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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 5: Staying - When a Seam Knows it's Place

Good Weft, Stay!
I stayed each section of my bustier by stitching
thin strips of silk organza just over the stay sticking lines. 
In the most recent Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast, Boning up on Bustiers Part 1, I chatted about warp and weft. I reminded fellow sewists that weft or horizontal threads are naturally a little stretchier than waft threads.

This knowledge is particularly important when draping and fitting patterns in muslin. If we want our garments to fit well, we need to make sure that fabric doesn't pull out of place once we've decided on what that place should be. 

A good seam needs to know it's place and stay there.

One way of keeping the weft threads stable is to stay stitch them, by stitching over, or just at tiny bit into the seam allowance from the stitching lines. I stay stitched every single top and bottom of the garment stitching lines in my bustier. Those included 16 pieces cut in 4 fabrics! 

I also stayed each section of my bustier at the top, where the garment would need to stay firmly in place and not display portions of my anatomy unexpectedly. Staying is an extra strengthening step for portions of garments that need to work really hard to keep the body in place. Waistbands are another place I might stay. The spiral steel bones I inserted into my inner shell to provide stand up support are also called stays.

I stayed the bustier sections using strips of silk organza cut 1.5 inch wide then folded lengthwise. Yes, real silk organza has different characteristics than polyester organza. It's strong, stable and adds very minimal bulk. People also stay with twill tape. 

I have also stayed the shoulder seams on tee shirts by sewing down my seam allowances on either side of the already sewn seam. That results in a very stable decoratively stitched look that discourages the front and back pieces from sliding down over the shoulder. You could also stitch in the ditch of a tee shirt shoulder seam using a strip of silk organza, twill tape or other very stable fabric.

Understanding how fabrics work in a garment, and working to increase the stability of my seams - really teaching them to know their place - is another thing that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing.
~ ~ ~ 
Web Resources

Straight of Grain  - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/10/patterns-haiku-straight-of-grain-runs.html

Enchanted By Sewing Audio Podcast: Bustiers Part 1

Stay Stitching - http://sewing.about.com/od/sewingglossarypt/g/staystitching.htm

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seams to Fit Part 4: Neat as a Pin (Technicos)

Using pin techniques to join sections of my bustier precisely.

The outer shell of my Bustier is coming along
Too bad I can't just pin it to myself and head out the door

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity 
Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark 
Seams To Fit Part 3: More Power to Interlining!

Pinning seams becomes extra important when working on sewing narrow, curved, very fitted pieces together. I wanted a stitching line that runs precisely along the stitching line I created when fitting the test garment and creating the pattern. It went a bit against my casual, arty bent to be concerned with being as neat as a pin. It just wasn't a natural skill for me, and I had to think carefully about the process.

In my last "Seams To Fit" posting, I described how I used stitching marks on my interlining pieces to define the stitching lines on the fashion fabric it's backing. In both part 2 and part 3, I described how I made sure the fashion fabric was matched up properly.

Now that I was getting ready to sew each bodice piece together, I began to think of each piece as more of a section. That section is composed of one appropriately shaped piece of fashion fabric (the denim that shows on the outside of the bustier in my case) backed by an equivalently shaped interlining (a blue plaid cotton flannel). When it's prepped, one section is like one pattern piece.

At this point in the process, I needed a way to join the stitching lines of each section precisely to it's neighboring section. When working on doing the same operation on the inner fitting shell of the bustier (then I was joining the cutil/lining pieces together) I'd found this to be rather challenging. I was constantly turning the sections over and finding that the pins weren't going through into the stitching lines.

