Thursday, April 28, 2011

RTW Tailoring Sewalong #14 - Inserting the Lining

Guess what - there are only three more steps to complete our jackets - sew in the lining, bag out the hem, and do the buttons and buttonholes - we're almost there!  

Don't you love how quickly our garments are coming together?  I can only estimate my sewing time because I'm always stopping to take photos, but my coat has come together in about 3 hours so far, with about half an hour to go - but I better not speak too soon!  I know the time spent editing the pattern at the beginning really speeds up the jacket-making process for me - are you all finding the same thing?

Let's get that lining sewn in:

Start at the hem - by sewing the front lining to the front facing:

Excuse the exposed fusing at the hem.  Remember how I was short of cloth?  Well, that's my seam allowance!

Sew right around the back neck facing, and down the the hem on the other side - matching all notches and seams:

There will be some easing of the lining to do, and it is usually easy enough to sew in while the lining is on top - if not, switch so the lining is on the bottom and let the feed dogs do the work!

Tuck the sleeve linings down the sleeves, and slide your hand into the sleeve that has the lining closed, and make sure it is not twisted and that the seams align:

and pinch the lining and shell forearm seams together with your fingers near the sleeve hem:

Still holding them tightly together, with your other hand reach in between the lining and shell at the hem, through the armhole, to the sleeve hem.  Pinch the forearm seams together with your other hand, then pull the cuff out through the armhole and the hem - the right sides will face together:

Line the sleeve lining hem and sleeve hem up and they are ready to sew:

Sew right around the cuff using a 1cm seam:

If you are sewing a two-piece sleeve, check out this tutorial if you haven't already.  

Before turning the sleeve back through, tack the hem up at the seam allowances.  See the hem notches:

 Fold the hem at that point:

 and stitch the opposing seam allowances together for 1-2cm:

Now you can turn the sleeve through, and the hem lies automatically in place, although being a one piece sleeve with only one seam, some additional catching will be required by hand:

The next step is to attach the lining to the armhole at the shoulder seam and underarm.  
Reach in between the lining and shell up to the shoulder, and pinch the sleeve seam allowances together at the shoulder point:

Still holding them together, draw them out the bottom:

Cut a 4cm piece of cotton tape, and sew it to the sleeve seam allowance at the shoulder seam of the shell:

and sew the other end to the seam allowance of the lining - there will be a 2cm link between the two layers:

Now reach in and pinch the lining and shell underarms together and draw them out through the hem: 

Lay the seam allowances of the lower armhole together, with the side seams of the shell facing the side seams of the lining:

Stitch the seam allowances together about 5cm either side of the side seams - you can probably just see my stitching here adjacent to the actual seam:

Turn through - your lining armhole is attached firmly to the inside:

For the sleeve with the lining seam left open, attach the lining to the cuff, and then the lining to the shoulder point.  It is easier if you leave attaching the lining to the underarm until after the next step - bagging out the hem - which is tomorrow!

That's it for today - how are your garments progressing - is everything going to plan?  I know many of you are working at a slower pace, and that's OK - the posts will remain, and I'm still here to answer questions if you ask them!  

But some of you have already finished - Steph, Dana, Jackie!! Check out the links in the side bar to participants blogs and our Flickr group for their fab pictures!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

RTW Tailoring Sewalong #13 - Inside the Sleeve Head

On its own the sleeve head can look a bit limp and in need of reinforcement - that's where a shoulder pad and some sleeve head wadding come into play!

Shoulder pads prevent the front and back shoulder area collapsing near the armhole as the shoulder starts to round off.  They needn't be large - mine are only 7mm thick and barely detectable - but they come in many thicknesses.

You need to make sure that your shoulder pad is shaped correctly for your armhole.  Lay your Front and Back pattern pieces together with the shoulder seams overlapping:

And place your shoulder pad on top to compare the shaping.  If your shoulder pad has a seamline match that with the shoulder seam.  My pad is quite similar to the armhole shaping and I only need to trim 3mm from the outer edge at the shoulder point, but I also need to trim some off at the neckline as it protrudes past the stitching line:

Remember that you need a pair!  Most tailored pads have a notch or small hole indicating which end is front or back.

