Cosmo Sewalong: Rouleau Loops October 31 2015
Rouleau loops have a reputation for being really difficult, and yes they are a little bit fiddly, but as long as you have some patience, you should be able to do it without too much stress.
I use the old-school needle and thread version to turn mine, but if you have a fancy loop turner thing, go ahead and use that. I'm demonstrating the old school version here because I don't believe a loop turner is an absolute necessity.
The first thing to do is fold your bias strips in half lengthways and sew a seam down the middle. When you come to the edge, turn your strip so the seam goes off the edge (the cut edges, not the folded edge). This makes a funnel shape which makes for easier turning, I've found.
Important: leave really long thread tails. Like, the whole length of the strip, long. You need them for the next step.
Cosmo Sewalong: The Zip October 28 2015
Hola! Today I'm going to be covering sewing in the zip and finishing the bodice edge at the top of the zip.
I'm not going to go through inserting an invisible zip in detail, but it's the same as for any other project. The zip is inserted in the side seam, and then sew the side seam below the zip as you would normally. My favourite method involves stabilising the zip edge with fusible interfacing, but you'll have to make that call based on your fabric. You'll want to insert the zip so the top tooth is about 3mm below where the lace joins the bodice.
Once the zip is in, you'll be attaching the lining at the zip edge by machine. To do this, first pin the top edge of the dress (the lace edge) to the dress to keep it out of the way. I've actually folded/rolled it up a bit to keep it away from the zip and out of the way.
Cosmo sewalong: The leg slit variation October 26 2015
OK, I'm going back to step 2 of the instructions, which is about attaching lace trim to the skirt hem edge.
It's fairly straightforward in the instructions, featuring a split at the centre back so you can walk. For my red version, I made a walking slit on the front left above the left knee, and I'm going to cover how to do that in this post.
First, decide on the position of your walking slit and how deep it's going to be. I placed mine right above my left knee and a little longer than the slit that's marked at centre back. I actually measured it out with a tape measure on my body to make sure I would be comfortable with the length, as a lot of leg will be visible ;-)
I began by trying to make the shape of the leg split with the lace trim, scallop edge facing down. I tried to use the shape of the scallops to make the curve as far as possible.
Once I was happy with the position, I cut into my trim, around the flowers, leaving overlapping edges where the pieces joined each other.
Cosmo Sewalong: Applying the lace trim October 23 2015
Welcome back, sewalongers. Today we are going to be attaching our lace trim that we made to our bodice.
Pin the trim onto the bodice, matching the top edge of the lace with the top edge of the fabric/lining.
Note that it's important to start and finish sewing the trim on, 3cm from the end. This is to allow for the zip insertion (which will be covered in another post).
Cosmo Sewalong: Making and shaping your lace trim October 20 2015
Welcome to the first in this sewalong series for the Cosmopolitan dress.
Since this is a mini-sewalong, I'm only going through the more tricky parts of construction here on the blog. I'm going to assume you've had no trouble selecting your fabric, identifying your size, cutting your pieces out and assembling the fabric parts of the dress and the lining as far as the end of step 1 in the instructions.
To best explain the lace techniques I'll be using, I'll be tackling the next few steps out of order, specifically I'll be leaving step 2 until later, so go ahead and skip to step 3, which is to baste the lining to the dress along the top edge.
I'm going to focus on step 4 in this post which involves making the lace trim for the bodice. The instructions call for 4m of 6 to 9cm lace trim. If, like me, you can't find a lace trim to match your fabric, you can use lace fabric to make your trim instead, which is what I'm going to show below. If you've got lace trim (lucky you) it's the exact same process after cutting the strips.
First, study your lace fabric and work out how the pattern repeats. You'll have to decide where to cut based on cutting strips between roughly 6 and 9 cm wide. Here's what I did with mine:
The Little Red Dress: Announcing the Cosmopolitan Mini-Sewalong October 15 2015
I hadn't realised the power of the Little Red Dress (LRD) until I made this: this is the Capital Chic Cosmopolitan in pillar box red crepe.
I made this last year in advance of the By Hand London Christmas party and it's been my go-to dress all year long for events, parties and nights out.
It has a slight modification from the published pattern - I made a raised section over the left knee in place of the centre back slit for walking.Read more...
Bellini Sewalong: Finished Projects and Linky Party! October 09 2014
We made it! Well done to everyone who sewed along and I hope you found the detailed instructions useful.
Here is how my blouse turned out. I'm rather pleased with it!
Bellini Sewalong: Buttons and Buttonholes October 01 2014
We’re almost finished! Just the buttons and buttonholes to go!
The first thing to do is to mark the position of your buttonholes on your blouse front. But how do you decide where to place them?
Here’s an overly complicated diagram to show you how I do it. This is in mm (not inches sorry!).
a = the diameter of the button
b = the spacing between the holes in the button
c = the size of the buttonhole
d = length of the centre front of the blouse from collar to hem.Read more...
Bellini Sewalong: The Machine Rolled Hem September 29 2014
Today I’m going to show you how to make a machine rolled hem or ‘pin hem’. This will make a really narrow hem finish for your blouse. I will be demonstrating this without a rolled hem foot, but of course, if you have one, go ahead and use it.
So, let’s get started. The first step is to sew a row of basting stitches 11mm (1/2”) from the bottom edge of the blouse. Set up your machine to sew 11mm (1/2”) from the edge with the longest stitch setting and sew all the way from facing to facing.
Bellini Sewalong: Finishing the facings September 26 2014
Finishing the facings is really optional, but mine were starting to fray already, so I decided to finish them. I chose overlocking, but there are several different ways of finishing this raw edge that you could choose, including pinking or zig-zag stitch.
Bellini Sewalong: Side Seams September 22 2014
Today we’ll be sewing our side seams using the French seam technique we learned when we made the shoulder seams. Since I already covered French seams, I’ll be skipping through this quite quickly. If you want a refresher on this technique, it’s here.
First, place your blouse the right way out and line up the side seams, WRONG sides together.
Bellini Sewalong: Binding the armholes September 22 2014
Today we’ll be working with our bias strips that we made earlier. You should have two strips, 3cm by 40-45cm, cut on the bias grain. If you haven’t got these, you should cut them now, referring to this step of the sewalong which tells you how to do it.
First thing to do is to press your bias strips in half lengthways, without stretching them.
Yes, of course, I made a video to show you how to do it. Here it is. Hope you are finding these useful.
Bellini Sewalong: Attaching the collar and front facings (Part 2) September 20 2014
We’re now going to be addressing the inside of the collar, this part here:
We are going to fold the seam allowances into the collar, then sink stitch (‘stitch in the ditch’) from the outside to secure. The idea is to fold the seam allowance of the overcollar in, so that it covers the undercollar. You want to fold back about 12mm (1/2”).
Bellini Sewalong: Attaching the collar and front facings (Part 1) September 19 2014
I’m actually going to split this into two posts, because there’s such a lot to cover in this step. It’s too much to read and digest in one go. So there will be another post tomorrow with some more on attaching the collar. Apologies in advance if you were hoping to get through it all today.
Let’s get started on attaching the collar to the blouse. I’m going to demonstrate using the straight collar (View A), but the steps are exactly the same for the scalloped collar (View B) from now on.
Open your blouse with the right side facing up so you can see the whole neckline. Place the collar face up (upper collar facing up – so the undercollar is against the right side of the blouse) on the neckline with the centre backs matching. You should have a notch at the centre back neckline, and at the centre back of the collar to help you line it up. Put a pin in where the notch is, through all layers, to hold it in place.
Bellini Sewalong: Assembling the collar September 17 2014
Today we’ll be assembling our collar pieces and I’ll show you how to get a nice, clean finish.
You should have your collar pieces ready. You’ll have two collar pieces cut out, with one piece already interfaced. You only need the straight collar for View A, or the scalloped collar for View B. I’m going to be demonstrating both so I have four pieces!
Bellini Sewalong: Sewing the Shoulder Seams September 15 2014
Hello sewalongers! Are you excited to start sewing?
Today we’re going to sew both of our curved shoulder seams using French seams, a technique for hiding the raw edges of the fabric. I’ll cover this with a high level of detail, but if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
A French seam hides the raw edges of the fabric and can be used on both straight and curved seams. Essentially, you sew the seam with the fabric wrong sides together at half the seam allowance, trim it, press it, then sew the seam with the fabric right sides together with half the seam allowance, so that the raw edges are enclosed within the seam.
Step one is to pin your front shoulders to your back shoulders, with the fabric WRONG sides together. It’s really important, so double check that you have them wrong sides together (the opposite to how you’d normally sew a seam). The right sides of the fronts should be facing up.
Bellini Sewalong: Cutting and Interfacing September 14 2014
Today I’m going to write a little bit about preparation. I know it can be frustrating to be thinking about preparation when you just want to get stuck in, but believe me, it’s worth it!
The number one thing to do with your fabric before you cut it is wash it. You should wash and press your fabric in the same way you’ll wash and press your finished blouse. It seems like a hassle, but take it from me, it’s worth it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of garments I have shrunk beyond wearable after their first outing!
Fold your fabric in half to check whether it stretched in any places during the prewashing process – perhaps because of the way it hung during drying. Depending on what type of fabric it is, you may be able to straighten it a bit using the iron. The aim is to get the grainline as straight and consistent as possible all the way through the fabric.
Cutting your fashion fabric
Once your fabric is prepared... you can get started on the cutting!
Cut out your paper pattern pieces to the correct size, if you haven’t already. Make a note of which pattern pieces you need for the view you’re making – for this pattern, it’s quite simple as it’s only the collar pieces that differ between view A and view B. You also need to know how many of each piece to cut, and which pieces need to be cut on the fold of the fabric. For Bellini, the blouse back is cut on the fold, and two of the collar pieces need to be cut on the fold as well.
