May 282014
 

If you haven’t bought your copy of Olive, head on over to our shop where you can place your order! Also, you can visit the Olive page where you can see all the tutorials as they go live as well as download the cutting labels to keep your pieces organized, get inspired via our Pinterest and Flickr pages, whichever you prefer. And go ahead and tag your work with #lolitapatterns so we can find it and admire, like, share and basically swoon!

Today, I’ll show you how to cut the back on the fold and how to face the waistband, both things that testers opted to do and we thought them smart ideas. First, let me show you how to cut the back on the fold. Just note: You will need extra fabric to cut on the fold so plan accordingly!

You can do this with any pattern that doesn’t require a back zipper or even if you want to move the zipper to the side, like Olive, you just need to fold down or cut off the seam allowance on the back and mark your pattern so you don’t forget. I’m notorious for making tons of notes on my patterns. A lot of times it’s the fitting changes I’ve made that I want to keep track of. It’s a good habit to get into so that you always know where your pattern notes are…unless you have a notebook and you always keep notes there.

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I folded my back piece down rather than cut it, as a personal preference. Feel free to trim the seam allowance off and mark your pattern piece as CUT ON FOLD. The back waistband piece is already in one piece so you don’t have to alter that at all.

Next, I’ll show you how to face your waistband.

If you haven’t cut your fabric out yet you’ll need to cut two front waistband pieces and 2 back waistband pieces. Cut only one interfacing piece out of each front and back, as per the pattern instructions. IMG_20140528_104533378_HDR

When you get to Step 20, you’ll have your bodice and facing sewn up around the neck and basted around the arms and sides. At this point, you’ll want to sandwich the back (or front, start with which ever piece you’d like) bodice with the waistband pieces. Place the right sides of the waistband facing each other so to encase the bodice.

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Stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance and then press the waistband pieces away from the bodice.

There are a couple of ways you can attach the peplum. The Olive instructions call for attaching the peplum to the waistband, then turning the blouse inside out, folding the waistband facing under and topstitching it in place. That’s how I attached my waistband facing on my first Olive. You can topstitch the top of the facing, too, if you like.

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Another way I was playing around with was to place the peplum, right sides together with the waistband and waistband facing together and stitch. Finish your raw edges with a narrow zig zag or serger and press the edge toward the peplum. You can also press toward the waistband and topstitch if you like.

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Now that your waistband is faced, continue to follow the Olive instructions to finish your blouse! Share your Olive on social media and make sure to tag it with #lolitapatterns or get our attention so we can see your work!

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May 232014
 

Hi fit nerds! Today we’re going to talk about fit around the bust. When I made my first Olive, I made zero changes. I cut the size 8 and just stitched it up. Do you know how exciting that is for me?? It’s very exciting when normally I fiddle with patterns a lot.

The Olive blouse has princess seams. On view A, you have a neckline and an armhole princess seam to alter, as well as adjusting the sheer overlay and making sure your facings true up. View B only has the armhole princess seams. It isn’t hard but it’ll take a little more time than just cutting and sewing one size.

olive line drawing

I didn’t call this tutorial an FBA/SBA tutorial because we’re doing a different kind of adjustment. We’ll be lengthening and shortening the princess seams to give you the fit your body needs. If you need to add bust room in the width but would like to keep the high bust, shoulders and waist as per another size, you can draw a line on the side front pieces that go from one size to another.

For instance, you can draw a side line from the size 8 waist to the 10 bust on the sides as well as add length. Play around, muslin and take notes of the changes you make each time. Once you have the fit you like, you can make this one blouse over and over again- as View A or View B.

To mark your pieces, start by marking the side front pieces 1″ down from the armhole and draw a line across the pieces.

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Line up your matching points and draw a line across the front bodice pieces.

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Mark across all front pieces- whether you’re doing View A or View B.

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Once your pieces are marked, you will want to measure to see how much length you need to add or subtract. I added a 1.25″ to the length. You can measure your front to your waist and compare to the pattern pieces or you can put the pattern pieces up to your body and see what you need to alter.

If you’re adding length, you’ll need to put tissue paper behind your pattern pieces and tape the open pieces to the tissue. Once you’ve added length to one piece, go around to the other pieces and make sure they all match up and have the same amount of length.

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If you need to take out some of the room in the bust but find you only need to decrease some in the side, you can take piece 3 and pinch out less than an inch, depending on your needs. Once you’ve pinched out the side, you can trim the side armhole. 
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If you need to decrease the length in the bust area, take that same line we drew across the front pieces and fold the pattern piece up. Then, clean up the side by smoothing out your side lines.

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Once you’ve shortened the front length, you’ll need to shorten the side front piece and the overlay, if you’re doing View A. All lengths need to match up.

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Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure your facing pieces match your altered front pieces. You shouldn’t have to change your facing pieces unless you added to the shoulder with of neck. If all you’ve done is change the bust length, you can just cut the facings according to the original size you started altering.

I made a wearable muslin of View B with the added length and starting with one size smaller than my first Olive. I’m finding that the neck, both front and back, are closer to my body and don’t gape as much. Granted, the gaping isn’t awful in my first version. That said, I do like how the Olive fits this time around. I didn’t add the peplum or the sleeves but you most certainly can if you want to complete yours.

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Any questions?

Next time, I’ll have a tutorial for you on how to cut the back on the fold along with how to face the waistband. Hope this has been helpful!

leila signature

May 212014
 

Hello lovelies! While Amity is in New York, I’m here sneaking around Lolita virtual headquarters getting some tutorials ready for you Olive lovers. If you haven’t bought your copy of Olive, head on over to our shop where, day or night, you can place your order! Also, you can visit the Olive page where you can see all the tutorials as they go live as well as download the cutting labels to keep your pieces organized, get inspired via our Pinterest and Flickr pages, whichever is your poison.

