Monthly Archives: June 2012

A yellow dress shirt

After two fitting muslins (aka mock-up, toile) to perfect the pattern, I made this dress shirt for my husband out of yellow and reddish batiked cotton.  He said it didn’t breathe, I said it is cotton, but he was wearing it on a day that was almost 80 degrees.

Here are the steps I used to sew and dress shirt.

First, I washed and dried the fabric.  I didn’t preshrink the interfacing in a bowl of hot water (I didn’t think about it and this particular one doesn’t come with instructions).  It’s French Fuse and around 60″ wide, if anyone wants to know.  Many interfacings are only around 22″ wide.  Then I pressed the fabric, folded it, and laid it out flat on my cutting mats.

Now, read this: You can do a test yourself of how a particular pattern piece turns out after you cut it out if you lay down the pattern piece and put weights on it or if you lay it down and pin it.  I never pin a pattern piece to the fabric.  I lay it down and put weights on it.  Then I trace around the pattern and remove it.  When I cut, I cut the line off.  I don’t cut around the outside of the line (it will add to the size of the pattern piece) nor do I cut in the middle of the line (same).  I cut the line off.  And I’m not the only one who does.

So, after I laid down, marked, and cut out all the shirt pieces, I fused the interfacing to all the pieces that needed it.  Then I started sewing. 🙂

I made separate pattern pieces for the interfacing, which was needed especially for the center front of each front piece, but it makes cutting easier. Here, the center fronts have been fused and pressed to fold over to the inside to form the button and buttonhole plackets.  Then the plackets were stitched.  You could also fold them to the outside, like on some shirts, which means you’d put the interfacing on the other side.  (I’m not sure if all dress shirts have interfacing here, but interfacing stabilizes and strengthens the areas where it’s applied.)

Here, the collar and under collar have been fused and stitched together, the pocket has been pressed and its hem stitched, and the tucks on the back have been basted into place.

The back has been sandwiched between the yoke and yoke facing and pinned.

The tucks on the sleeves (at the wrist end) have been basted into place.

Pocket pinned to left shirt front. Yes, I know my stitching isn’t straight.

Now the pocket has been stitched to the front.

A view of the yokes sewn to the back.

The under cuffs stitched to the cuffs.

Before the collar is completely turned right side out, I understitched it. This means I pushed the seam allowances of both the collar and the under collar toward the undercollar and stitched through the seam allowances and the undercollar, but not the collar.

Collar and yoke.

The collar more up close.

The cuffs ahve been understitched, turned, and pressed.

Detail of the cuff understitching.

These next several photos show the steps for the sleeve placket, that little finished slit above the cuffs.  You might not find this method used on many women’s blouses.  Often the slit is finished with one piece of bias tape that is then stitched flatter at the top of the slit or a slightly more complicated method.  The 3rd method, which I’m using, is the most complicated, and used on most men’s dress shirts.  If you have one handy, you can take a look at it.  It isn’t super complicated, but does require several steps.

First, a little rectangular piece of fabric is sewn to the sleeve right next to where the slit is going to be, on the underlapping side.

Cut the slit.

Press that rectangle so it will end up binding its side of the slit, so toward the slit then to the other side of the sleeve.

From the other side, and press under enough so that no raw edges will show.

It finishes its side of the slit.

Sleeve placket under binding pressed and stitched.

This is the sleeve placket over binding piece. Looks weird, doesn’t it?

Sew the shorter of the two long edges to the other side of the slit, right side facing the wrong side of the sleeve.

From the other side.

Over binding turned and pressed. You press it so it’s folded along the middle and the smaller upper point is behind the larger upper point, and the long side and points are pressed under.

After you press it, stitch it like this and press again. Make sure you have the underlapping side under it, but don’t catch the under side until you’re at the top of the overlapping side.

The same as above but from the wrong side of the sleeve. See how the underlap is caught under the overlap?

OK, on to the rest of the shirt.

The yoke has been sewn to the fronts and the yoke facing has been pressed under so it can be topstitched.

The collar/undercollar assembly (the collar) is sandwiched between the collar band and collar band facing and pinned.