I marked the stitching lines all the way around each section
with pins, using the stitching lines marked on the interlining
I figured out the best way for me to get the sections joined together precisely, the second time around. In part 3, I describe how I'd marked each section (equivalent of one pattern piece) marked all the way around with pins. The pin heads show on the interlining side. Now, I could line up each section (one fashion fabric/interlining section for each pattern piece) with it's corresponding section. 
Working pins through from the stitching lines on one section
to find the stitching lines on the other side.
Here you can see a couple of pins I've already pinned through from the other side.
These are ever so slightly off!
When I laid, for example, piece 1a next to 1b, putting the fashion fabric (right sides) together, I now had pins on either seam line. I moved down the marked/pinned stitching lines pinning in the direction of the seam. As I moved, I worked another pin from one side of the stitching lines into the set on the other section. My fingers could feel that the pins were marrying up. I could, and did, still flip the sections back and forth, but it went a lot more easily than it had in the inner shell.

The only Photoshopping I did was to
change the fabric of my dress form, and
swap the real background for my little
gingham and scissors creation:-)
When I went to do the actual sewing, things just sewed up better. I only had to stop and unstitch a very short distance once. 

The proof is in the denim pudding. My bustier's outer shell is coming along and fitting snug and right.

The fitting shell that goes below will provide the support the garment needs to allow the garment to leave my dress form and head out into the world.

Figuring out techniques for sewing seams precisely is one of those thing that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing! 
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Boning Up On Bustiers: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

My Pinterest  Bustiers Board 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seams to Fit Part 3: More Power to Interlining! (Technicos)

Using  stitching marks on my interlining pieces to define the stitching lines on the fashion fabric it's backing.              

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity 

Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark 

I figured out how to take advantage of my interlining, to help match the seams on my bustier project.

What is interlining?
Interlining is like a piece of backing for a garment's fashion fabric. In this bustier project, my fashion fabric is denim. My interlining is a piece of plaid 100% cotton flannel. You will never see the interlining once the garment is done, even on the inside. That's because this garment will have a second shell that includes lining. The interlining will be sandwiched in between the lining and the garment fabric.

I cut the interlining just like I cut the fashion fabric.

The interlining is just sewn on underneath the piece it backs.  I treat the two pieces of material as though they are just one piece of fabric. The back/wrong side of the interlining is sewn to the back of the fashion fabric.

Why did I used interlining in this garment?
Typically interlining is used to make a fashion fabric more stable and give a little less. For example you might use interlining with linen to make it crisper. (In which case you might cut the interlining just a little more narrow - a good trick, eh?)

In this case, I used interlining as a layer of extra protection because of the bones/stays that are in the next layer below it. It helps avoid the chance that these bones will slip out and poke into the outer/fashion fabric layer.

How I took advantage of my interlining, to help match the seams on my bustier project.

Because this bustier has really small pieces, and is really fitted, I marked, then sewed through, the stitching lines all the way around on my interlining pieces. I just sewed through that one layer, to make the seam/stitching lines really clear. 

I also marked all the stitching lines on the inside of my fashion fabric. I could have basted those lines, then matched up the stitched lines to ensure that my seams are precise.

But I really don't like having to take all those basting threads out of the fashion fabric. Also, sometimes they're hard to remove, especially if I sew over them.

Since I have the stitched lines on the interlining and the marked lines on the fashion fabric, I was able to slip pins through from the interlining into the marked line and pin the interlining layer to the fashion fabric layer all the way around the piece. I could easily check on the fashion fabric layer to see that the stitched line above was marrying up right with the marks all the way around.

I repeated this process with the adjoining piece - both on the fashion fabric and the interlining fabric - then joined the seams of the two pieces together, slipping the pins from one seam line marking into the one below. I was able to constantly check my pinned stitching lines, to make sure that the seam line below was matching up properly with the seam line on the top.

Figuring out how to sew narrow garment pieces together precisely, and save time removing basting stitches later on, is the kind of technique that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Boning Up On Bustiers: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

My Pinterest  Bustiers Board 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark (Technicos)

Figuring out how to eliminate using a tracing wheel, has me making a stronger mark that is also less likely to damage my pattern or fabric.

How I'm Marking My Bustier Seams

• I do not include seam allowances on the pattern piece

• I watch the straight of grain (SOG) carefully.  SOG is an issue with the narrow curved pieces in this garment. I need to be sure that seam lines are drawn correctly, relative to the SOG.

