Burda Style Welt Pocket Tutorial

I’m currently working on the Culottes pattern from May 2014 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine which has lovely welt pockets at the back and a fly zipper- both new techniques to me.   As is the norm for Burda patterns, the instructions are vague and confusing.   This is not my first time tackling an intermediate pattern but is my first time sewing welt pockets and I took at least 40 minutes trying to decipher the instructions from the magazine.   What didn’t help is that the method used for these culottes is unlike any of the techniques I’ve seen used in the many welt pocket tutorials online.   To make it make sense to me, I had to re-write the instructions, adding the necessary details and clarifications as I went along.   I thought I’d share this with you.   The instructions below are specifically for this Culottes pattern but can be applied to any pattern that calls for a welt pocket.

  1. Cut welt pieces on bias and cut front and back pocket pieces as directed.   Cut fusible interfacing for welt pieces and strips approximately 4cm (1 5/8”).

  1. Interface welt strips and apply interfacing to wrong side of pattern piece, over pocket markings.

  1. Fold welt pieces in half horizontally, right sides out, and press.

  1. Finish seam allowances in your chosen method- zig-zag, overlocking (serging) or pinking shears.
  2. Transfer pocket markings to the right side of the fabric and mark placement line for welt 1.5cm (5/8”) below marking. This will be the finished width of the welt.

  1. Pin welt piece on right side of fabric with folded edge aligned with placement marking , raw edges to the top of the piece and pocket markings central.
  2. Stitch welt in place along lower pocket attachment line.

  1. On each larger pocket piece, mark and attachment line 7.5cm (3”) from the upper edge.

  1. Pin larger pocket pieces to culotte pieces, right sides together so that the attachment line you have just marked lines up with upper pocket attachment line and lower edge of the pocket piece is to the top of the culotte piece.
  2. Stitch along upper pocket attachment line, taking care not to stitch through welt piece.

  1. Cut Culotte backs between welt and pocket piece attachment seams and clip diagonally into the corners of the pocket markings, leaving long triangles.   Do not cut welt or pocket piece.

  1. Flip welts up and tuck ends into pocket opening, gently pulling triangles to the inside, and pull pocket piece to the inside.   Press

  1. Stitch smaller pocket pieces to seam allowance of welt.

  1. Stitch small triangles to welt, from the end of one pocket attachment line to the other.

  1. Stitch pocket pieces together, using ¼” seam allowance.

You should now have created a beautiful welt pocket.   I’m not sure that this is the easiest, neatest method of making a welt pocket, it was just how the Burda instructions had you do it.   I am hoping to try the various other methods I’ve found and reviewing which method I like best, so keep your eyes peeled.

p.s. Please excuse the ‘deliberate’ error.   I couldn’t get the numbering right on the last few steps no matter how much I fiddled with wordpress.   I got the numbers right but then it wouldn’t display my pictures.

Slinky floral dress

The last two weeks have been pretty exhausting as we moved house on the first week of our holiday, with two children on the first week of the summer holidays and no money to hire a van.   Luckily I have a mum-mobile, a seven seater with a massive boot when all the seats are down.   Most of our stuff was moved in countless car loads with just the main bits of furniture being moved in my sister-in-law’s boyfriend’s van.

We’re all in and unpacked now and the best bit is I get my own sewing space.   Well, it’s also a dining room, kids messy play area and generally ‘other’ room but I do have my machine set up in the corner and all my sewing supplies easily at hand… except my fabric stash which Tobi has relegated to the garage!!!!!   I have sleepless nights thinking about spiders and other creepy crawlies ruining the prescious hoard.

New Sewing Space

So, the first week of my holiday did not involve much sewing and then the start of the second week was taken up with unselfish sewing- you know the thing I said rarely happens round here.   I had two skirt alterations for work colleagues, a slip cover for an outdoor sofa and finally finishing a Getie Shirtwaist dress for my sister-in-law before I was able to do anything for my family and then I had to make new cushion covers to replace very tatty looking covers I’d made from old t-shirts about a year ago.   I used the Fat Quarter pack I won in a competition on Twitter from Sew Magazine.   I’ve been keeping these FQ’s since I won them, hoping I could come up with some ingenious way to turn them into something wearable as they’re so lovely.   But alas, I came up a blank and, seeing the first of the Fat Quarter challenges completed at Oonaballoona’s blog, I can see it’s no mean feat using FQ’s in garment making.   But we’re all pretty pleased with the results and at £6 for four new cushions (just the cost of new cushion pads at £1.50 each) you can’t really go wrong.

I did finally get to my favourite activity though, Selfish Sewing.   I posted recently about the Spring Sewing Swap goodies I received from Sew Actually, organised through Kestrel Makes blog and I decided to tackle the gorgeous floral satin that I melted over when it arrived.   Andrea sent this to me as a challenge as I had applied for Season Three of the Great British Sewing Bee and in season two the first few episodes focused on different types of fabric, silk being one of those.   Although I believe this fabric is polyester rather than silk, I can tell you it was definitely a challenge.

I wanted to let the fabric speak for itself and also not give myself too many headaches so I chose a fairly simple pattern that I had been gifted by a colleague at work.   It was the free ‘easy dress pattern, from May 2014 edition of Prima magazine.   I wasn’t sure about the style on me and thought it might look a little frumpy, so I decided to make up a wearable toile to test the fit and see if it looked any good on me.   I used a poly crinky crepe which I scored in a charity shop a while ago- I got about 5 metres of it and have already made a maxi skirt and had a good half metre left once I’d cut out the tunic length.   I wish I could remember which size I cut but I know that I had to grade to the size above from the waist down, which is usual for me due to my pear shaped frame.   I think it was a medium top half and large from the waist down.

The toile was very quick to sew up.   I substituted the elastic channel the pattern calls for for shirring.   I thought it would look a bit odd with a rectangle topstitched just under my boobs and lower back and shirring worked well as a more attractive alternative.   The pattern also directs you to use bias binding as a facing but I really liked the colour combination between the purple binding I had in my stash and the fabric so I bound the edges instead, including the hem.   This version must have only taken me about an hour and a half to make and I was proud of myself that I didn’t need to look at the instructions at all- Sewing level up :-)

The construction of the final dress was not so straightforward.   This fabric is very very slippery and was impossible to keep on grain when cutting out but I did the best I could and neatened up my edges after cutting the main pieces.   Andrea had warned me that sharp pins would be required and had sent me a new box of pins to help.   Sadly I still had a few snags in the fabric and, due to the printed nature of this satin, it left little white pull lines- you may be able to spot one on the hem picture below.   It’s hardly noticeable though and I’ve realised since I’ve been sewing that I always notice the imperfections so much more easily than anyone else.

For once I actually considered construction before I launched myself at my sewing machine and chose to use french seams throughout, except the armholes which I was too nervous about and so used a plain seam, trimmed the seam allowance down by half and used a narrow zig-zag stitch for the edges.   In hindsight I’m glad that I made this decision because I made a complete boob inserting the sleeves because the fabric is so slippery.   I ended up with sleeves that were far too tight and looked like I was going to hulk out of them at any moment.   I also thought the length of the sleeve looked a bit strange and frumpish with such lovely delicate fabric.   Therefore my solution was to go at the sleeves with a pair of scissors and turn them into cap sleeves.   As unpicking this fabric can also cause trauma to the weave I chose to make the alteration without removing the sleeves.   I measured down three inches from the shoulder point and drew a line with a hope and a prayer that I could get them matching on both sides.   I then trimmed the lower sleeve away at the underarm seam line and across the newly marked sleeve line, also trimming off the majority of the seam allowance in the under-arm portion of the armhole.   I then used satin bias binding that I had in my stash from my grandmother (who I never knew to sew so I have no idea why she had so much sewing equipment and haberdashery) to face the new armhole and sleeve edge.   The sleeves are slightly uneven but I like the new look and think it suits the fabric better.

Hemming was another trauma.   Due to my inability to keep the fabric on grain whilst cutting, my original hem line was very very uneven.   I don’t have a dress form so I begged Tobi to help me with marking an even hem line.   He was annoyed after the first three pins as he quickly discovered my frustrations with fabric that just doesn’t want to sit still.   I then cut off the excess fabric as straight as I could ready for hemming.   I had intended to make a hand-rolled hem but my first stitch, picking up just one or two threads, pulled out the threads and made a horrible snag.   I quickly abdandoned that idea and decided to do it on the machine.   I rolled over the hem edge approximately 1/8″ to the wrong side and stitched close to the edge and then repeated the process, giving me a nice narrow hem.   Horribly horribly uneven, but a hem none-the-less.