 

I’m starting with tips on working with lightweight fabrics and mastering your serger skills first so you will see that you can do it.

First of all, cutting these gorgeous fabrics! Some people prefer to use a rotary cutter and healing mat while others use spray on stabilizer or a gelatin rinse (I’ve used this method and it’s excellent) to beef up their fabric, keeping them from being so shifty. You can also cut shifty fabrics by sandwiching your fabric between two sheets of paper. Once your pieces are cut, you just need to keep them from pulling and distorting.

Use needles that match the weight of your fabric and, if need be, switch to a lightweight thread on your sewing machine.

The biggest tip I can give you for getting your serger to produce a lovely rolled hem is to test, test, test. Use scraps every time. I know my serger will make a sweet rolled hem and I still always test it.

If you’re having trouble getting a nice rolled hem on your serger (though these tips also apply to working on a sewing machine), I recommend you:

1. Change your needle. A fresh needle with a sharp tip can make all the difference.

2. Re-thread your machine…and while there isn’t any thread, take a second and clean out the lint. Add a dab of oil and then re-thread.

3. Set your stitch length to 2 or shorter. When you test it on a scrap, you can set it shorter if you prefer.

4. Differential feed is at 1-1.5.

5. Move the stitch finger slider back (on some machines you might have an R for the rolled hem position). You basically don’t want the stitch finger sticking out- you want it back so that the rolled hem is possible.

6. The settings for the needle and the loopers will vary with each machine and how moody your serger is that day. I have mine set to 4 across the board and I don’t move them all that much.

Here are some tests I did on scraps of both my fabrics for my first Olive. I wanted to test both the regular serged hem as well as the rolled hem. My poly chiffon overlay did just fine under the serger but if your overlay is lighter weight or has a looser weave you might need to stabilize it before you do the rolled hem on it.

You can stabilize it with a very narrow piece of like-colored ribbon, by using spray on stabilizer or even by folding the cut edge in and doing your rolled hem over the two layers. If you have bits on the wrong side peeking out, you can trim those off.

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As you go around the ruffles, hold your overlay fabric firmly in place so you don’t skip any part of your fabric. If it ripples, it’s okay. Remember, it’s a ruffle. :)

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To get that rolled hem all the way to the end of your curved pieces, just use a pin to hold your fabric in place as you slowly feed it through the serger.

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When doing the rolled hem on the straight pieces, you can feed them in sequence and then trim them in between.  IMG_20140415_114701421_HDR IMG_20140415_115057473_HDR  

Before you apply the interfacing to the facing pieces, make sure that your fabric didn’t shift. I double checked my facing pieces by placing the pattern piece over the cut fabric just to be sure. Then, I felt okay ironing on the interfacing.

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Serging the bottom of the facings shouldn’t give you any trouble because the pieces are interfaced and therefore more stable. Just remember to change your serger settings before you get started on the facings.  IMG_20140415_113827248_HDR

As you put your overlay ruffle pieces together, you can use your serger threads to keep the very ends together. When in doubt, just go slow and you’ll be fine.

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Pin, pin, pin!

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Marking your back darts can be easy with pins.

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You can either stitch and then serge your Olive together or, making sure you stick to the 3/8″ seam allowance, just serge it all. Here’s the inside of the top of my blue Olive.

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Any questions about working with lightweight and shifty fabrics? Friday, I’ll be back with FBA and SBA alterations. See you then! Let’s hope Amity is having a blast in the big apple!!

leila signature

 

 

Mar 032014
 

Today is our last sew-along day! It’s a pretty big day. We’ve put our coats together and now all we have left are the finishing touches. I say that’s “all” we have to do but this is the point where we shape out flounce collars and give our coats the final pressing. I have a video for you today, too, to show you how to get the collar to look the way it does in the illustration. 

If you’re just starting to follow the sew-along, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price! We are always available to help you along your Spearmint coat sewing venture so please feel free to ask questions, leave us comments and share your work in progress and your finished coats! Let’s get started.

Sleeves – Bonus Video

If there was any confusion regarding the instructions on how to sew the hem of the sleeves by machine, there is a video up on Three Dresses to show you exactly how to do it!

Finish Flounce collar

Turn your coat right side out and start pressing. You might need to use a pressing cloth so that you don’t shine your wool. Press with steam and a lot of pressure to get the coat to behave, especially the collar. Take your time pressing.

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Pin where the flounce collar meets the coat so you can stitch in the ditch. You want to make sure that you pin the collar seams so that your stitching stays in the ditch on both sides.

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Pressing video

shaping and pressing flounce

And some images from Amity’s white Spearmint construction to further illustrate.

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Finishing touches

Go to the hem of your coat and stitch in the ditch for 1.5″ within the hem to keep the fabric from shifting. Do the same on the sleeves.

Sew on your button and slip stitch your bound button hole shut. Remember these images from the Lolita Patterns bound button hole tutorial?

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If you’re finishing up with us today, head on over to your social media site of choice- whether you prefer Flickr, tag us onFacebook or use #lolitapatterns on Twitter and Instagram so it’ll pop up on our Showcase page! We love showing off your work and work in progress!

Thank you for joining the sew-along whether you joined at the time of posting or in the future!

Enjoy your coat!

leila signature

Feb 282014
 

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

At Lolita Patterns we are truly Sew Grateful! We have a giveaway going on so please, if you haven’t entered, check it out. As Amity was talking about in her Sew Grateful post, we’ve seen a wonderful response to the release of our Spearmint coat pattern. I do go on about how straightforward the construction is on this coat. Today I’m going to show you how to bag the lining and what I’m going to do is make it so you can apply it to bagging any coat lining. There will be a couple of things you have to mark on your pattern that are already marked on the Spearmint pattern but don’t worry, we’ll try to make it as clear as possible.

