Thread Theory

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


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12 Menswear Sewing Projects + 2 Blouses

You guys are such an inspiration!  Each day I begin the work day by checking out what you’ve been making and sharing on Instagram, via email (info@threadtheory.ca) or on Facebook.  Be it the fabric choice, the creative hacks, or the skilled stitching, your projects always allow me to see our old designs from a new perspective.

I’ve created a gallery for each pattern that you guys have been sewing of late.  Above you can see a couple ofexcellent Fairfield Button-ups (along with some VERY elegant Jedediah trousers!).  The aqua colored Fairfield and black Jeds are part of matching father and son outfits in honor of father’s day.  They were sewn by Belgian seamstress and milliner, Jo Chapeau.  The chambray Fairfield Button-up was sewn by Georgia for her partner James.  The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray (have you ever seen and felt these in person?  I love the depth and texture of the fabric.  It is so luxurious feeling while giving the overall appearance of a casual fabric choice.)

These two Strathcona Henleys could not look more different but they were sewn by the same person!  Esther sewed one men’s version featuring the Henley placket and long sleeves and then modified the pattern to create a women’s version which she has dubbed the Mariner’s Tee.  It looks as though there is orange striped piping around the neckline.  I love the attention to detail and the way she played with the stripes.

The Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants are excellent skill building projects.  I never fail to feel pride and amazement each time I complete a trouser fly.  I think these talented sewists felt the same (judging by their Facebook messages, Instagram comments and emails!).  From top to bottom, left to right: 1.Jedediah Pants by Lindsay (@designbylindsay) 2. Jutland Shorts by Ben 3. Jedediah Shorts by The Drapery 4. Jutland Shorts by Isis.

The Finlayson Sweater, on the other hand, is a very quick make and is forgiving of all manner of stitching and fitting imperfections.  There is very little topstitching and the fit is boxy enough that you don’t have to worry about tweaking it much for a variety of body shapes.  Even though it is a simple design, it can still be made special by making an unusual fabric choice.  I love the color blocked sleeves and collar in the top photo (sewn by @lafamillecreative).  The French Terry used by Khadetjes for the Finlayson in the lower photos looks extremely cozy.  You can see some close up photos of the texture on her blog – it looks perfect for a chilly day like today!

Photos of Comox Trunks are some of my favorite to stumble upon because I get such a kick out of the wild prints many people select!  You would be hard pressed to find such colorful and cheery underwear in the shops!  The top pair has been sewn by @theunknownstar and the bottom pair (along with the matching thong) have been sewn by @superlousew.  I may have shared this couple’s set of undies on Instagram or the blog before but I can’t find evidence and I can’t resist spreading the concept of matching undies throughout the sewing world!

This Camas Blouse caught my eye the other day – it was sewn using a woven fabric with a beautiful cotton lace yoke.  I like how the lace yoke shows peeks of the main fabric through the gaps.  This lovely blouse was sewn by @lamuseauplacard.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Goldstream Peacoat!  Near the end of each summer progress shots of Goldstream Peacoats never fail to pop up on my Instagram feed.  These images, by @timetosew caught my eye due to the very precise basting and padstitching she has completed.  I have had the pieces cut out for a Pendleton Wool Goldstream for over a year now.  Since I have made so many Goldstream Peacoats over the last few years, I thought I would veer from the sewing process which I detail within the instruction booklet.  This process features very easy yet effective methods that are approachable even if it is your first coat project.  This time I’m going to use some of the tailoring tips from our Tailored Peacoat Series!  Obviously, I am a tad intimidated (this is why the project has sat for over a year in my WIP bag) but I am thankful for the inspiration from sewists like @timetosew who just buckle down and get stitching!  It’s time for me to do the same so Matt can finally replace his old ratty Goldstream that I made him years ago as an early sample from very cheap faux wool.

If you have a Thread Theory project on you sewing table, I would love to hear about it!  Send your questions, your ideas, your photos, and your stories to info@threadtheory.ca, message me on Facebook, or use #threadtheorydesigns.


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The Parade: Your Camas Blouses

I’ve collected a selection of Camas Blouses to share with you today.  Thank you to everyone who has emailed me, blogged or shared their Camas on Instagram!  Viewing your creations is the most rewarding and thrilling part of running a pattern company.  If ever you have a project that you would like to show off, there is no need to hesitate and to feel shy.  I am just an email away and am eagerly awaiting your photos and comments!  Reach me (Morgan) at info@threadtheory.ca

 

Now let me present to you: The Camas Parade!

On your blogs:

Camas black and white

A lovely black and white Camas (it goes great with that red lipstick) blogged at Sur les montagnes russes…

Camas and leather outfit 2

A grey Camas paired with awesome leather pants – this blog post is from last May but I somehow missed it! Read the post over at blue hedgehog.Mustard Camas

I love this mustard colored Camas with a very elegant drape.  There are actually two Camas Blouses featured on this blog post at remembering gravity.
Liberty Camas

A stunningly bright Camas in Liberty Dufour Jersey blogged at Miss Maude.

Lace Camas

A special Camas Blouse featuring lace scraps from Anne’s wedding dress!  Blogged at Topstitched by Anne Lythe.

 

On Instagram

(If you can’t see the five images below, click the title of this blog post to get to the full post – sometimes Instagram images don’t show up if you are reading this via email or on a blog feed.)

 


Thanks for joining me on the sew-along and for sharing your beautiful blouses with me!  Happy Valentines weekend!


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Camas Sew-Along: Closures and Styling

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

We’re on the home stretch!  Today we are sewing on our closures and I will show you my new Camas Dress and Cardigan in action!  On Friday I will show you a parade of Camas Blouses that have been popping up all over the internet.  I hope yours will be included in the parade – to be sure that it will, email me photos at info@threadtheory.ca.

Adding Closures

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-9

There are many ways to finish off the Camas Placket – some of which are detailed in the instruction book and some of which I will mention today.  Here are the ways I’ve come up with.  Maybe you have thought of others?

  1. Add buttonholes to the right placket (if you were wearing the blouse) and sew corresponding buttons to the left placket.
  2. Add snaps – I especially like pearl snaps!
  3. Sew the buttons through both plackets to create false buttons.  You could optionally topstitch the placket closed before doing this to avoid any chance of gaping or peek-a-boos.
  4. Topstitch the placket closed and avoid any closures.  This would be a very clean, minimalist look.
  5. Leave the placket open to create a cardigan.
  6. Add a tie belt made from self or contrast fabric to accompany buttons as a blouse or dress or use only the belt (no other closures) to create a robe style cardigan.

For the two garments that I sewed throughout the sew-along, I chose to leave one without closures and added false buttons and a tie belt to the other.  Here is how I added false buttons without stitching the placket closed:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-1

I topstitched the inner placket in place before addressing the issue of closures (as you can see in the last sew-along post).  This differs slightly from the instruction booklet where I instruct you to stitch the two plackets together while topstitching.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-2

Place the right placket (if you were wearing the blouse) over the left placket and pin together.  Make sure the hem is even.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-4

Mark your button placement on the right placket.  If you are sewing the pattern without lengthening it you can use the button placement markings from the pattern piece.  If you have lengthened the blouse as I have here, you will need to determine the button placement yourself.  You can follow the spacing provided on the pattern (6.35 cm/ 2.5″) or choose your own.  It might be a good idea to try on the blouse so you can see where the top button should be placed.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-10

Pierce your needle through both plackets when stitching each button in place.  Follow my tutorial on sewing on a button if you are often frustrated by hand sewn buttons popping off!

And you’re done! WOOT!!! Wear that gorgeous Camas for your Valentine’s festivities…or…you might find yourself grabbing it from your closet just about every day because it is so comfortable :).

Here are my finished Camas garments:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-17

Meet the Camas shirt dress!  I sewed this using a lovely dotted cotton chambray from Stylemaker Fabrics.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-1

I lengthened the Camas as I instructed in our post on Camas mods.  I kept the side seam very straight to get the slim silhouette I was imagining.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-19

I also lengthened the sleeves slightly so I could roll them up to create cuffs:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-32

The buttons I used are tiny little 3/8″ shirt buttons made from Tagua Nut.  You will be finding those in our shop when we launch an upcoming menswear pattern – the button up shirt!  I really like the creamy color for casual shirts like this one.  I find that these thin buttons with their subtle engraving look more subtle and professional than the thick shirt buttons that I often find in my local fabric shop.

