Category Archives: Construction update

Update: Welt pockets for my denim pants

I couldn’t stop thinking about welt pockets, so after consulting about three sewing books from my library, I finally broke down and added them to the back of my already completed wide-leg 1940s denim pants from Simplicity 3688.

Welt pockets were so much easier than I thought! I plan to put them in every pair of pants I ever make.

The outside:

My first single-welt pockets!

My first single-welt pockets! I used vintage buttons and white top-stitching to match details elsewhere on the pants.

You can’t tell from this picture, but the pockets are really low. Not stupid low, but pretty low. My books said they shouldn’t cross a dart, and the darts were long. But after my pockets were complete, I examined a few suit jackets in my closet and found that the welt pockets cross right through seams and/or darts! Next time I make these pants, I’ll put the welt at least an inch higher up.

And the inside:

IMG_0969

I had to use scraps to sew the pocket bags, so they are smaller than they should be.

Although I was able to add the pockets after the fact, they would have been more successful had I done them during construction. I examined the single-welt pockets on my husband and son’s khaki pants and found that the top of the pocket bag extends into the waistband seam. I think anchoring them at the top would keep them from sagging, so I’ll try that next time.

Also, in some of the pants, the sides of the pocket bag were sewn BEFORE it was pulled to the wrong side, then they were sewn again to make French seams. They were very tidy inside.

Since I made these, I’ve been noticing all sorts of interesting variations in welt pockets. (Which means I’ve been staring pretty intently at a lot of butts. “Pardon me, I’m not a perv, just a seamstress.”) I’ve seen pocket flaps of various shapes, button loops, and different top-stitching details. Some of these variations will make it into a future pair of pants.

But I have several other projects to complete before I can even think about another pair of pants.

Full-bust adjustment on Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse

The Sewaholic line of patterns is specifically designed to fit and flatter pear-shaped woman.

I am pretty much the opposite of a pear-shaped woman.

My bust is my largest measurement, then my hips, with my waist not much smaller.

But the great results a variety of women are getting from the Belcarra Blouse pattern looked too good to resist, so I jumped in the fray.

Then came the pattern adjustments.

I started by making a muslin of the pattern as it was. It seemed to fit everywhere but the bust. Here is the result, after some slashing to accommodate my figure:

I marked my bust point, then made slashes typical of full-bust adjustments, so I could see how much room to add.

I marked my bust point, then made slashes typical of full-bust adjustments, so I could see how much room to add.

Obviously, I had work to do on the pattern. I made a typical full-bust adjustment, so the front bodice pattern looked like this:

Here you can see the full bust adjustment. Width is added across the bust, length is added to the center front, and a dart is added to the side.

For a typical full bust adjustment, width is added across the bust, length is added to the center front, and a dart is added to the side.

After trying that on, I realized that the bust point needed to be raised. I guess this is pretty common. The way the full-bust adjustment is done ends up creating a dart that does NOT point toward the apex of the bust. You often have to move it, but it’s impossible to know exactly how much to move it until you’ve done the adjustment. From this pattern alteration, I cut a new front bodice piece and replaced the slashed one.

As you can see, the muslin fits Gene much better, but the bust dart needed to be adjusted and the hips are way too wide.

As you can see, the muslin fits Gene much better. However, the bust dart needed to be adjusted and the hips are way too wide. I have them pinned in an inch on each side, for a total of four inches.

To accommodate these changes, I altered the pattern again.

Here, I raised the bust point, then narrowed the hips. I almost made them straight but settled on a gentle curve.

Here, I raised the bust point, then narrowed the hips. I almost made them straight but settled on a gentle curve.

Now, I think I’m ready to cut out my fashion fabric.

Taking a simple blouse pattern made for a pear and altering it for an apple is a lot of effort, but I think it’s going to be worth it. I had forgotten how nicely raglan sleeves sit on my shoulders, and this is a quick basic pattern. Once I have this pattern perfected, I can sew up a bunch of these basic tops. I’m hoping they will make a good substitute for the cheap knit tops I always buy at Target.

Buttoning up Clara

The bodice of Sew Liberated’s Clara dress is nearly done. I spent FOUR HOURS making the sleeves. That doesn’t even count attaching them, which will be next.

It took four hours because after pressing the self-fabric bias tape, then machine stitching it to the right side of the sleeve, I opted to hand sew the bias fold to the wrong side. The instructions call for sewing this down by machine, but I never get that just right. I always end up with stitching wandering off the bias trim in spots. The instructions also called for just tying the raw ends of the ties, but I preferred a neater finish.

So, I ended up hand sewing the bias trim along the wrong side of each keyhole and each sleeve hem, including the ends of the ties. Obviously, it took a long time (an entire Giants game, including preshow and postshow), but to me it was worth it.

I prefer the tidy look hand sewing bias trim creates.

I prefer the tidy look hand sewing creates when applying bias trim. No visible stitching!

I also verified my guess that the bodice could slip over my head without unbuttoning the placket. That means, I’m not bothering to make buttonholes! I’m just going to sew the buttons right through both plackets.

Also, after trying out the buttons I found by going through an entire clearance basket at Jo-Ann’s, I was underwhelmed by my choice. The translucent plastic was not enough of a presence with the pretty braid and the busy print, so I went through my button stash and found other possibilities. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)

This button doesn't have enough contrast now that I see it with all the other elements.

This button doesn’t make enough of a statement considering all the other elements.

I love these buttons from Britex, but I don't think they're quite right for this project.

I love these buttons from Britex, but I don’t think they’re quite right for this project. Too preppy for the paisley.

I don't like these dark blue buttons with the white trim.

I don’t like these dark blue buttons with the white trim, although the button themselves are great.

These vintage buttons are the winner!

These vintage buttons are the winner!

I should have looked through my button stash first. I forgot what great treasures are in there.

Every time I change my button choice mid-project, I think that I shouldn’t even look for buttons until I’m ready to put them on; but I know having to wait to finish until after a shopping trip would drive me nuts! I feel more prepared if I have them on hand when I start a project, even though I sometimes change my mind.

With any luck, I’ll be finishing this project this weekend.

Bodice for Sew Liberated’s Clara dress

I made some great progress on the Sew Liberated Clara dress this week.

After making a muslin and checking the fit, I ended up making my usual adjustments:

  • I lowered the bust point. Because the pre-existing side dart pointed up sharply, I just changed the angle. It occurs to me that I need to find the ideal spot and angle for the side dart point, then I could recreate it for each garment.
  • I made a full-bust adjustment. Truthfully, now that the bodice is nearing completion, I realize that I could have made this a little larger.
  • I lengthened the entire bodice by an inch. I usually lengthen by a half-inch, but this pattern seemed to need more. It’s really impossible for me to tell precisely until the skirt is attached, but for patterns from the Big Four companies, it’s usually a half-inch.

Here’s what the altered bodice front looks like:

I traced the pattern with Swedish Tracing Paper but ran out when it was time to make the alterations.

I traced the pattern with Swedish Tracing Paper but ran out when it was time to make the alterations.

I finished the collar (though it’s not yet full attached) and am pretty happy with the way the cording looks.

Collar on Sew Liberated Clara dress.

The cording makes the collar stand out despite the busy print.

Next up, I’ll be finishing the bodice and tackling the sleeves with the interesting keyhole detail.

 

%d bloggers like this: