Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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Camas Sew-Along: Sew the sleeves, side seams and hem

Camas Blouse Sew-along AnnouncementBy the end of today’s sewing session your Camas will really look like a blouse – you will even be able to try it on!  Here is where we left off on Wednesday:  We had sewn the gathers, yokes and shoulder seams.  I forgot to mention that it is a good idea to stay stitch along the neckline and armholes to keep the two yoke layers in place.  Do this by stitching within the 5/8″ seam allowance using a normal stitch length.  Staystitching is a great way to keep fabric from stretching out when you are working on the rest of the garment.  Necklines and armholes are prone to stretching out because their curved edges include some fabric that is cut on the bias.  You can see the staystitching that I did here:Camas Blouse Sew Along (18 of 29)

Inserting Sleeves

Now it’s time to insert our sleeves!  Pin the a sleeve to each armhole with right sides together.  The double notch on the sleeve means that this should be aligned with the back of the garment.  Match the notch at the top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam.  Match the double notch on the sleeve with the double notch on the back of the blouse (right at the yoke seamline).  Match the single notch on the sleeve with the single notch on the front of the blouse – note that this notch is not the same as the yoke seamline, it is placed closer to the side seam.Camas Blouse Sew Along (19 of 29)

Sew the sleeve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.   Be careful to keep the raw edges of your fabric aligned.  Pivot the garment with your needle down and your presser foot up whenever you need to adjust to match the curve of this seam.  Sewing a steeply curved sleeve like this can sometimes feel like magic – while you are sewing it feels like there is no way that the two curves are going to fit together but, if you pin at the notches and take the sewing process slowly, they will fit absolutely perfectly. :)

Camas Blouse Sew Along (21 of 29)

Finish the seam allowance using a serger or a zig zag stitch.  Pardon my mis-matched forest green serger thread!  I have been sewing several Camas Blouses at once (including a forest green one) and was too lazy to change the serger thread…oh dear!Camas Blouse Sew Along (20 of 29)

Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve.  In the photo above, I am using a pressing ham.  You can press an armscye without one but a ham really makes it easier!

Side Seams

Now it is time to sew the side seams.  In the instruction booklet I mention two possibilities for sewing these – I have photographed the main option (simply sew and finish the seam allowance wtih a serger or zig zag stitch) but keep in mind that you can try out a french seam if you like!  A french seam would be particularly nice if you are creating an open front Camas cardigan.  That way the raw edges are nicely contained.  Another option that I don’t mention in the instruction booklet is to sew this seam using a flat fell finish.  I mention this option due to an error I just made on the Camas Blouse yesterday!  I had intended to sew a french seam on the Camas Cardigan I am making but accidentally sewed the sleeve and side seam with right sides together out of habit.  Rather than unpicking the stitches from the very delicate poly chiffon I am using I decided to create a flat fell seam instead.  It worked well!  This is what it looks like:

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-29

Anyways, if you would just like to sew a regular side seam as I am sure most of you would, let’s continue!  Pin the sleeve and sides seams with right sides together.  Make sure that the intersecting seams meet up nicely at the armhole by pinning carefully.Camas Blouse Sew Along (22 of 29)

Sew this seam using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  If you are sewing a woven Camas, now is a great time to play around with a smaller seam allowance to give you a looser fitting sleeve.  In the photo below you can see that I used a much smaller seam allowance on the sleeve than I did on the blouse side seam:Camas Blouse Sew Along (23 of 29)

Now finish the seam allowance using a serger or a zig zag stitch.  Press the seam allowance towards the back of the garment.

Camas Blouse Sew Along (29 of 29)

Sew the Hems

The blouse hems are sewn before adding the placket, so, although it might feel funny to sew a hem when you are only half way through the construction of the blouse, now is the time!  Let’s start with the sleeve hems.  You might like to try the garment on at this point to confirm that the sleeves are a flattering length for you.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-4

Press up the 5/8″ hem allowance.Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-5

Press 1/4″ under to hide the raw edge and stitch.  Repeat for the second sleeve.

Begin the blouse hem in the same manner.  Within the instruction booklet I include some tips to help you to create a nice curved hem.  I’ll show you the basic way to create this hem first and then, afterwards, I have photographed another hemming idea to help you out if you’ve exaggerated the curve of the hem as a pattern hack.  Here is the basic hem:Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-1

Press the 5/8″ hem allowance up.  Try to ensure that the hem allowance remains even at the side seams where it curves upwards.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-2

Press under 1/4″ to hide the raw edge.  Stitch the hem and press thoroughly to make it as smooth and flat as possible:Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-3

Alternative Hem for Exaggerated Curves

If you have changed the shape of the hem to make a more exaggerated curve (as we discussed in the sew-along post about pattern hacks) you will probably need to create a narrow rolled hem.  This is a nice finish if you are sewing the Camas in tissue weight knits or other floaty sorts of fabric (such as the poly chiffon that I am using below).  The rolled hem will not weigh down the fabric in the same way as a wider hem would.

Megan Nielsen has an excellent tutorial on her blog that contains three ways to sew a rolled hem.  My favorite option is #2 but I sometimes skip a step or two depending on how delicate or fiddly my fabric is.  I recommend following all of her steps though (despite my bad example) because your hem will be much more precise than the one that I have sewn!

For this rolled hem I sewed a scant 1/4″ away from the raw edge.  The stitching helps to keep the fabric a bit taught as you press under the raw edge to create a small roll.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-29

Here is the result!  What looks like a tuck in the center of the photo is actually just a trick of the camera and shadows.  I noticed it on the camera screen when I took the photo but examined the blouse and repressed to make sure there was no tuck…there isn’t, but it keeps showing up in the photos!  Just so you know. :PCamas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-30

Have a wonderful weekend!  On Monday we will continue full steam ahead – we will be sewing the blouse placket.  Many of you have found this to be the trickiest part of the blouse – I have all sorts of tricks and suggestions to give you so stay tuned!

 


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Camas Sew-Along: Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Today we finally start to sew!

I have decided to photograph the woven Camas that I am sewing using a dotted cotton chambray as my main ‘sew-along sample’.  I know most people will be following along while sewing a knit Camas (since this is the type of fabric that the pattern calls for) but I thought that the very clear right and wrong side on this fabric would help to make the sew-along photos easy to understand so I couldn’t resist photographing a woven Camas!  Even though I am sewing with a woven fabric, I will still include information on stitch types that you should or could use when sewing with a knit.  If I mention straight stitching during a sewing step, for example, this is a stitch type suitable for both knits and woven fabrics at that particular point in the sewing process.


 

Okay, let’s delve right in – cut out your fabric pieces using the fabric layout provided in the instruction booklet.  I go into great detail about cutting out knit fabrics in our Comox Trunks sew-along so I haven’t repeated myself here.  Be sure to check out this post if you want some tips!

It is important to note that the Camas Blouse pattern includes 5/8″ seam allowances on all seams – while this large allowance is fairly standard for home sewers because it gives you wiggle room to fit the garment as you sew, it means you will need to do a lot of seam trimming (often called grading).  We will go over how to do this and where to do this at every single sewing step for the most professional looking results!  It is a very important aspect of sewing the Camas Blouse.

Sewing the Front Yokes

Camas Blouse Sew Along (1 of 29)

Create gathers on your blouse Front by sewing two lines of stitching using your longest stitch length.  The first line of stitching is 1/4″ from the fabric edge and the second line of stitching is 1/2″ from the fabric edge.  Stitch from the notch towards the neckline.  Don’t backstitch when sewing a gathering stitch since you will need to pull your loose threads taught in a moment!  You can stop your stitching either 5/8″ from the neckline or continue right to the neckline fabric edge.

Pull the gathers by grabbing hold of the bobbin threads from both stitching lines.  Even out the gathers so that they are nicely spread between the notch and the neckline.  You should leave the 5/8″ seam allowance along the neckline free from gathers.
Camas Sew Along Yoke Seamline

Pin the front yokes to your blouse fronts.  First, lay down one front yoke so that the right side is facing you, place the blouse front on top of it so that the blouse front right side is also facing you.  Finish the sandwich by placing the second yoke on top of the blouse front so that the wrong side is facing you (as pictured above).  Pin your layers in place so that the raw edges are even.  Note that each yoke edge should be even with the neckline and armhole at the seamline – this is 5/8″ in from the fabric edge.  You can see in the photo above that the yoke extends past the neckline and armhole within the seam allowance.  The yoke notches match the blouse front notch.Camas Blouse in a woven (2 of 29)

Above is another view of the sandwich you have made – on the left is your front yoke, in the middle is your blouse front, on the right is your front yoke facing.  Sew along the 5/8″ seamline using a regular straight stitch and backstitch at both ends.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (4 of 29)

Here is the first seam we will need to trim/grade!  To grade the seam, trim one seam allowance very short (1/4″), trim the middle seam allowance to 1/2″ and leave the third seam allowance at 5/8
“.  Trimming in this manner makes a nice transition from the thickness of three seam allowances to no seam allowance at all so that, when you press the yokes, there will not be a ridge where the seam allowances end.Camas Blouse Sew Along (5 of 29)

Press both the yoke and yoke facing upwards.  Gently press your gathers if you would like (this may or may not be necessary depending on the drape of your fabric).  My fabric doesn’t drape very much so I decided to press the gathers down and steam them a little bit so that they sit flat.Camas Blouse Sew Along (6 of 29)

Now let’s repeat this process for the back yoke!  Sew two lines of long basting stitches again and form your gathers.Camas Blouse Sew Along (7 of 29)

You will notice that the back features two notches between which the gathers are quite full – I really like that romantic full look but, if you don’t, you could perform an easy modification as follows:  Simply sew your gathering stitches across the entire blouse back.  Distribute the gathers as you prefer – you could do small gathers across the entire length of the back or you could do a wider stretch of medium sized gathers across the middle of the blouse.Camas Blouse Sew Along (8 of 29)

I’ve photographed the back yoke “sandwich” differently in case you didn’t quite understand the first set of photos or the instructions in the booklet.  First, lay one yoke on your work surface so that it is upside down and so that the right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (9 of 29)

Now place your blouse back on top of the yoke so that raw edges are aligned and the blouse back right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (10 of 29)

Add your last yoke to the top of this sandwich so that the wrong side is facing you.  Carefully in all layers so that your gathers sit flat (it is easy to accidentally push them to the side so that they don’t sit evenly!).Camas Blouse Sew Along (11 of 29)

Once you’ve sewn your yoke, you can grade the seam allowances in the same manner that you did for the blouse front.  This is especially important for the back yoke because the bulk of the full gathers is considerable.Camas Blouse Sew Along (12 of 29)

Press the yokes upwards.  Now it’s time to finish the yokes by sewing the shoulder seams!  In the Camas instruction booklet I illustrated a way to sew this seam that involves a bit of extra sewing but is easier to understand when illustrated.  Some of you have emailed me and mentioned that the “burrito method” would work well for this pattern – I agree!  You can find great tutorials for sewing the burrito method here:

  1. Grainline Studio’s Burrito Method Tutorial for the Archer Shirt
  2. Male Pattern Boldness Burrito Method Tutorial for the Negroni Shirt

 

We will continue with this sew-along by using the method from the instruction booklet.  I prefer this method when sewing with knits because it is less likely to stretch out knits that do not have very good recovery because you do not need to roll up the body of the blouse and stretch the yokes over this roll as you would with the burrito method.  Also, I think a knit shoulder seam benefits from the stability added from the extra stitching that we will be doing below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (13 of 29)

Begin by pushing your front and back yoke facings (the inner yokes) out of the way so that you can work with only the front and back yokes.  Lines up the shoulder seams – you will only be working with two layers of fabric.  Sew these shoulder seams using a straight stitch and a 5/8″ seam allowance.Camas Blouse Sew Along (14 of 29)

Press the seam allowance open.  Now we will sew the same seam on the yoke facings!
Camas Blouse Sew Along (15 of 29)

Photographed above is the same view that I illustrated in the instruction booklet.  Pin the yoke facings together at the shoulder seam so that the right sides are together – it is easiest to do this if you position the blouse and yokes as they will look when they are finished – that way you eliminate the risk of accidentally twisting the yokes.  It is easy to access the whole shoulder seam by pulling it towards the neckline of the blouse – as you can see below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (16 of 29)

Sew this seam at 5/8″ and press it open.  You can trim this seam allowance to 3/8″ to grade it in comparison to the main shoulder seam.Camas Blouse Sew Along (17 of 29)

Finish the shoulder seams by opening up the blouse so that the yoke and yoke facing shoulder seams sit one on top of the other.  Stitch in the ditch to join the two layers together.  This step isn’t 100% necessary but it is a nice way to add structure and stabilize the shoulder seam.  It also prevents the layers from shifting around.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (18 of 29)

That’s it for today!  Your Camas Blouse is already taking shape!  On Friday we will be adding the sleeves and sewing the side seams.  We will even hem the main blouse so that it is ready for the placket!

 


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Camas Sew-Along: Camas Blouse Hacks

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Welcome back to the Camas Sew-Along.  I hope you had a great weekend!  Today we have our last pattern manipulation post before launching into actually sewing our blouses.  I will do a quick post tomorrow about fitting your shoulders but since this wasn’t part of the sew-along schedule and is due to a request in the comments, today’s post still counts as the last one before we get to the good stuff (sewing)!

Today we are talking about pattern hacks.  Here are a few easy ones that I have cooked up – many of them based on Camas hacks the sewing community has blogged about or added to Instagram!

The Camas Cardigan

Doesn’t this Cardigan by Katie of Handmade Threads look like something you would want to wear every Spring day?  The Camas Cardigan is the easiest hack of all – simply sew your blouse as directed in the instruction booklet without making any changes to the pattern pieces…and then skip the last step – closures!  Don’t add closures to the Camas and you will have an open front cardigan.  Or, sew all of the steps for a cardigan that buttons up.  Easier yet, grab the Camas Blouse that already sits in your closet and magically transform it into a cardigan by wearing it over another top! :P

I will be sewing a Camas Cardigan during the sew-along that features our soft and snuggly black interlock and a contrast gathered lace back.  I’m sewing this version using the next pattern hack too:

Cozy Camas with Full Length Sleeves

If you would prefer to sew a Camas featuring a full length sleeve rather than the 3/4 length included with the pattern, here is how you would go about adjusting the sleeve pattern piece:

Camas Blouse Full Length Sleeves

First, ignore the “Lengthen or Shorten Here” line unless you are just making a small fit adjustment.  For a style adjustment, you do not want to use this line because it will preserve the width of the hem – a hem suited to the widest part of your forearm will not be suited to your thin wrist!

To extend the sleeve to full length, measure the length of your arm, or even easier, the length of a shirt sleeve that fits you well.  Draw a new hemline that is parallel to the original hem.  Make sure to include the 5/8″ hem allowance!

Determine how wide you need your hem to be by measuring the circumference of your wrist (or the well fitting shirt).  Make sure, once again, to add two 5/8″ seam allowances to this measurement!

Draw new seamlines up from the hem until they meet the existing sleeve seams at a pleasing angle.  You can now sew a Camas with full length sleeves!

A Swooped Hem Camas

untitled-103

I made this swooped hem Camas Blouse using a light and flowing silk from Britex Fabrics.  I wanted to emphasize the weightlessness of the fabric so I exaggerated the curve at the back of the hem considerably.  For this blouse I adjusted both the front and back of the panels to create a high-low hem (the front curves upwards so that the shortest point is the placket).  This was a fun experiment but in retrospect I wouldn’t have adjusted the front of the blouse since I think the original downward curve at the front is more flattering.  In the tutorial below I show you how to adjust only the back panel to achieve the swooped back and still maintain the curve over the hips and across the front of the blouse.

The key if you only adjust the back panel is to shape the hem curve so that it meets the side seam at the same angle as the original hem curve.  Keep in mind that an exaggerated hem curve may make hemming a bit tricky – you can use a rolled hem for a curve like this!

Swooped Hem Camas Blouse

 

The Camas Dress/Tunic

Inspiration for Camas Dress

Camas Dress inspiration: The T.A.- Okay Dress from ModCloth

I have two different approaches for lengthening the Camas to become a dress – one is the approach I am using for a Camas Dress that I am currently halfway through making.  I decided to make a slim dress with straight side seams and I envision wearing it with a self fabric belt, cuffed sleeves and black leggings – I can’t wait to show it to you!  Here is the shape I created when lengthening the pattern:

Lengthening the Camas Blouse

To do this, cut along the lengthen and shorten lines.  Spread the Front, Back and Placket out equally.  Draw new seamlines – be sure to keep the original angle at the base of the armhole for at least the 5/8″ seam allowance so that you are not interfering with the armhole shape.

The second approach you can take to lengthening the Camas into a tunic or dress is to keep the shaped side seam for a ‘fit and flare’ look.  Melissa of Happy Stitch has created a tutorial to do just this and posted it over at the Imagine Gnats blog!

Camas Blouse Tunic Length

Some of your inspiring pattern hacks:

 

Your Camas Blouse Hacks

  1. A woven Camas with sleeves and yokes cut from the same fabric blogged at Neues vom Sonnenfels.
  2. Piping added to the yoke seams!  Blogged at Gros Bécots.
  3. A sleeveless Camas with no placket and a cross-over front blogged at Thread Snips.

A very creative Camas Blouse alteration featuring no centre front opening and a cute neckline keyhole by Sylvie.

And some freshly interpreted Camas Blouses with no hacking needed!

Camas Blouse Freshly Interpreted

  1. The Camas as business attire by Pattern Revolution
  2. A maternity (and breastfeeding) Camas by Hachis Parementure
  3. The Camas meets sequins at Jolies Bobines
  4. The Camas in gold and black at By Clo’th
  5. A pleated and color-blocked Camas by Effortless Attention

 

What Camas Blouse hacks have you performed or do you imagine?


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Camas Sew-Along: Using a Woven Fabric

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Here is the sew-along post that many of you have been waiting for!  Ever since we launched the Camas Blouse pattern we have received emails and comments from people who would love to make the Camas in a fabric with no stretch.  The pattern is designed for knit fabrics with some stretch but the only pattern piece that actually needs this stretch is the sleeve.  It is drafted to be quite slim in the bicep and at the elbow.  You will need more room if you would like to be comfortable while moving your arms!  Most knit garments do not include enough ease across the shoulder blades to work with woven fabrics.  This is not the case with the Camas Blouse because the yoke pieces were drafted to work in woven or knit fabrics.  So, if you would like to sew this pattern using a woven fabric, you will not need to change the pattern very much, you will just need to make some small adjustments to the sleeve!

Today I’ve recorded all of the ways that you can adjust the Camas sleeve along with their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.  I hope you will find an option or combination of options that suits you!  I’ll begin with the simplest solutions and end with some pattern manipulation.  I’ve accompanied almost every solution with photos of a Camas Blouse or similar garment sewn by a sewing blogger or by me so that you can see how each solution appears in reality!

Camas Blouse Woven Size Up

Sized up Camas Blouse blogged at Friends Stitched Together

Simply Size Up!

How to Do This: Take your body measurements and select your size from the body measurement chart that we talked about a couple of days ago.  Instead of cutting your pattern out using this size, simply cut the next size up!  You could grade between sizes if you would like to maintain a neckline and waist/hem that fits you but you will need to use the larger sized armhole and sleeve.

Advantages:  This is the easiest option and requires no pattern adjustments. Yay :)

Disadvantages: Using a size bigger than your measurements call for will give you more room in the sleeve and armscye but it will also make the rest of the blouse larger.  Even if you grade between sizes, you will be forced to sew a Camas with wider shoulders and a larger chest circumference unless you make pattern adjustments to correct this.  If you happen to be between measurements with thin arms and larger shoulders/bust, this solution will be perfect for you because it will lead to the correct fit in every area.

Christine-Camas-9

Cotton Spandex Camas Blouse blogged by me and modeled by my Mom

Pick a Woven with Spandex Content

How to Do This: Select a fabric with even the smallest percentage of spandex/lycra contest.  All you need is just a slight bit of ‘give’ or stretch in the fabric to allow you to have mobility at the elbow and feel unrestricted around the bicep despite the tight sleeve.

Advantages: There are an increasing number of fabric choices available with a small amount of spandex included – I have seen stretch cottons, stretch silks and stretch suitings at the fabric store lately that would all make lovely Camas Blouses.

Disadvantages: Fabrics with spandex content wear out faster if you do not wash them carefully.  A lot of fabrics with spandex content don’t quite have the drape that I am looking for or the prints that I would like to create my ideal woven Camas.

Camas Blouse Woven Seam Allowance

Camas Blouse sewn with 3/8″ seam allowances blogged at Randomly Happy

Sew With Smaller Seam Allowances

Camas tutorial adjust seam allowance

How to Do This: Cut out the size that suits you based on the body measurement chart.  Determine which areas you will need more mobility and room and sew these areas using a 1/4″ to 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 5/8″ seam allowance that the pattern calls for.  Since the Camas Blouse yokes have been drafted to work well with woven fabrics, the only areas you will need to use a smaller seam allowance are the sleeve and side seam.  When sewing step 3 in the “Sleeves and Side Seam” section of the instruction booklet, start at the hem of the sleeve and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Keep sewing with this seam allowance until you have sewn onto the blouse body and then taper back to a 5/8″ seam allowance to complete the rest of the seam.

Advantages: This is also an easy option with the added benefit that you can use the regular seam allowance (5/8″) where you do not need extra width.

Disadvantages:  This solution works well for adding a touch more room at the elbow and bicep but it may not be enough room for you if you like a very easy fitting sleeve.  Sewing with a smaller seam allowance will also drop the underarm lower which can reduce the ability to raise the arm without the body of the garment also raising (we will be talking about this shortly, keep reading!).  This may or may not be a nuisance to you:  If you wear your Camas tucked in it will be more likely to untuck itself when you raise your arm.

Camas Blouse Woven Sleeve Width

Camas Blouse with width added to sleeves (using method 2 I believe) blogged at Stitch 56

Increase the Sleeve Width (2 ways)

How to Do This: There are two approaches to adding width to the sleeve.

Camas Blouse adding width at bicep

1. Reduce the sleeve cap height: Cut the sleeve pattern piece in half vertically but leave a paper hing at the top and bottom.  Cut the sleeve horizontally leaving a paper hinge at each side.  Now spread the t-shape open to add as much width as you will like.  You will notice that the sleeve seam does not change in length but it’s shape changes.  You will also notice that width is added very high up at the shoulder – this is a great place to add it if you have rounded, full delts like I do!

Camas Blouse adding width at elbow

2. Add width along the Seam: This is an easier adjustment but it is definitely a design change because it leads the sleeve to become more rectangular than tapered.  Place your sleeve pattern piece on a large sheet of paper and draw a straight line from the underarm down to the hem to create a wider hem.  This adjustment does not add width above the bicep but many people will not need additional width in this area, they will mostly just need extra width at the elbow.

Advantages: Both of these pattern adjustments are fairly simple and do not require you to adjust the armscye.

Disadvantages: Both adjustments makes the sleeve fit in a looser manner.  Since the proportions of the Camas are quite fitted in the sleeve and shoulder and quite loose in the body, changing the fitted sleeve to a looser one will change the look of the garment considerably.

Camas Woven Sleeve Band

Linen dress which I designed at fashion school.  If you look closely you can see a light cream band of knit fabric along the sleeve seam (left hand side).

Add a Knit Band to the Sleeve

Camas Blouse adding knit band to sleeve

How to Do This: Remove the seam allowances from the main seam of your sleeve pattern piece.  Cut off 1/2″ from either side of the sleeve, bicep to hem.  Create a rectangle pattern piece that is the length of the sleeve seam.  It should measure 1″ wide.  Add seam allowances back on to the sleeve and on to the knit band (long edges).  You will need to sew the Camas Blouse in a different order now that you have a two piece sleeve.  Sew the blouse side seam.  Next, sew the sleeve and sleeve band together to form a tube.  Ease the sleeve into the armhole.

Advantages: This option will create the most comfortable feeling sleeve without changing the overall silhouette of the garment very much – you lose a little bit of sleeve shaping due to the rectangular knit piece but it is not substantial..

Disadvantages: It is very difficult to find matching knit and woven fabrics unless you dye them yourself.  Even if you can find a perfect match, the seamlines themselves might not look as flattering as you would like (unless you view it as design feature!).

 

Raise the Armhole

Camas Blouse raising the armhole

How to Do This: The Camas armhole isn’t especially low but raising the armhole slightly can still help to  increase mobility and comfort when sewing the Camas in a woven fabric.  While it might seem counter intuitive to create a tighter armhole in order to increase mobility, it really does help!  Low armholes, while comfortable and casual feeling (think your favorite cozy loose sweater or batwing tops) actually reduce mobility when sewn in a woven fabric.  The whole body of the garment must ride up when the arm is lifted.  If you’d like proof or a visual explanation about the differences between high and low armholes, Threads Magazine has come out with a great article by Kenneth D. King recently (Feb/March 2016 issue) and also an excellent video featuring Andrea Schewe that both visually explain how this works.  I particularly recommend the video as it really made things clear for me and explains how to make this adjustment step by step.

As I said before, the Camas doesn’t have especially low armholes, so our adjustment to increase mobility doesn’t need to be very big.  After watching the video, here are the measurements I think would work nicely to add a bit of extra mobility when sewing the Camas in wovens are as follows:

Raise the armhole by 3/8″ and raise the sleeve by 3/4″.  Of course, you can experiment by raising it less or more based on how the Camas Blouse fits your body.  I am sewing a woven version of the Camas for the sew-along using this adjustment along with a smaller seam allowance at the elbow so I will report on how this fits me at the end of the sew along!

Advantages: This option emphasizes the slim look of the Camas sleeve while increasing your ability to lift your arm without shifting the rest of the blouse – win, win!

Disadvantages: This adjustment doesn’t give you any more room in the elbow, it will only give you the ability to lift and move your arm comfortably.  You will likely want to combine this adjustment with another one such as sewing with smaller seam allowances near the elbow to create the most comfortable sleeve.


 

Have you tried sewing the Camas in woven using a different sort of adjustment?  Let us know what you did and if it worked well!

The Camas Blouse pattern is currently 25% off in our shop until the end of the sew along.  Feel free to pick up your pattern and join in at any point – the sew along will be added to our website “Sew-Alongs” page for you to peruse once all of the posts are complete.


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Camas Sew-Along: Choose your size and fit

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Today we are talking about sizing and fit.  The Camas Blouse is designed to be a swingy sort of blouse with a loose fit about the waist and hips (due to the gathers at the chest and back) and a figure hugging fit around the shoulders and arms.

CamasOnMorgan-14 blog

Here is the size chart for this pattern: Web Information

As you can see, we’ve included sizes 0 to 18.  We always include two sets of measurements with our patterns: The Body Measurements and the Garment Measurements.

Using the Body Measurement Chart

To select your size, first take your body measurements using a measurement tape and preferably someone to help you so that you get the most accurate measurements.  I find it is difficult to ensure the tape measure is horizontal around my bust, waist and hips without someone there to help!

If your measurements do not all fall into the same size category, you have two options:

  1. Select your size based on the most important measurement for the pattern.  Since the Camas Blouse is meant to be loose around the Waist and Hips, I would consider the Bust measurement to be the most important to match – even this measurement has a bit of wiggle room though because the gathers just above the bust allow quite a bit of ease.  Here’s an example of how this option could work: I measure myself to find my bust is 31″ my waist is 26 1/2″ and my hips are 34″.  I would choose to sew size 2 because this is the size closest to my bust measurement.
  2. Grade between sizes to ensure a perfect fit.  This method is the most accurate way to approach choosing a size – especially when you are sewing a fitted garment.  You can see my tutorial on how to do this here!  Simply use a pencil to create a smooth line between two or three sizes.  For most garments, you would create this transition between the bust and waist and between the waist and hips but you have to keep the garment design and the original shape of the seamlines in mind.  Here is an example to explain what I mean by this: I measure myself to find I have the same measurements as listed in option 1.  I would choose to cut out a size 2 at the bust but then grade to a size 4 at the waist.  I wouldn’t grade back down to a smaller size at the hips though due to the shape of the blouse – it would look strange to have a curved side seam that bulges outwards!

Using the Garment Measurement Chart

Now that you’ve picked your size, you can use the garment measurement chart to check exactly how the design will fit you and then tweak the pattern to suit your body shape.  If you hate sewing mock ups this might be a valuable step for you to take!

I find it easiest to compare the measurements in this chart to a blouse from my closet.  If you don’t have a blouse with a fit that you like, you can compare these measurements to your body measurements but keep in mind that there is both positive and negative ease included in various areas of the pattern so, for instance, you should not expect the waist width to match your own waist width – it will be far wider due to the loose fit caused by gathers (positive ease).

Lay the shirt that you will be measuring out on a table or the floor as flat as possible.

A few measurements that you might want to check are:

Measuring the Camas Blouse (4 of 5)

Chest Width: If the chest measurement is smaller than your sample garment, we will be discussing how to adjust this below!

Measuring the Camas Blouse (5 of 5)

Centre Back Length to Hem: This is a nice one to check if you want to know how long the back of the blouse will be.  You can lengthen or shorten the pattern easily using the lengthen/shorten lines so that it will cover your bum to wear with leggings or sit at the most flattering point for your body.

Measuring the Camas Blouse (1 of 5)Neckline Drop: This measurement refers to how deep/revealing the neckline is on the Camas.  A number of people who have sewn this blouse have told me that the neckline was a little lower than they felt comfortable wearing.  I must admit, I like to wear pretty low necklines and have a small bust so I don’t have to worry much about displaying cleavage.  If cleavage is something you don’t want to show, you might want to make the neckline more modest.  We will talk about how to adjust the neckline below!

Measuring the Camas Blouse (3 of 5)

Sleeve Bicep Width: This is a very important measurement to examine if you are sewing the Camas Blouse using a woven fabric (not recommended for this pattern without adjusting the sleeve width!).  You will see that the sleeve is quite slim compared to most blouses made in woven fabrics.  We will be talking about sleeve adjustments in Friday’s sew-along post about the Camas Blouse in Woven Fabrics.

Now we’ve inspected the fit of this design, let’s move on to adjusting the pattern so the measurements suit your body!

Please note that it is most accurate to make pattern adjustments by removing the seam allowances on a pattern before manipulating it.  I recommend doing this for the adjustments I show you below.  That being said, everyone wants to be lazy sometimes so I have chosen the most simple option for all of the following adjustments so you can perform quick and dirty pattern adjustments with the seam allowances still attached if you need to!

Change the chest width to suit larger busts:

The Camas Blouse looks best if there is enough fabric in the chest area for the gathers to fall loosely over the bust.  If you are worried this will not be the case based on the body and garment measurements you took, it is very easy to simply create more room by creating more gathers!  You will only need to adjust one pattern piece – the front.

Adding-width-to-bust

Cut along the entire length of the Camas Blouse Front as illustrated by the dotted line in the diagram above.  Cut somewhere within the “Gather Here” markings on the pattern piece (between the neckline and the notch).

Place a large sheet of paper underneath your blouse front and spread open the blouse.  Add half the width you need to create a nice roomy chest width because this amount will be added to both the left and right blouse front!  Tape the pattern to the large piece of paper and cut out the new wider pattern piece.

Create the gathers as instructed so that the blouse front matches the width of the yoke – you will have more gathers than originally included in the blouse design so that the fabric can pleasingly fall over your bust.

Lengthen or shorten the blouse for short or tall figures (or to create a different style):

I’ve photographed a tutorial that shows you how to lengthen or shorten a pattern in the past for our Jedediah Pants Sew-Along.  The pattern pieces you will need to do this to are the front, back and placket.  If you would like to also lengthen the back hem swoop to create a tunic with bum coverage, you will likely want to lengthen the entire blouse body several inches and then shape a new hem like this:

Lengthening and shortening pattern

The key is to make sure that your new swoop meets up with the original seamline before the side seam unless you would like to adjust the blouse front hemline as well.

Raise the neckline to create a more modest design:

To raise the neckline you will need to adjust the front and placket pattern pieces.  Determine how much you would like to raise the neckline (for an example, let’s say 1/2″).

Assistance raising Camas neckline

Using a ruler, extend the blouse center front up 1/2″. draw a new curved corner and gradually meet with the old neckline.  Try to keep the general shape of the neckline and angle of the curved corner as similar.  Ensure that the new neckline is the same length as the old neckline by curving your measuring tape along the seamline.

Using a ruler, extend the straight length of the placket 1/2″ to match the blouse front.  Create a new curved corner and gradually meet the old neckline in the same manner as you did for the last pattern piece.

In order to make sure that the placket is the correct length and will fit onto the blouse, you will need to measure both the front yoke and the blouse front where the placket attaches.  If you still have seam allowances on your pattern piece, remember to subtract the seam allowances used to sew the yoke to the blouse front from your measurement!


 

Are there other fit adjustments you would like to make to this pattern?  Comment below or send me an email and I will try my best to make a tutorial to help you.

 

 


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Camas Sew-Along: Choose your fabric

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Welcome to the first day of the Camas Blouse sew-along!  We are talking about materials today so that you are armed with knowledge when you head out to find your fabric.

Camas Blouse Inspiration

Photo Credits (Left to Right, Top to Bottom): 1 2 3 4 5 6

When I originally envisioned the Camas Blouse (as part of the fashion collection I designed during the Fashion Design program I took several years ago) I imagined a weightless and elegant blouse that hinted at the playsuits, practical blouse and pant outfits, and rayon dresses that many women wore throughout WWII.  These outfits were comfortable, simple, affordable and, to me, look stylish in a very effortless way.  I designed the Camas for knits as a modern interpretation of this wartime emphasis on practical comfort.

Camas Blouse

My favorite fabrics for the Camas Blouse have the following categories:

  1. A Wonderfully Soft Drape

This is the most important quality if you want the gathers above the bust and just below the back yoke to fall nicely over your body.  Drape is especially important if you are choosing a lightweight fabric – you want the hem to fall smoothly rather than stick out in an awkward manner!

Test the drape of a fabric by unrolling about a metre from the bolt.  Hold it up to your body and see how it falls against curves like your shoulder or bust.  Does it naturally want to conform to the shape of your body or does it retain it’s own shape?  You want it to conform to you pleasingly.  Take special note of this characteristic if you are planning to sew the Camas in a woven.  Many knits contain lovely drape but many blouse-weight wovens do not!

2. Opacity

The Camas consists of a single layer of fabric over the bust so make sure that your fabric is opaque enough to block a full view of your bra (unless this is the fashion statement you are hoping to make!).  I often fall in love with beautiful tissue weight knits only to unfurl them from the rest of the fabric bolt and realize I would be on full display if I wore them as a single layer.

3. Snag Resistance

This category is an important one for me but it might not be necessary for you.  I wear the Camas like I would wear a basic t-shirt.  I wear it hiking, gardening, while petting my cat (the ultimate snag-creator) and sometimes even while playing squash.  The loose fit makes it just as comfortable as a t-shirt but it looks a bit more interesting.  My favorite choices for snag-free and strong knits are jerseys containing bamboo or linen.

Why isn’t stretch in the top 3?

You might have noticed that I haven’t included stretch as one of my top three categories.  I recommend choosing a fabric with at least a very small amount of stretch because the sleeves have been drafted fairly slim since they were originally intended to be sewn from a knit fabric.  Using a fabric with stretch will increase the mobility you have.  The main body of the Camas does not need a stretchy fabric because the yokes (and thus the shoulder width) are drafted for woven contrast fabrics and do not contain negative ease.   All that being said, there are some very easy adjustments that you can make so that you can sew the Camas from a fabric with no stretch at all. We’ll be going over this in more detail in a few days.

Now, to get a bit more specific, here are nine of my top Camas Blouse knit choices!

Knits for the Camas Blouse

Descriptions below correspond to the photos above, left to right, top to bottom.  Sorry that the top three photos are blurry!  I really wanted to include Fancy Tiger fabrics despite the small pictures available on their website because Matt and I visited the Denver shop in person a couple of years ago and were in awe of the high quality fabrics they had curated!

Stone Blue Hemp/Cotton Knit from Fancy Tiger: A little bit thick and nicely textured for a casual ‘t-shirt’ style Camas Blouse.

School Plaid Blue Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Fancy Tiger: This is actually one of Girl Charlee’s signature knits and it is knit in the USA.  It has been pre-shrunk which is handy!  A lengthened Camas in this fabric would make a very cute nightgown or tunic.

Line Drawings Bluing Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Fancy Tiger: This is an Art Gallery fabric which, from my experience petting these fabrics, are very soft and a great weight for a knit shirt.

Vine Cotton Interlock from Simplifi Fabric: One of my favorite Canadian shops. :D  This interlock fabric is less drapey than a jersey would be but it is easier to sew because it is more stable!  Plus, isn’t the print gorgeous?  This would be a great choice for someone new to sewing with knits.

Retro Floral Viscose Lycra Jersey from Guthri & Ghani: A British fabric shop! I’ve chosen this print because it reminds me of the 1940’s rayon dresses that were my inspiration for the Camas Blouse.  While I haven’t felt this knit in person, I imagine it is slinky and drapey due to it’s viscose content.  It is likely quite stable and strong because it contains Lycra.  This would make a hard wearing yet dressy looking Camas Blouse.

Sunrise Organic Cotton Jersey from Organic Cotton Plus: A completely organic online fabric shop based in the US.  This jersey is 100% cotton (no spandex content) so it will be quite stable, similar to a men’s t-shirt fabric.  It would make a great ‘every-day’ Camas Blouse that is light weight and easy to wear.  It would take the place of a t-shirt in your wardrobe.

Forest Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory: I hope you don’t mind that I’m including a little plug for the fabric that we carry in our shop!  I can’t avoid doing so because the bamboo jersey that we have in the shop is an ideal candidate for the Camas Blouse and is one of the most rugged yet beautiful fabrics I have ever come across (hence why we stock it in our shop!).  The cotton makes this fabric sturdy, the bamboo makes it slinky and hard wearing.  The high spandex content gives a lovely stretch and a weighty drape to the knit.  It is completely opaque in all of it’s colorways.  It doesn’t shrink in the wash and has held up to my terrible laundry practices for years (high heat drying every week).  I’ll be making a Camas using this fabric for the sew-along so you can see exactly how it looks sewn up.

Heathered Almond Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory:  Same as above!  This light colourway is very elegant and just as opaque as the darker colors.  I love the heathered texture.

Olive Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory:  This is a nice solid (not heathered) in a color that I view as a neutral since olive is my favorite color and I wear it with everything.

Shall we move on to the wovens?

If you are planning to sew the Camas in a woven, here are my top three choices.  We will be talking about ways to adjust the pattern to better suit knits in a future post so refrain from cutting into your woven fabric just yet :).

Woven fabrics for the Camas Blouse

Opal Double Gauze from Organic Cotton Plus: Gauze is loosely woven which gives it quite a nice drape (not super slinky but not stiff like a shirting cotton).  Double Gauze features two layers so it is more likely to be opaque than it’s single layered gauze counterpart.

Ivory Tencel Twill from Blackbird Fabrics: Another Canadian fabric shop!  Tencel is one of my favorite choices for drapey garments.  It is stronger than rayon and usually has a beautiful sheen.  This ivory tencel is no exception!  It would make an extremely luxurious and dressy Camas Blouse with an interesting texture – can you imagine it with pearl and gold buttons?

Black and White Ikat Viscose from Guthri & Ghani: Once we go over a couple of alterations you might like to make when sewing the Camas with a woven, it will be a perfect candidate for all of those slinky viscose novelty prints that you can’t resist at the fabric shop!  Any small to medium print would be lovely – you could even use a complimentary print for the yoke.  I imagine this practice of pairing prints could look either very French chic or very romantically bohemian depending on the colorway.

Now that I’ve given you my two cents about fabric choices, I want you to keep in mind that you are very free to experiment!  I have seen many a successful Camas sewn in thicker knits such as Ponte di Roma or in crisp cottons to create a more structured look than I initially envisioned.  In fact, I’ve done some experimenting in the past myself by making my mom a Camas out of a crisp stretch cotton with very little drape.

Christine-Camas-20

As you can see, the blouse looks quite different than my usual Camas projects but it is nice too!  My only critiques of this experiment are that the hem is weightless so the blouse likes to ride up a little so that it billows and buckles if it is not pulled down.  Also, the fabric wrinkles easily because it is not fitted to the body with this style of blouse.

Now that we’ve talked fabric, let’s move on to discussing notions for this project.

Knit Interfacing:

Knit interfacing

Knit interfacing is usually light weight and contains stretch in at least one direction.  In the Camas Blouse instructions I state that you should interface all of your placket pieces.  The interfacing helps to stabilize these narrow little pieces so that they are easier to sew (they won’t roll up quite so much) and so that they are stable enough to handle all of the needle piercing involved in sewing buttonholes.  Wouldn’t it be terrible if your lightweight knit fabric developed a hole when you were sewing the very last buttonhole on to your blouse?!

If you plan to avoid buttonholes by using snaps or by simply sewing on decorative but non-functional buttons (more on this momentarily), you can skip the interfacing to create a more fluid placket that drapes against your body in the same way that the rest of the blouse does.  You can also skip the interfacing but still add the buttonholes by using a temporary stabilizer that doesn’t remain within the garment once you are done sewing it.  Here is a tutorial that I created about this sort of stabilization!

 

Closures:

Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-9

The choices are vast when it comes to adding closures to the Camas Blouse!  Here are a few options that I’ve tried out:

Buttons with Buttonholes: These are functional and they accentuate the fact that the comfy knit Camas is, indeed, a blouse rather than a t-shirt.  This might be a good option if you are hoping to get away with wearing your ‘secret pajamas’ to work despite the dress code!  Or maybe you plan to breast-feed in this blouse?

untitled-35

Snaps: Pearl snaps or halo snaps both look lovely (and a bit more casual) on the Camas.  Plus, they are super simple to install!  I would recommend avoiding these if you are using a mid-weight to thick knit for your blouse.  It can be difficult to work the snap prongs all the way through the knit placket if the knit is a bit spongey.

StrathCamasCascade-14

Decorative Buttons: The Camas Blouse can easily be put on and taken off over the head due to the loose fit created by the gathers so there really isn’t a need for any sort of closure!  Just sew on decorative buttons through all layers of both plackets (this is what I did for the blouse photographed below).

StrathCamasCascade-48

No hardware at all: Make your Camas into an open front cardigan by skipping buttons or snaps entirely – I will be doing this with one of my sew-along Camas Blouses (and I will also be adding length to the sleeves to create a cozy sweater).


 

On Wednesday we will be discussing sizing and some fit adjustments.  In the meantime, please feel free to comment or email with any fabric and notion questions you might have!  If you would like my advice on a particular fabric choice, send a link or photo to info@threadtheory.ca

Also, if you are just joining in on this sew-along, you might be happy to know that the pattern is currently 25% off in our shop!


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Camas Blouse Sew-Along Announcement

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Many of you have asked for it…a Camas Blouse sew-along complete with all of the bells and whistles!  Join me while I make several blouses this February.  The sew-along will begin next Monday, January 25th and it will be posted on our website indefinitely so that you can follow along whenever you feel inclined to embark on a Camas Blouse project.

In honor of the sew-along the Camas Blouse Tissue and PDF patterns are currently 25% off!  The sale will extend from today until Wednesday, Feb. 10th when the sew-along is finished.

Here is what we will be covering during this sew-along:

  1. Monday Jan. 25th: Choose your fabric and notions
  2. Wednesday Jan. 27th: Select a size and perform fit adjustments
  3. Friday Jan. 29th: Sew the Camas Blouse in a woven fabric (with no stretch)
  4. Monday Feb. 1st: Camas Blouse hacks – create a cardigan or dress, adjust the sleeve length
  5. Wednesday Feb. 3rd: Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes
  6. Friday Feb. 5th: Sew the sleeves, side seams and hem
  7. Monday Feb. 8th: Sew the blouse placket – 2 ways
  8. Wednesday Feb. 10th: Add closures and style an outfit!

Did you notice?  We will be done our Camas blouses, cardigans and dresses in time to wear them on Valentine’s Day!  Submit your progress shots and your finished blouses out on the town by using #camassewalong or by emailing me at info@threadtheory.ca

Let’s get sewing!  Download or order you Camas Blouse pattern at 25% off here.

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