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When I lengthened the blouse pattern I kept the original hem curve.  I really like how this shaping looks on a shirt dress!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-26

I created a belt out of two strips of self fabric.  I didn’t bother with belt loops – I had originally intended to add thread chain belt loops but when I tied the belt around my waist I felt those were really unnecessary.  The fabric does not shift or slip so there was no reason to require thread loops to keep the belt in place.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-31

Since this shirt dress is sewn using a woven fabric with pretty much no drape (I know, this is NOT what I recommended in the fabric selection post!) I find the neckline rides up and gapes a little.  I tried moving around by calling our pup, Luki, to test how the dress provided coverage despite the fact that it doesn’t want to sit flat against my neckline.  I think it provides tolerable coverage:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-37

It’s a bit annoying that I have to pull the dress back down over my chest after I move my arms up though.  I think this problem would not occur if the fabric had more drape and wanted to match the contours of my body.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-36

When planning to sew this version of the Camas in a woven, I raised the underarm seam and used a smaller seam allowance at the elbow to accomodate for the fabric having no stretch.  I detailed how to do this in our post on sewing with woven fabrics.  I didn’t make any other fit adjustments despite the fact that I have a very broad back and straight shoulders.  Looking at the photo below I can see I probably needed to add 1/2″ of width across the back.  This is a pretty standard adjustment for me.  I haven’t done this for past Camas Blouses that I have sewn using knits because I did not notice a problem with the fit across the back.  Even with this woven version, the problem is exceptionally minimal – I have full arm movement and only notice a small amount of tightness when I put my arms directly in front of me.  I don’t think it’s something I’m very worried about!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-24

Now I’ll show you the second blouse I made during the sew along!  This one was sewn as an open front cardigan.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-53

I used the super soft Canadian-made black interlock fabric that we carry in our shop for the front of the cardigan and the sleeves.  It makes a nice spring cardigan because it is quite light weight.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-55

For the yokes I used a sweater knit featuring a black and brown herringbone design that I had left over in my scrap bin from another project.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-2

For the back of the blouse I used a polyester chiffon with a romantic floral print.  I had made it into a simple kimono in the past but didn’t do a very nice job of sewing it so I recut it to use in this project instead.  I’m glad I can finally wear this fabric because I think the print is so pretty!
Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-5

As you can see, I changed the back hemline shape so that it makes a very dramatic swoop.  I showed you how to do this in the Camas modification post.  I also lengthened the sleeves as we discussed in that post.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-49

I think this cardigan will be very versatile in the spring and summer.  It can be worn over dresses or over jeans and a t-shirt.  The interlock makes it feel comfy and casual while the chiffon dresses it up without making the cardigan too delicate (since it is a tightly woven poly chiffon that doesn’t seem prone to snags and can be put through the wash and dryer).  Plus I can wear it with outfits that suit black OR brown – this makes any garment a win in my opinon!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-3


 

I look forward to seeing and hearing about your Camas successes and modifications!  I hope you enjoyed the sew-along.  Thanks for joining me :).

The Camas Blouse pattern  will remain on sale (25% off!) until the end of the day Friday when I parade all of your Camas Blouses on the blog.  There are only two more days to snag the tissue or PDF pattern while on sale!


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Camas Sew-Along: Sew the Blouse Placket

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Thanks for waiting an extra day for this post!  I really had a great time skiing in the sunshine.

Today we’re sewing the Camas placket.  This is unquestionably the trickiest part of the Camas Blouse sewing process, but don’t worry, it isn’t that hard!  It is just a little bit finicky and it is a slow process in comparison to the very fast sewing steps that preceded it.

Preparing your Placket

The instruction booklet tells you to interface all placket pieces with interfacing suitable for knits (it usually stretches in one direction slightly and is quite light weight).  I have suggested you interface all pieces because this will make these narrow, fiddly pieces less likely to curl up or stretch out of shape.  Interfacing them will cause the knit fabric to behave more like woven fabric.

Depending on your fabric choice, you can listen to my instructions or you are welcome to disregard them!  Here are a few scenarios for you so that you can see what I mean:

  1. You are sewing with a thin jersey fabric whose raw edges roll up considerably.  You hope to sew functioning buttonholes on your placket.  In this case it would be best to interface all placket pieces if you are a tad uncomfortable working with knit fabrics.  If you are an old hand at working with knits you could interface one set of placket pieces and leave the other set free of interfacing.  This will reduce bulk and rigidity slightly so that your placket flows with the rest of the garment more readily.
  2. You are sewing with a thick interlock fabric whose edges stay nice and flat.  You would like to close your blouse front permanently by sewing decorative buttons on through all layers.  In this case you could easily sew the placket with only one set of interfaced pieces or you could even sew it with no interfacing.  At least one layer of interfacing will help to prevent the narrow placket pieces from stretching and rippling as you sew them to the blouse front.
  3. You are sewing a with a very stable woven fabric such as cotton (as I am for this sew along).  Go ahead and skip the interfacing if you don’t have any on hand!  Keep in mind though that your buttonholes might be a little bit misshapen or your machine might have troubles creating them – you know the button hole capabilities of your machine so use your judgement here.  If you machine often gives you troubles when sewing buttonholes, at least one layer of light interfacing will likely help you out!

I chose to skip interfacing altogether for this Camas Blouse just to test it out.  The Camas I am sewing has been lengthened to become a dress so I wanted to ensure my placket is not very rigid and bulky since it is so long and prominent at the front of the dress.

Assembling your Placket

I am going to show you two ways to assemble to placket – the first is how I illustrated in the instruction booklet.  The second approach requires fewer steps but results in a slightly less tidy garment (on the inside).  You can choose which method you prefer or even try out both!

 

Method 1:

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-6

Place the neckline placket on your work surface with right side facing you.  Lay out your placket pieces on top of it with wrong sides facing you.  Line up the shoulder seams and pin.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-7

Stitch the shoulder seams using a 5/8″ seam allowance and a straight stitch.  Press these seams open.  Once you have stitched both sets of plackets you can trim one of the seam allowances to 3/8″ if you like to reduce bulk (so that both seam allowance raw edges don’t end at the same point and create a ridge).

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-8

Now it is time to sew the placket to your blouse.  This can be a little counter intuitive due to the curved shaping of the neckline – pin carefully and even baste the entire seam if you are unsure you have the placket positioned correctly!  I’ve attempted to explain the process in a very different way than I did in the instruction booklet so that those who are confused by the instruction booklet can clarify things by reading this post and vice versa.

Place the placket on your work surface with right sides up so that the neckline placket looks like a frown (see the photo above).  You will be sewing the blouse neckline to the longest side of this curve (the top of the frown).

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-9

Drape the placket over the blouse and match the shoulder seams.  You can see in the bottom right of the photo above that the placket curves away from centre front (this is the part that some people find counter intuitive).  The blouse curves in a convex fashion and the placket curves in a concave fashion.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-12

Pin the placket to the blouse with right sides together.  Make sure to match the shoulder seams and center back.  The placket will extend 5/8″ beyond the blouse hem.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-13

Sew the placket to the blouse with a 5/8″ seam allowance.  It is a great idea to break the seam into two sections by starting at the centre back and sewing in either direction.  This way you are less likely to stretch the placket out of shape.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-14

Now that your placket is attached, here comes the most important step to create a smooth, professional looking placket without too much bulk!  Trim, trim, trim!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-15

Grade the seam allowances by trimming one to 1/4″ and the other to 3/8″.  Along the curved sections (the back of the neckline and the curve at center front), clip the seam allowances by making small triangles.  This will help the seam to curve smoothly.  If you are using a very delicate knit fabric or a loosely knit fabric, you might not want to trim or clip so thoroughly since this could cause runs in the fabric.  If you are using a dense knit or a woven fabric, trim and clip to your hearts content!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-18

Press the seam allowances towards the placket.

Now you can assemble the second set of placket pieces in the same manner as the first.  Finish the long outer edge (the same edge that you sewed to the blouse when you assembled the first placket) by using a serger, rayon seam tape or a zig zag stitch.  I’ve used a serger in the photo below and I’ve marvelled at a Camas Blouse the my mother in law created using rayon seam tape for this step.  She matched the seam tape with the floral print – it looked so pretty!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-19

Pin the inner placket to the outer placket.  Match shoulder seams and the center back.  This placket will also extend 5/8″ below the blouse hem.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-20

Starting at center back, stitch in either direction using a straight stitch and a 5/8″ seam allowance.  When you get to the hem, make a right angle turn and stitch across the entire width of the placket.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-21

For best results, trim and clip this set of seam allowances in the same way that you trimmed the first.  If you like, this is a great seam to understitch to ensure that the inner placket presses towards the inside of the blouse easily.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-22

Your placket is beginning to look very finished!  We just need to stitch it in place now.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-24

Pin the under placket in place to prevent any shifting before you sew your topstitching.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-25

From the right side of the blouse, topstitch along the placket edge 1/8″ from the seam.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-26

I like to topstitch with a slightly longer stitch than usual – I find it looks a bit more polished.  Doesn’t that look nice?

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-28

 

Now, if you prefer, you are welcome to use Method 2 to sew your placket:

Sew the shoulder seams of the neckline placket and placket pieces as instructed in Method 1.

Camas Sew Along Placket-1

Press the seam allowances open and trim one set of seam allowances to 3/8″ if desired to reduce bulk.

Camas Sew Along Placket-2

Rather than sewing one placket to the blouse as we did in Method 1, we will assemble the two placket sets before attaching them to the blouse.

Camas Sew Along Placket-6

Place one placket on top of the other with right sides together.  Pin the plackets together along the inner curve.  Make sure the shoulder seams are aligned.

Camas Sew Along Placket-10

Start at center back and stitch along the inner curve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Stitch from centre back towards the hem in both directions.  Breaking the seam into two sections like this will help to prevent things from becoming misshapen.  5/8″ from the raw edge of the hem, turn a right angle and stitch across the width of the placket.

Camas Sew Along Placket-15

Here is how your placket will appear once you have stitched this seam:

Camas Sew Along Placket-11

At this point, you can understitch if you like to ensure that the placket will fold and press crisply.

Camas Sew Along Placket-14

To understitch, press the seam allowances towards the inner placket (this could be either of the plackets, you choose!) with your hands.  Stitch through the inner placket and both seam allowances 1/8″ from the seam.  You can see the understitching in the photo above.

Camas Sew Along Placket-20

Press the placket so wrong sides are together and raw edges are aligned.  Turn out the placket corner at the hem.

Camas Sew Along Placket-22

Now it is time to attach the placket to the blouse.  Baste together the two raw placket edges if you like so they don’t shift around while you sew.  Pin the placket to the blouse carefully so that right sides are facing (the placket with visible understitching is the wrong side).

The rest of the process process will differ slightly depending on the machines you are using.

If you have a serger:

Camas Sew Along Placket-24

Beginning at one hem, carefully start serging so that the placket and blouse hem are even.  serge all the way around to the other hem.  Make sure that the shoulder seams are aligned.

If you are using a straight and zig zag stitch:

Using a straight stitch, start at center back and stitch towards either hem.  Finish the seam allowance using rayon seam tape or a zig zag stitch.

Finishing the placket

Camas Sew Along Placket-25

Press the finished seam allowance towards the blouse.  Topstitch the seam allowance in place 1/8″ from the placket seam.

Camas Sew Along Placket-29


 

I hope your plackets turn out well!  Take it slow and enjoy the process calmly :D.

Tomorrow we will sew our closures and I will show you my finished blouses!  On Friday I would love to showcase some of the blouses you have sewn – please email photos to me at info@threadtheory.ca if you would like to be featured.  Otherwise, blog and Instagram away and I will find your Camas projects on the web.  Exciting!


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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. 😛Camas 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: 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.