Thursday, September 23, 2021

 We're almost there, everyone,

When I ended the previous blog, I had just sewn the sleeve seam, leaving 2" open at each end of the seam, like this:

Now let's move on.  It's time to stitch the underarm sleeve seam from the raw hem edge (unfold the hems you've pressed earlier) to the dots at the underarm.  Be sure to match those dots accurately.  

Then stitch the side seam from the matched dots at the underarm to the matched dots at the top of the side vent.

(Let me interject something here.  In all our instructions, we suggest that you keep the paper pattern pieces with the fabric pieces you have cut.  Then the first step for each Front, Pocket, Sleeve etc. is to mark clips and dots.  You probably did that when you originally cut the pieces, but we remind you.  As you move on to each new garment section, you can quickly check that you have all the markings completed.  If not, you can do it before you sew that section.  It's much easier to mark while everything is flat, and you have the pattern right there, rather than folded away in the envelope.)

Ok, here's how the shirt looks once you've completed those seams.  The pressed underarm sleeve seam is to the right, the pressed side seam is to the left, and the hole in the middle results from leaving 2" open at each end of the sleeve seam.

Turn the sleeve right side out so it's inside the garment, which remains wrong side out.  Match the side and underarm seams at the dots, like this:

It's important to get the dots (where your stitching stopped) matched precisely.

Now fold back all the seam allowances so they are together and moved to one side of the seams.  I put a pin through one dot, then look to see that it's through the dot on the other side.  Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get it right.

Once your dots are perfectly matched, pin to hold everything in place and stitch from where your previous sleeve seam ended to the dot, securing your stitching at the dot.  

Repeat folding the seam allowances back and stitching the open portion of the sleeve seam on the other side.

Now you're ready to serge the sleeve seams.  Note that the underarm and side seam allowances are still free.  That's the whole idea--they allow the garment to drape properly when worn.  They don't pull or pucker.

Fold down the seam allowances on one side, and begin your serging on the other side:

Begin serging on the seam allowances that remain upright, trimming them to 3/8".  Serge all the way around the sleeve.  When you approach the end, fold down the seam allowance where you started.  Your result will look like this--

This technique is used in several of our patterns, and now you know the details of how to complete this unique finish.

Next time, I'll review a few items for finishing your new shirt.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

 Greetings again, everyone,

Let's move on to stitching the sleeves in the View B shirt from At Every Angle.  By the way, much of what I'm talking about can apply to other patterns in our Cutting Line Designs line of patterns.  So carry this info with you as you work on other shirts.

The pattern instructions tell you to serge both vertical edges of the sleeves.  It's best to serge from the underarm corner to the hem.  If you go in the other direction, you are working against the grain and you'll stretch the edge of the sleeve.

Then you can press the hem edges.  In this case, there are 2 folds so you end up with a clean finish.  First, a 3/8" fold, using one of our Pressing Templates.  (My bad; imagine this turned 90 degrees!)

Then use the same Template to press a 2" hem (all the Templates are 2" wide).  I like to press the hems while the sleeves are flat, even if I have to touch up a bit later.

Now you're ready to pin the sleeve into the garment.  As I've explained before, you are working with a concave edge (the garment) and a convex edge (the sleeve).   So the cut edge of the sleeve is longer than the cut edge of the garment.  However, the stitching line is the same length on the garment and the sleeve.  That's why you will find it easiest to pin in a certain way.  Let's look:

Note that the pins catch only a few threads right at the stitching line.  That's where the sleeve and the garment are the same.  The different edges can do what they need to.  (See the May 20 blog for more.)  By the way, sharp pins with glass heads really help.  

It may also help to see how the corners look when matched correctly.  They should cross right at the stitching line--not at the corners.

Time to stitch.  In this pattern, you begin stitching 2" in from one underarm corner and end 2" from the other underarm corner.  Like this:

Next, stitch your underarm seam of the sleeve.  Unfold the pressed hems.  Stitch from the raw sleeve hem up to the dots at the underarm corners.  Also stitch the side seam of the garment from the matched dots at the underarm corners to the matched dots at the top of the side vents.

Tomorrow, I'll explain how you'll stitch that open spot at the underarm.

In the meantime, I hope you're following along and finding info you can use in other projects.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Hello fellow sewers,

It's time for the next step in constructing the Shirt (view B) from At Every Angle.  In the last blog, we ended with beginning to pin the collar to the shirt's neckline, so let's see how that looked.

As a quick review, this collar is somewhat unusual.  As you can see in the photo, the collar is slipped down over the neckline of the shirt (in other words, the neckline is inside the collar), right side to right side, center backs matched.  At the center front edges, the collar would fold around the fronts and back on itself with the neckline sandwiched between the 2 collar layers.  Once both layers are pinned, it's time to stitch.

Look closely at the stitching below.  I sank my needle with the fabric turned in the opposite direction and stitched to the end of the collar.  Then I turned the collar around as you see below.  I like this technique because it avoids the dimple in the fabric's edge that backstitching often causes.  Now I'm ready to stitch across the combined collar/neckline.  I'll mirror image this technique at the other end.

Same view as above.  

Once the collar/neckline seam is stitched, it must be graded and clipped.  I've mentioned in other blogs that we now clip on the diagonal.  I clipped one layer, then turned the collar/neckline over and clipped in the opposite direction, and so the clips don't overlap.  Thus no ridges or gaps press through to the right side.

Below, I'm pressing the collar up and away from the neckline of the garment.  You can see that the top edge of the collar is open.  See the raw edges?

You might be wondering, "How on earth do I close the top of that collar now?"  It can be done!  Of course, all of this is explained and illustrated in the instructions, but it's helpful to see it done.

You'll roll the front edges of the shirt and pin them out of the way, like this:

Note that I've pinned the rolled front.  It can be rolled again on top of itself.  Once you've rolled each front, you can pull the collar down over the garment, wrong side out, and pin the edges together.  Begin stitching the collar at each center front end and stitch toward the center of the collar as far as you reasonably can.  Grade the seam allowances where you've stitched and press them open over a point press.  This photo is showing you one end of the collar. 

Once you've stitched and pressed both ends, you can turn them right side out, using a point turner to walk out the corners.  The middle of the collar will still be open.  Turn the seam allowances down inside the collar, pressing them carefully so they are even.

Once the pressed seam allowances are perfect, trim them to 3/8".  Slide a strip of Steam-a-Seam between them, remove the paper backing, and press to fuse this last part of the collar together.  Finally, you'll edgestitch the collar.  Work on the side of the collar that will show when worn and begin stitching at center back where the collar joins the neckline.  Edgestitch all the way around.  You did it!

Next, we'll construct the sleeves.  We have different way of finishing the underarms, so I'll show you that in the next blog.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

 Hi fellow sewers,

At last I am getting back to sewing my At Every Angle view B shirt.  I've been working on projects that had preliminary deadlines, and you'll see the results later.  But for now, I can continue my shirt!  I've reached the point of working on the collar.  One reason I chose to create blogs for this shirt, besides the fact that I love it, is because the collar is constructed in an unusual way.  I'll go through all the steps.  The early steps might be a review for some of you, but others may find some of the techniques to be new.

The first step is to interface the collar.  Of course I'm using one of our lightweight fusible interfacings, which I've preshrunk according to the instructions available on the website.  (Take a look at the Interfacings page. If you click on an interfacing to read about it, you'll also see, right below the Add to Cart button, that our instructions for using our interfacings are only a "click" away.)  

I've laid out my piece of parchment paper (the same stuff you bake cookies on) on my ironing board.  The fabric collar goes on, wrong side up.  The interfacing goes on, glue side down.