Working on a clean, flat surface, spread out your fabric and get rid of any wrinkles. I’m using my kitchen table here as it’s very large, but the floor is also good, especially if it’s not carpeted.
I’m using bits of old sheet for my Bellini, but your fabric will likely already be folded in half down the middle. If it isn’t, fold it in half, selvedge to selvedge.
If, like me, you’re making a stripy Bellini, you’ll need to think about how you want the stripes to fall at this point. The stripes on my fabric are quite wide (6cm) and I want them vertically down my blouse. I want a stripe down the centre back, so I folded my fabric parallel to the stripes, down the exact centre of a stripe.
Today we have a guest post from Alison over at Another Little Crafty Creation. Alison is going to show us how she graded up her Bellini blouse beyond the size range shown in the size chart.
You can see Alison's beautiful Bellini blouse with lace collar (and Champagne skirt!) here.
Take it away, Alison!
You'll need: Printed pattern, measurements, ruler/curves, pens/pencils, tissue paper.
Determining your size should be relatively straightforward. The first thing you have to do is measure yourself.
Measuring is an important step and I recommend doing this every time you make a pattern, in case of any weight fluctuations you may not be aware of. Different pattern companies also use vastly different sizing, and give the sizes different numbers (which are also completely different from the high street sizes) so definitely, definitely measure yourself and pick your size based on that and nothing else.
Ideally, you should ask a friend to measure you when you’re wearing the underwear you plan to wear with the finished garment. Stand up straight and breathe in. Place the measuring tape around the body so that it’s parallel to the floor. Don’t stretch the tape or squeeze it too tightly around yourself. The bust measurement is taken at the fullest point of the bust, the waist measurement at the narrowest part of the torso, and the hip at the fullest part of the hip. Make a note of the measurements and compare them to the size chart to determine your size.
Pick the size that is closest to your measurements. If in doubt, choose the larger size – while it’s possible to take garments in, it’s much harder to let them out if it comes out too small.Read more...
Bellini Sewalong: Designing your blouse – Embellishment September 09 2014
One of the most fun things about making the samples for this blouse was thinking about what kind of embellishment could be added to the collar.
This is where you can really be creative and add whatever you like to your blouse. Beads, sequins, studs, gems... the choice is yours!
If you’re sewing or even gluing on something, you have two options.
You can either embellish the collar before you sew it together, like Marie did with hers. This worked because the beads she sewed on weren’t very close to the edge of the collar, so she could sew the collar seams without sewing over the beads. On the plus side, the reverse of her beading is hidden by the undercollar, so it’s nice and neat.
Marie has a great post on how to do it here. She also added topstitching in matching thread which I think makes the whole thing look professional.
Bellini Sewalong: Designing your blouse – Choosing a fabric (or fabrics) September 08 2014
Whether you’re planning on making a smart blouse for the office or for evening drinks, or something for the weekend, Bellini has you covered. This versatile pattern can be made up in a wide variety of blouse fabrics to suit your lifestyle. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Suitable Fabrics for Casual Blouses
Do you plan to wear your blouse as part of a casual outfit? Maybe you live in a hot country and need something lightweight? Here’s a selection of casual fabric ideas that might fit the bill.
Heather made her Bellini from this fun cherry-print cotton broadcloth.
Bellini Sewalong: Printing and assembling your PDF pattern September 07 2014
Today I’m going to go through a little bit of pre-amble about how to print and assemble your pattern. I’m sure most of you know how to do this by now, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. If you’re a PDF pro, take today off and come back tomorrow.
Firstly, make sure you print the right file! You want Bellini Print at Home Pattern.pdf, unless you’re printing it on big paper in a copy shop, in which case, use the other one. It’s up to you whether you print the instructions; I like to make notes on mine as I’m working, but you could just as easily view them on a tablet or something to save trees.
It's important to get your printer settings right, so that the pattern prints without scaling.
In your 'Print' dialogue, make sure that Scaling type is set to 'None' (highlighted in the image below). If you see any option like 'Fit to page', be sure to UNCHECK it. Auto-Rotate and Auto-Centre are OK to leave checked.
Announcing the Bellini Sewalong! September 06 2014
Do you want to tackle an intermediate pattern but need a bit of guidance for some of the more complex techniques?
Do you enjoy the collaborative learning environment of a sewalong?
Would you like gentle support and encouragement from me over the next month?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’ll be delighted to learn that I will be hosting a sewalong for the Bellini blouse over the next few weeks. The sewalong will contain detailed notes, photos and videos to help you step-by-step as you sew your blouse. You’ll learn techniques such as French seams for a clean finish, and how to make a rolled hem on your machine. I’ll also be covering bias-faced armholes and stitching-in-the ditch. These will be fully photographed tutorials and you’ll be able to ask me questions at any time.
Finished blouses will be displayed here on the blog on the 9th of October.Read more...