Saturday, 26 September 2015

Attaching a band collar

Today I'll show you how to attach the collar you prepared here. You can use this technique for any kind of stand up or flat collar.
The front of the garment and shoulder seams have been finished, and we're ready to attach our collar!
Attaching a collar tutorial 1
It can be helpful to topstitch around the neckline, especially when working with thin fabrics. This will help the neckline keep its shape while sewing and also help you match the two edges together correctly.
Attaching a collar tutorial 2
Grab your collar and make sure that it's the collar and not the undercollar that's facing the right side of your garment. Undercollar is on top. Flip up the seam allowance and line up the edges. It's so important that the edges match exactly, which is why I sometimes tack the ends in place first before sewing the rest of the collar.
Attaching a collar tutorial 3
Attaching a collar tutorial 4
Pin the entire collar in place, matching any notches. Stitch.
Attaching a collar tutorial 5
Press the seam from the right side and turn the garment so that inside is out. The inside should look like this. If you're working with a stand-up collar you will need to clip into the seam allowance to allow it to follow the collar shape. Our collar is going to lay flat against the body so no need for clipping.
Attaching a collar tutorial 6
Now you'll need to tuck under the raw edge of the undercollar. Pin from the right side. Make sure the folded edge overlaps the previous seam by about 2 mm (1/16").
Attaching a collar tutorial 7
Keep the pins close together, this will make sewing easier. Remember to pin in the direction of sewing!
Attaching a collar tutorial 8
Now you can go ahead and topstitch all edges of the collar. If you prefer a clean look with no visible topstitch, keep reading below.
"Stitch in the ditch" from the right side, catching the undercollar edge underneath. Stitch right along the seam so that the stitch disappears in the crease. You can gently pull the fabric apart when sewing to make sure the stitch will not be visible. The trick is not to catch the collar, keep the stitch slightly more on the garment side.
Attaching a collar tutorial 9
Here we are, all finished.
Attaching a collar tutorial 10
View from the inside.
Attaching a collar tutorial 11
After a careful final press the stitch has disappeared a bit more into the crease.
Attaching a collar tutorial 12
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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Band collar tutorial

I'm making a (yet another) test sample of my latest pattern that will be released in a few weeks. It has a band collar that lays flat against the body. You can follow this tutorial to make a mandarin collar, stand-up collar or any kind of a band collar, basically anything that only has the collar stand without the folded collar piece. Such as in this pattern and this. I guess it's clear I love these types of collars!
Before starting you'll need to apply interfacing. Whether you should apply it to the undercollar or main collar piece is debatable. I advise to apply it to the main collar, because this is the part that will be visible and needs to look crisp and sharp. You can also apply it to both pieces, or better yet use a non-fusible in the middle.
I have actually skipped the interfacing here because I'm working with silk that is slightly sheer and I don't want the interfacing to show through. (This doesn't mean it's ok never to use any, it remains to be seen how this poor collar will look!)
So, let's get started. The undercollar is usually cut in two pieces which need to be sewn together.  Make sure right sides are facing, and match any notches.

Press the seam open.

Place undercollar on top of main collar, right sides facing. and matching notches.

Starting at 1 cm / 3/8" from the edge (or whatever seam allowance you use) stitch the ends and inner edge of collar. Ignore the black thread, there will be another tutorial later to explain its function!

Now you'll need to clip into the seam allowance, this will help the collar turn neatly. Trim away the corner if your collar has one. (I will use this technique instead since I'm working with a delicate silk).

I also trim the entire seam allowance down to about 4-6 mm (1/4" or a bit less). If working with a thicker fabric grade the seam allowance: only one seam allowance is trimmed narrower.

Over to the ironing board and press the seam carefully, pressing the seam allowance towards the undercollar. I like to gently pull the seam apart when pressing to make sure there are no puckers.
Next up, understitching. If you are going to topstitch the entire collar in the end, you are allowed to skip this step. (Only this one time, otherwise understitching is never to be skipped!) I usually avoid visible topstitches where possible so for me there's no skipping. Stitch right next to the previous seam, again gently pulling the seam apart to make sure everything is laying flat. If your collar has a corner you will not be able to understitch at the corner. Just go as close as you comfortably can.

Since I've trimmed my seam allowance down to non existent I sometimes need the help of my little friend the seam ripper to keep the fabric in place when feeding it through.

And here you have it, the understitching has secured the seam allowance to the undercollar and will be doing wonders in keeping the collar edge stiff and keeping the undercollar on the underside.

Right side view.

Over to the ironing board again. Regardless of whether you have understitched or not, you'll want to press the seam so that it rolls a little bit to the side of the undercollar and is not visible from the collar side. This is just one of those important little details that will help take your sewing from "homemade" to "couture".

Press the corner into a nice shape.

Now you have a finished collar ready to be attached. Continue to part II on how to attach the collar to the neckline.
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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Fabric tip - Polyester crepe

Wool crepe is one of my absolute favourite fabrics, but polyester crepe is a great, wallet-friendly alternative. It’s woven from hard spun yarn which gives it a crisp, textured surface. Unlike most polyester fabrics this one has a matte finish, making it look a lot more expensive than it really is.

