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I DID finish that tunic and then some.

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I have finally finished this tunic.  I finished it a little while ago and have made some garments since then that I am also going to share with you.  I have not had a chance to write a blog post about it because ……. well, you know how life happens.  In the last blog post I had just about finished the tunic.  I did encounter some problems with it though.  The arms of the pattern were just too skinny for me.  I fitted the pattern to myself as best as I could but I failed in assuring that the arms would fit.  This is where a muslin would be a smart action to take.  I could not dwell on that fact.  I had this beautiful garment that I was making form some great fabric and the arms didn’t fit.  I saw this as tragic.  I thought about this dilemma for days trying to think of all options.  Of course I tried to be constructive during my indecision.  I ripped the side seams out.  The sleeves are not set in.  I had scraps of fabric from cutting the pattern out and I tried several different options for making the sleeves fit.  I did not like any of them.  Finally, I decided that I simply had to sew in pieces to the bottom of the sleeve to make it a bit bigger.

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Doing this took me quite a long time.  My seam ripper and I really got to know each other well.

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I did finally finish the tunic.  I convinced my mother to take some pictures for me.

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You can’t see the fabric that I sewed into to make the arm openings larger because I inserted them at the bottom of the sleeve portion.

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I like this tunic so much that I decided that I need a pair of black leggings to go with them.  My mother and I sell patterns online and I searched through the stash of patterns for our shop and I found one for leggings.

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This is the pattern that I used.  We do not have this same pattern in our shop but there are ones like it.  I cut the leggings on the largest size.  As usual I had to lengthen the leg length.  I am too old to wear tight leggings so I changed the shape of the legs making them more straight and not contoured/shaped around the knees.  More of a straight, tapered leg.

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I also made another outfit.  In the following my husband took the photos.  Please don’t hold that against me.

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That is my cat, Michelin.

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The top is cotton broadcloth.  I was deciding which needle to use on the bronze cloth for the top and size 11 seemed to be just right.  I would normally use a larger size but I gave it a try anyway.  Was I surprised!  The size 11 was just PERFECT!  Look at the stitching on this tunic top.

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Normally I would have used a size 12.  I may be using needles too large for my sewing projects.  I started sewing on the pants/trousers using the same size 11 needle.  The fabric for the pants is heavier than the tunic fabric.  The size 11 worked like a DREAM!  At one point this needle was going through 8 layers of the fabric.  Maybe I have been using needles too big for my projects.

I have already started on my next project.  Here it is.

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I am making the dress and caplet in the largest view.  The fabric is the olive-green French terry knit behind the pattern.  The pattern pieces are already lengthened and cut out.  I AM  looking forward to this.

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Update on the Tina Givens tunic.

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This is the tunic that I am making and I want to give you an update.

I was starting with sewing the pockets into position and they seemed to be misaligned.  I thought that somehow they had not been marked properly on the pattern.  I was also pinning the side panels to the front and they were not matching up well at all.  Well, let me say that I was fluxummed.  I pinned, unpinned and re-pinned several times but something was not right.  I spent quite a bit  of time on this.  Then……it hit me.  The seam where the side panels join the front are curved.  Have a look.

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Here is another picture that is closer to the top of the tunic.

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Do you see how the side panel is curved also.  It is almost like it has been cut on the bias.  That is why it is not meeting the side of the front panel.  As you can see I worked it out and they join just fine.

Since this is linen and I am not serging the seams, I am going along each raw edge with a zigzag stitch and securing the seams an additional time.  I also attached the front and back facings at the neck opening.  I also did the shoulder seam.

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In this photo my mother is holding the work in progress.  That is how big it is.  I cut the pattern on a size medium.

I have to confess to something that has never happened to me before.  While I was being so meticulous in my sewing, taking my time and making each stitch as perfect as I could………….I almost stitched my finger.

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Can you see the blood gushing from my wound.  Me either.  It was just a scratch.  In all of the decades that I have been sewing I have never come close to sewing my finger until last night.  That did get my attention.

There will be another update, soon to follow.

 

Let’s get this tunic sewn together.

