Sunday, March 29, 2020


Hi to all you sewers out there,

Today we'll start a new project.  Louise has always loved the cute top in the Anything But Ordinary pattern.  One day she had a stroke of genius and created a new interpretation of it.  It's looser, more casual and comfy, and easy to make and wear.  She named it her "Go-To Top".  

Today, I'll show you the pattern changes needed, so you can make your own Go-To Top.  It's a terrific top for our new at-home days, allowing us to be at ease but looking good.

I began by tracing my front and back pattern pieces.  (That way, the originals are always available.)  Add 2-3/4" to the hem edge so your top will be longer than the original.  We'll also be adding a side vent.

Once you've traced the front pattern and added the hem, draw a line parallel to center front that begins about 1/3 of the way from the neck to the shoulder.  Cut along that line and add 3/4" of tracing paper.  

Now do the same with the back pattern piece.  Overall, we're adding 3" to the total circumference (3/4" per quarter of the pattern).  Louise also added an additional 1/2" of length at center back of the hem (over and above the 2-3/4" explained above).  Use a fashion ruler to curve back up at the side seam.

Also ignore the red dot near the hem on the back pattern above.  It's a mistake!!  In the next blog, I'll show you how to sew the side vent.

You'll need to true the edges where you added the 3/4".  Here's the hem edge: 

And here's the shoulder edge.

And you need to lengthen the sleeve.  Louise made hers a 3/4 length sleeve.  A couple of things to think about--adding to the front and back moved the shoulder seam out.  Measure your body from the neck, over the shoulder, around the elbow, to the place where you want your sleeve hem.  Subtract an inch because the neckline finishes about an inch from your neck.  

Now tape tracing paper to your sleeve (or trace the sleeve pattern and add paper).  Measure across the front pattern shoulder seam (measure stitching line to stitching line.)  Subtract from the body measurement you took.  The remaining amount is how much to add to the short sleeve to make the 3/4 sleeve.  Then add enough for a 2" hem.  Like this:

You can taper the sleeve to your preference.  

There's pretty fabric in the newsletter, so alter your pattern, choose a fabric, and get started.  You can begin sewing your Go-To top pretty quickly.  I'll give you some instructions for the side vents in the next blog, but here's one tip.

If you are making either an XS or SM size, stitch the seam attaching the neck facing to the garment with a 3/4" seam allowance rather than the standard 5/8".  That will make the neckline a bit bigger, and you won't need the neck opening and tab that are in the original pattern. 

So get started and I'll see you again in a few days with tips to finish your Go-To top.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sleeve Plackets part 2

Hi everyone,
I hope that some of you have spent a few spare minutes making a sample placket.  There's nothing like trying this technique on a sample to see whether there's anything that will give you a bit of a problem.  That way, you get to figure it out before you have the problem on an actual garment.  

I've had those nightmares of getting 3/4 of the way through a garment and finally realizing there was no way I could salvage it after making some sort of mistake.  AAAAggggg!!

Anyway, I'll post some photos of the remaining steps to achieving a pretty sleeve placket.

Let's just take a look at where we stopped in my previous post.  The placket has been correctly placed with its peak pointing toward the front notch on the sleeve cap, marked by the scissors. I've completed the stitching box and cut it open.

 Now I like to do an extra pressing step.  Pick up the portion of the placket to the left of the stitched box, lay it on top of the stitched box, and press it flat right at the stitching.  Lay it back in its original position.

Pick up the portion of the placket to the right of the stitched box, lay it on the box, and press along the line of stitching.

Finally, push the bit of fabric at the top of the stitched box down toward the bottom of the sleeve and press.

I do this pressing now to make the next step easier and more precise.  Let's see how things look when that pressing is done.

 Ok.  At last it's time to push the placket through the opening to the right side of the sleeve.  Yay!  Push it through, then grasp both sides of the placket right beside that short top edge of the stitched box and pull gently.  You're opening the top of the stitched box, forcing that short top edge to lie flat.  

Now you can deal with the short side of the placket.  In this photo, it's ready for your next step.

Fold the 3/8" pressed edge wrong side to wrong side so it extends a thread or two beyond the stitching of the box.  Stabpin it in place and press.  