Sleeve head wadding sits inside the sleeve head, and supporting it, rounding it out slightly, and concealing the edge of the shoulder pad and seam allowances.  My precut wadding has a slightly different shape to the pattern:

Which is easily fixed:

Note there is also R and L wadding, and mark the shoulder notch if it isn't already marked:

Now  our pieces are the correct shape, let's set them in!  Start by pinning the shoulder pad at the shoulder point like this - the edge of the pad should align with the cut edge of the seam allowances:

The front and back tips of the pad are not positioned by laying everything flat, they are positioned by bending the pad and seam into the wearing position like so:

Both ends pinned - note the ease:

The shoulder pad is sewn in from the sleeve side, stitching 1mm into the seam allowance from the existing stitching line so it remains undisturbed.  There will be some slight easing to do of the top layers:


The wadding is sewn in a similar manner, except it attaches to the sleeve side of the seam:

Allow it some ease in a similar manner to the shoulder pad:

Sew it in from the shoulder pad side, in the same line of stitching as the shoulder pad:

All stitched up:

Mine actually had too much ease here - see it's a bit gathered looking?  I ripped it out and resewed ...
From the right side, even stuffed with a fist and sporting stray fibres, the sleeve head looks much classier with it's supporting layers:

Let's sew the lining in next - happy sleeve sewing for now!

Monday, April 25, 2011

RTW Tailoring Sewalong #12 - Setting in the Sleeve

Today I set in my sleeves, but first I'll show you how to finish off the collar - I ran out of light last night so couldn't photograph anything!   

Turn back the facings and you'll see the neckline seams adjacent to each other:

We're going to stitch them together - match the raw edges of the lower seam allowances, and starting about 1cm behind the roll line, stitch close to the seam through the lower seam allowances to attach them:

 Match the shoulder seams and CB notch:

With the two layers now attached the collar will roll as intended as our turn of cloth is built into the pattern.

The open seam reduces bulk.

Now, onto the sleeve, as per the title:

I'm going to set my sleeve in using gathering stitches - if it works for 100% polyester bridal satin, it will work for anything!  My fabric - a cavalry twill - is not easy to ease, and using gathering stitches is my favourite method in times like these.

But first I always check from the outside that I have the correct sleeve for the correct armhole:

After yesterday, you now know I have a habit of sewing the wrong parts together...

I pin the shoulder and underarm:

Then draw up the gathering threads to the approximate amount:


Depending on which sleeve you are setting in, start at either the front or back notch, and sew through the underarm seam to the next notch:

As you reach the gathers, adjust them to fit well between any notches - there is often a slight amount of ease to begin with:

And a greater amount of ease around the curve of the shoulder, with only a slight amount 1-2cm either side of the shoulder notch:

Check the stitching line is straight and parallel with the raw edges, both inside the sleeve and outside:

Put your fist inside the shoulder and check the outside too, for any puckers and bubbles:

It is best to fix them at this stage, rather than cross your fingers and hope the shoulder pad and wadding will hide flaws - they usually don't, and the amount of unpicking will be tripled!  How do I know?!

You can also insert the sleeve with the sleeve lowermost - it's a little awkward, but the feed dogs help to ease in the sleeve as you sew.  I use this method when there is not a lot to ease, or the fabric is easy to work with.

Before the shoulder pad and sleeve head wadding are inserted, give the sleeve head a press.  Lay the body panel flat, with the inside of the sleeve showing like so:

Using the tip of your iron, press into the sleeve head about an inch, no further:

Take care not to crease the front and back panels.  The aim is to smooth just inside the sleeve head, rather than the seam allowance:

Work your way around the full sleeve circumference this way.  The seams are not pressed open like a usual seam.  Once again inspect from the outside for any flaws:

I had to reinsert one of my sleeves as they were sitting slightly differently even though the notches were spot on. I think it is because I am using a twill, which has a mind of it's own behaves a little differently to an even weave.

Now the epaulettes are attached my coat is looking very airforce, so today I appropriately named it my ANZAC coat.  Today is ANZAC day here in New Zealand and Australia - our memorial day for all the servicemen who have fought to keep our countries free, and there are several of them in most NZ families.  Lest we forget...