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After applying the fusible interfacing to the interfacing fabric pieces according to the directions that come with the interfacing follow the instructions that comes with the pattern.  Be sure to finish the ‘raw edges’ of the interfacing with some stitching.  There will not be a lot of fraying of the fabric because of the fusible interfacing but it is a good idea to do so anyway.

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Now you must sew those darts.  Be sure to match the dots and the lines.  In this picture I am pointing to  one of the ‘dots’.  In the markings that I did on this pattern I marked an ‘X’ where the dots are.  Take your time and get the lines and dots as close as possible.  If they are not exact get them as even as possible.  When you are using a printed pattern there can be variations in the printing.  Just do your very best.

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Every thing is lines up, now sew along the line.

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See why I am using bright red thread on white fabric.

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In this photo the darts on both sides are done and it might look a bit wonky but it will all make sense in the end.

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On this tunic top it is very important to include all if the arrows, dots and etc.  It will really make sense to you on the construction of a tunic like this because of how the shoulder seams are put together with the type of facing used in the design of this top.  Just continue to watch these pictures.  I try to provide as much visual aide as I can with the pictures.

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I am always saying to press open your seams.  I am not beyond doing a finger press or using a wooden pressing tool as seen in this picture.  I purchased this at a quilting show.  It does not have to be just for quilts.

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Oh yes, my seam ripper gets a lot of use even still.  Okay not as much as when I first started sewing.

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A zigzag stitch can be used along ‘raw edges’.  you just want some stitching to stop any fraying.  I am using a good cotton fabric and there is not a lot of fraying with it.  I still like to finish the edges.

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Now, follow the instructions on the pattern and pin the facing to the front and back of the tunic.  Then you will sew a seam where indicated.  The shoulder seams of this tunic are not sewn together yet.  Keep watching.

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Facing sewn to the neck and arm holes of the tunic as instructed.  Look closely at the armhole seams where it gets close to the top of the shoulder.  The seam ends quite a ways away from the shoulder.  There is a reason.

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Clip the curves now.  Be sure not to go all of the way up to the stitching or you will have a hole.  I do know this because I have clipped to close.

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Pin the shoulder seams together as instructed and sew.  It does work out.

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Top stitch around the neck and arms when you have finished sewing the shoulder seams together.

Now we have to hem this top.  The end is in site.

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Follow the instructions provided with the pattern.  Always press with your iron and use a seam gauge.

Now I want to make this white tunic red.

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Not quite right.  I must go and dye this again.

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Oh yes, so much better.  There is just a bit more that I want to do.  I have 2 appliques that I want to put on this tunic.  My mother hand painted 2 appliques of parrots because I asked her to.  I think that they turned out so nice.

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I put fusible interfacing on the back of them and applied them with free motion stitching.  My mother hand mixed the colors that she used to paint the parrots.  I like them.

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Now, would you like to see the project that I am working on as I have been writing these last few blog posts.  Good, because I want to share it with you.

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This is a tunic top/dress by Tina Givens and the fabric is this luscious olive-green Irish linen.  This lined is soooooooo some and the drape is so nice.  I purchased this lined years ago and I have been waiting until the right project came along.  I saw this tunic and I had to have it.

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I wish that the tunic featured here was not black.  It makes it so hard to see the details but they are great, trust me.  I will be showing you my finished tunic.

001Here I am taping pattern pieces together.  That is required in this pattern.  Not difficult at all.  Much easier the a pfd pattern.

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Yep, that is low tack painters’ tape.  I ran out of clear tape and this is what I had.  Then I decided that it is a good idea because I will probably lengthen this pattern in the future and what could be easier than low tack tape?

Now I have already cut out the pattern and I am in the process of transferring the markings.  There are not too many of those either.

I will be back shortly to share an update with you.

These Pants Rock! (Fist pump, fist pump, fist pump)

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I have made these pants that I am pointing to on this pattern.  This is pattern by Tina Givens.  I saw this pattern and I wanted it.  It finally went on sale at Fabric.com and I bought it.  What drew me to it is the loose fit of the legs.  I just can not wear anything that is tight-fitting.  If you look closely at the outer side of the leg that is straight you can see some tucks at the bottom.  I like that look.

I cut out the two pattern pieces that the pattern called for.  Two pieces can’t be too bad, right?  Then following the instructions I proceeded to sew the garment together.  I did follow the instructions………..until it came to finishing the bottom of the legs.  That is it!  I have followed the instructions as much as I can.  I have to do my own thing now.

Several years ago I had a Bruda pattern and I like the way the bottom of the legs were finished.  There were ‘darts’ at the bottom making the bottom of the legs a bit more narrow.  I wanted to give that a try.

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As you can see in this picture I drew one line and it made the dart too big so I drew the second line that was closer in.

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I used my ruler to make the dart 6 inches long and 2 inches wide at the bottom of the leg.  Then I pivoted the ruler over to the edge of the pant leg.

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I set my machine to a basting stitch to see if I would be pleased with the outcome.  I chose to do a basting stitch because I did not want to take out stitches that were any closer together if I did not like it.  Let me tell you that I was very pleased.  In this next picture the pant leg on your right is the one with the darts at the bottom of the leg.  The other one is just a straight leg that is unfinished at the bottom.

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I hope that you are able to see a bit of the difference.  I am doing the best that I can taking pictures in a mirror.  I do not have someone available to assist me with taking pictures.  I proceeded to put the darts in the bottom of the other leg.  The instructions in the pattern calls for the bottom of the leg to be finished with biased binding.  Ummmmm, no.  I want a ‘cuff’ at the bottom.  I purchased a pair of linen pants/trousers that has a cuff at the bottom of the legs and I like the effect.  I can  make a ‘cuff’…………I think.

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Looks like I can.  The pant leg on your right hand side not only has the darts but the bottom is finished with a cuff.  The pant leg on your left hand side is unfinished with the darts present.

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I put the cuff on the other leg.  It would look too odd without it wouldn’t it?

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This is a picture of the completed pants.  Here is another view.

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I am trying to help you to be able to see the construction and the way that the pants/trousers hang.  My husband is taking the photos and he is making me laugh so much.

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In my next blog posts I will be showing how I made this tunic including the dyeing of it.  Yes, from the very start to the finish.  The parrot applique that you see is hand painted and embellished by my mother, Mary.

“I heard it through the grapevine …”

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I have finally finished the top to go with the pants that I showed you how to make in the previous post.  It is the same patterns as the outfit that I made to wear to the wedding.  Because that outfit was so comfortable I even used the same fabric.  White is not a bad color to wear except for me because I simply can’t keep it that way.  I think that we need some color.

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How is that transformation?  The basic color is a raisin color.  The method of dyeing that I used is a dip dye method and I went for the ‘ombre’ effect.

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This outfit may be my favorite outfit now.

For my next blog post I will be showing detailed steps for making an easy to sew top/tunic from start to finish.  With me finish usually goes all of the way to adding color.  For this project I will be using white fabric and red thread because I will dye the top red.

Now that it is altered and cut out, let’s put this garment together.

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This is what we are going to put together.

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Pin front to back pant leg pieces at the inseam being sure to have right sides together.  Sew both inside leg seams together being sure that notches line up.

Once you are finished with the inside leg seams open the pieces and press the seam.

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Now is when the body/crotch seam is going to be sewn.  Take both legs and put right sides of them together matching the body/crotch edges.  Be sure to match the single notches of the front and the double notches of the back.

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Here it is pinned together and ready to be sewn.

Be sure to double stitch/reinforce the seam through the curved portion of the crotch.  There should be instructions for this in the instructions of your pattern.  The curved portion must be clipped.

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Now open the seam up taking the front and back together at the sides.  At this point the garment is wrong sides together.  Essentially, the pants/trousers must be ‘turned inside out’.

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This is how I turn them.

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The top of the pants/trousers are right in front of me and I flip one part of the top back.  Then reach into the legs and turn the inside out.

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Then the pants/trousers are right sides together again as the next picture will show.

trouser blog post 037Now to pin the outside seams of both of the legs together and sew the straight seam.

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Don’t forget to match the notches as shown in this photo.

After the stitching the main part of the pants/trousers are complete.  Then there is the elastic casing and the hem.

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Before starting the elastic casing …………….

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Press those seams  open.  I can not stress how important I this is to me.  There may be seamstresses out there that do not agree with me and they have their own methods.  For me a nicely pressed seam for casings and hems gives such a crisp appearance.  Onwards!

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Most sewing patterns will give the instruction to turn under 1/4 (a quarter) of an inch for hems and casings.  I prefer to turn under 1/2 (half) of an inch.  To me it makes the casing or hem seam so much stronger.  Since I have already butchered and destroyed the original pattern in making my alterations, I turn under 1/2 inch.  Now if you are using the pattern in the original form and then turn under the 1/4 inch.

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For these pants/trousers I am turning under 2 inches.  I like to use a 1 inch elastic and I like plenty of room for that elastic.  Let me show you what else I have done.

I almost forgot.  Press, press, press.

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When sewing in casing or hems I like to use a quarter-inch quilting foot.  Then I can sew very close to the edge and be consistent with the seam placement.  You can use whatever foot you are comfortable with.  Be sure to leave an opening to allow you to run your elastic.

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On these pants/trousers I am stitching a 1/2 inch from the top to create a ‘paper bag’ type of elastic casing.  Doing this also helps to secure the seams in the casing to make it easier to thread the elastic through.

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To thread my elastic through I prefer to use the safety-pin.  I have tried the bodkin and such but this is what works best for me.  Follow the instructions on the pattern for figuring out how much elastic to use.

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Once the elastic is through then secure with a seam.  I prefer to secure the elastic in two places.

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Finally, close the casing.

The last thing is to hem the pants/trousers.  Because I have already made this pattern before I already know how much hem to put in.  On a pattern the hemming allowance is already included in the instructions.  Don’t forget to pres.

Finally,

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‘Done!

This pair of pant/trousers is somewhat boring though, don’t you think?  I certainly can’t keep them white because I will get them marked.  I am not able to keep a white garment white.  I am feeling the need for color.  My final blog posting in this ‘series’ will be dyeing the garment.

Now what color should I use?

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Alteration of sewing pattern.

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Upon a request from one of the people who follow my blog I am going to share with you how I went about making these trousers/pants from the outfit that I made to wear to a wedding.

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This is the pattern that I used.

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The fabric that I used it a cotton/linen blend that is white to start with.  After I have finished the garment, I will dye it.  In this blog post I am going to talk about the fit that I need to achieve with this garment and how I altered the pattern.

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This is how my altered pants pattern looks post addition of tissue paper.  I will go into a short bit of detail.

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In this photo I am showing how I lengthened the body/crotch of the pattern by 2 inches.  One of the most important parts of lengthening or shortening a printed pattern is to keep the ‘grain line’ arrow lined up.  I have found that out by experience.

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In this photo I had to alter the bottom of the curve of the crotch.  I really had no clue as to how to do this properly.  I just ‘winged’ it based on experience and a heartfelt prayer.

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In this photo I am lengthening the pant legs by 2 inches.  I lengthened the body/crotch by 2 inches.  That is 4 inches total.  I am making these pants to end above the ankle.  I don’t have enough tissue paper to make these pants end at the top of the foot.

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I have fitted this pattern to myself as best that I could in front of the mirror.  I decided to add a bit to the outside of the pants because I do need to have a loose fit.  I added approx. 1 inch to the outside of the front and back pant lets.  I used a carpenter’s square to do this.

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Here is the front pattern piece all altered and pinned to the fabric, ready to cut out.

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In this photo I am trying to point out that I transferred to notches to the extended part on the outside of the pants.  When I am cutting out a pattern piece and notches are indicated I simply cut a small slit in the center of the notch.  I started doing this when I made a garment from a Burda pattern.  That company uses slits and I think that it is easier than the wedges/triangles.

The only other thing that I have to do is cut out the back pattern piece.  I opted not to put pockets on these pants because I did not want to add bulk.

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I have already made this pair of pants/trousers that is in my precious posting.  In this photo my husband is taking the photos since I am wearing the pants.  Please be kind about the these photos.  He tries the best that he can.

In my next blog post I will be showing the construction of the different parts of the pattern pieces to make simple elastic wasted pants/trousers.  I am hopeful that I will be publishing that post tomorrow.