May 27, 2014

Hearts & Diamonds

I call them 'hearts' and 'diamonds' - some call them 'apples' and 'pears'.  In case you didn't guess, I'm referring to hip shapes of course.  And you could be a combination of both.  What I mean by this is that the hip circumference, either high or low, or maybe even both, are substantially larger than a relatively smaller waist circumference. 

Take for instance a waist of 34" (86 cm), a high hip of 45" (114 cm), and a low hip of 51" (129.5 cm).  In my book, that's a diamond shaped hip, with the fullness of a heart in the high hip.  And the depth of the high hip is 4" (10 cm) below the waist level.  That means if you want your pants waistband to fit comfortably without being excessively loose, you'll most likely need more than one dart to shape the fabric from the waist to the high hip.

So that the side seam of the pants pattern doesn't become too overly curved going into your waist point, I've recently released a new video called 'How to Add a Dart to the Pants Waist Edge'.

It's a very simple process, and if Blogger cooperates, you should be able to click on the video below and watch this short instructional video.

If the side seam gets too curvy, it still can be sewn together successfully, but inserting a side seam zipper would not be as easy as if the seam where straighter.

The second dart is generally place about mid-way between the first dart and the side seam, and it's generally shorter.  Of course this is variable and it can be placed where you most need it to accommodate your curves.

This process is easy to do and works quite well for the distinctive curvatures that many hearts and diamonds have.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

May 20, 2014

Tying it all Together

Sometimes it's difficult for some of you to visualize taking an idea from 'here' and mixing it with an instruction from 'there', then adding a little something extra from 'where'. As so many of you know, the Sure-Fit Designs system is not just a fitting system. It also offers all kinds of written instructions and video information on not just fitting, but on designing with your body blueprint (sloper) once you have it completed.

For those of you who follow this Sure-Fit Designs blog, you know that the last few blogs have been on pocket types, applications and sewing technique. As I was preparing the sample photos on drawing and stitching the double welt pocket, I also happened to be at our local JoAnn's (and almost one and only fabric store in Eugene, Or) I came across this novelty stretch bottom weight. I loved it immediately and thought of pants with a welt pocket in the back.

Next step was tying it all together. What style of pants did I want? Since the fabric had about 3 - 4% Spandex, even though it was a woven fabric, I knew it would give when wearing. Skinny came to mind. Jeans came to mind. But I didn't want traditional jeans with the fly front and typical pockets. I wanted to show you the welt pocket.

Here's what I tied together:

My jeans pattern - since wearing ease had already been removed. (Jeans: Behind the Scenes on DVD)

Style #1 - Flared Leg Pants - Elasticized Waist edge from Pants that Mix n Multiply. Though I didn't want flared legs. I wanted skinny all the way to the hem. What I wanted was the side seam invisible zipper and the elastic turned over waist edge.

Blog instructions for the Double Welt Pocket (from last week).

Now for the finished photos:

The double welt pocket.

The invisible zipper and elastic waist edge.

The finished ensemble:

Brown/black leopard-skin patterned fabric for the pants. I guess they could have been tighter but considering I never wear anything skin tight they suited my preferences...and they're totally comfortable. The blouse and jacket is from the SFD Shirt Kit pattern. The blouse has a shawl collar. You'll find directions for this collar on page 44 of the Dress Kit Instruction book. The jacket has a lapel collar and is sewn from a cotton chintz. I love this classic jacket! I've worn it for years and it still looks fine. That's one thing about choosing classic designs - good, bad or boring... they go forever. Remember Chanel...the Chanel jacket...they're still selling it...and you're still sewing it. Yeah!!! for classic designs.
PS. I'm going to sew another top for these pants.  I've got the fabric.  It's a really nice cool (colored) brown sport knit.  Now I just need to find the time!

Next installment...I found the time to design and sew the Asymmetrical Pleated T-Shirt from the SFD Shirt Kit.  The directions for this comfy T-Shirt are found in the downloadable Fashion LeafletsClick Here if you're interested.

May 13, 2014

The Double Welt Pocket

The welt part of a welt pocket is the narrow strip of fabric that forms the decorative and functional upper and lower lip of the opening for the pocket. Welt pockets can have a single or a double welt lip. These directions will be for a double welt. As with many construction techniques, there are many different ways to do most jobs. This is just one way that seems to works well.

Though there will be a pocket bag inside, the finished double welt pocket looks very much like a large bound buttonhole.

1. Mark pocket position on right side of fabric with your choice of marking method - tailor's chalk, tracing carbon or machine basting would work.

2. Cut the welt strips 1" (2.5 cm) wide for a finished 1/4" (6 mm) wide welt and at least 2" (5.1 cm) longer than the desired pocket opening.

3. Fold welt in half, raw/cut edges together. Place the welt on the right side of the garment. Place the fold of the welt toward the outside and the cut edge is on marked pocket position.

4. Stitch down the middle of each welt. Backstitch at both ends. Lines of stitching must be perfectly straight and parallel. If they're not, this won't turn out properly - start again!

5. Cut the pocket opening. Cut down the middle stopping ½” – ¾” (1.3-1.9 cm) before end of pocket. Clip diagonally to backstitched points. Keep diagonal triangle longer, it’s easier to work with. 

6. Turn welts toward inside, carefully press. The welts should just fill the opening with the folded edge of the welts just touching one another.

7. Inside pocket bag - cut the pocket bag the width of the welt plus double the depth you want the pocket to be.

8. On the inside, begin by stitching the (upper) edge of the pocket bag to the cut/raw edge of the top welt. With right sides together, begin on the welt extension, then as you stitch, you'll also sew through the fashion fabric on exactly the previous stitching. Be careful not to catch the triangle in this stitching.

9. a) Fold so that the lower welt is positioned to expose the cut edge of the welt and the bag is "down".

9. b) Then fold the remaining edge pocket bag up to meet the cut edge of the welt thereby covering up the pocket opening hole. Flip over so that you can see where to stitch, then sew beginning on the welt extension through the fashion fabric toward the other end.

10. Fold the fashion fabric back to expose the welt extension and the triangular wedge tab. Stitch across the triangle flush to the body of the garment, stitching through the welt extensions and pocket bag.

11. Trim pocket bag width as desired. Then sew sides of pocket bag together including welt extensions.  

If you've never sewn a double welt pocket, I highly recommend creating a sample from fabric that is lightweight, yet has a relatively crisp 'hand' so that when you press the fold in the welts and when you turn the welts to the inside they will press nice and flat.

May 6, 2014

Inseam Pockets (Almost Invisible)

If you check out your Sure-Fit Designs Pants Kit Master Patterns (Pants Back), you'll see a 'tear-drop' shaped Inseam Pocket pattern.

1. Copy the pattern on your tracing vellum. You don't need to add seam allowances since this particular pattern piece already has them incorporated.

2. On both the front and back pants patterns, mark the corresponding front and back side seam notches approximately 2" (5.1 cm) and 9" (23 cm) down from the waist edge on the side seam.

3. Sew one inseam pocket to the pants front side seam, and the other pocket piece to the pants back side seam between the notches as illustrated. Clip the seam allowance to the upper and lower notches.

4. Sew the front and back pants side seam together from the hem up to the lower pocket notch. Skip the pocket opening and then continue sewing from the upper notch to the waist edge.

5. With right sides together, sew the pocket pieces together around the curved edge.

For more pocket stability, the top of the pocket can be squared off and lengthened so that it could totally be sewn in to the waist edge. This of course, would be done during step 1 - the drawing stage.

Suited to be incorporated in either skirts of pants, these inseam pockets are simple and easy to draw and sew.