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SEWALONG

CALVIN : FABRIC & NOTIONS

August 30, 2019

The sewalong for the Calvin wrap top and dress starts next week and I wanted to do a quick post in preparation to go over fabric and notions so that you can be ready to sew come Monday.

FABRIC:

One of the things that I love about the Calvin is that it really works great with those beginner friendly, easy to sew fabrics that we all love to use. The pattern does not require a lot of drape (although drape is fine) so cottons, linens and rayons work great. The most important thing is that the fabric will press well so stick with those natural fibers and stay away from polyester blends or you will really regret it when you are making those yards and yards of bias binding. I decided to go with some medium weight linen in a beautiful vintage red from The Fabric Store that I have had in my stash for awhile. I love linen for this pattern because it’s breathable but still has some structure so it presses well and really shows the style lines.

BIAS BINDING:

This pattern has a lot of bias binding. The way that the yardage is calculated, you can use the same fabric for both the dress/top and binding or you can use a contrast binding. This is such a great way to use up scraps. I love the idea of mixing stripes with florals or different sized prints for some really fun affects. Making the binding will take you a bit of time, but it is super easy so try not to shy away from it. I do not recommend using the bias tape you buy in the packages at the big box store. They are cheap, stiff, and won’t feel nice against your skin. That being said, there are some resources for really nice bias tape that you can buy if you want to go that route. You will need 6 – 7 yards of bias tape and you want double fold bias tape with a finished measurement of about 3/8″. Here are a couple I have found:

The Fabric Store – They have bias in not only their Liberty fabrics but also their exclusive range of linens. This is such a great option for those who want matching binding and main fabric but don’t want to make the bias yourself. The width is perfect too. I’ve use this exact combo for some of my tester versions and it was perfection.

Imagine Gnats – I recently noticed that Imagine Gnats is now carrying Atelier Brunette bias tape by the yard in both viscose crepe and double gauze. It’s the perfect width and matches the very popular Atelier Brunette fabrics. The viscose crepe is on the light weight side so keep in mind that it may be a little more finicky to work with.

I am sure there are more out there. I know a lot of indie fabric stores carry bias tape by the yard so check around.

RINGS / SLIDERS:

One of my favorite details of the Calvin are the adjustable straps made possible by the ring and sliders. It really helps for getting a good fit. I know that the 1/2″ sliders can be a little harder to find so I wanted to give you a few resources. First of all, the best place to look is in your drawer. If you have an old bra that you don’t wear or is worn through, save the rings and sliders before you discard it. If that is not an option here is where you can find them:

Tailor Made – This is such a great place for all things bra making, but also a great resource for rings and sliders for the Calvin. You can pick up a couple sets for just a few bucks which is great if you don’t want to buy in bulk.

The Bra Makery – There are quite a few shops selling rings and sliders on Etsy so you may want to poke around a bit for one closer to you, but the Bra Makery seems to have quite a good selection and at a good price. You can choose 3 sets or 12 sets at once and they even have these adorable heart shaped sliders if you want that novelty look.

OTHER NOTIONS:

OK, those were the trickier things to find, but you still need a few more notions. Make sure you have coordinating thread. There is a lot of topstitching on the bias binding so it really should match well unless you are purposefully trying to make it contrast.

You may want to add the optional modesty snap and if so you will want to source a 1/4″ sew on snap. A lot of people are tempted to skip this, but if you are C cup or bigger I highly recommend it. These are pretty easy to find and you should be able to pick up a pack of them at almost any sewing store.

You also need a hand sewing needle to attach the sew on snap and make the belt loop / thread chain.

SPRAY STARCH:

One last thing you might want to consider getting is some spray starch. The more lightweight and slippery your fabric is the more this helps. When you are making your bias binding, applying spray starch really helps to keep the creases and reenforce the binding for easy stitching. It will disappear in the wash so it’s not permanent. It just makes your life easier.

OK, I think is all for today. We will not be going over printing your pattern or cutting out your pattern pieces so get that done before Monday. If you need a little help with that part, check out this blog post for printing and assembling your pattern.

See you Monday! If you still need to get your Calvin pattern you can do so here.

MAKES SEWALONG SEWING

FINISHED SHELBYS FROM SEWALONG

June 4, 2019

I hope you all found the Shelby Sewalong from last week helpful. I was able to find some time to get those two Shelbys photographed and wanted to show them to you.

This first Shelby is View A with the traditional longer sleeve. I used some beautiful rayon crepe from the Sewing Studio in Oregon.

I love the burnt orange color and large scale floral design.

The second Shelby is View C, the short romper, with the shorter cap sleeve.

I sewed this version up in a small daisy print that I bought from Blackbird Fabrics.

I’ve surprised myself with how much I am gravitating towards ditsy flower prints for the Shelby. The 90s flare of the design really lends itself to these types of fabric in my opinion.

That’s it. Super simple post. If you want to purchase the Shelby Dress and Romper pattern for yourself you can do so here.

SEWALONG SEWING

SHELBY SEWALONG DAY 5 – HEMMING AND BUTTONS

June 1, 2019

It’s here, the last day of the sewalong! Not a lot to do today, just buttons and hems.

The first few steps are for hemming the dress versions, if you are sewing up the romper, skip ahead to step 32.

Step 31 – With right sides touching, turn the bottom edge of the facing to the outside along the seam where the facing and dress meet, with lower raw edges even. Pin.

Stitch along bottom edge at a 5/8″ seam allowance for the length of the facing. Backstitch at both ends.

Clip corners.

On the inside of the dress, fold the bottom raw edge up by 1/4″, wrong sides touching, all the way around, including the area attached to the facing. (You are not folding up the bottom of the facing.) Press.

Turn facing right side out, turning out corner into a nice point. This will begin to fold the hem by an additional 3/8″.

Pin and press. The folded lower edge of the dress should align with the seam at the lower edge of the facing.

Stitch close to fold to secure hem, starting and stopping at edge of facing. Backstitch.

The next step is for the romper views only. If you sewing the dress, skip ahead to step 33.

Step 32 – Fold the bottom raw edge of each romper leg up by 1/4″, wrong sides touching. Press.

Fold again by 3/8″. Continue to fold up the entire hem by 3/8″. Press and pin.

Stitch close to the fold to secure.

Step 33 – Using the buttonhole placement guide, mark buttonholes on the right (when wearing) front. Note that Views A and B use seven buttons / buttonholes, while Views C and D only use five. Also keep in mind, if you shortened or lengthened the garment at all you will need to adjust the button placement and may need to add or subtract buttons. Just make sure they are equal distance apart.

I use a disappearing marker to mark by buttonhole placement.

Stitch buttonholes. I like to add fray check to my buttonholes next and let them dry before opening them.

Open your buttonholes. I use a buttonhole opener but you can use a small pair of scissors too.

Line up the centers of your garment. Mark button placement through open buttonholes on left front.

Sew buttons onto the left front.

Congrats! You are finished. Give the dress or romper a good press and you are good to go.

I hope you have found the Shelby Sewalong helpful. Be sure to tag us with your makes so we can see them!

SEWALONG SEWING

SHELBY SEWALONG DAY 4 – SLEEVES

May 30, 2019

Although technically the longer traditional sleeve is for the dress views and the shorter cap sleeve is for the romper views, you can interchange them with all of the options. Let’s go over both.

Step 25 – The first thing we need to do is gather the ease of the top of the sleeve. Baste the upper edge of the sleeve at 5/8″ seam allowance, and again at 3/8″ seam allowance. To baste you will increase your stitch length to about 5mm.

When basting, start on one side of the sleeve cap at the first notch, and continue around cap, past the shoulder notch, to the final notch on the other side of the curve. Do not backstitch. Leave the long thread tails to aid in easing.

Step 26 – For the cap sleeve, fold the bottom raw edge of the sleeve up by 1/4″, wrong sides touching, and press.

Fold up by another 3/8″.

Press, and then unfold. These fold lines will make it much easier to hem your sleeve later on.

For the traditional short sleeve, fold the bottom raw edge of the sleeveup by 1/4″, wrong sides touching, and press.

Fold up by another 1/2″.

Press and then unfold. These fold lines will make it much easier to hem your sleeve later on.

Step 27 – With right sides touching (and the hem unfolded), pin and stitch the inner arm seam. Trim seam allowance to 3/8″ and finish in your desired manner (I am serging). Press the seam allowances open or towards the sleeve back.

Step 28 – Re – fold the sleeve hem along the previously pressed lines and pin.

Stitch close to the fold to secure.

Step 29 – Make sure that your sleeve is right side out and your dress/romper is inside out. Slip the coordinating sleeve into the garment and lineup the armhole openings.

Match up the underarm seam with the side seam, and place the shoulder (middle) notch at the shoulder seam. Align the outer notches and gently pull on the basting thread tails to ease the fullness of the sleeve cap into the armhole of the garment. Use your fingertips to evenly spread the small gathers, trying to make them as even as possible. Generously pin the sleeve into place

Use a the pins as anchor points for the basting stitches by wrapping the long ends around the pins in a figure 8 pattern.

Slowly stitch the armhole seam, feeding the fabric under the presser foot evenly, so there are no obvious gathers in the finished sleeve cap.

Step 30 – Remove basting stitches from sleeves. Trim seam allowances to 3/8″ and finish in desired manner. Press finished seam allowances towards the sleeve.

That is it for today. Come back tomorrow and we will finish our Shelby’s by hemming them and sewing buttonholes / attaching buttons. Can’t wait!

SEWALONG SEWING

SHELBY SEWALONG DAY 3 – THE FACING

May 29, 2019

Today in the Shelby Sewalong we are going to be attaching the facing. This is probably the hardest part of the instructions, especially if you are sewing up the romper views, so that is all that we are going to tackle today. I recommend taking it slow and pressing often and you should be fine.

First we will go over the steps for the Romper views, if you are sewing up the dress, skip ahead to step 21.

Step 15 – With right sides touching, pin the assembled neck facing to the neck edge of the romper, aligning inner raw edges, and matching shoulder seams, notches, and circles. Sometimes the facing or romper gets a bit stretched out with handling. In this case you will need to ease that back in so pin a lot.

Starting at one circle, stitch around the entire neckline at a normal 1/2″ seam allowance, pivoting at the lower corners, and finishing at the the circle on the opposite side. Backstitch at both ends to secure.

This is a tricky step for sure. You need to be extra careful when sewing up to the dot at the bottom of the facing that you are keeping the opposite side out of the way. Otherwise you will get a pucker right there. It’s hard to see in the picture but each side should be completely free of the other, but sewn right up to one another at the dots.

Step 16 – The help the neckline have a smooth finish once turned and pressed, grade the neck seam allowance, and notch along the curved portion of the seam. Trim around the center front top curve. The amount of trimming and notching you need to do depends on the weight of your fabric. If its pretty lightweight like mine you don’t need to be intense about it, but if your fabric is a bit more structured like a linen, make sure you really grade and trim a lot. This will make a huge difference on how smooth your finished neckline looks once turned.

You also need to trim the angle at each lower corner to reduce bulk once its turned.

Press the unfinished seam allowance below the dot up on each facing so that the raw edge is not exposed once it’s turned to the inside of the romper.

Step 17 – To help the facing stay tucked neatly to the inside of the romper, press the seam allowance towards the facing and away from the main romper. Understitch where possible. It is hard to understitch at curves or angles, so I start 1″above the lower edge of the front facing, and understitch to within 1″ of the neckline curve. Start again as close as possible to the front edge of the neckline, and stitch around the remainder of the neckline. Continue down the other side of the front facing in the same manner.

Step 18 – Turn the entire neck facing to the inside of the romper, rolling the facing slightly to the inside.

Take extra care in turning out the lower corner to get it sharp. Make sure that the bottom edge of the facing is still turned up and tucked away nicely so no raw edges are showing. Press.

Step 19 – With the romper right side out, lap the right front over the left (when wearing), matching up the centers, and pin. Stitch through all layers 1/8″ from the edge to secure.


Step 20 – To help secure the facing to the romper, stitch in the ditch through all layers for a few stitches at the shoulder and center back seams through all layers. You can also do this by hand for less visible stitches.

That is it for the Romper views for today. The rest of the steps are for the Dress views only.

Step 21 – With right sides touching, pin the assembled neck facing to the neck edge of the dress, aligning inner and lower raw edges, and matching should seams and notches.

Starting at the bottom of the dress on one side, stitch along the front opening edge, and around the entire neckline. Finish stitching at the other bottom edge, backstitching at both ends to secure.

Step 22 – The help the neckline have a smooth finish once turned and pressed, grade the neck seam allowance, and notch along the curved portion of the seam. Trim around the center front top curve. The amount of trimming and notching you need to do depends on the weight of your fabric. If its pretty lightweight like mine you don’t need to be intense about it, but if your fabric is a bit more structured like a linen, make sure you really grade and trim a lot. This will make a huge difference on how smooth your finished neckline looks once turned.

Step 23 – To help the facing stay tucked neatly to the inside of the dress, press the seam allowance towards the facing and away from the main dress. Understitch where possible. It is hard to understitch at sharp curves or so I start at the bottom of the front facing, and understitch to within 1″ of the neckline curve. Start again as close as possible to the front edge of the neckline, and stitch around the remainder of the neckline. Continue down the other side of the front facing in the same manner.

Step 24 – To help secure the facing to the dress, stitch in the ditch through all layers for a few stitches at the shoulder seams. You can also do this by hand for less visible stitches.

That is it, we are done for today. Tomorrow we will take care of the sleeves. We are so close to being finished!