If you’d like to buy the Spearmint coat, feel free to visit the Lolita shop- it’s open whenever you need it! There you can get a PDF version, a paper copy and you can also pick up hair canvas for the flounce collar at a very reasonable price!

A couple of things to keep in mind are that the Spearmint coat lining is cut from different lining pieces. So, if your coat doesn’t have separate lining pieces, you’ll need to alter your pattern for this tutorial to work for your coat. You’ll need it to be several inches shorter than the fashion layer, for starters. That said, the facings of both layers will match so already you can see that the changes aren’t that many.

If you are not using the Spearmint pattern, make sure you stop sewing about 3″ from the bottom where your lining matches your front facing. Leave this open. You will also want to leave about a 10 inch opening in the sleeve seam of your lining for turning later- already explained in the Spearmint instructions.

You will also need to mark your pattern pieces with the all important star/dot that will show you where to start and stop your stitching. To mark your pattern pieces, you will need both the front coat piece and the front facing piece.

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- On the facing pattern piece, make sure to mark the star 3/8″ (or 5/8″ if your pattern uses 5/8″ seam allowances) from the edge and 3/8″ (or 5/8″) from the bottom.

- Layer the facing piece on top of the coat front piece, aligning them as shown in the drawing, and transfer the star marking from the facing piece to the coat front exactly where it lines up.

- Mark this star on each fabric respective fabric piece when cutting out.

Now begin sewing!

Put your coat and lining right sides together, matching facing edges and collar edges. On your Spearmint coat, you’ll stitch from the star to the edge, up the side, around the entire collar, and down the other side to the star.

If you are using another pattern, start stitching at your star/dot, along the bottom edge, up the outside edge of facing, around the top and down the other side and bottom finishing at the other star/dot. You can see the stitching line drawn in the photo below.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

You should have part of your lining hanging free. This is where you did not stitch all the way down when you stitched the lining to the front facing. This is part of what helps bag your lining completely by machine.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Next, you’ll mark double the hem allowance all around your fashion fabric so you can press up the hem.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold up a your  hem ( 2″ if using Spearmint) to create the press line. Trim seams within the hem allowance to prevent bulk. Take care to measure very carefully. Once you’ve turned your coat right side out and stitched it closed, there’s no way to even out the hem.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  

At this point, if you are not using Spearmint, check to see how long your lining pieces are. The perfect length would be if the lining pieces fell exactly at the fold line of the hem. If they are longer, you can trim them now. If you are using the Spearmint pattern, this has already been taken into account and the lining will fit perfectly.

Unfold the hem now and match the lining bottom to the bottom of the coat with right sides together, stitch the length of them hem with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

There will be a little gap. We’ll address that in a minute.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns    

Clip the fashion fabric ONLY (not facing) diagonally from the edge to the star/dot as shown in the photo below.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold up the coat hem. Press lining down into the folded hem. You’ll want to find where the lining wants to fold naturally. Make sure you get a nice crease.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Fold the facing back under the garment so it’s out of the way and stitch from the dot down through the star, all the way to the edge and backstitch. The next three photos show you how to grab the fabric to do this step.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

The biggest thing about this step is making sure you get all the thicknesses into your stitching. You also want to make sure that you don’t get a pucker in your fashion fabric. All you have to make sure to do is keep everything as flat as you can. To make this next part simpler, you can mark the stitching line as shown in the photo and then just sew on your marked line.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Below you can see how the lining is tucked into the fashion fabric. This is correct. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Here we illustrate the way to line up the fabric to stitch from the dot down through the star and to the edge. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns  

Stitch from where you stopped stitching the facing and lining together, all the way to the bottom on the stitching line you marked. This will complete the gap you left open at the bottom when stitching the lining and facing together.

Trim your corners. Seam allowances on the edge of the facing should be pressed toward the lining.

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Turn the coat right side out, slowly, through the opening you left in the sleeve lining. Go slow and you’ll be fine. Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

And there you can see a perfect jump hem sewn completely by machine!!

Bagging a Lining Tutorial | Lolita Patterns

Complete the lining instructions for closing up the sleeves as described in the Spearmint instructions. Because this part is slightly confusing, we will be posting a video showing exactly how to hem your sleeves by machine as well! Yay for no slipstitching!

Edited to update: The video on how to hem your sleeves by machine can be found over on the Three Dresses blog now!

Thank you for joining us as we say thank you in our special way with this bagged lining tutorial! Have a great day and let us know if this has helped you!

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and

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Feb 112014
 

Lolita Patterns | Back Stay Tutorial

A back stay serves the purpose of lending stability to the back of a coat, right at the upper back. It’ll also help keep the shape of your coat while you wear it and while it’s hanging on a coat hanger. You will want to add a back stay even if you’re underlining your coat.

Materials needed

Coat pattern pieces

Firmly woven sew-in interfacing, though you can also use a quilting cotton or muslin

Tracing paper or something equally suitable

Draft the back stay

Since the Spearmint coat has a side back panel, you will want to overlap your pieces before you start creating your back stay pattern piece.

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Make a mark 7-8″ down from the neck along the back seam.

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Make another mark 3″ down from the armhole.

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Connect your two mark with a gently sloping curve.

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Trace your back stay pattern.

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Since the back is seamed, you want to cut off the seam allowance and mark your pattern to be cut on the fold.

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Cut out your back stay in a suitable fabric/interfacing. Use pinking shears, pink the bottom curved edge so you don’t have a hard edge along the back.

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Attach the back stay

Stitch up your back fashion pieces, right sides together. Press seams open.

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Place your back stay on the wrong side of the back seamed pieces. Smooth out your back stay and machine baste around the side, armhole, shoulders and neck, leaving bottom curve free. You can also use glue and glue baste your back stay in just don’t glue the bottom edge. Let it dry and continue with construction.

