FLAT FELLED SEAMS

flat_felled_seam

I usually make things depending on an upcoming event, and as I've booked a trip to Central America, the thoughts of breezy linen and cotton dresses, tops and skirts started to completely take over my head. It all started with a dress that I bought too much fabric for (well, I ended up altering my pattern to get the most efficient yield: working in fashion industry and trying to get better costing for garments leaves a certain imprint on your personality). That left me with a good amount to cut a simple wrap skirt, and even after that I had big remnants left to start thinking about another piece. 

That other piece ended up being a button down shirt with a keyhole opening on the back. Everything here would have been a straight forward construction, but the fabric I chose for all these projects was slightly crinkled light weight linen, and as I started thinking about how I'm going to handle all  flat felled seams, I started questioning whether i'll be able to execute it well. But then I remembered about my trusty Ban Roll tape that I use for way more things it was designed for and decided to use it as aid putting these seams together. The result was pretty successful, and if there are silk button down shirts in the future makes for me, I will definitely utilize this extra step. 

So here's the recap of what I've been doing, but first I have to mention that I'm a big fan of small seams: baby hems, french seams, and flat felled seams, so i'm working with 1/4" seam allowance on one side, and 1/2" seam allowance on another for all seams using flat felled construction. Needless to say, this makes things more challenging. 

Flat felled seam allowances, right and left sides

Flat felled seam allowances, right and left sides

In order to do a flat felled seam, the process is somewhat like this:

Putting face to face together and stitching at seam lines (where the pins are)

Putting face to face together and stitching at seam lines (where the pins are)

Next step is to encase one side's raw edge by folding the larger seam allowance over it 

Next step is to encase one side's raw edge by folding the larger seam allowance over it 

Now we can open two sides being joined together and stitching down at the fold of the larger seam allowance side that encases the other's side raw edge. This is done on the wrong side of the garment.

Now we can open two sides being joined together and stitching down at the fold of the larger seam allowance side that encases the other's side raw edge. This is done on the wrong side of the garment.

And this is what it looks like on the right side (face side of the garment)

And this is what it looks like on the right side (face side of the garment)

The difficulty here is turning and ironing down 1/4" allowance, and here is where the Ban Roll comes in: it helps doing this job clean and precise, especially around curves and seams cut on bias. In the following example I'm putting a shoulder seam together with flat felled method, so both of these seams cut on bias, and in this particular fabric are more unstable then they would, let's say, in cotton. 

My Ban Roll "teeth" are 1/4" wide, the fabric is FACE DOWN and before stitching it, i'm changing the stitch width to a much wider stitch (about 4 1/2  on my machine), because it's going to be removed after.  

After the tape is attached, the 1/4" seam allowance is turned and pressed

Tape is removed

And thread is removed

That's pretty much it for the extra step in helping with these seams. Now the construction is pretty straight forward. I'm aligning my 1/4" seam allowance piece against the fold that we created on 1/2" seam allowance piece (face to face)

And stitching a 1/4" away from the edge (don't forget to change your stitch setting to regular width)

flat_felled_seam1

For the next step our 1/2" seam allowance piece is already ironed down at 1/4", so now we just open up the pieces and stitch at the fold's edge 

flat_felled_seam2.JPG

I know this may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for a flat felled seam, but if you ever tried to set a sleeve with this technique, especially in a very unstable fabric, adding this extra step can save you a lot of headache! 

Enjoy your sewing! 

PREPARING YOUR BAN ROLL

This is a quick post about preparing your Ban Roll for all the amazing things it can help you with. If you've purchased your Ban Roll and started unravelling one of its edges, you'll quickly discover that you'll have to go through one extra step in order to be able to use it.

ban_roll_prep

First, it's most likely will have uneven "teeth" once you start taking one edge apart, especially if you've cut a long piece to use for a baby hem on a super wide sweep of your garment. And second, the edges of the "teeth" will not be smooth, but rather gripping to the fabric if you try to pull it out.

ban_roll_prep1

So once you've pulled out enough threads along the whole length of the edge of your Ban Roll, take your scissors to it, and cut these uneven "teeth" off very close to the edge of the first thread that's still intact.

ban_roll_prep2

Now your Ban Roll is almost ready to use

ban_roll_prep3

Decide on the width of the "teeth" you will need for your project: it can be 1/8 of an inch for your Baby Hem or Chiffon Seam, or 1/4 of an inch for regular hemming and pull enough threads to get to this depth. Your "teeth" will be consistently even now along the full length of you Ban Roll piece. 

ban_roll_prep4

Et voila, you're ready to use your Ban Roll.

ban_roll_prep5

LEATHER WORKS

leather_corset_belt_fr

Recently I took a leather class at FIT hoping to learn how to work with leather, cutting techniques, finishing edges, have access to amazing tools and machines, and maybe end up with a nice leather bag and belt by the end of the semester. 