Shirring

Neckline Bias Facing

Teeny tiny machine rolled hem

Despite all my griping about this fabric, it feels divine to wear (apart from the static which makes it cling to my legs but is easily resolved by wearing a slip underneath) and it got the Tobi seal of approval when he realised how touchable it is.   It felt like an accomplishment to complete it too, despite the frustrations along the way.

I have since pinned some tutorials on my Pinterest Sewing tutorials board giving hints and tips for sewing with slippery fabrics.   Have any of you got any hints and tips to add?   Any slippery fabric disasters or triumphs?

Bag Making- Chemo Survival Kit

Just a quick post to show you the first bag I’ve ever made.   We had bad news a few weeks back and a very close member of my family was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast cancer.   It came as a complete shock to the whole family as she is only in her late 30’s and, at the time of diagnosis, had a 6 week old baby (she still has the baby, she’s just a couple of weeks older now).   Whenever there’s any family crisis my brain locks into Social Worker mode and I was trying desperately to think of anything I could do to help.   Obviously, I’m not an oncologist so all I can really do it offer emotional support but I also thought I might be able to make her Chemotherapy sessions a bit more pleasant and decided to make a ‘survival kit’ to relieve the boredom.

It was my first foray into bag making and I used this tutorial to make the bag and raided my fabric stash and the lovely flip flop fabric I was given in the Kestrel Makes Spring Sewing Swap.   I don’t have a lot to say about the construction of the bag, it was really easy and quick.   From cutting out to finishing the bag and putting the contents in it took me about 2 hours.   I wanted to have the main body of the bag in denim, but I didn’t have enough so used it for the handles.   This was a big mistake as there was a lot of bulk where the handles attached the body of the bag and my machine struggled a bit, even with a jeans needle in.   I had some spare top-stitch thread leftover from my denim rug so I top-stitched the handles too.

Here’s what I put in the bag:

  • Two Trashy magazines
  • A Mills and Boon triple book
  • Bars of chocolate
  • Boiled sweets & mints as I’ve read that chemo can give you a horrible taste in your mouth
  • Bottled water
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Hand and nail cream

She’s had her first Chemo session and really liked the bag and found the contents useful, which I was please about.   A much more useful gift than a bunch of flowers and extra special as I made it myself.

Rare Unselfish Sewing: Walden Patterns by Colette Negroni shirt

Sorry, there was a delay in getting this posted as I forgot my Flickr details so couldn’t get to the pictures.   All sorted now and I’ve written them done, so shouldn’t forget again.

 

Well, after a year of being asked to make something for my husband, I have finally relented. I present to you my husband, Tobi, in his Negroni shirt by Walden from Colette patterns. Ta Da!

This has been my most complex make so far and I’m really pleased with the result. Tobi decided that he wanted a long-sleeved shirt as he likes to be able to roll the sleeves up. This meant I had to tackle techniques I’d not done before- sleeve plackets and cuffs. I was really nervous about the sleeve plackets but actually they stitched up like a dream. The Colette instructions are really clear. To get nice sharp edges on the folds and point I used a piece of thin card to press the fabric over. This worked a treat. The cuffs aren’t perfect as the sleeve seam line poked out at the edge of the cuff but it’s not too noticeable.
Another tricky area was easing in the collar into the neckline seam but I used a pin easing technique that I spotted on the Fehr Trade blog  and took my time with the stitching making sure the yoke on the underside was smooth as I went along. This resulted in my best collar so far with absolutely zero puckers or pleats.