Fabric tip - polyester crepe image 1

Fabric tip - polyester crepe image 2

Fabric tip - polyester crepe image 3

Ideal projects vary from tailored suits to floaty dresses and tops. I would recommend taking advantage of the beautiful drape and using it for dresses and skirts with wide hems.

The drape might fool you into thinking this is a light weight fabric, but it comes in a variety of weights. Because of the rough texture you might end up with quite bulky seams so grading seam allowances is recommended.

Just remember, polyester is still polyester. It won’t keep you warm and it’s certainly not eco-friendly. On the other hand it’s hard wearing so you'll end up with a garment that will last for decades - provided you sew it well!

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Monday, 17 August 2015

French seam tutorial

Today I'm sharing my favourite seam finish: the french seam. It's a great way to hide all raw edges using only a simple straight stitch. It's ideal for sheer and delicate fabrics since the seam will look beautiful from both sides and is very durable. It's simply something you have to learn!

I use 3/8" ( 1 cm ) seam allowances as standard, but for french seams you'll probably want to add a bit more. Here, I've used 1/2" ( 1,2 mm ). Add more if you're not used to sewing narrow seams, and adjust the measurements below. For straight seams you can use any width, but if you're using french seams for curved edges make sure you don't end up with a seam wider than 1/4" ( 6 mm ).

With wrong sides facing, sew 1/4" ( 6 mm ) cm from the edge. Trim seam allowance down to 1/8" ( 3 mm )

French seams tutorial image 1

Press seam open.

French seams tutorial image 2

Flip over so that right sides are facing.

French seams tutorial image 3

Make sure that the previous stitch line runs along the center of the fold and press.

French seams tutorial image 4

Sew 1/4" ( 6 mm ) cm from the edge. Seam allowance will be encased in the fold.

French seams tutorial image 5

And there you have it! A couture finish that any beginner can easily learn.

French seams tutorial image 6

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Friday, 12 June 2015

The blog is moving house!

We have moved the blog and tutorials to our new and improved website!

For our Bloglovin followers, no need to do anything, the address will be automatically updated.

Everyone else, please update your bookmarks.

We’re excited about all the new content we’ve been working on. Click on the image below for the latest tutorial.

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Gathering tutorial

Gathering is one of the most essential skills when making garments. It creates fullness, or can be used instead of darts for contouring.

To determine how much fullness you want to achieve test the fabric first. Generally, 1 1/2 to 2 times the measurement is a good guide line, but a thicker fabric might simply refuse to gather very much at all.

Do two parallel rows of stitches with longest possible stitch length. You can use a contrasting thread colour. If your seam allowance is 3/8” (1 cm), do the first stitch 1/4” (6 mm) from the edge, and the second stitch 1/2” (1,5 cm) from the edge. The stitches should end up one on each side of the seam line. If you’re gathering long pieces such as an entire skirt, do separate stitches for back and front pieces. Backstitch at one end and leave a long tail of thread at the other end. Don’t cheat by doing just one line of gathering stitches! Your gathers will look much better with two lines of stitches, not to mention it will be easier to sew.

Gathering tutorial image 1

You’ll need to make sure that the gathers are evenly distributed. If you don’t have pattern markings to help with this, measure and mark 1/2 and/or 1/4 on both the edge to be gathered, and the edge the gathering will be attached to.

Gathering tutorial image 2

Place the piece to be gathered on top and match the 1/2 and 1/4 markings.

Gathering tutorial image 3

Gathering tutorial image 4

Now you can start gathering! Gently pull from the two top threads and push the fabric with your other hand. Distribute the gathers evenly. 

Gathering tutorial image 5

When you’re happy with how the gathers are distributed and the lengths of fabric edges match, knot the ends of threads together to secure the gathering and use plenty of pins to attach the fabric in place.

Gathering tutorial image 6

Gathering tutorial image 7

Stitch the two layers together between the two gathering stitches. (Remember to change stitch length back to normal!) Finish the raw edge with your preferred method.

Gathering tutorial image 8

Use a seam ripper to cut the gathering thread in a few places and pull gently to remove. This is where the contrasting thread makes things easier. 

 Gathering tutorial image 9

Give it a quick press and you're all done!
Gathering tutorial image 10
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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Paper patterns - Fresh from the print house

I know what I'll be doing this weekend: Packing orders!

7 of our patterns are now available as beautiful paper patterns and we are already working on extending the range. We've put a lot of work into them and are quite proud of the results. Our patterns will also be available in shops all over the world so check with your local sewing shop soon!

We've heard your requests and added seam allowances. We've also worked on the instructions and added more step-by-step illustrations. If you're not a fan of tissue paper patterns (I'm not!) you'll be happy to know that our patterns are printed on durable quality paper.

Salme paper patterns 1
Salme paper patterns 2
Salme paper patterns back
Salme paper patterns instructions

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