The class concentrated primarily on making patterns for the 2 styles of bags on the syllabus, and less so on the finishing techniques I imagined to learn, but I was determined to come out with at least one thing I could actually wear. 

This belt, which I should call a "proto", was my attempt at making a corset leather belt. This leather is pretty thick but very soft at the same time, and all the stitching was done by the machine. It was backed (by glue) by very thin black lamb leather without any bonded leather in between (material made from pressed shredded leather that helps give body/sturdiness to leather), therefore the finished product is very soft which turned out to be pretty comfortable to wear. Unfortunately the edges aren't finished, not even painted, so there might be another (stiffer) version in works with possible hand stitching, but this will have to wait till the temperatures drop. Meanwhile, for those of you who would like to try to make this version your own, I'm attaching a pattern I used. Circumference of this belt is from 26" to 29" (shorten or lengthen any parts to accommodate your size)  and it measure about 6" at the widest point. 

leather_corset_belt_bk
leather_corset_belt_details
leather_corset_belt_full


TUXEDO BLAZER: HALF MUSLIN

TUXEDO BLAZER: HALF MUSLIN

front

Continuing with tuxedo blazer and making the first muslin of the body. For now I'm looking how it falls on the form, even though this form does not exactly represent my measurements, but it will give me a good idea of overall look.  

back
side
armhole

At this point I'm checking the armhole area for any excess fabric before drafting the sleeve.

lapel

Another important area is collar and lapel: not too short, not too long. 

dart and pocket placement

At this point I want to move the bust dart and pocket placements closer to Center Front and I'm ready to draft my sleeve and cut a full muslin.  

TUXEDO SUITING: SETTING THE INTENTION

Saint Laurent tuxedo suiting

Making this tuxedo ensemble will require some time realizing and much discipline on my part documenting. I have a tendency of doing as much as I can when inspiration strikes, and there is always fear of loosing that drive, therefore stopping or slowing down has always been challenging. 

I like to start my projects with simple sketch showing style lines I'm going to use for drafting or draping the garment and some inspiration images such as above. And since the most important piece in this trio is the blazer, it will take precedence over other pieces.

For now, the search begins for some great virgin wool, or even grain de poudre wool as in Grain de poudre wool jacket by Saint Laurent, but I'm not entirely sure this term is in use in the US, and either silk satin or duchess satin for the tuxedo's lapel. My preference for jacket/blazer's lining is Bemberg, and I will still have to do the fuse test on chosen fabric before deciding on which to use. 

To be continued...

 

 

BUILDING THE ESSENTIAL WARDROBE

image: afterDRK

image: afterDRK

I was always sold on the idea of having a personal uniform and building a closet that lasts for years to come. As I've been getting better in my sewing skills, as well as pattern making and fitting,  I do get carried away sometimes with making pieces that aren't as useful for everyday, so i'm setting the intention to keep my projects and my purchases within the confinements of the following modified "French Wardrobe" list:

tops & dresses: 

  • t-shirt in black, white and grey
  • camisoles in black, white and cream
  • button-down cotton shirts in white and blue
  • silk blouse
  • black dress
  • simple cashmere sweaters in black, grey and cream

trousers & skirts:

  • black straight leg trousers
  • black slim trousers, cropped
  • skinny jeans
  • leather pants or leggings
  • pencil skirts in black and white

jackets & blazers:

  • black blazer with leather lapel
  • tuxedo pant suit
  • casual tweed blazer in grey
  • white classic blazer
  • strong shouldered blazer in military green
  • leather jacket

outerwear:

  • military inspired winter coat in black
  • menswear inspired winter peacoat in black
  • classic blazer coat in navy
  • soft slightly oversized peacoat in olive green

shoes:

  • black stilettos/pumps
  • mid-heel ankle boots
  • flats or loafers
  • converse sneakers

accessories:

  • classic watch
  • every-day leather bag
  • clutch 
  • silver rings and bracelets