Slide a strip of Steam-a-Seam under the placket, press lightly, and remove the paper backing.  Verify that the placement is perfect, then press again to fuse the placket's short side. (Louise and I use 1/4" Steam-a-Seam Lite.  It uses a minimal amount of glue and makes steps like this easy to execute perfectly.) 

Using the appropriate presser foot and changing your needle position, edgestitch the placket a few threads from its edge.  In this photo, I've marked the stitching line.

We're almost there!  Now we'll treat the long side of the placket in the same way.  Here it is lying on the finished short side ready to be folded.

Fold it on itself, extending the edge a thread or two past the stitching underneath.  Stabpin and press.  Examine it carefully, making sure it's straight and the peak is even.  Make any needed corrections.  (Glass-head pins allow this kind of stab pinning and pressing.  The glass heads won't melt!)

Let's just make a quick check of the back side of the placket (on the wrong side of the sleeve).  There are those little ends at the top of the placket.  Make sure they are tucked up inside.  The first photo shows them sticking out, and the second shows them tucked inside.

Ok.  Now all the details are perfect.  Time to lay strips of Steam-a-Seam under the vertical edge of the long side of the placket and the peak.   Be sure you are fusing the correct side of the placket!  You don't want to glue it closed!  Make sure you have transferred the markings from the pattern that show you where the final edgestitching should be placed.  The plackets on the right and left sleeves must be stitched in opposite directions.  This photo shows you the stitching.  I've included arrows to show you the direction I've stitched and long thread tails to show you where I began or ended.  On one placket you'll begin at the bottom edge of the sleeve.  On the other, that's where you'll end.

 This final photo shows how the plackets will still open if you've edgestitched them correctly.

I hope you've had fun executing a pretty placket.    Plackets may seem intimidating, but if you just move ahead step by step, you'll be successful.   

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hello everyone,

Many of you may be considering making a shirt from View A of Timeless and Modern, which is featured in this week's ad (3/15-22/20).  It's a beautiful shirt which can be worn on its own or layered over a tee or shell, so it can be doubly useful in your wardrobe.  

The shirt features a classic sleeve placket that may look a bit complicated or challenging, so I thought I'd give you some step by step help on getting great results.  It might be helpful to get out your placket pattern piece to refer to as you read these steps.

I'll cover half the steps in this post, and I'll finish in my next post.  You might want to make a sample to get the hang of this.

First, here's a look at a finished placket.  This one is from my denim shirt.  It's accented with stitching with 2 threads through the needle, explained in a previous blog.

First, consider how you want to interface your placket.  If your fabric is midweight, you can simply interface the portion of the placket that will be visible when it's finished (the portion you see in the photo above).  Here's what that interfacing will look like.

If your fabric is especially light, you could decide to interface the entire placket.  In fact, you could block interface a piece of fabric just a bit bigger than the pattern piece for the placket, like this:

Then use your pattern piece to cut your placket from the interfaced block.  Here's an example.  At the bottom of the placket, I've turned up little corners to show you where the clips are, and I've marked the stitching lines for the sleeve opening.  

You'll also need to staystitch at 3/8" on the vertical edges and the edges of the top peak to guide your pressing.  I used contrasting thread, so you can see the stitching in the next photo, where I'm showing you how to use a Pressing Template to get accurately pressed edges.  Note that at the top of the photo the long vertical edge as well as the diagonal edges for the peak at the top are already pressed.

Look carefully at the photo above.  At the upper left, you'll see a short line of staystitching.  You'll need to press that area as well.  Here's how to place a Pressing Template to press it accurately.

And this is what the placket looks like when it is completely pressed.  The scissors are holding the placket flat so you can clearly see all the pressed lines.

 Here's another view:

And another way to look at it follows.  At this point, take a careful look at the peak to verify that it is centered and that the diagonal slope on each side of the peak is even.  This is the best time to fiddle with it if it is not quite right.

All this preparation is key to getting a good result.  I've found that the cutting, marking, and pressing takes a fairly short time, but it really sets up a process that ends with a lovely placket.

So now that you have a properly prepared placket, you can place it on the wrong side of the sleeve, with the placket right side down.  The peak of the placket must point to the notch at the front of the sleeve cap.  In this photo, the scissors are pointing to that front notch, and you can see that the peak is on that side.

Above, I've stitched the placket opening.  I began at the bottom edge of the sleeve with a stitch length of 2.0.  I changed to 1.5 when I was 1/4" from the first top corner.  Up to the corner, across the top, and 1/4" down the other side, I used the 1.5.  I switched back to  2.0 to finish stitching down the other side.  