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Dec 182013
 

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

Have you ever had a hard time setting in a sleeve? You get puckers no matter what you do? I’m going to show you how to ease your sleeve head before you even set it into your sleeve, giving you more control and a smoother fit, even on hard to ease fabrics.

Materials

Tie interfacing- Take your pic of any of the materials below to ease your sleeve head. Just make sure you match the weight of your fabric to the material you want to use to ease. All are cut on the bias.

  • Go to a thrift or vintage shop and get an old tie.
  • Ask your brother/husband/boyfriend for an old tie.
  • You can also use self fabric
  • Bias strip of lambswool
  • 100 weight polar fleece
  • Armo Rite (aka tie interfacing) or Armo Weft
  • Bias strip of linen
  • Weft interfacing
  • Bias cut lightweight gabardine (100% wool)

The sleeves you’re inserting

The coat/jacket you’re making

Instructions

First, I’m going to show you how easy it is to pull the interfacing out of an old tie. There will be a running stitch down the middle of the tie interfacing. Pull that out and your interfacing will be free to use. You’ll get several strips out of one tie so keep the left overs for your next jacket or coat project!

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing  Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing    

Cut two pieces that measure 1″ by 12″.

Starting at the first easing marking, (or seam if using a two-piece sleeve) place your bias strip down on the wrong side and stitch. There is no need to back stitch.

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

Start to pull your bias strip as you sew with a long stitch just inside your stitching line.

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

Your bias strip will get narrower. This is exactly what should happen.

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

The strip will gather your sleeve head once you’re done. You can now steam press your sleeve head with the heat/steam necessary for your fabric. Only press the seam allowances. Now you should have a slight lift in the sleeve head that will allow you to insert the sleeve into the armhole with ease.

This is what my zebra print sateen coat looks like mid construction. I used a bias cut strip of linen in my coat.

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

From this side of the sleeve, you can see how the bias strip will plump up the sleeve head.

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

Insert your sleeve and flip over to see your smooth results!

Lolita Patterns | How To Easily Set In Sleeves Using Tie Interfacing

Enjoy!

leila signature

Nov 302013
 

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Bound buttonholes are a beautiful touch for coats and below we have for you a step by step with tips on how to get a lovely one made. We recommend doing a trial run if this is your first time doing a bound buttonhole. That way you can practice and perfect your skills before you start on your final garment.

Materials

Bound buttonhole pattern piece – I am using the piece from Spearmint

Fabric- I’m using a medium wool coating.

Silk organza (I’m using black organza for this tutorial)

scrap of lightweight fusible interfacing

Buttonhole cutter or scissors to cut open the buttonhole

Chalk or other erasable marker or pencil

Instructions

I’m showing you on a scrap piece of wool coating. Below you can see the larger piece which is meant to be the coat itself.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Cut piece 18 (the bound buttonhole piece)

2 fashion and 2 organza

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Mark the buttonhole line and rectangle around the line. The line is where you’ll be cutting the buttonhole open. You’ll want to mark the buttonhole line and rectangle on all your pieces.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Place rectangle of organza right side down on right side of center front, centering over buttonhole placement line.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Starting at one of the long ends, as you can see below, stitch all the way around your marked rectangle.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Either with buttonhole cutters or scissors, cut open your buttonhole.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

You want to cut from your center line to each corner, as close as you can get.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Fold your organza to the center and press, in preparation for turning it to the wrong side of your fabric. Pull the organza to the wrong side and press again. Keep pressing until you get all of your organza out of sight, or as much as you can see from the front.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

You can use a clapper to get the organza and the fabric to press nicely.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Now, you will have an open “window”, ready to stitch on the “lips” aka the opening of your buttonhole.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole  

The next big rectangle would be the facing of your coat, seen on the right below. You can see I started marking my line and then you mark the rectangle all around, according to your pattern piece.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Line up your coat facing with the bound buttonhole window you already created to make sure everything line up. It’ll be clear if it line up with your actual coat pieces. If they don’t, redraw your facing buttonhole line.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Place scrap of fusible interfacing right side (the non-fusible side) down on the right side of facing, centering over your placement line.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Mark your cutting line and the rectangle around it.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Once again, starting the the center of one of the long sides of your rectangle, stitch all the way around.  Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Cut your buttonhole facing open. Push the interfacing to the wrong side with your fingers. You will press the piece of interfacing once it’s in place because you don’t want the glue to start sticking to your iron.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Now you have two windows- one on the front of your coat and one on the facing. Topstitch around edge of the facing window.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

With your two buttonhole pieces right sides together, baste down the center. I like to use a contrasting thread so that I can see it easily when I’m ready to pull out the basting.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Fold pieces out and press open to create buttonhole lips.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Below you can see the two pieces, folded.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Now we’re ready to attach the new “lips” to the window.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Center lips under the window you created for the outer part of your coat.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Fold back center front to show one of the long edges you cut open when you were creating your buttonhole. Stitch right on the edge being careful not to catch any other piece of your work.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

You can pin it if you want.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Use a short stitch since this buttonhole will get used every time you use you coat.  Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Fold back center front to show the short edge of your rectangle. This will look like a small triangle. Stitch right along the base of the triangle. Again, make sure you use a short stitch and avoid stitching any other part of your coat front so you don’t end up with puckers.

Backstitch. Repeat for other side.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

There you have the front of your bound buttonhole!

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

You’ll take out your basting stitches once your coat is complete but I wanted to show you what it would look like so here it is, open!

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Now, after the coat is finished, you will want to attach the facing to the center front where the buttonhole is.

Lolita Patterns | Easy Bound Buttonhole

Since I want to make sure any bits of interfacing I used on my facing will be invisible, I’m going to slip stitch the front of my bound buttonhole to the facing by using my needle to pick fabric from the front and going over or just beyond the interfacing on the facing to catch fabric that will essentially close the gap and hide any interfacing that might be showing.

