Monthly Archives: January 2013

trick: anchoring seam-allowances

Remember my printed dress that I fixed up? It’s only been a few days, so I’m assuming yes. I mentioned that I anchored the seam-allowances together, and I wanted to expand on that!

african2

This is a technique I’m finding myself using more and more – most recently in this printed friday-fixed dress, and also the gathered sundress from before Christmas. Basically, it is sewing the seam-allowances together at strategic points to keep the lining (or some other layer, like an inner structural bodice for example) in place.

I find I use this trick when the lining is hanging free, sewn together to the outside fabric only at the neckline (and sometimes at the sleeve hems). This construction method means that the lining moves pretty independently of the outside fabric at many points, and that’s not always something I want. For example, I really like the waist-seams to be attached to each other and move as one, and not start bunching or twisting!

Ok, let’s do some visuals:

sewing_seamallowance1

This is the side-seam of the skirt, where I attached the seam-allowances of the skirt and the lining together. It’s a good idea to make sure the seam allowances are facing the same direction (usually towards the back) on both layers. Hang the dress up, or lay it out as it would normally hand, and then reach in and pinch the seam-allowance where you’re sewing it together before turning it inside out.

sewing_seamallowance2

This is the side-seam of the skirt again, just a larger view. After pinching the seam-allowance together, you’ll have the lining to one side and the outside fabric to the other. It might look a little strange, but as long as you did the pinching while the garment was hanging like normal, it’ll be fine. Do keep an eye out for draglines  – I like to sew the one side, pin the other, then hang it up to see if something weird is going on. Fix, and proceed.

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I didn’t sew the seam-allowances together all the way down, since I want the hem to be moving on its own. Also, notice how I stitched pretty much in the middle of the seam-allowance (which is a lot narrower for the lining that I just overlocked, but same principle!).

sewing_seamallowance4

I also did the waist-seam. In this picture we’re looking at the skirt lining at the top, and the inside of the self-faced bodice closest to us. I made sure all the waist seam- allowances faced down, then stitched for a few centimeters right at the middle, center front and center back. The lining layer was slightly smaller than the outside, so I only did a small section so they wouldn’t pull and make draglines. In a sturdier fabric where the lining matches perfectly, I’d go ahead and sew a larger section.

flats_seamallowance_trick

I made a little illustration to further show where I’d use this technique (at least on a dress – a tailored jacket uses this many places, but that’s a post of its own!). I used it two places on this dress; at the side seam and the waist seam. If the lining layer had sleeves attached to it, like a fully lined jacket for example would have, I would also want to attach the seam-allowances at the top of the shoulders. With this particular printed dress I actually sandwiched the sleeves between the outer fabric and the lining layer, so they were all anchored and secured by that.

I hope this made sense, and can be helpful – feel free to ask any questions!

fix-it-friday: african dress tweaks

african_after_front

I love this dress. It was gifted to me years ago by a friend after she had travelled in Africa, and I so loved that she picked this color for me. I also have loved the fabric – a lightweight, gauzy kind; the traditional (I assume as much) print with what reads to me as a typically “Western” dress shape, which all adds up to a quirky dress I have worn and loved for years.

Why have it ended up as a friday-fix then?

african_dress_before

First issue – it wasn’t lined in the skirt. You can probably see in the picture that the bodice is self-lined, but the skirt is a single layer. I’ve always had to wear a slip or an underskirt, and I haven’t loved either option. It was also a smidge looser in the waist than it needed, so I have now taken it in slightly.

african_dress_zipper

In addition, not all construction details have held up to my use over the years. The (invisible!) zipper was just folded under at the top, and the fabric at the corners were actually starting to tear. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that exposed seams with uneven seam allowance was bothering me a little (how perfectionist are you allowed to be?!), so with the prospect of tweaking some aspects of the dress, I decided to just go ahead and disassemble, neaten, and reassemble.

african_back

As I was trying to decide between reinstalling the invisible zipper or changing it out for an exposed metal zipper, I realized two things. One was that metal is cold against bare skin, and the other was that I don’t think I have actually unzipped this dress a single time. It’s loose enough to just slip over my head, so in a move worthy of Mena of SewWeekly (who has made it almost a trademark to get away without pesky zippers), I did in fact omit the whole thing. It’s of course a little more snug now that I’ve taken in the waist a little, but I can still manage to just pull it on over my head!

african_dress_side

As for the skirt, I lined it with some yellowish green polyester stuff I’ve had around for *ages*, so yey stashbusting too! I did the trick (I used it also on my recent wintery summer dress) of sewing the seam allowances of the outside fabric and the lining together to anchor them at strategic points, which I’ll be doing a tutorial of sorts (more like a guide. I like guides.) in my next post, so look for that!

In my sewing corner I currently have one of John’s dress shirts that I’m taking in, and a Minoru jacket underway, and I’m so happy to be knocking out and actually finishing projects again. After my surprise at how little I actually sewed in 2012, I think this year is getting off to a good start!

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These past few weeks, I have been…
taking some blueish and blurry pictures to share with you. It’s still dark outside whenever I’m not at work (which also limits a lot of picture-taking to the weekends still), but for the first time now it’s not dark when I *leave* work! Small victories.
eating green things. We brought back some jugs of our freshly made olive oil from my parents house, and man that stuff is green and bright and peppery! It was especially good drizzled over a bowl of white winter vegetable soup (that is, potatoes, celery root, and parsley root. And lots of cream), with some feld salad to top it off. Feld salad also goes by the names of field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, and mâche.
riding a wave of drive and inner calm, and while I’m not quite sure where it’s coming from, I do hope it will stick around. I’ve been clearing off surfaces, tackling projects, and feeling determined rather than overwhelmed. It feels very good. I have been deep cleaning just one small area a day (a table, a shelf, a windowsill), and adding function – I now finally have a place to store my jewellery! Those are soap-dishes from Ikea holding all my earrings now, sitting pretty in the bedroom windowsill. Also, getting back into projects from way back – after a year of hiatus I’ve cut the lining for my Minoru jacket, and I’m so looking forward to getting it  done. It will be purple and cozy.
dressing for the cold with strategic layers – that tiny pocket tank I’m wearing backwards is hiding the high neckline of my thermal longsleeved underlayer, haha!
reading again. “The Devil and the White city” is about the 1893 World Expo in Chicago, and it’s making me miss the city, look up buildings and addresses, and relive my Windy city years. I haven’t read fiction in such a long time, but that too is feeling so good.

outfit: February fitted pullover, another dress

february_pullover_dress1

Here is another installment of Birgitte-tries-to-find-ways-to-wear-her-February-fitted-pullover, this time with a dress! Wait, this time still with a dress, just like last time. I actually think this is more successful – at least I felt more comfortable in this combination. The strapless dress I wore with the sweater last time is a little bulky, and combined with the slightly bulky February pullover, it was just too much (but quite warm!).

february_pullover_dress2

Check out the lovely old wooden houses in the background! We took these pictures while we were at my parents’ house for Christmas, and the area has a lot of traditional buildings left. I love that!

The dress I’m wearing is the same jersey dress from this uniform-post, and like that time I put the attached ties to good use. The holes in the sweater were actually big enough to fit the ties through, so I just brought them around the front, and tucked the ends underneath themselves in the back.

Since we took the last pictures I’ve also been a good knitter and actually blocked the sweater, which grew a little bit in the process. I’m not always good enough with doing swatches, so ideally I should have knit this a smidge smaller, but I smooshed the sweater together instead of stretching it out, and it seems alright. Blocking also smoothed out the kind of abrupt waist-shaping that was a bit more apparent pre-blocking. If I were to knit this again (slash, my advice to others knitting this) I’d probably try to do the waist-shaping more gradually.

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And then I ran back to the car, since it was in fact literally freezing.

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These past few weeks I’ve:
– made the 14-hour train trek back home, and then the 14 hours back. Done so happily to celebrated the season with family and friends, good food, and a whole lot of wine (yum. It’s also how I survive the winter.)
– been frustrated with the short days and the stupidly dark and blurry pictures that come of it. Not to mention the effect on my energy levels. But now, thankful that the days are getting longer!
– had a love-affair with kale, and the old trains bringing back childhood memories with their worn mirrors and old-school bathrooms. Those who’ve been on those trains will know what I mean.
– gotten cozy with magazines and new socks at the ER for hours of waiting to be seen for a ill-timed throat infection.
– gone to work dressed as a circus princess. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s gotten dressed by putting on favorite individual objects (oo, yes I feel like pink tights today, oh and I like this belt, and I do like this dress, etc, etc.) only to find yourself surprised at what you’ve put on *together* when confronted with a mirror later that day?
– made progress on my Geithus lace knit top. Still the softest yarn in the world, and not as stripy as I was fearing thankfully.