Then I cut right up the center of the stitched box to within 1/4" of the top.  At that point, I cut toward each top corner.  You have to both brave and careful here!  You should cut right up to the stitching at the corners, but be sure you don't cut through the stitching.

You'll have some time to prepare a sample to this point, practicing the pressing and stitching.  I'll finish my coaching in the next post about pressing and stitching the applied placket.

I hope you find this post helpful.  By the way, you can apply the same steps to the plackets in View A of The Blouse Perfected also.  Be sure to visit us at to see all the fabrics that would make beautiful shirts as well as exquisite interfacings and many notions that can make your sewing easier.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Cutting Line Designs has wools on sale this week, but no matter when you make some wool into smart, wrinkle-free pants, you might be venturing into chilly temps.

If it's freezing, you might want honest-to-goodness long underwear.  But to be comfy in a mild chill--or even colder--I like to wear a pant liner.  I made mine in nylon tricot.  

Here's what they look like:

They're about the same color I am, so I can wear them under light-colored pants, but they also work fine under dark colors because they are a few inches shorter than my actual pants.

I made these using the One-Seam Pants pattern.  They're really comfy, especially if you don't quite like the feel of wool next to your skin for extended periods of time.

I cut them in the same size as the pants I always make, and my pants just slide right over them.  

A liner doesn't have the same wide casing as typical One-Seams.  Let's take a closer look:

You can see that the bottom line of the usual casing on One-Seams is actually your natural waistline.  So you can fold down the entire 4-1/4" casing out of the way when you cut out pant liners.  Then sew lingerie elastic to the natural waist, hem the liners if you think they need it, and TA-DAAAA! (I cheated--mine aren't even hemmed.  I thought a hem might make a ridge.)

I've also thought about making liners out of Ambiance, also known as bemberg rayon.  It's widely available on the internet if you can't find it near you.  It's usually labeled "Dry Clean Only", but that's only because it water spots.  If you wash it, the whole fabric is water-spotted, so it looks fine.  It will shrink a bit and wrinkle, but press it and move forward.  It's a natural fiber and will be comfy.

Monday, December 9, 2019

We had a request for more information recently.  Someone had seen this photo of a shirt and vest and had some questions, so I thought I'd let you know about the thought process and sewing techniques that went into it.

First, this shirt and vest were made from the By Popular Demand pattern, using the jacket pattern pieces.  
For the shirt, I obviously omitted the jacket's pockets.  I also lengthened the pattern by about 3" so that the orange shirt would show not only at the sleeves but also at the hem.

For the vest, I left the pockets off again.  I shortened the collar by 3/8" so that a rim of orange would show above the blue vest collar when the outfit was worn.  Of course, I left off the sleeves, which meant that I needed armhole facings.  Below, I'll show you how I came up with those.  

Finally, I used 2 threads through the needle to make really prominent orange edgestitching and topstitching on the vest to further tie the outfit together.  I wrote an explanation of that stitching technique in the third blog published in June 2019.  You can find it by clicking on June on the right hand side of the page.

Drafting an armhole facing pattern piece is pretty simple.  Begin by pressing the Front, Yoke, and Back pattern pieces for the jacket.  Use a dry iron on a low temperature.  That gets the pattern pieces to lie flat and ensures that your work will be accurate.  Then overlap the pieces at the shoulder and at the back/vest seam by 1-1/4" (2 seam allowances).  (Ignore the other alterations I've done on these pattern pieces.)

Lay a piece of tracing paper (I use medical exam paper--it's cheap and works fine) over the armhole area of the overlapped pieces.  

Using a fashion ruler, trace the armhole edge of the overlapped pattern pieces.  Also, mark the front armhole clip.  Be sure to also trace the top of the side seam edges.

Move the tracing paper away from the pattern.  Decide how wide you want your armhole facing to be, then add 5/8" for seam allowances.  In this example, I used a total width of 2-5/8", which will result in 2" wide facings.  

Use a seam gauge to mark the width of your new armhole facing.  In the illustration below, note how I have positioned the seam gauge so that both sides of the little blue tab (slide) are lying on the traced line.  Making the seam gauge extend straight out from the original traced line ensures that the facing will be the same width everywhere.  Make marks as you move the seam gauge along the facing.