The collar band and collar band facing have been sewn to the collar.  The shape of the collar is such that my husband can tie a thick knot in a tie if he wants to wear one.  Make sure you pay attention to which side of the collar is the facing and the shell.  The facing will have the understitching.  The facing should be on the outside of the shirt because when the collar folds over, the collar side will end up on the outside.  Also pay attention when you sew this collar/band assembly to the neckline.

The yoke has been edge stitched. (Edge stitching is 1/16″ to 1/8″ away from an edge; top stitching is 1/4″ away from an edge.)

The collar band has been sewn to the neckline.

The collar band facing has been sewn to the interior of the neckline, althogh not as neatly as could be.

One view of the sleeve sewn to the armscye (which means armhole). I thought I had gotten the sleeve cap (the part of the sleeve which sews into the armscye) the same length as the armscye, but I still had to ease it in a little.

A second view of the sleeve into the armscye.

I overlocked the sleeve cap to armscye seam and pressed the seam allowances toward the sleeve. Many dress shirts have the seam allowances pressed the other way then they’re sort of flat felled so no raw edges are exposed. Then I sewed the side/underarm seam with a French seam.

With a French seam, you have to plan a bit and it can be tricky to press open such small seam allowances.  To make a French seam, you stitch your pieces together with the wrong sides together with a 1/4″ seam allowance..  Press open the seam allowances then put the pieces right sides together, folding at the seam.  You might have to trim a bit of the seam allowance at this point.  Press along the seam so it’s flat.  Then stitch again (right sides still together) with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press then press the seam toward the back.  See in the photo above, this is the inside of the seam.  It has a stitched edge (the 2nd stitching) and a finished edge (the 1st stitching).

The cuffs have been sewn to the sleeves.  Now, with regard to the understitching, it’s opposite the collar–the understitched side is to the inside of the sleeve.

I hemmed the shirt with a 1/4″ hemming foot then pressed it. If you don’t have a hemming foot, press carefully then stitch.

Here is the whole shirt, with buttonholes.

A buttonhole. Buttonholes on shirt fronts are vertical.  Cuff buttonholes are parallel to the long sides of the cuffs.

Here is the whole shirt, with buttons now.  But I should have added one or two more than I did.  Oh, well, next shirt.

Detail of the cuff. For the next shirts (I have a stack of fabrics specifically for more shirts for my husband), I think I’ll use 2 buttons, since it seems to want to hang funny.

The buttons were kind of shimmery but a perfect color match to the fabric.

My husband in his new shirt.

The shirt from the back.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

One of my next posts will be about different types of seams.  Maybe I will also blog about the new costume I’ve cut out for Portland’s first Steampunk Ball and Fashion Show next month.  I’m definitely going to blog about the suit jacket I’m working on for a friend, but that is a long-term sort of project and will probably end up in 3 parts.

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Romeo & Juliet Costumes

Back in spring 2011, I designed and made the costumes for my sister-in-law’s rewrite of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet called The House of Montague.  I used a lot of old wedding gowns that were donated by this foundation (whose name I can’t find), some fabrics and trims I already had, and some new fabrics and trims.  It was a lot of work!  Romeo and his family were vampires and old money, so they had silver and cool colors.  Juliet and her family were werewolves and new money, so they had gold and warm colors.  Here is the link to the photos, by Paul Freeman.

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Texprocess Americas Expo

First of all, if you aren’t reading Fashion Incubator yet, you should be.

Secondly, I went to the 2012 Texprocess Americas expo in Atlanta at the end of April.  It was the same expo as the SPESA one I went to in 2010, just different management.  It was pretty much the same vendors and kind of overwhelming because of the number of them.  But the people at Siruba (industrial sewing machines) demonstrated their overlock, buttonhole, welt pocket, and flat felled seam machines for us.  The Preco Golden Laser people demonstrated their laser cutting machine and the TukaTech people demonstrated their pattern making software.  I’m probably forgetting someone.  I got to see Kathleen and Eric again and met some new people from the Fashion Incubator forum.  Kathleen demonstrated the Stylecad pattern making software on her laptop for us.  Each night, we had dinner together, first at Truva (Turkish/Mediterranean and really good), then Peasant Bistro (ok but small portions), then Thrive (pretty good American and Japanese mixture).  Food was expensive and drinks were worse, compared with Portland prices.  But I also got to have Chik-Fil-A.