The collar pattern goes back on top to check the shape of the collar/interfacing "sandwich".  If the shape is distorted and the interfacing is then fused, the collar will never lie properly--so be sure to check.  Remove the pattern.

Then my silk organza press cloth goes on top to form what I call my interfacing "sandwich".  The parchment paper protects my ironing board, and the press cloth protects my iron.  

Beginning in the center of the collar, I lower the iron straight down onto the layers.  One shot of steam, count to 6 or 8, then pick the iron straight up, move to the next area, and repeat till the entire collar is fused.

Next, pin the short ends of the collar together, stitch at 5/8", trim to 1/4", and press the seam allowances open.  (Use really sharp pins with glass heads that won't melt when you're pressing near them.) Now the unusual part of this collar begins.  First, let's look at how the collar edge compares to the garment neckline edge.  Unfortunately, I laid the collar down with the edge that attaches to the garment toward the top of the photo, but the point remains that you're trying to attach a straight edge to a circle.

So how can you make that easier?  Once again, the trick is in the pinning.  At this point, I'll explain that there's no neckline facing on this shirt.  The collar encases the neckline edge of the garment.  So pinning is crucial.  First, make sure you are pinning the edge of the collar with the shoulder match dots.  It's the shorter edge.  Also, you'll pin one layer at a time.  Begin by matching the short seam of the collar to the center back clip of the garment, right side of collar to wrong side of garment.  Place a pin, head sticking out from fabric edges and catching only a few threads at 5/8".  The garment edge will be up inside the collar.  Match a clip at the front fold of the collar to a front edge of the garment and pin.  Same for the other end of the collar.  Let's look:

Match a collar dot to a shoulder seam.  My turquoise dot is barely visible in the photo above.  Pin.  Repeat for the other shoulder.  Now you can pin the remaining seam allowances.  

It's looking weird, but it's halfway there.  Wrap one end of the collar around the garment front so it's snug.  Remove your pin at that end of the collar and pin again through all the layers.  Repeat at the other end, then repin the entire collar by placing each section of the second layer, removing your pin, then replacing it through all the layers.  Match all the same clips and dots.  

I'll say again, because it's so important, that the secret to success is to pin by catching only a few threads right at the stitching line.  The fabric edges--one curved and one straight--don't want to cooperate with each other.  Look at the edges in the photo above.  The only part of this seam that you want to control is at the 5/8" line.  Let the edges do what they want.  You take control where you need to stitch.

Once everything is accurately pinned together, you can stitch across the seam at 5/8".  I love this pinning technique; no matter which side is up when you stitch, it's easy to remove each pin when you come to it because the heads are out where you can see them.   Just to be clear, I'll say again that the garment is up inside the collar.  

This is already a long post, so I'll cover the second part of the collar construction in my next post.  I hope you're finding it helpful and that you are making an At Every Angle shirt along with me.

Monday, June 7, 2021

 Hello again, everyone,

In today's blog I will focus on the Pocket and on joining the Backs.  First, let's look at the Pocket.  

As you may remember, I laid the Pocket pattern on top of the stacked Right Front pattern piece on the Right Front fabric piece and drew the motifs on the Pocket pattern.  Then I matched the drawn circles to the appropriate circles on the fabric and cut the Pocket.  Here's a photo illustrating the result:

So now it's time to prepare the Pocket.  In accordance with the instructions, interface the top facing, serge the top edge, press it down into place, and topstitch across it next to the serging.  Staysitch down both sides of the Pocket and across the bottom at 3/8".  

Using a Pressing Template, press the bottom of the Pocket first.  This helps avoid any little "pokies" inadvertently peeking out from the bottom of the finished Pocket.  Then press the sides at 3/8".  Lay strips of Steam-a-Seam on the 3 edges of the Pocket, press gently, and remove the paper backing.  Here's a photo of the Pocket when it's fully prepared.