Using a fashion ruler, connect the marks in a smoothly curved line.

Be sure to mark the front and back of your new facing pattern.  (Now you can see that front clip.  I had to reposition the facing on the Front to mark it.  You can do it in the first step above, when I mentioned it!)

You can adapt many shirt and jacket patterns to make vests using this technique.  Have a good time!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Hello, everyone!  At last, I'm back to bring you ideas on the blog.  It feels good to be able to continue my conversation with you.

Today, I want to bring you part 2 of my information about miters.  Previously, I showed you how to create regular miters.  Now I'll show you irregular miters.  They can seem a bit funny, so let's look at a diagram.  Then we'll sew one to see what it looks like in fabric.

This diagram assumes a 1" seam allowance and a 2" hem.  The diagonal line that extends through the corner dot is the miter stitching line.  (Remember that miters are already drafted for you in CLD patterns, but this will help you with other situations.)

The dimensions can differ.  The process will work if you follow the fabric example below for the pressing, marking, and stitching.

Here's a simulation in paper.

The dot at the corner of the lines marks the point of the miter.  You can also see 2 little dots on the left and bottom edges, designating the match points for sewing the miter.  I folded the 1" and 2" edges, then marked little dots right where they came together. 

Below is the starting point in fabric, with the edges pressed and the dot marked at the corner where the pressed lines cross.  That's the point of the miter.

The pressed edges are folded to meet.  I marked dots where they crossed very precisely (lower left of photo).  They indicate the starting point of the miter stitching.

Here's where things start looking funny, but you have the dots to guide you.  Right sides together, match the 2 dots on the fabric edges marked above.  The first dot at the corner is the point of the miter.  I've marked the stitching line in blue.

Here's what the other side of the folded miter looks like.  

Stitch the miter from the matched dots to the corner dot.  I use a slightly shorter stitch length (2.0).  Secure your stitching at both ends.  (I just stitch in the air off the point and leave that stitching folded into the miter.)

Here's the stitched miter.

Trim the miter, especially the corner.

Press the seam allowances open over a point press.

Turn the miter right side out, using a point turner to walk out the corner.

And there you have it!  I hope you find this useful.  

Monday, August 26, 2019

Hi All,

Those of you who know Cutting Line Designs realize that we draft all of our miters for you, so sewing side vents/hems is easy.  However, you may want to make place mats, napkins, or garments that don't have that convenience.

I thought you might like to see how to fold a regular miter, so you can create these corners yourself.  In this post, I'll show you in paper, then I'll come back next time and show you the same folding plus other sewing and pressing techniques for perfect results every time.  



If you're not familiar with this folding technique, follow along and make a sample for yourself.  Put it with your stash of cool sewing stuff, so you can just pull it out and remind yourself when you next need to make a pretty corner.

On a piece of paper with a perfect 90 degree corner (like just a sheet of copy paper), draw 2 lines representing a hem and a side vent.  Make each line the same distance from the edge of the paper, and have them cross at a corner.

Mark a dot where the lines cross at the corner.  

Turn the paper over and mark the same lines on top of themselves so you have the same reference points.


On the lines, fold both edges of the paper in as though you were folding a hem and a side vent.

You can see the line and the dot at the corner.


Fold the corner in diagonally so that the lines you drew and folded meet themselves.


Open out the corner.  Fold so that the long edges are together and the corner is sticking out.  In fabric, you'd be folding right sides together.  You'll see a foldline extending from the dot you made at the corner to the edges that now meet.  You can mark the line like I did to look like stitches on that new fold.

Open all the folds and lay the paper flat on the table.  Now you can see what you've created.  Your marked stitching line is on the diagonal, your faux hem and side vent edges are there, and you can see all the folding you've done.


Turn the paper over so you can't see your marked stitching line (it will reappear in a minute).  Fold the whole diagonal corner onto the body of the paper.  Finally, fold the faux hem and side vent edges onto what would be the body of the garment, and TA-DA, you see a perfect regular miter.  

This exercise is the simplest version of a regular miter.  If you were doing this in fabric, you'd be working with serged edges.  However, if you wanted a clean-finished hem, you could first press a 1/4" or 3/8" fold on the long edges, then proceed with exactly the same steps, leaving those narrow pressed edges intact all the way through the process.