I don’t know about you, but I love tweed. Goodness gracious. I thought it would be a great week to highlight this fun fabric!
Whenever I think of tweed, I think of the British Isles. Harris Tweed, Linton Tweed. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. So many of them are so unique too. Yum! There’s lots of tweed to choose from when you really start looking.
Tweed is a textured fabric. Additionally it’s usually woven with at least two different color yarns which can give it a speckled look. This is great for hiding stitching irregularities which makes it a favorite for those beginning their journey into tailoring (as in making a jacket). From far away it looks like a softer version of the dominant color. This (above) is the kind of fabric that I usually associate with tweed, but don’t be fooled. It comes in a combination of textures, colors and weaves. Here’s another tweed that I have, direct from Linton Tweeds. Not your typical tweed, eh?
Tweeds that carry a name, like Harris tweed originate a from a specific district from whence they are made. For example, Harris Tweed comes from Scotland. A few common tweed names are Harris, Linton, Donegal, Shetland and Bannockburn. If the tweed isn’t labelled with a district name it’s just a regular tweed and could have been manufactured/made anywhere (doesn’t mean it’s bad though!).
Most tweeds are usually firmly woven and easy to sew with. Wool tweed takes heat and moisture wonderfully and shapes into just about anything – great for making jackets! Some tweeds are woven with a combination of fibers like wool and silk or wool and cotton. They can even get really exciting and be woven with a metallic thread or cellophane (for a little sparkle!).
These fabrics are great for jackets or coats, as I’ve already said above. They also make great pencil skirts and trousers because the hand has a nice structure to it.
Now, bragging rights time! Do you have any tweed? What about Harris Tweed or possibly Linton?
For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!
Tutorial Thursday today! Yessss! Today, I thought I would share a quick tip for creating a contoured waistband. I’ve done this many times on many patterns. I thought I would show how to do this on the Hollyburn skirt waistband piece as it’s a perfect candidate for this type of thing. Just so everyone is up to date, Hollyburn is a sewing pattern put out by Sewaholic. You can view my latest versions here. Before we get to the tutorial, I thought I would share why you might want to do something like this. I find that on my particular figure and with a waistband piece that is anything more than 1 inch wide, I have to do this. Maybe I have a bit too fluffy of a tummy – Dr. Pepper is my vice after all. And chocolate and all that. I find that a little contouring at the waist helps it to sit better on my figure and quite frankly, it’s a little nip and tuck that looks good for me. Now, take it away Contoured Waistband tutorial!
On the Hollyburn waistband piece, you’ll find that it’s a rectangular piece that is folded in half to create a waistband on the skirt section. To contour this waistband we’ll have to change this up a fair bit. We’re going to create two separate waistband pieces – a waistband and a waistband facing and both pieces will be cut on the fold at center front. Follow me? First, find the fold line on the waistband, mark it and then add on 5/8″ seam allowance to one side. I’ve marked my fold line in pink and the seam allowance in green. Cut away the excess.
The Hollyburn waistband is one entire piece so you’ll need to find the center front of it and cut that away too. That center front will now be cut on the fold, no need to add seam allowance.
Mark the seam line (in pink again) on the other side of the pattern and cut into the pattern at around the side seam area, to but not through the seamline. Cut on the other side of the seamline, to but not through the seamline which will create a paper hinge. Oh, paper hinges. The story of my life.
From there you can nip in the waist however much you need by overlapping and taping the longer cut section together. The pictures do a much better job of explaining this, I think. Right about now, you’re probably wondering how you’ll know how much to nip in. When I do this adjustment, I measure how wide the waistband section is (this is the vertical measurement of the waistband). Then I take two pieces of elastic and tie them around my waist. The first I tie at my waist – or where I want the top of the skirt to hit – and then I tie the other piece around the section of my waist that is down the vertical width of the waistband. In the case of the Hollyburn, the waistband is 2 inches wide. So I would tie that second elastic 2 inches below the first. Make sense? Now take the measurements around both areas and compare. I’m usually about 1 inch off or so. You’ll divide that number by 2 since you’re working with half of the waistband piece (because we just chopped off at the center front and now we’re cutting the waistband on the fold). So I need to overlap 1/2 inch. WHEWWWW!
Once you’ve figured all that out, then it’s time to smooth out those angles. Not only are those lines hard to sew, but it wouldn’t look all that great if we sewed this piece up as is at the moment. To smooth out the lines, you’ll need to use a curved ruler. Shimmy up your curved ruler along the angles and find a curve that connects and fills in (or takes away) in a nice looking curve. You’ll be adding to the valley and subtracting from the peak. I’ve added to the valley in red and then I subtracted approximately the same amount from the peak and cut that off.
To make this whole thing a bit easier to see, I opted to retrace the waistband for you. See how you have a nice smooth curved waistband now? You’ll cut the center front on the fold, cut two pieces and voila! Contoured waistband!
If you have a major contouring that is needed in the waistband (like more than 1 inch in the round), I would say that it would be best to do the above in two places instead of one. So think of the waistband in thirds and nip and tuck at 1/3 and then 2/3 mark. Make sense? Sometimes when the waistband gets wider – like 5 inches, which would be more of a yoke – then it’s better to do this in more places than just at the side seam. Makes for a softer curve.
And that’s it for today’s tutorial. Enjoy friends!
I’ve been hard at work on a lot of things behind the scenes to, hopefully, make my life better and easier. Today, I thought I would just pop in with a post and tell you all what I’ve been up to.
In a moment of quiet desperation, I decided that my personal sewing space needed a new lease on life. I changed the entire set-up, reorganized fabrics and junked about 3 giant garbage bags of scraps and other funny, weird stuff I just didn’t need. We’ve still got several things to go through, but workflow is way better and my space feels more zen. yeah.
