December 25, 2013

It's been a while...but I'm Back!

I started this blog with the best of intentions....but as you know, sometimes life gets in the way.
It has been a tough year for me, with a some big health challenges. Now I am a bit better and I will be posting about shirtmaking here again soon.  In the meantime, I'd like to show you a shirt I made to test some design details to offer my clients. The pattern is my original hand-draft.  Roger (my DH) really enjoys wearing this shirt...which was his early Christmas/Hanukah  present.

This Flannel Shirt has a  double (2-layer) front button-placket. The black contrast pieces are made with lightweight denim.  The top-layer placket and pocket accent are made from the same denim that I distressed with sandpaper to get a faded effect. The slightly rumpled appearance of this shirt is entirely intentional....a "hard" press + distressed denim...not a good look, IMO.  This shirt has been pressed. but softly in order to preserve the lofty, cozy feel of the thick flannel.

After all the orders are shipped from the Interfacing Sale on now at , I will be posting new Tutorials featuring Shirt Design details and construction techniques. Two of the many I have planned are photographed and I have written the instructions. After the sale is over, I'll have the time to combine words with photos, and get them posted  here for you.  Along the way, I'll be showing you the shirts I've designed, plus a few I've made from published patterns.  So stay tuned..I'll be blogging again :)

SEWING NOTES-- Fabric--Cotton Flannel from my wholesale supplier.  Interfacing--ProSheer Elegance MEDIUM (great for flannel, corduroy,  and denim, etc) from  Buttons--  1/2" 4-hole Black, found in a packet of "By-The-Scoop Dark assortment" from Fashion Sewing Supply.

September 13, 2013

An OTC Classic Shirt Design...with Asymmetric Neckline and Chisel Hem

This shirt is one of my "classic designs", which sounds very La-dee-da, but really just means that is was made for one of my clients quite a while ago.  <<smile>> 

This client called this morning and ordered another just like it (different fabric, of course..that has yet to be decided) wish me luck that I can find his pattern again after 3 years...or I'll be drafting a new one!  In any case, I thought I'd show this shirt to you again because it has some interesting details. 

These details include an asymmetrical band collar that joins a narrow front button placket, and an angled "chiseled" hem, rather than a curved one. Other design features include very light gray contrast stitching, a Chiselled (spade) Hem, and a "Cigar Pocket".  I also decided not to use light gray buttons, and use less predictable dark gray buttons instead.

SEWING NOTES: The Left Front pattern piece was drafted with less of a neckline curve (slightly shallower) than the right, so that the band collar falls open when worn.  Pro-Woven Shirt-Crisp Fusible Interfacing and "By the Scoop" Buttons are from Fashion Sewing Supply, the textured cotton fabric came from my personal "Shirt-making Stash".

September 8, 2013

TUTORIAL--Chevron (Bias) Pockets and Yokes...The Easy Way!

I love the look of Chevron details on a shirt or other garment, don't you?   I like the added interest they give to the Pockets and the Yokes of the shirts I design, and so do my clients.

But it can get fiddly and frustrating to cut one one piece on the diagonal, then move it (without stretching), to cut its opposite "twin"..all the while trying to cut the second piece so that all the stripes match exactly after it is sewn!

In my studio, getting it right the first time is important because time is of the essence and I don't like to waste fabric. So, I'll show you a method I've used for most of my shirt-making career to create these kinds of bias details.  
(You may click any of the photos to enlarge them.)

After laying out the pattern, I find that there is usually some extra fabric left, or that there are large enough scraps after the pattern is cut out.  For this method I start with 2 rectangular pieces that are about 10-12" wide, and about 13-16" long--

Then I lay them on top of of each other, right sides together. I try my best to match the grain-lines, but having it perfectly straight at this point is just a goal, not a strict necessity. If it looks good to my eye, (as shown below), it's "perfect" enough. decide the angle to cut...hmm. Do I want a 45-degree angle...or Not? It's up to you to decide. There is no rule that a chevron must be at a 45-degree angle. So I don't stress over it.   I just place my ruler on an angle as shown below, and cut off a triangle with my rotary cutter--

Discard the small cut-off triangle pieces, you will be working with the larger pieces.  
Now is when some precision is needed.  Move the top piece down so that it is about 1/4-inch away from the angled edge of the bottom piece, as shown below. Move it a little bit to the left if needed. The Top piece shown below is now about 1/4-inch away from the bottom piece along their angled edges. 

(Tip-- If I am losing you here at this step...take 2 pieces of paper, lay them on top of each other, cut off a triangle through both layers, and then move the top piece down a bit...see? The top angled edge is now also  "moved over" and you can see the bottom angled edge...just like in the example in fabric that I show here.) 

Look closely at the photo below. Note that the reason for moving the top piece is so that the stripes match almost perfectly along the angled edges. All that matters now are those angled edges. This is important.

Next, take your pieces to the, don't bother to pin anything. I told you that this is an easy method and it is, I promise!  For one thing, there will be no guessing if the stripes are going to match...because we can See them, and since we can See both edges of the angled pieces that are about to be sewn together...Yippee...there is No "blind" matching!

So then, at the machine....start to line up your stripes....and start to sew a 1/4-inch seam on the TOP layer, as shown below. As you continue to sew, shift the layers a bit if necessary, so that the stripes match....and since we can actually see them, it is not hard to match them.

This is what the sewn piece will look like when the stitching is complete--

...and below, a close-up photo of the stitched seam--
(What? It doesn't look like those stripes are matched along the cut edges (seam allowances)? They were when I shifted the piece when sewing, but then afterwards the bias edges relaxed and naturally shifted a bit, while the stitching is holding the matched stripes firmly in place. Wait until you see the finished piece <<smile>>)

Next, press the seam allowances flat, being careful not the stretch the seam. Yes, one seam allowance is bigger (wider) than the other. You can trim it...I usually do. It's just one quick-but-careful cut with my rotary cutter.

Then press the seam allowance open...again being careful not to stretch the seam.  

This is what the seam looks like from the Wrong (back) Side, after pressing--

And this is what the entire piece looks like from the Right (front) Side--

...and here is a close-up of the nicely matched chevron seam--

So here we have a piece of fabric with a chevron (mitered/angled) seam running through it, now what?  All that is left to do is place the center of the yoke pattern piece along that stitched seam (as shown below), and cut it out!   I even had room for a pocket!

And when cut out, there is a lovely bias-seamed chevron striped yoke, ready to be sewn to the rest of the shirt pieces--

Just one more thing....yes, of course you can cut your yoke or pocket or whatever pattern piece so that the chevron stripes are "pointed" in the opposite direction than what I've demonstrated here. If you look at the yellow pocket shown near the top of this tutorial, you'll see that I chose to have the points of those angles run "down" rather than "up".

So, what do you think?  Is this fast easy method one that you might try the next time you add bias-seamed (chevron) details to a garment?

September 5, 2013

Pam Erny's new Shirt-Making Blog....follow?

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Welcome to my new blog that will focus (almost) entirely on Shirt-Making!

I'll also update you here about any special events like SALES at my store,
Fashion Sewing Supply....the Interfacing Experts!

I will slowly but surely be adding all of my many past shirtmaking tutorials and photos of  the shirts I've designed over the years to this New blog, from my original (but now outdated) blog, Off The Cuff Style