Triangular Buttonholes

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Here’s a twist on the traditional bound buttonhole – a triangular buttonhole!  They look fabulous and – bonus! – they are a wee bit easier to make.  I have just finished a video tutorial which I hope to be the first in a series I am calling Creative Closures.  Can’t promise when the next one will be published but hopefully before too long.

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Sheer Bliss

Last year I attended the Australian Sewing Guild annual convention and gave a PowerPoint presentation on working with sheer fabrics.  After the presentation a number of ladies asked for copies of this presentation.  I decided it might be a good idea to turn it into a video and share it with the wide world of sewists.  FINALLY, months later,  here it is.




Quest for the Perfect Bodice

Alas, over the years my body has changed.  Many hours spent at the sewing machine (and computer) have contributed to slightly rounded shoulders, making a good fitting bodice a wee bit more difficult.  All you sewing enthusiasts know how hard it is to fit yourself and when the fitting problems are in the back it becomes even more difficult.  Sooooo… the eternal quest for the perfect bodice sloper has led me to this post.

Some months ago I purchased a Craftsy online class called Pattern Making Basics:  The Bodice Sloper.  Before you roll your eyes and say “been there, done that” read on.  I’ve tried a few other such classes – very ho-hum – but this one was different.  The instructor is a fabulous teacher by the name of Suzy Furrer.  She takes you through the steps of measuring, creating a moulage (a VERY tight version of the sloper, with no wearing ease) and then the creation of your sloper.  It’s a process that is not for the impatient as lots of measuring, checking, careful calculating, etc. is required.  However, definitely worth the effort.

Ta da!!!  After a weekend in the sewing room, hunched over my cutting table and sewing machine, here it is.

Perhaps still a bit of tweaking required(see those slight wrinkles), but I’m very happy with the result so far.  I’ve just purchased Suzy’s book Building Patterns:  The Architecture of Women’s Clothing (go to her website at  Suzy also has other online classes available at Craftsy but purchasing the book gives you all the classes in one reference book.

Of course, I have to acknowledge the assistance of my Australian Sewing Guild buddies who helped with measuring and fitting.  What would I do without my Guild friends?!

Perfect Points

This one is for Sharon who wanted to know how I achieved the perfect points on the sleeve plackets of the ‘Vanishing Lapels‘ jacket.  First, I will say that the placket is decorative only, not functional as in a shirt sleeve.  The trick to achieving perfect points is described in this post.

Placket 1Step 1:  Decide how wide to make the placket – 1 .25 inches is a good choice and what I have used in this example.  I cut a strip of fabric 1.75 inches wide and pressed under 0.25 inches on each side.



Placket 2

Step 2:  Fold one edge over diagonally as illustrated and press





Step 3:  Fold Corner A to meet Corner B and press




Placket 3Placket 4

And Voila – the perfect point!  If your fabric is heavy, you may wish to trim away some of the excess under the fold.




Shirt Collars Made Easy

Amongst my clients I have a number of women who are Anglican priests. They find it very difficult to purchase nice clergy shirts that still look feminine so yours truly has become an expert (clergy) shirt maker. Whilst the collar on these shirts is slightly different (a bigger gap at the front to allow for the white insert), the technique for constructing is exactly the same as any other shirt collar. I would like to share the method I now use which eliminates some of the seams to create less bulk.

Collars Made EasyClick the link to open an illustrated set of instructions.

Happy sewing and do let me know if you have any questions.

Collars Made Easy

Couture Waistband

A waistband on pants or skirt should be firm enough to support the weight of the garment and also to lie flat against the body. It also needs to be flexible for comfort. Interfacing is most commonly used to stabilise waistbands but sometimes leaves you with a ‘cardboard’ band around the waist. Consider this method, using grosgrain ribbon, which is a favourite of mine and one that you will find in most couture garments.

BEFORE you cut out your pattern, decide how wide you want to make the waistband.  In this example I am making it 4cm wide so the waist seam for the garment is increased to this width.


Add to garment waist seam allowance

Next cut your waistband three times the finished width plus 1 cm. Also add an extra 10cm length which you will need to make a mitred corner – more about that later. In this example, my waistband is 4cm wide so I have cut the fabric 13cm wide (3 x 4cm + 1cm = 13cm)

Fold the fabric lengthwise at twice the finished width and press a crease. (Note that this crease will not be along the centre.) Unfold the fabric and pin the grosgrain ribbon on the wrong side, placing one edge along the creased fold as illustrated.

Sew the ribbon in place taking tiny stitches along the fold line. In this illustration I have used a contrasting thread, but you would be aiming to match the thread to your fabric. Because these stitches are exactly on the fold line, they will not be visible when the waistband is finished.



Below is a view of the right side of the waistband. If you look very closely you will see the tiny stitches which are really only visible because of the colour of the thread.


Right side of waistband


Next we are going to mitre the end of the waistband. This reduces the bulk of having a seam right at the edge.

Place the waistband on the garment, right sides together, as if you were ready to sew it in place. Fold the end diagonally at a 45° angle as illustrated. You now have a long edge and a short edge for your waistband. The long edge is the edge that attaches to the garment and the short edge is the one that folds over and will be on the inside of the garment.



Press along the fold line, then open and trim 6mm away from the fold.



Now for the tricky bit. Fold the end, right sides together, at the ribbon edge that has been sewn to the waistband. Match Edge A to Edge B and sew along the creased fold line.



Trim the corner to reduce bulk.

Turn and press. The end result is a waistband that has a fold at the end (instead of the bulk of a seam) and the seam is distributed at a 45°angle, away from the edge of the band.



Now it’s time to attach the waistband to your garment. Align the end of the waistband with the edge of the garment opening. Remember that you will have a 4cm seam allowance.



Your stitching line will be right against the edge of the grosgrain ribbon. Be sure not to catch the ribbon in your stitching.
Hint: It is easier to stitch INTO the very end of the waistband, rather than to start at that end. In this illustration you would stitch from right to left.



Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband. Do NOT trim your seam allowance. The extra layers provide a firmer waistband and prevent a ridge showing through where you trimmed.
Fold under the remaining 1 cm seam allowance and slip stitch this edge in place.


One final word.  The extra wide seam allowance gives additional body to the waistband.  However, consider your fabric. This may not work so well with very heavy fabrics or fabrics with a long nap.  The band may end up being too thick and uncomfortable around the waist.  Consider a different option to a waistband finish or even making your waistband out of a contrasting fabric that is not so heavy.



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