Quick Tip – Button sewing

I hope 2018 has started off smoothly for you? Luckily I didn’t blog about any new years resolutions or I would have to go back to delete that post!

It’s been a while… Blogging was abandoned while annoying distractions like work got in the way… So to ease back into 2018, here’s one I made earlier 😉

A little thing that catches my eye is when buttons are stitched on so firmly that they pucker the garment.  If the button is sewn on too tightly, there isn’t any space for the layer with the buttonhole to fit.

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Ideally with a flat button, you should leave some room between the button and the button band, so that the buttonhole layer fits nicely, and doesn’t look either squished or too loose.  The amount of space depends on the thickness of the layer on top.

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Which brings me to my old black cardi… I’ve been working my way through some alterations – after having a big clean out of clutter.  I had bundles of clothes given to me by family members to re-use, along with bags of fabrics – mostly curtain remnants.  I sent the bulk of it to recycling – and I was left with just one box of clothes that were worth altering, and one box of clothes that I might re-use at some point.  All the extra stuff had just gathered over the years and was getting in the way. Now I can finally see all the pieces that I actually want to use!

One item for a quick fix was a cropped black cardi that was missing some buttons.  I found 6 buttons that were almost exactly the same …sometimes close enough is good enough!

 

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I used a hairslide under the button to give a little breathing room:

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Stitched through a couple of times

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Then removed the slide, brought the thread up between the button and fabric and wound it around 4-5times, then brought the thread to the back and knotted it off. Job done!

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I’ll keep dipping into that box of alterations, and hopefully it won’t start to grow into multiple boxes again!

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How to shorten a jacket cuff…by not shortening a jacket cuff!

I try to avoid most alterations, they can become more than you bargained for – see Mrs Mole’s blog if you need to understand why!  But sometimes I will repay a favour to a friend, which is how this came my way.
 I needed to shorten a child’s suit jacket sleeve (image below).  It has three buttons and buttonholes, and was needed quickly.

But rather than mess with those buttons and hem corners, I took off the sleeves, and cut the extra length from the top.

I traced the new seamline with thread and checked the fit and new length.  Then it was just a quick trim before fitting it back into the armhole.

This could also be done with a mans suit , depending on how much needs to be shortened. Look out for a very tapered sleeve as if you move down too far you might not have enough width to fill the armhole!  Always a good idea to thread trace and check fit first 🙂

Burda 10/2016 104 (fancy pocket dress!)

This is a rarity for me – actually using a Burda Style Magazine in the same month as it was purchased.  I attempted the Burda Challenge in 2015, where you make something from each months issue, but I abandoned it early in the year.  It didn’t suit the way I make things.  I don’t shop for fabric regularly – I tend to pick fabric up as I see it, and then let it gather dust until the perfect pattern shows up.

The pattern is described on the Burdastyle site as the “Fancy Pocket Dress” !

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I’ve had the fabric more than two years – I got it from an Op shop in Australia. That makes me sounds like a globetrotter (I wish!)- I’d happily pack my bags and get on a plane to anywhere, but circumstances don’t usually allow for travel!  So that was my first time abroad in years, and I loved it! I saw lots of Melbourne and a little of Sydney. Anyway, on one of the days I took a bus tour to the Grampians and during a rest break, while everyone was getting tea – I popped into an Op shop and picked up a few bits, this fabric being one of them.

It’s a light stretch cotton, and I had 1.5 metres – which is less than the pattern calls for, but I had enough. I should say that the dress pattern is longer than it looks in the magazine- I cut 3 inches off the hem before sewing it.

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Despite the complicated shape of the pockets, this dress came together pretty quickly. I made it on a Friday evening and wore it to dinner on the Saturday evening! It isn’t lined – just overlocked and I made narrow facings for the necklines.

Because of the stretch in the fabric, I used iron-on interfacing strips at the neckline, shoulders and centre back at the zipper.

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The instructions for the pockets were as clear as usual with Burda…! So I took a few pictures as I went along which might help if anyone plans to make this.

This is how the skirt looked from the wrong side – I interfaced at the base of the pockets before snipping into the fabric. ( the centre pleats are tacked in place)

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You then need to pivot the pockets upwards at the point where it was snipped:

 

The pocket folds back on itself – you then stitch the pocket seam ,from the point at the base to the top edge- seen below at the left of the pocket piece.

(my pocket shape is a little uneven as I had to cut into the plain selvedge to get it to fit)

 

The baste the top edges to hold in place, before joining the skirt front to the bodice front.

The picture below is of the front right of the skirt – the triangle on the left is where the pocket was pivoted. You need to make sure to catch this fully when sewing the skirt side seams.

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Other than that, the dress was straight forward to make – once I had inserted the zip and joined the front and back at the shoulders, I tried it on and pinned the bodice sides to fit, continuing down to the skirt. Because of the triangle cutout at the pocket on the skirt, it would be difficult to let this out on the hips, unless you adjusted the width of the pleats.

When I tried it on, I didn’t like how much the pockets stuck out. My fabric wasn’t quite as drapey as suggested.  So I improvised by pushing the pocket in towards the centre front, and topstitching it down – it looks like an extra pleat on the skirt, and means the pocket is still roomy enough to use, but doesn’t stick out as much.

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That’s about it really – I’ll be keeping the pattern handy, as I would love this in a lighter fabric for the summer – and it looked great without the sleeves, so a sleeeveless version will have to go on the to-do list.

 

 

 

Burda Shift dress #107 09/2012

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This dress is more of a remake than a new make….. Whenever I go clothes shopping, I always check out the sale rack for any gems.  The black and white fabric design  really caught my eye – it’s a thick knit, similar to a pointe or double knit fabric.  It was a large size for a very small price! So I picked it up in the hope that it would be useful for cutting up.

I cut the original apart at the seams ( It was a plain shift shape with bust darts). I left the dress intact at the shoulders so that I could use the original neckline. After pressing, I pinned my pattern pieces with the shoulders sewing line aligning with the dress shoulders and then cut it out.

 

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I used a Burda pattern to make this: Shift dress 107

The pattern making at the back  is atrocious, but that’s the original centre back seam, including the zipper, so I’ll just have to get over it!   I also kept the original sleeves and just re-cut the sleeve heads as per the burda pattern.

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The dress has a lovely relaxed fit , without being too baggy.   The shaped darts are very flattering – but difficult to make out in this fabric (I’ve outlined a dart in red below)

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I have worn this dress so much already – it looks great with thick tights and boots and I really want to make another one (or two!).But, I’m having trouble tracking down similar fabric – does anyone have suggestions or links to a good source of thick (preferably patterned) knit fabric. I’ve found lots of plain pointe, or else more black and white sweatshirt weight fabric, but nothing suitable yet, so any help appreciated 🙂

Till next time 🙂

 

 

 

Simplicity Shirtdress 8014 – construction notes

I’m sharing some construction notes for my Simplicity 8014 dress that might be useful for anyone considering making it.

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Pattern Sizing –

For my measurements 33-28-38, (b cup). I cut a 10 in the bodice which I graded out to a 12 in the hips. (I don’t normally add to patterns at the hips) Yet this gave just the right amount of wearing ease for me.

If you are pear-shaped, or normally need to add to patterns at the hips, then carefully measure the pattern pieces as you may need to go up more than one size at the hips.

Construction –

I made this with french seams on the sleeve and side seams – they could also be overlocked or bound.

I found this tutorial very useful for seaming the sides with in-seam pockets : In-seam pockets with french seams.

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french seamed pockets

 

Hemming

The sleeve hems feature a neat tuck, which traps the raw edge of the hem inside the tuck.

The pattern instructions didn’t make sense to me at first – I couldn’t picture the outcome, but I followed along with the pattern steps and they worked out fine.

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Sleeve hems with tuck detail

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Sleeve hem interior

The dress hem is curved at the sides, and is finished with a shaped facing. The instructions were mostly fine, but I changed how the facing attaches at the centre fronts. The pattern step included some hand sewing.

The way I did the facing was to turn the button band toward the dress fronts,then sit the facing on top of the button band and dress hem, sew the bottom seam and turn through. The facing then gets caught with the later top-stitching.

 

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Button band folded towards front and hem facing pinned over button band and dress hem.

 

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Hem finish

 

 

Button Placement

I didn’t follow the pattern for button placement, as I wanted to wear a belt without it catching on a button every time I sat down. So I marked the button placement with pins, while I was wearing the belt.

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Using pins to mark button placement

 

I also didn’t have enough buttons to get as close to the hem as I would have liked, instead I top-stitched just below the last button, to keep the hem from flying open in a breeze!

(You might notice that the last button doesn’t have a buttonhole – it’s just stitched on through all the layers – that’s because I found that button under my sewing machine when I was tidying up after myself!)

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topstitched for safety!

 

And that’s as much as I remember, hope it was useful! I’m on the lookout for more fabric to make this again, I could see it becoming my winter uniform – layered up with boots and tights 🙂