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.