All the info I just mentioned is in the instructions.  I'd like to say a couple more things about our technique.  You'll see 1 dot on the Pocket pattern.  It should be placed on the matching dot on the Right Front.  (Most patterns show 2 dots, but if either dot is marked incorrectly, the Pocket can be crooked. Also, it's easy to get just a bit off-grain when marking those 2 dots.)  

Once you've matched that dot, you can measure from the side of the Pocket to center front from the top to the bottom of the Pocket to be sure it is placed correctly on the Front.  The Steam-a-Seam makes it easy:  it's slightly "sticky" so it will stay where you put it, but its position can be corrected. That's really useful if you're using a solid fabric or a different sort of print.  Of course, my Pocket is being matched to the motifs underneath.  So I placed it carefully to ensure the matching and pressed it in place.  Now it can be stitched perfectly.


Of course the instructions show a "map" of the Pocket stitching.  Again, I used the blind hem foot to stitch right on the Pocket edge.  I began where the previous line of topstitching intersects the side of the Pocket.  The top of the Pocket is toward me and I'm stitching to a point 3/8" in from the top corner (marked by a pin).

At the top edge, I pivoted to stitch across the top corner (anchoring the 3/8" seam allowance underneath--use a pin to tuck away any bits that may be sticking out before stitching).  Count your stitches to the corner.  Pivot again to stitch down the side and on around the Pocket to the other corner.

At the final corner, pivot to stitch across, again making sure the 3/8" folded edges are tucked away, and stitch the same number of stitches you used on the first corner.  Finally, stitch diagonally to mirror image what you did on the first corner.

Ta-da!  A perfect pocket.

Now we move to the Backs.  Prepare them in the same way as the Fronts.  Serge the side seam edges, staystitch the hem and vent at 1/4", press the 1/4" to the wrong side.  Stitch the miters and press the vent and hem at 1".  (If you missed this info, see my previous blog from June 4.)  Finally, cut a 4" piece of Steam-a-Seam and slide it under the Left Back hem, starting at center back.  Press, remove the paper backing, and fuse.

Now a really cool thing can happen.  Normally, the Backs would be pinned and stitched as usual.  But this time, I have cut my fabric to match the motifs down center back where the seam is.  So I used a different technique.

First, I pressed the 5/8" center back seam allowance on the Right Back to the wrong side.

  Then I placed Steam-a-Seam on the seam allowance next to the fold down to the dot marking Left Back hem.  

Once I've pressed lightly and removed the paper backing, I can lay the Right Back on top of the Left Back and match the motifs just as I did on the Pocket.

Once all the motifs were perfectly matched, I pressed to fuse the Backs.  Then I could turn back to the wrong side, Right Back on top of Left Back, prepared for stitching.  The pin marks the dot at the Left Front hem, where I secured my stitching.

Finally, I serged the seam allowances together, trimming only any loose threads.  At the bottom, I left a long serger chain.  I put it through a needle with a large eye and threaded it back through the serging to keep it secure.

When I was finished, I had perfectly matched Backs with a secure finish, and it was easy to accomplish.

I have decided not to edgestitch and topstitch according to the instructions.  I don't want rows of white stitching showing on my colored circles.  I'll show you a different option when I am ready to finish the hems.

If you're following along, I hope you're enjoying these blogs and finding them helpful.  

Friday, June 4, 2021

 Good morning all,

Now that I've matched the motifs on my fabric and cut out my shirt accordingly, I'm ready to begin sewing.  As you know, I'm making View B of At Every Angle, but you may find some helpful info in this post even if you are making some other shirt.  As a reminder, here's the pattern:

So today, I'll go over the preparation of the Left and Right Fronts.  Remember, this shirt buttons left over right.  Follow along with the instructions and look at my photos, which may help you understand how we do things.

The first steps in the instructions are folding the Fronts to make the plackets.  Fold the neckline and the hem at the first clips and stabpin in place.  Then use a seam gauge to measure the rest of the first fold at 1-1/2", stabpinning the rest of the fold.  Press.  