DSCN6879

The more you whipstitch, the more the interfacing gets hidden and sandwiched between your fabric. Go all the way around and secure your thread well.

DSCN6881

Now, you’ll be proud to show off the inside of your bound buttonholes!

DSCN6882

Let us know if you have any question or need any clarifications. We’re here to help!

leila signature

Aug 272013
 

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Since our patterns are meant to be made as professional wear as well as casual wear, a blind hem is nearly always a valid hemming technique. It is professional, doesn’t show on the right side, and can be done by machine. Because the blind hem will be a common occurrence in our patterns, we thought posting a tutorial on how to sew a blind hem by machine would be helpful. We are always trying to finish all our garments without using any hand sewing, just like in ready to wear. In fact, the only hand sewing I do is shank buttons…but only because I have not figured out how to sew them on by machine! I sew the two and four hole buttons on by machine every time. But that is besides the point. Here is how to do a beautiful, invisible, blind hem with your machine. This is a great finish for all hems where you want an invisible finish.

Marking

First, figure out your hem allowance. On this garment, a Sugar Plum (to be debuted on the blog soon!), the hem allowance is 1 1/4″. So I set my seam gauge for double that at 2.5 inches and marked all along the wrong side of the hem. Also, if you have a fabric that frays, you might want to serge or finish the bottom edge prior to marking and sewing your blind hem. Because this is a knit, I have not finished the bottom edge since it will not fray.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Press

Next fold up the hem to the line you marked.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Press your hem in place. You can use pins as long as you use them vertically and closer to the fold of the hem as shown in the picture below.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Fold

Next we are going to fold the hem backwards. This is the part where it gets tricky and confuses everyone so just follow the photos closely. After you do it a few times, you will never forget it. Look at the prior picture and how it is folded. Then look at how this picture is being folded backwards. This is an in progress picture of me folding the hem back under.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Here is a picture of the hem completely folded backwards.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

And here is another view of the same picture so you can see the layers of the fold.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

And here is one more picture. Here I added pins to show how you would pin if you like to use pins. I only use pins on a blind hem if I cannot get the hem pressed well enough in place.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Sew

Now we are ready to sew. Your machine probably came with a blind hem foot and has a  blind hem stitch (assuming it is not a straight stitch machine.) The blind hem foot has a blade in the center. I have used it in many other tutorials as I use it for topstitching accurately as well as blind hemming. Here is a picture of the foot.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Then choose the blind hem stitch setting on your machine. This stitch will do several straight stitches and then one zig to catch the edge of the fold. Here are the settings I use on my machine.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Next set up your fabric on the machine. You want the fold of the fabric to be running along the blade of the foot. The picture below illustrates this.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

The blade goes along the fold of the fabric. The straight stitches will stitch on the part of the fabric against the machine. This part will never show and will be inside the garment. The zig zag catches a tiny part on the fold and that is what holds the hem in place. Here is the same picture from another angle so you can see how your hem should be placed on your machine.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

Now stitch around the entire hem making sure to run the fold of the fabric along the blade of the foot. The rest of the work is done for you! Your hem is nearly finished! It only needs a press.

Here is a picture of the finished hem from the right side of the garment. The stitches are so small that they should disappear as long as your thread matches your fabric well.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

And here is what the hem looks like from the wrong side. You can see the straight stitches and the zig zag here on the inside.

Lolita Patterns | Blind Hem Tutorial

That is all there is to it!  I find this hem much easier than a traditional hem since you don’t have to fold up twice and pin as much. It goes much quicker and is my preferred method of hemming. I only use other methods when the fabrics warrant it such as a tailored shirt or t-shirt or a really slippery fabric. You all know our hemming method for slippery fabrics don’t you?!?  It is one of our most popular posts! Definitely the most pinned of all our tutorials. If you missed the tutorial on how to hem slippery fabrics, you can find it by clicking the link. You can also find any of our previous tutorials by clicking on the tutorial page on the main menu.

I hope this helps and that you can refer to this for any pattern when you need to sew a blind hem. We are all about finishing garments completely by machine and this tutorial should get you one step closer!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Aug 092013
 

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

This is the first of a series of tutorial on how to make factory tools for the home sewing environment; hence, the post title “faux factory” tools.  Factory tools are usually single purposed and made to endure; therefore, they can be expensive or difficult to obtain.  Because of these reasons it makes sense to make your own version.  First up is the pattern hook.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

I know your first thought is… do I really need pattern hooks when I only work on one pattern at a time?  The answer is, “yes”.  Pattern hooks will save precious table space, help prevent patterns from going AWOL and keep your patterns easily accessible.  See my table without pattern hooks?  What a mess.  I sort of have different patterns in different stacks but it becomes a patternado when I’m trying to find an elusive pattern piece.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

pattern + tornado = patternado

Let’s start with the supplies:

  • 20 gauge wire or thicker.  You can purchase this at craft or bead stores.  Tip:  The smaller the gauge number the thicker the wire.
  • Cording or similar.  I used DMC floss but any cording, yarn, ribbon will work.  Since these won’t get as heavily used as the industry ones we don’t have to worry as much about durability.  Anything that doesn’t catch or fray easily will work.
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers.  I use round nose pliers to make a smooth loop but regular needle nose pliers are fine.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Supplies are leftovers from my other craft addictions.

T-bar:

  1. To make the t-bar end of the pattern hook, you need to cut a 4” length of wire.  Create a small loop in the center.  The loop should only be large enough to thread the cording.  Too large and you’ll need to punch a large hole in the pattern pieces.
  2. Fold the ends in half and twist to the ends.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

T-bar Center Loop

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Come on baby let’s do the twist!

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Oooh-yeah just like this!

