Monday, April 24, 2017

Fitting Dresses...Hem Difficulties, Part 15

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hen Difficulties

Pleats at hem line spread and sag.  On a skirt with one or more pleats, the hem line and the lower pleat edge may not be turned on the straight of the goods.  In other cases, the tops of the pleat insets may not be properly tacked in place.  Or the waistline may be fitted so loosely that the weight of the pleats pulls the skirt down from the waistline unevenly.  Or the dress may be so tight that the pleat spreads (figure 26, A).

Often rehemming the pleat inset corrects the sagging.  When the pleated section extends part way up from the bottom, tack the top of the section to the skirt or reinforce it by stitching on the right side.

On a straight pleated skirt or one with inverted or side pleats, if the sagging sections of the pleats at the waistline or yoke line until the pleats fall straight and do not spread (see figure 26, B).  Or, if the seam allowance permits, lower the other sections of the skirt from the top.

When necessary, tighten the waistline by taking up extra fullness at the seams or in hip darts.  This holds the skirt up in the proper position.

If the skirt is fitted too tightly, let out the side seams to give additional width.

Hem line is uneven.  An uneven hem is often due to poor cutting, or making a waistline too loose or a skirt too wide at the hips.  Sometimes the trouble is that the belt to be worn with the dress was not put on before the hem was marked.    In such cases, refit the dress at the waistline or hip line, and the mark a new skirt length.  It is well to let a dress hang, to stretch out, for a day before marking the hem.

This is the end of this series.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Kitchen Towel....

I've been having a lot of fun with my knitting.  I know I should be sewing but I do have a monthly knitting group that I go to and always need a little project for it.  Here's my latest completed project:

The completed towel is about 10" wide by 13" long, I think.  This took a couple of months to complete and made for great conversation at the knitting group since everyone loved the way the stitches.   For me, it was a freebie from Knitpicks but it is no longer free.  Here's the link for the Dish Towel Set just in case you might be interested.

I think I will make another one in the reverse colors.  It will make for a nice take along project and I will be needing one of those in the next few weeks.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Machine Applique...

It's been a while since I talked about the monthly sewing with my sewing buddy.  It was my turn to decide last and I picked machine applique.  Who knew there was so many types of machine applique?  I found The Crafty Quilter and she had tutorials on machine applique.   So, here are the types of machine applique that I chose:

1.  narrow zig zag
2.  satin zig zag
3.  blanket stitch
4.  blind hem applique

The first three were fairly easy to do.  The fourth one, we never quite able to get it right and finally gave up.  Here is my stitch sampler:

Starting at the left:

1.  narrow zigzag - the settings used are .9L/1.5W, .5L/1.3W, .4L 1.0W.
2.  satin zigzag - the settings used are .5L/3.0W, .4L/2.5W, .3L/2.0W.
My machine had different types of blanket stitches.
3. blanket stitch #11 - the settings used are 3.0L/3.5W, 2.5L/2.5W, 2.0L/2.0W.
4.  blanket stitch #15 - the settings used are 2.0L/2.0W, 1.5L/1.5W.
5.  blanket stitch #19 - the settings used are 3.0L/3.0W, 3.5L/3.5W, 3.5L/4.0W
6.  blind hem - the settings used are 2.5L/0.5W, 2.5L/.8W, 2.5L/1.3W

My samples have already been stitched together but here is what they look like:

The narrow zigzag is in the upper left hand corner and the satin zigzag is in the lower right  hand corner.  I really liked the narrow zigzag. The upper right hand corner and the lower left hand corner are both done with the blanket stitch.  This also has very nice results.

The blind hem applique ended up not working well.  I think I need to do a little more research and practice before giving up on it.  Has anyone tried this type of applique?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fitting Dresses...Fitting The Hips, Part 14

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fitting The Hips

When the skirt fits correctly, the center front and center back hang straight down without swinging out in the front or back.  The side seams also hand straight down, giving the appearance of continuing the underarm seams of the waist.  The crosswise grain of the goods is parallel to the floor.  The space between the waist and the hips is fitted smoothly but not tightly.  The only exceptions to these rules are skirts with special styling. 

The first step in fitting a skirt is to see that the crosswise grain of the goods is in a straight line around the hip line.  If it is not, raise or lower the waistline a the points where the grain is out of line or rip the skirt at the seams and raise or lower the sides as necessary.

