Monday, January 28, 2013

Moving a Sleeve Seam is Easy

Moving a sleeve seam to avoid a continuous placket in a long sleeve is easy!
Why would I want to do this? Well it is a very neat way to create a sleeve placket in any long sleeve and avoid stitching a continuous placket - a job that makes many a sewer cringe!

Printing restrictions being what they are, the sleeve I wanted to use in the Tuxedo Jacket pattern wouldn’t fit onto the pattern sheet. Even a plain sleeve pattern had to be split into two parts – something I really hate to do!
So here I want to show you how to take the plain tuxedo sleeve and move the seam from under the arm to the back quarter.
You would follow the same procedure for most long sleeves.
                                                                 Here is the plain sleeve as in the pattern.
Trace off the original onto a clean piece of paper to preserve the original pattern piece.
Fold the pattern in half and mark the fold line. This should be the centre of the sleeve.
Draw in the stitching lines on both the vertical seams.
Draw in the hem line.
Fold the Back Sleeve stitching line onto the centre line and mark the new fold line.
You now have divided the back of the Sleeve in half.
Now trim away the Underarm seam allowances.
Cut the pattern apart on the line which divides the Back Pattern in half.
Position the Sleeve pieces so the original Underarm seams match up.
Place your new pattern piece on a new large piece of paper.
Add back the seam allowances to the New Sleeve seams.
Smooth the lower edge to form a gentle curve. (You can do this free hand or with a French curve or even use the edge of a plate to get a nice line.)
Now add a seam allowance to the lower (wrist) edge.
To finish this Sleeve you will need a Facing.
Draw a line about 1¼” up from the seam edge. (See the green line in the diagram.)
Trace off your new Sleeve pattern and then trace off the Sleeve Hem Facing.
Transfer all markings and label each piece.
If you were doing this with a blouse sleeve, the new seam should fall near your wrist bone on the outside of your arm.

To create the Placket, you would stitch down the sleeve seam to within approximately 3½” to 4” from bottom of the sleeve. (Check your original pattern to see what length it calls for.)
You can clip the seam at the point where the stitching ended. Turn lower portion of this seam (which will form the placket) twice and slip stitch or machine stitch to each side of the sleeve.
Finish the remaining sleeve seam allowances and press the seam open.
Carry on with your garment construction.
Hope this gives you food for thought the next time you are faced with stitching a Continuous Placket!!
So till next time, keep stitching…..

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How cold is it?

So how cold is it? Too cold!

Canadians love to talk about the weather and this week we've had lots about which to talk. As I lay in bed very early this morning the house creaked and groaned with the cold. I as so glad I didn't have to down stairs to a cold family room to stoke a fire or outside to fetch firewood! We are so lucky to have central heating in our homes today and at times like this even more thankful for those things we take for granted. My friend in England has been enduring extremely wet weather and flooding. In Australia my friend's daughter has been living with extremely high temperatures. We seem to be living in a time of extremes so enjoy what comforts you have and be thankful.

Last summer I made smocked dresses for a couple of little girls who were in a wedding party. I wrote about gathering the layers of silk to get the full skirts attached to the bodices.

Here you see the two little girls in their dresses and considering we only had one preliminary fitting of the pattern pieces they fit reasonably well. 

The adult attendants wore short dresses of the same fabric as the girls' sashes. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding.

So now that we are in a new year and over the holidays and colds that are part of the season, I hope to write more regularly.

Of significant news this month is the closing of the company Grace L. Knott Smocking Supplies Ltd. George Webb, the grandson of Grace Knott, has decided to retire. The company has been in business since the early 1930's when Grace came to Canada as a war bride. Her daughter-in-law took over the reins of the business when Grace retired. Doris never took credit for the many innovations she put in place and she grew the business to become the booming mail order business that many of you think of when you hear the company name. When Doris, who is now 96, retired her son George took over and has spent many years at the helm. He now wishes to retire and we wish him well.

"Amberlane and Amberpetites"   is not closing. We have been a separate company all along with my patterns being distributed through GLK over the years. I intend to carry on and add more patterns and other designers to my offerings on the web site.

This all takes time and is a part of the reason I’ve been away from this blog recently.

Please come back for more news and articles about sewing, patternmaking and smocking as I work my way through the challenges of new patterns.

So till next time, keep stitching…