 

Hook:

  1. To make the hook end, cut 10” length of wire.  Fold it in half and twist to add strength.
  2. Shape the twisted wire into a hook shape.  You can use a hanger as a guide.
  3. Clip one of the ends and create a loop with the remaining end.  Again the loop should be only large enough to thread the cording.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Cording:

  1. Cut a 14” length of cording.  Fold the cord in half, put the cord loop through the loop in t-bar.  Thread the cording ends through the cord loop to secure it onto the t-bar.
  2. Thread the cording ends through the loop in the hook end and knot to secure.  The knot should be towards the hook so that it doesn’t get in the way of the pattern pieces.   You should have about 4” of cording between the t-bar and the hook end.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

 

Pattern piece holes

  1. The last step is to punch holes into the pattern pieces for hanging.  Professional pattern makers use oaktag which is pretty sturdy.  Unfortunately in the world of home sewing we usually work with filmsy tissue paper.  I have not tried hanging tissue paper.  Try this at your own risk. Using paper reinforcement stickers from the office supply store might help any holes in the tissue remain sturdy. I usually trace my patterns onto tracing paper or use bond paper for PDF prints so I have a sturdy material to work with.
  2. I use a ¼” hole punch from the scrapbooking section of my craft store.  You want to put your punch at the top edge of the pattern.
  • Tip 1:  If the pattern piece can’t be easily punched at the top, you can punch a hole further down the pattern piece.  To do this you can use a screw punch.  But if you don’t have one, you can fold the pattern and punch a half circle.
  • Tip 2:  If the pattern piece is long you can fold the pattern in half and punch at the top edge.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Hole punch reminiscence of even more crafty addictions.

Lolita Patterns | Faux Factory Tools

Voila! 

My patterns are now neat and tidy.  They take up very little space are easy to find.

14 After

These 4 patterns hardly take up any space. :O

15 After close up

I find the pattern hook an invaluable tool in the sewing room.  I hope you give one a try.  Either this DIY version or a purchased one, it’s a tool I think everyone should have.

Nhi Signature

 

 

Aug 012013
 

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Today we are sharing a great tutorial on all things having to do with darts! This method that I use makes marking super easy (no tracing wheel and tracing paper!), and does not require tying of threads. Best of all? There are never any puckers!  I have seen so many dart tutorials around the web and wouldn’t be writing one if I did not have something to add. None of these tutorials use this method and I don’t know why…it is so easy! So I hope you try this…you might even like sewing darts after this :)

One word of caution when using this method: If you are unsure of the fit at all, baste your dart first. It is incredibly difficult to remove the stitching when using this method so be sure of your fit by basting or making a muslin first.

Marking:

First step is to clip into the legs of the dart while the pattern is still on top of your fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Here is how the fabric will look with the dart legs clipped.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Next, stick a pin through the tip of the dart so it goes all the way through all layers of paper and fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Then you can lightly lift the paper and separate the layers so the pin is still holding the place to be marked.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Then mark where the pin is inserted on the top layer of fabric, and then turn all the way over to mark the other layer of fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Now you can remove the pattern and the pin. Use a ruler to connect from the snip to the marked point and chalk a line.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Repeat for the other dart leg.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Stitching:

Now your dart is all marked! Super easy. Now we pin the dart. I fold it and pin directly through the chalked lines. I pin so I can remove the pins as I stitch. I also put a horizontal pin just beyond the dart tip so I know where my stitching should end/go off the edge of the fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

right side

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

underside

See how the pins go directly through the chalked lines? This ensures my stitching will go exactly where it is supposed to. Now it is time to stitch the dart. The photos show me using a walking foot just because I almost always stitch with one. But it is not necessary. A regular foot will work just as well. When you begin stitching at the wide end of the dart, use your normal stitch settings that you use for the rest of the garment.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

stitch settings

Continue sewing the dart directly on your chalked lines, pulling pins as you sew. As you get towards the last third of the dart, that is when I begin changing the stitch settings. In the picture below, the horizontal pin shows where the tip of the dart is. I explain this so you have a frame of reference for how close to the tip of the dart I am in this picture. Starting at the point in the picture below, I change my stitch settings.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

These stitch settings aren’t set in stone. I just sort of start making the stitches smaller as I go. I stitch for a bit on that stitch setting and as I get closer to the dart tip, I make the stitching smaller. Below you can see that I am getting closer to the tip.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

As I get to the very tip, I always go below a 1.0 stitch length. I also sew directly over the tip and continue a few stitches past so I am literally stitching off the end.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

When you continue stitching off the end, it will look like this as you pull it out of the machine. If you look closely, you can see a few stitches hanging off the edge. This is good…you want these.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Here is what we just did: We lowered the stitches to be so small that they won’t unravel. This means we do not need to backstitch nor do we have to manually tie off the ends of the thread. Yay! What a time saver! Also, by making the stitches this small, there will not be any puckers near the tip where the angle gets sharp when the stitches are larger. Double yay!

Here is the finished stitching.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Pressing:

Next we need to press. First press the dart flat as it was sewn.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Then use a pressing ham to press the dart in the direction specified in your sewing instructions.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

pressing ham

I use my pressing ham on its side to get a nice curve when pressing a dart. First lay your dart over the ham and make sure the underside is pressed in the direction you want. I put a dotted line right underneath where the dart is since it is a little difficult to see. For this dart, I will be pressing the dart to the upper direction in the picture.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Next I press towards the upper direction using steam.

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

 Here is the final dart! (I added the green dotted line again)

Lolita Patterns | Dart Tutorial

What do you think?  Will you use this method in the future? It truly makes sewing darts far less tedious, which makes your sewing go faster and easier!

We hope you get some great use out of this tutorial!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

 

Apr 032013
 

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

Yes, April 1st is April Fools’ Day in the US but it is also my dog, Waffle’s, birthday.  Maybe they’re one and the same because who thought to create a pup shaped like this one.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

If he was a sewist, he would definitely have lots of fitting issues.  So in honor of Waffle’s 5th birthday, I made him a birthday collar.  I’ve sewn him many collars, for many occasions, but not a birthday one.  Better late than never.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

Pets are such a big part of the sewing community and I thought some of you might want to make your own for your furry loved one. See how below!

