Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tova times two

There's not much that can be said that hasn't already been said about the Wiksten Tova. This highly versatile pattern has been doing the rounds of the sewing blogosphere for a goodly number of years now. For good reason, we say!

Only available now as a downloadable PDF, this pattern is well worth the effort of an hour or so spent cutting and sticking paper together. There's no option for 'copy shop printing' in this download, so scissors and tape it must be.

I first made the shirt length in some of our Indigo Hemp/Organic Cotton (currently out of stock but winging its way to us - it should be back in a week or so). That one fast became an easy-to-reach-for wardrobe staple. So, hot on its heels, I tried out the tunic length in our navy Japanese linen/cotton blend big gingham. The linen/cotton has a lovely weight and a lovely slightly crinkly texture, making it perfect Autumn/Spring frock fare. For both versions, I omitted the collar band and bias-bound the neckline.

So, despite how late I came to the Tova party, I'm glad I finally did. It's a relatively straight forward sew that comes together fairly swiftly. The directions feature plenty of clear photos to accompany the directions, making it an achievable sew for an advanced beginner. Eminently layerable and wearable, these two Tovas will certainly not be my last.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deer and Doe Datura in Liberty and yarn-dyed cotton/linen

 We continue our love affair with Deer and Doe patterns here at The Drapery. This Datura was planned a couple of weeks ago and the version in voile from the previous posts was the 'wearable muslin' before making this. After much deliberation between View A and B, the collared version won out.
 The front panel is cut from just a (metric) fat quarter of Liberty Tana Lawn, in this dreamy print called 'Sandy Ray' that makes us sigh every time we look at it. The rest is in the lovely 'Otter' cotton/linen crossweave.
 To complement the delicate and ethereal nature of the print, this blouse has seven tiny pearly buttons (non-functional, sewn through all layers) at the back.
Of course, just as I go to post this we have sold out of the Datura pattern, but we will most certainly be re-stocking! The fabrics are both still available.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Friday, August 8, 2014

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse tutorial - Part 3 - Attaching Bodice and Finishing.

In Part 1 we took you through the construction of the bodice.
In Part 2 we showed you how to bind the neckline. And now, to complete your garment!

Part 3 - Attaching Bodice and Finishing

Take your front bodice piece and sew the bust darts: match the lines, pin and sew. On a fine fabric like this we recommend you don't do any reverse stitching at the 'pointy end' to secure your thread. Rather, leave long thread tails...
 ... and tie those thread tails in a secure double knot, then trim the ends. Press the dart fabric towards the bottom of the garment.
 As instructed, take each back bodice piece and fold the middle edge in twice along the marked lines, and stitch down to create each side of your button placket.
 Press, then overlap the back pieces so one placket sits directly on top of the other.
 Pin and then baste the plackets together with a long machine stitch, so for now they act as a single back bodice piece.
 Take your front bodice piece and pin, right sides together, to bottom edge of the front yoke outer. Keep the lining fabric out of the way.
 Sew bodice to yoke with a 5/8" seam allowance. (Make sure you have switched back to a regular stitch length after your basting stitch.)
 Press the seam up towards the inside of the yoke, and repeat the same process to join the back bodice and yoke.
 Now to sew the side seams. Align the front and back at the sides - open up the yoke lining so you can sew in a continuous line.
 I found this shape happening at the lining - it all ends up inside the seam allowance so pin, sew and believe in the pattern :) Repeat for the other side seam.
Finish your seams - I have overlocked and pressed the seam towards the back. The pattern suggests finishing each edge separately and pressing the seam allowances open, which would be a good idea to reduce bulk at the underarm area, if using thicker fabrics.

Fold the yoke lining back down into place and fold the edge under 5/8 inch, to meet the stitching line. Press in place with fingers or iron, and pin.
 From the inside, and well away from the edge, sew down with a long basting stitch.
 Then turn your garment right side out, return to a normal stitch length and carefully topstitch on the yoke side of the seam line.
 Unpick your basting stitches. (Having stitched them some distance from the edge should make it easy to identify and unpick the basting without disturbing your topstitching.)
 Now you're up to buttons! If you really have a passion for making buttonholes, go right ahead and make them. But they are in no way a functional part of this garment and personally, I would prefer to know that buttons on my lower back are going to stay put and not come undone without my realising. So I just sewed them straight on top through all layers. The pattern calls for 3 buttons but I added one more below these, at equal distance to the first three.
 If you have never used your sewing machine to sew on buttons, we highly recommend it's time you tried. Attach the button foot (something like you see below) and lower your feed dogs so the fabric doesn't move. Adjust the zigzag setting, carefully lowering your needle with the hand-wheel, until the needle neatly zigs and zags through both holes in the button. Then hit the pedal and sew that button until it looks good and secure. Next!
 Once all your buttons are sewn, unpick the basting stitches holding the two halves of the back bodice together.
 The final step is to bind the hem of your garment, using the rest of the bias strips (you will need at least 4 of the pattern template length, joined together, or equivalent). You will wrap the bias over the raw edge in the same way you bound the neckline. Binding with bias will create the best finish for the curved hem, because the bias tape is able to stretch and fit the contours far more easily than a regular turned hem.

Start with the right side of your bias facing the wrong side of your garment, edges aligned and with the end overlapping the back placket edge by about 1/2". Pin right around the hem, ensuring there is also overlap when you reach the other placket edge. Sew along the fold nearest the edge.
 At the placket edges, fold the end of the bias in to encase the raw edges before you wrap the bias over and to the front.
 Pin well, all the way around.
 Finish the other placket edge in the same way.
 Carefully topstitch on the right side.
 Give your finished garment a good press... congratulations, you've finished! Now try it on and be proud of your work!
 And here's a view of the lovely back button detail.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave us a comment. And enjoy your Datura!

See Part 1 of the tutorial here.
See Part 2 here.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse tutorial - Part 2 - Binding the Neckline

In our first post, we showed you how to construct the lined yoke. Now for the next step!

Part 2: Making and Applying the Neckline Binding.

As mentioned in the first post, you will need 7 - 8 lengths of the 1.5" wide bias at the length of the template from the pattern. If you can cut your bias in longer continuous strips, this is preferable, with less likelihood of a join ending up in a really visible spot.

The voile seemed a bit soft and fine on its own for the neckline binding, so I backed it with fine woven cotton fusible interfacing. The interfacing was also cut on the bias to help it curve around the neckline. You'll need a length equivalent to 3 pieces (joined) of the template bias for the neckline.

The pattern provides a template for a cardboard bias tape folder, which is charming (especially when labelled 'machine a biais', oh French language!). Slightly less charming but probably easier is the Clover bias tape maker - the red one is the correct size. 
Want to know more about bias tape making and applications? This is a great resource.

Open one edge of your folded bias and pin it right side facing yoke lining. Start with the end of the bias overlapping the neckline's centre back by half an inch or so, and the open edge of the bias aligned with the neckline edge.

 When you get to the front triangle shapes, continue carefully. In hindsight I probably should have tightened up the bias between the triangles just a little more than you see here.
 Pin, pin, pin.
 Start sewing in the crease, about an inch away from the centre back where you started pinning.
 Continue carefully, over the cutout sections - just keep going even when you're sewing on bias alone.
 Stop about an inch before the centre back.
Mark the centre back then mark both ends of the bias tape where they meet the centre back.
Match those marks, pin and sew the two ends together, right sides facing. Trim the ends, finger press the seam open and finish sewing the bias to the neckline.
Now, following the creases in the bias tape, fold the bias over to encase the neckline edge and pin carefully, just covering your first line of stitching. (You can see below where a join in the bias ended up in a less-than-ideal spot here, which doesn't really matter in this patterned fabric but would be more obvious in a plain.)
Slowly and carefully, stitch your bias down from the right side of the garment. If you have the option, use a presser foot that gives you very good visibility and control. I switched to the straight stitch foot here for this reason. Carefully use your fingers to keep guiding the bias into the right place. Don't be afraid to go back and unpick and try again if you're not happy with it. (I did at the start.) Your seam ripper is your friend, not your foe!
And there's your finished bound neckline!
Next and final post will be attaching bodice front and back and finishing your Datura.

See first post here.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse tutorial - Part 1 - Construction of the Lined Yoke

The beautiful Datura sleeveless blouse pattern by French company Deer and Doe is marked for 'Advanced' level sewers. But don't be afraid! We've put together a photographic tutorial to help.

In this tutorial, over three posts, we show the construction of View A (to be used in conjunction with the instruction booklet).

Tutorial Part 1: Construction of the Lined Yoke.

Select your fabric/s and pre-wash. Choose your size, trace off your pattern and cut out your fabric pieces according to the layouts in the instructions.

NB: for View A with the bound neckline, you will need 7 - 8 lengths of the bias tape, using the template provided in the pattern. If you are able to cut your bias in longer continuous lengths, this will be preferable since you will end up with less joins.

Choose a stable woven fabric with some softness and drape. The yoke is fully lined. If you are using a patterned fabric for the outer yoke it can be a good idea to use something plain for the lining so you don't have pattern show-through.

This tutorial features a 'wearable muslin', made from a stashed remnant of printed cotton voile, and some white cotton (from an old baby bedsheet!) for the lining. 

So, let's get sewing! Pin back yoke and back yoke lining right sides together. Measure and mark 3/4" from top shoulder, and do not stitch beyond this mark.

Sew neckline and armholes and trim seam allowances as directed.
 You will end up with these sticking out untrimmed bits at the shoulders.

Pin front yoke and front yoke lining together. Measure and mark at top shoulder points as you did for the back. Measure and mark the stitching line around the cutout sections (5/8" in from edge) to ensure accuracy.

Stitch as directed, lifting the presser foot and pivoting at the points.

Trim the seam allowances, then snip off the points and snip into the V-shapes, almost up to the line of stitching.

Turn in the right way and press well. Flip out those untrimmed ends. (That's a floral ironing board cover underneath.) There will be a bit of puckering around those ends; they won't sit perfectly but that's okay.

There was some pulling at the V-points so I opened it up and snipped a bit more into the seam allowance there to help it lie flat.

Tuck the front yoke inside the back yoke (which is still inside out), so that right sides are together.
 Push the front shoulder straps inside the back shoulder straps until the untrimmed ends meet - outer to outer and lining to lining. Yes, you'll probably have slightly puckered ends meeting slightly puckered ends, which is fine. What's most important is lining up the edges, as you can see being pinched together below.
Now sew each pair of ends together with a 5/8" seam allowance.

 Now reach inside, in between those ends, and pull that middle layer (the front yoke) out a bit.
  Open up the seam allowances on either side and carefully align.
 Sew along the seam line, over the opened up shoulder seam allowances. Make sure the inner layers of the front yoke are bunched up in the middle, away from where you're sewing.
 Trim off the sticking out bits (this is shown from the lining side).
Now, carefully turn the whole thing in the right way. Sewing magic! Your shoulder seams of outer and lining are neatly finished.

 Give it a press and give yourself a pat on the back for making a fully lined yoke. Hooray!
In the next post, we show you how to finish the neckline with bias tape to create that cutout look.
And in the final post we attach the bodice front and back and finish it all off.

- Jane & Fiona xx