I made a slight boo boo with attaching the sleeves as I was a bit confused by the instructions. The sleeves and side seams of the Negroni are stitched with a flat-felled seam for strength and neatness. The instructions for attaching the sleeve have you press the sleeve head seam under by ¼” and then instruct you to match the edges of the sleeve head to the armscye and stitch a ¾” seam allowance. I slightly misinterpreted the instructions and matched the raw edges instead of the raw edge of the armscye to the folded edge of the sleeve head. This meant that I ended up with approximately a 1/8” flat felled seam for attaching the sleeve. It was very fiddly but I did it and it didn’t look awful so I chose not to unpick. Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness has an amazing Negroni sew-along series which made me realise my mistake.
Fit-wise, my husband has a classic masculine shape- he’s like an upside-down triangle. I cut the large size for the top of the shirt and graded to a medium at the waist. The sleeves are slightly long, although I checked the finished garment measurements before I made and the length of the sleeve seemed perfect from these) and a little too full so for the next one (which will probably be completed in another years time) I will take some of the length off and may use the medium sleeve pattern and armscye. Tobi loves the fit as he usually has to buy large shirts which swamp him at the waist and make him look a lot bigger than he actually is. Maybe I should have intentionally ballsed it up for him so he doesn’t ask me to make him stuff anymore and I can stick to my selfish sewing.

Attaching the inner back yoke- is it a shirt or a draught excluder?

Pattern matching accross back, yoke and collar
Have any of you made a men’s shirt?   I really enjoyed this make and had one of those “Did I really make that?” moments when it was finally finished.   Tobi’s had loads of compliments on it from colleagues and I know he wants me to make more.

Chemery Dress

Cherry Emery, cherry Emery, cherry Emery- Chemery!!!   This is my second Emery Dress from Christine Haynes and my second made from an upcycled duvet cover.   Whilst doing my usual scour of the local charity shops I spotted this big bold cherry print single duvet hanging from the “everything £1″ rail.   How could I resist at £1?

I made no adjustments to this Emery other than those already made for my Dr. Who dress.

However, the duvet was a bit old and subsequently a little too sheer to be decent going out in without some stitching intervention.   I decided to underline the skirt portion and, continuing the theme, I used some remnants of another duvet I used last year to make a different dress.   It had big pink roses on one side, which I made the first dress with, and a white rose printed side.

I love how the roses show through when the light’s just right.   Look at my lazy hemming, overlocked the edges and then turned under and stitched on the machine.  I didn’t really think a duvet was posh enough to justify the painstaking hand stitching I did on my Dr. who dress.

This was my first ever invisible zip insertion and it went in so easily it left me wondering what all the fuss was about (until my second attempt on my Anna dress which took three attempts).   I’m pretty chuffed with it and I didn’t have the head scratching moment I had with the instructions when I used a lapped zip.

After I wore my first duvet dress to work one of my colleagues said she may have her old My Little Pony and Care Bears duvet covers at home if I want them.   Hell yeah, what child of the 80’s wouldn’t want to wear a dress with magical ponies and bears on it!

I really like the Emery dress, although I still need to do a bit of tweaking to the fit, but this dress is perfectly wearable and I’ve overheard a few comments on it as I’ve walked by people in town.   I think I’ll be making more.

Have any of you had amazing charity/thrift shop finds?

By Hand London Anna

A little while I was lucky enough to snag some lovely fabric through Freecycle an I thought I’d share with you my first make from this haul.

As soon as I saw this 100% Cotton lawn I knew I wanted to make an Anna Dress from By Hand London, which was one of the Indie patterns I purchased recently.   The lawn was very sheer and very narrow so, despite having 3.1 metres, I only had enough fabric to make the midi version, which is fine by me as I tend to wear maxi skirts rather than dresses as I find them more versatile and wearable.   The sheerness meant that I needed to consider lining in some way.   I decided to fully line the bodice, rather than using the facings supplied, but I didn’t have enough lawn for this so had to sit patiently and wait for a metre of red cotton poplin to arrive from the lovely people at Minerva Crafts.   After seeking advice on Twitter, I decided I didn’t want to underline the skirt because I may lose some of the lawn’s floatiness, so I decided to make another half slip in a coordinating colour (navy as I have no red jersey or other fabric in my stash) using the tutorial I discovered on Gertie’s blog.   What do you think? Can you see my knickers?

The fitting for this dress was a breeze.   I traced the size 18 for the upper part of the bodice and graded to a 20 at the waist.   After making a quick toile (out of the weirdest, kitchen paper-like fabric) I pinched out about an inch at the underarm seam which removed some of the bagginess I was experiencing at the upper bust.