Step 1: Gather supplies

Supplies shown are for a 14-23” adjustable collar

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          3/4 yd of 1” wide nylon strapping.  If you dog is smaller, you should use a narrower and shorter nylon strapping.

-          Decorative ribbon.  I used 5/8” wide Offray MicroSpool.   I like these because the prints are small scale and it comes in 3 foot spool which is about what I need for 1 collar.  At my JoAnn’s these are stocked on a wire rack near the scrapbooking section.

-          Curved buckle.  This is comfy-er for your pup than the straight ones.

-          D ring for dog tag.  Dogs should always have ID and be micro chipped   15 percent of lost dogs were found because they were sporting identification tags or microchips.

-          Slide for adjustability

-          Thread

 

Step 2:  Prepare the straps

-          Using a lighter, carefully singe the edge of the collar.  If you’ve done any fabric swatch burning, you will know that nylon melts.  This will stop any fraying.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          Tuck 1/2” of the ribbon under the strap.  Using a straight stitch, top stitch one edge of the ribbon to the strap.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-         Repeat for other edge.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          If your ribbon is narrower like the Easter (carrot) themed collar from the multiple collars picture above, I sewed 2 rows of ribbon.

 

Step 3:  Sew on hardware

-          Thread one end of the strap up one slot of the slider and down the other slot.  Stitch as close as you can to the slider to secure the slider.  I stitched 3 lines: forward, reverse stitch and forward again.  I moved my needle to the right but you can also use a zipper foot.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          With the wrong side up, slip the other strap end up into one of the buckle halves.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-         Continue threading the strap through the slider.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

 -         Thread the strap through the D ring and then the other buckle half.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          Sew 3 lines of stitching to secure the buckle.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

-          Sew 3 lines of stitching to secure the D ring.

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

Voila! Your pup will be the most stylish hound around!

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

Lolita Patterns | Dog Collar Tutorial

If you want to read more about sewing for pets and want to see more of Waffle, check out the PR article on Sewing For Pets.

Nhi Signature

 

Mar 162013
 

Today we have a special treat for you! I’m going to show you how to make the belt I wore with my gray Fuchsia. It is a unique spin on the typical bow belt and the end result is super cute!

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Without further ado…here is how to make it!

Step 1: Gather supplies

- 1″ wide grosgrain ribbon.
- 2 sets of 3/8″ sew-on snaps.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 2: Cut the ribbon in to 3 sections.

- Bow knot 3 1/2″
- Bow loops 13 3/4″
- Belt finished measurement + 1″. If you want your belt to be 32″ you will need 33″. If you are unsure you can leave extra length until step 6.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 3: Make bow loop

- To make the bow loop you need to lay the ribbon at a diagonal.
- Grab the 2 ends and fold them towards the middle like in the picture.
- Pin all 3 layers in the middle and sew down the center.
- Trim off the excess ribbon at the back. Seal the edges with fray check or burn with a lighter.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 4: Make the bow knot

- Fold the bow knot ribbon right sides together and stitch.
- Turn the tube inside out. Slip the knot onto the bow.
- Stitch along the outer edge of the knot stitching through the top layer of the knot and the bow loop. Do not stitch the bottom layer of the knot.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 5: Slip the belt into the bow.

- Since you didn’t stitch through the bottom layer of the knot you should have a little opening to slip the belt into the bow.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 6: Sew on snaps.

- Fold one edge under 1/2″ and sew on 2 sew-on snaps.
- If you weren’t sure about the finished size, put the belt around your waist or wherever you are going to wear it. Mark the finished length.
-Sew the other half of the sew-on snaps outside of the chalked line. Trim off excess and fray check or burn the edges.

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Step 7: Wear your ribbon bow belt with your Fuchsia skirt. They look amazing together!

Lolita Patterns | Ribbon Bow Belt Tutorial

Still need to get your Fuchsia pattern? It is free in the shop!

Want help sewing it up? All sew-along links can be found here!

We would love to see any Ribbon Bow Belts or other Lolita Patterns garments that you make. Send us a shout out on our Facebook or Twitter! Make sure to follow the blog by email subscription (on the right sidebar) or RSS so you don’t miss all the exciting news and tutorials coming up!

Nhi Signature (1)

Mar 072013
 

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

I was hemming a slippery polyester chiffon the other night and it occurred to me how much trouble I used to have with this kind of fabric. It is impossible to press any kind of crease so hemming it used to be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Until I figured out this little trick. I use a product called Seams Great which is a very soft and sheer nylon tape. Seams Great does lots of other cool stuff, but I end up using it most often for this hemming trick.

First up, sew the Seams Great to the right side of the fabric at the hem. I use a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

Side note: Another trick I do, is to put the roll of tape on the knee bar. This way it feeds off easily and I only use exactly what I need and don’t have to measure off an amount before I begin. I also do this for pearl cotton or cording for buttonholes. That knee bar is a wonderful holding place!

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

After sewing all the way around, I trim the seam allowance down to around 1/8″.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

Now flip it over to the wrong side and pull under to make your hem. Press well. If your fabric does not press, as my lovely polyester chiffon, we can still make it work. You have the Seams Great to hold onto while hemming.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

After your hem is pressed up (if possible), grab your edgestitch or blind hem foot. If you don’t have one of these feet, don’t worry. We are only going to be stitching in the ditch…you can do this with your regular foot. I just find it so easy with the edgestitch/blind hem foot!