I didn’t buy anything at the expo but later ordered some pattern making tools and a nice sewing lamp from SouthStar and a sewing hammer.  I still want to get a Philocraft cutting table, a dress form, preferably from Alvanon, an industrial lockstitch machine, a blind hemmer machine, and a roll of oak tag aka manila for patterns.  (Alvanon has really good dress forms.  They have this sort of foam under the cloth so they feel more like a real body and you can still pin into them.  They come in different sizes, genders, and age/size groups and you can get arms for them, too.  They’re pricey.  They have a less expensive line with fewer features called Alvaform Studio.)

Here are pictures from my trip.  Most of them are of the view from my hotel room and the Centennial Olympic Park.  I didn’t really take pix at the expo.

My first dinner there, salmon, spinach, and rice at Truva.

Xochil and her dinner at Truva (sorry, not a great pic of her).

One of the views from my hotel room. I was staying in the huge and posh Omni Hotel.

Another view of Atlanta at night.

Still another view of Atlanta at night from my hotel room.

This hotel is posh.

A view from the window in the hallway.

People on the escalator. Most of the men (exhibitor or attendee) were wearing navy blue suits and light blue dress shirts. Hmm…

Our 2nd dinner: Xochil, a lady whose name I can’t remember, one of the Peterson boys, Carrie, and Gretchen.

Our 2nd dinner: Judy, Bente, Sandy, and her daughter.

Our 2nd dinner: one of the Peterson boys, Carrie, Gretchen, the other Peterson boy, and Lisa (not yours truly…I didn’t get any pix of me).

Atlanta in the early morning, another view from my room.

Same as above, different angle.

Siruba buttonhole machine. What looks like the front is the side and you sit at what looks like the side.

Siruba flat fell machine that uses 6 threads.

Centennial Olympic Park: some kind of evergreen tree.

Centennial Olympic Park: the torch.

Centennial Olympic Park: a rock fountain

Centennial Olympic Park: another view of the rock fountain

Centennial Olympic Park: another view of the rock fountain.

Centennial Olympic Park: a bush with long white flower stalks.

Centennial Olympic Park: a gardenia bush.

Centennial Olympic Park: close-up of the gardenia. They really do smell really good.

Centennial Olympic Park: a tile fountain with the tiles in a Greek-style pattern.

Centennial Olympic Park: a detail of the tile fountain.

Centennial Olympic Park: a bush with another type of long white flower stalk.

Centennial Olympic Park: a view from the cafe.

Centennial Olympic Park: one of the dolphins near the aquarium.

Centennial Olympic Park: another dolphin at the aquarium.

Centennial Olympic Park: some white flowers I don’t know the name of.

Centennial Olympic Park: deep pink roses that somehow turned out neon.

Centennial Olympic Park: some pink and yellow flowers.

Centennial Olympic Park: yellow flowers.

Centennial Olympic Park: three little birds.

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Happy Birthday, Happy Fathers’ Day, a County Fair, and More Sewing

The 16th of June was my husband’s birthday.  He wanted carrot cake from Winco (cheap grocery store here), which is really good cake, but I was glad that Andrea brought strawberry shortcake.  We had a little party on our back deck because the weather was finally warm enough and dry enough to do something outside.

Now it’s Fathers’ Day.  Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers!

On Memorial Day weekend was our (mostly if not all urban) county’s fair, which seems early for a fair, and also the kickoff of our Rose Festival, all of which I unintentionally missed.  I entered a skirt, which got 2nd prize, a dress, which got a participation ribbon, and a shirt I made for my husband, which didn’t get anything.  I got a premium check and I got an appliqué quilt kit.  I guess I’ll do more for next year.

This is the skirt that won 2nd prize. It’s 100% cotton. It has a wide faced band with an A-line skirt.

Another pic of the skirt.

The ribbon 🙂

1950s style dress of red cotton with orange floral cotton contrast. It looks better on me, but I couldn’t find a pic of me in it.

The back of the same dress.

My ribbon.

What the judge wrote on the back of the exhibitor tag for my husband’s shirt.

My premium check (you get a bit of money if you win, with differing amounts for first, second, and third prizes).

I received this prize as well.

I have been working on taking apart a suit jacket to see the guts and make a jacket to fit a friend.  I will blog about that when I get done with it.  Also I will put up pix of the sewing of my husband’s shirt when I get done editing them.  Working on some other things, too.

Here are how I made the red dress.  This is almost the same as the post for the floral linen-rayon blend 1950s type dress, only this is the original design with a collar and longer sleeves.  These pix better show the sewing involved.  When I sew, I sew as many seams as I can then press them all then sew, press, sew, press.  I did a lot of work on the bow on the back of the dress then worked on the darts and seams in the bodice and things then went back to the bow, but I’m showing all the steps of the bow together so it’s less confusing.

First, of course, wash your fabric if it’s washable and if your interfacing instructions say to preshrink, do that, too.  Press your fabric, lay out and cut everything, and fuse the interfacing to the facing/collar pieces and the waist pieces.

The ribbon/streamer part of the whole bow assembly: right sides together, stitch them together, clip the corners, press.

Detail of the corners clipped.

The loops and knot part of the bow assembly: stitch the loops piece along the long sides and stitch the knot piece into a tube then press.

Loops and knot parts of bow turned and pressed.

Ribbon/streamer part of bow turned and pressed.

Stitch the loop piece and the knot piece ends together and sew gathering stitches at the tops of the ribbon pieces.

Slip the knot piece over the loop piece and center it, which will make it look like a nice bow.

Pull the gathering stitches on the ribbons to gather them. This way, they’ll look nicer behind the bow than if they were just flat.

Set the gathered ends of the ribbons to the back of the bow and angle them how you want them to hang then pin to the bow.

Hand stitch the ribbons to the back of the bow and remove the pins.

The completed bow, ready to sew to the back of the dress waist when it’s finished.

The facing/collar pieces have been stitched to each other and pressed. The edge of it that sits inside has been bound with bias tape to finish it off.

At the top, a piece of fabric was cut on the bias and pressed to make bias tape with which to bind the sleeve hems. At the bottom, the waist pieces have been stitched together and pressed.

The sleeve darts have been stitched and pressed. (Sorry, the red in the photos came out really neon, so a lot of the photos now look odd.)

The back shoulder and waist darts have been sewn and pressed.

The front darts have been sewn and pressed.

The front bodice piece. At the left is CF (center front), at the right is the side seam below the armscye (the armhole), and at the top is the neckline and collar.

The skirt pieces have been stitched together and pressed.

The front and back bodice pieces have been sewn together at the shoulders and the back of the collar to the neckline on the back bodice piece. The back is the lower part of the pic.

Same as above but the front pieces have been smoothed out.

The top of the skirt has been gathered and pinned to the waist facing.

The waist piece has been put over the skirt and waist facing, sandwiching the skirt between the waist and waist facing, then all layers have been stitched together.

The waist and waist pieces have been turned upward and pressed.

Here is the interior of the above pic.

The sleeves have been sewn into the armscyes of the bodice. The seam allowances were pressed toward the sleeves.

The underarm/side seam has been sewn.

After sewing and finishing the underarm/side seam, it was pressed.

The waistline of the bodice has been sewn to the top of the waist piece.

The bias tape has been sewn to the sleeve hem and pressed.

The contrasting neckline/center front facing has been sewn to the bodice, waist, and skirt. Here shows the neckline and collar.

The facing has been understitched. This means you pull the facing and shell seam allowances toward the facing and stitch through those layers, not the outer shell layer. In the case of this dress, because the neckline and collar facing is what shows on the outside, the understitching was done through the shell and the seam allowances.

The facing has been turned and pressed.

The bottom of the skirt has been hemmed. Instead of folding up the bottom of the facing along with the rest of the skirt, I stitched over to its edge where the hem would fold, clipped the corner, and turned it right side out. It’s less bulky this way.

The bow has been sewn to the back of the dress, at the waist section.

This dress is my original design and pattern.

Now I’ll work on editing more photos.

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