Now construction is a slightly different issue.   I used the Anna sewalong on the By Hand London site for a guide on how best to fully line the bodice.   This tutorial has you sew the lining and outer shell together at the neckline before the side seams are stitched, therefore before skirt is attached.   This meant it was then a bit tricky when attaching the bodice to the skirt as there was a lot of excess fabric floating around that I didn’t want to get in the way.   I then hand stitched the lining down at the waist seam.   If  I were to make another lined Anna in the future I think I’d use the technique from the Emery construction for neatly hiding the invisible zip in the lining.

Now, A few of the difficulties I encountered were due to my lack of ability to think things through before blindly starting stitching and also not marking pattern pieces or tracing notches correctly.   I’ll  After I did my first couple of seams I thought “I should have used a French seam”.   Being far too lazy to unpick and start again I just ploughed on with plain seams and overlocked seam allowances.   However, I forgot that I’d been sewing with a jersey previously and so the differential feed setting on my overlocker was not set correctly and slightly gathered the seam allowance, making the pieces not sit flatly.   I also neglected to mark the skirt panel pieces as to which bit went where and must have missed a couple of the notches when I traced as I had 6 practically identical triangles to fit together.   I think I got them in the right places.

This was my second ever invisible zip, with the first one going in with no problems whatsoever.   I ended up unpicking this one three times as it just wasn’t going well.   The centre back now also looks a bit puckered, I think because the centre back skirt section is on the bias.   In future I think I’ll use a strip of fusible interfacing along the centre back for reinforcement and stability.

I wasn’t sure about the shape of the skirt on me, I usually have a more defined waistline and I don’t think I own a single A line skirt/dress.   But it’s growing on me and I have worn this dress all weekend, in the lovely hot weather we’re having here in the UK at the moment.

I have so many ideas for variations of this- I love the bodice, kimono sleeves and tucks. So I’m sure you’ll be seeing some more of these pop up soon enough.   Have any of you made an Anna Dress? What are your thoughts on it?

Kestrel Makes Spring Sewing Swap Goodies

Well, my spring sewing swap parcel arrived yesterday and, after a really stressful few days, I nearly hugged the post woman when I was she had the parcel of joy for me.   My swap partner was Andrea Winterflood, Sew Actually on Facebook.   She doesn’t yet have a blog, but I know she’s planning on launching one soon, so keep your eyes open.   Andrea runs local sewing classes and enjoys upcycling.

Now, the budget was £15 or local equivalent and I think Andrea has somehow stepped into a time where money was worth at least twice what it is now, because I received an amazing parcel.

I’ve been eyeing up this Simplicity pattern since Gertie made a few versions this time last year.   Have a look here, here and a post on the scalloped collar option here.   Andrea has great instincts on patterns for others.   I’m sure I’ll have fun adding to my summer wardrobe with this beauty.   I’ve wanted to try self-covered buttons for ages so I was pleased when I saw those.   The brown ribbon has a cute tape measure markings on it.

Andrea read on my blog that I applied for series three of the Great British sewing Bee and so she thought she’d set me a challenge and I received this interesting piece of leather which, I’ll admit now, I currently have no idea what to do with, but I’m sure something will come to me.   Maybe now isn’t the bet time to disclose that I had a telephone interview for the Sewing Bee after I submitted my application but sadly they never got back to me after that, so you wont be seeing me on next year’s series.   I love the flip-flop fabric, again not sure how it’s going to be used, but I’m sure it will be.

I nearly swooned when I saw this delicious floral print.   It’s bloody gorgeous and, on Twitter, I told Andrea that I was considering eloping with it, I love it so much.   Now, the question is, what do I make with it??   I’ve got about two metres and I want something that shows off the wonderful drape and fluidity of the fabric.   I’ve browsed through my old Burda Style mags from the last year and haven’t spotted anything quite right yet, but I’ll keep looking.   If you’ve got any suggestions give me a holler in the comments.

Now I think poor Andrea got the shitty end of the stick in this sewing swap, as I tend to raid charity shops etc. for all of my sewing finds, so I’m feeling a tad guilty now my beautiful package has arrived.    Here’s a big thank you to Andrea and to Kerry at Kestrel Makes for organising this brilliant swap.   I’ve loved it, and getting to know new people in the Sewing Community.   He any of you taken part in the swap?   Did you get any gems?