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

blind hem foot–has a blade in the center so your needle stitches directly behind it

Stitch directly in the ditch of where the Seams Great is attached to the hem.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

As you can see in the above picture, my hem did not lay flat on its own. But I was able to hold it in place to the hem marking I made while stitching in the ditch. This method is far easier than trying to double turn a hem with a slippery, misbehaving fabric!

Lastly, trim close to the stitching.

Lolita Patterns | How to Hem Slippery Fabrics

The fabric won’t fray because the raw edge of the fabric was sewn to the Seams Great and is enclosed in the seam and Seams Great doesn’t fray! This gives a beautiful single stitched finish without the bulk or the hassle of a double fold hem.

What do you think? Will you use this trick the next time you encounter a difficult fabric?

Don’t forget, the parade of Fuchsia’s is next week! Send us pictures of your finished Fuchsia so we can feature you! Still need to get your free Fuchsia? You can download it from the shop for free!

Not quite finished with your Fuchsia yet? You can find all the detailed sew-along posts here!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Feb 262013
 

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper  Tutorial

How is everyone’s Fuchsia coming along? There is only one more step after we insert this zipper! I tried to be as inclusive as possible with this tutorial so you can refer to it any time you need to insert an invisible zipper in any project. Ready? Let’s go!

First thing I like to do is press the zipper. This is a totally OPTIONAL step, and you can pull it open as you stitch if you do not want to press it. If you do want to press it first, put it on a polyester (low heat) setting and do not press over the coils. You want to press the coils open to create the “ditch” the stitching should go in.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 1

The next picture shows the zipper with one side pressed so you can see the difference the pressing makes.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 2

Since we finished all our seam allowances in the last step, we can start right in on the zipper. Measure down 1/8″ more than the seam allowance from the top of the waistband. Our seam allowance is 3/8″ so I measured down 1/2″ and marked a line. (with a Frixion pen!) Make this mark on both sides. This mark shows us where to place the top stop of the zipper. Not the top of the tape, the zipper stop will go right below this mark.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 3

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 4

I use pins to place my zipper, but a great alternative is to use Wonder Tape. It is sticky and holds the zipper in place exactly where you need it, yet washes away with water after you have completed your stitching.

If this is your first time inserting an invisible zipper, watch the pictures closely to make sure you are placing it correctly. While inserting it, it may look a little twisted, but if you follow the pictures, it will come out great.

Pin (or wonder tape) the right side of the zipper tape to the right side of the project.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 6

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 5It is best to sew an invisible zipper with an invisible zipper foot. These feet are not very expensive and definitely help get in the groove next to the coils to make sure the zipper is truly “invisible” when it is finished. However, you can use your regular zipper foot and we will discuss both ways.

While sewing, be sure to peel back the coils to make sure the needle can get as close to them as possible without actually stitching through any coils. Stitch as far down as you can–the zipper pull will eventually stop you.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 7

This picture shows the zipper being inserted on the left hand side, but make sure to pull the coils back as you sew on both sides

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Using a regular zipper foot and pulling back the coils

After sewing the first side, go ahead and zip up the zipper so we can make a marking where the zipper needs to match up seams.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Now we want to mark the match points. (I only had a 9 inch zipper so mine does not go into the scallops, but if yours does, do this same marking where you want the scallops to match.) Draw a line exactly where the waistband seam is on the opposite side of the zipper. (and the scallops if necessary)

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 9

Now unzip the zipper, and use those placement lines to match the seams while pinning (or wonder taping) the zipper to the other side.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 10

matching the mark to the waistband seam

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 11

Look closely at the above picture to orient the zipper correctly. The right side of the zipper goes to the right side of the fabric and the coils face away from the opening. Where the zipper pull is at the bottom will look all twisted and weird. This is okay.

Go ahead and sew down this side as far as you can while again pulling the coils out of the way of your stitching. Here is a picture of what the zipper will look like after stitching. The seam below the zipper is still not yet sewn.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 12

Go ahead and test the zipper to make sure it has been sewn up the right way and that the seams match where you want them to.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

close up of seam below zipper that is not yet sewn

If you are pleased with how invisible the zipper is and all your match points line up, then go ahead and fold the right sides of the fabric together so we can sew the lower part of the seam.

I sew from the bottom of the seam up to about 1/2″ from where the zipper stitching stops and I use my regular foot. Make sure to pull the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way so you do not sew it in the seam.

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close up of zipper stitching and seam stitching from bottom of garment

Lastly, put on your regular zipper foot and attach the stitching together while holding the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way.

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see how I am pulling the bottom of the zipper tape to the side so it is not caught in the stitching?

All done! The more you do these zippers, the more they are easier than regular zippers. I love invisible zippers!

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All done! oops, I forgot to press…ignore the wrinkles please

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completed inside of invisible zipper with seam allowances finished with seam binding

How did it go???

If you do regularly insert invisible zippers and they are not truly “invisible” when finished, try pressing the coils before beginning as written above, and also using an invisible zipper foot and pull the coils back while sewing. The easiest way to make an invisible zipper not invisible is not sewing close enough to the coils. But sew too close, and you might sew into the coils and you won’t be able to do the zipper at all! It is a fine balance, but after a couple time, you figure it out and then it works every time!

Only one more step to finish our Fuchsia! We will attach the waistband facings and have a beautifully clean finish, all attached to the zipper, and done completely by machine!! No hand slip stitching required. Then I want to see everyone’s finished Fuchsia!

Still need to get your Fuchsia? It is free in the shop! Missed any of the other sew-along posts? They are all compiled right here!

 Any questions? Leave us a comment here or email us!  Also, check out our new Pinterest board on tutorials. I am pinning all sewing tutorials and projects that look helpful. It is a great resource to find the help you need when you need it. I refer to it all the time!

Post your Fuchsia pictures to the Fuchsia Flickr Group and when the sew-along is finished, I will do a round up of all the beautiful finished garments–a Parade of Fuchsia’s!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns