Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Sew French Seams

This Challenge #3 of the FabricMart Challenge I’m in right now. Each participant was given a topic and we had to create a little tutorial for it. Here’s mine.


A French seam is just a fancy way of sewing a regular seam. Using this technique, you are enclosing the raw edge of the fabric so both sides of the garment look nice. This is a really great technique for light or sheer fabric where you may see the raw seam allowance edges through the fabric. It’s also great for things where you may see the inside of the garment, like an unfinished jacket or the join in a scarf. This also works with thicker fabrics, but the seam allowances may get bulky.
Put your fabric together WRONG sides together. Yes, really. I know normally you put things the other way. Trust me, this time put your fabric WRONG sides together. Instead of doing your typical 5/8” seam allowance, do a 3/8” seam allowance. When I’m making something with French seams, I like to do all the wrong-sides-together stitches first. For example, on a top, I’ll sew the shoulder seams and side seams all wrong sides together and then go on to the other steps. I find things move faster that way.

Iron your seam allowance open.

Trim your seam allowance to 1/8”

Now, fold the RIGHT sides together and press the seam with your iron.

Go back to the sewing machine and sew 1/4” from the seam edge. You are still getting a 5/8” seam allowance, you are just doing it in two steps!

Go to the wrong side and iron down that beautiful inside seam.

Enjoy your beautiful seams on the inside and the outside!

And voila, you have a garment that is beautiful inside and out!!

Here's a link to the other contestants. And here's a link to vote!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ottobre 05-2015 #1 “Twig” Knit Dress

These Ottobre names crack me up sometimes. Maybe they just don’t translate well? Anyway, odd name, cute dress.


This is a very simple knit dress with v-neck and interesting bound pockets. The fabric is a double knit ponte from Fabric Mart. It’s black with light purple polka dots. I used a green knit binding for the pockets and the neckband. I think it turned out rather cute. 


The fit is loose and comfortable. I’ll wear this with tights and boots to work. It’s a tad on the short side. I added my standard 1” above the bust for my long torso too. On my next version, I may actually add an inch to the length.


I made a size 34, their smallest size. I mostly fit in that size range when you measure everything out. After the dress was done, I ended up taking a good two inches out of the back. My waist measurement is a couple inches less than their size 34.


I swear it’s going to snow today. It just smells like it. My camera was being weird today. The lighting wasn’t all that great.


The pockets are my favorite part. I love how Ottobre releases a collection with similar elements. This pocket detail is also on another dress (#5 and #20) and also on the sleeveless sweatshirt (#16).



Since I don’t have a binder attachment, I sewed the binding on RST at 3/8”, flipped it to the inside and stitched in the ditch from the right side. You can barely see my stitches here.


See? You can tell it’s a little short here.


Overall, another Ottobre win. I still need to do my Burda Challenge for September! I also just received a bunch of zippers from ZipperStop. I’m going to make a few Jalie 2795 hoodies. It’s getting chilly here and I need some cozy clothes!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ottobre - 5-2008 #18 - Cowl-neck Top

I’ve been really crushing on Ottobre lately. Up until recently, I only had a couple of older magazines from 05/2008 and 05/2009. A few days ago, I received 05/2015 and 05/2014. I seem to like that Fall/Winter catalog. I’m not sure if I just burned out on Burda or what is going on. I decided that I will not renew my Burda subscription and get an Ottobre one instead. Gasp! I know! I find that I just seem to make one thing out of the Burda magazines lately and it’s only because of the Burda Challenge. But anyway, I’m taking a little break.


Which leads me to Ottobre. I really like some of their clothes lately. This top is from the 05/2008 magazine. Yes, I’ve had it a really long time, but I’m just now starting to love their clothing. Weird, I know. I’m still trying to figure out my sizing with them. This top is the 36 and I think it’s too big. I fall squarely between their 34 and 36. When I tried Ottobre a long time ago, it seemed like the 34 was too small. Maybe now that I know my fitting issues a bit better, it will be easier to wear their patterns. I decided to make this lovely tunic out of a sweater knit. I love the cozy shape and the tunic length.



These are iPhone photos in the back yard so they aren’t all that great. You can see the shoulders and arms are big. The pleats should be further in toward the middle of my body.
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I really like it as a tunic over skinny jeans. I really like how the cowl lays and covers that pesky neck seam.
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The collar is made with a french seam because you see both sides of the fabric.


Photo bombed by my chickens! Chickens that AREN’T laying eggs yet. They are five and half months old. They should start laying ANY. FREAKING. DAY.
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Overall, I really like the top. Next time I will make the size 34 and add my typical 1” above the bust. I do this pretty much with all patterns. I didn’t do it here because 1) I wanted to see the fit “out of the envelope”, and 2) I didn’t think it would matter much with the loose fit of this. Some of us at are thinking of starting an official Ottobre Sew-a-Long. I’ll post here if there are more details fleshed out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fabric Mart Challenge #2 - My Dress!

Here’s my second entry for the contest! Can I just yell for a second? I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT!!! If I can brag for a minute, the waist seam hits EXACTLY where it should, there is no bust wrinkles and gaping. This is a great dress!! Okay, bragging done. *clearing throat* Okay, well, let’s start again. This is a my entry for the second challenge. I really like it.

And look, I even blow-dried my hair for this.

I wish I could find the pattern on some Burda archives somewhere. I looked at my links for the Russian and French websites but I the archives seems to have gone away. Dammit. Anyway, it’s 09-2006 ##114/115. It’s a slightly flared a-line wrap dress. 

With the pattern, they include a facing pattern piece for the bodice. I modified it slightly to create a one-piece facing that connects at CB and goes from one hem to the other.

I clipped, graded, and understitched.

I even did french seams for every seam! I never do stuff like that. But this dress is a labor or love.

Skirt and sleeve hems were serged and sewn up by hand.

How fun is the fabric? 

My inspiration for this dress. Not only the woman, but also the wrap dresses she is wearing. Can you say animal print? Collars? Really, I need any excuse I can to wear animal-print anything.

I even made my own DVF-inspired (lawn chair) photo shoot!

See the other entries here!

Vote here! Apparently votes really matter.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fabric Mart Challenge #2

Our challenge this week to create a DVF-inspired wrap dress. She has so many beautiful dresses. I have a couple patterns to choose from but I’ve settled on a BWOF from 2006 that has a great wrap dress pattern in it. They’ll be looking at all the details, seaming, fit, etc.



This is my inspiration picture. It’s leopard! It’s the idol herself! And I just flat love it. And really, I’d like any excuse to use an animal print.


Kristin did end up winning the last contest. Her transformation from skirt to cute dress really was amazing. Apparently we tied for first, but reader votes pushed the judges her way. It’s okay, I’m not going to yell at you. Little secret? I voted for her too!!!!

I’ll post my finished garment here on Wednesday. :)