Fold again at the second set of clips at 1-3/4", again measuring with a seam gauge and stabpinning to verify that the entire placket is pressed accurately.

Open out the folds and place a strip of interfacing between the folds.  Lay a silk organza press cloth over the interfacing and press.  Don't slide your iron--you'll have a glued-up mess!  (By the way, we have a good selection of light fusible interfacings at the website.)

Surprisingly, you'll still be able to see your original pressed folds, so once the interfacing is all pressed, refold those 2 first folds and press them again.  

Now that all is accurate, slide strips of Steam-a-Seam under the loose edge of the folds.  Press, perhaps using a little steam.  You want to just adhere the Steam-a-Seam.  Let it cool and gently remove the paper backing from the Steam-a-Seam.  Lay the fabric back in place and press to fuse the placket in its final position.

Steam-a-Seam is one of my favorite tools.  It helps to accurately place things so that stitching can be done without the fabric slipping or wrinkling.  

Next, I used my blind hem foot to get set for edgestitching the placket where you placed the Steam-a-Seam.  The left toe of the blind hem foot rides higher than the right toe, so the fabric folds go under the left toe.  Move your needle to the left so it just catches the edge of the placket.  Here's what my set-up looked like.

Some of you will have a plastic, adjustable blind hem foot.  That works just fine.  

So now the front plackets are done.  I did both Fronts at the same time, following the instructions.  In the next blog, I'll show you the Pocket.

But now, let's finish preparing the Fronts.  I serged the side seam edges in accordance with the instructions.  Then I staystitched the hem and side vent edges at 1/4".  Luckily, I have a Piecing Foot that made it easy, but if you don't have one, you can put a piece of blue painter's tape on your machine to guide the edge of the fabric for accuracy.  Some of you will have stitch plates with a 1/4" mark--I have metrics on mine, so the foot really helped.  

Once you've stitched the appropriate edges at 1/4", press them to the wrong side.  The side vents are straight, so you can use a Pressing Template to guide you.  We have sets of these Templates in stock.  They make this kind of pressing really easy.  Here, I'm starting the fold.
I used the nose of the iron to push the fabric over the Template, and just ran the iron right along, completing the fold.

 The hem edge is a bit curved, so I stabpinned that edge and pressed.  

Once the 1/4" folds are pressed, it's time to stitch the miters.  Fold them right side to right side so the folded edges match and the dot is at the corner.  Stitch at 1/4".  I reduce my stitch length to 2.0 because I don't want a miter to come apart later.  I also can stitch in the air for 1/2 or 3/4" off the corner.  Not all machines will do that, so you can backstitch, use a fix stitch, or leave long thread tails and tie off.

Trim the corner of the miter as in the photo above and press it open over a point press.

I like our white plastic point turners to make perfect corners.  I begin by putting my thumb (not the point turner) inside the miter.  The point turner goes on top, right along the seam of the miter.

Holding my thumb and the point turner tightly together with the miter in between, I use my other hand to begin turning the fabric right side out.

My thumb is starting to emerge, and the point turner is now on the inside of the miter.  I'm still holding the point turner and my thumb securely together.  I'll continue to turn the fabric from wrong side out to right side out, and until my thumb is on top.

This method works great.  Sticking the point turner into the miter can wad the seam allowances into the corner, causing a lump in the point.  Worse, it can poke a hole in the corner of the miter!

Next, the side vent hem can be pressed to the inside of the garment at 1", using a Pressing Template.   You'll see the miter at the top left corner of this next photo.

Finally, I stabpinned the slightly curved hems on the Fronts to the inside of the garment at 1" (again measured with a seam gauge) and pressed them.  It's not time for Steam-a-Seam yet--the hems get finished later.

Here's a look at my matched Fronts with the hems pressed.  Pretty cool!

Next time, we'll do the Pocket, the Backs, and the shoulder seams.  Soon, we'll have a great-looking shirt.