30 October 2010

Sewaholic tutorial: Drafting a jacket lining

You guys really are the best. When I asked for any pointers in how to go about lining The Betty Draper Suit with no lining pattern and no experience in sewing a lining, Tasia of Sewaholic left a very helpful comment, which led to an email exchange, and before you know it, she'd agreed to write a guest post tutorial on drafting a lining pattern to share her instructions with my readers!  And what an inspired tutorial it is, using little pixie versions of the pattern pieces, simplified diagrams which make it easy to see understand. Over to Tasia...

Tilly's pretty little Betty Draper-inspired pattern is going to be gorgeous! The only thing stopping her from whipping it up is the lining - there aren't any pattern pieces!

Yes, she could just cut the exact body pieces out of the lining and it would work, sort of. She could skip the facings and sew the lining right to the jacket front edge. But if she did, it won't fit properly around the armhole, and it won't be properly reinforced along centre front for the buttons and buttonholes.

Never fear! It's easy to make lining pieces out of her jacket pattern pieces. I'll show you how!

First, carefully cut out the jacket pattern pieces. Since Tilly's jacket has darts not princess seams, that's what I will show in this tutorial. Don't worry if your jacket pattern has princess seams or other design lines! I'll explain what to do.

Here are Tilly's jacket pattern pieces. She sent me a photo and I traced off mini-versions of her pattern for this demo:
D - Jacket Front
E - Jacket Back
G - Front Facing
H - Back Neck Facing
K - Sleeve
She also has "F - Collar" but we don't need it for the lining pattern. We'll need the rest, though!

Let's start with the Jacket Front. Trace off the pattern piece. In my demo, I've traced around the pattern piece because it's tiny, but in real life you could either trace around your pattern piece, or use tracing paper or lightweight white paper to trace over your pattern piece.

Take the facing pattern piece, and line it up along centre front, matching the neckline edges. Mark the facing seamline on your traced jacket front.

The line you've just traced from the facing is going to be the seamline that joins your facing to the lining. To add seam allowance, you'll need to actually add TWO seam allowances to the lining pattern piece - for a total of 1 1/4" added to the lining front piece. I've also marked the jacket hemline on the lining piece. I eyeballed where the hemline should be, but Tilly will mark the real hemline amount when she makes her own lining pieces. Much more accurate than mine!

Now, add 1/2" to the hemline. This allows for a pleat at the hem of the lining. Or if Tilly prefers to leave the lining hanging free, it will make sure it's shorter than the finished jacket so it doesn't hang below the hem!

We'll also add extra to the armhole. Why? Well, have you ever added lining to a jacket and NOT added extra around the armhole? You'll find that the sleeve hem will pull up and pucker all the way up the sleeve seam, and it won't sit comfortably. Adding the extra allows the lining room to go up and over the armhole seam without pulling and straining. It's hard to explain what not to do - so let's add the extra room for Tilly's comfort!

Add 1/4" out from the sideseam, and 5/8" up from the armhole point.

Here's the finished lining pattern below - I've traced it in RED so it's easier to see. Tilly can cut hers out and toss the extra edges.

Next, let's make the lining for the Jacket Back. It's basically the same method as the front, the only difference is adding a pleat to the centre back. We add this pleat for wearing ease and comfort - and also so the lining doesn't rip when Tilly lifts her arms or hugs someone!

Trace off the back in the same manner as the front. Lay the back neck facing on the back and trace off facing line. Add two seam allowances to the facing line for a total of 1 1/4" again. Add the 1/2" to the hemline, and the same allowances around the armhole.

Lastly, add the centre back pleat. We added 1" to the centre back, which will actually work out to 2" on the fold. (Make sense? Just don't forget to cut this piece on the fold!)

Here's Tilly's finished back lining pattern piece, outlined in RED:

Lastly, it's time for the sleeve. Easy! Just add the 1/2" below the hemline, and add the armhole allowances the same way we did on the front and back lining pieces.

Here's the finished sleeve lining piece in RED:

So here they are! Below is a photo showing all three lining pattern pieces, outlined in RED below. Tilly can now follow this easy tutorial to make her own lining pieces, she'll be rocking that cute little suit in no time!

So what happens if you have princess seams to deal with? No problem! Before starting on the steps above, tape the jacket pieces together along the seamlines, overlapping the seam allowances. This way you have one jacket front piece and one jacket back piece to work with. 

Thanks, Tasia! If you don't already read Tasia's blog, this is definitely one to add to your blog role. She's a super talented, gorgeous lady with a colourful style and an impressive blog. And she's currently setting up her own sewing pattern company to boot!

18 October 2010

Stash Amnesty! featuring Rachel Boo Dogg

It's interview time again, and this month I talk to the effortlessly stylish Rachel of Boo Dogg and Me from Melbourne, Australia. I'm constantly in awe of Rachel's sewing productivity - for every project I finish, this lady produces ten, and they're are consistently chic! So let's hear from Rachel about her sewing stash...

What's your sewing area like?

Rachel: "My sewing area is one half of my study. I have a large table as the sewing table that I only keep my machine and my threads on. Next to that I have my sewing chest that houses my stash in one drawer, various notions in the next drawer, and all my patterns in the top drawer. On top sits my sewing books, my little sewing basket with rulers and other various items, a box with all my scissors and necessities (i.e., unpicker) in it and three boxes that have zippers, trims, and buttons. I got the sewing chest at Ikea – it was only $100 and it really does keep my sewing table much more ‘use-able’ as there is not a great big hodge-podge of everything on the table like before! I used to have a poky little hole in the corner of the kitchen, and move my machine onto the dining room table, so my new space is much improved and much loved!"

You're one of the most productive stitchers on the blogosphere! How do you fit so much sewing around your job and life? Tell us your secret!

Rachel: "At the moment I don’t feel very productive at all! I’ve really hit a brick wall. Usually though, I think there are a few things that work in my favour: I don’t have children; my hubby also works Saturdays at the moment, so this leaves me with a fair bit of spare time to sew if I wish; I don’t really own very many clothing items that I’ve bought - as my sewing skills have improved over the last year I’ve really wanted to update and improve my hand-sewn wardrobe, so I’ve been working like a maniac to do that; until this time, I haven’t chosen projects that have been overly difficult (with a few exceptions) - my plan over the next few months is to sew something more difficult than I’ve sewn before and really challenges myself - I think this will slow me down; I really, really love sewing (most of the time) - it is my number one hobby." 

Talk us through some of your favourite items in your sewing stash...

Rachel: "I don’t have a huge fabric stash. My favourite stashed fabric at the moment though is 4m of checked Japanese cotton that I bought with some birthday money. It is soooo soft and so pretty. I’m planning on making a 60’s dress out of it (think the dresses in Rosemary’s Baby).

I went through a massive stage of buying vintage patterns, soon after I discovered the wonders of etsy. Some of my favourites are: Simplicity 2838 from the 1940s; Advance 5180 from the 1940s; Advance 3929 from 1949; Simplicity 4758 from the 1940s.

I do hoard buttons. I love buttons, but don’t really sew a lot of items that require them. My favourites (there are so many!) include: Gorgeous white flower buttons from the 1950s; lovely green ones from the 1940s; blue and white ones from the 1940s.

Do you tend to hoard or use things up quickly? What pattern or fabric has been sitting untouched in your stash the longest?

Rachel: "I don’t really have a huge stash. It really is just the bottom drawer in my sewing chest. My hubby used to chide me for stashing until I showed him pictures of other seamstress’ and bloggers’ stashes, and then he realized that I really had no stash at all!

I generally buy fabric for a purpose and use it pretty quickly. I do hoard buttons though, and really love them. I think they’re so pretty, and will see ones I love (most often on etsy or in second-hand or antique shops) and buy them thinking 'I’ll make a great shirt-dress (or something similar) with them'… and then they just sit in my button box because I haven’t found the perfect fabric for them!

The pattern sitting in my stash for the longest is the infamous vintage repro Butterick 'Walk Away' dress. It was the first pattern I bought, as I wanted to make something vintage and it was rated 'easy'. Then I looked on Pattern Review and read a huge number of bad reviews and never made it. I don’t think I actually ever will."

How did you learn to sew?

Rachel: "I did do Grade 8 Home Economics where I learnt really basic straight stitching. We made a cushion cover with a felt animal stitched on. Mine was a green cushion with a frog. 

I didn’t sew after the froggy cushion until around 2.5 years ago when I became interested in vintage fashion. I was doing my PhD at the time, and was in an office with a lovely friend of mine, Maree (Maree P on Pattern Review), who always wore very cool clothing. I discovered she sewed these garments, and made vintage frocks for her daughter.

In what was very fortuitous timing, I was living with another lovely friend who owned a sewing machine. One very hot evening, we cut out a simple A-line skirt, and my friend taught me to stitch it together. I sewed in the zip without her there, and it was truly awful. I didn’t know there was a zipper foot.

From there, I took every opportunity to bug Maree with sewing talk. Her wonderful advice and wisdom, amazing online tutorials, and very generous bloggers detailing their sewing adventures taught me how to sew. I bought my own machine, and have never looked back."

What sewing projects have you got planned for the future?

Rachel: "I have a few things floating around in my mind: a fitted jacket; the sixties Rosemary’s Baby dress; a wrap around dress made in cool cotton; a beach cover-up (I have a holiday at the beach coming up); a pair of shorts. I have no real order for these, but I’d like to do them!"


Thank you, Rachel, and keep up the good work! Readers, if you're willing to come clean about your sewing stash and would like to feature in a future Stash Amnesty post, get in touch! (Previous Stash Amnesty interviews here and here.)

4 October 2010

Getting started on The Betty Draper Suit

Thanks for all your suggestions for fabrics for this suit. I ordered a few swatches, including a wool crepe which I very nearly bought. However, this weekend I practised sewing scallops on both the wool crepe swatch and a leftover scrap of gabardine from another project. Contrary to my expectations, the gabardine consented, turning out beautifully crisp and defined scallops, while the wool crepe went rogue! Something to do with the way of the weft or the woof (the what?) perhaps (no, I don't know what I'm talking about), but it did not like small curved stitching or being manipulated into curves with seams inside.

Bad wool crepe scallop! Good gabardine scallop!

More importantly, I find the texture of wool crepe a bit creepy. When the swatch first arrived I think I convinced myself I liked it because I wanted to branch out into unknown fabric territory to expand my repertoire, but to be honest I have to admit that I just don't really like it that much. Plus it's dry clean only - which is only worth the cost and the effort for a fabric you really love!. So today I went and bought some red wine-coloured gabardine (a nice beaujolais, if you will). A wearable muslin - potentially the real thing if it turns out nicely, but if I'm not satisfied I'll give some kind of wool another go. I've got enough new techniques to learn in the meantime, including scalloping, lining, bound buttonholes, and I might even try making some little shoulder pads...

While I was thinking about all this, I traced the fragile pattern onto Swedish tracing paper to make up a muslin. The muslin alerted me to a few fitting issues. I adjusted the side seams so that they were half an inch smaller at the bust, ascending to one inch wider at the hips (I avoided the temptation to take the sides in too much - I want to leave room for winter knits under the jacket). As usual I needed to accentuate the back darts to account for the arch in the small of my back. I also moved the shoulder seam lines to fit my small frame.

That's the new shoulder seam line scrawled messily in blue

Right, next job is to find instructions on lining the jacket (or maybe interlining it as The Wilted Magnolia suggested) - there's no lining in the pattern and I haven't lined anything before. Any leads on reading matter appreciated!

[Soundtrack: 'Peg' by Steely Dan]