•  I carefully mark the seam allowances in, around the pattern piece.  on one side of the double layer of fabric. I was originally using a toothed marking wheel to do this, but I realized there is a better way, for me, that creates a more visible mark on the other side.

On the top, right along the edge of my no-seam-allowance pattern, I make a dashed marking all the way around with a colored pencil. Underneath, I've placed Chacony marking paper.

•  Then I draw on the seam allowances. I'm using a 1" seam allowance. I could use a double Clover wheel to get a precise 1" added on, but in fact if my seam line is just right I can be somewhat  general about a more-or-less 1" seam. Because I won't be positioning my needle relative to the cut edge, as I typically do.  I will be positioning my needle over the actual seam line.

Marking technique

- Can use Clover double wheel to mark at seam line and at desired width out. I have done several 1" seam allowances, and can mark those with Clover. Can also do them smaller
- Because my marking wheels are spoked type, they impact my pattern (when I have patterns with seam allowances) and they also can put holes in the fabric I may not want
- Marking seam lines with colored pencil and waxy Chacony paper underneath gives me a stronger mark than running the wheel along the seam line. This also avoids fabric or tissue damage or holes.
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Sewing My Bustier - Enchanted By Sewing Audio Podcast 18: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity - Learning Precision

I'm improving a lot of sewing skills while working on my bustier project. For one thing I'm doing more pattern work, which is not only helping me to practice creating a physical pattern (I began with a commercial pattern and altered it - a lot). Also I'm learning to use the actual resulting pattern in new ways. 

I've changed my concept of when to create a seam allowances, at least for this very fitted garment
Creating a pattern with no seam allowance, is starting to be useful
Typically, when working with a woven fabric, I've used the standard 5/8" seam allowance that comes on a commercial pattern, or else added that same measurement to my own pattern. I knew that traditional patterns are often created with no seam allowances (Burda Magazine patterns are an example), but I didn't understand why that was done. Now I have a reason to leave that allowance off the pattern.

It has to do with fit.

I don't usually make fitted garments. If the seams I sew in, say, a loose shirt project aren't absolutely, precisely the same as the original pattern it's probably not a big deal. I sew the back to the front at more or less 5/8" away from the cut edge. A little extra or less between a couple of friends, and you're not going to notice the lack of precision in the finished project. 

 A bustier, however, is an ultra-fitted garment. In addition it covers much less body area than that loose shirt. Oh, and by the way, instead of that loose shirt's one back and one front piece - the back of my bustier is three pieces. The front is five pieces - several of which are extremly narrow. And those eight pattern pieces cover less surface area than the loose shirt's two.

If I'm at all casual about the seams whose positions I've carefully detailed while fitting this pattern, the garment is in danger of being too tight to fit. Or it may simply fall off!

I need to know, when I sew, that the seams I planned to sew during the fitting stage, are the ones I actually do sew. The first important thing I do to achieve that goal, is by marking my seams accurately. My goal is to get the seams within 1/8" of what I've decided is correct. I may still loose a little one way or another. My final back and front seams will make up any final corrections, but if it's very much off it will be noticeable. I want to avoid that.

Next Posting - Seams To Fit: Making My Mark  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ench By Sew-018 Boning Up on Bustiers: Part 1

I printed a bunch of this image
on postcard stock to make
bookmark/luggage tags I
slipped in big bags and pattern bags
associated with this project
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 

OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
~ ~ ~
A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

- FIRST What is a bustier? It's not a corset, for one thing.


 • A soft torsolette is a bandeau
A long torsolette is a corselette

   Class I’m taking is from Lynda Maynard, an instructor at CaƱada College, San Francisco City College and also an instructor at Craftsy.

Lynda’s “Fit” Class on Craftsy, which I plan to take.

