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September 6, 2019

Welcome to the last day of the Calvin wrap top and dress sewalong. The first thing we are going to do it try on the top or dress as it is to see if we need to make any changes.

Step 16 – To wear, lap the right front over the left, inserting the left tie through the buttonhole and wrapping it around the back to the front. Insert the right tie through the thread chain loop, wrapping it around the back and bringing it back to the front. Adjust the ring and sliders so that the dress / top is sitting at the correct height on your shoulders.

Secure the ties with a bow at the left side opening (when wearing) or center front according to your preference. I decided to tie it in the front this time but it’s completely up to you. Trim ties as needed so they are the same length when tied and the length that you prefer.

Check the garment’s hem length and shorten if necessary. Mark position for optional modesty snap at center front if desired.

Step 17 – Using a hand sewing needle and thread, sew the socket end of the snap to the outside of the left front at the marking you made.

Sew the ball end of the snap to the inside of the right front at the marking you made.

Step 18 – Fold under the end of each tie by 1/4″ and then again at 3/8″. Press (steam and starch really helps keep this pressed well).

Stitch along the folded edge to secure end.

Tip: If you put a piece of paper under the tie on your sewing machine it makes it easier to sew that very small bit of fabric.

Step 19 – Fold the bottom raw edge of the garment up by 1/4″, wrong sides touching. Press. Fold again by 3/8″ for the top and 3/4″ for the dress.

Press and pin.

Stitch close to the fold to secure the hem.

Congrats! You are finished.

I hope this sewalong was helpful. If you need to still need the Calvin pattern you can do so here for a pdf or here for a paper pattern.



September 5, 2019

Welcome back to day 4 of the Calvin sewalong. Today we will finish up the straps and create all of the things we need for the waist ties to be secure.

Step 12 – To prevent it from fraying, zigzag stitch the raw end at the back of the armhole. I like to do a small zigzag with a width of 2mm and a length of 1mm.

With right sides facing up, insert the bias binding through the ring.

Fold back the bias binding toward the inside of the garment. I like to cheat the strap inward a bit so that it does not show on the outside of the garment once sewn down.

Stitch securely in line with your topstitching along the back neck binding.

Step 13 – With the right side facing up, slip the slider onto the front strap and move to about halfway down the length of the strap.

Insert the free end of the strap through the ring at the back armhole edge. Make sure that nothing is twisted.

Insert the end of the strap through the inside of the slider, extending the end by 1″. The end will be sandwiched inside the loop you created. It helps to loosen the part of your strap that is already threaded through the slider to allow more room to work with.

With wrong sides up, stitch the end of the strap to the inner loop to secure it. You may want to baste this line of stitching first and try it on to check the length of your strap.

Once you have created a straight line of stitching, zigzag stitch over the raw end and through the inner loop to prevent fraying just like you did before.

It should look like this once you are done.

Step 14 – Stitch buttonhole at the right side seam (when worn) according to the marking. I like to add fray check to my buttonhole before I open it. Make sure the seam allowances are pressed toward the back, and that the buttonhole stitching goes through all layers.

Open buttonhole.

Step 15 – Sew a 1″ thread chain at the left side seam (when worn) according to marking. Use the following instructions to create your thread chain.

Cut two pieces of thread that are about 25 inches long and pass them through your hand sewing needle. Double them up for four strands of thickness. Tie a large knot in the end.

Anchor the threads by passing through the garment and seam allowances from the wrong side, and out onto the right side of the garment at one of the dots.

Make a small backstitch on the outside of the garment at the same dot marking. Pull thread through, creating a large loop.

Insert your left thumb and pointer finger through the loop, spreading it wide. Hold the thread tail with your right hand.

Pinch the thread tail with your left thumb and pointer finger, continuing to hold the tail taut with your opposing hand.

Pull the pinched thread tail through the loop you created, as pictured. Continue to hold the end of the thread tail with your right hand, allowing enough slack to pull through.

Tighten the loop into a knot at the base of the thread tail, close to the garment. Use your right and left hands to pull up the slack and close the loop.

Once again, insert your left thumb and forefinger through the new loop you just created. Repeat the previous steps until you have created a thread chain that measures 1″.

Pass the thread tail with hand sewing needle through the last loop to create a knot.

Pass needle and tail through to the wrong side of the garment and seam allowance at the second dot marking and knot securely on the inside.

It will look like this once you are all done.

And that is it for today. We are so close! Tomorrow we will just finish a few things up and we will be done.



September 4, 2019

It’s day 3 of the Calvin Sewalong. Today we are going to apply more bias binding and assemble the body of the top or dress.

Step 9 – With right sides touching, pin the assembled back to the front sections at the sides.

Stitch together at a normal 1/2″ seam allowance.

Finish the side seam allowances together with either a zigzag stitch or by serging. Do NOT trim. (The seam allowances will be used to stabilize the buttonhole and thread chain in later steps.)

Press the seam allowances toward the back

Step 10 – Apply the center front and tie bias binding (pattern piece 5) along the center front wrap edge in the same manner as the back. The top edge should be flush with the garment and the rest will extend pas the wrap opening to create the tie.

First pin along center front with the wrong side of the garment facing up.

Stitch to the center front using the first fold as a guide.

If you are going to grade the seams do so now.

Flip the garment over so that the right side is facing up. Pin the bias binding over the raw edge so that it covers the stitch line.

Edgestitch along the bias binding binding to secure. For the bias binding section that extends past the front edge, simply continue to sew the edges together to form the tie. Do not finish the end of the tie yet; you will do that at the end after you try it on.

Repeat for other front.

Step 11 – Apply the armhole strap bias binding (pattern piece 4) along the armhole edges in the same manner as the front and back. To form the straps, let 1 1/4″ of the binding extend past the back armhole edge, with the rest extending past the front armhole edge.

For the bias binding section that extends past the armhole edges, simply continue to sew the edges together to form the straps.

That is all for today. Excited to keep sewing tomorrow.



September 3, 2019

Welcome back for Day 2 of the Calvin wrap top and dress sewalong. I am super excited get started with the actual construction of the top / dress of the Calvin pattern.

Step 4 – Staystitch the neckline and armhole edges on the front bodice and back pieces at 1/4″ seam allowance from top to bottom. I know you may be tempted to skip this this step, but it is very important in keeping the pattern pieces from stretching out during handling especially along the front edge.

Step 5 – To sew the dart on the front bodice, fold the dart markings with right sides together, aligning the dart legs you have marked and ensuring the dart point (apex) is on the fold. Pin to secure. Stitch along dart leg to point, reducing stitch length to 1mm within 1/2″ of the point.

Do not backstitch, but leave long thread tails.

Tie thread tails in a secure knot. Trim threads.

Press dart down towards lower edge. I like to press the darts on a tailors ham or rolled up towel so you get a nice curve.

Step 6 – To finish the front opening edge of the front, fold and press the raw edge to the inside by 1/4″

and then another 3/8″.

Stitch along fold from top to bottom to secure.

Here is the right side.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for other front. You are finished with the front pieces for today so you can set these aside for now.

Step 7 – With right sides touching, pin the two back pieces together along the center back. (Pay extra attention to the notches to make sure you are matching up the center back and not the side seams as they look very similar.) Stitch the center back seam.

Trim seam allowances to 3/8″ and finish in your desired manner. I am serging them to keep it simple but you can also zigzag stitch the edges together, use pinking shears, or even sew a french seam.

Press seam allowances open or to one side.

Step 8 – Flip over the back piece so that the wrong side is facing up. To apply the bias binding to the curved back neck edge, first open up one side of the pre-pressed back neck binding (pattern piece 3). Working with the wrong side (inside) of the back facing up, align the raw edge of the bias binding with the raw edge of the back neck edge. Do not stretch the garment, but slightly pull on the bias binding so that it lays nicely along the curved edge. Pin. Note that the binding will be slightly longer than the center back edge.

Stitch using the fold as a guide.

If your fabric / binding is thick, you may want to grade the seam allowance before proceeding to reduce bulk. I decided to do this since my linen is a bit thick. This probably isn’t necessary if you are using something thinner like a crepe. To grade I trimmed one seam allowance to 1/4″ and the other to 1/8″. Remember that the seam allowance that is pressed towards the outside of your garment should be the longer one.

Flip over the back so that the right side is now facing up. Fold the bias binding toward the outside of the back so that it is sandwiching the raw edges. Adjust the bias binding so that it is just covering the line of stitching you just made. Press and pin the bias binding in place.

To secure the bias binding, edgestitch close to the fold with the right side of the garment facing up.

Trim off excess bias tape at ends, as needed. Press.

That is it for today. I hope you liked applying the bias binding because we have quite a bit more of that coming up and we will be applying it in the same manner.



September 2, 2019

Welcome to day 1 of the Calvin wrap top and dress sewalong. Today is mostly prep. We will do some markings, but mostly create our bias binding. These steps are super easy, but a little time consuming so I like to do them at the beginning to get them out of the way.

Please note that the following instructions depict View A (top), but all instructions are applicable to all views.

Step 1 – Before starting, make sure you have transferred all notches and symbols from your pattern pieces to your fabric. I like to make a small (about 1/4″ long) snip for any notches.

I also use my chalk or disappearing marker to mark any stitch lines such as the dart legs or the thread loop and buttonhole.

Step 2 – Take two of the four of your long bias strips (pattern piece 5) and place the ends one on top of the other, right sides touching, at a 90 degree angle. Pin.

Stitch from one side to the other as shown below.

You may find it helpful to draw a line first to make this stitching easier. I like to use my chacco wheel and then stitch on top of it.

Trim seam allowances to 1/8″ and press open.

Trim off any small bits of seam allowance that are not flush with the long sides of the bias strip.

Repeat all of Step 2 for the remaining two long bias pieces (pattern piece 5). In the end you will have two long strips. One for the right side and one for the left.

Step 3 – Prepare each strip of bias tape (patter pieces 3, 4, and 5) in the following ways.

If you want to use a bias tape maker, the 25mm double fold bias tape maker is your best bet.

Personally I think you get a better result and have more control if you do it by hand so that is what I will be showing you. I do recommend using spray starch when pressing because it adds some stability to the bias binding that will wash away later.

Fold bias binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides touching, and press.

Open the bias binding up and fold the outside edges toward the center fold you just created. Press again.

Fold the bias binding in half again along the original fold and press.

And that is it for today. Put on a show and make all of your bias binding. You will be so happy that you did this now so the rest of your dress or top can be sewn together without interruption.