A well-fitting skirt of any kind, plain or fancy, does not draw or pull when the wearer is sitting or standing.  When the fitting is complete, ask the wearer to sit and also to move around naturally to see if the skirt will be comfortable and will hang gracefully when worn.

Side seams of skirt are crooked and puckered.  The dress may be poorly sewed together.  Careless joining of the side seams (one seam edge eased too much onto the other), crooked sewing, or too tight sewing machine tension will cause puckered seams.

Restitch a straight seam if stitching is crooked or loosen any tight sections in the seam.  Otherwise, open the side seams, pin, and bast, matching the grain of the cloth at the hip line.  Avoid drawing the basting thread too tight.  Try on.  If satisfactory, stitch carefully.

Skirt draws across hips and tends to ride up.  The skirt is too small.  If the side seams are wide enough, let them out until there is no stain across the hips.  Keep the side seams hanging straight.  If there is not sufficient side allowance for this and the skirt is long enough raise the skirt at the waistline and refit it.  It may be necessary to face the hem.

Skirt cups in the back and the side seams swing forward.  The back of the skirt may be too long between the waist and the hip -- thus allowing the grain of the goods to drop at the hip line.  This causes the side seams to swing forward (see figure 24, A).

Raise the skirt at the back waistline until the grain of the goods is straight across the hips (figure 24, B). If this makes extra fullness at the waistline, take it out in two darts.  Trim off the top of the skirt in the back, at the waistline.  

If the dress is one-piece, without a waistline seam, rip the underarm seams, raise the back at the shoulders, then recut the back neck and armhole lines.

Lower edge of skirt swings out in back.  The side seams swing back (see figure 25, A).  This may be because the figure has a sway-back and large hips.  Extra length is therefore needed in the back of the skirt.  Sometimes the crosswise grain of the goods is pulled up out of line.  In some cases, the flare of the skirt in the back may be too pronounced for the type of cloth used.

Rip the back of the skirt from the waistline, letting out any extra seam allowance so as to drop the back of the skirt and thus straighten the crosswise grain.  

If the seam allowance is too small to let out the seam, rip the skirt and waist apart, and lift the front and side front gores of the skirt until the cross wise grain of the goods is straight all around the hip line (figure 25, B).  Mark a new waistline on the skirt, pin, baste, and try on again before stitching on the machine.

When the grain of the goods is straight at the hip line and the trouble seems to be only in the flare of the skirt, it may be eased out some at the seams.

Crosswise folds across the back between waist and hips.  The skirt may be too tight at the hips or the figure may have a sway-back.

If the skirt is too tight, rip the side seams (if necessary, also the back gore seams) and let the skirt drop into an easy position.  Pin and baste.

If the side seams are too narrow to let out, raise the skirt at the back so as to take out the fold, keeping the crosswise grain of the goods straight across the back hip line (Figure 24, B).  Trim off the extra goods at the waist.  If there is extra fullness at the waistline, take it up in the seams or, if necessary, in back skirt darts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


It was the annual craft sale at the Salvation Army this past Saturday.  I meant to be there very early, like an hour before the sale started but it didn't happen.  Fortunately, a friend was there a head of me.  I felt bad for cutting in line but I've never seen anyone get upset about it at this sale.

There were bargains to be had just like there are every year but really how much stuff do you need to have especially when you're suppose to be clearing out getting ready for a move.  So, here's my finds for the year:

How could I resist these Calvin Klein patterns?  You know actually see these available very often and not for the price I paid.

A couple of pieces of fabric.  They're suppose to be cotton but I don't think so on the solid.   I'm thinking skirt on the blue and a top on the print.  Specially, I'm thinking about trying the revised Sorbetto.

I picked these up to make some little charity pigs for a local animal haven that takes in the unwanted pot belly pigs and rabbits.  How could I resist helping a little bit?  Now, I just need to find time to work on it.

I can't pass up a super bargaining on knitting supplies.  6 sets of circular knits and a baggy full of other knitting supplies.  I did realize what the blue thing was till I got home.  It's a peg board system for keeping up with your stitches.  I wish I had picked up a second baggy because each one contained different items.  The little things tend to disappear fairly quickly.