This posting I wrote for Me Encanta Coser, includes a number of links to
other bustier posts I wrote about this project, in the Web Resources section

- NEXT Pensimientos Primero:  Who might wear a bustier? Who do I want to create one?
- ENTONCES/THEN Where I am,  in the process of creating one. How long it’s taking me
- FOLLOWED BY Technicos: Cut, Cloth, Construction

o CUT Pattern Selection and Alteration
Simplicity 5006 http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/01/bustier-class-pattern.html
Can’t skip the muslin stage
Fit  No 1 the pattern
The squish factor – add one inch, ¼ inch up from waistline to new pattern
New paper I’ve found  for pattern paper – not tissue now but artists tracing paper. Mostly Transparant .
          Not Tissue. Kind of like waxed paper. I use it with a soft lead pencil (#1?) – also an artist supply.
Staedtler Artists/Draftsperson’s Sketch Paper Rolls,
    Also found a brand by Bee

 o Cloth – 4 kinds of fabric, some choices – definite types, NO WOVENS
 o http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coutil

Review warp and weft
Why warp and weft are especially important for Bustiers
Stay stich – Why not just skip it?
The layers
What each layer is
Why certain fabrics are important

1) Lining (bottom layer) must be super soft on your skin comfortable. You don't wear with an undergarment
My Lining is vintage Liberty of London Tana Lawn http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/02/bustiers-excuse-me-arent-those-your.html
I love Tana Lawn so much, I have a Pinterest Board just for that ! http://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/gorgeous-fabric-liberty-of-london/

Lynda Maynard likes silk charmeuse for lining bustiers

2) Coutil provides support for boning
Where to buy coutil

o Richard the Thread - Mail Order. Our fabric came really fast
Rumors - Minimum order 5 yards? Will they sell you less if you call?
o Brittex - Field Trip To Brittext http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/05/sir-douglas-of-brittex-san-francisco.html
o Lacis -  Field Trip to Lacis http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/field-trip-lacis-field-berkley-ca.html

3) 100% cotton flannel protects against bones pushing through to top layer
4) Fashion Fabric (top layer). What people see. Denim for me! Duchesses Satin?
Silk Dupioni? Men's Wear Woolen? Find the perfect fabric.

One of these images I"ve pinned on Pinterest may give you ideas for that perfect fabric

o Construction
Dem Bones Gonna Walk Around - Focus on Boning
Thanks to my study partner "Dave" for providing the music :-)
NEXT MONTH I will summarize construction more

- Completion and goal setting tie in with other non-sewing projects
- Less temptation to stray :-)
- The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter  by Susan Wittig Albert
"Many a little makes a mickle, many a mickle makes a mile"

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Technicos Bustier: Dem Bones

This inner shell layer of the bustier is made from
one layer of cutile (heavy white) and a another of lining, fabric
Lining's the antique blue flower Liberty Tana Lawn print
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones gonna walk around.
Oh hear the name of the Lord!

You just know that old spiritual* tune has been buzzing around in my head, while I've been working on adding spiral steel bones to my bustier project.

I created the boning channels from
cutile fabric cut on the bias
I used two side by side 1/4" spiral steel bones
in each channel
For curved channels - use three bones.

After sewing all the seams and fitting more times than I want to recall, then it's time to sew in the boning channels. First I sewed them down the seams, then I interspersed between the seams with more boning channels.

The bones are placed no further than 3" apart all along the shell. It's possible to add a bust shape into the front too, but I had created a pattern with such narrow pieces in front, that I had issues with that concept. So all my bones are more or less vertical, with no curvy bits.

A spiral steel bone sliding home
Cut those threads!
After the channels were sewn, I inserted the spiral steel bones I purchased at Lacis. You can buy them in different lengths from just 2 or 3" up to 18", possibly longer but that was the longest I bought. You can also cut your own from a roll of wire, and add your own tips - cheaper but challenging.

Spiral steel bones are flexible. We're not talking old-time, unforgiving whalebone here! (poor whales:-(  ) Also remember the definition of a bustier, I'm following, this is not a garment that imposes a shape on my body
~ ~ ~
* Web Resources

Whew! This is a long-time project for me. A previous Bustier post that links several other bustier posts I've written. http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/02/bustiers-excuse-me-arent-those-your.html

Lacis is in Berkley. They also sell via mail order