn under right along that stitched line? That's what it's for.

    Sew the bodice as set forth in the pattern and set it aside.
    Cut your skirts as set out in your pattern. For the Butterfly pattern, go ahead and use the skirt cutting template to cut out that concave curve in the top.

    Find the center back of your back skirt, and draw a line 1.5” long with a dot at the end of the line. After seam allowances, a 1.5” line will give you a 1” long placket and 2” total of extra circumference for putting the dress on. You can make this longer (or as short 1”) but be aware that a long placket on a classic length bodice might make a too-breezy gap.

    Cut a placket from matching fabric 4” long x 1.25” wide . (If you’ve cut your slit longer or shorter, the length of your placket should be twice the length of your slit, plus 1.5”, and the same width.) Stitch all the way around the line you drew, ¼” from the line. Carefully cut down the length of the line, and make two angled cuts from the tip of the line to the very corners of your stitching to form a “Y” shape.

    Now you can open this slit into a straight line.

    Don’t let all the steps and photos that follow scare you away. All we are really doing in this next bit is enclosing that raw edge the same way we’d enclose an edge with double-fold bias tape.

    Now I’m switching to contrasting fabrics for sake of the tutorial. Lay the open slit against the placket strip with right sides together. Your placket piece should be just a bit longer and this is fine, we’ll cut the excess later – we just don’t want it too short. Pin (or use fusible or wash away tape) and then stitch the placket strip to the slit ¼” from the raw edge, right over the existing stitches. In the photo the real stitches are shown in black and the white is where you should sew now. It is correct that at the peaks of the “Y” (which now looks more like a “W”) there will be only a few threads of your fabric between your stitching line and the inner peaks of the “W”. Go slow and smooth with your fingers so that you don’t stitch creases into the seam.

    Press the placket strip up toward the seam. Then, turn the remaining long raw edge of the placket ¼” and press (both of these steps shown in top photo). Finally, turn and press ¼” again to cover the stitching line (bottom photo). 

    Pin or use fusible/tape to hold this in place, and stitch from the right side of the fabric 1/8” from the seam edge, being sure to catch the folded edge on the other side.

    As a final step, fold the placket into its V-shape and turn the left-hand side of the placket to the wrong side of the skirt fabric (this is for a back bodice with buttonholes on the left and buttons on the right). Press, and baste the top edge to hold it in place. You can trim any extra placket binding sticking up at the top.

    Finish your pattern to the point you are ready to attach the skirts to the bodice. Pin the skirts to the bodice with right sides together, keeping the lining out of the way.

    When I pin the placket in place, I like to scootch it just to the inside of the back bodice edges for easiest turning.
    Sew in place using the ½” seam allowance. Press seam allowances toward the bodice, and fold the liner down so it just covers the line of stitching you just sewed. Pin or use sewing tape such as Wash Away Wonder Tape or Stitch Witchery to keep the liner in place. 
    What is this Wonder Tape of which she speaks?

    From the right side of the fabric, stitch along the bodice about 1/8” from the seamline, ensuring you catch the folded edge of the bodice liner on the inside. This is a little tricky on the curved bodice of the Butterfly dress, but go slow, check that you are catching the liner, especially near the armholes. 

    I added snaps to this little dress. Look how pretty inside (top photo) and out.

    And how terribly cute on. (Thank you Joyful Moments Photography by Thea!)
    Butterfly Baby Top and Sterling Shorties
    Hope you’ve enjoyed Tutorial Tuesday!