That's all folks.  I'm really not a big spender at this sale.  As much as I would like to spend a lot of time looking at the fabrics, there are just too many men/women digging through stuff and you really have to fight to even get a place in line.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fitting Dresses...Fitting The Waistline, Part 13

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fitting The Waistline

Where the waistline of a dress should be placed -- at, above, or below the normal waistline --- depends on the style of the dress and the position most becoming to the figure.  To find the normal waistline, place the hands with the curves between the forefingers and thumbs in with the lowest rib or the slight body indentation.  The forefinger curving  around the front and the thumb curving around to the back indicate the normal waistline.  The waistline of a dress is usually made slightly higher in the back than in the front but gives the effect of a straight line.

A snugly fitted waistline helps keep the skirt as well as the blouse in proper position.  When fitting the waistline, keep the seam lines and darts entering the waistline at right angles to the floor.  Special style features might indicate otherwise.  On the pleated skirts that must be straight at the lower edge, the bottom is finished first and the length adjustments made at the waistline.

Skirt too loose at waistline or hip.  The pattern may be too large for the hips and waist of the figure.  Or the
waistline may not be properly fitted and map slip down below the belt line.

A slight amount of extra width can be taken out by the deeper seam lines.  Side back darts also help to shape a skirt into a smaller waistline.  Extra fullness in the blouse waistline is eased into gathers or darts.

If the skirt is much too large, refit it.  Rip the side seams to below the hip line.  Put on the skirt, right side out.  Pin front, back, and side waistline to the foundation garment.  Fold under a deeper seam allowance on the front side seam.  Lap this over the back seam.  Place pins at right angles to the fold.  (See Figure 22)   Work first
from the hip line to the waistline, then from the hip line to hem line.  Keep crosswise grain of goods straight at hip line.  Keep underarm seam line straight directly under armpit.  Adjust both side seams and, if necessary, any other seam line.  Remove the skirt.  Use top basting to mark and hold the new seam line.  After basting, try on again before final stitching.

Skirt too tight at waistline or hip.  The waistline of the figure may be larger than the waistline of the pattern or dress.

Let out any seam allowances as well as skirt darts in order to straighten them and relieve the strain. If there is not enough seam allowance, insert a gusset above and below the waistline in the side seams to give extra width.  Taper the gussets to fit the figure.  Facings, hem, or belt may be used for the gusset.

Lower edge of skirt pokes out in front.  The side seams swing forward and diagonal wrinkles extend from the center front of the waistline toward the hem (See figure 23 A).  This may be because the blouse is so short in front that it pulls up the grain of the goods in the skirt.  If this is the case it can be corrected by following the instruction (see below) under "Waistline Pulled Up Above Belt", or by raising the back of the skirt slightly at the waistline.  This brings the crosswise grain of the goods at the hip parallel to the floor and straightens the side seams.  Mark the correct waistline on the skirt and blouse.

Another way to correct this difficulty is to rip the side seams and front waistline.  Lift the front of the skirt at the sides until the grain of the cloth is straight across the hip line (Figure 23, B).  Pin and baste the side seams.  Fit the waistline, tapering the seam allowance on the skirt to normal width at the center front.  Baste and try on again before stitching.

Blouse sags over belt in front or back.  The blouse is too long between the bust line or shoulder blades and the waistline.  This often occurs on a short-waisted or sway-backed figure.

Rip the blouse from the skirt wherever the extra length is located.  Tie a cord over the blouse at the waistline, leaving some fullness above the cord for comfort.  Keep the grain of the goods straight across the bust and the back.  Mark the new waistline along the cord with pins or chalk.  Take off the blouse and fold it so that the corresponding seam lines are together.  It helps to pull one sleeve into the other.  Pin the sides and lower edges together.  Even up the pinned or chalked waistline, adding a seam allowance.  Cut away the extra length.  With the help of the pattern, mark again the position of the waist fullness, front and back.

Waistline pulled up above the belt.  The blouse is too short.  Women with prominent busts have this fitting difficulty.

If the seam allowance at the bottom of the blouse is wide enough, rip the blouse from the skirt and let out the seam.  If this cannot be done, insert a piecing that is wider in the center front and tapers to nothing at side seams.  The belt will cover the inset.  If matching cloth is available, a belt can be set in between the waist and skirt.  An inch or an inch and half can be added to the length of the blouse in this way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fitting Dresses...Fitting Armhole and Sleeve, Part 12

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wrinkles form in front and back of blouse below the arm.  The sleeve may also have lengthwise wrinkles under the arm.  These fitting difficulties arise when the blouse is too narrow or fitted too closely at the underarm seam and in the armhole.  The figure may have a roll of flesh directly under the arm and extending to the back.

Release the armhole seams of the blouse to give more room across the bust.  If the armhole is too snug, carefully clip it at intervals at the tight places.  Avoid clipping too deep or beyond the seam allowance.  Examine the fit of the lower half of the armhole.  If the armhole in the blouse was slightly eased into the sleeve around the lower half, wrinkles may result.  Rip out the sleeve and refit the lower half of the armhole.

Sleeve cap twists to the front or back.  When a sleeve cap twists to the back, the crosswise grain of the goods in the cap pulls down in the back and up in the front.  The lengthwise grain slants toward the back at the top.  On the other hand, when a sleeve cap twists to the front, the crosswise grain of the goods in the cap slopes up to the back and lengthwise yarns slant toward the front at the top.

The sleeve may have been set into the wrong armhole.  Or perhaps, when cutting out the sleeve, the pattern was not laid correctly with the grain of the goods.  Twisting to the back may be caused by too much fullness at the back of the sleeve cap.  Or perhaps the sleeve pattern was too short at the back, or there is not enough room for the elbow.  The shoulder bone on the figure may be more prominent than was allowed for by the pattern.  Twisting to the front may be caused by too much fullness at the front of the sleeve cap.

Check the sleeve with the pattern, noting the location of the notches in the sleeve cap and armhole.  Check the marks for the elbow.  If the sleeves are in the wrong armholes, exchange them, and fit again.

If a sleeve has not been cut correctly on the grain of the cloth, no amount of fitting will prevent twisting.  The best solution is to recut the sleeve.  This may mean changing the style of the sleeve if material is limited.  

If too much fullness has been put toward either the back or the front of the sleeve, rip the top half of the armhole seam, and shift the fullness, bringing the lengthwise yarns into the right position.  (See Figure 15)

When many changes are needed, rip the sleeves from the armhole and fit the sleeve while the dress is on the figure.  (see information for Figures 17 and 18).

Underarm sleeve seam twists to the front or back.  If the underarm sleeve seam pulls the top of the sleeve to the back, the back underarm sleeve seam may be too short or the elbow fullness incorrectly placed.  If there is plenty of elbow fullness, rip the seam and release some of the fullness, pushing it up higher.  This gives more elbowroom and helps to straighten the grain of the goods between the elbow and armhole.

If the lower armhole seam twists to the front it may be because there is not enough room at the elbow.  rip the seam below the elbow.  Push additional fullness into the elbow darts or gathers.  Pin and fit the lower part of the sleeve.  This will shorten the sleeve and you may have to change the sleeves to a three-quarter length.  

Back of blouse pulls at armhole line.  The sleeve bins.  At the narrow part of the back, crosswise wrinkles extend from the armhole toward the center of the back (figure 20 A).  The wrinkles may also extend across the sleeve cap.  The dress may be too narrow across the back.

When the armhole seam allowance permits, let out both the back and the sleeve.

If the wrinkles occur on in the back of the blouse at the armhole curve, the sleep cap may not be deep enough.  In other words, the back armhole line is too long for the depth of the sleeve cap.  In addition, the sleeve is probably too small for the armhole.  To give more depth to the sleeve cap, rip out the sleeve from the armhole and raise the lower or under half of the sleeve cap (Figure 20 B).  The extra material on the sleeve seam should be trimmed out after, and not before, the armhole seam is completed.  Pin, baste, and refit.

Armhole tight with crosswise wrinkles in the blouse from armhole and lengthwise wrinkles extending down at undersleeve.  Such wrinkles (Figure 21 A) occur when the armhole is too tight or too high at the underarm.  Or the sleeve may be too tight at the armpit level.

If the armhole is too snug, rip out the sleeve, and mark a new armhole line.  Refit the sleeve into the new armhole line, keeping the crosswise grain straight across at the armpit level.

Sometimes the armhole is too high at the underarm, yet the sleeve fit is well over the top of the arm.  To adjust this, rip the armhole stitching under the arm, baste a new, lower seam line (Figure 21, B).  Try on the blouse again.  If necessary, trim out the armhole a little to test the fit.  If the sleeve is too tight, let it out as much as possible.  Extra fullness can be eased into the upper half of the sleeve cap.