In keeping with my sewing space effieciency program, I decided to go through my ever growing UFO pile. It’s desolation is near! I junked a whole bunch of items that will never get finished and then I kept things that I thought would be good to finish and finishing them I am! This here is a pencil skirt that’s almost done. Pretty sure you’ll see it soon!
Another McCall’s 6649. Another Liberty of London Lawn – this one I officially planned to never cut because I love it that much, but now I’m wearing it! Yay! Then I reverse engineered McCall’s 6649 into sloper form and. made. myself. an. official. sloper!!!!! More on this to come on this!
I’m working on official Sewing Room curriculum that give you all my tips and tricks for specific workshops. Almost finished up with my Classic Shirt handout. Exciting times for the Sewing Room!
What’s going on with you? Do you have a sloper? What about a UFO pile? Did 2015 bring a much needed breath of fresh air to inspire you to rearrange your sewing space?
Whoosh! And my life is off to a running start this week. I just need to take a moment, stop down and say, Thanks. The Sewing Room is officially open and we are running our workshops now – February workshops are now available, working on March too. As January has progressed, the Sewing Room has been steadily getting more and more busy. This is so wonderful to watch. SO WONDERFUL! I love seeing others taking part in sewing and having it happen here in my studio is marvelous. Thanks to all of you who have signed up for a workshop! I look forward to seeing more of you this year! Yay!
Now, for Fabric Friday! Today’s fabric is Wool Melton. I see this fabric a lot and I find that it’s fairly common. What is Wool Melton? Well…..
It’s a coating fabric, meaning very specifically that you would usually use this fabric to make a coat with. That means it’s a nice, substantial, beefy and thick fabric. The better to keep you warm! It’s very dense and very tightly woven. This makes a great candidate for coats because nothing gets through melton cloth. That cold winter wind is kept at bay! Additionally melton goes through a fulling process and then it’s brushed. To be honest, it’s akin to wool flannel (though flannel is a looser weave), but quite a bit beefier.
When I see wool melton, it’s usually mixed with another fiber. I daresay I’ve never seen one that is 100% wool, which definitely doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t ever seen one. Wool melton is usually a mix of wool, polyester, acrylic, nylon or a combination of all of these. The higher the wool content though, the better your shaping/sculpting/pressing experience will be when you make a garment out of it.
Wool melton is wonderfully thick so, it goes without saying that you would probably make a coat with it. You could also do winterized accessories like hats too. It might be possible to do a heavyweight woven cardigan as well. A wintry blanket with a bias binding would be uber warm. This cloth will fray a bit, but not as much as others. It’s fairly easy to work with, until the layers start building up – keep those seam allowances trimmed and graded and pick designs that don’t have a lot of intersecting seams.
Got some wool melton in your stash? Have you made anything out of one?
For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!
Confession time! You know that I love gorgeous fabric right? I really do. I have this funny thing I do though. I’ll buy a piece of fabric – a really knock-out piece – and then I won’t use it. I save it. And this year, I was like, we are not going to be doing this anymore! I’m TIRED of saving things. And excuse me, but what in the world am I saving my fabric for? The day I become perfect? I know, this is weird. When I really sit and think about what I’m saving my fabric for, I can’t even find a logical answer to this question.
Another confession. I LOVE fine cotton lawn/voile (by the way, I have no idea what the difference between these two are, there doesn’t seem to be one). I have a pretty good stash of Liberty of London Lawn and these new Art Gallery Voiles. I had been saving this rather loud Art Gallery Voile for well, I don’t know. It was one of those fabrics. It’s time, and it’s been time for some time (ha ha!), to get with the program and start making some things with all this saved fabric.
As someone who has never been able to find an abundance of button-up shirts that fit, making one’s own shirts is a major win. In point of fact, who even knew that I liked button-up shirts until I made one that fit me and didn’t feel like a straight jacket?! As someone who absolutely loves loud flower prints and has longed for a closetful of such printed button-up shirts, being able to beautifully fit, sew and choose my fabric (from my own stash!) is dreamy. Dare I even say, luxurious.
This is another McCall’s 6649 – and I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing a few more of these colorful button-ups as the year progresses. In fact I can guarantee it. I’ve got the pattern perfected now. I’m excited to start hacking it. Very excited. One of the reasons I think this pattern is so great is because it has all the darts – two front and two back vertical darts for fit and shaping and also bust darts. The reason this is so great is because there is so much that can be manipulated – to create new designs – when all the darts are present. I have some fun ideas to share with you for future hacks for this pattern and I hope you’ll find that once you’ve mastered fit and perfected a basic pattern, you can start creating your own patterns instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every time you want to sew a different style. Plus I’m starting to get really overwhelmed with all of the amassing of not only fabric, but sewing patterns. I need another sewing pattern like a hole in the head. It’s starting to get nuts (like I just don’t have room for all of this nor the time to make them all!). Maybe 2015 is the year I start getting real with myself. What about you?
I was most definitely saving this fabric choice. I love it so much. I left off the front vertical darts on this particular shirt, just to change it up. I’ve actually made up this pattern a couple of times and after tweaking it several times over, I’m feeling confident that I finally hit the gold mine. I used a contrasting fabric (the stripe) for the cuff and collar stand facing and also the sleeve placket. I love doing this! Love it! I also think I did a pretty good button picking job – the hardest part for me! I didn’t want anything that was too loud, too big or competed for attention.
Are you a shirt lover? Do you save fabric? I find that the classic shirt is a very, very satisfying sew. I use many of the techniques from David Coffin’s book on the subject and I’ve also amassed a few old Thread’s articles that are pretty clever too. This shirt, it’s one for the books – I finally used up a beloved fabric piece and now, I’m wearing it. Loud and proud.