Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Schematic of Mini-Piped Edging


The piping cord is 2 mm cotton. 
I pre-shrink it by loosely wrapping on itself,
and tying it. Then it is treated
like yarn, being wound on the 
umbrella swift:

Then it is put on an empty trim spool. I like to pre-shrink at 
least 10 yards at a time.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mini Piped Bias


This is an example of my mini-piped bias. You will see it is 
clean finished inside and out.


I have hesitated to share it here because I am not completely satisfied
with the process of producing it.  But, needs must.

I can't discuss it with anyone if they haven't at least seen it.

P.S.

I'm having good luck with this after washing. One thing I've learned is that
Bias made on a 75° angle is best on the curves.
If your entire strip is cut on the 75° angle
you may want to give it a gentle pull to
straighten it out on the less curved areas:
Back of the neck, and parts of the armhole.

That also means allowing extra length if you cut to size.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

I've heard of blocking knits,

 but why block woven linen?



I wanted my linen fabric stretched before cutting. 
The reason I did this is for another post.

I cut a piece of brown packing paper as wide as my fabric,
and as long as the amount I needed to cut on the bias.
This is my template. The corners are no longer 
90° - but are 75° in the acute angle.

I covered it with contact paper to protect it from moisture.

I used 5.3 oz. 46/37 tpi linen - which is 
a medium weight, not tightly woven cloth.

The linen was wetted with a spray water bottle, 
and laid on my template.
I smoothed with the palms of my hands
til the fabric lay along the template edges.

Wet linen relaxes and expands; as it dries
it contracts, so pinning is not recommended,
unless you only pin one side of the cut edge
and one side of the selvedge.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Fashion Incubator, Perfect Fitting 

and Isn't That Sew


I have spent so much time researching to find solutions
to fitting problems I've been having. Fitting was so easy for 
me when I had the person to be fitted in front of me. 

Now that person is me.

The quest has been fruitful, and I want to 
share with you
the very best of what I have found!

The Fashion Incubator
You really only need this if you intend to work 
in the industry. 
I am retired, I don't need it - but like
attending a reunion of army buddies
I joined for the war stories.

Perfect Fitting
A book written by 
Sarah Veblen

It's the best I have ever seen on the subject.
I bought Kenneth D. King's book, 
but Sarah's is more useful.

Like Kenneth's book, Sarah uses real
people as models, and real situations.
But she takes it further and includes more fitting challenges.

Isn't That Sew
A blog by Ruth Reyes-Loiacano

Ruth is a young entrepreneur in the U.S. world.
She offers pattern blocks and a variety of 
instructional videos. 

I give all of the above 






Monday, July 1, 2019


The Perfect Bias Cut Linen Shell
Full Bust Adjustment

My favorite summer top of all time is a bias-cut shell,
from the September 1999 issue of Burda magazine, style 111.
When I first made it, around 10 years ago,
 using light-weight linen, the possibility
of having firm, durable fabric
that molds itself to my body was an epiphany.
It pulls on over the head, eliminating any buttons or zips
 and looks good with any shirt I wear open over it.
I’ve since made blouses with sleeves
cut on the bias in linen with similar success.

My body has changed considerably 10 years. 
I noticed the hem getting shorter with the end 
of the dart way above my bust. It was time
to alter the pattern and make a bunch
 of them in different colors.

To understand above-the-waist darts, 
be aware that darts pivot from the largest point of the upper torso.
 This translates to the bust apex on most people. 
Other body types, pregnancy or a medical condition may cause 
the stomach to protrude more than the bust, 
requiring a different procedure for altering the pattern.

My formula for adjusting for a full bust is:

Body Measurement Plus Ease 
Minus Pattern Measurement = Amount to Add

The basic parameters are: Linen fabric - Bias Cut

This procedure may not be suitable for other fabrics
 or straight of grain cutting. 
It might work, I just have not tried it.

I will have established the pattern shoulder ends
 at 7-5/8” from center front.
My body measures 7-1/2” – 
an acceptable difference – no change.

Apex of the bust is 4-1/2” from center front, and 11-1/2” 
from mid shoulder.
It’s indicated by the small cross labeled AB. 
The Apex Line is drawn perpendicular to the center front line.

The shell is often worn under a shirt or cardigan and the
bias cut provides flexibility; therefore,
 I will allow only 1” wearing ease.

My bust: 43” plus ease = 44”


Figure 1. Shell Pattern ready to alter 

Horizontal lines from top: 
Center Front to Shoulder Joint, Apex and Waist
Side seam lines are only drawn from the waist
 to the hem and the underarm to the apex line.

Calculate:

Pattern back width*        21.25
 Plus Apex to Apex           9.00
Total                                30.25




My bust: 42" or 43” (depending on the day) plus ease.

Needed:                    44.00
Less:                         30.25  
Total                         13.75”

13-3/4” divided by 2 = 6-7/8”

Pattern front from apex to side is 6”.
I need to add approximately 1".
 and I spread my pattern by that amount.

Slash from hem to apex line, up to but not through the armhole.

Slash on the the apex line from the side to, but not through the apex.




The dart legs, that have opened by spreading, measure 1-1/8”
I made sure the legs of the dart are equal length.

I covered the dart with clean paper on the illustration,
but made my adjustments on the tracing paper
and drew the new lines on the illustration. 
The post of Wednesday, June 26 covers 
folding in the dart.

I'll end the dart with the point 3” from my bust apex.

You will need to determine where your side bust dart will end.
Consider a cone, if you start sewing at the widest part, 
it ends at the point of the cone, which lies somewhere
between the side seam, and the apex of your bust.

Sarah Veblen explains how to find 
where your dart should end in the 
Q & A section of ThreadsMagazineissue 181,
 Oct/Nov 2015 (Threads Archive 1985 – 2018). 

I extend my apex line, and make a new dart
that is balanced on the apex line.

The pattern is folded from the new dart end to the hem.
The dart is folded closed with the upper half  
of the dart folded down.
The pattern is smoothed flat putting a fold from the
dart end to the shoulder.

The side seam line is drawn, connecting the line
from the underarm to the waist.


Now to cut it out and sew it up…
Back in a bit to report the results!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nico - Moving the dart for Women of a Certain Age


The Naked Nico

A delightful pattern from 

This technical rendition of the front of the Nico pattern
shows how the darts are on the diagonal, starting at the bust 
and ending just above the waist. 

The diagonal front dart is very flattering in most cases.

However, I don't like ironing. 

When my dress comes from the
dryer, the darts are puckered, because they are cut on
neither the straight grain, nor the
true bias. Only ironing or heavy handed 
finger pressing smooths them out.

To fix the problem, I want my darts on the true bias, 
meaning they are balanced, and the darts legs
(the dart seam-line)
are both the same angle.

I also have other problems - such as a large bra cup size,
 and saggy boobs. It happens at my age. The Saggy
Boob Club has a lot of members, and we don't 
want a spotlight on it. When that particular
characteristic blends into the whole body image, 
we can maintain the dignity only achieved
by reaching a beautiful old age. 

But here, I will address one thing at a time:

First, move the dart. To do that, we must find 
where the dart needs to be.

The singular purpose of a dart is to provide shaping 
to allow fitting the highest point.

Therefore that point is referred to as the Apex, 
and is often, not always, the location of the nipple.

It is the highest point of the bust 
whether shaped like a cone
or a balloon.

That point established, darts 
on the front of  a garment from the
neck to the waist all radiate from those 2 points:
The high point of each breast, the Apex.

I measured with the tape on my bra strap, 
from my shoulder to my apex: 11.5" and drew
a line perpendicular to the center front.

Then I measured the distance between
 the apex of each breast, the apex width: 9"
and marked the half pattern 4.5" from center front.

The dart point lies between the side seam and the apex.
That point is addressed in the next post.

Step one: Using 20 lb Bond Plotter Paper 
(sold through Amazon)
I traced my one half the pattern 
(from center front), and drew the dart seam lines, 
removed all seam allowance, and cut it out, removing
the paper within the dart (the dart gap).


Step 2:  Isolate the placement of the dart, 
and indicate the correct placement.


The red lines have the dart in a box. 
Where the green horizontal line meets 
the green vertical line is within one-fourth 
inch of my personal bust apex.

Horizontal lines have been drawn 
90 degrees from the center front.

Vertical lines are parallel to the center front.

Step 3: Cut out the box containing the original 
dart and shift it down till the red horizontal 
line meets the green horizontal line.


I have extended my green apex line to make it easier to line up. 
The dart has shifted down, but the box remains parallel 
to the center front. 

Step 4: Tape the dart box in position, and tape a paper scrap
in the open space above the dart. Draw fold line #1
from the dart point to the hem. Fold on that line.


Step 5: With pattern folded on line #1, close the dart, 
and crease the pattern where it folds to lie flat - #2.
It has been drawn only to indicate the approximate location.


This illustrates how the pattern looks with the dart closed, 
and the seam line corrected.

Step 6: Open the pattern and trace it again on a clean sheet of paper
that is wide enough to draw both halves, to make 
a complete front pattern for laying on the bias.

You only need the seam lines, notches and open dart 
if lowering the dart was all you needed. 

Now I have the dart where I want it - I will move it from
the diagonal to be centered on the apex line.


















Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Easy Way to "Iron" Linen


What is the difference between the right side of the roll, and the left side?

This linen has been pre- washed, Thoroughly dried,
 and laid in a jumble until I could get to it.

To ready it for putting on a roll, I laid it out 
on the cutting table.

 My cutting table is a yard-sale
 ping pong table top, supported by cabinets
 and is 60" wide by 72" long.

First, I cut off the selvedges. 

Then I sprayed the entire piece with water
from a spray bottle.

With only my hands, I smoothed the fabric,
lengthwise and crosswise.

When satisfied the grain was aligned correctly
and most of the wrinkles gone,

I turned on the ceiling fan, and left it to dry.

That is the ONLY difference
 between the two areas of fabric.

When water is absorbed by the linen, the fiber
relaxes and wrinkles disappear. 
It can expand, but will return to size when dry. 
It is important to avoid over-drying linen.
Do not store it damp, to avoid mildew. 
If my linen is wet, and I can't work it at 
the moment, I will sometimes 
put it in the a plastic bag in the freezer.

When I wash my linen garments, I dry them on the
lowest setting, and when possible, remove
them before they are completely dry.
If they do get dry, I will re-wet them. 
Details will be finger pressed, and
I may hang the garment to finish drying, or
will lay it flat and press with my palms.

I will "iron" a blouse occasionally, depending
on the style and embellishments.

This particular linen is from Dharma Trading.
It is their Lin 21: 3.8 oz. - 52 X 53 tpi.
Its lightness, and slight transparency makes
it suitable for lingerie and blouses. Like all Dharma 
fabrics, it dyes beautifully.